By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 476)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland
Aired October 31, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The ROH opening aired… A video package focused on the finals of the Pure Title tournament… Quinn McKay checked in from the studio and hyped the Tracy Williams vs. Jonathan Gresham match. She played up that the pressure on Gresham is insurmountable because he knows it is his to lose.
McKay also announced that ROH fined Matt Taven and Vincent for their recent brawls and told them that future violations would not be tolerated.
Powell’s POV: ROH could open an investigation into Taven and Vincent’s behavior and never reveal their findings if they don’t knock it off. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
McKay set up footage from last week’s EC3 and Shane Taylor promos to hype the six-man tag match… [C] Entrances for the six-man tag match took place while the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Jonathan Gresham checked in for the first time…
1. EC3, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe vs. Shane Taylor and “SOS” Moses and Kaun. EC3 wrestled in jeans and wanted to start the match against Taylor, who tagged in Kaun instead. EC3 dominated Kaun, then tagged in Mark. The Briscoes worked over Moses heading into a break. [C]
ROH aired highlights from during the commercial break. Taylor blasted Mark with a punch on the apron, then pulled him back inside the ring with a cutter. Jay went after Taylor, who blasted him with a knee to the head. Jay was isolated by the heel trio. A short time later, Taylor took a cheap shot punch at EC3 and knocked him off the apron. Jay fought back and tagged in his brother.
Mark got the better of Taylor and went up top for Froggy Bow. Taylor avoided the move and Mark rolled through. Taylor hit his finisher on Mark and pinned him clean…
Shane Taylor and “SOS” Moses and Kaun defeated EC3, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. They wisely avoided giving away much of anything with EC3 and Taylor, as they saved it for their first singles match. I was legitimately surprised to see the heels go over, as I thought they would simply give EC3 a pinfall win over Moses or Kaun to spotlight him in his first match.
A video package focused on the main event and included comments from Tracy Williams. He spoke about he and Gresham have the commonality of competition and pure wrestling. Williams said he called Gresham before the tournament and told him that he would see him in the finals. Williams said that no matter what, he and Gresham would build the company on the foundation of pure wrestling. Williams said he would end the tournament with the Pure Title held above his head.
They transitioned to Gresham, who said everyone is talking about the phone call. He said the call was about The Foundation. He said it’s not just about him, it’s about the men and women around the world who view the sport the way he does. Gresham spoke about how ROH lost its identity and its honor. Gresham said that after the phone call, they find themselves in the finals. Gresham said he believes he is the best pure wrestler in the world and he can prove that in the finals. “Regardless of the outcome, the Pure Championship comes home with The Foundation and we achieve our goal,” Gresham said. Gresham told Williams they can restore honor…
Powell’s POV: Was the Williams and Gresham phone call mentioned prior to this episode? It’s certainly possible that I missed something. If not, I wonder if they avoided playing that up until this episode because they were focused on the red herring that was Jay Lethal talking about facing Gresham in the finals.
2. Tracy Williams vs. Jonathan Gresham in the Pure Title Tournament finals. Ring announcer Nick Lendl delivered in-ring introductions. Todd Sinclair was the referee. Williams wore his shoulder brace to sell the injury suffered during the match with Jay Lethal during last week’s semifinal match. The action was even and no one had lost a rope break heading into a break roughly four minutes into the match. [C]
Gresham applied a double wrist lock. Williams backed into the ropes and used his first rope break. A short time later, Williams backed Gresham into the ropes and it was ruled as Gresham’s first rope break. Williams went on the offensive. Gresham exploded with a nice German suplex for a near fall. Williams came right back with a clothesline for a near fall of his own. [C]
At the 10:00 mark, Williams caught Gresham on the ropes, but Gresham pushed his legs to pull Williams over the ropes and both men fell to ringside. Gresham sent Williams back into the ring and went for a springboard move, but Williams caught him and performed a brainbuster that led to a two count. Williams applied a crossface. Gresham reached the ropes to use his second rope break.
Gresham caught Williams with another German suplex into a bridge and got a two count. Gresham hit three running forearms and went for covers after each one and was only able to get two counts. Gresham went for an octopus stretch, but Williams escaped it and hit a piledriver. Williams had the pin, but Gresham put his foot on the bottom rope to use his final rope break. Riccaboni said Gresham used more rope breaks in this match than he did in his previous tournament matches combined.
Gresham blocked a big chop, then spun Williams around and applied an Octopus stretch. Williams submitted.
Jonathan Gresham defeated Tracy Williams to win the tournament to become the ROH Pure Champion.
After the match, Jay Lethal headed to the ring and congratulated his tag team partner. Todd Sinclair presented Gresham with the title belt and a trophy. Gresham and Williams shook hands afterward while Lethal looked on. Lethal also shook the hand of Williams, who left the ring while Lethal continued to applaud his tag partner. Lethal strapped the Pure Title belt around the waist of Gresham, then left the ring. Gresham posed with his title belts and trophy to close the show…
Powell’s POV: I was really hoping they would go all the way with Williams to really make him. But he definitely gained a lot from making it to the finals of tournament. Hopefully there’s a plan in place for Williams to build on the momentum coming out of the tournament. Gresham was the favorite from the start of the tournament, but they built in enough doubt with Williams and even Lethal that it never felt overly predictable.
ROH has received a lot of praise for the Pure Title tournament and it’s been warranted. I enjoyed this eight episode run more than anything the company did in 2019. The matches were entertaining and the booking was strong, particularly when it came to that Lethal red herring. It will be interesting to see what ROH does with the weekly television show now that the tournament is finished and they presumably return to a more traditional approach. The success of this tournament left me optimistic that the long layoff gave booker Hunter Johnston a chance to recharge his batteries. My weekly audio review of ROH Wrestling will be available for Dot Net Members shortly. Join us via PWMembership.net.