By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 469)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland
Aired September 26, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks
The ROH opening aired… Quinn McKay checked in from the studio and set up footage of David Finlay beating Rocky Romero last week. Finlay spoke backstage about facing Jay Lethal in the next round. He said he flies the New Japan flag proudly. He said he popped his shoulder, but he has time to recover and he intends to beat Lethal.
McKay set up footage of Matt Sydal beating Delirious last week. Sydal delivered a backstage promo and said he’s feeling high on life after beating his 20-year nemesis. Sydal thanked the wrestling gods for giving him a chance to face Jonathan Gresham. He spoke about winning the tournament. He said his arm and head hurt, but he would pull through…
McKay hyped this week’s tournament matches and a graphic listed the A-Block match as coming up. McKay said the match would start after a short break… [C]
Powell’s POV: If the previous shows are any indication, then we’ll get profile videos followed by another commercial break and then the matches will begin. Own it. I really like the profile pieces, but I caution against ticking off viewers who are looking for in-ring action by making them feel like they are being misled. By the way, I don’t blame McKay for this, as I’m sure she’s just doing what she’s told.
Fred Yehi’s profile feature video aired. He spoke about growing up in an area where drugs were an issue. He said he wanted to be a pro wrestler and he knew that if he fell in with the crowd that was doing drugs and alcohol then he wouldn’t become a great wrestler. Yehi spoke of his amateur background. He said he just likes to go out there and get it done, and he believes that’s what ROH is looking for. Yehi said he was a big fan of Bryan Danielson and Low Ki.
Yehi spoke about his opponent Silas Young. He said he doesn’t have to punch or choke to hurt opponents because he can hurt his opponents in so many different ways. He said he’s good at wearing down his opponents. Yehi said he knows that his success in the business is very authentic and he will walk away with the Pure Title…
The Silas Young character profile piece aired. Young, who wore a suit, spoke about growing up with five older brothers and getting his ass kicked. He said he looked up to his brothers who were athletes and that made him want to be an athlete. Young spoke of working against Nigel McGuinness, Chris Sabin, and Jimmy Jacobs while they were working for ROH and that lit a fire under him and made him want to be in ROH.
Young said he had to start at the bottom of ROH and work his way to the top. He said people who think they can study him and figure out his style are in for a big surprise. He said people won’t be expecting certain things that he does in the tournament. Young said he’s seen a little of Yehi’s work. He said he’s well traveled and has made a name for himself. Young said he believes he has a home field advantage.
Young recalled being in the last Pure Wrestling rules match against Jonathan Gresham. He said he didn’t have to cheat, he worked on his pure ability. He said it was actually Gresham who had to cheat to win their match and that makes him feel like the tournament is his to win… [C]
Powell’s POV: Yehi’s comments were underwhelming in that they felt a tad generic. This was a chance for him to establish his persona, but there wasn’t much for viewers to latch onto. I enjoyed Young discussing strategy in terms of showing something unexpected during their match.
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman check in during the entrances for the opening match…
1. Silas Young vs. Fred Yehi in a first-round Pure Title Tournament match. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor, but one of them held on and they had an intense exchange before letting go. Young pushed Yehi into the corner. The referee called for a break. Young released Yehi, then slapped him across the face. A few minutes into the match, Yehi applied an Indian Death Lock. Young used a rope break at 5:00. [C]
Riccaboni narrated highlights from during the commercial break and noted that Young was in control the entire time. Yehi came back and hit a spinning back fist. Yehi applied a submission hold, then countered into a crucifix pin for a near fall. Young came back with a pair of running big boots. Young performed a tornado DDT for a near fall at the 10:00 mark.
Young superplexed Yehi and then followed up with an anarchist’s suplex. Young approached Yehi, who caught him in an inside cradle for a near fall. Yehi dodged Young’s strikes and blasted him with a forearm that knocked him down, then hit him with a shining wizard. Young recovered and went for a springboard moonsault that Yehi avoided. Yehi stomped the foot of Young with his own foot and then with his fist, then rolled him into a cradle pin for the win…
Fred Yehi defeated Silas Young in 13:00 to advance to the second-round of the Pure Title Tournament.
The updated brackets were shown. Riccaboni noted that Yehi will face the winner of Tracy Williams vs. Rust Taylor. In the ring, Young shook Yehi’s hand afterward… Riccaboni hyped the second match… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match. The Pure format is perfect for Yehi. I’m happy he’s sticking around and I hope his future sit-down promos are stronger. His in-ring skills are excellent, but he still needs to make a real connection with the fans.
The character profile piece on Josh Woods aired. He wore a suit and recalled winning the Top Prospect tournament and being mentored by Silas Young. He said he’s been a combat athlete for nearly half his life. He ran through his credentials. He said the tournament gives him a chance to show off his technical abilities more than he typically does.
