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[2017-11-19-WWE-Survivor Series] Brock Lesnar vs A.J. Styles

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We went ahead and made this our MOTY over at Segunda Caida

 

This was really tremendous, best Brock match since the Wrestlemania match with Reigns, and it is great to see that he can still bring it on big occasions. I loved the opening thrust kick right to Styles chest great way to say hello, and the knees he was throwing looked like they were going to puncture lungs. Styles is still an electric bumper even at 40 years old he really has kept almost all of his athleticism. Some of those suplex bumps looked terrifying, a great combo of force and acrobatic bumps, they weren't the Shawn Michaels/Ziggler look at me bumps, he flew the way a guy should fly when being thrown by a Gorilla. After taking this huge beating Styles comeback was credible and great, his flying moves really land with force, he never felt like he was doing springboards to look cool, they always felt like attacking from afar was his only approach. Airplanes don't try to punch it out with King Kong they dive bomb. The calf slicer spot was incredible, Styles had been killing the leg all match, and Brock sold the calf slicer like all of the tendons in his knee were shredding, Brock countering it by trying to show Styles the inside of the ring was incredible stuff, right up their with Ki breaking Callihan's jaw for violence of the year. I also like how Brock has brought back the F5 as a one move killshot, he isn't throwing ten of the them a match anymore, it is back being a one hitter quitter. Incredible match, loved every second of it. Big match inspired Brock is still the absolute best.

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And when Brock is at his very best (in-shape and gives a shit about who he's facing), he's an amazing wrestler. Stuff like the matches against Punk, Cena and Rollins, and Reigns are what originally made me a huge fan of him. It just seems to me that he's physically shot and incapable of carrying a match beyond 5-6 minutes. He still does a good job throwing guys around and can be a great seller, but after a few minutes he gasses and is incapable of doing much else without a ring general like A.J.

 

I'm asking this earnestly - when did this "Brock is shot" narrative start? I thought he was the best performer in the SummerSlam match and he worked his ass off. Then he and Braun had a middling match (one I oddly liked still a good bit) and since he "allegedly" hampered Braun in this match (Braun looked just as gassed), i've seen this line of thinking pushed a lot more.

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And when Brock is at his very best (in-shape and gives a shit about who he's facing), he's an amazing wrestler. Stuff like the matches against Punk, Cena and Rollins, and Reigns are what originally made me a huge fan of him. It just seems to me that he's physically shot and incapable of carrying a match beyond 5-6 minutes. He still does a good job throwing guys around and can be a great seller, but after a few minutes he gasses and is incapable of doing much else without a ring general like A.J.

 

I'm asking this earnestly - when did this "Brock is shot" narrative start? I thought he was the best performer in the SummerSlam match and he worked his ass off. Then he and Braun had a middling match (one I oddly liked still a good bit) and since he "allegedly" hampered Braun in this match (Braun looked just as gassed), i've seen this line of thinking pushed a lot more.

 

 

Dylan Waco in the No Mercy thread was acting as though Lesnar was going to die in the middle of the ring vs. Braun due to exhaustion and in the process sabotaged Braun. I get not liking the match and Brock's performance but I thought that was quite an overreaction. I'm not blaming Dylan but I think that's where the narrative shifted from "Brock is lazy" to "Brock is physically done".

 

Having said that and having enjoyed Brock's work vs. Goldberg and some others, I still agree with Boss Rock's point about Brock not being the same since 2012-15 (though I'll say it's more due to offensive laziness than poor conditioning).

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On nearly every wrestler podcast I've heard, from Austin to Edge & Christian to Jericho to whoever, a recurring talking point is that you can't get into "ring shape" without being in the ring. I think, with Brock, its not even so much being "gassed" as the fact that he wrestles what? 7-10 times a year when you include house shows?

 

I also gotta say I love the Brock supporters coming out hard in this thread. I was kinda embarrassed how high I went with him in my (very WCW/WWE-centric) GWE list, so its nice to hear that others agree that Lesnar, at his best, is a helluva performer.

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I also gotta say I love the Brock supporters coming out hard in this thread. I was kinda embarrassed how high I went with him in my (very WCW/WWE-centric) GWE list, so its nice to hear that others agree that Lesnar, at his best, is a helluva performer.

A lot of people have (rightfully) credited Styles' 2016 as one of the great rookie years in WWE but Brock's 2002 was jusr as ridiculously good. And Brock didn't have a decade of experience around the world going into that run.

