Baltimore, MD – 12.21.2020
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.
Dalton Castle vs. Brian Johnson
Johnson tries baiting Castle but Castle stays on step ahead. He almost has him with the Bang-a-Rang right off the bat, but is able to take him over with a through the groin suplex. Castle comes back with a Hot Shot, which sends Castle tumbling to the floor. Johnson follows up with a suicide dive. Johnson also ducks an attack which sends Castle into the ring post. He gets two after a diving clothesline and a lariat. Johnson sends us into a commercial with a divorce court armbreaker. This comes into play when Castle cannot execute his swinging Frankensteiner on the floor due to his arm being too hurt. Johnson does more damage to Castle’s shoulder. Johnson slides to the apron when Castle almost has him pinned with a forearm shot. Johnson jams Castle’s arm onto the top rope. Castle is able to knee Johnson twice as Johnson attempts to climb to the top turnbuckle, crotching himself on the top rope. Johsnon however brings down Castle shoulder first on the top turnbuckle and hits the Tower of London for two. Castle reverses a neckbreaker into a backslide, then drops Johnson with a German suplex. After a double underhook suplex, Castle hits the Bangarang for the pin at 10:30. I’ll give Johnson that he performed probably his best match to date, but the structure was a bit strange as he controlled most of the match, only for Castle to gobble him up with one arm to end the bout. Maybe if it leads somewhere, with a former champion seeing something in Johnson and deciding to coach him I will understand, but I am not positive that will be the direction at all. Either way, it was a good showing for Johnson. Whether or not it goes anywhere is TBD, but Castle’s post-match promo makes me think it’s unlikely. **¾
We get promos from both LSG and Jay Lethal, who will face off in singles competition in the future, presumably next week. LSG is still irked by his loss to Jay Lethal via referee’s decision last month, while Kenny King has accepted and moved on from his loss to Shane Taylor. However, he says losses are not acceptable.
Delirious vs. Rhett Titus
The Pure Rules are as follows:
*The competitors are to obey the “Code of Honor”, shaking one another’s hand before and after the match.
*Each wrestler has 3 rope breaks to stop submission holds and pinfalls. After a wrestler has used all 3 of their rope breaks, submission and pin attempts on or under the ropes by the opponent are considered legal.
*Closed-fist punches to the face are not permitted. Punches to other parts of the body are permitted, excluding low blows. The first use of a closed fist results in a warning, a second will be a disqualification.
*This match has a 15 minute time limit. If the match goes the time limit, three judges will determine the outcome.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.
This is a redux of Delirious and Titus’ feud which began in 2008, and was reprised in 2010 when Titus was aligned with Delirious’ then rival Austin Aries. Delirious is 4-0 in singles matches against Titus. This is Delirious’ first Pure Rules match since losing to Matt Sydal in the Pure Championship tournament, and Titus’ first ever singles Pure Rules match. He was successful in the first ever tag team Pure Rules match with Tracy Williams at “Final Battle 2020.” Titus controls Delirious by his left arm on the mat, quickly transitioning out of any of Delirious’ counters or offensive attempts. They trade pin attempts and reach a stalemate. Titus gives Delirious a gutwrench suplex. Delirious stops a charge by getting his boot up, then dropkicks Titus in the corner across the ring. He strings a clothesline and neckbreaker together before attempting the Cobra Clutch. Titus spends his first rope break getting Delirious to release. Titus uses his second rope break to make Delirious release his second Cobra Clutch attempt. Delirious gives Titus a single arm DDT to damage his left arm. Delirious side steps to avoid a dropkick from Titus. Titus tumbles through the ropes to escape another Cobra Clutch, but Todd Sinclair counts it as Titus spending his third and final rope break. When they get back into the ring, Titus cracks Delirious with two yakuza kicks in the corner. Delirious blocks a rolling clothesline and goes for the Cobra Clutch. He leg sweeps Titus and gets it applied successfully on the mat. Titus uses the ropes to roll back and pin Delirious’ shoulders down for two. He also gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. Delirious slips out of a brainbuster attempt and gives Titus a Cobra Clutch suplex. Delirious tries the Panic Attack. Titus counters with a drop toe hold. He throws Delirious over when he tries another Cobra Clutch. He dropkicks Delirious and gets the pin at 12:24. This was definitely a unique Pure Rules match, as we have not seen anyone use all three rope breaks and still win, which is also impressive considering his opponent still had all rope breaks in place. Titus had to make sure to take out Delirious mid ring with a knockout blow, which he managed to do successfully. This was a nice way for Titus to exorcise a past demon and show he is worthy of being part of the Foundation. ***
Overall: This is a bit of a lame duck episode, as the effects of Final Battle intentionally were not mentioned, as the episodes aired at various times during Final Battle weekend. However, for a lame duck episode, it’s a pretty solid one, with a match that exceeded my expectations, and another quality Pure Rules match that stands out from all the others we’ve seen the past three months. Nothing must see, but a fun fifty minutes nonetheless.