Woods said Kenny King has been around a long time, but one of the weaknesses he hopes to exploit is King’s arrogance. Woods said King is a locker room leader and someone who is respected. Woods recalled King taking issue with him teaching at a school in Florida by asking, “Who are you teaching?” Woods said that motivated him to rise up and he also wants to earn the respect of King. Woods said he didn’t take time off during the pandemic and is ready…
Kenny King’s sit-down promo aired. He discussed his history. He said becoming the Pure Champion is one more step for complete domination for the Ingobernable organization. He noted that they have the ROH Championship and the ROH TV Championship already. King said Woods is a dangerous kid. He warned not to let his boyish smile fool you. He said he’s not taking Woods lightly.
King said he went to a Gracie school near his home. He said Jeff Mayweather helped him work on his boxing skills. King put over his Royal Flush finisher. King said he’s not there to raise the prestige of pure wrestling. He said he doesn’t care about that. He said he’s there for La Faccion Ingobernable. “You might be good, kid, but you’re not K-I-N-G,” King closed in a message to Woods… [C]
Powell’s POV: Two good profile pieces. Woods established his background nicely, while King was the first guy to do something other than romanticize the Pure Title tournament and its history. I interviewed King for the Pro Wrestling Boom podcast recently and he spoke about how much he enjoyed the Pure format and the history of the division in ROH, so this promo was totally in character and it was really well played in that it made him stand out from the rest of the pack.
2. Kenny King vs. Josh Woods in a first-round Pure Title Tournament match. King wore a lucha mask to the ring during his entrance. King slapped the hand of Woods during the Code of Honor moment. A few minutes into the match, Woods applied a triangle. King rolled onto Woods into a pin for a two count to break it. King grabbed his shoulder and gave wide-eyed look at Woods to put over his early work. [C]
Woods caught King in a double ankle lock. King climbed under the bottom rope and fell to ringside. Coleman noted that King didn’t actually use the ropes. The referee called it a rope break. King was upset. Riccaboni said he felt it was a rope break. Coleman conceded that it was referee Todd Sinclair’s call.
Woods followed King to ringside where he caught him going for a kick and punched him. King came back with a kick to the knee. King went back to the apron and struck a pose before delivering another kick to Woods on the floor. King rolled Woods back inside the ring. King went for a springboard move, but Woods caught him on his shoulders. King slipped out.
Woods threw knees at King and wound up to punch him before stopping himself. King blasted Woods with a punch. Sinclair warned King for the punch to the head (a second punch to the head results in a DQ). A short time later, Woods rallied and performed an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Woods delivered a high knee in the corner and then covered King for a two count.
Riccaboni said the match was showing just how far Woods has come as a competitor. He recalled that King beat Woods in less time than this match had gone when they met for the ROH TV Title three years earlier. Woods performed a clunky looking GTS. King tumbled to ringside after taking the GTS while Woods showed frustration over not being able to go for the pin.
Woods rolled King back inside the ring. Woods charged at King in the corner. King caught Woods and hit him with his Royal Flush finisher. King had the pin, but Woods’ hand was under the bottom rope, so the referee called it a rope break. King was hot about the referee’s call and protested. King placed Woods on the second rope and went for a superplex, but Woods powered out and countered into a twisting neckbreaker from the ropes.
King and Woods got to their feet and exchanged forearm shots. Woods got the better of it and tried to hoist King up, but King slipped out into a pin for a near fall. Woods came right back with a rollup for a two count. Woods got up and kicked King’s head. King drove Woods into the corner and drove his shoulder into him moments before the timekeeper noted that there was one minute remaining.
Woods worked over King with strikes in the corner and then whipped him into the opposite corner. Woods whipped King into the opposite corner again and charged, but King went up and over and rolled Woods, who rolled through and went for a kick, but King caught him in a single-leg crab. King held the move until the time expired. King thought Woods had tapped out and was upset when he learned that they went to the time limit.
Riccaboni and Coleman agreed that the judges were in a tough spot. The referee brought King and Woods to the middle of the ring. It was announced that Woods won the match via split decision. Riccaboni said he was told that the match came down to King using a closed fist. He added that Gary Juster was the judge who voted for King (meaning in the storyline sense Will Ferrara and Sumie Sakai voted for Woods).
Josh Woods defeated Kenny King via split decision to advance to the second-round of the Pure Title Tournament.
After the ruling, a happy Woods offered a handshake, but King slapped it away and vented about the decision. The updated brackets were shown. Woods will face the winner of next week’s PJ Black vs. Tony Deppen match. Riccaboni also hyped Rust Taylor vs. Tracy Williams for next week’s show, which feature the final first-round matches…
Powell’s POV: A creative match. It was nice to see them use the rope break creatively for the pin, and to see a match go to the time limit just to show that it can happen. I may be guilty of nitpicking, but did they establish that using a closed fist would be counted against the wrestlers if the match went to the judges? I remember that it would result in a warning from the referee, but I don’t recall them saying that the judges had to take it into account. Either way, I enjoyed the match and I like that the match going to the judges protected King. Overall, another entertaining episode of the Pure Title tournament. Dot Net Members will hear my weekly audio review of ROH Wrestling this morning.