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I have never understood Brock haters. Most of it feels like misdirected hostility to be honest. He is far from flawless and has certainly been a little up and down as of late, but his total body of work is so good. At his best he is a singular type performer and he has so many great matches.

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I think Brock's lack of passion for wrestling seems to get under people's skin, therefore gets a lot of hate. We really should be thankful he wrestles at all because there is nobody else like him. In my opinion he is the Johnny Valentine of this generation.

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And when Brock is at his very best (in-shape and gives a shit about who he's facing), he's an amazing wrestler. Stuff like the matches against Punk, Cena and Rollins, and Reigns are what originally made me a huge fan of him. It just seems to me that he's physically shot and incapable of carrying a match beyond 5-6 minutes. He still does a good job throwing guys around and can be a great seller, but after a few minutes he gasses and is incapable of doing much else without a ring general like A.J.

 

I'm asking this earnestly - when did this "Brock is shot" narrative start? I thought he was the best performer in the SummerSlam match and he worked his ass off. Then he and Braun had a middling match (one I oddly liked still a good bit) and since he "allegedly" hampered Braun in this match (Braun looked just as gassed), i've seen this line of thinking pushed a lot more.

 

 

Dylan Waco in the No Mercy thread was acting as though Lesnar was going to die in the middle of the ring vs. Braun due to exhaustion and in the process sabotaged Braun. I get not liking the match and Brock's performance but I thought that was quite an overreaction. I'm not blaming Dylan but I think that's where the narrative shifted from "Brock is lazy" to "Brock is physically done".

 

Having said that and having enjoyed Brock's work vs. Goldberg and some others, I still agree with Boss Rock's point about Brock not being the same since 2012-15 (though I'll say it's more due to offensive laziness than poor conditioning).

 

 

Offensive laziness is interesting; i do think everyone (Vince, Brock really) has gotten comfortable with how the first part of his matches should go, to the point where it's dull and kills the crowd. I think that's one reason the Joe match stood out, they broke away from the standard Brock match tropes.

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I don't buy that Brock Lesnar does not love wrestling. I think he really does. I think he hates travel and he hates the bullshit that comes with being a pro wrestler or really any job. I see a man who really enjoys himself in the ring. Someone who has better a grasp on pro wrestling psychology than 99% of pro wrestler I have ever seen. He is not just a monster. You can see in 2002 he is a big bumping heel. You can see from the Goldberg match that he can sell nuanced psychology better than the entire roster. You can see from the Punk and AJ matches how he can make things work with a smaller wrestler. Yes, Brock will never be the greatest wrestler ever because he doesn't wrestle enough, but he is one of the best pro wrestlers ever from a understanding of psychology standpoint. I think that comes from a true love of the actual wrestling part.

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He's said repeatedly that he doesn't love it and never did. I agree he's naturally gifted at parts of it that you'd associate with a committed worker. And I think he tries to hold himself to a reasonable standard of athletic performance. But I have no reason to believe he loves it.

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It's insane to think that Brock doesn't like wrestling because he is so insanely good at it. A lot of the suplex city era matches are not as good as they could be but he still has an incredible list of top performances.

 

This is one of them. I didn't get into the hype before watching this match but halfway through I was all in. AJ puts everything into his flying moves and makes his near falls and the submission really credible. I hate WWE camerawork but the shot of the outside ring-steps forearm is spectacular. They get the crowd into a frenzy for the end, fully buying the submission attempt and a few near falls, and the F5 to finish is vicious.

 

Only thing I didn't like was the announcing.

 

****3/4 and I think my 2017 MOTY; I was thinking LA Park vs Rush from March but this stands out more to me right now.

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Brock is so much fun to watch when he's dominating.  He might not like wrestling as fan, but you can tell he's having the time of his life when he steps into a ring. AJ takes Brock's Germans like a champ. He bumps all over the place and it's starting to look like Styles doesn't has a chance. AJ takes every opportunity he can find and garners himself some impressive close calls. I remember watching this for the first time in 2017 and actually thinking Styles was going to make Lesnar tap. The crowd seem to think so too, until Lesnar escapes the hold by ramming Styles' head violently into the mat. I could see the finish coming a mile away. Styles, unsuccessful in his attempt for a second Phenomenal Forearm, eats a F5 to end the match. Along with the predictable ending, my other minor nitpick was that there's a severe lack of pacing around the middle section of the match. They look a bit lost after the botched(?) Tornado DDT spot. Even with these very minor gripes, this is still a contender for MOTY.

★★★★½

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