9/25 ROH TV REPORT: Josh Woods vs. Kenny King and Fred Yehi vs. Silas Young in Pure Title Tournament matches

By Ryan Sullivan, PWTorch contributor


ROH TV REPORT (ep.471)
SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

Host: Quinn McKay

-An updated opening theme aired.

-The show begins with Quinn McKay seated at the Ring of Honor news desk, and she sets up highlights from last week’s matchup between David Finlay and Rocky Romero, a win for Finlay.  Next, McKay was backstage post-match with Finlay, where he cut a promo about facing Jay Lethal in Round 2.  Finlay said he flies NJPW colors proudly, and there is no one else he’d rather face than the Franchise of ROH, Jay Lethal.

-Quinn was back at the news desk, and threw to highlights of last week’s match between Matt Sydal and Delirious, a victory for Sydal.  Again, we move backstage with McKay and Sydal after his matchup, with Matt cutting a promo about being “high on life” after beating his nemesis.  He thanked the wrestling gods for giving him the opportunity to face Jonathan Gresham in Round 2.

-Quinn was, again, back at the news desk, and pivoted the conversation to this week’s matches, featuring Kenny King verses Josh Woods, and Silas Young against Fred Yehi. (c)

-Back from commercial, a Fred Yehi video feature and interview began.  Yehi talked about his difficult upbringing, growing up around drugs, alcohol, and some questionable characters.  He always dreamed of being a pro wrestler, which kept him away from trouble.  Then, Yehi shifted to talking about being a fan of Bryan Danielson and Low-Ki.  Yehi next talked about his opponent, Silas Young, being tough as nails and a veteran.  He finished the promo by saying he would walk away with the Pure Title.

-Next was Silas Young’s video package and promo, with Silas looking sharp in a suit and tie.  Silas said he was the last real man in professional wrestling.  He talked about growing up with five athletic, older brothers, and wanting to be just like them.  Silas said he was forced to start at the bottom of Ring of Honor, and work his way to the top.  Young finished his promo by saying he has seen little of Yehi’s work, but knows of his reputation as a tough, veteran grappler.  Young said he has a tough matchup, but his home field advantage will get him the win. (c)

-Back “live”, the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in from the UMBC arena, and they threw to Nick Lendl to announce the competitors.

(1) SILAS YOUNG vs FRED YEHI – 1st Round Match in the Pure Title Tournament

Fred Yehi was out first, receiving a full ring introduction by Nick Lendl.  The commentators mentioned that this was Yehi’s ROH debut.  Next out was Silas Young, who also received his full ring entrance and introduction.  On his way to the ring, a graphic was shown stating that Silas was 11-6 verses all opponents in this tournament, in singles action, since 8/20/17, giving him a 65% winning percentage.  A Tale of the Tape graphic was posted on-screen, the competitors adhered to the Code of Honor, with a little bit of extracurricular activities, and the bell rang to start the match.

The match began with Silas showing disrespect to Yehi early, slapping Fred across the mouth.  The two men engaged in some mat wrestling, trading counter for counter, leading to a near stalemate about three minutes into the contest.  More mat wrestling occurred, but this time, Yehi got the advantage, applying a half Boston Crab, then pivoting into a Indian Death Lock to Silas.  Young was forced to use his first rope break at 5:05. (c)

Back “live”, Riccaboni described the action that the audience missed during commercial break, while Silas was on the offensive.  Yehi quickly turns the tables, and pummels Silas in the corner with a series of knees to the face.  Yehi followed up by stomping on Silas’s right hand, then arm whipping his left arm.  Yehi went for his “Koji Clutch” submission finisher at 9:10, but Young was able to escape.  Young then delivered two running kicks to Yehi, then delivered a tornado DDT, but only earned a two-count on Yehi.

As Nick Lendl announced the “10 minute warning”, Yehi delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Silas, then hit a cannonball on Young in the corner.  Yehi tried to hit a vertical suplex, but Young countered, and delivered his own suplex on Yehi.  Young placed Yehi on the top rope, and delivered a devastating superplex on Fred, followed by an “anarchist’s suplex”.

The finish occurred soon thereafter, as Yehi recovered enough to deliver a shining wizard on Young.  Yehi then stomped on Silas’s foot, then punched the same foot, and followed with a low shotgun dropkick on Young.  Yehi saw Young was staggered, and rolled him into an inside cradle for the 1-2-3.

WINNER: Fred Yehi at 12:59 To Advance in the Pure Title Tournament

(Ryan’s Thoughts: I loved this match, and I think ROH booked this extremely well.  It is important for any tournament to have an upset, and this was the perfect place to have a newcomer go over.  Young is Teflon and will likely fall back into his tag-team with Josh Woods whenever the tournament is complete, while this win establishes Yehi as a future force in this division.  Both men worked extremely hard, and delivered a well above-average match.)

Ian Riccaboni declared this “Upset City”, then showed the updated tournament bracket.  The Code of Honor was adhered to by both men, weary from the physical matchup.  Silas showed Yehi begrudging respect.  A graphic was shown for the next match, Kenny King verses Josh Woods, as we went to commercial break. (c)

-Returning from commercial, it was time for Josh Woods’ promo package.  Woods was wearing a suit, and looked extremely dapper.  Woods talked about getting signed in May 2017, and winning the top prospect tournament soon afterwards.  Woods mentioned his relationship with Silas Young.  He said he has been an athlete for most of his life, and listed his impressive resume.

