SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV REPORT (ep.472)
OCTOBER 2, 2020
AIRED ON SINCLAIR SYNDICATED TV & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY RYAN SULLIVAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Host: Quinn McKay
-The show started with a video montage stating The Trend Is Coming and to #FollowTheTrend.
-An updated opening theme aired.
-A Ring of Honor Pure Title Tournament Video Package was shown, affirming that “This is the Pure Wrestling Tournament, and this is Ring of Honor”.
-The show begins with Quinn McKay seated at the Ring of Honor news desk, and she rolled highlights from last week’s matchup between Fred Yehi and Silas Young, an upset victory for Yehi. Quickly, McKay was backstage post-match with Yehi, where he cut a promo about having “nothing but respect to Silas Young” and discussed possibly facing his long-time friend Tracy Williams in Round 2.
-Quinn was back at the news desk, and threw to highlights of last week’s match between Josh Woods and Kenny King, a judge’s decision victory for Woods. Again, we move backstage with McKay, who is now joined post-match by Woods. Woods first asks “How did Silas do”, before realizing his mentor lost his opening round contest. Woods said that Silas will be proud of me and will be able to root me on the rest of the way. McKay mentioned that this would also make it impossible for Woods to face Young later in the tournament, which Josh responded “lucky for him”.
-Quinn was, again, back at the news desk, and pivoted the conversation to this week’s matches, featuring Tony Deppen verses PJ Black, and Rust Taylor against Tracy Williams, which was coming up next. (c)
-Back from commercial, a Rust Taylor promotional package and introductory interview was aired. Taylor spoke about growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. He was always a wrestling fan growing up, and discussed his families’ grappling lineage. Taylor then reminisced on his professional wrestling journey, and how he went into a deep depression a few years ago. He then pivoted to discussing his opponent Tracy Williams, and how he knows his reputation, but has never met him. Taylor finished his promo by saying “You will not forget my name, I promise you that”.
-Next was Tracy Williams’s promotional video – Williams talked about his passion for professional wrestling and that this is his life’s work. This tournament is “the turning point in his career”. He talked about earning a contract in Ring of Honor, and admitted his time with Lifeblood was a failure, in retrospect. Williams admitted to having a bit of a temper in the ring, which is where his moniker “Hot Sauce” is derived. Finally, he spoke about the pure title being a beacon of light on his wrestling career, and he is all about “effective and hard pro wrestling”. (c)
-Returning from commercial, the show has moved to Baltimore and the UMBC arena. Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman are on commentary, and welcome everyone to the Pure Tournament. Ian quickly throws to Nick Lendl, the ring announcer, and he begins the introductions.
(1) RUST TAYLOR vs. “HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS – 1st ROUND MATCH, PURE TITLE TOURNAMENT
Rust Taylor was out first, receiving a full ring entrance and introduction. On his way to the ring, a stat was shown that Taylor has now appeared on four nationally televised wrestling promotions since 2019, giving credence to his entry in this prestigious tournament. Williams followed and was out next, also receiving his full ring entrance and introductions. Interestingly, Williams did his familiar “Catch Point” hand gesture on his walk to the ring, perhaps a nod to his past, more pure style of wrestling. A graphic appeared on-screen, saying that Williams has a win against 100% of the tournament competitors he has faced, with never having faced Matt Sydal or Taylor. The Code of Honor was adhered to by both men, and the referee sounded the bell to start the match.
There was an aggressive, up-tempo start to the contest, with neither man able to gain control early. Taylor got a wrist lock takedown and wrist control early on Williams, but Tracy countered into a break. Taylor again went for the wrist, but Williams escaped and countered into a reverse hammerlock. Taylor countered this, and Williams countered again into an ankle lock submission, followed by a crossface submission, which forced Taylor to use a rope break at 4 minutes. After trading standing forearms and strikes, Taylor went back to working Williams’ left wrist. Tracy countered this maneuver with a bodyslam, into a head scissors choke on Taylor into commercial. (c)
Back “live”, Ian Riccaboni filled in the audience as to what happened during commercial, while on-screen, Williams had an abdominal stretch applied to Taylor. Taylor escaped and delivered several kicks to Williams’ left shoulder, a long-time injury of his since arriving in ROH. Taylor soon applied a cross armbreaker on Williams, forcing him to use his first rope break at 10:30. Both men were obviously weary from the punishment. Taylor delivered three consecutive kicks to Williams’ head and went for the cover, but Williams stuck his foot under the rope for to escape the pin, but used his second rope break. Williams then went for a rear naked choke, but Taylor shrewdly countered into a Rings of Saturn submission, forcing Williams to use his third and final rope break at 11:55. Taylor had all the momentum on his side, with three minutes remaining.
Taylor again applied an elbow lock on Williams, and without any remaining rope breaks, Tracy rolled both himself, and Taylor, outside the ring to break the devastating hold. This was a smart move by Williams, as it also bided him so time to recuperate. Taylor and Williams reenter the ring and Taylor begins kicking Williams, but Tracy uses this to “sauce up”. Williams delivered a nasty lariat, then followed that with a piledriver and a crossface submission for the tap out victory.
