This week's ROH TV show featured the final two matches of the Pure Title Tournament's first round as we are now down to the final eight.
The Big Takeaways:
This week's show featured two promotional debuts and two losses in those debuts as PJ Black defeated Tony Deppen and Tracy Williams submitted Rust Taylor.
The show began with a vague vignette that said, "'When one trend dies, another will rise. The trend is coming. #FollowTheTrend".
Quinn McKay ran down last week's wins by Fred Yehi and Josh Woods, complete with post-match promos. Of note, Woods didn't know how his partner/mentor Silas Young did and said he felt Young would be proud of him. While outside interference can get you "fired" in this tourney, that might be some seeding for a future break-up.
First Round Match: Tracy Williams defeated Rust Taylor (14:25)
Taylor has gone 1-1 in the New Japan Lion's Break Collision series. In a good pre-match promo, he talked about fighting through a depression and almost quitting the business when he came close to being signed (by New Japan, I assume) and told no. He found his motivation and decided to keep on going. In his promo, Williams gave his background, how he got involved in various martial arts like BJJ and sambo, and how when he gets fired up, the "Hot Sauce" starts flowing. Alright, then.
This featured a lot of each man working over the other's left arm. As it evolved, the story was that Williams used all of his rope breaks so when Taylor applied another arm lock, he took more damage than if he hadn't used a break.
A very even match through the first ten minutes, Taylor got an advantage by landing a pendulum kick that forced one of the aforementioned rope breaks. Taylor later ensnared him in a Rings of Saturn, complete with his leg further wrapping Williams' arm that resulted in the final rope break.
The end came when Taylor was laying in kicks and got that hot sauce flowing. Williams hit a big clothesline with a minute to go, followed by a piledriver into a crossface for the quick submission. He moves on to face Fred Yehi in the second round.
While the match featured a lot of skilled grappling, it didn't do much for me. It felt like Taylor should have advanced, but given that Williams is an ROH mainstay, I can see why they made the decision.
First Round Match: PJ Black (w/ Brian Johnson) defeated Tony Deppen (12:06)
The pre-match promos really got over how different both men are. Deppen, making his ROH debut, comes from a skateboarding/punk rock lifestyle as a kid and said he's a wrestling nomad with no home and doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. He's doing this for his unborn child which is why he won't fail. Conversely, Black is a veteran of the game and described his current style of metaphysical training, animal movements and trying to teach Brian Johnson his ways.
Even in a loss, Deppen made a good accounting for himself and seems likely to return based on how Black beat him.
Black owned the first five minutes and was hurting Deppen with an abdominal stretch and a finger manipulation/armbar which he stepped into to injure Deppen's shoulder. This looked awesome.
Deppen regained the advantage with a dropkick as Black showboated on a springboard into the ring. He took control, running double knees into a slumped Black in the corner. Later, he rolled through into an STP but Black got the ropes with five minutes to go. He rolled outside and called for a timeout and Deppen responded by hitting a tope somersault dive, rolling him back in for a double stomp from the top for a two count.
It wasn't to be for Deppen through as Black did a pumphandle cutter that got a one count, an impressive looking hoisted DDT for two, and a crucifix driver that finally got three to finish a fun match. He moves on to face Josh Woods in the second round.
The show ended with an EC3 vignette.
- Jay Lethal vs. David Finlay
- Jonathan Gresham vs. Matt Sydal