Eck's Files: Fred Yehi To Challenge For Pure Title On ROH TV; Date Announced For Draper-Isom Survival Of The Fittest Bout

By Kevin Eck

Fred Yehi has climbed to the top of the Pure Title rankings and will receive his shot at Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham on a future episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”

The date of the match has not been announced.

Yehi has been on a roll the past couple months. Since losing to Dak Draper in mid-March, “The Savageweight” has won three conseuctive matches. He emerged victorious in a Pure gauntlet match and defeated Rocky Romero and World Famous CB in singles bouts.

Yehi said in a recent interview that the loss to Draper was a wakeup call. During the latter stages of the match, Draper punched Yehi in the face, which gave him an opening to hit his finisher.

It wasn’t the most honorable way to score a victory, and it appears to have changed Yehi’s perspective.

“Dak Draper busted me in the eye and it sort of corrupted me,” Yehi said. “It’s made me question what exactly is purity. I find myself being a bit anti-pure, which is also a form of purity, so does that make me quite authentic? I believe so.”

As good as Yehi has been as of late, he’ll definitely be the underdog against Gresham, who is 9-0 in Pure Rules Matches, including wins over Jay Lethal, Flip Gordon, Tracy Williams, Josh Woods and Matt Sydal.


The Survival of the Fittest first-round match between Draper and Eli Isom will take place on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” the weekend of June 12.  

Draper and Isom wrestled to a 15-minute draw in their previous meeting in late April. Both men are on the verge of stardom, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the winner of this match went on to win the SOTF six-way elimination final to earn a shot at the ROH World Title.

As previously announced, next weekend’s episode will be headlined by a Pure Rules Match for the ROH World Tag Team Title pitting champions Williams and Rhett Titus of the Foundation against the returning Dragon Lee and Kenny King of La Faccion Ingobernable.


Speaking of Lee, he also will be getting a shot at the ROH World Television Title -- which  he technically didn’t lose -- on a future episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”

While Lee was recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured eardrum, King unsuccessfully defended the title on his behalf against Williams at the 19th Anniversary pay-per-view in March.

Violence Unlimited’s Tony Deppen subsequently defeated Williams for the title, so Williams also is in line for a championship rematch.



I’ve learned that the ROH Board of Directors is planning to give a ticket to gold to another veteran competitor who, like Allysin Kay, will not have to wrestle a “tryout” match to participate in the ROH Women’s World Title Tournament this summer.

The woman in question has competed in ROH in the past and has been a champion elsewhere.


I was impressed by both Willow and Alex Gracia in this week’s Women’s Division Wednesday match on YouTube.

Willow won the match and received her ticket to gold, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Gracia in ROH.


O’Shay Edwards was rewarded for his hard-fought victory over Sledge in their no-disqualification, no-countout match last week by becoming a full-fledged member of Shane Taylor Promotions.

Edwards had been on a “probationary period” with STP, but Taylor made him an official member when he presented him with an STP jersey after the match.


This is a big deal.

Obviously it’s huge for Edwards’ career to be associated with a man of Taylor’s stature and fast-rising stars The Soldiers of Savagery (Moses and Kaun), but STP gaining a new member also makes the unit more of a threat to make an impact in ROH’s faction warfare. STP, which holds the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Title, now has four members, just like The Foundation, LFI and VU.

If Taylor can do for Edwards what he did for SOS, “The Big Bad Kaiju’s” career is about to take off.


Speaking of Edwards, his SOTF first-round match against VU’s Chris Dickinson will take place on “ROH Week By Week” on June 15.


I laughed a lot during the latest episode of “The ROHStrong Podcast,” as my guests were Danhausen and comedian/actor Matt McCarthy. The episode drops Monday morning on and most podcast platforms.

Danhausen talked about his upcoming SOTF match against Titus;  teaming with PCO; appearing on Conan O’Brien’s podcast; and his social media interactions with The Rock, CM Punk and KENTA.

If you’re not familiar with McCarthy by name, you’ve undoubtedly seen him in your living room countless times.

McCarthy is  perhaps best known as the cable installer in the Verizon Fios commercials from several years ago, and he appeared in a recent Progessive Insurance commercial. He also has worked extensively with O’Brien.

On the podcast, McCarthy discussed his love of pro wrestling and ROH fandom; his time on the WWE creative team (we were colleagues); and co-hosting the popular “We Watch Wrestling” podcast.

I also asked him the burning question on everyone’s lips: What’s Flo really like?


What in the world is going on with the Briscoes? Every time it seems like Jay and Mark are back on the same page, it turns out they’re not.

They got together to shoot a video promoting the Best in the World pay-per-view on July 11 in Baltimore, but things took an unexpected turn when Jay informed Mark that he doesn’t want to be his partner anymore. That led to Mark ordering Jay to leave his property.


Are Dem Boys going to have to fight each other again to settle this once and for all?


I was surprised that LSG chose to be ranked in the Pure division rather than the World TV Title division after his win over Joe Keys on this past weekend’s “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”

LSG defeated Deppen in February and has only competed in one Pure Rules Match. That match, however, was against Lethal, and he nearly defeated the two-time former ROH World Champion; Lethal won by split-decision.



This weekend’s episode of ROH TV is headlined by a Pure Rules Match between bitter rivals Josh Woods and Silas Young, and a SOTF first-round match between former MexiSquad teammates Rey Horus and Flamita.

On the next “ROH Week By Week,” which premieres Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern on YouTube, Sledge takes on Brian Johnson in another SOTF first-round match.



Today’s Honor List on YouTube highlights the nine greatest SOTF finals wins. 

Also on ROH’s YouTube channel, “Weekend of the Fittest,” featuring past SOTF matches, premieres on Saturday morning and ends Sunday night at midnight Eastern time.


Reminder: Tickets for Best in the World at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena (previously known as UMBC Event Center) in Baltimore, go on sale to the general public on Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern.


Until next time, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong!

Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining Eck’s Files appears every Friday.