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Superstar Sleeze

[2004-04-17-PWG-The Musical] Samoa Joe vs American Dragon

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Samoa Joe vs "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson - PWG 4/17/04

It has always smacked me as peculiar that Joe and Danielson have never had an epic together or at least one that is considered canon. Each man has classics with Low-Ki and AJ Styles. Joe had his series with Punk and Danielson had a classic with London. I would say these two (maybe Punk also) are the most beloved wrestlers of the hardcore wrestling fans. I saw that there is an ROH Title Defense by Joe against Danielson at the peak of Joe's powers but I dont see it as widely praised, which surprises me. Before, I watch that match I decided to watch this match to get a feel for their chemistry. 

This match is a mid-tempo rocker that you just love to groove to. It is not your favorite song on the album nor is it the hit single. However, when you get tried of the obvious tracks, you come back to this one again and again just to groove. This one contrasts nicely with the frenetic workrate style we see in the early 2000s in matches amongst Low-Ki, AJ Styles and Danielson. Now those matches had a lot of struggle and urgency to them, but they are balls to the wall. This is a kickass match, but it is wrestled at a pace where everything breathes. It helps they go to a 30 minute draw so they don't rush anything. I love how lo-fi this is compared to the highspot-heavy style of the 2010s. This match is much grittier. The holds are earned and tighter. Hell there are holds! There is not a lot of running. The strikes are used to inflict pain and set up the next move. There are missed moves! Those missed moves have consequences. 

They have a little bit fun at the beginning of the match with the title of the show "The Musical" and play off West Side Story with some finger-snapping. The chain wrestling is great as I said everything is tight & earned with lots of struggle. Danielson hits the first big highspot and one of the few of the match a springboard somersault to the floor. One thread throughout the match is Danielson is constantly trying to suplex the bigger Samoa Joe to no avail. His first mistake was trying to bring Joe into the ring the hardway with a suplex but he didnt have the leverage and Joe threw him from the ring to the floor. Always a dangerous spot! You can really see Joe's Japanese influences in this match especially from New Japan those Tenryu-style punches, Otani's facewash and a great Hashimoto-style Legsweep to stop a Danielson hope spot. This extended Joe heat segment just has a great groove to it. It is not up-tempo, but it is engaging in the same way you like to watch Bret Hart grind someone down. Danielson eventually does get his suplex in the form of a superplex and this puts him on the comeback trail, but when he eats a foot on the diving headbutt the playing field is levelled. They really kicked ass on the outside. There is not much in the way of highspots. It is about just hitting your opponent as hard you can and trying to win the match and that style is always over. At the 25 minute call they say 5 minutes left and you know it is going to a draw, but thats fine. Joe puts Danielson through the ringer of some tight submissions but Danielson survives long enough for the time limit expire. The game Danielson wants 5 more minutes, but Ricky Reyes I believe punks him out and we just get the draw. 

Solid booking as Joe was on the run of a lifetime as the dominant Ace of Ring Of Honor, but this shows Danielson can hang. Another thing I want to shout out these two fill 30 minutes without a lot of their trademark spots or nearfalls and still are engaging. That's really impressive. Like I said this a mid-tempo rocker that really grooves. Dig it! **** 

 

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To be fair, my ROH resources are limited compared to other eras. No DVDVR polls, no Smarkschoice, no Yearbooks. I was relying on a VOW thread where I don’t think it got brought up. It has not been nominated for Greatest Match Ever. Chad was telling me about Cagematch ratings. Whenever I glanced at them I never felt like people a lot of thought into it I guess. What is ROHWorld? is that their network service? I probably should post a thread on here. I definitely don’t understand ROH canon as well as others. In reality it is probably cause canon was never really established in the new millennium like it was in the 20th century.

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