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Charles (Loss)

[2006-08-12-ROH-Unified] Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness

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World Title and Pure Title Unification - Pure Title Rules

GUARANTEED UNIFICATION
Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness
The match has a really sweet video package chronicling both men's epic reigns, leaving behind a laundry list of top names on the indies and puro juniors division in their wake. What a crazy concept, have two bad-asses run an almost year-long gauntlet, then have them collide.
McGuinness of course gets the hometown hero's welcome in his native country. They exchange arm twists early with Danielson eventually getting the advantage on the left arm of McGuinness. He hits a Butterfly Suplex then turns that into a cross armbreaker to cause the first rope break for McGuinness, then taunts the crowd as they rally for the Pure Champ. McGuinness moments later cuts him off with a back elbow, followed by a kick to the spine and falling forearm to the chest. McGuinness keeps attacking with various strikes such as forearm scrapes and European Uppercuts. He follows up on Danielson's left arm (having dropped it a minute or so earlier) with a Cobra Clutch, but the future HOFer manages to get out without using a rope break, ducking a short-arm clothesline and dropping him with an enziguri.
Danielson teases a Mexican Surfboard but instead stomps both knees, trolling the audience while working on his taller opponent's base. He follows that up with a superplex and diving headbutt for a nearfall, then hits the Cattle Mutilation to force a second rope break for McGuinness. Another aerial attack is cut off by McGuinness, planting Danielson with a Tower of London, causing a rope break for Danielson. McGuinness locks on a Cattle Mutilation as the crowd is completely glued, but Danielson reaches the ropes with his right foot. At this point, each man has a rope break remaining.
Danielson is on the outside and McGuinness follows him to brawl, but that's cut off. Danielson slams McGuinness on a nearby table and stands on his throat and chest, uses the table's edge to choke McGuinness some more. Danielson gets back in the ring, but McGuinness manages to get back into the ring before the 20 count to the crowd's delight, but not quite the epic reaction as nobody expected a finish there. They then exchange forearms as the crowd is having dueling chants; Danielson gains the advantage and goes for a roaring forearm, but that's ducked and McGuinness lands a clothesline for a nice nearfall. McGuinness is visibly bleeding in the mouth at this point.
McGuinnesss does a corner handstand and gets dropkicked, then Danielson hits the roaring forearm. Danielson follows that up with the Crossface Chickenwing, then leverages down the Pure Champ to lock on the body-scissors. This causes the third and final rope break for McGuinness as Danielson continues taunting the Liverpool audience. He drops McGuinness with a German Suplex and wastes time taunting the audience when going for another diving headbutt. McGuinness plants a boot in his face for his troubles as the crowd continues to rally behind their native Brit.
McGuinness starts making a fiery comeback and they have a phenomenal slap exchange, a battle of true pride. Danielson gets the advantage to the crowd's disapproval, then does a leaping forearm. A Dragon Suplex is blocked and Danielson is crotched, then lariated as the crowd chants "ROH!" Danielson uses his third and final rope break. McGuinness goes to the top rope but is cut off by Danielson, but he fights off another superplex attempt. Danielson is headbutted off, but he comes back and hits a dropkick. He then gets behind McGuinness on the top to lock on the Crossface Chickenwing as the crowd is begging for the UK native not to tap out. McGuinness frees himself and drops Danielson with another Tower of London for a nearfall, and the crowd just keeps rooting for him.
Now we get to one of the dumbest moments I've ever seen in wrestling, and I'll cover the consequences once I'm done reviewing the aesthetics of this masterpiece. McGuinness grabs Danielson and forces his shoulder to hit a ring post, but Danielson then blocks another one. McGuinness then is rammed forehead-first into the fucking ring post FOUR TIMES, busting himself open hardway. Danielson follows that up with a top rope dive to McGuinness in the audience as the crowd is chanting "HOLY SHIT!" and "THIS IS AWESOME!" Objectively speaking and for aesthetic entertainment value, this certainly is.