Woods then told a story about Kenny King disrespecting his skills a few years back, questioning how someone so green as Woods could be teaching others how to wrestle.   Woods said this motivated him to show Kenny his skills, and earn his respect.  Woods said he was training the entire time the company was off due to Quarantine, and he is ready to fight.  (This was a strong promo from Woods, and well-done by Ring of Honor.)

-Next was Kenny King’s retort and profile package.  Kenny began by listing his own accolades, both as a wrestler and as an athlete in his early years.  Kenny said winning this Pure Title would be one more step toward complete domination by his Los Ingobernobles faction, as they already possess the World Championship and Television Championship.  King then pivoted his train of thought to talking about Josh Woods, saying “He’s a dangerous kid and don’t let that smile fool you”.  Kenny would not be taking Woods lightly and has been training in MMA and boxing in preparation for the tournament.

Kenny finished the promo by stating “You might be good kid, but you’re no K-I-N-G”!

(Another strong promo, and perfectly set up the story of this match, the contrast between the wily veteran King and the man rising up the rankings in Woods.) (c)

(2) JOSH WOODS vs KENNY KING – 1st Round Match in the Pure Title Tournament

Woods was out first, receiving his full ring entrance and introduction.  The veteran King was out next, wearing a Lucha mask on the way to the ring.  A graphic was shown as King was approaching the ring, stating that King was 8-1 in Baltimore, in 1-fall matches, since 4/7/12, and he was 9-5 all-time in singles matches against his fellow tournament competitors.  A Tale of the Tape graphic was shown and the Code of Honor was adhered to, somewhat, as King slapped Woods hand in a sign of disrespect.  That was good enough for referee Todd Sinclair, who rang the bell to start the match.

This match started extremely slowly, with both men mat wrestling and jockeying for advantage.  King displayed some new wrestling skills, but Woods eventually out-wrestled him and gained control.  Woods applied a triangle choke, but King rolled Woods into a pinning predicament to escape the hold.  King invited Woods into a MMA-style grappling match.  Woods took the bait and they began rolling on the mat.  King quickly told the referee “You better ask him”, with Woods immediately retorting, “You don’t even have anything”.

Woods soon caught King in a front face lock, and regained control of the match.  King tried to reverse it, but Woods quickly caught him in a double wrist lock.  King rolled Woods into a pinning predicament to escape the hold into commercial. (c)

Back “live”, Riccaboni filled everyone in on what happened while at commercial, while Woods was in control in the ring.  Woods caught King in an ankle lock submission, but King rolled outside the ring to escape the hold.  He never touched the ropes, but Todd Sinclair declared a rope break was used at 6:30.  King used the outside to his advantage and regained offensive momentum.  King rolled Woods back in the ring, and Woods attempted to throw a closed fist punch, but restrained himself.  King uses this brief opening to deliver a stiff closed fist punch of his own and get a long two-count on Woods.

Woods recovered quickly, and delivered a series of forearm shots, an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and a charging kick to King in the corner.  This only earned a two-count.  Woods then hit a sloppy looking GTS, which sent King flying to the outside.  Woods threw King back In the ring, and charged at him in the corner.  King countered and used Woods’ momentum to hit his “Royal Flush” finisher at 11:00, but fortunately for the disoriented Woods, his arm was under the ropes.  The referee charged Woods with a rope break, but it saved him from the three-count.  King was not pleased with the referee’s decision, and he had a point, as it did not appear as though Woods’ hand was truly under the ropes.  After some pouting, King placed Woods on the top rope and went for a superplex.  Woods recovered in time to block King’s move, and Josh hit an impressive twisting neckbreaker on King from the top rope.  Both men were down, and struggled to respond before the referee’s ten-count.

King and Woods both got to their feet, and began exchanging forearm strikes mid-ring.  Woods got the better of the exchange, and soon went for an Okada roll on King, but only got a two-count.  King and Woods delivered more strikes to each other in the corner, before Nick Lendl announced the match had one minute remaining.

The men continued to exchange forearms and slaps, before King caught Woods in a single-leg Boston Crab with about 30 seconds remaining.  Woods was selling pure agony from the move, but did not tap out before the bell sounded, ending the match.  The commentators sold that this was a fairly even contest, and that the judges had a difficult decision.  It was announced that it was a split decision by the judges, but Will Ferrera and Sumie Sakai chose Josh Woods, giving him the victory.

WINNER: Josh Woods via decisions at 15:00 to advance to Round 2 of the Pure Title Tournament

(Ryan’s Thoughts: This match was terrific, and completely indicative of what this style of wrestling should hope to achieve.  I must mention, however, that I thought King deserved to win this match, as the controversial rope break saved Woods at 11 minutes, and Woods was saved by the bell at 15 minutes.  Nonetheless, I liked the use of the time limit here, and it protects both wrestlers going forward, which is important as they are both important pieces to the company. This was likely the best match thus far in the tournament.)

After the decision was announced, King was understandably upset, while an elated Woods celebrated his win.  Woods offered a handshake for the Code of Honor, but King slapped it away in disgust.  An updated tournament bracket graphic was shown, and Riccaboni hyped next weeks’ matches.  Kenny King was shown complaining as he walked to the back, and Woods was celebrating in-ring, as the show went to black.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is the third consecutive week of outstanding television by Ring of Honor.  The company used the hiatus to truly reimagine their television product, which had grown stale and needed a fresh look.  While this wrestling style is not for everyone, it is so completely different from the other major companies in the United States, and feels much closer to ROH’s initial mission statement, to be the best pro wrestling in the world.

CATCH UP… 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

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