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Calvin

[2005-01-15-ROH-It All Begins] Nigel McGuinness vs Samoa Joe

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Joe is coming off a huge loss to Austin Aries at Final Battle, so he's out to prove he's still at the top of the food chain. This is another opportunity for McGuinness to step-up and climb up the ladder (see: vs. Homicide @ Midnight Express Reunion). McGuinness tries to approach Joe methodically, but Joe is familiar with McGuinness' habits and he ratchets up the aggression & pace - forcing McGuinness off his game plan & on the defensive. The few moments where Joe slips-up McGuinness is able to get some hit-and-run armwork in, but he's panicky & desperate so it's not as effective and doesn't lead anywhere. McGuinness gets a little bit of a rub by kicking out of some of Joe's lower-tier finishers, but the Coquina Clutch puts him away for good. Joe was not playin' around at the end. Very good match that both raises McGuinness' profile & reestablishes Joe as a force to be reckoned with even after losing the World title. Rating: ***½

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Nigel's spiky hair is SO 2005. This is essentially worked as a (very) competitive squash, as Joe does a lot of demolishing. Even when Nigel is in control, he never actually looks like a threat to Joe. Given where both were in the company hierarchy, that was how it should go down. Finish is really fun as Joe just goes nuts, knees Nigel in the head a few times and chokes him out. *** 1/2

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