10/23 ROH TV REPORT: Gresham vs. Woods and Jay Lethal vs. Tracy Williams in matches to set the Pure Title Tournament Finals with strong promos from EC3 and Taylor

By Ryan Sullivan, PWTorch contributor


ROH TV (Episode 475)
OCTOBER 23, 2020

Host: Quinn McKay

-A Pure Title Tournament promo package was aired, naming the four remaining competitors, and finished with “This is the Pure Wrestling Tournament, and this is Ring of Honor”.

-The updated opening theme aired.

-Quinn McKay was seated at the Ring of Honor news desk, and highlighted the Block A and Block B finals matches this week.  McKay then rolled clips of last week’s contest between Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi, a victory for Williams.  McKay was then backstage with Williams, who cut a promo after his match against Yehi.  Williams put over Yehi as a difficult competitor, before pivoting to his opponent this week, Jay Lethal.  Williams said he felt disrespected that Lethal did not mention him during his promo.  He stated he feels like Lethal walks around the ROH locker room and does not even know who he is.  Williams finished his promo by saying “Jay Lethal, you will learn the name Tracy Williams”.

-Quinn McKay was back at the news desk, and showed a highlight package of Josh Woods’ match against PJ Black, a decisive win for Woods.  Abruptly, McKay was again backstage, this time with Woods and Silas Young.  Silas said Woods has no reservations heading into his match against Gresham.  Woods, like a nitwit, confused Young’s use of “reservations”, and began rambling about dinner and being hungry, before walking away from the camera.

-McKay discussed this week’s upcoming match between Vincent and Matt Taven, before throwing to commercial.  (c)

Back from commercial, a hype video was shown, spotlighting the previous work in the tournament from Jonathan Gresham and Josh Woods.

(1) JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. JOSH WOODS (w/Silas Young) – Semi-Final Match in the Pure Title Tournament

The show moves to Baltimore and the UMBC Arena, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary, and Living Legend Nick Lendl as our ring announcer.  Josh Woods and Silas Young are out first, receiving a full ring introduction and entrance.  A graphic was shown on screen, stating Woods was 10-5 in ROH matches since 9/16/19.

Jonathan Gresham was out next, also receiving a full introduction and ring entrance.  Gresham was wearing his tag-team belt out to the ring, unlike Round 1 of the tournament.  A stat was shown on-screen, saying Gresham was 7-1 career in ROH against Woods, and 3-0 in singles matches.  The Tale of the Tape graphic was shown, both men adhered to the Code of Honor, although Gresham dragged it out like a hungover college student walking to class, and the bell rang to start the match.

Gresham immediately went for a single leg but was unsuccessful, causing him to roll out of the ring to regroup.  Gresham reenters the ring, and Woods quickly gets him into a gut wrench suplex, where Gresham got caught up in the ropes.  Purposeful, or not, Gresham uses his first rope break at 1:34.  Gresham again goes for a single leg takedown, but Woods uses his strength advantage to knock him off his leg, and send him outside the ring.  Gresham was clearly frustrated. (c)

Back “live”, Riccaboni explained that Woods did damage to Gresham’s left wrist during the break.  Gresham finally got some offense at the 8:10 mark, hitting a devastating dragon screw leg whip on Woods.  Gresham tries to capitalize and goes to the top rope, but Woods meets him there, and delivers effectively a one-arm overhead suplex.  Woods went for the cover, but Gresham used his second rope break at 9:10 to escape the pin.

Gresham is now really selling his left wrist injury.  Woods delivers two consecutive gut wrench suplexes, and as he attempts a third, Gresham countered with an abdominal stretch.  Gresham begins to pound away on Woods’ exposed ribs, and finally, Woods uses a fall away slam to break the submission.  Gresham was not deterred, and quickly hyperextended Woods’ left knee.  Gresham went for a figure-four leg lock, but Woods countered with an inside cradle.  Gresham went for another figure-four, but Woods kicked him off.  Gresham followed this with an exquisite sunset flip, and Woods was unable to kick out.

WINNER: Jonathan Gresham at 12:01 to advance to the Pure Title Tournament Finals

(Ryan’s Thoughts:  Another solid match by both men, and made Gresham look like a beast in defeating the accomplished, and significantly larger Woods.  I wish Josh had received a bit more offense in this matchup, but the knee injury leaves open a probable rematch in the future.)

Ian Riccaboni updated the tournament bracket, and stated that Gresham would face the winner of Jay Lethal and Tracy Williams.  Woods immediately rolled out of the ring, selling his knee injury.  There was no Code of Honor adhered to, for the first time in the tournament. (c)

-Back from commercial, a Matt Taven #FollowTheTrend video package was aired.

-Next, we are back in Baltimore, at the UMBC Arena, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary.  Matt Taven is out first, enjoying his pre-match pyro on the stage.  Almost immediately, Taven is jumped from behind by Vincent, who shoved Matt off the stage.  Vincent delivered a “sliced bread” on the floor, then threw Taven head-first into the ringside barricade.  Vincent grabbed a table from under the ring, and put Taven on it.  Vincent then grabbed a giant purple ladder, presumably the same ladder from the G1 Supercard, then hit Taven directly in the head with the ladder.  Vincent then climbed the ladder, did his signature pose, and delivered a nasty “senton bomb” on Taven, through the table.  (c)

(Ryan’s Thoughts: I did not much care for hyping a match between Vincent and Matt Taven, only for the fan’s to know a screw-job match would occur – Leave that nonsense for WWE.  However, this did an excellent job of getting heat back on Vincent, and furthering this feud between the two.)

