Josh Woods locks into an instant feud in his AEW Dynamite debut

One of the worst parts of AEW founder Tony Khan’s buying Ring of Honor was the decision to take the ROH Pure Championship off of Josh Woods at Supercard of Honor,

Now granted, if that’s the lowest light of Khan’s tenure running the promotion, then he is off to a fantastic start, as it makes sense to put his new promotion’s belts on established AEW guys in order to ease the transition of new fans to the ROH way of working, especially with a belt with extra rules like the Pure Championship, but after watching Woods really come into his own over his title run in uber-late Ring of Honor, it was a bummer to see the NCWA Wrestling National Championship-turned -MMA fighter-turned professional wrestler relegated to Dark matches; matches he didn’t even always win.

Goodness, don’t you know that “Woods has the Goods?” He’s a big, vicious grappler who can suplex with the best of them and lock down on a particularly wicked leg bar that looks incredibly painful – how is that guy not going on a Hook-style run where he dominates lesser competition instead of dropping bouts to the likes of Shawn Spears, Daniel Garcia, and an ROH Pure Championship rematch against Wheeler Yuta?

And yet, as the months have gone on, Woods has slowly but surely become a bigger part of the AEW picture, with a few wins picked up on Dark and a surprise spot at Death Before Dishonor as one of the judges in Yuta’s Pure Championship match with Garcia. As ROH becomes more and more established, it’s only a matter of time before he’s eventually cutting through lesser talents with ease on the way to another championship bout.

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Not necessarily; no, in a very interesting twist of fate, Woods actually made his AEW Dynamite debut at Fight for the Fallen, where he submitted Keith Lee with his signature leg bar backstage while his partner, Swerve Strickland, was wrestling with “Smart” Mark Sterling and Tony Nese in the ring. After having a positive interaction on Dark earlier in the week, is Wood about to unleash his unique brand of aggressive in-ring work aligned with Sterling moving forward?

Josh Woods has taken aim at one of AEW’s heavy hitters.

When waxing poetic about his signature finisher, the ankle lock, on his podcast, Kurt Angle delivered the following line about why he started using the move, then known as the signature finisher of Ken Shamrock, as part of his then-WWF offensive move set as dictated by E Wrestling,

“I can give it to anybody, any size. It wouldn’t matter.”

Is that true? Can you use an ankle lock on anyone and it remains effective? Well, why don’t we check in with none other than AEW’s Paul “The Big Show” Wight, who had to face Angle back at Armageddon 2002.

Yeah, I’d say that works just fine, which is good, because Keith Lee is the closest thing AEW has to Paul Wight outside of, well, Paul Wight, who probably isn’t taking that bump anymore at the tender age of 50 .

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Measuring in at 6-foot, 220 pounds, Woods is a big, tough dude who can go toe to toe with any performer imaginable, from smaller guys like Jonathan Gresham to bigger foes like Shane Taylor, old-school grapplers like Silas Young, and even The Elite-approved performers like Flip Gordon. Though his move set isn’t what you would call a do-it-all, fully rounded game like, say, Cody Rhodes or “Hangman” Adam Page, his brutish, unrefined, dare-I-say-shoot-y style of MMA-inspired power moves is reminiscent of a grappler like Tekken’s King, or his presumed wrestling mentor, Ken Shamrock.

Goodness gracious, Shane Taylor is a 315-pound man; that’s just brutal.

Though we don’t know exactly what Tony Khan intends to do with “The Technical Beast,” be it team him up with Nese, deploy him as a second client of Sterling, or simply Kayfabe employ him as a mercenary tasked with taking out Lee , according to FightfulWoods signed a “tiered” contract with AEW/Ring of Honor last month and will be a part of the company in some way, shape, or form moving forward, even if he continues to appear on indie shows until something more official gets announced for ROH or his status as an elite performer becomes undeniable.

Is pairing up Josh Woods with “Smart” Mark Sterling and Tony Nese, a comedy act, the ideal way to introduce the former ROH Pure Champion to the AEW Galaxy, Eh, probably not, but hey, it’s not always about how you get to the show but what you do once you arrive – if Woods can show out like he did back with the red and black brand, then the sky really is the limit.

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