The ROH Pure Championship tournament ushered in the second round. Episode 473 of ROH Wrestling featured Jay Lethal exploding on David Finlay, Jonathan Gresham getting creative on Matt Sydal, and the surprise return of Matt Taven.
Check here for ROH channel listings in your area. Watch the episode on ROH Honor Club (here) or Fite TV (here) released on Mondays. If you’re jumping in just now, catch up with all the finishes of the first round.
Let’s break down the show.
Quinn McKay opened with a recap of last week’s bouts and comments from the winners. Tracy Williams sustains himself on competition, but he’s had zero competition for the past six months due to the pandemic. He thanked Rust Taylor for knocking the rust right off him. PJ Black has one thousand moves, but there are only three rope breaks. You do the math. Black finished by putting over Tony Deppen.
Second round: Jay Lethal vs David Finlay
20-minute time limit. The first big move was Finlay hip tossing Lethal over the ropes. Lethal regrouped to knock Finlay onto the apron. Lethal then hit a low dropkick to knock Finlay down. On Finlay’s fall, he banged his knee against the apron. Finlay displayed visual discomfort. Later, Lethal tweaked his own ankle on another dropkick.
Finlay connected on a backbreaker and focused on inflicting pain to the lumbar region. Lethal rebounded with an arm triangle facebuster. Lethal climbed the corner, but Finlay charged in. Lethal hopped down then ran into a knee strike. Finlay smashed Lethal with a spear then locked in a figure-four variation. Finlay had it deep and wrenched back for even more torture. Lethal grabbed the rope for his first break.
The two competitors fought on the apron. Lethal escaped a fireman’s carry to fire off a springboard dropkick then a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Finlay countered a figure-four attempt into an inside cradle. Lethal escaped. He ducked a clothesline then exploded off the ropes for a handspring cutter to win at 14:58. Lethal advances to the Block A final of the Pure tournament.
Matt Taven returns!
Vincent was in the ring to address ROH fans. There’s been lots of talk about change, but he doesn’t need to change. Vincent stands as the face of Ring of Horror. Suffering is like everything else. You learn to live with it. It gets to the point where it tastes so good. If you want to be successful, you need friends. If you want to be very successful, you need enemies.
The Follow the Trend clip played to reveal Matt Taven. He attacked Vincent with bad blood. Taven exposed the ring wood for a headlock driver. Next came a frog splash through a table. Taven told Vincent that this is just the beginning.
Second round: Jonathan Gresham vs Matt Sydal
20-minute time limit. Gresham opened the bout by focusing on Sydal’s surgically repaired foot. Gresham rolled Sydal into an ankle lock/calf killer combo. Sydal broke free by booting Gresham in the face. Sydal snatched Gresham’s ankle for a hold. Gresham got back on top with a bow and arrow stretch variation.
Sydal turned up the speed with headscissors takeovers and then down into a stretch muffler. Both men went back and forth until tumbling into the ropes. The referee separated them, but he didn’t call it an official rope break for either side. The action raged on.
Sydal scored the first real damage on a dragon screw leg whip. Sydal followed by working the knee then connected on a standing corkscrew senton. Sydal was in control stalking his prey until Gresham lit the fuse for an offensive flurry. He countered an Irish whip into a backpack stunner and followed with an enzuigiri. They exchanged roll-ups, then Sydal unloaded a head kick. Gresham was on his back and kicked out Sydal’s legs. Gresham pounced for a surfboard submission only to drop it down into a chickenwing with an ankle breaker. Sydal tapped out to leg pain at 13:27. Gresham advances to the Block B final of the Pure tournament.
The show closed with a second tease for EC3 coming to ROH.
Our #Freedom is under attack.
When you take back #Control from the [tyrants] of your body, mind, soul you take back your #Freedom
— I|I essential character I|I (@therealec3) October 13, 2020
Lethal and Gresham continued their winning ways. It sure seems like they will be on a collision course in the finale. Lethal looked like his body took a pounding that could affect his performance in the next round. Despite that, he still has an extra gear to explode into his finisher. Gresham’s offensive style is more able to withstand any injuries. He has so many submissions to rely on. Just look at the finish to Sydal. That was creative and painful.
Taven’s attack on Vincent was an energetic way to pick up their story. Vincent had ambushed Taven on a video call, and Taven went missing. Now, he’s back with a vengeance. I didn’t connect the dots for Follow the Trend, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Share your take on episode 473 of ROH Wrestling. Which of the two bouts did you prefer? Whose performance stood out most? Are you excited for the feud between Matt Taven and Vincent?