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[2004-07-17-ROH-Reborn: Completion] Doug Williams vs Alex Shelley


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Vacant Pure Title Match
Doug Williams vs. Alex Shelley
This match ensured that ROH continued its hot streak of shows that feature great matches. It also rebooted the previously flawed Pure Title division (consisting of two disappointing CM Punk vs. AJ Styles matches) in proper fashion.
With his left arm in pain from the previous qualifier match, Shelley found himself badly outmatched by the technically superior and much healthier Williams. It didn’t take long for Shelley to become the bitch of Williams, even at one time being tied up into knots and left in the middle of the ring, struggling momentarily to free himself as everyone had a laugh at his expense. It (along with kicking the ropes as a means to give Shelley a lowblow) was quite the karma after all of the continued antics of Generation Next.
But through sheer determination reminiscent of the performance of GeNext teammate Austin Aries (who was in Shelley’s qualifier and agreed to help him win and go all the way) at Survival of the Fittest 2004, Shelley found every little opportunity possible to get himself out of the figurative corner he found himself in. Eventually he was able to get some work done (either by submission or the occasional strikes and stomps) on the neck of Williams, laying the groundwork for the inevitable Border City Stretch.
Ultimately, Williams brought the better gameplan though to the injured Shelley, causing the GeNext leader to lose his ropebreaks, and using the ropes to apply a submission hold on the injured left arm. The standing ovation for both men wasn’t just a standard automatic reaction – it was well-deserved and intelligently earned.
Rating: ****
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  • 2 years later...

The early technical wrasslin' between these two is so charming & compelling to watch. Doug especially busted out some truly neat stuff; one of my favorite moments of the bout was the sequence that lead to him tying Shelley up in that Paradise Lock. Extremely fun action! Shelley was of course coming into this with a bum arm, so that's obviously a big story here with Doug working it over throughout. Loved all of Doug's armwork & Shelley's selling was very good. Shelley on the defense was overall a role that he rocked well, and him finding success by doing a number of his own on Doug's neck was also awesome. All kinds of good focused work over that said bodypart. It's a banger of a match with a compelling in-ring story being told, and the absolutely fantastic finish puts it over the top as a truly great one. ****

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