wrestling / TV Reports

Cook’s ROH TV Review 9.12.20

September 13, 2020 | Posted by Steve Cook
ROH logo, Jay Lethal, ROH Week By Week Gabe Sapolsky, Kevin Eck Image Credit: ROH
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Cook’s ROH TV Review 9.12.20  

Hey kids! This is the week where ROH finally presents some brand new wrestling content. The Pure Wrestling Tournament starts this week. Part of me is very excited that ROH is presenting new content focused around bringing back a championship that I’ve always had a soft spot for. Part of me is very sad that I can’t use Larry Csonka’s star ratings anymore as a tribute to a man that did so much for me through the years. It’s a bittersweet moment, for sure.

We move on. Two titanic struggles taking place this week, one featuring the man that pushed to bring this championship back, and another with two former ROH World Champions facing off. Let’s hook em up!

Cook’s ROH TV Review 9.12.20

Some new theme music & a new opening!

Quick video package putting over the Pure Wrestling Tournament & the Pure Wrestling Championship.

Quinn McKay welcomes us to the Pure Wrestling Tournament & explains the background. AJ Styles beat CM Punk to be the first Pure Champion. We won’t see that match again! Legends like Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal & Nigel McGuinness went on to be Pure Champion. Quinn explains the rules due to the pandemic, and introduces the participants. There are even alternates! We got some time limits for each round, and 3 judges for each match. She explains the Code of Honor & the rope break rule, along with the 20 count. Any outside competitor that interferes will be terminated from the roster. I always loved the rope break rule.

Jay Lethal puts over Samoa Joe for his tough love breaking him in. He wants to be the first two-time Pure Wrestling Champion. The first time around, he was way over his head. This time around, everything he’s done has gotten him to this moment. He’s gotten to share the locker room & the ring with legends. That will take him to the end of this tournament. He & Dalton have a history, and he remembers the time Dalton successfully defended the ROH World Championship against him. History won’t repeat itself, and he won’t bow out in the first round. His goal is to get to the finals to take on his tag team partner, Jonathan Gresham. He promised himself & his parents that he will be the first & only two-time ROH Pure Champion.

Dalton Castle started out wrestling early. At the age of 11. He collected a bunch of amateur wrestling titles, then he won the ROH World Championship. He thinks the Pure wrestling rules play towards him. He can’t turn it off. Jay Lethal is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. He deserves all the respect. Dalton will be more aggressive than he’s ever been. As long as he can keep his lungs filled with air he’ll be fine. This tournament will display a different side of him. He can be entertaining, but he can also be dangerous. He was ROH World Champion with a broken back, and he didn’t let that injury stop him from doing anything. He’s never forgotten who he is on the inside. This tournament is his opportunity to show that he’s so much more.


ROH Pure Wrestling 1st Round Match: Jay Lethal vs. Dalton Castle: We’ve got two former ROH World Champions here, and two of the best pure wrestlers on the roster. ROH didn’t mess around with their leadoff pairing, that’s for sure, putting two company legends in there. Early rope break for Lethal to get out of a front facelock, which seemed accidental. Lethal almost did another one, but fought out otherwise. Some great mat wrestling here. Two guys that know the craft. Big suplex by Castle, but Lethal fights back in the corner. Castle suplexes Lethal into the corner, near fall and we go to commercial! Lethal maintained control during commercial, which Ian was sure to point out to us. Commentators talk about the layoff, and I feel like that benefitted Castle more than anybody else due to the injuries he racked up. Lethal trying to work some vulnerable body parts though. Working that leg, but Castle won’t let him lock on that Figure 4. Castle up to his feet first, but Lethal fires back at the 10 minute mark. Lethal combination! Only two! Lethal goes up top, Castle follows him up, Lethal knocks him off, but gets into the Bangarang! 2 count, Lethal puts his foot on the rope! Dalton didn’t quite get all of it, and I feel like that was Dalton’s best shot. Sure looks like it now, kicks from Lethal, Castle answers but we got a Lethal Injection! Jay Lethal moves on!

Winner: Jay Lethal
Match Rating: ***1/2

One of those matches where you wish both men had better draws. Dalton deserved to go further into the tournament, but he ran into one of the most accomplished wrestlers in ROH history. You just have to chalk it up to that if you’re Dalton Castle.

Wheeler Yuta started out young, which makes sense because he’s still young. He did all kinds of sports. He went to Philadephia to train with Drew Gulak & Hot Sauce Tracy Williams. He went to Michinoku Pro, which was big since his mom is Japanese. Went to wXw too. He considers himself a decoder, where he can figure out opponents’ styles and use them to his advantage. Jonathan Gresham is one of the best in the world, but he’s been studying him. He can use the rules to his advantage. Gresham may be overlooking him, but that’s to his advantage.

Jonathan Gresham started out in 2004, and has always been a fan of the ROH Pure Wrestling style. He got to ROH in 2011, lost to Kyle O’Reilly. and that motivated him to travel everywhere to become the best professional wrestler in the world. He also teases an eventual matchup with Jay Lethal in the finals. He thinks highly of Yuta and his trainers. It’ll be a challenge for him. He wants to use the Octopus stretch which he has perfected. He puts over the Foundation, who we’re still not sure is involved.

ROH Pure Wrestling Tournament: Jonathan Gresham vs. Wheeler Yuta: This is the title Gresham wanted all along. The man didn’t even bring his tag title belt to the ring like Jay Lethal did. Seems like a shot. Yuta has wins over a bunch of solid wrestlers, including Gresham. Yuta gets the advantage early. Working that Ed Stecher style body scissors. Gresham tries to fight out, eventually does, gets a bow and arrow & a two count. Yuta gets back on top, but Gresham fights out of that before a commercial. We’re back and Gresham has an Indian deathlock on tight. Yuta uses the ropes to break. Yuta uses a closed fist and is issued a warning. We got a series of counters here. Gresham outwrestles Yuta and locks in that Indian Deathlock again. They roll outside, and both guys feel the brunt of the floor. They get back in before the count of 20. Series ot counts now, and Gresham locks in an ankle lock while ramming the knee into the mat several times to make Yuta tap!

Winner: Jonathan Gresham
Match Rating: ***1/2

– Gresham continues to impress me every time I see him. He made this guy we’ve never seen before selling himself as a “decoder” look awesome. Gresham feels like the natural successor to those ROH legends from back in the day.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
ROH returned to new action this week, and they were smart to lead with matches that would be tremendous. Solid in-ring action and great work on video packages makes this an easy watch and recommendation. As I said earlier, my only gripe is that I can't link to old Larry articles anymore.

article topics :

ROH, ROH TV Reports, Steve Cook