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ROH Pure Championship tourney results: The semifinals begin

The Pure Championship tournament rolled on this week with the ROH Tag Team Champions in singles action.

In one match, Jonathan Gresham took on the high flying Matt Sydal while ROH pioneer Jay Lethal battled David Finlay in the Block A and Block B semifinals.

This week started with a short video package of the final eight before Quinn McKay took us back to last week with post-match promos from winners Tracy Williams and PJ Black. McKay then took us back several weeks ago, recapping Lethal and Finlay's victories.

Because these are second round matchups, the time limit increases to 20 minutes from 15.

Block A Semifinals: Jay Lethal pinned David Finlay (14:58)

Lethal and Finlay began with a series of arm locks. Both men broke the holds eventually, but Lethal began to target Finlay's previously injured shoulder. Finlay eventually got control and sent Lethal to the outside where he took his time getting back in the ring. Lethal baited him to the apron which cost Finlay in a big way as Lethal dropkicked his left leg out from under him. Once Finlay made it back in, he took Lethal to the ground and the two men exchanged ground and pound offense. Once the competitors made their way back to their feet, Lethal hit a crucial hip toss followed by a flipping dropkick for a two count into the first commercial break.

During the break, Finlay countered a Lethal Injection with a backbreaker. Finlay tried to get a stronghold on Lethal's back but the former ROH Champion hit a quick Lethal Combination. Lethal went to the top rope and missed a jump which impacted his already hurt knee. Finlay came out of nowhere with a great spear, followed up by a kneebar. The kneebar lasted for a solid 80 seconds before Lethal finally used his first rope break.

The two made their way to the apron which ended up being another bait by Lethal as he quickly turned it into a suicide dive. Finlay made his way back into the ring and Lethal hit a Lethal Injection out of nowhere to get the win. Lethal advances to the A Block finals to face the winner of Fred Yehi vs. Tracy Williams.

**********

- "The Horror King" Vincent did a in-ring promo where he talked about his past problems and learning to live with it, eventually accepting his misfortune. "To be successful, you need friends. If you want to be very successful, you need enemies," he said. Then, the #FollowTheTrend video played and his old rival Matt Taven returned.

He beat up Vincent, choking him with a belt. Taven then exposed the hardwood underneath the ring, hitting the Just The Tip knee strike. He then dragged Vincent over and Climax into the exposed boards. He set up a table outside the ring, put Vincent on it, and delivered a crisp frog splash onto him as Vincent asked him to do it. Taven said this was just the beginning, said to "Follow The Trend" and walked off. 

- After the break, another "Control Your Narrative" vignette for EC3 aired.

Block B Semifinals: Jonathan Gresham defeated Matt Sydal (13:28)

They adhered to the Code Of Honor and immediately went to the mat to exchange holds. Gresham maneuvered a single leg takedown into a headlock. He later transitioned into a nasty leg bending maneuver, but Sydal kicked him in the face a few times to break it. The two exchanged holds on their feet for a while before Gresham knocked Sydal on to the mat and again focused on his quad and knee area. Sydal was able to shift the momentum in his favor as the men made their way back to their feet, but Sydal missed a standing moonsault going into the final break.

After rallying back from several minutes of Sydal offense, Gresham hit a backpack stunner, followed by an enziguri. Gresham rolled Sydal up, but Sydal reversed quickly into his own roll-up. Gresham quickly locked in the surfboard submission, putting torque on the lower knees. In a unique looking spot, he then dropped Sydal and transitioned into an ankle pick for the quick tap. He moves on to face the winner of PJ Black vs. Josh Woods in the B Block finals. 

Another EC3 vignette closed the show.

Next Week:

  • PJ Black vs. Josh Woods
  • Fred Yehi vs. Tracy Williams

Overall Thoughts:

This was the strongest episode of ROH’s return for me so far. Both matches were excellent and Gresham is so, so good. The Taven-Vincent angle was fun, too. EC3 promos are kinda wearing on me in both companies he is in.