WINNER: Tracy Williams at 14:24
(Ryan’s Thoughts: This match was terrific, and my early contender for sleeper match of the tournament. I knew almost nothing about Taylor prior to the match, but he is a talented mat wrestler, and a perfect fit for this style of wrestling. Williams gave Taylor plenty of offense, but got across that when Williams’ fires up into Hot Sauce mode, he’s a man to be reckoned with in ROH. I highly recommend this match, as it was my favorite in North America last week.)
An updated tournament bracket was shown on-screen, while Riccaboni pointed out that Williams will face long-time friend Fred Yehi in Round 2. Taylor and Williams shook hands to adhere to the Code of Honor, and the show went to commercial break. (c)
-Returning from break, it was time for Tony Deppen’s promo video and interview. Deppen began by saying this tournament “It’s extremely important to me, and I’m going to win the Pure Title Tournament”. He talked about growing up as a skateboarder and punk rock kid, which gave him his “never give up” attitude. Deppen talked about ROH legends Bryan Danielson, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole, and the influence they had on his wrestling style. Deppen finished his promo by saying “I am fighting for my child, and failure is not an option for me.”
-Following Deppen’s promo, was PJ Black’s promo video rebuttal. Black spoke about being born into this business, and training in the metaphysical. He studied Japanese and Lucha Libre style wrestling growing up, which now influences his style in the ring. Black talked about mentoring Brian Johnson, and said this tournament was a perfect opportunity to continue to shape his influence on his mentee. Finally, Black spoke of Deppen, saying he did not know much about him, and closed the promo with “The doctor will see you know.”
(2) TONY DEPPEN vs. P.J. BLACK – 1st ROUND MATCH, PURE TITLE TOURNAMENT
-The show abruptly shifted back to Baltimore and the UMBC arena, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman still on commentary, and Nick Lendl our ring announcer. Tony Deppen was out first, receiving a full ring introduction and entrance. A graphic was shown stating that Deppen was 8-3 in his last 11 singles matches outside of ROH. Next out was PJ Black, who was accompanied to the ring by Brian Johnson. On their way to the ring, the stat was shown that Black’s ROH Debut was on 11/4/18, a victory against Luchasaurus, and he had wins in 2019 against tournament competitors Kenny King and Silas Young. A tale of the tape graphic appeared on-screen, the men shook hands for the Code of Honor, and the bell sounded to start this final Round 1 matchup.
The match started relatively slowly, with the veteran Black seeming to be one (or more) steps ahead of the younger Deppen. However, 2:30 in Deppen applied an STF on Black, which forced PJ to use a rope break to escape the hold. Both men go outside the ring, where Black delivered a superkick to regain control of the offense. Black applied an abdominal stretch at 4:40, and followed that into a clever pinning predicament, only earning a two-count. Black then hit a back suplex, followed by a hammerlock submission on Deppen. Black stomped on Deppen’s arm, delivered further punishment. Black went for another crossbody, but again, Deppen countered, this time with a dropkick to turn the momentum into commercial break. (c)
Back “live”, Ian Riccaboni explains to the audience what happened when the match was at commercial, while on-screen, Deppen was now punishing Black in the corner. Deppen beat on Black more, then hit a nasty headbutt on Black, and followed this with another STF submission, forcing Black to use his second rope break at 10:00. Black escaped to the floor to try to recover, but Deppen hit him with an impressive front somersault dive. Deppen threw Black back in the ring, then hit a top-rope double stomp, but only earned a two-count on PJ. Deppen tried to follow-up with a fireman’s carry, but Black countered with a cutter, but only got a one-count on Deppen. Black then delivered a spinning DDT on Deppen, earning only a two-count. Black hit Deppen with a twisting backbreaker into a face-first slam type move, but only got a two-count. Black was stunned that Deppen kicked out. Black gathered up Deppen and delivered a crucifix driver for the 1-2-3.
WINNER: P.J. Black at 12:06
(Ryan’s Thoughts: This match was good, but not anything particularly special. I had extremely high hopes for Deppen’s talents coming into the match, and this was a relatively glorified 12 minute squash match by Black over Deppen. With so many other wrestlers in this tournament needed a clean win, and Deppen’s reputation on the indy’s, I was surprised ROH booked this match so one-sided. It was fine, but on the low-end of 1st round contests.)
Ian Riccaboni showed an updated Pure Title Tournament bracket, which was now through the first round. Both men shook hands to adhere to the Code of Honor, while Riccaboni said that Black advanced in Block B to face Josh Woods.
-Before finishing the show, a promo package was shown. It was a group of individuals, never showing their faces to the camera, are walking away from the viewer along some railroad tracks. Words were placed on the screen stated that “They have lied to you all your life. Everyone.” There was a flyer on a side pole, with the phrase “Control The Narrative” in big letters, and a 407 phone number to call. This ran until the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another week of Pure Title Tournament action, and another week of top-quality wrestling programming. Ring of Honor wisely used their Pandemic sabbatical to reassess and overhaul their product, into a more sports-like vibe missing from all wrestling presently in North America. There are minor quibbles as I wish they would show the entire match, and wish they would cut the individual promo’s down a slight bit, but this has immediately become my favorite hour of pro wrestling each week. The storylines are crisp and clear, the wrestling is straightforward with winners and losers, and us, the fans, are the clear beneficiaries.