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Charles (Loss)

[2005-09-11-TNA-Unbreakable] Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels vs A.J. Styles

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Unbreakable
X-Division Title Match
Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles
I was VERY skeptical about rewatching this one, expecting something quite hollow. Yes, this is a glorified spotfest. But believe me when I say that this one deserves to be glorified.
The pacing in this match was top-notch, and I appreciate the effort all three men put forth in making sure to deliver in the main event, which was the first time a TNA monthly PPV put the X-Division in such a spot. What made this work so well was the pacing - it was truly fantastic and jaw-dropping. There was hardly a dull moment in this match, and really, with the bumps these men took, I don't blame them for the rest periods.
For almost the entire match, they had the fucking crowd rocking, showcasing what so many fans on the independent scene had been able to enjoy since the 2001 King of the Indies tournament. Speaking of the independent scene, if you like to see wrestlers call back to their roots, there are two spots that stood out to me. One was Joe and Styles channeling Low Ki and Bryan Danielson in bickering over who could kick Daniels harder in the spine, paying homage to the first ever main event in ROH history. The other is far less known, but these men also used the monkey-flip into a head-scissors spot utilized in the threeway (that one involving James Gibson instead of Joe) at PWG's 2nd Annual Bicentennial Birthday Extravaganza Night 2. That one really stood out to the crowd.
What I also really appreciated so much is that even with this being a spotfest, I didn't notice any insulting lack of selling. Sure, taking bump after bump after bump may seem like a bit too much, but one could see the effort it was taking to put on this performance. This wasn't some bullshit involving the SAT or Brian XL. There were also moments when a third man would temporarily be out of the match, which to me is a good strategy while also selling the beating these men took.
I loved how Joe got taken out of the match. I loved the finish for Styles to finally humble Daniels, and damn I am looking forward to watching this feud continue. Just a fantastic match that stands the test of time. ****1/2

 

 

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Indeed. Triple threat matches are mostly shitty and almosy never great because the gimmick makes for annoying pacing and contrived stuff. These three made a great match out of it. So many cool yet smart spots worked into this formula here, amazing execution, jaw-dropping sequences. Yes, three great workers (Daniels is ridiculously underrated at this point, he's a legit great one that gets zero credit because he didn't get the token WWE years) working at their top level and getting a MOTYC out of a gimmick that prevents it on paper (unless any clusterfuck with contrived built-in spots gets raved upon, which of course happens more often than not).

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Still holds up to this day. Not a 5-star classic, certainly, but wow what an absolutely amazing match. Possibly the best compliment I can give this match is that never once did it feel contrived. The timing on these spectacular three-way sequences was absolutely impeccable. Not a moment of drag or hesitation or awkwardness. I also liked how they let some of the more spectacular moments settle. For example, the look on Daniels' face after the monkey flip into headscissors spot was priceless. Fantastic stuff.

 

****1/2

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Very good match, and the best out of their four match series. This was full of your typical X Division moves, though there was great storytelling, in that all three of the competitors had to pull off all the stops in order to win the match and the X Division title. Sometimes the best stories are the simplest ones, such as "I want the belt" or "who's the better man?". AJ wins with a rollup, though it works as nobody looked bad, and Joe remains undefeated as Daniels was pinned.

 

***** (five stars, like Meltzer's rating, as I just couldn't find anything wrong with the match and it never had a dull spot in it, which is quite an accomplishment for a match that goes almost a half an hour)

