ROH on SBG #507

Baltimore, MD – 6.4.2021

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.

On the June 1st episode of “Week By Week”, Fred Yehi and The World Famous CB faced off in a Pure Rules match, with both men looking to solidify themselves as the rankings leader for the Pure Division:

Pure Rules
Fred Yehi vs. The World Famous CB

Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham is on commentary to observe his potential challengers. 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 time limit expires, three judges will determine the outcome.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.

Yehi twists on CB’s ankle while kneeling on his knee. Yehi ties up CB’s leg and pushes his knee to add pressure. CB pulls him down by his legs and then kick him across the ring. Yehi stomps on CB’s hand and hoists him up overhead by his wrist. CB sunset flips Yehi. CB avoids a wrist stomp. Yehi takes a knee and grabs the ropes as CB goes for a drop toe hold, which referee Todd Sinclair counts as Yehi using his first rope break. CB manipulates Yehi into an abdominal stretch. Yehi uses his second rope break to escape, but gives CB an explosive slam as soon as he releases the rope. CB dragonscrew leg whips Yehi’s left knee, following up with a kick to the back of the leg and a kneeDT. He locks on the Nudo de la Muerte, which Gresham on commentary points out does not have pressure on Yehi’s left knee. Regardless, it results in Yehi spending his third and final rope break to escape. Yehi pounds on CB’s mid-section while keeping CB’s head trapped between his thighs. Yehi German suplexes CB and locks on a Koji Clutch, causing CB to spend his first rope break. Yehi attacks CB’s lower back with hip attacks and elbows. CB throws some uppercuts and goes for Yehi’s left knee. He trips Yehi into a possible jackknife pin. Yehi reverses that into a Koji Clutch, and CB taps out at 9:20. I really enjoyed the tactics implemented by both competitors, and that there was a sense of urgency in Yehi needing to defeat CB once his rope breaks ran out. I also love Gresham giving a shout out to his past NOVA Pro bouts with Yehi on commentary, and based on the quality of those matches, I think Yehi would be a tremendous challenger for Gresham’s title at Best in the World. ***

The June 2nd Women’s Division Wednesday featured a singles match with two more debuting competitors:

Alex Gracia vs. Willow

Gracia has made a number of appearances on AEW Dark. Willow also has made a couple of appearances as of late on that show, but is perhaps best known as a regular for Beyond Wrestling and WWR, and was a Campeón de Parejas in CHIKARA with Solo Darling up to the company’s closing.

Willow has some fun with Gracia, tussling her hair after a drop toe hold. They reach a stalemate when they go for armdrags at the same time, exchanging smiles as they release. Willow catches Gracia with a Pounce and follows up with a senton. Gracia gets her shoulder up at one, so Willow gives her a fisherwoman’s buster for two. She puts Gracia in a reverse figure four with a facelock, converting into a Gedo Clutch for two. Gracia gets her elbow up to stop a series of clotheslines, but Willow hoists her up into an Angle Slam for two. Gracia is able to avoid a kick out of the corner, sweep Willow’s legs to the second rope and hit a desperation back cracker. Gracia follows that up with a facewash kick for two. Gracia follows Willow to the floor with the Pink Dream (Asai crossbody. Back in the ring, Gracia hits Punk Hypnosis (a somersault seated senton off the top) for two. She tries a springboard crossbody again, but this time Willow catches Gracia and swings her into a Complete Shot for two. After connecting with a cannonball senton, Willow misses a Swanton. Gracia capitalizes with a quick waistlock pin but Willow is able to get her shoulders up. Willow pins Gracia with the Dangerous Bae (a Doctor Bomb) at 8:45. Willow reminds me of Hank Hooper from 30 Rock – a delightful individual who can be ruthless when you least expect it. We got to see her pummel Gracia, although Gracia got her moments to shine too, and that dynamic worked really well. I am admittedly a fan of Willow’s prior work, so I was really happy to see her win, and think she would be such an asset to the Women’s division. ** ¾

WIllow is interviewed by Brian Zane backstage, and during the interview, Maria Kanellis-Bennett interrupts to inform Willow she has been invited into the Women’s championship tournament. Willow’s response is just adorable, she comes across as the most likeable person ever.

Now onto this week’s episode! Thanks to votes on the ROH Experience Facebook page, the Survival of the Fittest tournament has returned for the first time since 2018. All of June, matches will take place on ROH TV and Week by Week. Six opening round matches will decide the six individuals who compete in the tournament finals, a six way elimination match. The tournament winner will earn a future ROH World Championship match.

