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[2002-04-27-ROH-A Night of Appreciation] AJ Styles vs Low Ki


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  • GSR changed the title to [2002-04-27-ROH-A Night of Appreciation] A.J. Styles vs Low Ki
  • 1 year later...

They started off like a real wrestling match on the ground and even with tests of strength. Transitioned to striking. Then the video game moves. Finished with a flash small package, which is funny since they kicked out from head plants to the mat.

They thankfully allowed some time to breath and AJ sold on the outside and showed that he was getting tired, while Low Ki no-sold like a martial arts robot.

Liked this better than the more famous ROH beginning 3-way dance main event. AJ really looked good. 20 minutes, felt shorter. 

Great 2002 indy match and truthfully a rare 2019 WWE main event with the kickouts and suplex variations.

Once again horrible ROH announcing.

AJ seemed in his prime already IMHO....

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  • 8 months later...

By the end, this went on for a few minutes too long. It felt like the two didn't have enough material to do a match this long at this point, as there's quite a few moments in the match where there feels to be a good dead minute or two. All in all it's enjoyable stuff though, as the two sure beat the crap out of each other, with Low Ki especially (unsurprisingly) being a great ass-kicker. Those Kawada Kicks of his are just nasty in the best ways possible. Definitely a more-than solid ROH debut for AJ Styles, and Ki continued his streak of strong performances. And it sure did set-up the inevitable re-match between them pretty much perfectly. ***1/4

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  • 3 months later...

Y'all are crazy this match is badass. If all wrestling was this good in the past 5 years I would never complain. 

Low-Ki vs AJ Styles - ROH 4/27/02

I wish this was the direction workrate went. I dont know what happened or where it wrong, but boy we take a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Most of this match would not look out of place in PWFG. The grappling was so fucking tight and the struggle was fucking real. Look at the effort exerted by these two. Now it is overly complicated square dancing with comical hammy selling. Watch how they sell, it is fucking register, not a flop around, glassy eyed bullshit that kills the entire match's credibility when you make your comeback 30 seconds later. The efficiency is off the charts. It still keeps the workrate freaks happy because this is perpetual motion.

The opening grappling is so damn good. It is not see thru, AJ keeps up with Low-Ki, AJ is probably the second best wrestler in the US in 2002 but 2002 Low-Ki is one of the greatest of all time. Watch those back bridges, amazing. There are very few highspots in this match. It is really lo-fi, competitive pro wrestling, I can dig that. You can sense that "but" and here it comes, I would have liked them to use highspots as transitions. The transitions were a little too "normal" they did not grab you. It was usually a stiff kick and wicked lariat. The strikes were awesome in this match. I have been beating the drum for AJ since 2003 and one thing that has been true since Day One is how underrated he is as a puncher and striker in general. The dude lays shit in and it is crisp, damn good sound, looks great. Watch him whiff on the spin kick and then rebound with the stiff lariat. He didnt go chase Low-Ki down. He kept his feet planted, watched for Ki on the comeback and shifted his whole body weight into the lariat. Great job. Low-Ki was on fire in this match, the Koppou Kick was money and those Kawada Kicks at one point were just sick and brutal. I thought they did a great job escalating from competitive grappling to stiff striking to the finish stretch. Somebody criticized this as "My turn, your turn" and "video game wrestling". On the latter complaint, unless you love shoot-style, I dont see that. They were working their highspots and blending them well. The former point, I thought the transitions were meaningful and the  missed moves had consequences. Watch something like Cena/Owens from 2015, every move hits, kick out, opponent does his spot. No missed moves. Here we see Low-Ki and AJ Styles both miss moves from the top rope. This puts over the top rope as very risky and if you miss, your opponent can take advantage. The commentary was dreadful. I mean please give me WWE commentary with Byron Saxton and Corey Graves over this shit dreadful, but they did make one good point. Low-Ki didnt go for the Phoenix Splash until he finally had beaten Styles down. He went through the strikes and finally rocked him enough to try it. So many people just toss these moves out nowadays and the sad part is they land. I agree with the point that transitions could have been a little more impactful. I do think the finish is pretty abrupt, which does fit the style. This was their first match in ROH and they smartly didnt give it all away. Ki-Krusher never hit. They both missed their top rope moves. Styles never tried for the Styles Clash. The Dragon Clutch was used in the ropes. So they give themselves plenty of room to grow in their rematch. Ki had a MASSIVE powerbomb and Tiger Suplex as big nearfalls. Watch his bridges so good. So athletic! AJ was able to get his Quebrada/Slop Drop as his nearfall. It is so annoying that highspots like that got AJ labelled as a highflyer or a spot monkey. He is so much more than that. AJ was falling behind in the match and needed that as a desperation move to try to win. 

I think especially as American wrestling fans, we are really conditioned to think of wrestling terms of control segments. If we dont see that, there is a knee-jerk reaction to scream "SPOTFEST" or "NO PYSCHOLOGY". I think Ring of Honor was doing something truly innovative in 2002 with the melding of shoot-style and King's Road. This is paced and laid out like a shoot-style. Heavy on register, light on selling and there is no control segments. It is a blur of COMPETITIVE action. I love narrative-based wrestling. If we are going to do this style, I would prefer it look like this instead of an overly choreographed men's floor exercise. I have said all this before in my other 2002 ROH reviews. It is such a cool, interesting style and unfortunately short-lived. I really wish wrestlers would go back and study this era. ****1/4

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  • 9 months later...

I thought this was cool. It was more dynamic than their return match in ROH and had a lot more dramatic selling, but like Sleeze said, it was a blur of competitive action. Styles walked a fine line between being cutesy and innovative, and the commentary was annoying as fuck, but you can't deny the intensity and hard hitting action. I don't really need that JR/Michael Cole "Good Gawd" Almighty School of Narrative Wrestling when watching pro-wrestling. I'm perfectly okay with grappling if you bring the ruckus. Low Ki was badass in 2002. Easily the US Wrestler of the Year in my opinion. I prefer watching him against some like Homicide than Styles, but it's cool that he can mesh with different dudes. 

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [2002-04-27-ROH-A Night of Appreciation] AJ Styles vs Low Ki

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