Paul London Vs. Akio (PART IV!!!) - Saturday 12th February 2005 - WWE Velocity
Dang, this rules every bit as much as their previous matches! It's sad that these guys go out their everyweek, kill themselves for OUR enjoyment, and yet, still, the company doesn't give a crap about them. There is an upside to this, however - not caring about them means that they don't get restricted to the usual "WWE style". They can go out there, mess some shit up, pop the crowd, have a great match and go home happy. Well, WE go home happy, I doubt they do after the nutty bumps they take.
They go at a slower pace than their previous bouts here - they know that they're getting the time that they didn't have in those encounters, so it allows for better pacing. This is evident when London teases a dive early on in the match, only to hit it at a later point. He went for the same dive (somersault plancha) in one of he earlier battles between these two. This time, however, Akio has it scouted, and manages to regroup before London can hit it. He isn't prepared for the second attempt later in the match, though, when London DOES connect with the flip.
It's nice that the crowd is with them from the start here, unlike previously when they had to win them over (not that that is really a bad thing). It translates well to the wrestlers, who seem to give that little bit extra with the hotter crowd on their side. London's stomps just seem to make more sense when the crowd is actually clapping along, rather than sitting on their hands, ya know?
One minor gripe with this is the lack of throwbacks to the other matches in the series - I thought when London went for the double axe handle that they were going to play into a nice nearfall or counter off the top rope DDT in match number two, but that didn't happen. I'd have liked to have seen some stuff like this, but there is always room for more matches in the future and, hey like I said, it's only a minor gripe, and it'd e harsh to really criticise them for anything here.
The chop-fest is awesome, and is similar, again, to the one we saw in match number two. That time they went in to a kicking frenzy, whilst here, London gains the upper hand and proceeds to burn Akio's chest with about twenty consecutive chops.
You get the feeling that as much as this breaks from the usual company style constraints, it's still being held back just a little bit. The neck and head work from Akio is good, and gives him an obvious traget and focus point for the rest of the match, however, it's as if he's not doing all that he can do. He makes the chinlock work more than most guys on the roster can, but ot would have been nice to see a little more variety in the submissions - maybe a Dragon Sleeper as a nice nod to the country that they're in?
The tease of the steel steps bump is as nice as the fake dive - early in the match, Akio backdrops London over the ropes, only to see him land on the apron and come back with a headscissors from the apron. Later in the match, Akio manages to add a little extra power to the backdrop, and this time London can't hold on. The result is the insanely dangerous, yet really fuckin' cool, crash into the steel steps that should be enough to warrant a coffin for Paul. Yet still he goes on. Because he's Paul London, and he really, really rules. More than you, in fact.
The fact that this is going to be longer, as opposed to a sprint, allows them to not necessarily use more stuff, but pace it better. If this was a six - seven minute match, they'd probably use all the offense that they use here, but they'd burn it up quicker, and wouldn't get the chance to tease it like they do with the dive and the stair bump. The doubled time also allows them to use a longer opening stretch. The matwork shows how equal these guys are, whereas in the other matches, we'd gage that equalness from the trading of nearfalls, but we didn't really have a platfrom to show it. Now we do.
What sets these two apart from the rest is just how well they do the little things. London shaking his hand every time he throws a punch, Akio being tossed out of the corner flat on to his back. They are only minor details, but the small stuff helps a decent match become good, make a good match great.
London's "undressing" from the cross-armed choke in to one of his own is fantastic. It could be percieved as comedy for the live crowd, but it shows the struggle that these two guys are in. They fight for every hold, the right to throw a punch, the right to go to the top rope. This wasn't as nutty as their other matches, but it didn't have to be. Both guys know each other so well that simply flying about the ring wouldn't be enough. They had to break each other down until the time was right and THEN take to the air. This was a battle and a struggle. They'd proven they could fly, now they were going to fight. It's fitting that London FINALLY managed to defeat Akio with his patented 450 Splash, a manoeuvre which he had attempted or teased in all their past encounters, but never managed to hit. Now he has, the best WWE feud today maybe over. (Winner: Paul London @ 14:06 with the 450 Splash) ***1/4 (WWE MOTY to date)
This isn't so good now that I look back on it, but after reviewing this match I decided to make it a permanent thing (match reviews), so some good came from it. Huzzah! It's no longer the company MOTY, for me, with Angle/Eddie, Benoit/Edge and Shelton/Shawn all being better than it, to name just a few. It's still very good, though. And, no, it didn't end up being the last match in their "feud". Far from it, in fact, as they've had about 5 more matches since, and London's gone over in all of them. None of them have been close to this level.