The Blackpool Combat Club is becoming an increasingly ornery bunch veering toward heel status. After Jon Moxley’s unnecessary post-match chokeholds on Alex Reynolds on Dynamite, it was Wheeler Yuta’s turn to add more fuel to the fire during ROH TV on Honor Club (Mar. 8, 2023). Yuta retained the ROH Pure Championship using dirty heel tactics against Timothy Thatcher.
The Pure division has a unique rule set. For the purpose of this story, there were three rules in particular of importance. First, each wrestler has three rope-breaks at their disposal. Once that number is exhausted, there are no more legal breaks enforced by the referee. Second, closed-fist punched are illegal. The first punch earns a warning, and the second punch is a disqualification. Third, the title can change hands on a DQ.
Thatcher snatched an arm quick for an armbar. That was Yuta’s first rope-break. The match progressed with Yuta hooking an octopus hold. That was Thatcher’s first rope-break. Yuta increased his aggression to work the shoulder. He even bit Thatcher’s ear when out of sight from the referee. Thatcher fired up for a belly-to-belly suplex. Yuta regained control for a hammerlock targeting the shoulder. That was Thatcher’s second rope-break.
Thatcher fired up again with furious European uppercuts backing Yuta into the corner. As Thatcher and Yuta were dueling for position on the turnbuckles, Yuta punched his opponent with a closed fist. That earned an official warning. The damage was done though. Yuta followed for a flying strike and an Olympic slam on the shoulder. Thatcher used his third and final rope-break to escape the pinfall. Yuta’s strategy paid off, and a devious smile crept across his face.
The match continued with a striking exchange. Thatcher was more powerful and gained the upper hand for a bridging German suplex. On the kick-out, Thatcher transitioned to a key lock. Yuta used his second rope-break to get free. Thatcher turned up the heat with slams and suplexes. He landed brutal knees to the spine and kidney. That punishment caused Yuta to hug the ropes for safety on his third and final rope-break.
Yuta went back on the attack, so Thatcher slapped him down to the mat.
OOF #WatchROH pic.twitter.com/nqJtQA0MiM— Sebas セバスチャン (@SebasPunk094) March 10, 2023
Thatcher continued his onslaught with vicious stomps in the ropes. Yuta rolled out of the ring to buy time. As the referee tried to step in, Thatcher shoved him aside. Yuta mischievously took advantage of the situation to land an illegal closed-fist punch. This was a clear case of Yuta violating the rules. It should have been a disqualification, but the referee was turned around from Thatcher’s shove and missed the punch. Yuta pounced for an octopus stretch in the ropes to submit Thatcher.
No more rope breaks for Thatcher.— (@WrestlingCovers) March 10, 2023
Genius move by @WheelerYuta!#RingOfHonor #WatchROH pic.twitter.com/zniV3AmBQC
Yuta’s time wasn’t finished on this evening. He was out to prove that he’s not the young boy of the Blackpool Combat Club. He has earned his way into being a full member. Yuta was taking shots at the NJPW dojo system, specifically the LA Dojo. The champ called out “Wild Rhino” Clark Connors. Smack talk was exchanged, and a Pure title bout was made for next week on ROH TV.
What’s your take on Wheeler Yuta embracing the heel side?