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ROH Pure Championship challenger emerges for Katsuyori Shibata

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Katsuyori Shibata was fresh off teaching Daniel Garcia what it means to be a professional wrestler by retaining the ROH Pure Championship at Death Before Dishonor. The grind doesn’t stop there, not even for the champ. A new challenger is already stepping up, and this man is a former Pure champion in his own right. I’m talking about Josh Woods.

Woods also put in work at Death Before Dishonor to defeat Tracy Williams in a Pure rules contest on the pre-show. That win was impressive enough to pave the way for the events on ROH TV.

The latest episode of ROH TV (Week 22) opened with judges taking their seats for the Pure rules bout to follow. Jerry Lynn and Christopher Daniels are in the usual rotation for these duties, but one seat remained empty. Enter Shibata as a surprise appearance to be the third judge.

Woods competed against Eli Isom. Woods’ strategy was to force Isom into the ropes to exhaust his three rope-breaks. That worked twice with Isom hooking the ropes to prevent Woods’ aggression. After Woods focused on damaging the left shoulder, the third rope-break came to escape an armbar.

Isom rallied, but Woods sent him over the ropes onto the apron. That’s when Woods strangled Isom with a sleeper. Shibata took notice in particular, since that is one of his signature moves. The statement was sent when Woods dragged Isom back into the ring to stare deep into Shibata’s eyes as the sleeper was still applied. Woods upped the ante of trash talk to the champ by executing Shibata’s penalty kick. Woods closed with the Gorilla Lock leg submission for victory.

After the match, Mark Sterling ran his mouth to issue a challenge. Woods wants Shibata next week for the ROH Pure Championship. Shibata entered the ring holding the title high to imply the answer was yes.

To avoid any confusion, Shibata made it clear in a comical way through the use of technology backstage.

Since winning the Pure title from Wheeler Yuta, Shibata has successfully defended the belt against Christopher Daniels, Alex Coughlin, Yuta in a rematch, and Daniel Garcia. Woods will be Shibata’s toughest test yet on paper. The challenger has the skill and strength to present a tricky combination for Shibata to overcome.

Are you pumped to see Shibata versus Woods for the ROH Pure Championship?

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