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[2007-06-09-ROH-Domination] Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness

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This is an all-timer. The early mat work is tremendous - loved Danielson just grinding Nigel's ear with his fist while Nigel had him in guard. So simple, yet so amazing. He also busts out some brutal strikes to Nigel's nose later on in the match, and it's just so good. It's a clinic of Bryan on the offense - he also works over Nigel's back quite a bit, and while Nigel's selling is fine, I do think that it could've been better, and it's something that ultimately makes this a 4.75* match instead of the full fiver. ****3/4

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Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness - ROH 6/9/07

This is a No.1 Contender's Match for Takeshi Morishima's World Heavyweight Championship. I watched their series out of order. I thought their 2006 match was wrestled in slow motion and is one of the most overrated matches I have ever seen. I really enjoyed their 2008 match as much more character-driven. This match is in the middle of those two. I thought the urgency and the violence was there. However, I thought they were not letting things breathe. One thing this match really has going for it is that the molten crowd which red hot from opening bell to closing bell. This meant they would pop the crowd with highspot after highspot but the transitions just were not there. 

I would say if there was a story to this match it was Nigel's Lariat against Danielson's tenacity. Danielson proved to be Nigel's superior on the mat three times. I liked how two of the three times Danielson grabbed a limb as he was escaping Nigel's hold. I also really liked Danielson giving noogies to Nigel's ear when he was in guard. I would say my issue with the opening chain wrestling was that it was too loose. They let each other out of the holds too readily. A good example of this is Nigel does some nasty arm work. They pop the crowd huge with this. I have seen this spot before it is gnarly but it will get crickets for the most part if the wrestlers arent over. This was a hold that got a pop like a highspot. These dudes are over, which I love. It didnt lead anywhere. It was just a highspot for a highspot before you knew it Nigel just lets him out and not it is Danielson's turn to do a submission hold.

At one point during all this, Danielson smacks the shit out of Nigel. So Danielson is the heel. I can tell that, but it is a very uneven heel performance. He wants to be one of those badass heels, which really arent all that great. For the most part, Danielson wrestles the match straight and with great intensity but when he does want to add character he draws from a vicious, sadistic heel, but I just feel like he is not fully committed to the character or really fully committed to getting Nigel over as a babyface. In reality, Danielson dominates this match. He does so by being relentless on offense. Nigel's only real offense for the first 20 minutes are lariats. He uses the lariat three times effectively as a hope spot. They do a good job sort of establishing that Nigel's one advantage is that he is larger by using the shoulder tackle early. Nigel hits a Short-Arm Clothesline shortly after that smack and this leads to them going outside. Again, I just felt that Danielson just said "Nope my turn" here. Nigel hits another lariat and does a very impressive dive into the crowd. Again, Danielson just comes charging with a  forearm to Nigel. Nigel shouldnt have given his opponent so much space, but Danielson is starting to feel very Dynamite Kid like. He sort of has this chip on his shoulder and he is refusing to show any weakness.

Danielson hits a wicked suplex on the guardrail which hurts Nigel's back and this is Nigel's best selling. I totally get why this match is lauded. It is fucking non-stop action. I really liked it from that perspective. Danielson does a phenomenal job working the back. It is just intense and urgent. It is really good. I think where Danielson thrives is offense and sustained offense at that. Nigel goes back to the lariat.  He just reigns them down because honestly nothing else has been working for him. Power is his best bet at this point. Again, there is just weird spot selection. Nigel executes this really tight single leg crab that looks excellent and the next spot is Danielson hitting a Super Back Suplex because he dropkicked Nigel in the head during his headstand spot. There was nothing emphatic. It was just keep moving. The Crossface Chickenwing was TERRIBLE! That move is deadly and Danielson basically just released it and Nigel hit Tower of London. Talk about shitting all over the Crossface Chickenwing.  

I really liked the finish run, which is not surprising because the whole match is really just a finish run so why I didnt like about the earlier stuff was that it didnt finish the match so the fact this actually led to the finish made the spots a lot more palatable. Nigel hits a lariat off ropes that leads to a great nearfall where Danielson gets his foot on the ropes. Heat was unreal for this. Danielson hits an enziguiri and now both men are down and the playing field is levelled. Whoever pulls the trigger first next wins. Danielson hits these insane nasty shoot headbutts that bust him open hardway. Nigel is rocked. Nigel tries to fight off Cattle Mutilation but Danielson reigns down the elbows and flips into Cattle Mutilation for the quick submission. Epic Finish!

Action-packed match and I liked this a lot more than today's version of workrate because this is hard-hitting and the setups are reasonable. I thought what hold this match back from greatness were the transitions were not very good and the match felt rushed. Danielson working this match as a tough guy heel showing no ass definitely hurt Nigel's performance, but didnt hurt my enjoyment of the match. Nigel is not the greatest babyface of all time and Danielson did him no favors in this match. As a workrate match, there is zero downtime and a ton of highspots so it whips right by and the execution of the spots are tremendous. ***3/4



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