Featured image by Lee South

First reviewed here.

This flourished on a rewatch in large part due to how strong both the performances are.

In particular, this stood out as another truly excellent Jon Moxley performance. As he did against Punk in this same building the year before, Moxley suffocates his opposition here. He gives Cassidy so little and takes so goddamn much. He shrugs off so much of what Cassidy attempts here, never giving those softer strikes the time of day, constantly pushing and antagonizing Orange too to give him a better fight. And his attack just feels so goddamn vicious. He’s not stabbing the man with a fork here, but he keeps cutting off Orange in these small mean ways. It’s how he charges in at Orange, halts his momentum with strikes, thrashes at him and busts him open. It really is fantastic, one of those “ace of the world” performances that just feels so goddamn right in the hands of Moxley.

Cassidy, meanwhile, is given the meatiest narrative of his entire reign yet. Having been picked apart and battered for a year, now he’s up against this titan of the industry and defeat seems inevitable. It’s not really about overcoming Moxley on this night, perhaps denting him is enough. Cassidy makes that struggle feel so worthwhile with a fantastic bladejob, and beautiful selling that really puts over the wear tear not just of Moxley’s attack but of the entire year of the title reign.

The blood and the moment here in the main event do a lot of heavy lifting, but I felt both men brought action and performances that rise to the occasion of it all. It really does feel like a perfect end to Cassidy’s reign, and the start to what could have been something even more special. It’s a shame that they just sort of spun around in place a couple of months down the line. This particular match and moment still sings though.

Rating: ****1/4

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