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[2004-04-24-ROH-Reborn: Stage Two] Bryan Danielson vs Homicide

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Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson

A dream match that is underappreciated due to it being "too long." The length of this match allowed for Homicide to show his new dark side gimmick, which in turn led to what I will never be unhappy with in a match - an irritated and pissed off Danielson. Not only do they both bring an annoyed irritation and anger to the match, but this match is dripping with psychology. The technical story of the match eventually became Homicide's right hand (he injured it when he missed Danielson and punched a guardrail, showing that his dark side may not be the end-all, be-all answer to getting what he wants) vs. Danielson's neck (perfect to set up for the Kudo Driver.) And although it may seem like the finish was dripping with no-selling, it wasn't. This wasn't a Davey Richards "fuck whatever limb work we've done and just go balls-to-the-wall" style of match. The finish was a moment of Homicide temporarily telling his pain to fuck off so he could get this win that he needed not only to get momentum for the inevitable title shot at Joe, but to make sure his new heel turn got started the correct way. His immediate post-match selling of the hand makes this quite obvious.
Rating: ****1/4

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Homicide had some lengthy matches against AJ Styles & CM Punk earlier on in 2003, and comparing this one - another lengthy match - to them, this is so much better it's not even funny. Goes on for about half an hour, and the wrestling is really good for the entire duration with both guys employing nice strategies; Homicide softens Bryan's neck throughout to prepare him for his finish, and Dragon answers to that by beautifully & viciously manipulating 'cide's hand after he banged it against the guardrail. It's a very good match, even with extremely long matches like this certainly NOT being Homicide's strongest suit, but he looked real good in there against an opponent who knows how to make each moment of a long match like this compelling. ***1/2

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