jay lethal

Jay Lethal Describes How ROH’s Pure Division Has Been A ‘Home Run’, Calls Eli Isom ‘The Future’

Jay Lethal is often called “The Franchise” in Ring of Honor and for about the past year, the former world champion has been at the forefront of The Foundation, a group dedicated to purifying the company by showcasing the virtues of pure wrestling.

This weekend on ROH Wrestling, the group, which also features Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus, will take on the team of Eli Isom, Taylor Rust, World Famous CB & Joe Keys, four skilled technical wrestlers who want to test themselves against Lethal and his stablemates. In an interview with WrestleZone ahead of the show, Jay Lethal described how “pure wrestling” has thrived in the no-fans setting, which ROH’s television show still operates in. He noted that the lack of live crowds blurred the lines of babyfaces and heels before he called the Pure Division a “home run” because it lets competitors prove themselves as genuine wrestlers.

“The opportunity to present pure wrestling really found its niche with the no-crowd [setting],” said Lethal. “I really feel like, when we were forced to do these shows with no people in attendance, you know, wrestling has been this dynamic of there’s a good person and a bad person, and without the fans there to cheer for that good person and boo for that bad person, then it kinda becomes a little hokey and weird, which it is, when they’re there.

“But when they’re not there to do something in a way where you are affected by whether or not the people are in attendance, that was the real task. And man, I think we hit a home run with the Pure Division. So I think it’s so cool we get to showcase our actual wrestling, guys who you didn’t think could go before, you’re seeing that they can actually wrestle.”

Jay Lethal specifically pointed to Gresham as one of the division’s best success stories, as “The Octopus” has reached new heights since the return of the Pure Championship. Gresham’s remarkable run in the Pure Championship Tournament, and his subsequent run with the title, helped him quickly rise up the ranks in the wrestling world. Likewise, Lethal also praised Rhett Titus as someone who flew under the radar for years before the opportunity to showcase his wrestling skills alongside his stablemates helped him enjoy a breakout run of his own.

My heart goes out to Rhett Titus because he’s so good in the ring, but I don’t feel like, throughout the years, he has gotten that chance to show the world,” said Lethal. “I mean, it’s weird to say that knowing that he was tag team champions at one point, and he’s always been there, but like never once did people get to stop and go wow man, Rhett Titus, he can really go. And I really feel like this got to do that. And that’s the goal of The Foundation, to give those people a chance.

In previewing this weekend’s eight-man tag team match, Lethal specifically praised Isom and called him “the future” of Ring of Honor. Because he can see Isom’s immense potential, the former world champion made it clear that he wants to help the young star however he can.

“…To be across the ring from guys like Cheeseburger and Rust and man, Eli Isom, not to take anything away from the others, but I really think he is the future,” said Lethal. “Not only of Ring of Honor, but Eli Isom, he’s so good now. He’s gonna be amazing. I just, every time I see him, I just want to help him as much as I possibly can because he’s just amazing.”

Lethal then collectively complimented his opponents in the eight-man tag team match by saying that he’d “love” to see each one of them join The Foundation so they could all benefit, like Gresham and Titus, from the opportunity to prove themselves.

“I would love to have in this match, everybody we’re about to face, I would love it if they were all in The Foundation,” said Lethal. “Because like I said, The Foundation is, it’s just supplying that chance for them to show the world what they can do. And they can all go.”

Check out our full video interview with Jay Lethal at the top of this post. The Foundation faces off with Eli Isom, Taylor Rust, World Famous CB & Joe Keys on this week’s episode of ROH TV; check local listings for syndication or watch on FITE this Monday.

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