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  1. This is Storm’s first match back since being reinstated via a petition after losing a loser leaves town match earlier in the year. He references that before the match, and the role his long term rival/friend Jody Fleisch played in him being brought back, although he teases he wants him in the ring again. For those keeping track, Storm is still declaring himself to be the XPW European champion even though he doesn’t have a belt and that company had gone out of business. Collyer at this stage was a regular with ROH, very much in the vein of the technical wrestler mould of a Matt Stryker or John Walters. And in this match he gets to exhibit a lot of those technical skills, matching up well with Storm. I’m always a sucker for a technician vs high flyer match which gives this a nice contrast in styles, but this was also at the time when Storm was beginning to move away from being a pure cruiserweight/X Division style wrestler and was starting to incorporate a lot more of the traditional British/WOS sequences and counters into his matches, as evidenced by the very British way he is able to escape a wristlock. There’s lots of really smooth transitions in this, but you feel that something a bit more emotionally engaging would take the match to the next level that I think it was capable of, and that it kept threatening to do. We get some duelling limb work - Collyer working at the neck and Storm the arm but nothing that ever really goes too far anywhere. In 2003, Storm had turned heel on Jody Fleisch in a heated angle, but with Jody’s absence from wrestling for 18-20 months, Jonny had gone from a hot heel into more of a comedy heel, and following the petition angle to get him back in the company was basically being treated by the fans as a face. As would be the case these days, his comedy heel antics such as a double springboard to the outside…into a headlock get lapped up by the crowd. It was clear he was now well on the way to being back as one of the company’s top faces. I enjoyed the first half of the match, even if it is a bit subdued, but it really gets fun in the closing stretch with both guys just cutting lose. There’s a Malenko/Mysterio vibe to the sequences with Collyer trying to nail power moves and a series of gutbusters, while Jonny is impressive in his sringboarding of the ropes connecting with both a double jump moonsault and rewind rana. Collyer’s frustration at not being able to finish Storm with the tiger driver and then the cloverleaf leads to his downfall as he changes his game plan to go up top for a super gutbuster, which is reversed into a DDT off the top rope for the win. Fun match. (*** ¼)
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