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ROH TV (Episode #476)
OCTOBER 30, 2020
AIRED ON SINCLAIR SYNDICATED TV & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY RYAN SULLIVAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Host: Quinn McKay
-The updated opening theme aired.
-A Jonathan Gresham and Tracy Williams Pure Title Tournament video package was shown. The montage finished with the statement, “This is the pure wrestling finals, and this is Ring of Honor”.
-Quinn McKay was seated at the ROH News Desk, and she hyped the show’s main event, the Pure Tournament finals matchup between Gresham and Williams. Quinn spoke first about Gresham’s path to the championship match, and his strengths inside the ring. McKay followed next by talking about Williams’ journey through the tournament, and the strengths he brings to the contest.
-Quinn briefly pivoted to talk about Matt Taven and Vincent. She mentioned ROH management has fined both of them for their recent actions, and stated that there will be no further “nonsense” tolerated.
-McKay rolled footage hyping this week’s six-man contest between The Briscoes and EC3 against Shane Taylor Promotions, before throwing to commercial break. (c)
-Back from commercial, the show was “live” from Baltimore, Maryland and the UMBC Arena – Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary, and Nick Lendl was serving as the ring announcer.
(1) THE BRISCOES (Mark & Jay) and EC3 vs. SHANE TAYLOR PROMOTIONS (Shane Taylor & Moses & Kaun from Soldiers of Savagery)
Shane Taylor and Soldiers of Savagery went to the ring first, and received their full ring introductions. A graphic was shown on-screen that Taylor was 85% wins in ROH since 8/25/19, and SOS was 4-1 as a tag-team on ROH TV. The Briscoes were out next, and received a full ring introduction. Finally, EC3 walked to the ring – a graphic was shown that EC3 was 1-0 career verses Shane Taylor, and that EC3 was a former world champion outside of ROH. The Code of Honor was, unsurprisingly, not adhered to, so the referee sounded the bell for the action to start.
EC3 and Kaun began the matchup, and were extremely tentative to start. Soon, Mark Briscoe tagged in, and the action quickly picked up, with Mark putting the boots to Kaun in the corner. Mark charged toward Kaun in the corner, but Kaun delivered a back elbow, allowing SOS to go on the offensive. SOS began to utilize quick tags to work over Mark, and were showing tremendous rhythm as a team. Mark Briscoe, the wily veteran, got a blind tag to Jay, allowing Jay to deliver a running lariat on Moses into commercial break. (c)
Back from commercial, Riccaboni filled in the audience as to what was missed during the break. The action “live” was wild in-ring. Taylor delivered a stiff right-handed to Briscoe, then followed with a cutter. Soon after, Taylor hit his running knee on Jay, getting a long two-count. Taylor then tagged in Kaun, who started punishing Jay with his teammate Moses. The entire Shane Taylor promotions were working fluidly as a team, and the announce team specifically mentioned this fact. After several minutes of punishment, Jay delivered a few punches to SOS, and got the hot tag to Mark.
Mark entered the ring on-fire, hitting a split-leg dropkick to Shane Taylor, which sent him to the floor. Moses and Mark started trading punches mid-ring, before all six men wound up on the outside. Mark Briscoe hit a top rope corkscrew dive on all three members of Shane Taylor promotions, a very impressive move. Taylor and Mark were the only two men who could get back in the ring. Mark went to the top rope for his finisher, the “Froggy Bow”, but Shane avoided the move and followed up with his “Welcome To The Land” finisher for the 1-2-3.
WINNERS: Shane Taylor Promotions at 8:18
(Ryan’s Thoughts: This match was fun, and left plenty of meat on the proverbial bone. EC3 hardly participated in the match, but somehow, made me want to see a feud between him and Shane Taylor far more than before the show started. In addition, I want to see SOS and the Briscoes have a feud at some point, especially when live wrestling can return, as I know the audience would eat up a collision between these four brawlers.)
-Following the match, Shane Taylor Promotions celebrated in the ring, and the camera showed a close-up of EC3’s face. EC3’s expression signaled that Shane Taylor was better than he expected, and he underestimated him. (c)
-Back from commercial, a Tracy Williams spotlight video package was shown, accompanied by comments from Williams. Williams said he and Gresham have a commonality when it comes to competition. Williams said he called Gresham on the phone prior to the tournament, to tell him he would see him in the finals. Williams closed by saying he would end the tournament with the Pure Title held over his head.
-Next was a Jonathan Gresham’s opportunity to rebut, via his own video package. Gresham also mentioned the phone call with Williams, and seemed to focus more on how they would be “The Foundation” of pure wrestling in ROH. Gresham said ROH has lost its identity and honor. Gresham finished with the line “Regardless of the outcome, the Pure Championship comes home with The Foundation”. (c)
(Ryan’s Thoughts: These video packages were good, if not a bit too long. However, my biggest complaint is somehow ROH skipped several steps in this story they are telling. When did this phone call happen? More importantly, when did Tracy and Gresham found a faction? I do not mind the story being told, but it feels like ROH skipped chapters 3-10.)
