Samoa Joe vs Chris Hero
Shabbona Middle School, Morris, Illinois, United States
(reviewed 05/16/2019) Not so great as their first match but still delightful in a variety of ways. This isn’t necessarily built up to be a huge deal (main event on a smaller IWA MS show outside of their usual hotbeds) but both men are even more confident than they were the last time around. Hero’s a heel now after brutalizing Arik Cannon in the TPI last month and outside of that he’s improved by leaps and bounds over the last year and a half. Joe isn’t vastly different as a wrestler but he’s at the peak of his powers, having just taken Kenta Kobashi to the limit less than two weeks before. Neither man is willing to back down an inch and it results in dozens of nasty, nasty shots back and forth. As with most gyms this venue is way too big and airy for IWA MS, but the silence allows us to hear just how hard these guys are hitting each other and that’s great. Also great is how these guys one-up each other with a bit of familiarity, as well as their increased abilities. Both men are too good by now to keep the other down for long, though Hero’s leg work slows Joe down more than anything else has of late. Hero scores a low blow on Joe during a ref bump but when Cannon comes down to protest his actions it distracts the man from Metropolis long enough for Joe to cinch in the choke for another victory.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN VS TAKER FROM WM25: Feel like a broken record by this point. I think Shawn/Taker is fairly bad at building off of previous meetings between the two men and the majority of its fireworks do little for me. This second Joe/Hero match is far from stellar but it makes interesting advancements over the first bout on top of being chock full of mean, exciting offense. Not a lot of wiggle room here.
VERDICT: Better than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25