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[2010-01-04-TNA-Impact] A.J. Styles vs Kurt Angle

Superstar Sleeze

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TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs Kurt Angle - TNA Impact 1/4/10

I was a pretty big TNA fan from 2005-2010 I would say and a large part of that was AJ Styles being my favorite wrestler in the world. Nobody combined big bumping, crisp execution, smart psychology better than AJ Styles. I remember watching this live and at the time I had never ordered a TNA PPV so I had never seen AJ vs Angle live. I was really into TNA at this point because AJ Styles had been champion and it looked like he was getting a strong push and was not just going to be a lameduck champion. Hogan & Bischoff were coming in. The internet was ablaze with mostly negative comments but it was exciting nonethless. I remember watching this match already back at school in Michigan and my mind being blown. At the time, I had never seen a Springboard 450 Splash and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. They lived up to the Total Nonstop Action claim. Best part was AJ Styles won clean in the middle of the ring. The crowd was molten for this match. By the Fall of 2010,  I was done with TNA talk about falling off precipice to go from one of their most ardent supporters to never following them again. 2010 was such a bad year for booking for TNA. Just three years later, I watched & reviewed a ton of AJ Styles matches and found Kurt Angle to be his worst opponent. So what happened?

I became hungry for something more out of my pro wrestling. That hunger was for psychology underpinning the action in the ring. If you liked Cena vs Owens, this is your match, you would love it. I would say this is match is a bit better because they at least miss some moves on the transitions. You can predict who hits the next move based on who hit the last move. This is very "My Turn, Your Turn". They do a brief excellent shine from AJ Styles. Angle scouts the dropkick, hesitates then charges and then AJ nails it. Nice swan dive over the top to the floor. Some masked dude that I have no recollection of attacks AJ. Angle beats him back, it is about PURE COMPETITION BABY! They come back from commercial and it is 11 minute finish stretch. This is the 21st Century US version of the All Japan all finish stretch match. They pop off all their highspots in one glorious highspot fireworks display. I liked the Pele into the Anklelock admittedly and AJ rolling through and then hitting it. It is Angle there are a ton of Olympic Slam attempts and HITS and Anklelocks. AJ has such beautiful spots. There is zero downtime. Workrate freaks like Meltzer must have loved this. This is precursor to all those WWE spotfests.  Correct me if I am wrong but I believe this is debut of the Springboard 450 Splash, I should check my notes from 2009 AJ Styles matches. It takes two but he does win with it. It is such a spectacular move. It is harmless, Summer Action Blockbuster fun. It is the perfect TV main event to catch people's eyes and pop them. Honestly, you are going to need psychology to make them stay but I can this getting their foot in the door. It is very entertaining and enjoyable, probably their best match together, but "my turn, your turn" knocks it down a peg. ***3/4


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