There’s nothing better than a battle to determine who is the best of the best, right? Authentic, classic wrestling that ends with one grappler coming out on top. Ring of Honor’s Pure Title Tournament may have taken a hiatus the last 14 years, but one of the competitors is looking to make this title last for a lifetime. 

“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams will take on “The Octopus” Jonathan Gresham in the finals of ROH’s Pure Title Tournament, which will air this Saturday, October 31.

In a world that has been overthrown by the pandemic, Williams feels very lucky to be working for a promotion like ROH.

“The company has taken care of everybody throughout the whole thing,” Williams said in an exclusive interview with “As weird and as tough as it was to go for so long without wrestling, I was able to do that without fear of not being able to make dates and whatnot.” 

When it came time for its roster to get back together and put on a show, they were all ready to go. “I think everyone was really sort of fired up and had a little extra chip on their shoulder and really make it all worth it.”

All the precautions, and the steps that ROH took to ensure everyone’s safety really went a long way. “I think it’s allowed ROH to press reset a little bit, re-evaluate and try some new stuff.”  

ROH’s Pure Title Tournament started about eight weeks ago and the wrestlers were divided into two blocks. They all had to compete in a match lasting 15-20 minutes. The winner is determined by pinfall.

It had been eight months since Williams, a New York native, had his final match before the start of this tournament, and he found the whole experience interesting, as it presented its own little challenges. He saw something special in his initial opponent. “To step in the ring with someone I’d never wrestled before, like Russ Taylor, who I wrestled in the first round and who really blew my mind and he’s probably going to do some really amazing things.”

Tracy Williams takes to the air. Photo courtesy Ring of Honor

Williams’ win against Taylor got him one step closer to winning the ultimate prize. Now, he has to face Gresham, who he is very familiar with.

“I’ve beaten him titles before. My first match in Ring of Honor was against Jonathan Gresham in a tournament, and he beat me in that,” he recalled.

Williams plans to right that wrong. “It’s an interesting thing to be walking into, to be facing off against someone who has become like a rival to me over the years, in the independents before Ring of Honor till now and to do it for such a huge prize, one that we both look at as the top prize in wrestling right now.”

As for strategy, Williams says he will do what he always does: bring the aggression. “Jonathan is an amazing technical wrestler and he’s got a list of moves that goes on and on and he’s in amazing shape. I’m just hoping that me bringing that anger and the fire will overcome that.” 

Winning isn’t the only thing on Williams’ mind, however. He’s looking to take this championship and put it in the spotlight. “I would like to make Ring of Honor the company where the Pure Wrestling Championship is number one, where that is the primary goal when you come into this company.”

He added that it’s not about who’s the best politician, the most marketable, it’s about being the best wrestler in the world. “People want to see real people struggling and real people wrestling. We can show that struggle in the ring rather than do it with insane characters and insane stories.”

Williams believes that there is a market for that. “It’s the kind of thing that you can air in a sports bar and people will ask, ‘Oh, what’s this guy’s story?’ and see him or her fight rather just just see them talk about it all day. I want to put that in the forefront.”  

For more information on the Pure Title Tournament and how to watch the finals, visit the Ring of Honor website.

TOP PHOTO: Tracy Williams works a submission hold. Photo courtesy Ring of Honor