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Charles (Loss)

[2007-08-25-ROH-Manhattan Mayhem II] Bryan Danielson vs Takeshi Morishima

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Great, unique match with tremendous pace and just an electric atmosphere. The opening is like a boxing match with Bryan dancing around Morishima and chopping into his legs with awesome low kicks and Morishima trying to push him into the corners. You wouldn't expect this kind of strategy to go over well with RoH workrate smark fans for several minutes but it totally does. Then Morishima catches himand just pounds the living shit out of Bryan, detaching his retina and not releasing that the eye injury was real for several minutes. I don't wanna go „Hey that dude almost getting blinded was awesome“ but in a way the injury added to the match. Bryan got in a ton of offense but he was also clearly in immense danger. The subsequent leg attacks and Morishima powering out of submission and ground and pound attempts were all great and Morishima may have his finest performance ever in this match as a giant tree who will also fuck you up. I don't remember Bryan doing so many fighting spirit spots though. Besides that the strike based parts of this match were just awesome and Morishima crushing Bryan underneath him is still one of the most god awful spots I've seen ever. This may honestly be my favourite RoH match because it's compact and I love the crowd going apeshit for Morishima simply buckling over as his leg finally gives out.

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ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima vs Bryan Danielson - ROH 8/25/07

"He has such a tight small package" - Only in pro wrestling is that a compliment. :P

While not as gruesome as Vader vs Stan Hansen, this was just as scary. You cant really say this is Danielson's best selling performance because he is in very legitimate pain as his retina is detached in the match. The anguish on his face makes it hard to watch at times but it is not as bad as Vader literally putting his eyeball back in his head and the swelling keeping it in place. Speaking of Vader, this is a Vader 101 match through and through. If Morishima even had an 1/8th of Vader's charisma then this would be ***** classic. As it is, Danielson basically figured out a way to drag an amazing match out of Morishima but it almost cost him his eye. Imagine how Vader sells Tamura's or Yamazaki's kicks in UWFi, but now he is selling Danielson's kicks here. Oh my God that would be tremendous! Lets stop talking about Danielson vs Vader dream match and instead talk about the match we got which was really good. 

They do a great extended sequence where Danielson is evading Morishima at every pass but also sneaking in stiff kicks to the thigh of Morishima. Morishima just cant seem to wrangle the elusive Bryan. He finally corners him and just clubs him into submission. He targets the eye from jump. So really stiff forearms to the eye has Danielson clutching it immediately. Morishima facewashes the eye and then goes so far as to blast on the outside. It is brutal. I am pretty sure that's where he injured it because Danielson is in an insane amount of pain immediately. Morishima drives his ass into Danielson and then the next time Morishima runs into the railing. Danielson dumps him into the crowd and hits his signature springboard somersault into the crowd. The look on his face as he is grabbing his eye is just painful to watch. He whacks Morishima's leg with a steel chair. The dueling psychology is great and both are exploiting it though I am worried for Danielson. I wonder with the language barrier if they were able to explain to Morishima in the middle of the match that Danielson was actually hurt. The rest of the match is Danielson working underneath rolling into crazy leg submissions from all angles while Morishima is just picking up and slamming Danielson to the ground any chance he gets. Morishima kicks out of a leg submission by raking the boot across the injured eye. Great! Danielson tries a barrage of cradles and roll-ups, but on a sunset flip, Morishima just squashes him by dropping his ass on his chest for two. Danielson recovers and fells the Giant with more kicks to the leg. When Morishima crumples, the crowd pops! Fancy that!  I loved the urgency in the run up to the finish...German...Elbows to the head...Kicks to the head...Cattle Mutilation...he was suffocating Morishima. Great work! But then he does the dumbest thing imagineable he tries for a Super Back Suplex, Morishima counters mid-air and lands with all his body weight on Danielson. Morishima OBLITERATES Danielson with a lariat for two and then a Back Drop Driver and it is academic. 

Danielson gave a performance of a lifetime under severe adversity. Danielson was so feisty in this match. He was always fighting back even on his back. I loved his urgency. He was suffocating Morishima every chance he got.  Offensively his strategy was sound and focused. It was only when deviated by going for the suplex that he did himself in. Honestly, Morishima's greatest attribute was his weight. He was this riddle that Danielson was trying to solve. Occasionally, the giant riddle would sit on him or come crashing down with all his weight. Ultimately, it was Morishima's sheer size that won him the match. If Morishima had any charisma or just sold better, this would be an all-timer, still an excellent David vs Goliath match and may be Danielson's best individual performance of his career. ****3/4 

 

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