They crawl to the ring and have a struggle, with Danielson kicking McGuinness back into the audience around the count of 12. With a crimson forehead and his fellow Brits rooting him on, McGuinness finds it in himself to get back in before the count of 20, then channels Steve Austin's iconic moment while in the Scorpion Deathlock at WrestleMania 13. McGuinness is not in a submission hold refusing to tap out though; instead, as soon as he rolls into the ring and the audience is celebrating, McGuinness finds the fighting spirit, feeding off the frenzied audience to give himself an adrenaline rush.
We get another decision of stupidity as they headbutt each other in what I believe are genuine strikes, but the drama cannot be denied. McGuinness hits a delayed rebound lariat after a headbutt to a wonderful reaction and he crawls over for a fantastic nearfall, but Danielson uses his rolling leverage to lock on the Cattle Mutilation once again. McGuinness cannot use the ropes to break, so the audience gives him an adrenaline rush to not tap out; he turns Danielson over, and when Danielson goes to lock it again, McGuinness rolls him over for a nearfall. Danielson then has enough and knocks McGuinness, who now has a visible hematoma from the earlier stupidity, the fuck out with numerous elbows to the head, finally unifying the titles and standing tall above his greatest rival, a true conqueror like Brock Lesnar is today. (I certainly wouldn't mind this version of Danielson feuding with Lesnar btw.)
Post-match, Danielson gives McGuinness tremendous credit for the effort and offers another title shot, to which McGuinness, who is geniunely battered, agrees. The crowd absolutely eats this up, and I cannot blame them one bit.
Let's stick to the positives first, that being the aesthetics. Bryan & Vinny are correct in that THIS is how to build up a world champion and elevate the prestige of the title. There was no doubt when this match concluded that Bryan Danielson was the very best, most bad ass motherfucker on the ROH roster, even more so than Homicide. But just as if not more important, McGuinness was successful, like Austin was on that magical night against Bret Hart in 1997, in becoming a genuine main-eventer thanks to his performance in this match. There was no doubt after this work of art that McGuinness would be ROH Champion at some point and become the face of the company.
Now the unfortunate negatives. It's quite timely that I get around to this match right when Danielson gets pulled from a European tour due to a concussion. I'm glad he understands now that much like the ROH vs. CZW feud, these two men went a bit too far to add drama to this match. That doesn't take away from this match's excellence, but it's a lesson to be learned from. As for McGuinness, it's a shame that his idea to get over like Austin was to do something that didn't come anywhere near as safe. While Austin was bladed open by Bret, McGuinness instead chose to get color here by ramming his forehead into a steel ring post, to the point of hardway bleeding and developing a hematoma. While the intent is very obvious and appreciated, in that he wanted to channel Austin as I mentioned, he went about it in a completely idiotic way, and he's now suffering the consequences for it rather than being a cornerstone of the WWE like he should be.
As a fan, I do look forward to the drama of watching the rest of the main event run of McGuinness. But I shudder at what atrocities he inflicted upon himself are to come as I continue revisiting the glory days of ROH.
The Pure Title didn't just go out with a bang, but easily its greatest match. More on that in the show's review.
This match is a true masterpiece and work of art - that it went a bit too far doesn't take away from its electric atmosphere and off-the-charts drama, just like it wouldn't for matches involving Chris Benoit and Mitsuharu Misawa. This is even better than I had remembered so many years ago, and is truly one of the greatest matches in ROH history. The end of year picks for me are looking to be pretty difficult as this project continues, and damn I'm looking forward to revisiting more of this epic rivalry.
Rating: *****