-Returning “live,”, the action has returned to Baltimore and the UMBC Arena. As was before, Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary and the stallion-like Nick Lendl our ring announcer. Williams made his way to the ring first, wearing a Luch mask. Ian and Caprice were harping on Williams’s shoulder injury from earlier in the tournament. Gresham came out second, and was wearing his tag-team title belt. A graphic was shown on-screen, stating Gresham was 3-1 verses Williams in ROH, and 3-0 against Williams in singles matches in all promotions.
-Nick Lendl did the ring announcements when both men were in the ring. Williams was wearing a shoulder harness, to further sell his injured shoulder. Lendl mentioned that both men were representing “The Foundation”, which was news to me until two minutes ago. A Tale of the Tape graphic was shown, the Code of Honor adhered to, and referee signaled for the bell to begin our championship finals match.
(2) TRACY WILLIAMS vs JONATHAN GRESHAM – Finals of the Pure Title Tournament
The match began with an incredibly rapid pace, with both men countering each other in catch-style action. The men traded hip tosses before Williams sent Gresham to the floor. Williams chased Gresham outside the ring, and surprisingly, they began chain wrestling on the outside. Williams and Gresham effectively wrestled to a stalemate, before returning to the ring. Back inside, Williams attempts to work on Gresham’s left shoulder, but Gresham counters into an ankle lock, which Williams escapes as we head to commercial. (c)
Back “live”, Gresham has finally begun targeting Williams’ injured shoulder, and Williams does a great job selling the pain. Williams is forced to use his first rope-break to escape a hammerlock at 5:14. Williams capitalized on the rope break to go on the offensive, using a cravat to start working Gresham’s neck. In fact, Gresham is forced to use his first rope-break at 6:37 to escape Williams’ cravat. Similarly to Williams, Gresham capitalized on his rope-break and went on offense, delivering a nasty spear out of the corner to Williams. Gresham followed with an “Insiguri”, into a belly-to-back suplex. Williams kicked out at two, and fired up to hit Gresham with a lariat for a two-count of his own. (c)
Returning from break, both Williams and Gresham get caught up on the top rope, and Gresham uses a modified body scissors to send both to the floor. Gresham threw Williams back in the ring and went for a springboard dive, but Williams countered into a brain buster suplex, followed by a crossface submission. Gresham was in agony, and was forced to use his second rope-break at 11:33 to survive. Williams tried to keep the momentum and went for a lariat, but Gresham countered into a low-angle German suplex for a two-count. Now in control, Gresham delivered multiple running forearms, then put Williams in the “Kimura lock”, into his Octopus submission. Somehow, Williams countered this stretch into his piledriver. Williams went for the pin, but Gresham wisely put his foot on the rope, using his final rope-break to avoid a three-count.
Williams, living up to his “Hot Sauce” moniker, fired up and tore off his shoulder brace. Williams went for a chop, but Gresham countered it into a variation of his Octopus stretch, and Williams quickly verbally submitted.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham at 14:22 to capture the ROH Pure Championship Title.
(Ryan’s Thoughts: I was rooting for Williams to get the victory, as I think it would have made him as a major player in Ring of Honor, and I thought the storylines with Gresham losing would be more intriguing long-term. However, Gresham feels like the right man for this championship, and he is legitimately one of the best mat wrestlers in the world. This was a very good, but not truly elite, match. I hope to see a rematch in the future, when both men are not selling injuries from an arduous tournament run.)
-Post-match, Williams was selling his shoulder injury, and both men were laying on the mat, in complete exhaustion. Gresham’s tag-team partner, Jay Lethal, rang to the ring, and began to boisterously celebrate Gresham’s victory. Referee Todd Sinclair presented Gresham with the championship belt, and a trophy. Williams and Gresham adhered to the Code of Honor, and Williams also shook Lethal’s hand before departing to the back. Lethal placed the belt around Gresham’s waist. Gresham stood tall in the middle of the ring, with his trophy in one hand, his tag-team championship belt in the other, and the Pure Title around his waist, as the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was another solid hour of wrestling television by Ring of Honor. I thought the opening match was very good, and was a good opening chapter to feuds between EC3 and Shane Taylor, along with the Briscoes and SOS.
While again stating I would have booked Williams to win, Gresham is a worthy champion, and gives the company several storylines to pursue in the weeks’ ahead. I am curious to see where the show goes from here, but for now, ROH should be commended for the television product they created during their first set of tapings following the shutdown.