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[2005-12-11-TNA-Turning Point] Samoa Joe vs A.J. Styles

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X-Division Champion AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe

 

Greatest AJ Styles Performance Ever? I am willing to hear arguments against, but I dont think I can be convinced. When Styles does a float-over off a Joe suplex attempt onto the apron instead of doing it fluidly he lands on the ropes to sell the exhaustion. I was in awe. Consequently instead of immediately following his forearm on the apron he sold more exhaustion before finally to trying to hit a springboard and ate a Joe powerbomb. Sublime. What I think stands out the most about this match compared to so many X-Division matches is the physicality. My biggest issue with a lot of the flippy guys is how light they work (Kofi, Morrison). This match was a fuckin war and AJ got a nice busted up lip for it. AJ did that sick bump off the apron onto the floor again and took Joe's offense like a champ. Unlike the previous match, AJ seemed game throughout the match and still made Joe work for all his moves. I loved the transition to AJ's comeback as it was Joe being overzealous and AJ having the presence of mind to back body drop outside the ring. Then he capitalized with a beautiful shooting star press dive. I love how after each move AJ was going after pins because he knew he was weak and this was his shot. It really sold the urgency, you could feel that his time was fleeting and if he didnt capitalize now everything was lost. I loved the cat and mouse game they did late in the match with AJ duckin and diving before Joe caught him in the corner with a couple bear paws. The busted lip happens here and it really had a big fight feel and that moment epitomized it. AJ follows that up with early kicks out off a wicked lariat and wicked Tiger Driver. FIGHTING SPIRIT~! The one flaw is the fact that AJ tried twice to setup Joe for moves on the top turnbuckle. The second time it led to an awkward sequence and a lame AJ powerbomb, which only existed to give AJ a way to hit the Styles Clash. It was a minor flaw. AJ goes for a victory roll, but Joe traps him in the clutch and it is Goodnight Irene for AJ. After the match, Joe beats up AJ and tries to give him a musclebuster on a chair, but Daniels saves. I liked this match a whole lot, but I think I liked AJ/Abyss a hair more, but both are neck and neck for Best TNA match ever at this point. I have no idea why the Unbreakable match is the more famous match. This match blows that match outta the water. Tremendous effort by both men, this is definitely one to watch.

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This was during the period when I was ordering TNA ppvs and thought they were clearly the top promotion (over the horrible WWE at the time) haven't watched this match since.

 

Holy shit this match is awesome. Joe and AJ work INSANELY stiff from the beginning. With kicks, dropkick, chops, snap suplexes, senton and a swing into the guardrail. Just super intense Joe being a murderer and AJ wanting revenge for what Joe did to Daniels. Seriously the kicks by Joe are out of this world here. Joe's control segment was so great.

 

 

AJ finally gets an amazing hope spot, that had me rooting for him as he catches the face wash and shoves him off. He then goes for the discuss punch, only to get countered and AJ going back to be murdered. AJ does another great hope spot, getting himself onto the apron, but he gets caught again. Still on the apron, he finally looks to have a comeback, but his springboard his caught into a power bomb. I never realized how great AJ was at hope spots in a baby face setting, but he is superb here.

 

AJ gets lucky and Joe goes to the floor. He can barely get up and he gathers up the strength to pull out an insane dive. He maintains his control by hitting this HUGE flying forearm with so much force, he almost out jumps him.

 

This is a freaking war.

 

Joe hits one of the nastiest snap powerslams you will ever see, DiBiase would be envious.

AJ then tries the Rocky strategy of covering up and avoiding and letting Joe punch himself out. Joe finally seems winded as both men are bleeding from the mouth. Power Bomb by AJ gets two. They both are dead, but AJ actually dies when Joe hits THIS INSANE LARIAT for 1? Power Bomb by Joe for two, and AJ FIRES UP and Joe looks in shock.

 

Joe then gets in the sleeper, but AJ slides out. Some big hits by Joe only to be met by a Pele Kick. AJ and Joe fight on the top and AJ finally gets him down and hits the STYLES CLASH for 2 and 99/100th!

 

AJ tries a roll up, Joe grabs the tights and puts Joe in the choke sleeper. He fights it and gets real close to the ropes, but he passes out.

 

Holy shit what a match. This might be the greatest match in TNA history.

 

**** 3/4.

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This was during the period when I was ordering TNA ppvs and thought they were clearly the top promotion (over the horrible WWE at the time) haven't watched this match since.

 

Holy shit this match is awesome. Joe and AJ work INSANELY stiff from the beginning. With kicks, dropkick, chops, snap suplexes, senton and a swing into the guardrail. Just super intense Joe being a murderer and AJ wanting revenge for what Joe did to Daniels. Seriously the kicks by Joe are out of this world here. Joe's control segment was so great.

 

 

AJ finally gets an amazing hope spot, that had me rooting for him as he catches the face wash and shoves him off. He then goes for the discuss punch, only to get countered and AJ going back to be murdered. AJ does another great hope spot, getting himself onto the apron, but he gets caught again. Still on the apron, he finally looks to have a comeback, but his springboard his caught into a power bomb. I never realized how great AJ was at hope spots in a baby face setting, but he is superb here.

