Eck's Files: Rok-C Reflects On Historic Title Win; Josh Woods Silences Critics; Taylor Rust Guests On ROHStrong Podcast

By Kevin Eck

The wrestling world is still buzzing about Rok-C becoming the inaugural ROH Women’s World Champion at the Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view this past Sunday.

The 19-year-old “Prodigy” and “Lucha Baddie” Miranda Alize both shined under the bright lights in the finals of the Quest for Gold tournament. Their exciting, back-and-forth contest provided a fantastic conclusion to an outstanding tournament.

Rok-C appeared on Beyond the Belles this week to discuss her historic accomplishment. The new champion said she made sure to savor every moment of the experience.

“Before the match, Chris Hero was there and he told me, ‘When you go out there for your entrance, look around and just soak in the moment. And during the match, listen to the crowd and just take it all in,’” Rok-C said. “As well as Maria [Kanellis-Bennett], she said, ‘This doesn’t happen all the time. Make sure you soak in that moment.’ So I made sure at the beginning of the match, right when I came out, until the end of the match, there was so much raw emotion.”

Rok-C, who dreamed of being a pro wrestler as a little girl and began training at 13, said being able to celebrate the victory in the ring with her parents made her big night even more special.

“As much as my mom was so supportive of me coming in at such a young age, it was also really scary for her,” Rok-C said. “I was 16 and traveling every weekend and missing birthdays and missing all this stuff. It kind’ve caused a little bit of problems because it was hard on her. She was like, ‘I still want you to be a kid and I don’t want you to miss out on kid things and high school things.’ She was torn because she wants to support my dreams but she also doesn’t want me to miss out on all these things. 

“I think her just getting in the ring with me was like a sense of relief. … I always told her, ‘Please stay with me because I know that this is going to work out.’ I think at that moment [Sunday] she was just prouder than proud.”

Although Rok-C came out on top, there were moments when it appeared it was going to be Alize’s night. Alize, who was 2-0 against Rok-C before the match, undoubtedly will get another shot at the title at some point.

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It also was an emotional night for the other new champion crowned at Death Before Dishonor, Josh Woods, who beat the seemingly unbeatable Jonathan Gresham to capture the ROH Pure Title.

Woods went into the match with a heavy heart because his father died just a couple weeks prior. Death Before Dishonor was going to be the first time Woods’ father had ever seen him compete in a pro wrestling match in person.

Woods, who wrote his father’s initials on his wrist tape before the match, kissed his wrist immediately after getting the three count.

It was a career-defining victory for Woods, who no longer has to hear from the critics who said he hadn’t lived up to expectations after winning the Top Prospect Tournament in 2017.

As for Gresham, what more needs to be said? He went into the match with a 12-0 record in Pure matches, including seven title defenses, and hadn’t lost a match of any type since December 2019.

Moreover, he brought prestige to a title that had been inactive for 14 years before he won it in a tournament last year.
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I was thoroughly impressed with The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) at Death Before Dishonor. It goes without saying that defeating the 11-time former ROH World Tag Team Champion Briscoes is no easy feat.

The victory propelled OGK into the tag team rankings at No. 3, which means they are now eligible for a shot the tag team title currently held by Dragon Lee and Kenny King, who regained the belts from Chris Dickinson and Homicide on last weekend’s episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling.

Now that Taven has finally put Vincent in his rearview mirror, he and Bennett are laser-focused on winning the ROH Tag Team Title they held for three months in 2015.

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Speaking of Vincent, I have no idea what to make of The Righteous’ new look. Apparently they don’t adhere to the rule of not wearing white after Labor Day.

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Taylor Rust was my guest on the latest episode of the ROHStrong Podcast, which drops this Monday morning on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms.

Rust talked about his return to ROH at Death Before Dishonor and whether he’ll be sticking around; his release from NXT and his experience there; the story behind his name changes; his match against Tracy Williams in the Pure Title Tournament; nearly walking away from wrestling, and much more.

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Kenny King versus Shane Taylor is a grudge match that has to happen, and I can’t wait to see it when it does. 

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Reminder: Matches involving Joe Hendry, Session Moth Martina and former ROH Pure Champion Doug William from this past weekend’s Carnival of Honor in Nottingham, United Kingdom will be featured on the next episode of ROH Week By Week, which premieres Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

By the way, Hendry revealed a new look and moniker this week. “The Prestigious One” now has blond hair and calls himself “The Answer.”

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A special Pure episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling airs this weekend, featuring a Pure Rules Match between Bennett and Rhett Titus and a Pure gauntlet. 

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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 ROHWrestling.com. Eck’s Files appears every Friday.