Josh Woods wants ‘the goods’ in the form of revived ROH Pure Championship

Josh Woods, Ring of Honor (RING OF HONOR/Robert Bellamy)
Josh Woods, Ring of Honor (RING OF HONOR/Robert Bellamy) /

Josh Woods talks to Daily DDT about entering the ROH Pure Championship Tournament and what winning it would mean to him, his journey in Ring of Honor, teaming with Silas Young, and more.

After a six-month hiatus due to the pandemic, Ring of Honor Wrestling has returned to TV and isn’t wasting any time in delivering must-see content.

The last few weeks of the show have been dedicated to the ROH Pure Championship Tournament, which features 16 men battling for the right to become the first ROH Pure Champion in over a decade.

Among the men competing for the prestigious prize include Josh “The Goods” Woods, who is set to clash with Kenny King in the first round on the upcoming episode of ROH TV. Both men have something to prove, but Woods is especially eager to emerge victorious and win his first piece of gold in ROH.

Woods’ background in amateur wrestling and being an All-American at the University of Central Florida will obviously bode well for his chances in the tourney. That’s in addition to his experience in the MMA world and his time spent in the WWE developmental system from 2014 to 2016.

“It’s almost like this whole tournament was brought back just for me,” Woods proclaimed. “I’m pretty excited to showcase some things I’ve been working on and highlight some skills I may not be able to showcase in other matches that aren’t really made for this kind of thing.”

Although Woods has yet to hold a title in ROH, he has had plenty of success in tournaments in the past, largely while in amateur wrestling and MMA but also in ROH. In fact, it was his Top Prospect Tournament victory in 2017 that kicked off his run with the promotion.

ROH’s Josh Woods will face a formidable opponent in Kenny King

If Woods can advance against King, he’ll have another three matches to go before he’s crowned the ROH Pure champion. He’s no stranger to putting down multiple opponents in pursuit of a grander prize, and given the history behind the Pure title, he’d love nothing more than to have his hand raised with the title in tow when it’s all over.

“It’s like an endurance of sport,” he said. “I’ve been an endurance athlete and been tournaments my whole life, not just in Ring of Honor but also high school and college and now professionally. It’s a different mentality when you could potentially be wrestling more than one or two times in a night, so I think having that experience sets me a little bit apart from some of the other guys who may or may not have similar tournament experience like I have.”

Woods has a slight advantage in that respect, but King’s long list of accolades in ROH speaks for itself. He’s a former ROH World Television champion, has dominated the tag team ranks with Rhett Titus as All-Night Express, and owns high-profile victories over several top talents including Jay Lethal.

He admits that there really isn’t any one way to prepare for an opponent as seasoned and as skilled as King. Rather, he’s looking forward to the challenge and aims to put everything he’s been practicing while in quarantine to the test.

“Kenny’s an amazing athlete,” Woods said. “He brings a unique style and he has so many facets in his arsenal. I don’t really train for someone specifically. I kind of train for what I’m good at and I know if I stick to things I’m good at and be smooth at those things then it will be easier for me to counter anyone else in a way. I just want to make sure things I can do really well are executed well so that the game plan works and really the style doesn’t come into play as much.”

King and Woods have faced each other only one other thing in ROH, that being in late 2017 when they collided on an episode of ROH TV for the ROH World Television Championship. Of course, King came out on top that evening, but Woods will use what he learned from the loss when they meet again one-on-one in the ROH Pure Championship Tournament.

This time, he vows, the outcome will be a bit different.

“I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’m constantly trying to evolve what I’m doing or try to further my skill-set,” Woods said. “If I were to wrestle the same Josh Woods back then, I would destroy that kid. I think it’ll be a different match for Kenny because he may have that arrogance now that we already won and have a little overconfidence going into it. I know Kenny respects me as an athlete and as a competitor, so I think he’s done a different type of training to prepare as well. I’m really looking forward to watching the match back and seeing what people think about it. I love this style and what he brings and just having this opportunity to stand across from Kenny is phenomenal.”

As good as Woods already was when he signed with ROH four years ago, he’s grown exponentially since then as both a performer and a character on the show. It’s led to him being featured more prominently and being afforded more opportunities such as taking part in the ROH Pure title tourney.

