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MATCH #1: ROH World & ROH Pure Championship Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Weekend of Champions Night 2, 4.29.06
I haven’t seen this match in about four years, so this should be interesting. McGuinness has been the Pure Champion since 8.27.05, and this is his eleventh defense. Danielson has been the World Champion since 9.17.05, and this is his nineteenth defense. Senior Referee Todd Sinclair explains the rules and away we go. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary. They chain wrestle in the early going, and the crowd seems split on who to root for. Danielson tries to channel Antonio Inoki, but it doesn’t quite work for him. They trade holds back and forth, with neither man gaining a clear advantage. Danielson tries grounding McGuinness with a side headlock and he has some success with that. McGuinness makes it back to his feet so Danielson switches it up to the cravat. A nice sequence of reversals keeps the crowd into it, but Danielson retains control. McGuinness finally gets so fed up with the cravat that he uses his first rope break to get out of the hold. He responds by using a closed fist without getting caught by the referee, and when Danielson responds in kind, the referee sees it and gives Danielson a warning. While Sinclair is telling the ring announcer, McGuinness delivers another closed fist, and when Sinclair turns around Danielson punches back once again, and this time it costs him a rope break. That was awesome. McGuinness is doggedly going after Danielson’s arm. He locks on a submission hold and accentuates it with elbows to the head, causing Danielson to use another rope break to get out of the hold. Danielson tries to come back with a modified sleeper hold, but McGuinness goes right back to the arm. The World Champion escapes and hits a solid dropkick to the face, but the Pure Champion comes back by once again attacking the arm. Finally Danielson escapes a hold and goes for the Surfboard, but settles for stomping McGuinness’s knees into the mat. McGuinness responds by snapping Danielson’s arm once again, and then sending him to the floor. He tries to suplex Danielson back in the ring, but Danielson counters with a release German Suplex. Both men are down, and McGuinness reaches his feet first. Danielson is firing up with a big lariat and a running forearm in the corner. He follows up with a suplex and a diving headbutt for a two-count. Then he locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing, and McGuinness uses his second rope break. Back to their feet the rivals exchange slaps, and McGuinness hits the headstand mule kick. McGuinness then hits the Tower of London, and Danielson avoids getting pinned by putting his foot on the ropes, and thus is now out of rope breaks. He goes for another Tower of London but Danielson counters with the Cattle Mutilation! McGuinness puts his foot on the bottom rope for this third rope break, and now the ropes are in play across the board. They battle on the apron and McGuinness suplexes Danielson to the floor! McGuinness throws Danielson into the guardrail and then clears the table to use it as a weapon, but Danielson makes it back into the ring at the count of 19! Prazak notes that we are about 22 minutes in and that a 60-minute draw is a possibility. I think that’s a bit presumptuous. In the meantime, McGuinness hits the Jawbreaker Lariat for a two-count, and then Danielson rolls over into the Cattle Mutilation. The ropes mean nothing at this point. McGuinness slides to the floor to break the hold. Danielson follows him out with a suicide dive, and both men are down. They get up and McGuinness charges, so Danielson throws him over the barricade and into the crowd. Danielson follows him out with the springboard dive, which given that Todd Sinclair was at the count of 17 or so and the Pure Title changes hands on a countout, was a pretty stupid move on Danielson’s part. Also, unfortunately for Danielson, McGuinness gets a chair up in his face. McGuinness is able to get back in the ring before the count of 20 and wins the match at 28:34. Bobby Cruise mistakenly announces McGuinness as the New ROH World Champion before Sinclair corrects him – the World Title can only change hands on a pinfall or submission. That was an awesome match that made great use of the Pure Rules and had a clever finish that would lend itself to future rematches. This is the kind of Gabe Booking that I miss.
