4. AJ Styles Vs. Samoa Joe - WWE Heavyweight Title Match
This wasn't too dissimilar to their SummerSlam encounter, but what it lacked in imagination it compensated for with pure, unadulterated oomph.
Samoa Joe once more played the Venus flytrap to jaw-dropping effect. Everything he did looked genuinely, disturbingly impactful. There was a certain 2015 Brock Lesnar quality to his performance here. When he struck Styles with a devastating warp speed leg sweep, when he nailed him square across the forehead with a big boot, when he chopped him to the canvas in one smooth, brutal motion, when he sent him crashing skull-first into the announce table with his elbow suicida, he looked like he was put on this very planet to maim him. The heat spot in WWE matches is usually dry and boring and fuelled by rest-holds; Joe was such an awesome killer here that it could have gone into the small hours, and nobody watching would have went night night.
Styles drew further parallels with Shawn Michaels with his acrobatic and emotive selling. He looked dumbstruck, but never over-sold to an extent that undermined his comebacks. This was totally gripping pro wrestling...
...until the sports entertainment f*ck finish removed the gloss.
It was done well, by WWE standards - as opposed to the main event - but we've seen it so often in this title reign that creative contrived to render the Phenomenal filler.
Star Rating: ****