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[2004-12-04-ROH-All Star Extravaganza II] Samoa Joe vs CM Punk

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All Star Extravaganza II - December 4, 2004




ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk
I really am just a sucker for matches that bring prestige to championships. This is another classic match that stands the test of time, and a fitting final chapter to such an epic trilogy. From the callbacks to the previous two matches these men had against one another, to the bloody cut on CM Punk's head (a nice way to bring back memories of his feuds with Raven and the Prophecy), to the acts of desparation on Joe's part, this match was just perfect. In addition, this had legitimate drama and plenty of believable false finishes, with the crowd just being APESHIT in the last 10 minutes.
In the end, all the punishment dished out to Punk was just too much for him, as he passed out to the choke like so many other great challengers Joe faced. But this got him only more over, and really made the crowd wonder who if anybody could dethrone Joe.
But one could argue that this was evidence that Joe's days as champion would be coming to an end in the near future. The Punk trilogy, the Rottweilers feud, and the classic defense against Bryan Danielson all in the past several prior months were taking such a toll on him that he was resorting to blatant cheating, breaking his code that he had established as champion.
Rating: *****

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Rewatched this somewhat recently and thought it was a superb match. It reminded me of the Okada vs. Omega III actually in that I like the first two matches but the third match combines the best elements into a shorter time frame. Really good underdog performance by Punk and I liked his focused neck work. Prime Samoa Joe was something else: great selling, amazing offence and perfect character work. Pretty great crowd too (something I thought I'd never say considering it's ROH). ****5/8

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