 

The DVD closes with McGuinness all fucked up including a portion of his lips being blue. I can't deny what he said here in that he gave everything out of love for the sport, but holy shit I hope nobody ever goes this far to get over again, especially if they're as skilled and charismatic as him.

 

The Pure Title went through some serious ups and downs during its two and a half years of existence. From a terrible tournament final on its first night, to having to re-crown a champion in light of the Rob Feinstein scandal, to having to abruptly move it off of John Walters in early 2005, this belt certainly didn't have much prestige going for it during its first year of existence. Doug Williams and John Walters did their parts to make this belt mean something, but it wasn't truly enough yet, not even with the latter becoming a chickenshit heel brought into the Embassy.
It looked to be that this title would become much like NJPW's IC Title is today when Samoa Joe won it from his then-protege Jay Lethal in a classic during the company's Manhattan debut. In particular, Joe's first defense against James Gibson was truly excellent, dripping with amazing psychology and fantastic crowd drama. But Joe's reign still wouldn't truly elevate the title, even as he slayed top names to hold onto it.
When Nigel McGuinness dethroned Joe with underhanded tactics, nobody could've seen the epic reign over the next year coming. Through his heel tactics including cheating, smug taunting, and incredible promo work, McGuinness saw his star rise within the company, slaying one top name after another, but continuing to pile it on for much longer than Joe. Through his presence, antics, promos, and sheer in-ring talent, he made the Pure Title one that truly mattered and had fans genuinely invested in a rivalry with the ROH Champion.
There were many great matches McGuinness had as Pure Champ, but as time went on, it became obvious that nobody was gonna be able to follow his reign. So after finally hitting the ****+ level in sizzlers with Bryan Danielson and Roderick Strong, booker Gabe Sapolsky knew the time was right to unify the belts, and use such an opportunity to reward McGuinness for all of his hard work, giving him a match that made him a top star on the indies in his home country. It was time to bid farewell to a belt that had become so important in providing depth to the card and giving upper midcarders something worth fighting for.
It was only appropriate for the Pure Title to go out with its greatest match, with the defender being in his home country. There was not an event, market, champion, or challenger that would've been more suitable. I say thank you to Nigel McGuinness for being the cornerstone of ROH's midcard during the aesthetic peak of ROH, and without further adieu, I present...
The 10 Greatest Pure Title Matches in ROH History
Doug Williams vs. Alex Shelley - Reborn: Completion ****
Doug Williams vs. John Walters - Scramble Cage Melee ***3/4
John Walters vs. Jay Lethal - Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1 ***3/4
Jay Lethal vs. Samoa Joe - Manhattan Mayhem ****
Samoa Joe vs. James Gibson - New Frontiers ****1/4
Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries - Unscripted II ***3/4
Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson - Weekend of Champions Night 2 ****3/4
Nigel McGuinness vs. Homicide - Chi-Town Struggle ***3/4
Nigel McGuinness vs. Roderick Strong - Death Before Dishonor IV ****
Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danelson - Unified *****

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The wrestling is competitive & amazing throughout - both guys, especially Bryan, really brought it on the offense (as always). Loved how good his STOMPS looked. They bring some very neat callbacks to their previous meetings & play up the Pure rules brilliantly. Then of course during the last 6-7 minutes of the match, the drama kicks off into legendary atmosphere with the infamous ring post spot, and Nigel then delivers some of the most magical babyface work I've ever seen in a pro wrestling ring. It's the perfect match. The ring post spot & the headbutts afterwards always make me cringe, but oh man, these two sure were willing to do some brutal stuff for the sake of the art, and I would be straight up lying if I said it didn't add a ton to the already-classic match. *****




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I hit a wall with puroresu. I need to switch it up. Ring of Honor is a massive blind spot for me. This is generally considered the best Ring of Honor match seems like a good place to start. 

ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson vs ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuiness - ROH Unified 8/12/06

The ROH Pure Championship was a neat idea to create a different type of match that would showcase technical wrestling by changing the rules. I think they should have gone full RINGS rules, but still included pinfalls to really make it distinct as is it was just watered down shoot style rules. I think everyone in Ring of Honor realized this and decided to abandon the championship by unifying it with the World Championship.  Apparently, these two had to two prior matches in Cleveland. I am coming into this cold so sorry in advance if I miss any callbacks. Danielson is in the midst of an epic World Title reign.

You know what I was going to review this and then finish with this, but I am just going to start with it. What's the big deal? I mean the match is good, but what about this is exceptional? I don't even know what the story is. It was not limb psychology. They dropped that. They kinda teased a brawl twice, but the match was not a brawl. It is not very character-driven. Danielson is kind of a dick. Not doing a Mexican Surfboard as a means to get heel heat is really strange to me. It is not like my entire night was dependent on whether I see a Mexican Surfboard. A reviewer mentioned Nigel's gave a great fiery comeback. I don't know, have I been spoiled by Shinya Hashimoto? It was a fine comeback. It is a not a spotfest in sense that they were not just throwing out highspots. It wasn't overkill at all. I thought it was quite economical. The spot that clearly is the BIG spot of the match is when Nigel headbutts the steel ringpost repeatedly to bleed hardway. That was some Foley Theatre of Masochism. Then he headbutted Danielson repeatedly and I dont think he drew blood but just got his blood on Danielson. I mean writing that does make me feel like that should have been an epic spot of revenge, but it just rang hollow to me. I dont know the match; just felt good.  