Obviously, having the chance to compete against the very best in the business in the last four years has helped him tremendously as well as far as finding as footing. Even with everything he’s accomplished up to this point, he continues to improve with every match he has.

“I think about when I first started out and coming back now, it would be a totally different experience wrestling some of the guys I first started out with,” he said. “There’s leaps and bounds. I think you can have all these tools in your arsenal, but if you don’t have the confidence or know how to utilize them, it makes a big difference.

“Silas Young has done a really good job, no matter how mean he is to me, and I know it’s tough love and it’s like that little brother syndrome. You know he still loves you,” he continued. “I’ve learned a lot from him as far as trusting myself and being able to utilize the things I’ve learned and how to properly use them and not throw some stuff away. I really would love to face the Josh Woods from back then just to see how different it would be, just the thought process alone of how matches should be structurally. That’d be a really cool experience for me.”

On the subject of Silas Young, Woods praised the ROH veteran for bringing the best out of him over the last year in the tag team ranks. It took time for Woods to convince Young to team with him, but once they joined ranks, they immediately clicked and found instant success.

More importantly for Woods, the tandem known as 2 Guys, 1 Tag has allowed him to become a better character and show off his personality. They were a recurring highlight in ROH up until the promotion shut down for six months due to the current circumstances.

“Being with Silas has definitely allowed me to showcase more than just my in-ring abilities,” he said. “It’s been great. When you first come in, you kind of get labeled as the amateur guy or the MMA guy. You’re kind of put in this role, but it didn’t really click with people because I didn’t really believe in it and that wasn’t me. If you talk to me or hear the promos I do, that’s me. I’m just goofy and fun-loving and when the dial has to turned up to an 11, it gets turned up. Silas has helped me grow past, ‘Oh, I can do all these cool things.’ I’m skilled in a certain way where I know who I am as a person and I can get my persona across. I think that’s helped people connect with me or at least help them understand who I am.”

Woods took credit for coming up with their team name of 2 Guys, 1 Tag after already pitching countless team names and Young denying all of them. Young had no desire to make their partnership “official” by giving themselves a team name but eventually came around to the idea.

“We were going back and forth and I said, ‘Dude, we need a name. We need to be official,'” Woods said jokingly. “He was kind of fighting it and saying, ‘I don’t know if I want this to be official.’ I said, ‘We have to be official.’ We just kept bouncing off each other. I came up with a lot of things and kept shooting them off to him and he would say, ‘No, man, we’re not doing that.’ We kind of clashed and he suggested 1 Guy, 1 Boy. I said, ‘No, man, that’s not cool. We’re two guys tagging. What about 2 Guys, 1 Tag?’ He said, ‘I hate you.'”

Despite Young’s initial skepticism, the team name stuck and a string of wins followed. They unsuccessfully challenged for the ROH World Tag Team Championship earlier this year but remain on the right track to becoming champions at some point.

Josh Woods is fully focused on the ROH Pure Title

For now, both Woods and Young are fully focused on winning the ROH Pure Championship. In fact, there’s a very real possibility it comes down to them fighting in the finals considering they’re on opposite sides of the bracket.

“2 Guys, 1 Final. That would be really awesome,” Woods said. “Of course, being able to compete against Silas would be really exciting, not just for myself but for him and I know he’ll deny it. I think he’d like the challenge to see who’s better between us. I think the fans would enjoy that as well with the dynamic we have. We’ve competed against each other before in mixed tags and eight-man tags, but the dynamic is still there regardless.”

Needless to say, winning the ROH Pure Championship would mean the world to Woods, especially with it being his first title win in the company. It’d be an honor for him (no pun intended) to take the title into the future and follow in the footsteps of the Pure champions who came before him.

“There’s so many things that go into that, and you kind of look at wrestling as it is. People will say, ‘It’s not real, it’s predetermined.’ Yeah, the business has evolved and the fans know more,” he said. “We know Batman and Superman aren’t real and we know some things are force-fed to us, but when you’re put in a position to be the face of a company or the face of a league or a division, it just speaks to how hard you’re working and how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown. I think it’d be a real privilege to be able to represent the pure style coming back and have that responsibility of being a leader at the forefront of pure wrestling. It would boost my confidence, that’s for sure.”

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