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Charles (Loss)

[2005-04-02-ROH-Best of the American Super Juniors] Bryan Danielson vs Spanky

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Best of American Super Juniors Tournament Quarterfinal

Brian Kendrick vs. Bryan Danielson
Hands down, the greatest opener in ROH history, and I don't ever see this losing that distinction. That's likely because this match wasn't executed like an opener, but as a PPV main event. In addition, this is the consensus pick for MOTN on this event, and I am happy to agree with that. This is also probably the best singles match of Kendrick's career, and I can only imagine (without watching them) the only better matches in his career were his tag matches in NOAH several weeks later involving KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji.
This match had pretty much everything going for it - pacing, storytelling, drama, determination from both men. After the feeling out process (necessary because they hadn't wrestled each other in a few years), the story of the match was of course brilliant as it came down to Kendrick's left shoulder vs. Danielson's neck. I won't go into details about Danielson's work, as at this point I'm reviewing my fourth Danielson match in a week and would feel like a broken record. It was great to see Kendrick both still motivated while also being elevated to an outstanding match by Danielson.
I didn't agree with the combo of a superkick, Shiranui, and frogsplash being used as a false finish, which is my only complaint of this match. However, even though it's my only complaint, that's still a REALLY huge combo to use in such fashion, and keeps this from being at the very tip-top matches of ROH to me. However, I did love the Regalplex being used to finish Kendrick based on the work Danielson did on Kendrick's left shoulder. The standing ovation this got wasn't an auto-pilot reaction from those in attendance; it was absolutely 100% earned.
Rating: ****1/4

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I'm struggling to think of a better Spanky match than this. He held his own and was sublime in the role of a plucky underdog who manages to scrap together a few hope spots. Danielson is in the control for the majority and looks like a total mechanic. He'd add on little touches that made things we seen time and time again more legit and it's more proof than Danielson is one of the all-time greats. I have no qualms with all Kendrick's signature moves being used as false finishes as Danielson wasn't worn down as much as Kendrick. I have more of an issue with Danielson going for a top rope move after delivering an airplane spin. Just seems like an illogical transition. I don't see a match being one-sided as a negative, but if you prefer all your wrestling to be more back and forth, then this match might bother you. I couldn't see anyone hating this, mind you.

 

★★★★¼

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A really well-built match. Some solid, if bland matwork (sorry, matwork's not really my thing), a few cool spots, Danielson was fun working over the shoulder aggressively before they go to an exciting home stretch, where the fans (and myself) were really biting on the nearfalls for Spanky. Rewatching the early years of ROH, I tend to find the matches are very well executed but are somewhat emotionless and conducted in a vacuum. This was sort of the case here but mitigated by Spanky's comebacks and Danielson's aggression. Can't say enough good things about the commentary. Just great relevant points about strategy in the match, and brief histories of the wrestlers without getting cute or trying to get themselves over. Really added to the match. ****

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