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The Ring of Honor (ROH) Pure Championship was a title contested for in the North American independent professional wrestling promotion Ring of Honor.

Pure wrestling rules

Matches for the ROH Pure Championship were conducted under Pure Wrestling Rules. The three Pure Wrestling Rules are:
  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 will get a warning, and the second will cause the wrestler to be penalized a rope break. If he is already out of rope breaks, he will be disqualified.
  3. A wrestler is subject to a twenty count by the referee if the wrestler goes to the floor.

While not a rule itself, it is worth noting that unlike other championships, the ROH Pure Championship could have changed hands on a disqualification or count out.


The title was originally named the Pure Wrestling Championship and AJ Styles defeated CM Punk in the finals of an 8 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.

The ROH Pure Championship was created after Styles was forced to vacate the Pure Wrestling Title in the wake of the Rob Feinstein controversy that saw Total Nonstop Action Wrestling pulled their contracted wrestlers, which included Styles, from all ROH shows. However, ROH in fact considers the "Pure Wrestling Championship" and the "ROH Pure Championship" to be two distinct titles. There is no mention of Styles on ROH's website as having held the "ROH 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. Doug Williams would become the first recognized holder of the ROH Pure Championship after he defeated Alex Shelley in the finals of a one night mini-tournament at Reborn: Completion.

Weekend of Champions: Night Two, on April 29, 2006, 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 can change hands on a countout, he did not win the ROH World Championship. The two faced each other again on August 12, 2006 in Liverpoolmarker, Englandmarker, 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 belt back to McGuinness to keep.

Title history

Wrestler: Times: Date: Location: Notes: Successful defenses:
A.J. Styles 1† February 14, 2004 Braintree, MAmarker 1
Vacated on April 23, 2004 when Styles was pulled from all ROH shows by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling following the Rob Feinstein controversy
Doug Williams 1 July 17, 2004 Elizabeth, NJmarker 3
John Walters 1 August 28, 2004 Braintree, MAmarker 6
Jay Lethal 1 March 5, 2005 Philadelphia, PAmarker 2
Samoa Joe 1 May 7, 2005 New York, NYmarker 6
Nigel McGuinness 1 August 27, 2005 Buffalo, NYmarker 17
Bryan Danielson 1 August 12, 2006 Liverpool, Englandmarker n/a

List of reign lengths

Wrestler Days Held Date Won Date Lost
Nigel McGuinness 350 August 27 2005 August 12 2006
John Walters 189 August 28 2004 March 5 2005
Samoa Joe 112 May 7 2005 August 27 2005
AJ Styles 69 February 14 2004 April 23 2004
Jay Lethal 63 March 5 2005 May 7 2005
Doug Williams 42 July 17 2004 August 28 2004
Bryan Danielson - August 12 2006

(unified with ROH World Championship)


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