2021 Survival of the Fittest Opening Round Match
Rey Horus vs. Demonic Flamita

Horus and Flamita of course were members of the MexaBlood stable. Flamita’s “Demonic” moniker reflects his darker attitude, look, and entrance video/theme music. Shockingly, both of them break their respective lock-ups in the corner, but for Flamita it was to take Horus off his guard so he could be attacked from behind. Horus is able to slip under Flamita and use the ropes for a tornillo bodyscissors. Flamita however spears Horus off the apron and to the floor! Flamita uses a chair on Horus’ back and referee Todd Sinclair decides to let it go. Horus trips Flamita as Flamita attempts an Asai moonsault, then hits a tope con hilo which sends Flamita back first onto the chair. Flamita rolls in and right back out to break the twenty count. Horus decides to come after Flamita, and Flamita gives him a Spanish Fly on the floor! In the ring, Flamita lands a frog splash for two. After the break, Horus cascades up Flamita into a Yoshi Tonic for two. Flamita superkicks Horus into the middle turnbuckle. Flamita spikes Horus with a slingshot DDT, and Horus gets his shoulder up just before the three count. Horus perches a charging Flamita on the top turnbuckle. He goes for the high-speed prawn hold, but Flamita blocks. Horus is able to take down Horus anyways with a wheelbarrow armdrag. He then spikes Flamita with a pop-up tornado DDT for two. Flamita crotches Horus on the top turnbuckle. He brings down Horus with a lung blower out of a muscle buster, then superkicks Horus for the pin at 11:02. Flamita then steps on Horus’ face before leaving the ring. Not only Horus and Flamita they give us the exciting, fun wrestling we come to expect from them, but Flamita’s actions and entrance were effective in introducing us to his Rudo persona. Flamita punching his ticket into the SOTF finals by besting a former partner is a nice story wrinkle, especially if Flamita ends up meeting Bandido in the finals. ***½

Sledge and Brian Johnson discuss their first round Survival of the Fittest match, which will take place on the June 8th episode of “Week by Week.” Love that they’re actually promoting “Week By Week” on the TV show.

Pure Rules
Josh Woods vs. Silas Young

This match came about after Young used his foot on the ropes for leverage to pin Woods in a regular singles bout three weeks prior. The challenge was then made for them to meet in a Pure Rules rematch. 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.
*Unlike most Pure Rules matches, this match has a 30 minute time limit. This time extension was a special request from both Woods and Young. If the time limit expires, three judges will determine the outcome.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.

Young is wearing his “Technician of Honor” trunks he wore when he faced Jonathan Gresham in a Pure Rules match at Best in the World 2019. Woods is able to keep control of Young for the first five minutes of the match. Woods gives Young a clap when Young kips up out of a headscissors escape. Young offers a handshake, baiting Woods into a closed fist punch in a headlock, which referee Joe Mandak did not see. Woods backs Young to the corner. As Mandak is breaking them apart, Young cheap shots Woods again unnoticed. Woods retaliates with his own closed fist, which unfortunately for Woods Mandak does see and issues Woods a warning. Woods is able to stomp the ball and socket joint of Young’s shoulder into the mat. Young responds with a desperation Hot Shot. Woods is able to break out of an abdominal stretch, but Young monkey flips him over and applies a bodyscissors. Woods wraps his legs across Young’s legs to do damage to Young’s ankles, escaping the hold and putting on a front hammerlock around the ten minute mark, rolling Young onto his shoulders for a two count. Young wears down Woods’ mid-section, looking to take air out of his lungs. Woods counters Young’s superplex attempt with his own twisting superplex. Despite Young’s attempts to escape, Woods pulls Young down into a rear-naked choke. When it looks like Young is about to grab the ropes, Woods uses his foot to pull his hand away. Young attempts to use the ropes to pin Woods again, just like he did in their first match, but this time Joe Mandak sees it. Young’s first rope break is counted and Woods releases the hold. They fight to the apron where Young has a rope break counted against him when he uses them to block a German suplex. Young however scores big with an apron DDT. In the ring, Woods barely gets his shoulder up before the three count. Woods stops Young mid Peegee Waja Plunge. Young uses his third and final rope break to get himself off of Woods’ shoulders. He pulls Woods into the FYB/FYF combo and knees him in the face before hitting Total Anarchy. Woods uses his first rope break to stop Young’s pin. Woods cradle suplexes Young into the corner. Young blocks a charging Woods. Woods escapes out of a Peegee Waja Plunge attempt. He rolls Young down into the Beast Lock. Young grabs the ropes, but as he is out of rope breaks it makes no difference. Young taps out at 21:29. This match told such a great story. Young cheated and did what he could to neutralize Woods, even going for the same cheap tactic to win that he did in their previous match. However, if Young didn’t try to get the cheap win again, he would have had another rope break to spend when Woods got him in the Beast Lock. That rules. I was truthfully not excited for this feud, especially after their first match, but I give them credit for putting forth a tremendous feud-ending (or at least I presume it is) match. Hopefully this momentum carries Woods into bigger and better things. ***¾

Overall: Two very good and very different matches make this an easy recommendation and one of the better episodes of ROH TV in recent memory. Throw in really enjoyable Week by Week and Women’s Division Wednesday matches and this was a top notch week for ROH. Next week has potential to be pretty awesome as well.

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