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Really great match. Not sure if it will make my list, but probably the best that TNA has ever been and a prime example of how that crowd and those fans could have been hot as hell all the time if they were given wrestling even close to this on a regular basis.
Just watched it for maybe the second time. Felt like FIVE STARZ. I don't hand that out a ton but my goodness. At some point I want to write a few more words to try and explain why even some of the "just hanging out" moments worked for me. I've been in a bit of a wrestling funk and this may have beat the funk of me.
Turning Point 2005
X-Division Title Match
AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
Prior to starting all these rewatches, I had adamantly proclaimed for years that this was the best match in TNA history. Without seeing any 2012 material yet, and rewatching all of 2005, a case can be made for this match as the best TNA has ever hosted, but I'm not so adamant anymore. Is that a criticism of this match? Absolutely not. Styles and Christopher Daniels just had a match that many years later has held up as great as this one, and I've come to appreciate their first threeway match with Joe even more.
To start the match, Styles takes a page from Austin Aries a year earlier, going right after Joe in a fury. However, in this match, Styles did this not to gain the pure sports advantage, but because he was fucking livid at Joe's behavior in the weeks leading up to this timeless classic, as displayed by him screaming at Joe for lacking respect. But Joe, being the unstoppable juggernaut during the mid-2000s, was able to get the advantage again after the first furious couple minutes from Styles.
As I had suspected, Styles did channel his role somewhat from his work of art singles match against Paul London, but this time he was selling not because of the opposition playing mind games, but because Joe was so vicious AND quick to go with his mass. They took a spot from Joe's Chicago masterpiece against CM Punk, with Joe sweeping the leg of Styles, the champ landing on the apron, concluding with Joe swinging him around to the security guard rail. Crowd was definitely getting interested by this part based on the spectacular brutality alone.
Styles was simply phenomenal with his hope spots to keep this from being a squash, but in so many instances throughout this match, every time it appeared he would get a figurative first down or run to home plate, he would get stopped in his tracks by the former ROH Champion. Styles also threw EVERYTHING he possibly could, pulling out the Fosbury Flop for the first time in ages (at least in a TNA ring, and I don't remember whether or not he was still using it in ROH and PWG frequently during this time). That showed that not only was Joe pushing him to this point, but Styles preserved this devastating bomb for when he would need it. Little things like this are what give great matches an extra notch in their greatness.
There were a couple of times when Styles had kickouts at 1, the second one actually catching Joe off-guard after hitting a Pearl River Plunge on the champion. Styles dug down deep not just as a man, athlete, and champion in this one, but clearly also used his anger to try so hard to keep his motor running and humble the man that had disgraced the division he had busted his ass to build. Without question, this was Joe's toughest test to date in his sixth months in TNA, and only made him more of a fearsome bad-ass in victory, securing the title when Styles passed out to the rear naked choke. I want to also acknowledge Don West and Mike Tenay's excellent commentary in telling the story of this absolutely fantastic contest. They brought their A-games in this one. ****3/4