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ROH Pure tournament recap: Josh Woods impressively roughed up PJ Black

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The second round of the ROH Pure Championship tournament resumed on episode 474 of ROH Wrestling. Tracy Williams got savage against savageweight Fred Yehi, Josh Woods used his amateur wrestling experience to rough up PJ Black, and EC3 is picking up a new feud.

Check here for ROH channel listings in your area. Watch the episode on ROH Honor Club (here) or Fite TV (here) released on Mondays.

Let’s break down the show.

Quinn McKay opened with a recap of last week’s bouts and comments from the winners. Jay Lethal isn’t being braggadocious when he says that he will meet Jonathan Gresham in the finals. They are the best wrestlers in the company. For Gresham’s comments, he doesn’t go into matches with a strategy. He lives in the moment with his pure wrestling skills. Gresham was insulted that high-flyer Matt Sydal was in the tournament. That took away an opportunity from another pure wrestler. ROH needs to return to its roots and use pure wrestling to restore honor.

Second round: Fred Yehi vs Tracy Williams

20-minute time limit. Yehi and Williams started the bout feeling each other out. Yehi used his first rope break to get out of a hammerlock hold. It seemed like Yehi was using the ropes as leverage to alleviate pain rather than desiring an intentional separation from the referee.

The two locked up, and Williams snatched Yehi’s arm. Yehi grabbed the ropes to steady himself. The referee ruled that as Yehi’s second rope break. Yehi expressed frustration on his face at the referee’s rulings.

The aggression picked up. An exploder suplex from Yehi was the first big move. During the commercial break, Williams used a rope break and hit a hammerlock suplex to gain control. Williams nailed Yehi with a striking barrage in the corner then a single arm suplex. Yehi came back with German suplexes while maintaining waist control. Yehi exploded for a foot stomp, leg sweep, and boot to the face. Williams kicked out of the pin, but Yehi promptly transitioned for a Koji Clutch. Williams used his second rope break to get free.

Creative and intense mat work followed. Williams took up it a notch with a brainbuster. Yehi was feeling the pain of a stinger, but he still managed to trap Williams in another Koji Clutch. Williams used his third and final rope break.

A furious firefight erupted in the center of the ring. Williams came out on top by DDTing Yehi’s head into the top turnbuckle. Williams continued his onslaught with a piledriver. Yehi reached the ropes on the pin for his third rope break. No more breaks for either man.

Williams kept the pressure on with a clean crossface. Yehi got to the ropes to lift himself up. Williams adjusted to sink in a dragon sleeper using the ropes to his advantage. Yehi submitted at 14:03. Williams advances to the Block A final of the Pure tournament to face Jay Lethal.

EC3 in ROH

EC3 cut a promo in the ring about purifying himself by pain at the altar of honor. He is ready to fight. Afterward, Shane Taylor confronted EC3 backstage. The Briscoes stepped in to propose a trios bout between themselves with EC3 against Taylor’s crew. (Full details here.)

Second round: Josh Woods vs PJ Black

20-minute time limit. Silas Young and Brian Johnson were both ringside. Johnson flapped his gums often. He got the attention of Woods at one point in the match, which allowed Black to escape a hold.

The first big move was Woods flinging Black over the ropes down to the floor. As Black was coming back into the ring, Woods snatched his neck for a sleeper with the ropes between their bodies. Black used his first rope break to escape. A short while later, Black used his second rope break on a leg bar.

Woods went back to work grinding Black with submissions. Black popped out of an arm lock with a Samoan drop. Woods would not be discouraged and trapped both Black’s arms. The match progressed with Woods in control.

Black stepped up his speed with running elbow strikes and a flying crossbody. Black also picked up Woods for a pendulum submission, but he didn’t keep that locked in very long. Black continued his fast-paced attack until running into a big knee from Woods. Woods hit a German suplex, transitioned to an armbreaker, then moved into a grapevine ankle lock. Black tapped at 13:27. Woods advances to the Block B final of the Pure tournament to face Jonathan Gresham.

This episode featured another pair of interesting grapple sessions. Both finishes were unique and cool. Williams showed his creativity by using the ropes on the dragon sleeper. Woods displayed his submission knowledge and awareness by not letting Black get free to regroup.

Even though Williams was victorious, I haven’t been impressed with his performance thus far in the Pure tournament. He has often been fighting from behind. Williams has dangerous skills, but I think Lethal is a heavy favorite. The big question for Lethal will be any lingering health issues from his previous contests.

On the flip side, Woods was dominant. I was impressed by his composure when put in precarious predicaments by Black. Woods kept his cool and was often one step ahead in the chess match on the mat. I think Woods will give Gresham a run for his money. Woods’ size advantage could be the difference.

The post-match comments from Lethal and Gresham perked my ears. Lethal’s confidence could be setting the table for an upset next week. Gresham’s agitation about the lack of respect toward pure wrestling feels like foreshadowing to become Pure champ. The way he speaks leads me to believe there is a bigger story in play after the tournament.

Let’s take a gander at the bracket.


Both block finals are scheduled for the next episode of ROH Wrestling.

Share your take on episode 474 of ROH Wrestling. Which of the two bouts did you prefer? Whose performance stood out most? Now that we are down to the final four, who are you picking to win?

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