ROH is undergoing changes with an announced hiatus following Final Battle 2021.
Ring of Honor Wrestling will be releasing all their contracted talent and go through a “reimagining” that will see its scheduled restart for WrestleMania 38 weekend in Dallas, Texas for Supercard of Honor.
Many fans are remembering all the great wrestling of this near-20 year promotion.
They have hosted the early stages of the careers of some of the industry’s best in Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens.
However, the past year since coming back after the pandemic has seen brilliant action from the stars of ROH. These men and women performed exceptionally under difficult conditions to get their fans some entertainment.
ROH hosted fans once again earlier this summer and some bouts after this time will be included here. These are the five best ROH matches of the pandemic era.
5. Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bennett for the ROH Pure Championship – ROH Best In The World 2021
The Pure Rules division was highlighted early and often following Ring of Honor’s pandemic break. Right at the forefront every step of the way was Jonathan Gresham.
Gresham was proud to be the reigning ROH Pure Champion heading into the company’s return to live fans in attendance at Best In The World 2021.
The opposite side of the ring had Mike Bennett. He was seeking the respect that he never truly gained during his first run in ROH. He joined the Pure division and racked up wins before getting his shot against the Foundation member.
Jonathan Gresham controlled the pace early on during this superb encounter. He grounded Bennett and got cocky, but the OGK member used this to his advantage to make a comeback. There was technical wrestling genius, hard-hitting strike exchanges and close nearfalls including a Dusty finish.
Bennett thought he had won with a piledriver, but Gresham’s foot was under the ropes. As a result, the champ used this distraction to sneak behind his opponent and apply a leglock for another victory.
4. Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe in the Fight On The Farm – ROH TV (July 3, 2021)
It seemed like every wrestling promotion dabbled into the cinematic world once or twice during this pandemic. Ring of Honor was no different in this regard.
The company crafted a well-built storyline about The Briscoes going through issues after a series of losses and Jay getting distracted with his feud against EC3.
The dissension of the two brothers got more aggressive as time went on. It was Papa Briscoe who stepped in and set up a Fight On The Farm to finally settle things.
The Briscoes are no strangers to fighting one another, but this was extremely unique with the farm setting and fight that went all over the family compound.
Jay and Mark brought intensity and entertaining banter to create a wild spectacle that has to be seen to be believed.
3. Tony Deppen vs. Dragon Lee for the ROH Television Championship – ROH Best In The World 2021
Dragon Lee was a roll prior to the pandemic. He captured the ROH Television Championship by defeating Shane Taylor and was a consistent showstealer.
Travel from Mexico wasn’t easy during this period. However, Lee made his return at Final Battle 2020 when he defeated Tony Deppen and looked set to have a good reign.
This all changed prior to ROH 19th Anniversary when Dragon Lee was unable to perform due to COVID protocols. He was replaced by fellow LFI member Kenny King to defend his title against Tracy Williams, whom he lost to.
Williams lost the gold to Deppen, setting the stage for a rematch at ROH Best In The World 2021. This was Ring of Honor’s first live event in front of fans and they absolutely loved what Deppen and Lee offered.
Their TV Title battle had a frantic pace, was hard-hitting and had plenty of stunning exchanges to excite the fans. Dragon Lee regained the championship over Deppen in a certified banger.
2. Bandido vs. Rey Horus vs. Flamita – ROH 19th Anniversary Show
The Mexisquad of Bandido, Rey Horus and Flamita were firing on all cylinders as the ROH Six Man Tag Team Champions. They fell short to Shane Taylor Promotions and issues started to arise.
Flamita wanted the spotlight for himself and caused rifts in the team. This led to all three men trying to settle their differences in a three-way at ROH 19th Anniversary Show.
Ring of Honor has fully accepted the lucha libre style and this contest showcased its excellence in a major way.
There were never-before-seen sequences like Bandido catching Horus in mid-air into a moonsault slam, while on the shoulders of Flamita. Bandido furthered the frustration of his Mexi-Blood tag team partner by pinning him with the 21 Plex.
1. Jonathan Gresham vs. Tracy Williams – ROH Pure Championship Tournament Finals (November 2, 2021)
As previously mentioned, ROH spotlighted the Pure division immediately upon their return to weekly television. The first two months of Ring of Honor TV focused exclusively on the Pure Championship Tournament.
From the offset, then-ROH World Tag Team Champions Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal said that they would carry the flag of pure wrestling and wanted to meet each other in the finals of the tournament.
However, Tracy Williams didn’t get the memo and eliminated Jay Lethal to advance to the Pure Championship Tournament Finals to face Gresham. Much like his opponent, Williams was a gifted grappler and proficient in technical wrestling.
This proved to be a perfect matchup for the division. Despite no fans in attendance, this had the big fight feel and lived up to the hype.
The mat work was excellent, selling on point and the drama escalated beautifully. Jonathan Gresham became the first ROH Pure Champion in 15 years by tapping out Williams with the Octopus Stretch.
This was exactly the ending to the tournament that was needed and set the Pure Championship up to be an essential part of the identity of Ring of Honor for the next year.
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