9/18 ROH TV REPORT: Romero vs. Finlay and Sydal vs. Delirious in Pure Title Tournament matches – a breath of fresh air among wrestling shows

By Ryan Sullivan, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

ROH TV REPORT (ep.470)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
AIRED ON SINCLAIR SYNDICATED TV & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY RYAN SULLIVAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Host: Quinn McKay

-An updated opening theme aired.

-The show starts with Quinn McKay seated at the Ring of Honor news desk, and she begins by showing highlights of last week’s match between Jay Lethal and Dalton Castle, a victory for Lethal. Next, McKay is backstage post-match with Lethal, where he cuts a promo. Lethal discussed his victory and said he “was on his way back to being the first 2-time Pure Champion.”

-Back to Quinn at the news desk and she threw to highlights of last week’s contest between Wheeler Yuta and Jonathan Gresham, a win for Gresham. Then, we are again backstage with McKay and Gresham after his match, with him cutting a passionate promo about his need to win the Pure Championship, and “nothing is going to stop me from my destiny.” (Strong promo by Gresham)

-Again assuming her role as news anchor, McKay pivots to this week’s matches, Matt Sydal vs Delirious and Rocky Romero against David Finlay. (c)

-Back from commercial, a David Finlay promo package was aired. Finlay talked about his family lineage in the business, and that his is “100% a wrestling family”. He spoke about his early career and traveling to learn his craft. Finlay described the difficult life of training in a Japanese dojo, but also, the fulfilling aspects of living there.

David then pivoted to talking about the last time he was in an ROH ring, when he faced and lost to the Briscoes. In addition, he injured his shoulder in the match, forcing him out of action for nearly a year. Finlay said, “This tournament is his redemption”. He talked about his opponent, Rocky Romero, being a mentor to him, but tonight “it is man verses man to see who is the best”. (Outstanding promo package by Finlay and Ring of Honor)

-This was followed by Romero’s promotional package, which highlighted his on and off career in Ring of Honor since 2004. Rocky reminisced about always having a fondness for the Pure title, and the legends that have held the crown. Romero then discussed training under the legends of Japanese wrestling, and how this experience gives him an edge over others. Romero said he “will need to out-submission Finlay and arm bar him”. Romero finished his promo by saying “don’t think for a second this old dog doesn’t have a few tricks left”. (Fantastic promo, likely the best since the arrival of this new format) (c)

-Back “live” the commentary team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman are on-screen, and announcer Nick Lendl begins the introductions for our first match.

(1) ROCKY ROMERO vs. DAVID FINLAY – 1st Round Match in the Pure Title Tournament

Rocky Romero was first to the ring, receiving his full ring entrance and introduction. On his way to the ring, a graphic was shown saying Romero is 15-6 all-time against Finlay in New Japan, and 2-0 in their Best of Super Juniors matches. Finlay came to the ring second, with a full ring entrance and introduction as well. Romero and Finlay exchanged the Code of Honor, and the match began.

Mat wrestling between both men to start the match, with Finlay forced to use one of his rope breaks only a minute into action. Finlay quickly turned the momentum, hitting a vertical suplex and working on Romero’s neck into commercial. (c)

After the break, Riccaboni caught up the viewers on what happened during commercials. The men were mid-ring trading strikes, before Finlay hit a standing dropkick into a cobra clutch on Romero. Romero quickly turned the momentum back in his favor, hitting a springboard DDT on Finlay. Romero begins punishing Finlay’s left shoulder, previously injured last year against the Briscoes. Romero delivered a nasty springboard double stomp on Finlay, but only got a two-count. Romero went for Sliced Bread, but Finlay countered and slammed Rocky’s legs into the ropes.

Finlay quickly (and wisely) began to work over Rocky’s left knee, putting him a leg submission for many seconds, before Romero was forced to use his first rope break. Finlay attempted a suplex, but Romero countered, and both men began trading heavy forearms in the middle of the ring. Romero went for Sliced Bread and connected, getting a long two-count on Finlay. Romero delivered a closed-fist punch on Finlay, earning a warning from the referee. Finlay went for an arm drag takedown, but Romero countered into an arm bar submission. Finlay was forced to again use the ropes to escape, his second rope break of the match.

The finish occurred soon thereafter, as Romero went for Sliced Bread a third time, but Finlay countered into a devastating backbreaker. He followed this with his Last Shot finishing maneuver, and earned the 1-2-3.

WINNER: David Finlay at 13:02 to Advance to Round 2 of the Pure Tournament

Post-match, both men were selling the tremendous punishment each received during the contest. Romero and Finlay adhered to the Code of Honor, and Riccaboni threw to a Matt Sydal vs Delirious graphic into commercial. (c)

(Ryan’s Thoughts: This match was terrific, with a great story being told between the mentor and mentee trying to out-duel one another. Romero really went out of his way to make Finlay look tremendous throughout, and the second round match between the veteran, Jay Lethal, and the upstart David Finlay, is something to look forward to in the upcoming weeks.)

