I'm back with the second and final installment of the Samoa Joe - World Champion DVD released by ROH in 2004. Let's pick back up where we left off.
vs Christopher Daniels (Glory by Honor II - September 2003): A fighting champion for sure! Daniels used his speed & agility to take Joe to the limit. In a way Daniels maybe should have won because he showed tons of toughness withstanding Joe's awesome offense. If you've seen their TNA battles then you know Joe can really toss The Fallen Angel around. The one STO looked especially vicious! So yeah in a way Daniels was the physical underdog and even though he's the heel, you started rooting for him. Just a classic match...nice pacing, things made sense and was earned. I really appreciated the finish as well. These two would not be done with each other.
vs Jay Briscoe (Tradition Continues - October 2003): Man there were some early 2000's frat bro marks in the audience this night. Christ Almighty dude, sit the fuck down. I hope that these dudes bought the tape back in '03 and saw what douche bags they were. But they probably were marking out for themselves. Anyhow, this was a pretty good match. Joe wasn't taking Jay seriously and Jay would mount a comeback then Joe would snuff him out. The reason those guys were such dicks is that Jay had no chance of beating the champ. Yet they were acting like he could and getting folks all worked up. It reminded me of PWG in the Reseda VFW. Just fans who think that they are part of the entertainment. It took away from a pretty enjoyable match. In all fairness this is in Maryland and I'm sure there's local fans from here & Delaware at the show. Pretty much like BJ why he was booked in a title fight. It wasn't great as Jay didn't have much of a personality yet and looked bush league with the singlet and shorts gear but all things said, his offense looked better than BJ Whitmer's and he took some punishment thus making him a viable singles contender down the road. One near fall was pretty dumb and killed the prestige of a finisher in my opinion. It was far too generous to 2003 Jay.
One more time?
vs AJ Styles (War of the Wire - November 2003): Phenomenal world title match! Seriously though this is one I hadn't heard of but seeing it on paper I knew it had to be worthwhile. A classic match without a doubt. This is a twist on what Joe has been doing as AJ seems to an answer for many of Joe's attacks. Joe actually seems to have met his match and in turn takes a few short cuts (see the eye rake out of the Muta lock for instance). I'm not sure how it rates against some of their TNA matches but this is exactly what I wanted to see. If the Corino vs Homicide barb wire war wasn't right after this then I think they could have made this even better. But hey that's business. I loved that match too so no complaints. We get kind of a unique twist on the finish too...sort of a modified extra hurty version.
vs Mark Briscoe (Final Battle - December 2003): Mark pinned the champ in a tag match before the above show so he gets a shot at the title. I liked the story of this much more than Jay's fight. It makes more sense in terms of a narrative. Jay was booked to capitalize on being in Maryland & get local fans. Admittedly Mark was booked as a somewhat mid level challenger for the AJPW visiting Final Battle. Joe, I believe still was a zero joke affiliated worker so he needed to be out of the cross promotional fights (Monika vs Joe in 2003 would have been sweet!). All that aside, no one thinks Mark is gonna win..maybe not even Mark. BUT I think he & Joe use that to tell an great underdog story. Additionally, Jay's presence at ringside is more meaningful as Joe is soft feuding with the Briscoes. I don't know, it's one of those the sums is greater than the whole of its parts matches. It was very good and a nice finish. Plus we get a Punk Joe confrontation to pave the way for 2004.
Overall, this is a great DVD. A few classic (****1/2) matches vs perennial rivals, and some very good defenses as well (vs Williams, London & Mark being the best). I would have liked more shown of the highlighted tag matches (Night of Grudges 6 man & Briscoe Brothers vs Joe & AJ at The Conclusion). That's just a preference since they could have shown a highlighted version of the Whitmer match. I do not care for that at all. Anyhow, highly recommended DVD. Its on eBay but be patient and you should be able to get it for a reasonable price ($10-15).