Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles
TNA Turning Point 2005
December 11, 2005 at TNA Impact! Zone

Reviewed by Super Joel Cast (VOW Author Page / Super J-Cast)

Gifted by Andrew Rich (VOW Author Page / Music of the Mat)

I had a big smile on my face when I opened my present to see Samoa Joe. I have a soft spot for him having seen him wrestle twice: once against Finn Balor at NXT Takeover London back in 2015, and also at All In where he had one of the few matches I actually enjoyed against a CM Punk fresh off his backstage scuffle with Jack Perry. A Wembley legend, that Samoa Joe.

The whole vibe of this match is so intensely mid-2000s that it’s making me want to get a tribal tattoo and frosted tips and throw on a Tapout shirt. It’s funny to think that this was as long ago from today as it was from Hogan v Andre at Wrestlemania III. Less has changed between 2005 to now than from 1987-2005, and a lot of that is probably down to guys like Joe and Styles innovating and providing the blueprint for many of the stars of today.

The story centres on Joe’s 6-month undefeated streak against Styles’s X-Division title. It’s a real styles clash (I’m so sorry) with Joe playing the dominant bruising bully to complement the high-flying babyface Styles perfectly, and probably the kind of match that made the X-Division and TNA so popular in the first place. They have terrific chemistry and accentuate each other’s strengths perfectly. The striking was stiff, and the creativity to tell the story of Styles needing to use his wits, speed and agility to turn the tide only to come up short was very compelling; elegant in its simplicity.

TNA is a blind spot in my wrestling knowledge, so it’s nice to be able to dip into one of their classics. I liked when the commentator (Don West or Mike Tenay?) shouted “You’ve got to be kidding me!” just like that podcast on VOW!