So what did I like about the match? I liked the symmetry of the beginning. Each winning two chain wrestling sequences (a little too slick on the chaining, but it was fine). I liked Danielson slapping the shit out of Nigel and not giving a clean rope break. Nigel earns his slap back by winning a wristlock sequence. That was great. Danielson's work on the arm was really tight. He had to earn his Butterfly Suplex into the cross-armbreaker. It drives me nuts when people stop selling when they make the ropes. It totally undercuts the whole five count. The heel is being evil. He is applying an excoriating hold for an extra four seconds that could be the difference your arm being broken. Fucking sell! Nigel attacking the arm out of revenge was good even if the transition was just ok. The transition back to Danielson was unmemorable thats when the lame Mexican Surfboard spot happened. Danielson hits two big bombs, superplex and diving headbutt, could have used more struggle. He then applies Cattle Mutilation. I hate this submission hold, but that a personal preference. It is very hard to make compelling via selling because your face is buried. It should be a quick tap out or nothing. It is a cool move because I love bridging, but it drags when it is just held. Nigel makes the ropes. Then Nigel just pops up and cuts Danielson off and hits Tower of London. I am just going to say it. If Danielson was not in this match, anyone else would be crucified for allowing that spot.  This costs Danielson a rope break and Nigel applies Cattle Mutilation to eliminate Danielson's second rope break. They brawl on the outside. I really liked this spot where Danielson showed a lot of aggression bouncing Nigel's head off the table then trying to choke him out with the table and win by countout. Great spot! The best spot of the match is when Nigel goes for the Ultimo Dragon headstand in the corner and Danieslon dropkicks him in the head. YES! Finally someone smart enough to do that. I marked out for that. Danielson follows this up with the Crossface Chickewing, which is a great submission and Nigel makes the ropes. Danielson is quite smug that Nigel has lost all his rope breaks. Danielson wastes too much time and misses a diving headbutt. At this point, they should just go all in with a character-driven match. Big babyface comeback and all that jazz. But instead they do a bunch of 50/50 wrestling that is not driving the plot forward. Then Danielson does a Crossface Chickenwing on the top rope. I get that Nigel has no rope breaks, but I dont think that means the match becomes Falls Count Anywhere. Head-scratcher! Ok so then we get the stupidity of Nigel headbutting a ringpost to get color hardway. I like brutality in wrestling but this just looked like Nigel headbutting a ringpost. Obviously, there is no safe way to do it, but the safest way to do it is have Nigel be in complete control so Danielson is barley pulling him so it just looks like Nigel is headbutting a ringpost for shits & giggles. The Springboard Somersault into the crowd is always a pleaser. Back in the ring, Nigel hits those revenge headbutts. They just don't look as good as Fujiwara's and he is not roaring in a way that I am invested. I figured it out. I just was not invested in this match. Don't tell me it was because I came in cold to this match. I watched Chris Harris vs James Storm bloodbath cold. I could not give two fucks about Harris or Storm, but they sucked me into their match. Great wrestling can do that. Cattle Mutilation...McGuiness reverses and it is a barrage of Hammer Elbows to the head that KO's Nigel for the win. The finish was great, I will give them that. 

It was just a match where they did stuff. I dont see the big deal. They gave me no reason to invest in the match. No hook. If this is the best Ring of Honor has to offer color me underwhelmed. ***1/4

 

 

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3 hours ago, Superstar Sleeze said:

It was just a match where they did stuff. I dont see the big deal. They gave me no reason to invest in the match. No hook. If this is the best Ring of Honor has to offer color me underwhelmed. ***1/4

This is one of the well-beloved matches in ROH history that never quite clicked with me personally. I was never drawn into this match the way others have been. However, I do believe their 6th Anniversary match is easily one for the books and probably a top 2-3 ROH match.