 

AJ gets lucky and Joe goes to the floor. He can barely get up and he gathers up the strength to pull out an insane dive. He maintains his control by hitting this HUGE flying forearm with so much force, he almost out jumps him.

 

This is a freaking war.

 

Joe hits one of the nastiest snap powerslams you will ever see, DiBiase would be envious.

 

AJ then tries the Rocky strategy of covering up and avoiding and letting Joe punch himself out. Joe finally seems winded as both men are bleeding from the mouth. Power Bomb by AJ gets two. They both are dead, but AJ actually dies when Joe hits THIS INSANE LARIAT for 1? Power Bomb by Joe for two, and AJ FIRES UP and Joe looks in shock.

 

Joe then gets in the sleeper, but AJ slides out. Some big hits by Joe only to be met by a Pele Kick. AJ and Joe fight on the top and AJ finally gets him down and hits the STYLES CLASH for 2 and 99/100th!

 

AJ tries a roll up, Joe grabs the tights and puts Joe in the choke sleeper. He fights it and gets real close to the ropes, but he passes out.

 

Holy shit what a match. This might be the greatest match in TNA history.

 

**** 3/4.

 

I am loving you loving this! Check out AJ vs Abyss from Lockdown and AJ vs Daniel from December 2009 PPV for more badass AJ Styles performances that I think are right there with this one.

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Turning Point 2005

X-Division Title Match
AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
Prior to starting all these rewatches, I had adamantly proclaimed for years that this was the best match in TNA history. Without seeing any 2012 material yet, and rewatching all of 2005, a case can be made for this match as the best TNA has ever hosted, but I'm not so adamant anymore. Is that a criticism of this match? Absolutely not. Styles and Christopher Daniels just had a match that many years later has held up as great as this one, and I've come to appreciate their first threeway match with Joe even more.
To start the match, Styles takes a page from Austin Aries a year earlier, going right after Joe in a fury. However, in this match, Styles did this not to gain the pure sports advantage, but because he was fucking livid at Joe's behavior in the weeks leading up to this timeless classic, as displayed by him screaming at Joe for lacking respect. But Joe, being the unstoppable juggernaut during the mid-2000s, was able to get the advantage again after the first furious couple minutes from Styles.
As I had suspected, Styles did channel his role somewhat from his work of art singles match against Paul London, but this time he was selling not because of the opposition playing mind games, but because Joe was so vicious AND quick to go with his mass. They took a spot from Joe's Chicago masterpiece against CM Punk, with Joe sweeping the leg of Styles, the champ landing on the apron, concluding with Joe swinging him around to the security guard rail. Crowd was definitely getting interested by this part based on the spectacular brutality alone.
Styles was simply phenomenal with his hope spots to keep this from being a squash, but in so many instances throughout this match, every time it appeared he would get a figurative first down or run to home plate, he would get stopped in his tracks by the former ROH Champion. Styles also threw EVERYTHING he possibly could, pulling out the Fosbury Flop for the first time in ages (at least in a TNA ring, and I don't remember whether or not he was still using it in ROH and PWG frequently during this time). That showed that not only was Joe pushing him to this point, but Styles preserved this devastating bomb for when he would need it. Little things like this are what give great matches an extra notch in their greatness.
There were a couple of times when Styles had kickouts at 1, the second one actually catching Joe off-guard after hitting a Pearl River Plunge on the champion. Styles dug down deep not just as a man, athlete, and champion in this one, but clearly also used his anger to try so hard to keep his motor running and humble the man that had disgraced the division he had busted his ass to build. Without question, this was Joe's toughest test to date in his sixth months in TNA, and only made him more of a fearsome bad-ass in victory, securing the title when Styles passed out to the rear naked choke. I want to also acknowledge Don West and Mike Tenay's excellent commentary in telling the story of this absolutely fantastic contest. They brought their A-games in this one. ****3/4

 

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Apart from Joe's ridiculous blond spots on his hair, this was a completely terrific match with a unique dynamic, as both had to take it to the other for different yet similar reasons, in that each opponent was just not like any other ones before. So it gave a sense of urgency that these two managed to keep up during the entire match without sacrifying selling nor escalating of spots. MOTYC and yet another amazing showcase in a TNA ring in 2005.

 

(the entire PPV was really fucking good too actually. TNA on Spike circa 2005 era was excellent all around)

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AJ took it right to Joe and set the tone for this match. Intense and physical as hell. It was full of nice surprises,teases, hard way blood from both guys, and fantastic pacing. Plus, the post match kept the story going setting up Daniels vs Joe.

 

This really is a classic match alongside anything they did in ROH. Its really a testament to how TNA was mismanaged. Styles, Joe, and Daniels could have been having classics like these for the Heavyweight belt for a few years instead we got 2000 era WCW redux and all kinds of other stupidity.

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I'm fairly certain this match was the first time I realized wrestling could get this violent and involve no weapons. Like the first time I watched this I had to keep replaying so many of Joe's attacks that it took me probably twice as long to actually finish the thing. What I realized with time though is just how great AJ is in this as well with his nutty bumping and selling of the beatdown. Great performance from both.

