Episode 488 of ROH Wrestling featured Josh Woods and Dalton Castle in an intense Pure clash and Shane Taylor in trios action against the Foundation to stack his resume in order to challenge Rush for the ROH World Championship.
Quinn McKay opening by recapping how Shane Taylor, Kaun, and Moses declined the ROH board of directors’ decision to strip the Six-Man Championship from MexiSquad for not making the scheduled match at Final Battle due to COVID precautions. Taylor wasn’t interested in taking the titles in a sucker move, so he passed on the offer. Taylor wants the satisfaction of actually earning gold in victory.
McKay got backstage comments from Dragon Lee after retaining the TV title against Rey Horus last week. Brody King interrupted with threats for Los Ingobernables.
Josh Woods has taken one step forward and two steps back. He had a huge win over Jay Lethal, then he lost to Flip Gordon and came up short in the TV title #1 contender four-way match at Final Battle. Woods plans to get back on track against a former world champ in Dalton Castle. Woods is chasing gold in 2021.
Dalton Castle was occupied with phone calls and texts during his interview session. While Woods has the physical advantage, Castle believes he has the mental edge to solve the puzzle for victory.
Josh Woods vs Dalton Castle
Pure rules with a 15-minute time limit. Woods controlled the pace early. The first big hit was a back elbow from Castle. Woods responded by pushing Castle up into the air for his ribs to land across the top rope. Woods began targeting the midsection after seeing Castle in so much pain.
Woods stretched Castle on the ropes then became upset when the referee didn’t call it a rope break by Castle. The ruling was that Woods initiated the hold in the ropes and not Castle using the ropes to escape. Castle fired back, but Woods slammed him T-bone style. Castle used his first break on an abdominal stretch.
Castle created room to breathe by hip tossing Woods out of the ring. Castle worked Woods with a DDT and submissions, which caused Woods to use his first rope break. Woods dumped Castle over the ropes, but Castle maintained momentum by charging Woods into the barricade then ramming him into the ring post. Castle also hit a suplex into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Castle connected on a running knee to the side of the head. Woods kicked out on the cover. Slams and suplexes followed from both men. A clubbing strike exchange commenced with one minute remaining. Woods landed a big knee to Castle’s ribs. The former champ dodged a running knee to set up a whirling Bang-A-Rang, but Woods escaped to roll through for a cloverleaf variation with a body scissors. Castle could not get free and tapped out at 14:27.
McKay was backstage with Woods. He was disappointed in himself that the Pure match devolved into a brawl. Woods wants to succeed using his Pure wrestling skills.
The Foundation is here to restore honor on ROH. They were impressed with the honorable actions by Taylor and SOS of turning down the Six-Man Championship. However, Tracy Williams remembers when they jumped him from behind in the past. For that reason, Williams challenged them to prove their honor and skill in a trios bout against the Foundation.
Shane T thinks the Foundation is full of bologna. Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal have been in ROH for over a decade. If they truly wanted change, then they would have done it already. Taylor’s crew is looking forward to whooping ass.
Shane Taylor Promotions vs Foundation
Shane Taylor, Moses, and Kaun battled Jonathan Gresham, Jay Lethal, and Tracy Williams in trios action. The match played out as power versus technique. Williams gave Taylor trouble with submissions until Taylor blasted him with a ferocious forearm. STP was too brawny, so the Foundation refocused to take control using quick tags and slick moves.
Kaun ran wild on the hot tag moment to dominate Lethal. The tag champ used a sly tag for Gresham to enter for a German suplex. Taylor came in to flatten Gresham with a big knee and a sitdown package piledriver. Lethal and Williams barely made it in time to break the three count.
The contest broke down with flying attacks on the floor.
Gresham hit a shooting star press on Taylor. While Gresham was in motion for a springboard moonsault, he tagged in Lethal. Gresham exited on a suicide dive. Lethal aimed to finish the fight on a handspring cutter, but Taylor caught him for a sitdown piledriver to win at 12:08.
Taylor shouted into the camera about getting a world title shot against Rush. The Foundation swallowed their pride for a Code of Honor handshake in defeat.
Bonus: McKay spoke with Taylor backstage. Pinning Kenny King, Jay Briscoe, and Lethal should make it obvious that he is the #1 contender for the ROH World Championship.
Quinn McKay backstage interview with Shane Taylor Promotions after their huge victory over The Foundation!— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 26, 2021
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ROH has found the winning formula with their TV program. It is a simple format of promos to build anticipation, the match, another set of promos, then the main event. The wrestlers do an excellent job of really selling interest in random contests. It all works together as a package, because they deliver a thrilling fight in the ring. ROH began this routine during the Pure tournament, and I’m glad to see they have yet to deviate from that success.
Josh Woods continued to show the skills that could make him world champ in the future. His style is always entertaining to watch. In the main event, I really enjoyed the tight tags from Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham. They performed as a true team. Shane Taylor showed his resilience and aptitude to win in a split second. His development toward a future shot at the ROH World Championship has been very effective. It truly is an even call to pick Taylor or Rush as the winner of their eventual fight.
Share your thoughts about episode 488 of ROH Wrestling. Which wrestler had the standout performance?