Recap from Lee Goodfellow:
This was one of the first ROH matches I ever saw. I’m sure I remember Bret Hart being the referee. Guess I’m getting mixed up with something else. The commentators explain the “pure” rules, which I lost track of straight away. Something about the ropes. They wrestle to begin. Punk counters a Styles Clash attempt to an ankle lock, which gets broken by the ropes and causes and argument. I’ve just realised that Gabe is one of the commentators. They wrestle outside. Punk and AJ that is, not Gabe. They run around then AJ goes after Punk’s female accomplice. Punk dives in him. They do wrestling then AJ dropkicks him. Some crowd barrier throwing ends in Punk diving over it into AJ, in the crowd, in the dark. The other commentator says “what action we are seeing here”, which is pretty ironic since they’re in total darkness right now. Back in the ring, Punk locks in a boston crab. Styles counters something into a two count. Oh I’ve grasped the rope break rule, they’re only allowed three, after that making it to the ropes doesn’t count. Styles goes up top but Punk chops the ropes, he falls out. The other commentator calls Gabe “Chris”. He had a fake commentary name? Punk gets AJ in a half boston crab. AJ has used all his rope breaks up. Punk stomps AJ’s face like Super Dragon. Punk gets a rope break from some hold, they are both out of rope breaks.
Up top, AJ counters a superplex attempt into a facebuster. Exhausted, they trade strikes on the mat. Punk seems to have the advantage with headbutts, but gets discuss lariated. Punk almost gets counted out. Punk escapes a diving ddt, nails a shining wizard! AJ kicks out at two. Forearms and chops set up AJ in the corner, but he blocks Punk’s run then does a flippy thing into a waistlock. Punk gets out of it and nails a piledriver. Punk locks in a “crab like manouever”. AJ climbs the ropes still in the hold, literally kicks out of it. Punk low dropkicks him, goes for another Shining Wizard, AJ counters into a Styles Clash! One, two, Punk kicks out! Punk dodges a discuss lariat, turns it into a ddt! One, two, AJ kicks out! Punk sets AJ up for the pepsi plunge. AJ gets out and nails an awesome backflip kick. He nails a Styles Clash from the top rope! One, two, THREE! Styles becomes the first Pure champion.
Lee’s thoughts: Good match. Intense in the early going with lots of emphasis on submissions, then a hot finishing stretch with a massive finish. Of course, it’s also cool seeing one of WWE’s top guys go against one of TNA’s, which was made me seek out early ROH stuff back in 2006 or 7.
Thoughts from David Arthur:
A classic example of what happens when an awesome worker ties up with an awesome athlete. Punk was very organic in this match, he didn’t rely on a pattern or routine of moves, he simply used to his advantage the flow and the story being told to determine his method of attack. AJ has always been crisp and smooth. At the time, Pure Wrestling was a new concept that no one had been fully adapted to, so the rope-break “controversies,” of this match really drove the storytelling. It helped keep both men looking strong regardless of the outcome.
Thoughts from Murray Peterson:
For me watching this video, it is a fantasy match. Now I know what you’re thinking, how can this be a fantasy match when these two met several times? Simply because I have only watched them wrestle during their current positions in TNA and WWE. So going back into time, this qualifies as a fantasy booking. Maybe it was these expectations, but I was pretty disappointed with this match. There was a focus on the rope break rules, that never really paid off. It slowed down the first half and the match, and it never really caught momentum. Yeah Punk had his leg on the rope after the Styles Clash, but if you are going to build the three rope break rule the way they did, it has to be used several times before the end to give it more significance. The ending sequence was rather enjoyable, and Styles showed off a lot of his athletic abilities. For a tournament final, I expect a lot more. Something tells me there are now a lot of Ring of Honour fans furious with me.
Thoughts from TJ Hawke:
This match is probably a dream for WWE and TNA fans, and it’s interesting to see what these two could put together when they were much younger (It’s only a shame we don’t have a modern rematch to compare it to). I think these two are (and were) capable of a better match, but they had a lot of masters to serve in this match. While this wasn’t the first Pure Rules match in ROH history, it was first really important one, and it had to set the tone for the whole division. On that front, I think the match worked really well. As a main event of an
Match Rating: ***3/4
Thoughts from Chris GST:
Always thought this match got lost in the shuffle when it came to great matches of ROH’s past. I would assume because of the TNA/ROH rift and the way the title had to be re-handled that it is why some just either don’t remember that it happened or care since the impact was lost. Either way, this was a great match. It showcased the difference of the PURE title rules in a major way as well as the difference in psychology that could be utilized in these types of matches. ROH really should consider using this type of formula to separate their secondary title again. The TV title could mean a lot more and while it would be true that creative/talent could help do that, a different environment such as tweaked rules could do that as well. Given Punk and Styles are the two men in this match, I would think the viewers wouldn’t have much in the way of negative comments other than a few clunky transitions