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Very good match, and easily the best of their two encounters that year (the Sacrifice match was very good, which says something about this one). The story was that Joe broke the X Division code by injuring Daniels after the Elimination X match, and AJ put the title on the line in this match in order to get revenge on Joe for breaking the code. Both wrestlers worked very stiff in this match, which works very well for a heated storyline like this, and the match was mainly Joe being Joe at his best, "killing" AJ, but AJ just wouldn't quit, with his title being on the line and not wanting to quit on the division he put on the map. Fittingly, AJ passed out in the Koquina Clutch this time rather than tapping out to it at Sacrifice, giving Joe the title. AJ brought it, but Joe was just too dominant, even kicking out of the Styles Clash at one point.

 

****3/4 (a few more minutes and this could have gotten five stars. Very well booked and told the story it needed to tell)

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Rewatched this and it's not quite as great as I remember but it's still a fantastic match. Great story of the outmatched champion doggedly taking it to the unbeaten monster bully even if it's getting him mauled. Ultra stiff strikes and fantastic intensity. ****1/4

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X-Division Champion AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe

I wrote in 2013: Greatest AJ Styles Performance Ever? I will say his performance against Bobby Roode in an ironman match at Final Resolution 2012 is his greatest performance of all time, but this is probably a Top Ten AJ Performance and thats saying a lot because he has had so many great ones.

My favorite moment when I watched in 2013 is the same as when I just watched it again: When Styles does a float-over off a Joe suplex attempt onto the apron instead of doing it fluidly he lands on the ropes to sell the exhaustion. I was in awe. He takes that extra couple seconds to really sell. Consequently instead of immediately following his forearm on the apron he sold more exhaustion before finally to trying to hit a springboard and ate a Joe powerbomb. Sublime. What I think stands out the most about this match compared to so many X-Division matches is the physicality. This match was a fuckin war and AJ got a nice busted up lip for it. Each wrestler earned everything they got.

AJ set the tone charging at Joe and manhandling him. You dont see Joe manhandled too often, but AJ was all piss & vinegar. AJ hits fucking hard and he was blasting Joe. I love how pumped AJ was after his snap suplex and his trademark dropkick. This does not get brought up enough, but AJ is so good at his dropdown. The whole point of the dropdown is trip your opponent while he running the ropes OR mess up his timing. Watch that Joe really has to step over AJ because AJ does his dropdown so tight. Since Joe is thinking about that, he does not think about the dropkick. Once Joe gets a hold of AJ the match really gets brutal. These are some of the sickest, stiffest kicks you will ever see. AJ did that sick bump off the apron onto the floor again and took Joe's offense like a champ. Joe kicked is leg out from under him and took a header on the apron. Then the real exclamation point is how Joe just slung him into the railing. This was a total shitkicking. Credit to AJ that he sold like a champ and bumped like a madman, but he never died. He always let us know he life left in his body. Thats huge. There is a great moment when AJ was looking to start a comeback but Joe just shoves him down and then hits a flying kick right to the face. I love how simple & brutal the match is. I loved the transition to AJ's comeback as it was Joe being overzealous and AJ having the presence of mind to back body drop outside the ring. Then he capitalized with a beautiful Fosbury Flop. I love how after each move AJ was going after pins because he knew he was weak and this was his shot. It really sold the urgency, you could feel that his time was fleeting and if he didnt capitalize now everything was lost. I loved the cat and mouse game they did late in the match with AJ duckin' and divin' not allowing Joe to get that full 100% impact. The busted lip happens here and it really had a big fight feel and that moment epitomized it. AJ continues back with flying kicks especially that wicked spinkick that rocks Joe. AJ needed those big bombs and head shots. Tenay & I think he going Styles Clash, but he hits a massive powerbomb for two. AJ tries to charge Joe, but it is a WICKED LARIAT (this lariat is insane; JBL would have creamed his pants for sure) and then a  wicked Tiger Driver, but each time AJ kicks out at one. FIGHTING SPIRIT~! There is a great vicious sequence, Joe hits a wicked slap and then AJ hits his Pele Kick. That's the head rocking, stun kick, AJ usually uses to set up the Styles Clash, but here AJ sets the big man up on the top rope. which I dont love. The one flaw is the fact that AJ tried twice to setup Joe for moves on the top turnbuckle, which seemed odd. The second time it led to an awkward sequence and a lame AJ powerbomb (more like a double leg takedown), which only existed to give AJ a way to hit the Styles Clash. It was a minor flaw. AJ goes for a victory roll, but Joe traps him in the clutch and it is Goodnight Irene for AJ. After the match, Joe beats up AJ and tries to give him a musclebuster on a chair, but Daniels saves. I liked this match a whole lot, but I think I liked AJ/Abyss a hair more (I wrote that in 2013 and still feel that way now), but both are neck and neck for Best TNA match ever at this point. I have no idea why the Unbreakable match is the more famous match. This match blows that match outta the water. Again, it is the finish that holds this match back from being *****. To me this combines BattlArts brutality with really awesome bumping from AJ and start of the art offense with a strong story of urgency from both men really wanting to win. ****3/4

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