Here’s a preview of the ROH Pure Title tournament block finals that will take place on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.” The time limit for matches in this round is 30 minutes.
Jay Lethal vs. Tracy Williams
How they got here: Lethal defeated Dalton Castle by pinfall in the first round, and David Finlay by pinfall in the block semifinals; Williams defeated Rust Taylor by submission in the first round, and Fred Yehi by submission in the block semifinals.
Lethal is halfway to achieving his goal of becoming the first two-time ROH Pure Champion, but he’ll have to beat one of the best pure wrestlers in the sport to reach the tournament final.
After narrowly avoiding being upset by Tayor in the first round, Williams scored an impressive victory over a vastly underrated Yehi, his former tag partner.
Williams won both of his matches by submission and made a tournament-high 19 submission attempts overall. However, forcing a two-time former ROH World Champion in Lethal to submit is a tall order. It will be interesting to see if Williams alters his game plan to focus more on pinning combinations.
As great as Lethal is, he had better be laser-focused on Williams. After Lethal’s win over Finlay in the block semifinals, he confidently predicted that it’ll be him against his ROH World Tag Team championship partner, Jonathan Gresham, in the finals. Lethal never even mentioned Williams in his post-match interview.
If Williams needed any additional motivation, Lethal may have inadvertently provided it.
Fast facts: Lethal and Williams have never met in a singles match. They’ve been on opposite sides in tag matches three times, with Lethal’s team winning two. … Both of Lethal’s wins in the tournament were by Lethal Injection. … Williams used his allotted three rope breaks in both of his matches.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods
How they got here: Gresham defeated Wheeler Yuta by submission in the first round, and Matt Sydal by submission in the second round; Woods defeated Kenny King by split decision in the first round, and PJ Black by submission in the second round.
Woods’ background in mixed martials arts and amateur wrestling has served him well in scoring wins over veterans King and Black, but if anyone can go hold for hold with him it’s Gresham, who is arguably the best technical wrestler in the sport.
Woods has the advantage in size and strength, but Gresham is an expert at using leverage and counter moves. In his two tournament victories, Gresham also has proved to be a master of innovation.
Gresham has been on a mission to bring pure wrestling to the forefront and was a driving force in the revival of the Pure Championship. “The Octopus” doesn’t just want to win the title; he believes he has to win it.
Woods also is strongly motivated to win the tournament. When he didn’t find immediate success after winning the 2017 ROH Top Prospect Tournament, Woods was labeled a disappointment by fans and peers. Although he has silenced many of his critics, Woods knows that winning the Pure Title would prove his doubters wrong once and for all.
Having tag partner and mentor Silas Young in his corner is an advantage for Woods. Young has faced Gresham numerous times and knows him very well, so he’s an invaluable resource.
Fast facts: Gresham is 3-0 against Woods in one-on-one singles matches. … Gresham has not used a single rope break in the tournament. … Woods has 10 takedowns in the tournament, the most of any competitor.
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.