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JKWebb

[2014-12-19-HOG-Phenomenal Showdown] A.J. Styles vs Ricochet

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I randomly ran across this today, and I thought it was pretty good. I'm sure the finish left people unsatisfied at the time, but watching it in a vacuum now, I was glad I checked it out. There's some pretty bad camera work that's distracting at times. But, you get some smart work from AJ and some nice selling from Ricochet. Once AJ focuses in on the left knee, I thought they told a good story until the questionable finish.

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HOG Heavyweight Champion Ricochet vs AJ Styles - HOG 12/19/14

 

Wow, an actually pretty decent indy commentary team! I thought they did a fabulous job putting over Ricochet while still mentioning his weaknesses. They stressed how important the championship is and that the goal of the match is to win, not to entertain. Really I think that is basic stuff, but so many commentators totally whiff on that. What really impressed me was their discussion of the Styles Clash. This was after Styles broke Yoshi Tatsu's neck. The commentators explained how critical the Styles Clash has been to his career and agreed he should use it, but were worried about the danger. It really increased the drama around the match and the Styles Clash.

 

Ricochet had quite the 2014 and seems like he is poised to breakout this year in a big way. He won NJPW Best of the Super Juniors and Battle of Los Angeles tournaments. He was the inaugural Lucha Underground champion, a key mainstay in Dragon Gate (decorated titleholder), and of course House of Glory champion. I was excited to take a look at Ricochet. I came away thinking he felt really Dragon Gate-y. He is good at incorporating extra flips into his offense and likes modified slams. He is not very good at strikes and is sort of all over the place as a wrestler. AJ did not seem to intent on reigning him in until the end of the match. This was a pretty tame spotfest. The first portion of the match was the best with some good mat wrestling  until the finish. Ricochet would gain the advantage do some gloating and AJ would retreat to the corner. Ricochet is established as a grandstanding hot dog that may let his attitude get in his way of winning. AJ shows his veteran experience. Ricochet calls his shot, a People's Moonsault and AJ rearranges his face with a kick. The next five minutes were pretty spotty. AJ's offense looked crisp at least. There was an AJ legsweep and Ricochet started to sell the knee. I was hoping they could salvage something then Ricochet did two backflips and a Pele kick. But wait! Ricichet's knee is really starting to bother him and he struggles to hit a Shooting Star Press. and crashes and burns. Styles drags him over and figure-4 around the post. AJ looks to hit the Styles Clash, but Ricochet flips out. AJ wraps up the leg and CALF-KILLER! Ricochet makes the ropes. AJ is tenacious with a spinning toehold into a wicked STF. Bell rings, but it due to the time limit expires. He agree to five more minutes, but then the Bruiser Brody Midget attacked the both of them.

The beginning and the ending were pretty entertaining, but the body of the match was them just throwing shit out. AJ's offense especially elbows looked great. I really how he is into Styles Clash teases. They could have salvaged a good match with an appropriate ending to the knee work. It must be tough to book AJ because he is not going to job, but you want your top star to look good. It is kind of like the old NWA travelling champion philosophy. I think tag team main events that set up singles matches would be better. It is fine, but nothing that great.

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