-Returning from commercial, an EC3 video package was shown, highlighting his in-ring promo on last week’s episode.  Then, in a bit of technical ingenuity, a back-and-forth promo occurred between Shane Taylor and EC3 – it was pre-recorded and their comments were spliced to resemble a real in-person argument.  EC3 said he knows Taylor’s name and his story, but he fights for himself.  EC3 asked Taylor “You’re mad because someone didn’t mention your name?  Grow up!”  Taylor fired back about his rough upbringing and growing up at a young age.  Taylor said “no one like EC3 will tell him what he’s earned, and he will adjust his attitude quickly”.  EC3 finished the promo by stating “You’ve been warned”.

(Ryan’s Thoughts:  This promo was awesome, and incredibly well-done by the ROH editing people.  This could have come off as hokey, and awful, and it was the exact opposite, it was intense and got over their differences in short order.)

-A video package was shown, filled with highlights of Jay Lethal and Tracy Williams’ top moments, thus far, in the tournament. (c)

(2) JAY LETHAL vs. TRACY WILLIAMS – Semi-Finals in the Pure Title Tournament

We are, again, back in Baltimore at the UMBC Arena, with Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary, and future legend Nick Lendl the ring announcer.  Tracy Williams was out first, wearing a Lucha mask, receiving his full ring entrance and introduction.  Jay Lethal was out next, wearing his tag-team championship belt to the ring.  The Tale of the Tape graphic was shown, both men adhered to the Code of Honor, and the show goes to commercial. (c)

The bell rings as the show returns from commercial, and both men begin the match quite tentatively.  Lethal and Williams trade headlocks early, then Lethal applies a wrist lock, which was astutely reversed into an arm lock by Williams.  Lethal counters this with a pinning attempt, Williams quickly kicks out, and both men return to a vertical base two minutes into the contest.  Williams follows soon with an ankle lock, but Lethal counters into a “Indian Death Board”, as Caprice called it – Williams soon escaped the predicament.  Lethal followed with a headlock, but Williams immediately countered into a single leg Boston Crab, and Lethal was forced to grab the ropes to escape the hold at 3:26.

Back to a vertical base, Williams again applies an ankle lock on Lethal, then shifts into a crossface submission, in which Lethal again was forced to use a rope break to free himself.  Lethal had now used two rope breaks at the 4:21 mark.  Lethal regroups, and soon hits a single leg on Williams.  Williams counters into an ankle lock, then again attempts to lock on his crossface finisher, but the veteran Lethal counters this with a figure-four.  Williams was in agony, and soon used his first rope break to free himself at 5:40. (c)

Returning “live”, Riccaboni recaps the action the audience missed at commercial, as Williams has an arm submission applied.  Williams is in complete control of the match, punishing Lethal with a steady diet of kicks and forearms.  Lethal finally turns the tide, and dropkicks Williams to the outside.  Lethal attempts his patented dive outside the ring on Williams, but Tracy smartly moved aside and hit a shotgun dropkick to Lethal.  However, by doing this move, Williams somehow injured his left shoulder, which has long been an issue, physically, for him.  Lethal uses this time to recover, and Williams really sells this pain from his shoulder.

The veteran Lethal quickly sees Williams’ tending to his injury, and attacks his shoulder, hitting a dropkick directly to the shoulder, then hits a shoulder breaker into a “Fujiwara” arm bar – Williams, in total agony, quickly uses his second rope break at 13:45.

This fired up Williams, hence the Hot Sauce moniker he has, and he attempted a one-armed comeback against Lethal, but Lethal soon hit an “Insiguiri” to Williams injured shoulder.  However, mere seconds later, Williams stunned Lethal, and hit a top rope DDT, followed by a lariat, and his signature piledriver.  The weary Lethal used his third, and final, rope break to escape at 15:26.

Williams tried to capitalize and went for another crossface, but Lethal escaped the hold and hit a cutter.  Williams was clearly stunned, and Lethal used this to go for, and hit, his Lethal Injection on Williams.  Williams somehow reached the ropes at 16:35 to escape – Now both men had used all three of their rope breaks.

Both men get back to a standing position mid-ring, and begin to trade strikes.  Lethal finally hits a double axe-handle to Williams’ injured shoulder, and hits another “Insiguiri” to the injured wing.  Lethal climbs to the top rope, and surprisingly, hits his “Hail To The King” on Williams.  Lethal tries for his Lethal Injection, but Williams counters into a sleeper.  Lethal goes for a pin to free himself, but Williams capitalizes and counters with his crossface submission on Lethal.  Fully locked in and without any rope breaks, Lethal was forced to submit.

WINNER: Tracy Williams at 19:28 to advance to the Pure Title Tournament Finals

(Ryan’s Thoughts: This is my vote for best match of the tournament so far.  I thought Williams could have told a better story of injuring his shoulder, but that’s the only complaint I have for this match.  Both men worked extremely hard, told a great story, and Williams getting the surprising, career-changing victory over Lethal was a perfect ending.  This is my vote for match of the week in pro wrestling.)

Ian Riccaboni updated the tournament brackets, and called this the biggest victory in Williams’ career.  The Code of Honor was adhered to by both men. Riccaboni hyped up next week’s final between Williams and Gresham, as the show faded to black.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Another terrific week of Ring of Honor television.  The final match was simply outstanding, as was the promo work from EC3 and Shane Taylor.

The Gresham match was good, and although I would have liked to see Woods get a bit more offense, it told a good story.  I liked Vincent getting his heat back on Taven, but I did not like teasing a match between them this soon.  This is the hottest feud in North America, make sure it headlines a major PPV.

These nitpicks aside, ROH’s television product is on fire, and I cannot wait for next week’s championship match between Gresham and Williams.

RECOMMENDED: 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

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