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.”
Tracy Williams Versus Rust Taylor
Williams is a master wrestling technician whose skills translate perfectly to the pure style, but he faces a stiff challenge in Taylor, who possesses a similar skill set.
While Taylor may be new to some ROH fans, he isn’t new to pro wrestling. The California native is a couple years older than Williams and has five more years of experience. Taylor, who began training at Jesse Hernandez’s School of Hard Knocks when he was 16, has wrestled all over the world, including Japan and Mexico.
Williams, a native of Brooklyn, is one of the best pound-for-pound competitors in the sport. “Hot Sauce” made immediate impact in ROH in early 2019 when he became a charter member of LifeBlood, a faction whose mission statement was to restore honor to Ring of Honor.
Williams holds victories over such stars as Jeff Cobb, former ROH World Champion Kye O’Reilly, Flip Gordon, Bully Ray, Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, and David Finlay, who has already advanced to the Block A semifinals.
The winner of this match will face Fred Yehi in the Block A semifinals.
Fast facts: Williams has a win over 13 participants in the tournament. Taylor and Matt Sydal are the only two men in the tournament he hasn’t faced. … “Ring of Honor Wrestling” will be the fourth nationally televised wrestling program Taylor has appeared on since 2019.
PJ Black Versus Tony Deppen
This matchup pits Black, a 23-year veteran who has wrestled in 64 countries and spent five years in WWE, against Deppen, who may be pro wrestling’s best-kept secret.
Just because Deppen isn’t as well known as Black doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of defeating him. Deppen wouldn’t be in the tournament if he wasn’t.
The Pennsylvania native is intense, employs a hard-hitting style and is an outstanding mat wrestler. Moreover, Deppen knows this tournament is his opportunity to capture the attention of promoters around the world.
Despite all of Black’s accomplishments in pro wrestling, he hasn’t won a championship in ROH and feels his resume is incomplete until he does.
The South African native has a reputation for being one of wrestling’s best high flyers, but he’s much more than that. Black has a background in Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and Greco-Roman wrestling and said he wants to prove that he’s one of the best pure wrestlers in the world.
The winner of this match will face Josh Woods in the Block B semifinals.
Fast facts: Black has trained with shamans from the Zulu tribe and witch doctors from the Kohsa tribe in South Africa. … Deppen is 8-3 in his past 11 singles matches and holds victories over fellow tournament participants Williams, Jonathan Gresham and Wheeler Yuta.
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.