MATCH #2: ROH World Championship – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Generation Now, 7.29.06
Bryan Danielson has been the ROH World Champion since 9.17.05, and this is his twenty-seventh defense. Nigel’s Pure Title is not on the line. This is an interesting matchup since both guys are ostensibly heels, but are well respected by the ROH fan base, and with good reason. Both guys get some streamers. Quick ROHbots, start a thread on the message board about their technique and choice of color! Nigel controls the Greco Roman knuckle lock to start, but both men are soon trading moves. Danielson goes after the leg of the Pure Champion. Nigel tries to fight back, but Danielson continues to work on the leg. Nigel takes an opening and he goes to work on the arm. Danielson regains control and locks on the surfboard. Both men get back to their feet. Nigel puts on an armbar that Danielson escapes with that unnecessary bridge that he does. I love Danielson but I really don’t get why he does that. Nigel nips up out of an armbar, kinda forgetting to sell the leg in the process. Danielson charges Nigel into the corner and Nigel delivers an awesome headbutt to the nose. Danielson responds with slaps to the face. He then falls prey to the headstand. Tower of London attempt is reversed to the cross face chicken wing, but Nigel escapes. Snap suplex by Danielson and he heads up top. The World Champion hits a missile dropkick and nips up, then hits a dive to the outside. Back in the ring Danielson hits a sweet European uppercut off the second rope. Cattle Mutilation is attempted but Nigel keeps fighting out of it. Nigel goes for the headstand but eats a kick to the face. Superplex by Danielson and then he goes up top for the diving headbutt but Nigel lifts the knee right into his face. Nigel’s nose is bloodied now. They trade European uppercuts and Nigel hits a huge lariat for a near fall. The Tower of London gets a near fall as well. Nigel puts on That Arm Submission, which I don’t think I’ve seen him use for a while, but Danielson reaches the ropes. Nigel responds with elbows to the face a la Danielson. The Champ reverses though and hits his own elbows and locks on the cross-face chicken wing. They start trading sick headbutts. Danielson charges and Nigel dumps him over the ropes. Back in the ring Nigel hits the rebound clothesline for a near fall. Danielson gets crotched on the top rope and Nigel hits a devastating clothesline off the top. Danielson goes to the floor and then crawls under the ring. He comes out the other side and gets a small package for the win at 24:25. That started slow but got really good in the last 10-12 minutes. I don’t care for the finish, as I was made to understand that this feud was about purely wrestling, not crawling under the ring shenanigans, but it was still a very good match, but not quite as good as their match from Weekend of Champions Night Two. Also, I believe it was Chris Vetter that made the point about how all of Samoa Joe’s promos (which were awesome) made sure the focus was on Danielson vs. Joe, making Nigel kind of seem like an afterthought in some respects.
MATCH #3: Unification Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Unified, 8.12.06
Danielson has been the Champion since 9.17.05, and this is his twenty-ninth defense. McGuinness has been the Pure Champion since 8.27.05, and this is his eighteenth defense. These two met in April in a Title versus Title match, which McGuinness won by countout, and then Danielson won the second match in July, so this is a the rubber unification match, and will be contested under Pure Rules. The Liverpool crowd is hot for both guys before the bell even rings.
They lock up fiercely to start as the crowd chants loudly for both men. Danielson strikes first with a slap to the face. They chain wrestle briefly and McGuinness issues a receipt for the slap, much to the crowd’s delight. McGuinness goes after the arm and Danielson fights out with a dropkick. The back and forth continues, as both men battle for the first advantage. Danielson targets the arm and viciously attacks it. He hits a butterfly suplex and locks on a cross armbreaker, causing McGuiness to use his first rope break. McGuinness comes back and hits the Guns of Brixton (that’s what I’m calling the Kick to the Back/Elbow combination in the corner that he does). Danielson comes back with a step-up enziguiri. He then teases the surfboard but just stomps on McGuinness instead. They take it up top and Danielson hits a superplex. Danielson immediately goes back up top and hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. He follows up with Cattle Mutilation and McGuinness has to use his second rope break. McGuinness fires up and hits the Tower of London! Danielson breaks up the pin with his first rope break. McGuinness then uses Cattle Mutilation and Danielson quickly uses his second rope break. The battle spills to the floor and Danielson reclaims control, slamming McGuinness into the ringside table. Danielson then holds McGuinness down with the table, looking for a countout. McGuinness barely makes it back in the ring and the match will continue. They start trading forearms and McGuinness hits a huge Lariat for two. McGuinness tries the headstand but Danielson dropkicks him and hits a roaring forearm for two. Danielson then locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing, and it looks like McGuinness’s mouth is busted open. He takes him down to the mat with a body scissors but McGuinness is able to make it to the ropes and he uses his third and final rope break.
