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ShittyLittleBoots

[2017-03-07-WWE-Smackdown] A.J. Styles vs Randy Orton

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Fantastic match w/ a fantastic AJ Styles performance. He wrestled it with such a sense of desperation, and as a result we got what is the best Randy Orton match since his February 2014 match vs. Daniel Bryan. Really just loved everything about this - the finish was absolutely incredible, reminded me of Liger vs. Sasuke. Easily my favorite finish of a match in recent memory. ****1/4

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Just looking at the transitions WWE style looks way more sophisticated than it's usually given credit. Doing limbwork is one of the first ideas that comes to mind when wrestles think of ways to fill their control segments, and while AJ's bumping may be strong enough that he can turn an irish whip into a corner into a believable beginning of a back work Orton in control feels like it was thought up by an e-fed writer, just a lot of moves that target a body part done consequently, not that much different from the logic used in spotfests. Styles carried those segments with his bumping and acting and when in control did some nice kneework, but what I most liked about it is how rough the match felt. Orton's sprawls when AJ would go for his leg, the sandbag on the Styles Clash and Styles sucking Orton in on a Springboard RKO counter everyone expects by this point created a level of struggle you don't see in an average WWE TV match. ***1/4

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The finish with the fakeout and then RKO completion was outstanding. It reminded me so much of the Orton/Punk Mania match, where Punk feinted and thought he'd avoided the springboard RKO, only to get hit with it just after since his guard was down. Classic heel hubris.

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This was fucking great. They even made the Orton draping DDT spot (easily one of the most contrived moves in modern wrestling) make sense. Really, really good match.

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Nice gritty match with Orton breaking out sprawls and AJ treating us to some nice limbwork and strategy. If this is what we're in store for since they're apparently about to start a program, then it should be really good.

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