ROH Pure Championship

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ROH Pure Championship
Promotion Ring of Honor
Date established February 14, 2004
Date retired August 12, 2006
Other name(s)
ROH Pure Wrestling Championship

The ROH Pure Championship was a professional wrestling championship contested for in the American professional wrestling promotion Ring of Honor (ROH). The championship was generally contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute scripted finishes rather than contend in direct competition.

Pure wrestling rules[edit]

Matches for the ROH Pure Championship were conducted under "Pure Wrestling Rules". The three Pure Wrestling Rules were:

  1. Each wrestler has three rope breaks to stop submission holds and pinfalls during the match. After a wrestler exhausts his rope breaks, submission and pin attempts under the ropes by the opponent are considered legal.
  2. There are no closed-fist punches to the face allowed in a Pure match, only open-handed slaps or chops to the face are allowed. Punches to other parts of the body (save for low blows) are permitted. The first use of a closed fist would get a warning, and the second would cause the wrestler to be penalized a rope break. If he is already out of rope breaks, he would be disqualified.
  3. A wrestler is subject to a twenty count by the referee if the wrestler goes to the floor.

Unlike other championships, the ROH Pure Championship could change hands on a disqualification or countout.


The title was originally named the ROH Pure Wrestling Championship and A.J. Styles defeated CM Punk in the finals of an eight-man, one night tournament to crown the first champion. The tournament took place at the Second Anniversary Show and also featured John Walters, Chris Sabin, Doug Williams, Matt Stryker, Josh Daniels and Jimmy Rave.

Styles was forced to vacate the Pure Wrestling title in the wake of the Rob Feinstein controversy that resulted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) abruptly ending its talent-sharing agreement with ROH (pulling all of its contracted performers, including Styles, from all ROH shows). However, for almost ten years ROH considered the Pure Wrestling Championship and the Pure Championship two distinct titles—not a single title that was merely renamed/re-branded. There was no mention of Styles on ROH's website as having held the Pure Championship, and it was seldom, if ever, acknowledged in commentary that Styles held the previous version of the title or that it even existed until on January 2014, when ROH released a DVD about Styles, describing him as the first ROH Pure Champion.[1] Doug Williams would win the vacant title after he defeated Alex Shelley in the finals of a one night mini-tournament at Reborn: Completion on July 17, 2004.

On April 29, 2006, Weekend of Champions: Night Two saw the first ever title vs. title match in Ring of Honor as ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson took on ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuinness. The match was contested under Pure title rules, but both the World and Pure titles were on the line. McGuinness won the bout by countout, but since only the Pure title could change hands on a countout, he did not win the ROH World Championship. The two faced each other again on August 12, 2006 in Liverpool, England, with Danielson defeating McGuinness to unify the ROH Pure Championship with the ROH World Championship. Danielson and McGuinness competed in a rematch for the ROH World Championship later that month, wrestling to a one-hour draw. After the match, Danielson announced that the ROH Pure Championship had been officially retired, and gave the title belt back to McGuinness to keep.

Title history[edit]

Reign The reign number for the specific set of wrestlers listed
No. Numbers in bold indicate that a reign is current and changes daily
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the titles were won
Successful defenses Accounts how many defenses the champion had during their reign
No. Wrestlers Reign Date Days held Location Event Successful defenses Notes
1 A.J. Styles 1 February 14, 2004 70 Braintree, MA Second Anniversary Show 1 Defeated CM Punk in a tournament final.[2][3]
Vacated April 24, 2004 N/A N/A Vacated when Styles was pulled from all ROH shows by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling following the Rob Feinstein controversy.[2]
2 Doug Williams 1 July 17, 2004 42 Elizabeth, NJ Reborn: Completion 3 Defeated Alex Shelley in a tournament final.[2][4]
3 John Walters 1 August 28, 2004 189 Elizabeth, NJ Scramble Cage Melee 6 [2][4]
4 Jay Lethal 1 March 5, 2005 63 Philadelphia, PA Trios Tournament 2005 2 [2][4][5]
5 Samoa Joe 1 May 7, 2005 112 New York, NY Manhattan Mayhem I 6 [2][4]
6 Nigel McGuinness 1 August 27, 2005 350 Buffalo, NY Dragon Gate Invasion 17 [2][4]
7 Bryan Danielson 1 August 12, 2006 <1 Liverpool, England Unified Unified with Danielson's ROH World Championship.[2][4]


  1. ^ "AJ Styles: Styles Clash (2 Disc Set)". Ring of Honor. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "ROH official event results". Ring of Honor. Archived from the original on April 22, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ "ROH Pure Championship history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved April 15, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "ROH Pure Championship official title history". Ring of Honor. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  5. ^ Hoops, Brian (March 5, 2017). "Daily Pro Wrestling History (03/05): The Hardy Boyz win WWF tag team gold". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved March 5, 2017. 

External links[edit]