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G. Badger

[2006-11-19-TNA-Genesis] Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle

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There was a ton of lead up and hype surrounding this match as Angle had come into TNA just the month before. Joe was undefeated for 18 months.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_madQBbghRk

 

They fought this match like the really wanted to prove something. No run ins, cheapshots, or anything like that- just two athletes trying to establish their dominance. Joe trying to keep Kurt down and Kurt trying to show it didn't matter where he was, he was the best.

 

This was really wrestled well for their first encounter. It gave room for the feud to grow but, certainly paid off the build up. Angle was bleeding throughout and it just added to that competitive intensity. Very exciting stuff and a impressive start for Angle in TNA. I thought it was a great match especially for being under 14 minutes.

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Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe - Genesis 2006

He pulled the straps up! HE PULLED THEM BACK DOWN! I am sorry but that sequence  is one of those "Spinal Tap" moments for pro wrestling where I cant help but laugh even though it is supposed to be ultra-intense, hyper-masculine. TNA delivered on a big match that had a big match feel. I read this was TNA's highest PPV buyrate? I wouldnt be surprised this legitimately felt huge at the time. Joe had been undefeated for over a year and this was Angle's first match in TNA. Excellent booking. I was right in the middle of my TNA fandom and was definitely very pumped about this feud. I still remember the headbutt angle. So smart, so good. Even though I never bought any of the PPVs, teenager with no more and too proud to ask my Dad to buy more than one PPV a year. So here I am 12 years later finally watching it. 

I liked that they kept it short and sweet. It felt like they ran through their standard movesets. We got Joe's snap powerslam, wicked knee in the corner and that sick kick. We got Angle's rolling Germans. Musclebuster kickout. Angle Slam kick out. Anklelock-Coquina Clutch reversal, hey there was a flash of Fujiwara/Maeda in there (Angle getting a toehold in the choke out).  Angle going over decisively was the right call. Usual complaints plague this match: not a lot of struggle at all throughout the match. They were not making each other work at all for their offense. The submission counterwrestling besides that flash was terrible and would drive any shoot-style fan crazy. Angle was at his video game worst where you just mash Square enough to break a lock up. I actually thought the beginning was the best with Joe dragging Angle out and slinging him into the railing and then hitting elbow suicida. What the hell was up with Angle gigging himself on a non-head shot, his knees hit the steel steps. The crowd loved "This is Awesome" throughout the match and a "Make him tap" which Angle loved. A modern Clash of Titans match, not too much finish spamming, but nothing that will change your life. ***1/4  

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I disagree with the criticism regarding the lack of struggle and think trying to directly compare this with shoot style and counter wrestling in general is off base. TNA was like WCW in that it nearly approached post Inoki NJPW style at times. This match would be a great example of that Choshu style main event. Some wrestling but mainly punches, a couple throws, and fighting for the signature submission win.

But getting back to the lack of struggle, I think the key thing to realize/remember is that no one had beaten Joe. Heck, Kurt just looked like another contender ready to get shutdown...The struggle was in the story and the cutoffs, comebacks, and counters. No it wasn't necessarily slick or quick on the mat at the end but, it shouldn't have been. As stated, it was Clash of the Titans done in a Choshu big match way and for that, it was great. ****

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