Danielson hits a release German Suplex and goes up top for the diving headbutt but McGuinness blocks it with a boot to the face! Both men get back to their feet and they trade hard slaps to the face, staggering each other. Danielson wins that battle and hits a leaping forearm in the corner. McGuinness comes back and places Danielson on the top rope for the Lariat, which gets two when Danielson uses his third and final rope break. That Lariat needs a name too, so I think I’ll call it the White Riot. The ropes are now in play for both competitors. McGuinness goes up top and Danielson joins him, only to get sent back with a headbutt. Danielson shrugs it off and hits a dropkick, and then goes up top and puts on the Crossface Chicken Wing! That’s creative. McGuinness battles out and hits the Tower of London! That only gets two. Danielson rolls to the floor and McGuinness follows him. That proves to be a costly mistake, as they fight through the ring post and Danielson pulls McGuinness’s arms, causing his head to crack against the ring post insanely hard. That busts McGuinness open and is one of the more dangerous things I’ve seen in Ring of Honor. It’s just insane that anyone would take that. Danielson dropkicks McGuinness into the front row and then wipes him out with the springboard dive. McGuinness just barely makes it back to the ring to continue the fight and the crowd is going ballistic. Amazingly they trade headbutts, which is just painful to watch. McGuinness lands the Jawbreaker Lariat but can’t cover right away so Danielson is able to kick out. Danielson immediately rolls into Cattle Mutilation, and then turns it into the series of elbows to the face and the referee stops the match at 26:20. That is one of the best matches in ROH history, and was suitably epic for the buildup it was given. I was legitimately uncomfortable watching the abuse Nigel McGuinness put himself through for this match. Almost six years later this match is still amazing.
MATCH #4: 2/3 Falls for the ROH Championship – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Epic Encounter II, 8.25.06
Danielson has been champion since 9.17.05, and this is his thirty-second defense. He has already successfully defended the title against McGuinness three times, and this is his last shot at the American Dragon. The code of Honor is tensely observed. Nigel is aggressive the early going, so Danielson backs off. Prazak gives an excellent history of these men’s prior matches against each other. They start chain wrestling, and Danielson puts on a headlock. He threatens to keep the hold on for the entire 60 minutes this match is sure to go. He switches it up to the headscissors. Danielson continues to dominate, switching over to the chinlock. Nigel makes the comeback and goes to work on the champion’s shoulder. The tease Danielson taking the head bumps to the steel ring post, but he takes it on the shoulder instead. Back in the ring Nigel continues to work on the shoulder. The action finally picks up when Danielson fights back with a dropkick and hits a nice looking dive to the floor. Back in the ring he his a missile dropkick and nips up. Danielson uses the Thesz Press and puts on a crossface of sorts. We’re about twenty minutes in and the champion hits a superplex. Nigel comes back with a lariat and the headstand mule kick. Danielson scores a small package out of nowhere to get the pin and win the first fall. Danielson stalls like Larry Zbyszko. He does take control back in the ring with his purposefully slow offense. Nigel finally gets fed up and the crowd tries to get behind him for a bit but Danielson goes right back to the side headlock. He varies it up a bit and scores a couple of near falls. Nigel’s nose is bloody, so the commentators speculate on the possibility of it being broken. Nigel makes a comeback and locks on That Arm Submission but Danielson reaches the ropes. Danielson crawls under the ring again and hits Nigel with a missile dropkick, and Nigel responds with the Rebound Clothesline and locks on a New Arm Submission and Danielson taps out to even things up at one fall apiece. Wow, and Prazak says over 20 minutes are left in the time limit. Both men are up and they trade submission holds. Nigel goes after the shoulder, so Danielson commissions referee Todd Sinclair to put it back in place. That awkward spot leads to Nigel trying the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson reaches the ropes and Nigel continues to dominate. Danielson comes back and hits the super back suplex and