God, who really goes to the prom five times....how old is this kid?
1) Samoa Joe v. AJ Styles (Turning Point 05)- 8
I thought this was quite well done. These two are just about the perfect opponents for each other. They can tell so many stories in their matches: Joe as the dominant monster v. AJ the comeback kid. AJ knows exactly how to take all of Joe's really stiff strikes and sells them like he's being mugged by Superman. I don't think AJ's body could survive a lengthy feud with Joe, but he gives it right back and can be just as stiff in his own way. He puts a dropkick right into Joe's nose at one point and forearms him until he cries for mercy and wishes he was back in UPW. Well, that maybe a stretch...it would take some amount of devious torture to make a person do that. Anyways, AJ gets all creative with the ways Joe can make him bump, like over guardrails and onto the apron with a sweep kick. The finish comes out of nowhere and Joe actually pulls AJ's tights in a rollup to put him in the choke to get the win, so they play up that Joe needed a dirty trick to win the match. It was really good stuff....it feels so strange saying that about something from TNA.
2) Antonio Inoki v. Dick Murdoch (New Japan, circa '83)- 7
Wow, watching simplistic but murderous matches like this one make me miss the days of yore when you didn't need to do the other guy's finisher, or grab a microphone in the middle of a match, or do a crowd brawl. Their idea of a crowd brawl here is Inoki throwing Murdoch's head into the gate that seperates the crowd from the ringside, then getting bored and going back in the ring. These two threw deadly strikes, and if either Bruce or Brandon Lee were alive, they'd probably do a small jig in delight of them. Murdoch sells wonderfully for somebody with a keg of beer for a stomach and orange teeth. Inoki blades like a FUCKING MAN for a post spot and Murdoch finishes this gem with the brain buster of all brain busters!!!!! It makes me believe the name of the move for once (not like DDT where I kept expecting to see a green cloud of smoke back in the 5th row and people dropping like flies)
3) The Rock/ Steve Austin v. the NWO (Hogan/ Nash/ Hall)- 3
This shit was all over the place- I don't know why they thought their silly little ring could hold those 5 egos; I think the state of New Hampshire enclosed from the outside world may have done the trick. First off, know that Austin was the ring leader and was actually bumping well for Hall and Nash. Hogan tagged in for a bodyslam and a few punches but other than that, he was just sweating off his spray on tan at the apron. Rock and Hall both traded some great punches and Nash sold a Thez Press like he stepped into a divot on a polo field. There was some miscommunication (surprised?) when all 5 men got invovled and Hogan picked up the clean win over Rock with a legdrop. Pretty piss poor and if anyone besides Austin would have gave a damn, this could have been a main event at a PPV, but instead it was thrown away on a substandard Raw. Guess Vince didn't need the money.