10/16 ROH TV REPORT: Tracy Williams vs. Fred Yehi and Josh Woods vs. P.J. Black in Pure Title Tournament continues to build on best pro wrestling TV show in U.S. right now

By Ryan Sullivan, PWTorch contributor


ROH TV (Episode 474)
OCTOBER 16, 2020

Host: Quinn McKay                                                                                                                                                       

-The updated opening theme aired.

-The show begins with Quinn McKay seated at the Ring of Honor news desk, and she rolls highlight clips from the previous match between Jay Lethal and David Finlay, a victory for Lethal.  Quickly, McKay was backstage post-match with Lethal, who cut a promo about knowing he and tag-team partner Jonathan Gresham are the two best wrestlers in the tournament.

-Quinn was back at the news desk, and showed highlights from the previous match between Jonathan Gresham and Matt Sydal, a decisive victory for Gresham.  Again, we went backstage with McKay, who was joined post-match with the victorious Gresham, who was selling a hand injury from the contest.  Jonathan spoke about how pure wrestlers live in the moment and do not enter matches with a strategy.  He finished by stating that he “has a bum leg, but he will continue on because of the tournament’s importance”.

-Quinn was, again, at the news desk, and pivoted the conversation to the upcoming matchup after commercial, featuring Fred Yehi against Tracy Williams. [c]

-The show returned with footage recapping last week’s intense angle between Vincent and Matt Taven.

-Next, a Fred Yehi Pure Tournament highlight package was shown, along with his post-match promo.  This was followed by clips of Tracy Williams’ victory against Rust Taylor, and his post-match comments with Quinn McKay.

(1) FRED YEHI vs. TRACY WILLIAMS – 2nd Round Match in Pure Title Tournament

The show moved abruptly to Baltimore, and the UMBC Arena, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary, plus future legend Nick Lendl as our ring announcer.  Yehi came to the ring first, receiving a full ring entrance and introduction.  A graphic was placed on-screen, stating that Yehi was a former Catch Point tag-partner with Tracy Williams in Evolve. (Surprised to see Evolve mentioned specifically)

Tracy Williams came to the ring next, with his full ring entrance and introductions as well.  Hot Sauce was wearing a Lucha mask and did the Catch Point hand gesture on his way to the ring.  A graphic appeared on-screen, saying Williams was 3-0 career against Yehi outside of ROH.  The Tale of the Tape graphic was shown, the men adhered to the Code of Honor, and referee Todd Sinclair rang the bell for the match to begin.

The match started very slowly, with both men acting cautiously.  Yehi showed a bit of cockiness, and attempted to use his size advantage to get Williams to the mat.  Yehi and Williams traded counter-moves, with neither man ever gaining a clear advantage in this impressive catch-style wrestling.  Williams applied a hammerlock, and Yehi quickly used his first rope break.  Williams caught him mere second later with another hammerlock, and Yehi, out of force of habit, quickly grabbed the ropes to break the hold.  However, referee Todd Sinclair, properly charged Yehi with his second rope break at 2:46.  This fired up Yehi, who quickly went on the offensive, delivering an exploder suplex on Williams into commercial. (c)

Back “live”, Riccaboni recapped the action during commercial break, including telling the audience Williams used one of his rope breaks.  In the ring, Williams was on the offensive, clearing working over Yehi’s left leg.  Yehi recovered to hit two consecutive belly-to-belly suplexes, followed by a low shotgun dropkick on Williams.  Yehi went for his “Koji clutch” finisher, and Williams was forced to use his second rope break at 9:05.  Now each man had used two of his three possible rope breaks.

Williams applied a crossface submission seconds later, but Yehi countered the move, and delivered a nasty brainbuster suplex on Williams for a long two-count.  Yehi soon followed with his “Koji clutch” on Williams, and Tracy was forced to use his final rope break at 11:15.  Williams went to the top rope, and hit Yehi with his patented top turnbuckle DDT.  Williams then went for a crossface submission, Yehi somehow escaped it, but Williams countered into a piledriver.  Yehi was weary, but somehow stuck his foot under the rope before the referee counted three – Yehi had escaped defeat, but had used his final rope break at 13:05.

Not long after, Williams finally caught Yehi in the crossface submission.  Yehi, by pure instinct, went for the ropes to break the hold, but was out of rope breaks.  Entangled in the ropes, Williams applied a dragon sleeper on Yehi, and the combination of the submission and the additional leverage the ropes provided, forced Yehi to submit.

WINNER: Tracy Williams at 14:02 to advance to the semi-finals of the Pure Title Tournament.

(Ryan’s Thoughts:  Since ROH somewhat surprisingly mentioned their history in Evolve, I wish the commentators had “gone the extra mile” to really put over their lengthy friendship and tag-team work together over many years.  I was a devout Evolve fan during their heyday in the company, and they were one of the best tag-team duos in the world for a 2-3 year span. That said this match was outstanding, and my choice for the best match of the tournament thus far.  I particularly liked the ending, and Williams using the ropes for leverage, essentially forcing Yehi to submit.  I hope ROH decides to do a rematch sometime in 2021.)