the Cattle Mutilation but Nigel reaches the ropes to absolutely zero reaction. They get up and trade slaps, and Danielson is all “no way man” and hits the face again and locks on another chinlock. They do some more stuff and the crowd pretty much sits on their hands, and I’m not far behind them. Danielson dives to the floor but Nigel gets a chair up. Back in the ring Danielson hits Nigel’s own Tower of London finisher. Danielson goes for the diving headbutt but Nigel gets the knees up and puts on Cattle Mutilation. Danielson reaches the ropes. Nigel tries the Tower of London, but Danielson reverses to the Cattle Mutilation, which Nigel escapes and gets a Tower of London for two. Danielson comes back with Cattle Mutilation for real. Nigel hits a big lariat for two and puts on his New Arm Submission. We’ve got five minutes left. They start hitting some big stuff and there’s two minutes left. Danielson eventually starts cranking Nigel in the face with elbows, and just when it seems Nigel is out he comes back with just 30 seconds to go. He hits his own elbows to the face. The bell rings during this, signifying the end of the 60:00 time limit. The match was technically good and even exciting in the last ten minutes (even though all they did was finishers), but jeez was a lot of that match really boring. I understand the whole “Bryan Danielson wrestles for no one but himself” thing, and that’s all well and good, but in this match it felt like they were stalling because they knew they were going 60 minutes. The Joe versus Punk matches never blatantly seemed like they were going to go 60. Perhaps booking this as an Iron Man match would have helped alleviate that problem, I don’t know. After about 10 minutes, Danielson gets up and gets on the mic to put over Nigel as his toughest opponent. He then offers the Pure Title belt as a trophy to Nigel, who held that championship for almost a year. Nigel takes a turn on the mic too, and they shake hands.
MATCH #5: Nigel McGuinness & KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson & Takeshi Morishima, Respect is Earned, 5.12.07
Danielson and KENTA start it off. Interesting to note that the two best matches of last year were Danielson vs. KENTA and Danielson vs. Nigel, and we’ll see both of those pairings in this match. They go back and forth for a few minutes, and then each man tags his partner, so now it’s McGuinness and Morishima. They do a little bit and then Danielson comes in to fight Nigel. It doesn’t take long for this one to break down and everyone to hop in the ring. Referee Sinclair restores order and we’re back to Danielson and McGuinness. Danielson and Morishima beat on Nigel for a while. McGuinness makes the big comeback and tags out to KENTA, who unloads on Danielson and gets a near fall with a missile dropkick. Danielson recovers and tags to Morishima, who delivers a monster missile dropkick to KENTA. Morishima hits a Boss Man Slam, but KENTA comes back and actually powerslams the champion. McGuinness comes back in and goes to work on the champ. Morishima hits McGuinness with a missile dropkick, but McGuinness no-sells it and hits a lariat for a two count. Morishima comes back and hits a Back Drop Driver on McGuinness, but KENTA makes the save. Morishima goes back to the top rope but KENTA grabs his leg, allowing McGuinness to hit the Tower of London. Danielson and KENTA are in the ring now and both are going for their high impact stuff. The fight spills to the floor and Morishima goes into the crowd. McGuinness hits a big dive from the top rope into the audience. That leaves Danielson and KENTA in the ring. McGuinness comes in for some reason and the referee doesn’t even try to stop him for not being the legal man. KENTA hits the “original Go 2 Sleep” (as called by Leonard) on Danielson but Morishima breaks it up. McGuinness is getting his injured arm taped up so he can continue to fight. KENTA is taking plenty of abuse, and the referee has completely lost control. McGuinness hits an ill-advised lariat on Morishima, further injuring his arm. KENTA hits a top-rope Falcon Arrow on Danielson for two. Danielson gets Cattle Mutilation on KENTA. KENTA fights out and tries Go 2 Sleep but Danielson reverses it and puts on Cattle Mutilation again, while Morishima just pummels McGuinness. KENTA taps out at 24:44. That had a lot of cool stuff and some hard hitting action, but the total lack of referee involvement in the last little while was kind of irritating, which is what makes this just a notch below the tag title match.
