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[2018-01-01-WWE-Raw] Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns

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What a good match to have in your first day of the year. Samoa Joe is interesting because his pacing is very different than from most wrestlers in WWE, but he compensates by having the presence.

 

Roman, as usual, also brings the fire and the selling, and the stipulation added to the match no only brought some suspense and nice spots, but it kept things fresh.

 

After avoiding the Coquina Clutch, Reigns gets the win - his first one against Samoa Joe - after hitting the Spear. Great stuff.

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Yeah these two do work well with each other and this was another excellent TV match between them. They both bought out lots of intensity and Reigns sold well again here. Joe was great in his heat segment and it told a good story. Not too pleased Joe lost clean tho.

 

They defiently need a match on PPV.

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This was a very good match but not quite great. These two work well together and they definitely brought the intensity but it was still held back by the usual WWE formula. The commercial breaks interrupting the matches flow by leading to someone rolling to the floor or going into a monotonous, grinding rest hold coupled with the shenanigans involving the referee (Roman literally asking to not be disqualified and the ref contradicting his own decisions) really were all that stopped this from being great. ***¾

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This was a tremendous match to open the new year. I thought Roman did a great job selling the arm throughout, and especially in the post-match which was a nice touch. Joe also looked a step quicker and more explosive in his offense than usual on this night. Easily their best outing yet and while I don't think it should be revisited too soon, would very much look forward to a main event program post-Mania.

 

***3/4

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Man... I really like this pairing. This match was stiff and had some real urgency to it. Joe has had Reigns number and has really played up the notion that he might be in Reigns head. Whereas Reigns is clearly the superior athlete, more dynamic and quick and Joe's match (at least) in power, Joe is the vet. He plays opossum, he sucks Reigns in. He works the angles and reverses. People crap on Joe, but that dude makes it matter that people like Reigns and Brock beat him. He is so good at the little things. Reigns is Reigns. He is just good and has been on fire with these TV defenses of the belt.

 

My only slight issue with this match is that they only dabbled in playing up the dq stip and only enough to sort of break some momentum. They didn't lean into it in a way that made it a creative and unique part of the match, but they worked with it just enough to detract from what they were doing (for me at least).

 

Real good stuff here. ****

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Really enjoyed this but that's gonna happen when you have two of the best going at it for a nice long match like this. You have Roman with some great arm selling during Joe's control segment, then some great tense false finishes towards the end that played into the stipulation of the story. This did drag a bit too much for me in the middle but that finish was really hot. Roman continues to be one of the absolute best in the world.

 

***3/4

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These guys seem to have matched up a bunch over the last year and a bit and for whatever reason this is only the second singles match between them that I've watched. They recapped the match from the previous week so I at least know where the 'Roman loses the belt on a DQ' stip comes from. They teased that early on as well, with Cole drawing attention to the fact it's the same ref' who DQd Roman last week, the ref' getting in between them like a slightly less obnoxious Tommy Gilbert, and Roman making a point of stepping back and keeping his cool just to erase any doubt. He's already on a tech, can't be pushing it any further just in case. Joe looked real good in this. He threw nasty jabs and meaty shots, hit a great tope that's totally different to every other tope in WWE, worked over the arm in pretty interesting ways and spent large parts of the match shit talking Reigns. That led to a cool bit later where Roman was shouting at Joe to hit him again as Joe slapped him with a little extra mustard. I liked how they started working in all of the stuff around the ref' and Joe trying to get Roman DQd, initially with Joe daring Reigns to hit him with the steps. Loved the whole sequence with Joe throwing Reigns into the ref', Reigns pleading with him because it was an accident, then turning around and getting planted with the Uranage. It felt like a huge nearfall and from that point on the crowd were all in. I thought it lulled a bit in the body, but it had a nice start and the home stretch was great. Joe going from dominant to maybe a touch overly confident to almost desperate for the ref' to do him a solid was a really fun story as well.

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What a way to kick-off 2018 this was! Went back to this, and it's really good. A red hot crowd! Building up to the big spots! Extended heat from Joe! Stip playing nicely into the match! 

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