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Unbreakable 2005: X-Division Champion Christopher Daniels vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe I would hazard to say this is the most famous match in TNA history and is very much a product of its time period. There is a lot of excellent stuff in this match, but there is a lot of weird booking issues in this match. For my money, AJ vs Abyss is still a level above this match. Joe could be a better wrestler than AJ, but his instincts are awful. He lets people get way too much shit on him and he kills his unqiueness. You can defend letting AJ getting him into a Torture Rack because he is letting the babyface shine, but I think there are plenty ways of letting AJ shine without that. Indefensibly, he lets Daniels Death Valley Driver him. Why would you ever let a heel shine like that? In Joe's defense, he had the hardest role in the match, he had to be a heel for AJ and a babyface for Daniels. He was clearly more comfortable working with AJ. Which brings me to my next point, Daniels is a horrible heel. This match proves in my mind pretty definitively that Daniels is a step below both AJ and Joe. It isnt that much of a knock because AJ and Joe were probably the two best wrestlers in 2005 in North America. It is just Daniels is pretty good at everything, but excellent at nothing. He cant fly or bump as well as AJ and he cant be as violent as Joe. Instead of differentiating himself in an obvious fashion by cheating like a muthafucker doing anything it takes to keep his belt, he just wrestles this poor man's AJ/Joe hybrid style that does nobody any favors. He gets a heat segment that should have been Joe's. Daniels looked way too strong in this match and it was a detriment to the story. Some people turn off selling, well Daniels turns off heeling. Of course, there were some incredible sequences. The opening was pitch perfect and set up for Daniels to play a bitch boy that has to cheat (ala Flair) to keep his title, but he dropped that. I LOVE AJ's quick rollups it was a perfect way to show how AJ could be a threat to Joe. The springboard Shooting Star by AJ was sublime. The All Japan sequence from Joe/AJ ending with an amazing German by Joe was the best sequence in the match. Pretty much everything from Joe/AJ was fucking amazing. Joe had some pretty fun combinations back in the day. I miss Joe. I would say the first 20 minutes or so, I would said this was an easy Top 5 match for TNA, but the last 5 or so kinda soured me when Daniels took over the match. Why was Joe doing desperation cover? Ugh that should have been Daniels. The finish was booked so fuckin weird. I would still say it has an outside shot at Top 5 right now because how well the action was packed. AJ has the prettiest right hand of someone who debuted post-Attitude Era. Why the guy uses shivers at all is beyond me because his right hand looks great! What I liked was even though they didnt really use a heat segment in a conventional sense, it never felt like "your turn, my turn", which irks me to end when I see that. What I meant by a product of the time period is that it was very en vogue to have shades of grey wrestling matches where everyone looks good and everyone is kept strong usually at the expense of the babyface (though in this case it was Joe). I think it was the best possible match of that type and was really well-executed.

[May need a rewatch but I do hate triple threats. I am thinking around ****]

 

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I thought this was a pretty excellent spot fest, really well paced as mentioned above. I also liked that there was a bit of restraint in hitting the kickoff spots until close to the end, so when they got there the pins seemed plausible. This felt like the absolute best version  of a kind of match that really defined the early part of the aughts, and while I'm sort of glad that style is less prominent than it used to be, you have to respect that these guys really crushed at it, in a way that many others didn't.

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Re-watched this one my phone this morning and I liked it a lot better than my recollection. One of the best spotfests of all time and maybe the best triple threat of all time (Cena vs Lesnar vs Rollins) may have something to say about that. I really liked the opening with Joe & AJ one upping each other on the heel Daniels. I liked Daniels being treated as a strong heel. We know Joe & AJ hit hard as fuck but Daniels was just as stiff as them. The highspots were really HIGH! The AJ Shooting Star Press, Spiral Tap into the Kokina Clutch and Joe's insane dive were all BADASS like the greatest spots ever. Finish was incredible. I like how the undefeated Joe eliminated himself by missing a dive. I liked AJ reversing the Angels Wings into a pinning predictament of his own for the win. My complaints as always with a spotfest is things comes too easy no struggle. I also thought they peaked mid-match with the unconventional highspots so when come time for everyone to hit their stock highspots it was not as hot. Still never a dull moment and just absolute mayhem, maybe the best spotfest ever. ****1/4

Man, I just re-read my review and gotta say chill out, bro. What an angry young man. I popped for Saying Daniels turns off heeling. I Think overall I was too hard on Daniels in my first review except the heeling. Definitely needed more heeling. But yeah I needed to take a chill pill. 

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Good match with the 3 distinct approaches coming together, cool spots and stiffness. Joe's out of control dive was the highlight. But yeah this was hampered by the usual triple threat layout and some parts were repetitive and aimless. Also they could have taken it home 5-7 minutes earlier. ***1/4

 

 

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