MATCH #6: Number One Contender Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson, Domination, 6.9.07
They shake hands and immediately start mat wrestling, and the crowd is just going ballistic already. They battle to a few stalemates early on, with neither guy gaining a clear cut advantage. They continue to go back and forth and I’m having trouble saying much because I’m very engrossed. Nigel starts working on the arm and the shoulder. They fight on the outside of the ring with Nigel remaining in control. Danielson fights back with some brawling tactics, including tipping the timekeeper’s table over on Nigel’s head. Nigel comes back with a rebound lariat sending Danielson over the guardrail into the crowd. He goes up top and hits a huge dive over the rails. Danielson fights back with a nasty looking suplex on the guardrail. He suplexes him back in as well. Back in the ring Danielson continues to work on the back, driving a series of knees to the back. Nigel powers up and takes a series of strikes to the face before fighting back with a big lariat but can’t make a cover. Nigel fights back with a Superkick and another lariat for two. Danielson fights back and Nigel tries the Tower of London but Danielson avoids it and they have an awesome sequence of reversals that ends with Nigel hitting a powerbomb for two. Nigel follows that up with a half Boston Crab. Nigel tries the headstand but Danielson hits a dropkick and a super back suplex for a near fall. He tries the Chicken Wing but Nigel escapes. Nigel tries the Tower of London and both men are down. They exchange a brutal series of headbutts and Danielson is busted open. Danielson delivers the elbows to the face and locks on Cattle Mutilation and that match is over at 24:31. I tried for a few minutes to think of a reason not to give this match five stars, and nothing comes to mind.
MATCH #7: Bryan Danielson & Nigel McGuinness vs. Takeshi Morishima & Naomichi Marufuji, United We Stand, 6.22.07
Danielson and Marufuji start it off, and they exchange creative dropkicks. The crowd is behind both men, but it is Danielson who takes first control. Marufuji comes back and we have a stand off and the crowd cheers. Danielson tags out to Nigel and Marufuji tags out to the Champ. Morishima overpowers McGuinness, and Danielson encourages his partner to go back and get him. Nigel does just that, and then tags out to Danielson. He tries to use forearms on Morishima, but the champ hits forearms of his own and wins that battle. Marufuji comes in and Danielson goes to work on him. The fight spills to the floor and Morishima inflicts punishment on Danielson, so that he and Marufuji can dominate him back in the ring. McGuinness gets tagged in and he is on fire on Marufuji. Marufuji comes back and leaps off the top rope and McGuinness catches him with a Superkick. Marufuji recovers and tags out to Morishima, who hits the cartwheel stinger splash and a side slam for two. Morishima goes for the Back Drop Driver and Danielson sneaks in with a missile dropkick on Morishima to break it up. McGuinness tags out to Danielson, who hits another missile dropkick for two. Morishima uses brute strength to come back and tags Marufuji in. They go back and forth and McGuinness interferes illegally and knocks Morishima off the apron and Team ROH double teams Marufuji while the referee does nothing. Marufuji recovers and tries the Shiranui on Danielson, but McGuinness catches him with a Tower of London, and the cover is broken up by Morishima. The champion then helps Marufuji deliver a standing Shiranui to Danielson and both men make the tag. The NOAH contingent now takes their opportunity to double team McGuinness. Morishima hits the Back Drop Driver on McGuinness, but Danielson breaks it up. Morishima tries a Super Back Drop Driver but Danielson breaks it up again by tossing Morishima to the floor. McGuinness hits a lariat from the top to the floor on the champ, and then hits a jawbreaker and gets two back inside the ring. Morishima’s nose is bleeding now. McGuinness puts a single leg crab on Morishima and Danielson puts the Cattle Mutilation on Marufuji. The ROH team tries to double team Morishima but he powers out of it. McGuinness hits a poorly executed Tower of London on Morishima but it only gets two. McGuinness tries for lariats but Morishima is brushing them off. Marufuji comes in and hits a Superkick on McGuinness, who no-sells it and bounces back with the jawbreaker to cleanly pin the ROH World Champion at 24:13. That’s the first time Morishima has been pinned in ROH. The match was very good, but had a few awkward spots that kept it from being a great one.
