Ecks Files: Who Has The Edge In Foundation-Violence Unlimited Match? Survival Of The Fittest Matches Revealed Next Week; Dates Set For Woods-Young Pure Rules Bout, Sledge-O-Shay III

By Kevin Eck 

As first announced on “ROH Week By Week,” Violence Unlimited (Brody King, Tony Deppen, Chris Dickinson and Homicide) and The Foundation (Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus) will meet in a star-studded eight-man tag match that headlines “Ring of Honor Wrestling” the weekend of May 29. 

This is a huge match for both sides in the battle for faction supremacy in ROH, which also includes La Faccion Ingobernable (RUSH, Dragon Lee, Kenny King and Bestia del Ring). 

Deppen brought VU its first championship when he defeated Williams for the ROH World Television Title a few weeks ago. A win by VU in the eight-man match would keep its momentum going and deal another blow to The Foundation, which had been riding high after coming out of the 19th Anniversary pay-per-view in late March with three championships. 

The Foundation, which is on a mission to “purify” all the titles in ROH, still has the Pure Champion in Gresham and the ROH World Tag Team Champions in Williams and Titus (they defend the title against The OGK on this weekend’s episode of ROH TV), and a victory over VU would send a message to the upstart faction that`Williams’ loss to Deppen was just a temporary setback. 

While I would never underestimate The Foundation, I think VU has the advantage in the eight-man tag because it won’t be conducted under Pure rules. 

As for LFI, they’ve been suspended without pay for the entire month of May, which means they won’t be around to interfere in the match. At least that’s what I hope it means. 

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Also on next weekend’s show, LSG and Joe Keys -- the co-winners of this past weekend’s rankings battle royal -- will square off, with the winner getting to choose whether he wants to be ranked in the Pure or World TV Title divisions. 

Speaking of Keys, he was my guest on the latest episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast,” which drops Monday morning on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms. 
   
Keys talked about his breakout match against Gresham for the Pure Title and the huge impact Gresham has had on his career; breaking in with Lio Rush and Velveteen Dream in MCW Pro Wrestling; how his mother (a judge and former state prosecutor) found out he’s a wrestler; making the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in his “real” job at a pharmaceutical company, and much more. 

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The matchups in the Survival of the Fittest tournament will be revealed on the next episode of  “ROH Week By Week,” which premieres Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern on YouTube.

The tournament will take place on ROH TV throughout June. Survival of the Fittest is composed of a series of qualifying matches, with the winners meeting in a multi-man elimination match to determine the overall winner. The lone survivor will be rewarded with a future shot at the ROH World Championship. 

Also on “Week By Week,” Dickinson will compete in his first singles match in ROH since 2015 when he faces Eric Martin of the ROH Dojo. 

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After Silas Young scored a tainted win over Josh Woods on this past weekend’s TV episode, Young told his former protege that he also could beat him in a Pure Rules match. 

Young will get his chance to back up his boast on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” the weekend of June 5. 

While a Pure Rules Match would seem to favor Woods, I won’t be that surprised if Young comes out on top. Despite his penchant for cheating and brawling, Young has shown that he can be an outstanding technical wrestler when he chooses to be.
 

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The third match between rivals Sledge and O’Shay Edwards will be shown exclusively on ROH’s YouTube channel this Thursday at 7 p.m. Eastern. 
   
The powerhouses battled to a 10-minute draw in their first meeting and a 15-minute draw in their second. Sledge-Edwards III will have an extended time limit. 

Edwards may be even more motivated than usual against Sledge since “The Metalhead Maniac” eliminated him in the rankings battle royal. 

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ROH Board of Directors member Maria Kanellis-Bennett made a great decision by giving a “ticket to gold” (entrance into the ROH Women’s World Title Tournament this summer) to Allysin Kay. 

Kay has held championships in multiple promotions and is one of the hottest free agents in the sport. As Kanellis-Bennett said, Kay’s “work speaks for itself,” which is why she didn’t have to compete in a “tryout” match to gain a spot in the tournament. 

On a side note, after watching Max The Impaler’s dominant win over Hyan on Women’s Division Wednesday, I’d be shocked if Max doesn’t get a “ticket to gold” in the near future. 

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Even though Primal Fear came out on the losing end in their ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Title match against champions Shane Taylor Promotions (Taylor and The Soldiers of Savagery) last weekend, I was impressed by the challengers. 

Adrien Soriano, Matthew Omen and Gabriel Hodder took the fight to STP and gave them some anxious moments. 

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It’s been too long since ROH fans have been able to see the company’s overseas talent in action, but they’ll have the opportunity to do so later this year. 

UK promotion Wrestle Carnival will present Carnival of Honor, a show featuring ROH’s UK stars as well as a Pure Rules main event with a former ROH Pure Champion, on Sept. 12 in Nottingham, England. 

Matches from Carnival of Honor will be featured on “ROH Week By Week.” 
   

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Ian Riccaboni and The World Famous CB will be doing English commentary for the Hana Kimura Memorial Show “MATANE,” which will air live on pay-per-view on Fite on Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern. 

The tribute show will honor the one-year anniversary of Kimura’s untimely passing. 

Premiering on ROH’sYouTube channel earlier today was “Remembering Hana Kimura One Year Later,” a roundtable discussion hosted by Riccaboni. Guests included Kyoko Kimura (Hana’s mother), Sumie Sakai, Session Moth Martina and Mandy Leon. 

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In addition to the tag team title match, this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” includes a Pure Rules Match between Fred Yehi and Rocky Romero, who are ranked No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in the Pure rankings, and an interview with “The Mercenary” Flip Gordon. 

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Don’t forget that the presale for the Best in the World pay-per-view, ROH’s first show in front of a live crowd in nearly a year and a half, begins Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern for HonorClub members via ShopHonor.com.

Not only will HonorClub members get the first shot at purchasing tickets for the show, which will take place on Sunday, July 11 at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena (previously known as UMBC Event Center) in Baltimore, but they’ll also receive a discount of $10 per ticket. 

The presale ends on Monday, May 31 at midnight Eastern. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, June 7 at 10 a.m. Eastern. 

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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.