The ROH Pure Championship tournament crowned a winner as Jonathan Gresham battled Tracy Williams on episode 476 of ROH Wrestling. Also, EC3 rumbled for the first time in an ROH ring. He was joined by the Briscoes for trios action.
Let’s break down the show.
Shane Taylor, Moses, Kaun vs EC3 & the Briscoes
EC3 was making his in-ring debut with ROH. He started the match with mat work against Kaun. EC3 tagged in Mark Briscoe to get some. Kaun and Moses showed some nifty teamwork against Mark.
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It took a long time until EC3 finally made contact with Shane Taylor. Their previous heated interaction was the reason this bout was made. Mark knocked Taylor out of the ring. EC3 walked over to smash Taylor into the barricade. That was pretty much it for the fighting between EC3 and Taylor.
In the end, Mark hit a rotating flip onto bodies below.
Mark missed a frog splash, so Taylor picked him up for a spinning piledriver to win.
Promo hype package for the Pure Championship tournament final. Tracy Williams’ time in ROH has been marred by failure, but the Pure final is where he is supposed to be. Tapping out Jay Lethal last week proves that he belongs. Williams’ goal is to restore honor to ROH. No matter who wins between himself and Jonathan Gresham, they will build the company as the true foundation.
Gresham addressed the idea of the foundation as people who view the sport the way he does. Gresham is going to show he is the best pure wrestler in the world. No matter who wins in the final, the Pure belt will go home with either himself or Williams. That means they achieved their goal of restoring honor.
Pure Championship Final - Tracy Williams vs Jonathan Gresham
60-minute time limit. Both men worked for hip tosses. Williams won the exchange by hip tossing Gresham over the ropes. Gresham scored two hip tosses on the floor. Back to the ring for mat work to soften up each other’s bodies.
The first rope break came from Williams on a hammerlock at 5 minutes into the contest. After a chop exchange, Williams hit a back suplex. He worked a cravat hold on the neck and used his height advantage as leverage on a pin attempt. Gresham got back to his feet, but he had to use a rope break to escape the cravat.
The first big move was a spear from Gresham, then the action went back to deliberate joint manipulation. Gresham shot in for a second spear, but Williams caught him in a front facelock. Williams powered into a suplex then unloaded big chops. Gresham saw another chop coming, ducked, hit a enzuigiri, then a bridging German suplex. Williams kicked out then rocked Gresham with a big clothesline.
Gresham got fancy for a springboard maneuver, but Williams caught him. Williams swung Gresham around and adjusted for a brainbuster. Williams locked in a crossface submission. Gresham was close to tapping. In fact, an inexperienced referee could have interpreted his hand motions as tapping the mat. Gresham was in serious pain and eventually got his foot on the rope for his second break.
Gresham exploded with a German suplex then three furious running forearm blasts. He went for a cover on each hit, but Williams survived the hurricane of pain. Williams escaped an octopus stretch to execute a piledriver. Gresham used his third rope break on the pin. Williams brought out Hadouken theatrics to finish it with a double chop. Gresham blocked and countered into an octopus submission for victory at 14:36. Gresham is the new Pure Champion. Jay Lethal came out to celebrate.
The ROH Pure Championship tournament has concluded, and it earned a big thumbs up from me. The style of matches were unique and provided enough variation for consistent entertainment over the past eight weeks. Jonathan Gresham being crowned champ was the right call. He has the most upside to make the Pure division a key selling point in watching ROH.
The final between Gresham and Tracy Williams took awhile to heat up, but they went out with a bang. The way Gresham bent Williams’ shoulder back was brutal. It was an extremely believable way for Williams to lose and still keep his honor.
The trios match for EC3’s ROH in-ring debut had cool moments. The teamwork between Moses and Kaun left me wanting to see more of them in action. In the overall picture though, I thought the match story was a dud. EC3 only had brief contact with Shane Taylor. If you didn’t know the setup, then you wouldn’t have a clue these two have beef brewing. It didn’t do anything to make me want to see that future clash.
ROH put out a bonus triple threat on YouTube (here) with Wheeler Yuta vs Tony Deppen vs Dak Draper. It was a nifty showcase for all three wrestlers. My favorite moves were a three-man totem pole drop from Draper and Yuta with a standing leglock on Draper while also holding Deppen for a leg pretzel. In the end, Draper had too much power to be stopped.
The Honor List celebrated the greatest tournament finals in ROH history.
8. Adam Cole vs Michael Elgin
7. Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan vs Daniel Bryan & Michael Modest
6. Cesaro vs El Generico
5. Davey Richards vs Eddie Edwards
4. Mike Bennett vs Kyle O’Reilly
3. Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, & Vinny Marseglia vs Lio Rush, Jay White, & Kushida
2. Low Ki vs Brian Kendrick vs Christopher Daniels vs Doug Williams
1. AJ Styles vs CM Punk
What was your favorite moment from the Pure Championship tournament? Was Gresham the right pick to win? Where does Gresham vs Williams rank in the best tournament finals in ROH history?