MATCH #8: Tag Team Title Match – The Briscoes vs. Bryan Danielson & Nigel McGuinness, Race to the Top Tournament Night One, 7.27.07
The Briscoes have been champions since 3.30.07, and this is their tenth defense. The fans are banging the guardrails to no real pattern, as usual. It’s nice to see Jay and Mark have their belts back from the airlines. Nigel and Mark start it off and the champs take the early advantage. Danielson offers to take care of this for Nigel, showing that these two may not be the most cohesive team. Nigel does tag him in though, s now it’s Danielson and Mark squaring off. They mat wrestle for a brief period, and then the Briscoes take over on Danielson as well. Their continuity is really carrying them in this one. They’re able to counter just about everything, except for the rebound lariat on the floor by Nigel. That allows Danielson to recover and suplex Jay, and then tags Nigel in. The challengers now take over on Jay. Nigel tries the Tower of London but Jay blocks it the first time, only to eat canvas the second time. Mark makes the save on that one. Mark ends up getting tagged in and he’s on fire. The champs try the Springboard Doomsday Device but the challengers counter and Danielson winds up locking in the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson uses the elbows to the face and then goes back to Cattle Mutilation. Jay breaks it up with a splash off the top rope. This one breaks down with everyone hitting big moves on everyone. The Briscoes hit a few combos on Nigel but can’t put him away. All four are in the ring now and a miscommunication occurs and Danielson hits Nigel with a roaring elbow and Mark rolls Nigel up for the pin at 17:50. That was awesome action and a great dynamic to build the feud between Nigel and Danielson.
MATCH #9: Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Survival of the Fittest 2007, 10.19.07
This is generally thought of as one of the lesser matches in the Danielson/McGuinness series. McGuinness had just won the ROH World Title so it was unlikely that either he would win Survival of the Fittest or drop a clean fall to anyone, even Danielson. So they did the ole 20-minute time-limit draw, and neither guy got to go to the finals. These two could never have a bad match, but this one isn’t exactly memorable.
MATCH #10: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson, Sixth Anniversary Show, 2.23.08
Unlike the previous match on this DVD set, this IS one of their amazing bouts against each other. The dynamic was different because McGuinness was the Champion instead of Danielson, and that was a nice change to the series. McGuinness tenaciously worked Danielson’s arm until getting him to tap out to That Arm Submission after more than 30 minutes. This is a great, great match.