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For Sleaze I'd recommend these:

Danielson vs. Low Ki (Round Robin Challenge)
Danielson vs. Paul London (The Epic Encounter)
Styles vs. Paul London (Night of the Grudges)
Styles vs. Danielson (All Star Extravaganza, Main Event Spectacles & Dissension)
Joe vs. Punk trilogy
Danielson vs. Nigel (Driven/Domination, Rising Above 2008 & 6th Anniversary Show)

And of course the Danielson vs. Morishima rivalry, which is perfect David vs. Goliath wrestling.

The 6th Anniversary Show match between Bryan & Nigel is my favorite match of all-time. It's much more story driven than any of their other ones.

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I loved this Unified match and haven't seen it years, but I'd be optimistic about it holding up to some degree, unlike the hour long stuff (except for Joe at FOTC, pretty sure that's still awesome). Funnily, I was going to mention that I never liked Danielson/KENTA. I'd called it well worked, and ***1/4 is probably what I'd give it (even though I don't rate) but for the life of me I could never really enjoy it or consider it remotely close to a MOTYC.

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Good news, I just watched 6th Anniversary Match between Danielson and McGuinness and it is far, far better than the Unified match. I really enjoyed it. 

I am going to watch a ton of Danielson vs Low-Ki. I have seen the JAPW match before I want to watch that again along with ECWA and the ROH match. 

I have not seen that much pimped about Danielson vs AJ, but I LOVE AJ so I will definitely be checking those out. 

Danielson vs Morishima the eye match is a must for me to see. 

Has the Joe vs Punk trilogy aged well? It does not seem to get much play anymore (I remember on the internet when I was in high school people going nuts for it). 

I really liked Danielson vs KENTA from NOAH in 2006 so I will check out their ROH match. 

I am going to watch Low-Ki vs Samoa Joe and Samoa Joe vs Kobashi. 

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I think the last two legs of the Joe vs. Punk trilogy hold up incredible well, with the 60 minute draw being a MOTY contender and the final outing a legit classic.  The first meeting at the show titled titled World Title Classic is far from a classic but still a solid outing and while I wouldn't skip it if you've never seen these, its not something you need to see if the goal is to catch either man's best.  But those last two (Joe vs. Punk II and All Star Extravaganza)?  Incredible wrestling matches that exceed what you'd expect given where Punk was at that stage of his career.

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37 minutes ago, Superstar Sleeze said:

Good news, I just watched 6th Anniversary Match between Danielson and McGuinness and it is far, far better than the Unified match. I really enjoyed it. 

I am going to watch a ton of Danielson vs Low-Ki. I have seen the JAPW match before I want to watch that again along with ECWA and the ROH match. 

I have not seen that much pimped about Danielson vs AJ, but I LOVE AJ so I will definitely be checking those out. 

Danielson vs Morishima the eye match is a must for me to see. 

Has the Joe vs Punk trilogy aged well? It does not seem to get much play anymore (I remember on the internet when I was in high school people going nuts for it). 

I really liked Danielson vs KENTA from NOAH in 2006 so I will check out their ROH match. 

I am going to watch Low-Ki vs Samoa Joe and Samoa Joe vs Kobashi. 

Also ROH vs. CZW - Cage of Death

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I like a lot of the 'brawl-ier' early ROH and would recommend that stuff too:

Homicide/Corino, Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 8/16/03 
Joe/Jay Briscoe (cage), At Our Best 3/13/04
Styles/Rave (street fight), Homecoming 7/23/05
100th Show (4/22/06) 6-man tag - I actually liked this a little more than Cage of Death on last watch, but yeah that's a must-watch as well.

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1 hour ago, peachchaos said:

Also ROH vs. CZW - Cage of Death

Seconding that one.  A legitimate classic, though I wonder how well it'd come across without watching some of the road to it.

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2 hours ago, Chess Knight said:


100th Show (4/22/06) 6-man tag

 

9 minutes ago, Superstar Sleeze said:

Thats why I am leaning towards not watching it. I have no feel for CZW. I think going cold into that match would not do that match justice. 

The six man works really well as a primer for the cage. The most CZW I've ever seen besides this feud was in the movie The Wrestler and I felt like everything came across pretty clear from just those two matches.

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