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[2008-10-13-NOAH-Autumn Navigation] Bryan Danielson vs KENTA


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  • 5 months later...

Early match is really, really good. When KENTA is working slow and steady to build a match he's very fun to watch. Then we do the dives, which goes on a bit too long, but that's forgivable. And then we do the big long "we have to have a billion nearfalls" part of the match that always kills me. Not to mention KENTA goes into million miles per hour mode too often to truly be selling the earlier damage. You cut ten minutes off of this and just work to a finish instead of all the excess and it's a really good match.

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  • 2 months later...

Funny you should mention cutting off ten minutes because we lost 8-10 minutes given the official time shown at the time of the fall. So they did cut off ten minutes and yet you wanted them to cut off ten more. :P

GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion Bryan Danielson vs KENTA - NOAH 10/13/08


If only KENTA was allowed to wrestle Danielson, he would be the greatest junior heavyweight of all time. :P

Danielson brings out the absolute best in KENTA by forcing him to slow down and work matches based around selling and storytelling. The moves fit the circumstances and strategies of the competitors rather solely to pop the crowd. I thought they would be hard pressed to top their 2006 MOTYC and I would say they would have except for the fact we are missing about 8-10 minutes of footage. I hate rating 75% of a match, no matter how great, against a whole match. For that reason, I put the 2006 match ahead, but the 2008 match was incredible and testament to both men's ability and especially to Danielson as a ring general. KENTA has all the physical tools to be one of the greatest of all time, but indulging the worst excesses of 00s have proven him to be inconsistent at best in delivering a cogent performance. Danielson has twice now taken him to the promised land providing him with two out of three of his best singles matches of the 00s (the other being against ultra-heel SUWA in 2005).

The match picks up with KENTA delivering a rifle kick to Danielson's midsection like he is Sano's prodigy. Danielson sells this like a million bucks and really makes it worthwhile. KENTA dominates the midsection hitting a drop toehold sending Danielson's midsection into the steel railing consolidating his hold. Then a double stomp from the apron and more strikes has Danielson reeling. He tries to fire himself up with "C'mon muthafucka", but KENTA immediately kicks him in the rib. Then Danielson breaks into what will be vintage 2013 Danielson with a backflip in the corner and then a running elbow. It felt really fresh and desperate here. Danielson hits a baseball slide to set up his big springboard splash. He hurts his mdisection but lets a defiant yell because he is ALL MAN~! They tease a countout finish, but KENTA makes it back with Danielson pin attempt unsuccessful he takes to the sky, but KENTA wipes him out with a big kick. KENTA reconsolidates with a Go 2 Sleep crashing the midsection to the railing. Double stomp from the heavens to Danielson's midsection. KENTA is so focused, Danielson selling like a champion and the transitions drip with desperation, fuck this is good. KENTA picks up the pace because he is pressing the advantage. This is an excellent time to use the million miles per hour pace. The Texas Cloverleaf looks to have it sealed up for KENTA, but Danielson scratches and claws to the ropes. God, Danielson used to be the King of Selling. Danielson goes full on Ishikawa when he catches a kick into a heel hook only to reel him into a German suplex. 2008 was awesome, baby! Danielson hangs on and KENTA is desperately trying to hand onto the ropes, but eats another German. Danielson goes for Cattle Mutilation, but KENTA reverses into an STF and a Danielson forearm knocks out KENTA.


The strikes are getting weaker and the counters more plentiful as the struggle is on. Danielson looks to complete his counterattack with another move from the top and KENTA goes for the running kick to dislodge him from the high ground, but this time it costs KENTA as he wrenches his knee and is left hanging in the tree of woe. Danielson throws the ref out of the way and rains elbows onto the knee. The heel hook can not force a submission as gets the ropes. Danielson hits his big bomb which is a super back suplex. Now he thinks it is time for Cattle Mutilation, but has to settle for MMA elbows to head. KENTA in a last ditch effort hits Go 2 Sleep from the position stunning Danielson and giving him time to recover. Danielson gets up bloody while KENTA runs the ropes noticeable slower. WAY TO GO, KENTA! Danielson catches him in a sleeper, now a Tiger Suplex and a Cattle Mutilation, but nada. Danielson goes for the kill witha super butterfly suplex, but KENTA counters into a Super Fisherman Buster for two. A needless strike exchange mars the finish stretch, but KENTA hits the exploding knee and G2S to take it.

Part of me wants to commend KENTA for wrestling such an amazing match, but the other part of me is pissed about the Nakajima matches where KENTA clearly just said Fuck You, Nakajima. KENTA crushed it on offense, but when Danielson was launching his counterattack he modulated his selling perfectly first exhaustion then his knee, but never dying. He then at the final hour scored a big victory from the top rope to set up his eventual victory. At the end of the day, Danielson was the driving force. His selling hooked you into the match early then worked in perfect hope spots before finally consolidating into a late match rally. It was too little too late. Would love to see this in full, but right now I see this in the top 30. ****1/2

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  • 2 years later...

Bryan's selling of KENTA's offensive onslaught was tremendous. I really liked when during KENTA's controls segment after a hellacious kick from KENTA, Danielson is on his knees, pushes him away & says "come on you motherfucker!" - that of course KENTA answers to by kicking the shit out of him. Loved Bryan's big comeback with him doing the big dive to the crowd. I really can't praise his selling enough. That is how you sell while still going for high risk moves. KENTA goes right back to attacking the mid section once he has collected himself from the big comeback sequence of Danielson - Dragon once again sold the damage KENTA had just done perfectly. They do a big count out tease & immediately when Danielson rolls back to the ring, KENTA wastes no time & goes right after him w/ a missile dropkick. Tremendous. After a while of getting his ass kicked by KENTA again, Danielson makes a really good comeback with him trying to finish KENTA quickly by putting him on Ankle Lock, Cattle Mutilation as well as throwing some really good looking suplexes. Really good sense of urgency there. KENTA again has Danielson's number, but that quickly turns around as KENTA's leg gets stuck on the top rope, so naturally Dragon goes right after that leg. He works over that leg in brilliant fashion - selling a limb has never been KENTA's strong suit to say the least, but here he does a really good job in that. There's a brilliant spot where he does the GTS to Bryan but he can't make the cover right away because his knee is so hurt. That made for a really good nearfall, with Dragon getting his foot on the rope - a nice callback to their first singles meeting, too. The rest of the match is Danielson doing some terrific work over KENTA, while KENTA wins the eventual awesome strike exchange & then blasts Bryan with his signature moves (Busaiku Knee & GTS) to pick up the victory. That actually is the only thing holding this from being 5* in my books, KENTA completely ignored the work Bryan had done to his knee during that finishing stretch. If he had acknowledged it, this sure would've been a perfect match. Still an absolute classic though. ****3/4


Now that the Danielson vs. KENTA story has come to an end with this match, I think the biggest thing I always come away from their matches with is that while KENTA is an absolutely great wrestler, I would go as far as calling him an all-time great wrestler - the difference between him & Bryan is really huge. KENTA is really good in every single match of theirs, but it's Danielson who's performances put their matches over as all-timers in my eyes.

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  • GSR changed the title to [2008-10-13-NOAH-Autumn Navigation] Bryan Danielson vs KENTA

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