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ROH Pure tournament recap: David Finlay and Matt Sydal outsmart their opponents to advance

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The ROH Pure Championship tournament rages on with more first round action. Episode 470 of ROH Wrestling featured David Finlay taking on Rocky Romero and Matt Sydal solving the conundrum known as Delirious.

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 was able to overcome the lack of adrenaline pump that the fans provide. He will push himself to the limit and become the first two-time Pure champion. Jonathan Gresham believes nothing will stop him from getting to his destiny of reshaping ROH in a pure wrestling image.

Hype video time for David Finlay and Rocky Romero

Finlay is a 4th generation wrestler and son of Fit Finlay. He used to do Romero’s laundry back when he was in the New Japan dojo. Finlay has been working on a new leg submission, and he may have to use to to stifle Romero’s speed. Romero feels he is faster and smarter than Finlay. He plans to lock in an armbar repeatedly to force Finlay to quickly burn through his three rope breaks then tap.

First round: David Finlay vs Rocky Romero

15-minute time limit. Romero followed his game plan with a rolling takedown into an armbar. Finlay used his first rope break a minute into the match. Finlay ground Romero down with a camel clutch into a cobra clutch. Romero fought free to execute a springboard tornado DDT. Romero then targeted Finlay’s previously injured shoulder.

Romero was on a roll, but Finlay escaped Sliced Bread to slam Romero into the ropes. Romero’s knee took the impact. Finlay pounced for a grapevine leg submission. Rocky used his first rope break. Later, Romero exploded with fury for a punch then Sliced Bread. Finlay kicked out of the pin. The referee issued a warning to Romero after ruling that his punch was a closed fist.

Finlay leaped out of the corner for a flying attack, but Romero dodged then snatched the limb for another armbar. Finley used his second rope break to avoid defeat. Romero went for his third Sliced Bread. Finlay countered into a backbreaker. Romero kicked out at two. Finlay kept the pressure on with a suplex neckbreaker to win at 13:02. Finlay advances to the second round of the Pure tournament to face Jay Lethal.

The hype video for Matt Sydal and Delirious focused on their past history. They trained together, had their first match against one another, and also had their first ROH match against one another.

Sydal will win the mind games, head games, and heart games. He has a special weapon in his kicks. Sydal’s foot injury has resulted in a calcified bone lump that creates a loaded kick to do extra damage. Delirious had subtitles for his gibberish. An unpredictable style is his strength.

First round: Matt Sydal vs Delirious

15-minute time limit. Nifty mat work opened the bout. Delirious focused on Sydal’s leg to negate any high flying, while Sydal worked on Delirious’ shoulder. Sydal hooked in a standing key lock. Delirious took it over to the corner to leap outside and yank Sydal’s arm against the top rope. That was judged as Delirious’ first rope break. Delirious changed his strategy to attack the shoulder. Sydal countered a submission into a stretch muffler then half crab. Delirious grabbed the rope for his second break.

The two men ran crisscross in the ring into a double clothesline. Sydal ducked two clotheslines then exploded for a jumping knee strike. Delirious crumbled with his legs bent backward underneath himself. He got his shoulder up on a two-count pin. Sydal beautifully executed a standing corkscrew moonsault. Delirious was able to escape the pin again, but major damage was done to his knees since they were still stuck underneath him. Delirious writhed in pain.

Sydal smirked then unloaded kicks to the knee and head. Sydal took Delirious’ discomfort for granted on a lazy pin cover. Delirious countered into a crucifix then cobra clutch submission. That led to a sweet cobra clutch overhead suplex. Delirious hooked in the cobra clutch again on the mat. Sydal floated over for a pin, so Delirious had to release. Sydal went for a crucifix pin then transitioned into a cobra clutch. Delirious was forced to tap out at 9:57. Sydal advances to the second round of the Pure tournament to face Jonathan Gresham.

Last week’s opening bouts created a high standard of quality for the Pure tournament, and this week’s bouts maintained that level. They provided a nice blend of focused attacks with flurries of modern maneuvers. Best of all, I enjoy that the pace is always swift with no slow rest breaks.

My favorite move was Sydal’s standing corkscrew moonsault. That was amazing.

Delirious’ cobra clutch overhead suplex was also pretty cool.

Speaking of Delirious, I was quite impressed by his work. I’ve only seen a handful of his matches. All of them were his more recent work as a comedy act. I really enjoyed his serious and strategic side displayed in this contest.

As for which of the two bouts was better, I’d give the edge to Finlay and Romero. I liked the story of Finlay overcoming Romero’s armbars and Sliced Breads. The knee pain from Delirious was creative, but it didn’t really play a role in the finish. Just like last week, all four men left a positive impression and elevated the quality of victory.

I still don’t like the commercial breaks during the bouts. We missed a flying knee off the apron from Romero and Delirious using his second rope break. The replays of that action looked like both moments would have earned a minor pop from viewers.

Let’s take a gander at the updated bracket.


Next week’s episode will feature Silas Young vs Fred Yehi and Josh Woods vs Kenny King.

Share your take on episode 470 of ROH Wrestling. Which of the two bouts did you prefer? Whose performance stood out most?

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