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[2004-08-07-ROH-Testing the Limit] Bryan Danielson vs Austin Aries (2/3 falls)

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2/3 Falls Match

Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson
This match was fucking long. And while it fell just a tad bid short of the Joe vs. Punk 60 minute draw in Dayton, this was still an excellent main event and throwback to the days of Ric Flair, Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, etc.
Whereas Survival of the Fittest 2004 was the breakout for Aries, this was the match that turned him into a true superstar. This is where the seeds were planted for what was destined to come months later.
Danielson was just vicious in this one, working on the following body parts throughout different parts of the match, and doing so in an effective fashion: the left arm/shoulder, the left knee, the neck, the abdomen, and the lower back (to offset the abs.) He just dissected Aries and tore him apart in this match. Even though he lost the first fall to his own Cattle Mutilation, he carried himself like it was part of his strategy to do so. He didn't come across as being backed into an 0-1 corner whatsoever.
The submission work was brilliant in getting Danielson the second fall, because after about 45 minutes, Aries was too worn out and broken down to not get a fall counted against him. His arrogance when Danielson became temporarily unconscious is what directly led to his left arm/shoulder being worked on, leading to his downfall in this second fall.
But Aries was adamant in this match. Despite being physically obliterated for over an hour, he was not going to lose this match. He just couldn't. And that is why he came out the victor.
These two would go on to do better than this. But this is definitely a match that should be seen, especially for those who appreciate strategic submission wrestling and limb work. They also manage on a couple of occasions to turn some botches into beautiful audible pinfall attempts. Even with its faults, this is a great match.
Rating: ****1/4

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I also thought they did a great job selling the fatigue by the third fall too. It is a long match, but I agree it's a great one. Probably around **** for me...

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It's the 70+ minute long boy. It's a real long one, but goddamn do they make every minute count. I have watched this multiple times before, and pretty much every single time I do watch it, I come out of it w/ something new to totally fanboy over. The big story that lasts the entire match is Danielson's attacks & how he changes 'em up as the match progresses; he goes after Aries' back, ribs, knee, arm -- all in a way where it feels natural for him to switch it up. And of course the work on the offense is amazingly compelling. Dragon is vicious, he is focused & he is creative - he even added some extra lil' nuances to some bits of his usual submission repertoire, and it sure was awesome to say the least. Every fall also ends beautifully & there's also some really great selling in there. They very nicely reference their exciting Survival Of The Fittest meeting in there as well. Now going back to the length, the match sure is A LOT, but man, it's always so beautiful. I love it all very much. ****3/4

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