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[2005-06-04-ROH-New Frontiers] Samoa Joe vs James Gibson


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Pure Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. James Gibson
Up to this point, this was simply the greatest Pure Title match ever. That's not an opinion instilled in me by the commentary, that is reality based on everything that this match accomplished. The story told was amazing and the crowd woke up to provide a fantastic atmosphere that made up for their library-esque reactions to Shelley vs. Strong.
While both men looked like natural fits in the Pure Wrestling division, that isn't what impressed me the most. I loved that Gibson used the Trailer Hitch for the first time in ROH. It showed that with this being his third opportunity at a championship in ROH, he had to pull out another weapon from his experienced bag. It also showed how much respect he had for Joe to wait until this match to show that submission for the first time in front of an ROH audience. Not only that, but it was great storytelling to take away the base of Joe, and put him in position to use rope breaks, especially with Gibson having the guillotine choke as his established finisher.
Gibson used more than the Trailer Hitch to work on Joe's legs of course. But Joe was great as well; he had to dig down deep in his first Pure Title defense to prove his victory over Lethal was no fluke for this environment, while also overcoming a a very skilled, experienced, and successful challenger he had never faced before. But Gibson had never faced a challenger as physical as Joe. The champion brought the physicality and showed he too was just as great as Gibson in submission work.
I must mention the crowd again. While the deuling chants were a bit repetitive, it was a minor annoyance in what was a very engaged audience that added to the drama of this classic match. It had to fuel both men as they sold the brutal work they laid upon one another.
This match got a well-deserved standing ovation of course, but perhaps more important is that it elevated the Pure Title in a way that only those as skilled as Samoa Joe and James Gibson could.
Rating: ****1/4
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  • GSR changed the title to [2005-06-04-ROH-New Frontiers] Samoa Joe vs James Gibson
  • 5 years later...

This was a really good big man vs. little man match. The best ROH match since Danielson vs. Spanky, and one of the better ROH matches of the year. I kind of question putting the secondary title on Joe if you want Aries to have any legs at all, but you can't argue with this being a standout bout. 

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