-Returning from commercial, it was Matt Sydal promo package time. Sydal began by stating he has an advantage physically, mentally, and spiritually over everyone in the tournament. He spoke about working for ROH while he was in college, and his relationship with a young Delirious. “Without him (Delirious), I’d have no career.” Sydal spoke of his debut match in Ring of Honor with Delirious, and how they tore the house down. He said they would do that again tonight, in the Pure Tournament. He concluded the promo with “My name is Matt Sydal, come see what I’m saying”.

-Next was, you guessed it, Delirious promo time. Delirious spoke in his usual combination of gibberish and pig-Latin, but ROH was kind enough to add subtitles to help the audience understand his “unique” language. Delirious spoke of wrestling for 20 years and he was working in ROH for more than 15 years. He has faced the legends of the company, like Bryan Danielson. Delirious also spoke about how his debut match was against Sydal, and the many battles they have had during their careers. He finished the promo by saying he “isn’t in this tournament to prove anything, he’s going in because he is bored and wants to play chess, and beat everyone else.” (c)

(Ryan’s Thoughts: I’ve never been a fan of Sydal’s spirituality and third eye shtick, but as my co-host Tyler Sage said on this week’s Podcast of Honor, perhaps Sydal is in on the joke and it’s tongue-in-cheek. IF that’s the case, it works slightly better for me. Delirious’s promo was quite amusing, but went too long.)

(2) MATT SYDAL vs. DELIRIOUS – 1st Round Match in the Pure Title Tournament

Back from commercial and the show has returned to Baltimore, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary. Nick Lendl was, again, the announcer. Sydal was out first, receiving a full ring introduction and entrance. On his walk to the ring, a graphic was shown that Sydal was 5-2 verses Delirious in ROH singles matches. The Tale of the Tape graphic was shown, the Code of Honor was adhered to, and the bell sounded for the matchup.

The match started with very fast-paced chain wrestling, which quickly evolved into a test of strength. Delirious took Sydal to the mat, using his size advantage, and went on the offensive. A moment or two later, Sydal turned the tide and began to work over Delirious’ arm, forcing Delirious to inadvertently use a rope break. Delirious took advantage of escaping Sydal’s clutches, and began to work over Sydal’s left shoulder into commercial. (c)

Back “live”, Riccaboni recapped what happen during commercial, specifically mentioning Delirious used a second rope break. In the ring, Delirious applied a short-arm scissors on Sydal’s shoulder, inflicting further punishment to the injured appendage. Both men get to their feet, and begin exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. This leads to both men delivering a double clothesline, knocking Sydal to the mat, but Delirious only goes to one knee. Delirious soon went for a moonsault, but injured himself in the process, selling a right knee injury. Sydal immediately noticed his opponent’s weakness, and delivered several kicks to his knee, then a nasty kick to the head. Delirious continued to show incredible fortitude, hitting an overhead suplex, and then locking on a Cobra Clutch on Sydal. Sydal rolled onto Delirious to break the hold, and then swiftly locked on his own Cobra Clutch, forcing Delirious to submit to his own finishing move.

WINNER: Matt Sydal at 9:57 to Advance to Round 2 of the Pure Tournament

Sydal acted rather cocky after the match, while Delirious acted despondent at the loss. The Code of Honor was, somewhat reluctantly, adhered to by both men.

(Ryan’s Thoughts: This match was better than I expected, but still was the weakest match of the tournament thus far. The story of Delirious and Sydal facing off in this tournament, some 16 years after debuting in the company was intriguing. But I can’t help but feel two younger wrestlers, like Dak Draper, Brian Johnson, or LSG would have been better off receiving this opportunity.)

Ring of Honor showed updated graphics of the Pure Title Tournament brackets, and mentioned that Sydal will face Jonathan Gresham in Round 2. Ian Riccaboni hyped up next week’s matches of Fred Yehi vs Silas Young and Josh Woods vs Kenny King, as the show went to black.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was another strong hour of television. Although I preferred last week’s program, this show had the best match of the tournament thus far, with Romero against Finlay. That match should be the standard for what Pure Title matches should be. I was not as high on the second half of the show, but Delirious and Sydal worked very hard, and their backstory captivated me into watching how Sydal would eventually win.

ROH should look to trim some time from the first part of the program, as it is difficult for most ROH fans to wait 20+ minutes before the first in-ring action. That complaint aside, I am greatly enjoying this new presentation of professional wrestling, and eagerly await each week’s television program. Ring of Honor Television is a needed breathe of fresh air in the currently polluted pro wrestling atmosphere.


RECOMMENDED: 9/11 ROH TV REPORT: Back with first new content since pandemic hiatus, Pure Title Tournament begins with Lethal vs. Castle, Gresham vs. Yuta

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