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ROH to use stringent COVID protocols for Pure Championship tournament, confirms 7 participants

Earlier this week, ROH announced their plans to return taping matches for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic erupted. ROH will hold an empty arena taping during August in Maryland. That means ROH has to follow stringent testing guidelines ordered by the Maryland State Athletic Commission.

Kevin Eck outlined the COVID-19 testing protocol in his Eck’s Files weekly column.

*Two weeks prior to the event, talent and referees are required to undergo the first NMT (nasal mid-turbinate) molecular PCR swab test.

*Within three days of the event, talent and referees will be required to undergo a second NMT molecular PCR swab test. They must be immediately isolated/sequestered after undergoing the second test. Separate hotel accommodations and separate eating arrangements will be required for participants, who must remain isolated until arriving at the event to work.

*On the day of the event (or, in the case of wrestling activity spanning more than one day, on the last day of the individual engaging in competition or participation), talent and referees will be required to undergo a third NMT molecular PCR swab test. The third test is being required for contact tracing being conducted by, and being documented by, the commission. The commission considers contact tracing to be essential to reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

*All individuals entering the venue must have his or her temperature taken and recorded at the door via an infrared thermometer. No one will be permitted entry into the venue with a temperature reading of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

*Any individual other than the participants who is either working in the ring enclosure area or physically interacting with participants (i.e. an athletic trainer) must undergo the second and third NMT molecular PCR swab tests in the respective time frames. All such individuals other than the ring announcer will be required to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times.

*All other individuals present at the venue in any capacity will be required to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times and to maintain a social distance from each other of at least six feet at all times.

Those procedures sound quite thorough. I’m impressed ROH is playing ball with the Maryland State Athletic Commission when they could easily move the show to a state with looser guidelines.

The focus of ROH’s next show will be the Pure Championship tournament, which makes sense since luchadores residing in Mexico hold three of ROH’s top four titles. The original 16-man field had to be adjusted due to travel restrictions for foreigners. Doug Williams, Mark Haskins, Slex, Joe Hendry, Yuji Nagata, and Ren Narita have withdrawn. Seven participants are confirmed so far.

  • Jay Lethal
  • Jonathan Gresham
  • Matt Sydal
  • David Finlay
  • Tracy Williams
  • Josh Woods
  • Wheeler Yuta

Out of the group, I’m picking Jonathan Gresham as the favorite. He is taking a personal interest in the Pure Championship beyond just glory and gold.

Gresham’s rallying cry to restore the honor of pure wrestling has me hooked. It looks like it is the beginning of a larger storyline with the way Gresham received a phone call from Tracy Williams at the end. I was thinking maybe they go on a crusade against flippy dudes, but that pool is shallow at the moment without luchadores. ROH has plenty of brawlers available, so maybe men like the Briscoes, PCO, and Brody King will be the target for Gresham as he aims to clean up ROH.

Who is your pick to win the Pure Championship from the names revealed so far? Who would you like to see fill out the field?

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