The bracket for the ROH Pure Title tournament has been revealed and first-round matches begin airing on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” this weekend.
Here’s a preview of the matches that will take place on the upcoming episode:
Jay Lethal vs. Dalton Castle
How’s this for a first-round matchup? Two former ROH World Champions in their prime squaring off against each other in a one-on-one singles match for just the fourth time in their storied careers.
Lethal has won two of the three previous meetings, including their last encounter in January 2019, when he successfully defended the ROH World Title against Castle.
Lethal, currently one-half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions with Jonathan Gresham, is the only former Pure Champion in the tournament and is one of the most technically sound competitors in the sport. “The Franchise of ROH” showed a penchant for bending the rules before ROH went on hiatus, but such tactics will not be tolerated in the Pure tournament.
Castle’s technical wrestling skills are sometimes overshadowed by his eccentric personality and flashy ring attire, but make no mistake, his skill set is tailor-made for the pure style. Castle is a highly accomplished college and amateur wrestler and is deceptively strong.
Fast facts: Lethal has a 14-2 (.875) career record in singles matches in Baltimore, the site of the tournament. … Castle is 4-1 in his past five singles matches, including a victory in a four-way match over Jeff Cobb, Kenny King and Tracy Williams, the latter two of which are competing in the tournament.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Wheeler Yuta
Gresham is widely regarded as one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the sport and is among the favorites to win the tournament. However, he would be wise not to look past Yuta, a rising young star making his ROH debut.
“The Octopus” has faced Yuta once before, on an independent show in Rhode Island in 2018, and he came out on the losing end against “The Decoder.” Yuta, a well-rounded, cerebral competitor who has trained in Japanese dojos, also holds victories over such stars as former ROH Pure Champion John Walters, Flip Gordon and Chuck Taylor.
Gresham, who has been a driving force behind the revival of the Pure Championship, defeated Silas Young in a Pure Rules Match at Best in the World last year, but he did so in dubious fashion. In addition to being a master technician, Gresham also has become a master of taking shortcuts and not getting caught.
Fast facts: Gresham has won four of his past five singles matches in ROH, including victories over two-time former ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe and Mark Haskins (in a two-out-of-three falls match). … Yuta trained in mat wrestling under former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak.
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