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GOTNW

[2016-05-22-WWE-Extreme Rules] A.J. Styles vs Roman Reigns

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I loved the early battle of strength vs speed and how AJ adapted to Reigns' offence. I preferred the way the Payback match was paced and I wasn't really big on the crowd brawling in this one which is why I think the Payback match was better. The stuff with the pre-show panel table felt novel but I don't think it was worth the time they gave that segment. Sealing the Styles Clash for the last two months was probably the best thing they could have done and they did a great job building to it here too, I loved Reigns' Uppercut counter to it. Reigns' leg injury angle wasn't overly significant in the whole scheme of the match but it did provide a valid excuse for him to sell as much as he did before Gallows and Anderson got involved. I loved the way they mixed up the counters, for example in the last match Reigns Superman Punched Reigns in the middle of his Springboard Forearm and here he did it before Styles even leaped. AJ took some disgusting bumps and the match felt a different kind of brutal. The bit with Reigns swinging him into the apron and the barricade before Powerbombing him through a table that wasn't "cleared" beforehand was just insane and Reigns breaking the barricade with a Spear also felt fresh due to it being done from a different angle. ****1/4

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I agree with you the Payback match was better, but this was so incredible live. For me it was actually all the interference in the end, I did not think it was as well executed as Payback. Two Styles Clashes into the Spear was great. A more detailed review will come, don't want to mess with the memories just yet. :)

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This was pretty fun. AJ Styles bouncing around for Roman's superhuman strength and Roman just nuking him repeatedly made for an entertaining match. The crowd brawling, prop-focus and absurd overkill made this feel like a Big Japan match with WWE booking. I don't hate Roman but I really thought he shouldn't have won the match especially after AJ's flipping out and thrashing everyone with the chair. I got a kick out of the Usos "Doing it for the bloodline!!!"

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Thought this was much better than their Payback match a few weeks earlier. Styles working much more aggressively at the start gave the match more impetus and the transition to Roman taking over was amazing: with Styles trying to anatomically merge himself with Roman's knee. I though Roman did a decent job of selling his leg after Styles caught him with some form of shoulder tackle; the way Styles' head cracked against the apron before the table powerbomb was just brutal; and I really appreciated how they mixed up the finish compared to the Payback match with Roman hitting the Spear mid-air instead of dodging the Forearm first. The Forearm off the panel's table was a cool visual, but I agree with GOTNW that it really wasn't worth the generic arena brawling it took to get us there. And the less I say about Gallows and Anderson and The Usos interfering again the better.

 

GREAT (3.75-4*)

 

Edit: Will now admit that the Payback match is better.

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Strong contender for 2016 MOTY for me. The really great thing about this one is it's the most violent WWE hardcore match in years yet it's takes until the last 2 minutes for anyone to actually use a weapon on someone! Yeah AJ brings the chair out early on but Roman takes him out before he can swing it. Then later Roman swings a hard chairshot but AJ dodges it. You can really effectively build a sense of danger and intensity without even hitting anyone, so when AJ finally unleashes those chairshots on Roman it really means something.

 

The match is filled with some awesome spots which have impeccable timing. For example Roman Superman Punches AJ while AJ is standing on the ropes about to hit a Phenomenal Forearm and sends him tumbling to the floor. AJ blocks a Superman Punch by hitting Roman with a midair shoulder tackle that sends him flying. You need great chemistry to pull these things off and have them looking so great.

 

AJ's bumping in this match is something else. He is working so hard to get this match and Roman over it's no surprise that Vince has pushed him so strong ever since giving him those wins over Cena. There's the spot where Roman backbody drops him onto the announce table where AJ does a full 360 midair spin before crashing down it. The crowd sounded astonished. But before long he's up again with Roman powerbombing him into the other table and a bit earlier he's swinging him into the apron and barricade like Samoe Joe did to CM Punk in one of their old ROH matches. Did I mention that this match is VIOLENT?

 

There's this anti-Roman element of the crowd who get a bit embarrassing. They start the match by chanting "You can't wrestle!" at him, and when he then puts on an elite performance they just chant "You still suck!" everytime he does something great. That chant clearly means "We know deep down you don't suck, but we refuse to admit it". This chant follows one of the best moments in that match where Roman hits AJ with SPLASH MOUNTAIN as in Dynamite Kansai's finisher (I love the thought of these guys watching 90s AJW) and hits it better than she ever did. When she did it it was more of a slam but Roman actually chucks AJ several inches up in the air before smashing him down in a powerbomb-pin which is executed perfectly by both guys for a 2.9 kickout.

 

Roman's selling is perfect in this match. He gets his knee hurt about halfway through on that Superman Punch>Shoulder Tackle spot and spends the rest of the time working at like 70% speed and putting more weight on the other leg. How he hits that spear on the outside jumping on the alternate leg is great attention to detail. And note how he doesn't do this over the top selling like a lot of WWE guys do acting like they've actually broken their leg hopping around the place which you can never maintain till the end. It's just something that's hindering his kayfabe performance.

 

Amazing match from two amazing wrestlers. ****3/4

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