Here’s a preview of the ROH Pure Title tournament first-round matches that will take place on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”
David Finlay vs. Rocky Romero
This will be the third time Finlay and Romero have faced each other in a tournament. The previous meetings took place in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 2015 and 2016.
The veteran Romero won both of those matches, but he knows he’ll be facing a different Finlay this time. No longer a young lion, Finlay has established himself as a championship caliber competitor.
Finlay is coming off an impressive showing in the New Japan Cup USA tournament last month. The fourth-generation star defeated Chase Owens in the first round and Tama Tonga in the semifinals before falling to KENTA in the finals.
Romero is an eight-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, three-time ROH World Tag Team Champion, and one of only three men to have won titles in ROH, NJPW and CMLL. Despite that impressive resume, he said on the latest episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast” that winning a singles championship with the history and prestige of the Pure Title at this stage of his career -- 16 years after making his ROH debut -- “would mean the world to me.”
The winner of this match will advance to the Block A semifinals against Jay Lethal.
Fast facts: In ROH, Romero has scored victories over Bryan Danielson, Davey Richards, Claudio Castagnoli and Tomasso Ciampa. … Finlay is a former co-holder of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title and NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Title.
Delirious vs. Matt Sydal
No first-round opponents have more history than Delirious and Sydal.
They broke into the sport together nearly 20 years ago and made their ROH debuts against each other in 2004. They’ve traveled the roads together and been tag partners, and they’ve also been fierce rivals.
As their paths cross once again, the stakes will be higher than ever. One man will move a step closer to winning his first singles title in ROH, while the other may never get another championship opportunity.
Sydal has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most innovative and spectacular high flyers in pro wrestling, but he isn’t one-dimensional. Sydal has an amateur wrestling background and is adept at delivering punishing kicks. His hybrid style is a perfect fit for pure wrestling.
His opponent is undoubtedly the most unorthodox competitor to ever step into an ROH ring. In Delirious’ appearances in ROH in recent years, his focus has been on entertaining the fans. But the masked madman is dead serious about winning the tournament, and he’s gotten himself into the best shape of his life.
The winner of this match will advance to the Block B semifinals against Jonathan Gresham.
Fast facts: Sydal has won five of seven singles matches against Delirious in ROH. … Delirious defeated Sydal in a five-way elimination match to win 2006 Survival of the Fittest.
To view the tournament bracket and complete schedule for the first round, click here.
To find out when and where “Ring of Honor Wrestling” airs in your area, click here.