By Kevin Eck
Anticipation continues to build for the ROH Pure Title tournament, which begins airing on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” the weekend of Sept. 12 and will play out over eight weeks.
With all 16 competitors officially announced, the bracket will be revealed on “ROH Week By Week,” which drops on YouTube this Monday at 1 p.m. ET. There also will be a bracketology special premiering on YouTube on Friday, Sept. 11 at noon ET.
Here’s how the tournament field breaks down:
ROH competitors: PJ Black, Dalton Castle, Delirious, Jonathan Gresham, Kenny King, Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams, Josh Woods, Silas Young.
NJPW and/or free-agent competitors: David Finlay, Rocky Romero, Matt Sydal.
Independent competitors: Tony Deppen, Rust Taylor, Fred Yehi, Wheeler Yuta.
It was previously announced that longtime friends and rivals Sydal and Delirious will face off in the first round.
I’ve been told by ROH officials that 2019 Top Prospect Tournament winner Dak Draper and Brian Johnson have been named alternates.
Also, former Women of Honor World Champion Sumie Sakai and ROH Dojo coach Will Ferrara will serve as judges along with ROH Director of Operations Gary Juster, who was announced as a judge last week. If any matches go the time limit, the three judges will determine a winner.
On a side note, several of the competitors in the Pure Title tournament will be participating in Reddit AMAs all next week. For the full schedule, click here.
ROH Pure Tournament competitors descend upon Reddit to answer your questions – you can ask them anything!
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) September 3, 2020
It’s been a newsworthy week for ROH, highlighted by the announcement that ROH Best On The Planet -- a digital-first linear network that will offer ROH content 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- has been launched.
ROH Best On The Planet debuted on STIRR (on Channel 357), an ad-supported, live streaming service created by ROH's parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group, and additional distribution partners will be announced.
Death Before Dishonor 2016 will air on the network tonight (Friday) at 6 pm. ET. The show was headlined by Lethal’s ROH World Title defense against Adam Cole.
Other matches on the star-studded card included: Castle versus Kazuchika Okada; then-ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) against Los Ingobernables de Japón (Tetsuya Naito and EVIL) and Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin in a three-way match for the title; and Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Yujiro Takahashi) versus CHAOS (Romero, Beretta and Toru Yano).
Keep an eye on ROH’s social media channels for additional programming announcements.
Young was my guest on the latest episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast,” which drops this Monday at 7 a.m. ET on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms.
“The Last Real Man” talked about competing in the Pure Title tournament in an empty arena; being “in the bubble;” how pro wrestling saved his life; whether the masked man who did a run-in on his independent promotion’s show was really CM Punk; his feuds with Castle, Lethal and Kenny King; forming 2 Guys 1 Tag with Woods; and more.
At the end of the show, Woods made a surprise appearance to ask his tag partner “10 Questions.”
Fans can watch Beer City Bruiser and Brawler Milonas pound beers and their opponents when “Happy Hour With The Bouncers” takes over this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”
HOLD MY BEER
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) September 1, 2020
Earlier this week, Bruiser and Milonas welcomed former ECW star The Blue Meanie to their “Happy Hour With The Bouncers” show.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) September 1, 2020
A programming reminder: The “ROH All-Time Draft of Honor” premieres on YouTube on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
Commentators Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman, senior referee Todd Sinclair and senior ring announcer Bobby Cruise each draft a roster composed of past and present ROH stars.
ROH ambassador and former owner Cary Silkin serves as draft commissioner, and “expert” draft analysis is provided by yours truly. At the conclusion of the draft, fan voting on social media will determine who put together the best roster.
I can say unequivocally that the four participants did a better job of drafting than I did with my fantasy football team this week.
Danhausen still hasn’t gotten an ROH contract, but he has gotten the attention of Brody King, which probably isn’t a good thing as far as Danhausen’s health is concerned.
— Danhausen (@DanhausenAD) August 31, 2020
— Brody King (@Brodyxking) September 1, 2020
More matches from 2005 have been added to the HonorClub archives for Fresh 50 Friday, including two huge bouts from Final Battle: Bryan Danielson versus Naomichi Marufuji for Danielson’s ROH World Title, and KENTA versus Low Ki for KENTA’s GHC Junior Heavyweight Title.
The latest episode of the “Last Stop Penn Station” podcast with Silkin and Riccaboni features Silkin recounting his brush with the late John Belushi in 1978.
“A random meeting turns into a two-day binge. Hear every second of it!” Silkin teased on Twitter.
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.