MATCH #11: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Battle of the Best, 9.13.08
Danielson has won three times, McGuinness twice, and they’ve wrestled to two time-limit draws, so this is the champion’s chance to tie it up. McGuinness goes right for the arm, taking Danielson down to the mat. Danielson responds by attacking the ankle. He gets a near-fall and is able to turn that into a Muta Lock. McGuinness escapes and gets a sort of chinlock on. Danielson reverses that to an armbar, and they’re doing all this with their legs tied up together. They untie themselves and fight in the corner, with Danielson landing a European uppercut. McGuinness hits one of his own. This match has been very tit for tit. Danielson goes back to working on the ankle. They continue mat wrestling, with Danielson probably ahead on points. I find it hard to believe that after wrestling each other so many times that Danielson would fall for the headstand mule kick. They continue trading control back and forth. McGuinness gets the first huge move of the match, as he hits the Tower of London to the floor. He brings Danielson back in for a two-count. McGuinness then puts on a half crab, which is strange because earlier he was working the arm. He goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat but Danielson blocks it and puts the champion down in the corner. He asks the referee to count McGuinness down, and he takes the opportunity to catch his own breath. He hits a German Suplex with a bridge for two. Danielson tries Cattle Mutilation but McGuinness rolls out of it, but Danielson hangs on and delivers the elbows to the head. He tries Cattle Mutilation again and McGuinness cleverly reverses it to a Tower of London. That only gets two. They get up and trade slaps in the center of the ring, which McGuinness wins when he switches it up to a knee strike. He puts Danielson on the top rope and chops him. He hits the big lariat but Danielson kicks out. He tries another big lariat but Danielson ducks and gets a rollup for two. They continue going back and forth until Danielson traps McGuinness in a small package to get the pin at 22:01. That puts Danielson up 4-2-2 lifetime. The match was technically proficient; I don’t think thee two could have a bad match together. But without the title on the line and a non-American crowd it came off a little flat. But still, these are two of the best so it was still very good. After the match Danielson talks about his shot at the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title tomorrow night. He asks the crowd to continue supporting ROH, and thanks them.
MATCH #12: ROH World Title Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Rising Above 2008, 11.22.08
McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his twenty-ninth defense. If he is successful tonight he will tie Samoa Joe for second most defenses of this title. The guy in first place is the challenger tonight. These two never have a bad match. It’s just a matter of how good it’s going to be. They start cautiously; they know they’re going to be here a while. Danielson gets an early advantage so the champion takes a breather outside the ring. Back in the ring the challenger resumes control, working on the champion’s arm and shoulder. The champion has several counters but Danielson always has an answer for him so Nigel bails again. Danielson follows him out this time and hits a flying knee off the apron. He throws Nigel back in the ring and stomps on his head. Nigel makes the comeback and immediately goes after Danielson’s knee, the same knee that Claudio Castagnoli went after last night in Dayton. The champion uses the spinning toe hold and the figure-four leg lock, both finishing holds of great World Champions past. Nigel tries the head stand, but Danielson awesomely counters with an ankle lock, and then hits a German suplex with a bridge for two. Danielson then goes for the Cross-Face Chicken Wing but Nigel avoids it. They do the fish out of water sequence, which as we know never gets a pin. Nigel tries a lariat but Danielson ducks and locks on the Chicken Wing. The champ reaches the ropes, and Danielson unloads with kicks. Sinclair admonishes Danielson, which distracts him long enough for Nigel to chop block him. Nigel sets Danielson on the top rope and goes for the lariat, with a helpful assist from Sinclair. I hate it whenever referees help position wrestlers. Nigel goes back to the spinning toe hold and gets kicked to the floor. Danielson follows him out with a springboard senton. They fight up by the entrance and Nigel grabs a chair. Sinclair runs out to stop him, and Claudio Castagnoli attacks Danielson behind the ref’s back and smashes Danielson’s head. Danielson is in danger of being counted out, until Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne comes out and literally drags Danielson back to the ring. I understand that Payne had an earlier issue with Castagnoli, but I don’t like his involvement in this match. Come to think of it, I don’t really like Claudio’s either. Nigel hits a lariat on the bloody Danielson but it only gets two! He goes right back to the knee, locking on a half Boston Crab. Danielson reaches the ropes and then fires up with a running knee strike. Both men resume their feet and trade European Uppercuts. Nigel tries the Jawbreaker but Danielson counters to a cross arm breaker and then the triangle choke. Danielson accentuates the choke with elbows to the head but the champion will not quit. Nigel frees himself but Danielson gets a small package for a near-fall. Danielson counters another lariat with a crucifix for two, and then rolls into the elbow strikes. The challenger almost falters but then gets his second wind and this another series of elbows but the champion kicks out! Danielson rolls it over to the Cattle Mutilation. Nigel powers up but Danielson hits a Tiger Suplex for two. He tries to put Cattle Mutilation back on, but Nigel counters to a modified Tower of London. Both men get back to their feet and Nigel hits a lariat but Danielson kicks out! Nigel then hits Danielson with elbow strikes to the face but Danielson only gets fired up and trades strikes with the champion. Moments later Nigel hits the Jawbreaker Lariat and pins Danielson to retain the title at 28:14. The Payne involvement didn’t really do it for me, but aside from that this was the usual awesomeness from these two.
