Here’s a preview of the ROH Pure Title tournament block semifinal matches that will take place on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.” The time limit for matches in this round is 20 minutes.
Fred Yehi vs. Tracy Williams
How they got here: Yehi defeated Silas Young by pinfall in the first round; Williams defeated Rust Taylor by submission in the first round.
Yehi’s bracket-busting victory over Young proved that his reputation as one of the best pure wrestlers on the independent scene is well-deserved. However, while Yehi may have surprised Young, who had never faced him before, he certainly won’t sneak up on Williams.
Yehi and Williams have history together, as both partners and opponents. They’ve met three times in singles matches, with Williams winning each one.
Why could the outcome be different this time? For starters, Yehi’s confidence has to be at an all-time high after pinning a two-time former ROH World Television Champion in Young.
Moreover, Yehi came out of the match relatively unscathed, while Williams suffered a significant amount of damage to his troublesome left shoulder in his match against Taylor.
That said, wrestling with his shoulder at less than 100 percent is nothing new for Williams, who has proven to be incredibly resilient.
Fast facts: Yehi made seven pinfall attempts and did not use a single rope break against Young. … Williams applied 10 submission holds (the most of anyone in the first round) to Taylor.
Josh Woods vs. PJ Black
How they got here: Woods defeated Kenny King by split decision in the first round; Black defeated Tony Deppen by pinfall in the first round.
This is a different take on the student-versus-teacher scenario. Woods is the protege of Young, while Black is the mentor of Brian Johnson. The reason Black began mentoring Johnson is because he said he could do a better job with him than Young is doing with Woods.
Defeating a decorated star such as King is quite a feather in Woods’ cap, but the win did not come without a bit of controversy. Two of the three judges awarded the decision to Woods because King used a punch to the face during the match. In the last 10 seconds of the bout, however, King had Woods trapped in a single-leg crab, so Woods may have been saved by the bell.
Woods’ background in amateur wrestling and MMA seemingly gives him an advantage over Black, who is known more for his high-flying style, but Black proved in his win over Deppen that his ground game also is on point.
Black has a huge edge in experience. The South African native has been a pro wrestler for 23 years, while Woods has only been wrestling professionally since 2015.
Woods and Black have never faced each other in a singles match. They’re only meeting was in a tag bout a year ago, when Woods and Young defeated Black and Okumura.
Fast facts: Woods controlled the ground game against King, recording three takedowns and six counters. … Black was on offense twice as many minutes as Deppen in their match.
To view the tournament bracket and schedule, click here.
To find out when and where “Ring of Honor Wrestling” airs in your area, click here