The updated bracket was shown on-screen, and Yehi and Williams exchanged handshakes for the Code of Honor. (c)

-Returning from commercial, an EC3 promo package was shown, with it finishing with “Free EC3”.  Now “live”, EC slowly made his way to the ring to cut a promo.  He asked if honor is real.  He asked if there was honor in the past.  He said he was not here to wrestle, he was there to fight.  He finished his rather lengthy promo by saying “Honor, I will put that name to the test”.

(Ryan’s Thoughts: I liked this promo far less than the general consensus, as it was far too long for my taste, and I like aggressive, in-your-face, EC3 far more than deep thinking, philosophical EC3.)

-Back from commercial, EC3 was walking backstage, when he was interrupted by Shane Taylor, Moses and Kaun of Shane Taylor Promotions.  Taylor told EC3 to “whip your feet before you come in my house”.  The Briscoes quickly intervened and questioned Taylor calling ROH “his house”.  Jay suggested a 3-3 tag-team match, before referees arrived and helped move the Briscoes along.  EC3’s expression never changed, and he never said a word.

(Ryan’s Thoughts: And this is why it’s difficult to critique individual segments, as this segment bled into the first, and was outstanding.  I am all for an EC3 and Shane Taylor individual feud, and I am fine with Shane Taylor Promotions feuding with The Briscoes and EC3.  This was extremely well-done, and left me wanting more.)

-A video package was shown, recapping the highlights of Josh Woods’ victory over Kenny King, followed by highlights of PJ Black’s win over Tony Deppen.

(2) JOSH WOODS (w/Silas Young) vs. P.J. BLACK (w/Brian Johnson) – 2nd Round Match in Pure Title Tournament

We quickly went to Baltimore and the UMBC Arena, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman as our announcers, and Nick Lendl our ring announcer.  Josh Woods, with Silas Young, was out first, receiving a full ring introduction and entrance.  On his walk to the ring, a stat was shown, stating Woods was 1-0 career in matches against PJ Black.  Black came out next, receiving a full entrance and introduction himself.  A graphic was placed on-screen, saying Black was 4-2 in all non-tag matches in ROH since 8/25/19.  The usual Tale of the Tape graphic was shown, the men adhered to the Code of Honor, and we went to commercial before the bell was sounded. [c]

Back “live” and the bell sounded to begin this 2nd round contest.  The match quickly moved to the mat, with Woods soon establishing himself as the superior ground technician.  Woods worked over Black with a series of hammerlocks and headlocks, but Black continued to counter the moves and escape.  This pattern continued into the first commercial break at 4:58. [c]

Back from commercial, Woods soon applied a leg submission on Black, forcing him to use his first rope break at 7:35.  Woods quickly followed this by taking Black to the mat, and applying a leg-bar type submission, forcing Black to again use the ropes to escape.  This was Black’s second rope break at 7:48.  Woods applied yet another ankle lock, into a front face lock, but Black escaped to deliver a nasty fireman’s carry at 9:30.  Woods regained the offensive advantage, hitting a double arm trap submission, into a cravat headlock.  Black, the veteran he is, countered the cravat into an inverted Boston Crab.  Black tossed Woods into the corner, and began stomping away on Josh.  Next, Black delivered a jumping sidekick to the head of Woods’, but Josh’s fighting spirit, allowed him to no-sell the move and hit a high jumping knee of his own on Black.

The finish occurred soon after, as Woods hit a belly-to-belly suplex, into a cross arm breaker on Black.  When PJ tried to escape the arm submission, Woods quickly shifted to a reverse ankle lock submission, forever known as the “Padlock”, and Black immediately submitted.

WINNER: Josh Woods at 13:26 to advance to the semi-finals of the Pure Title Tournament.

(Ryan’s Thoughts: This was a good, but not great match, primarily due to the fact that the story was Woods earning a fairly decisive victory over the crafty veteran Black.  Both men worked hard, and Black particularly made Woods look like a beast in this style of match.  ROH is working hard to make Woods a breakout star for the company, and I am all for that decision.)

-An updated tournament graphic was shown on-screen, as Riccaboni hyped up next week’s matches of Jonathan Gresham against Josh Woods and Jay Lethal verses Tracy Williams.  Black and Woods adhere to the Code of Honor, as the show fades to black.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was another strong effort from Ring of Honor, and this is the best wrestling show in North America right now.  The wrestling is crisp, solid, and stays primarily in the ring, while the vignettes and promos focus exclusively on getting over the talent.  I would particularly recommend everyone watch Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi, as this is my favorite match I’ve seen in several months.

CATCH UP… 10/9 ROH TV REPORT: Pure Tournament continues with second round match-ups with Gresham vs. Sydal, Finlay vs. Lethal

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