ROH: Wheeler Yuta must vacate the ROH Pure Championship

The title hasn't been defended since January 2024
Wheeler Yuta Dec.png
Wheeler Yuta Dec.png /

Episode 64 of Honor Club featured more than one champion for the first time in weeks. They were all Proving Ground matches, but three (technically four) champions had matches. ROH Television Champion Kyle Fletcher opened the show. The tag team champions, Mike Bennett and Matt Taven have had several Proving Ground matches since Supercard of Honor. The show was bookended with Women's Champion ATHENA back in action for the first time in weeks.

While ROH has struggled to book their champions since their last pay-per-view, one championship hasn't been defended since January 3. The Pure Championship hasn't been defended on ROH programming since Final Battle way back on December 15, 2023.

After months of no news about the Pure Champion, it was reported last week that Wheeler Yuta has been dealing with concussion symptoms. His last match was on January 10th when he faced Eddie Kingston for the AEW Triple Crown. He was supposed to wrestle alongside Blackpool Combat Club at Arena Mexico in February. A week before, he was pulled and replaced by Matt Sydal. No information was provided other than Yuta wasn't cleared.

Before finding out the situation with Yuta, regular ROH viewers had been calling for the Pure Championship to be vacated. At the very least, they should've had a tournament to crown an interim champion. AEW has had interim champions twice before. It would make sense for ROH to follow suit.

Back in February when it became clear that Yuta wasn't going to be cleared, they should've had the title vacated. Let Yuta focus on his health and recovery without the pressure of not defending his title. The Pure division has been non-existent without a champion. Katsuyori Shibata held the title prior to Yuta. In December, he had to return to Japan to get visa issues straightened out.

Prior to Yuta defeating Shibata, it seemed like Josh Woods was on track to become the next champion. Woods recently returned to ROH at Supercard. He is now part of the Premier Athletes alongside Ariya Daivari and Tony Nese. There have been several vignettes focusing on the members and their training under "Smart" Mark Sterling.

Any of the three could be Pure Champion. Shibata spends most of his time in AEW, but he could also compete for the title. Other options include Matt Sydal, Lee Johnson, and former Pure Champion, Daniel Garcia. There's enough talent to have a tournament.

ROH could also take a cue from with the Women's Television Championship tournament and bring in some indie talents to participate. They could even bring in Zack Sabre, Jr. He wrestled on Honor Club several times last year.

If they decide to strip Yuta of the title and begin a tournament the first week of June, the finals could be held at Death Before Dishonor. It was announced on Thursday that it would be Friday, July 26. Beginning a tournament on the June 6 episode, would give them 8 weeks to have a tournament. Of course, they could always end the tournament sooner and have the winner defend the title at the pay-per-view.

Regardless of how they decide to handle crowning a new champion, it's time for Yuta to vacate. The title has been in limbo for way to long. Concussions can be tricky and there's no timetable for his return. Yuta's only focus should be getting healthy. When he's cleared, Yuta can focus on getting his title back.