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[2004-07-23-ROH-Death Before Dishonor II] Samoa Joe vs Homicide

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ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Homicide
ROH continued its streak here of shows that feature great matches. While I personally preferred the work of brutality these two put together at Generation Next, this was just as outstanding. In this one, even though it was a clean win and not a draw, the signs were becoming more evident that Joe’s days as champion were numbered. Not only because at this point he had been champion for 16 months, but because of the caliber of opposition he defended against. So many opponents had been taking him to his limit from different directions, and it was starting to show.
With this being Homicide’s last shot at the title during Joe’s reign, I was happy to see he was willing to use technical wrestling as a way to throw Joe off and still show he had the wrestling side in his arsenal. Showing this not only displayed how seriously he was taking this match, but reminded everyone just how dangerous of a competitor he truly was. But his psychopathic emotions directly led to his failure yet again to reach the top of the mountain.
Mocking Joe, Homicide attempted an Ole Ole Kick, only to be countered with a throwover belly-to-belly suplex, landing spine-first on the floor. This cost him a few minutes later when he planted Joe face-first in an attempted piledriver – the suplex on the floor plus the exertion of attempting a piledriver on Joe was too much for Homicide to bear. He went down fighting though, kicking out of a musclebuster and an Island Driver, getting the crowd to go apeshit. But Joe finally finished him off with the rear-naked choke.
Post-match, the Rottweilers (who were kicked out at the beginning of this classic contest) returned and ambushed Joe. The commentary said the Briscoes were unaware of the situation because they were preparing for the main event and that the rest of the locker room had left for Chicago. I’d prefer to think that Joe's non-allies were happy to see him get beaten down, making a title change more likely in the near future. This beatdown ensured that even though Homicide was out of title shots for the rest of Joe’s reign, we’d still get to see the feud continue.
Watching these shows got me thinking of a match that could have been huge for the Jushin Liger debut show later that year in Boston – keep Liger vs. Bryan Danielson, and have the semi-main as Joe & CM Punk vs. Low Ki & Homicide. It’d have given ROH the Punk vs. Ki matchup, Joe and Ki mixing it up again, Joe and Homicide tearing each other apart, and then have Punk defeat Homicide to give him momentum for the inevitable rematch against Joe.
Rating: ****

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