MATCH #13: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown, 9.26.09
They lock up and McGuinness gives Danielson a clean break. In no great shock they take it to the mat with some chain wrestling. Danielson takes the first advantage and viciously attacks McGuinness’s arm. The crowd shows their appreciation for both men throughout the match. McGuinness responds by also attacking Danielson’s arm in unnatural ways. I’m going to miss these guys. Danielson comes back with a bitch slap and then puts McGuinness in a surfboard position in order to punch him in the ear. Hero works in a Chad Collyer reference on commentary, and now I just miss Chad Collyer. In the meantime McGuinness has regained control. Danielson comes back with a boot and a leaping European Uppercut. He takes McGuinness down and hits a diving headbutt off the top rope for two. He goes up top for a missile dropkick and McGuinness blocks it, only to find himself quickly trapped in a triangle choke. McGuinness reaches the ropes, but as everyone knows, Danielson has till five to break. They do the fish out of water spot, and the crowd just loves everything that they’re doing. Danielson hits a running clothesline and then sets McGuinness up top for the belly-to-back superplex. McGuinness blocks that so Danielson settles for the Tree of Woe. That sufficiently softens McGuinness up for the belly-to-back superplex, and that gets two. Danielson tries Cattle Mutilation but McGuinness counters it into a Tower of London, which Hero calls the London Bridge for some reason. McGuinness takes Danielson out to the apron and tries another Tower of London, but Danielson avoids it and pushes him into the crowd. McGuinness uses a ring attendant to block Danielson’s dive, but when he gloats about it Danielson hits him with a running knee strike off the apron, which once again sends McGuinness into the crowd. Danielson this time follows him out with the springboard dive. He gets up on the barricade and McGuinness pushes him right into the ring post, effectively busting Danielson’s head open. McGuinness is in control now, hitting a big Tower of London on the floor now. He then returns an old favor, pulling Danielson’s already bloody head into the ring post a couple of times. Back in the ring (barely) McGuinness hits a Tower of London on the apron. He hurriedly throws Danielson back in the ring for a two-count, and then locks on the London Dungeon, but Danielson reaches the ropes. McGuinness tries for a lariat but Danielson avoids it and hits a missile dropkick. Danielson hits a running knee strike but McGuinness comes back with a Jawbreaker Lariat! It only gets two, so McGuinness immediately applies the London Dungeon. He even traps Danielson’s legs, but Danielson rolls through and hits some elbows, but McGuinness counters with elbows of his own. Danielson simply powers out of them and hits some forearm strikes. They run the ropes and knock heads. That inspires them to trade sickening headbutts. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker again but Danielson counters with a small package for two. On the next attempt McGuinness does hit the Jawbreaker but can’t make the cover right away, so it only gets two. Danielson’s momentum rolls over and he locks on the Cattle Mutilation. He rolls that into the elbow strikes for a two-count. Danielson hits a series of kicks to the head, and then locks on the triangle choke and accentuates that with elbow strikes, and Sinclair calls for the bell at 28:23. Well these two certainly had a lot to live up to, and while it wasn’t as good as the matches in the prime of their feud, they did show why they are regarded as two of the best in the world, and two of the most important wrestlers in the history of Ring of Honor.
The Pulse: I love DVDs that focus on a feud like this, and of all the feuds in ROH this is probably the best one to release a DVD set for. Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness were two of the top stars in ROH history and two of the most important Champions. They had great matches against each other during their entire run in the company and it’s great to have them all captured here. You can and absolutely should purchase this DVD from the ROH Shop.