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February 16, 2007 / Jonathan Sullivan

Samoa Joe Vs. Takeshi Morishima from ROH’s Fifth Year Festival: NYC (2007)

Jon is frightened and confused by independent wrestling so he mostly just spends his time reviewing old WWF/WCW shows on his own site, Jon Vs. Pro Wrestling. He’s also on Twitter. He’s also standing right behind you.

The Action

Joe and Morishima immediately start trading forearms, forcing the referee to ring the bell prematurely. No Code of Honor for these guys. Morishima flattens Joe with a shoulderblock, causing Joe to bail to the floor and eat another shoulderblock, this time from the apron. Back in the ring Morishima whips Joe into the corner and hits a cartwheel into an avalanche splash followed by a scoop slam and a rope-assisted double stomp. Joe attempts to fight back with a series of jabs but Morishima overpowers him and after a brief chinlock hits a corner lariat for the first 2-count of the match. Morishima slaps on another chinlock and Joe gets to the ropes to force a break.

Joe connects with a series of chops and takes off into the ropes but he ends up running right into a Butt Butt from Morishima. Iceman King Parsons would be proud. Morishima heads to the top and hits a massive front-facing missile dropkick that stuns the crowd but his lateral press only results in a 2-count. Morishima attempts another high-flying move, this time from the middle turnbuckle, but Joe counters with an inverted atomic drop on his way down, following up with a running boot and a senton. Joe is in control now, hits a running back elbow in the corner followed by an enzuigiri. Joe facewashes Morishima with his boot then hits a running kick on his fallen foe. Joe takes Morishima down to the mat and hits an elbow right on the bridge of the nose, causing Morishima to start bleeding. Morishima attempts an STO but Joe blocks it and counters with a judo throw and a hard kick. Morishima bails to the floor and Joe hits him with a suicida that sends both of them crashing into the barricade.

The crowd starts singing “OLE!” and Joe obliges them by seating Morishima down on a chair at ringside and hitting a running Ole Kick to the side of the head. The crowd wants one more and they get it. Joe rolls Morishima back into the ring and covers for a 2-count. Joe connects with jabs and both men duck lariat attempts, leading to Morishima taking Joe down with a side slam. Morishima brings Joe to a seated position and hits a running leg lariat, then hits one more, covering for the 1…2…kickout. Morishima whips Joe into the corner and hits a Yakuza Kick but misses a follow-up slash and Joe takes him down with an STO (called an ST-Joe because HA CLEVER) for the 1…2…kickout. Morishima decks Joe, Joe responds with an enzuigiri and a death valley driver for the 1…2…kickout. Joe goes for a powerbomb but Morishima is too tough so he kicks him repeatedly in the face to weaken him. He tries again but Morishima counters easily with a backdrop followed by a seated splash. Morishima makes his way to the top, Joe slaps him repeatedly to get him into a seated position then picks the giant motherf*cker up and connects with a Muscle Buster for the 1…2…NO! Joe is in shock and so am I. Both men run into one another with shoulderblocks, Joe hits a savate kick, and Morishima takes his head off with a massive and beautiful lariat. Both men are down. Hot damn.

Morishima is first to his feet and hits a good ol’ fashioned Thesz Press, holding Joe’s arms down for the 1…2…kickout. Morishima follows up with a urinage slam and a Backdrop Driver, covering once again for the 1…2…NO! Joe mounts a comeback by ducking a lariat and hitting an awesome half-nelson suplex. He applies the rear-naked choke which Morishima attempts to break with a jawbreaker but Joe hangs on. Morishima attempts another Backdrop Driver but Joe counters and cinches deeper on the Rear-Naked Choke, grapevining the body with his legs. Morishima struggles for a moment then passes out, giving Joe the victory.

Winner [via KO]: Samoa Joe (18:09)

After the match the crowd chants “Thank You Joe!” and he gets a couple of streamers out of respect.

The Fallout

This match was part of Joe’s “Farewell Tour” as he would no longer be able to perform on ROH events due to his commitment to TNA. He would finish up a few days later with a win over Homicide and outside of a one-off untelevised match in 2008 would not make his return to the company until 2015 after departing from TNA. Although Morishima lost this match he would go on to win the ROH World Title the very next night, becoming the first non-American to hold the strap and defending against all comers until losing it to Nigel McGuinness later in the year.

Jon’s Review

A really fun and entertaining match against two athletic giants. If I had been watching ROH at the time this totally would have sold me on Morishima. There were some lulls here and there, some chinlock spots that didn’t need to happen, but overall it held my attention and even caused me to audibly gasp once or twice (THAT FREAKIN’ MUSCLE BUSTER, MAN). Definitely check it out if you can see it for free…which you can you dummy so watch it. (***3/4)

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