A lot of these matches were contested under “Pure Rules”. Here are
rope breaks to stop either a submission hold or pinfall.
closed-fists, only slaps and elbows are allowed to the face area. If a wrestler is seen using one, he will be warned. If a wrestler
is caught again, a rope-break will be taken away. The wrestler will lose the
match via disqualification if he is caught and has no rope-breaks.
the floor instead of a 10-count
Championship Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Weekend of Champions
Night 2, 4.29.06
They trade some holds, with neither man gaining a clear advantage.
Danielson grounds McGuinness with a side headlock. McGuinness fights back to
his feet, but Danielson stays in control. McGuinness delivers closed fist.
Sinclair does not see him use a closed fist. He, however, catches Danielson
retaliating, so he takes away a rope break from Danielson. Funny spot.
McGuinness is relentlessly going after Danielson’s arm, locking in a few
different submission holds. He smashes some elbows into Dragon’s head, forcing
Danielson to use another rope break. Dragon tries to fight back, but McGuinness
goes after the arm. Dragon fights back and goes for the Surfboard, but Nigel
fights it off. He decides just to stomp McGuinness’s knees into the mat.
McGuinness comes back by going to work on Danielson’s arm once more. He then
sends him packing to the floor. He tries to suplex Danielson back into the
ring, but Danielson reverses it with a release German Suplex. Danielson hits a
big lariat and then a running forearm in the corner. He hits a suplex and then
a diving headbutt for a two-count. He locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing,
forcing McGuinness uses his second rope break. Both exchange some hard slaps.
McGuinness then delivers the headstand mule kick. McGuinness hits the Tower of
London. Danielson uses his final rope break. Nigel goes for another Tower of London,
but Danielson reverses it with the Cattle Mutilation! McGuinness places his
foot on the bottom rope, using his third rope break.
They skirmish on the apron and McGuinness suplexes Danielson to
the floor! McGuinness tosses Danielson into the guardrail and then uses the
table as a weapon. Danielson makes it just back into the ring before the
count of 20. McGuinness hits the Jawbreaker Lariat for a two-count, but
Danielson him rolls over into the Cattle Mutilation. McGuinness makes it to the
ropes, but that can’t save him. He slides to the floor to break the hold.
Danielson hits a suicide dive. Back on their feet, McGuinness charges, but
Danielson tosses him over the barricade. Danielson follows him out with the
springboard dive, but McGuinness gets a chair up in his face. McGuinness is
able to get back in the ring before the count and wins the match at
28:30. This awesome match had clever storytelling, hard-hitting moves, and
spot-on timing. The strategic game planning that encircled around the
“Pure Rules” appended some realism/psychology into this too.
ROH World Championship: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness,
Generation Now, 7.29.06
This begins with
Danielson attacking Nigel’s leg. Nigel attempts to fight back, but Danielson
proceeds to work over the leg. Nigel fights back and goes to work on the arm.
Danielson recaptures the control and locks in the surfboard. Nigel fights back
and locks in an armbar that Danielson escapes with a bridge. Dragons slaps
Nigel in the face. He sends Nigel into the corner, but Nigel hits the headstand
into a kick move. He goes for the Tower of London, but Dragon reverses into a
cross face chicken wing. Nigel escapes. Danielson hits a suplex and heads up
top. He hits a missile dropkick. Nigel falls to the floor. Dragon then proceeds
to deliver a dive onto Nigel. Back in, Danielson hits a stiff European uppercut
off the second rope. He goes for Cattle Mutilation, but Nigel fights it off.
Nigel goes for another headstand, but Dragon kicks him in the face. Danielson
hits a suplex. He goes up top for the diving headbutt, but Nigel counters with
a knee right into his grill.
They go back and
forth with European uppercuts, ending with Nigel hitting a gigantic lariat for
a near fall. Nigel hits the Tower of London for another near fall. He puts in
his Arm Submission, but Danielson makes it to the ropes. Nigel takes a play out
of Danielson’s playbook and uses repeatedly elbows Dragon in the face. Dragon
reverses it and then shows Nigel how it is done. He locks in the cross-face
chicken wing. Nigel breaks out and they start trading stiff headbutts on their
feet. Danielson runs after Nigel and he tosses him over the ropes. Back in,
Nigel nails the rebound clothesline for a near fall. Danielson gets crotched on
the top rope and Nigel hits a demoralizing clothesline from the top rope.
Danielson goes to the floor where he crawls under the ring. He comes out the
other side and rolls Nigel up for the win at 24:25. This was just another
scientifically sound display from these two. It would have been a classic
if they weren’t both heels or if the crowd believed Nigel had a chance to win,
though. *** 1/2
Unification Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Unified,
the rubber unification match, and it is contested under Pure Rules. Nigel
McGuiness receives a huge pop from the hometown crowd. Before the bell rings, a
“F--- ‘em up Nigel, f--- em up” chant breaks out. They lock up ferociously
while the crowd starts a “Let’s Go Nigel/Let’s Go Dragon””. Danielson
slaps the taste out of Nigel’s mouth. They go back and forth with some chain
wrestling and then McGuinness slaps Dragon in the face, triggering a “You Got
Bitch Slapped” chant to break out. McGuinness attacks the arm, but Bryan fights
him off with a dropkick. Danielson goes after the Nigel’s arm and finds
creative ways to twist and turn it. He hits a butterfly suplex and locks in a
cross armbreaker. This makes McGuiness to use his first rope break. McGuinness
fights back by hitting his trademark “Kick to the Back/Elbow in the corner”
move. Danielson rallies back with a step-up enziguiri. He goes for the
surfboard to the crowds’ delight, but he just stomps on McGuinness’ legs
instead because he did not want to do a crowd-pleasing move. Brilliant.
Danielson deliver a superplex from the top-rope. Danielson goes back up and
hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. He then locks in Cattle Mutilation,
forcing McGuinness to use his second rope break. McGuinness rallies and then
hits the Tower of London. Danielson has to use the ropes to break up the pin
fall. His first one. Adding insult to injury, McGuinness locks in Cattle
Mutilation, triggering Danielson to use his second rope break. Outside,
Danielson reclaims control, tossing McGuinness into the ringside table.
Danielson holds McGuinness down with the table, looking for a count out
victory. McGuinness makes it back into the ring, though. They start exchanging
forearms and McGuinness deliver a huge Lariat for only two. McGuinness tries
the headstand in the corner, but Danielson dropkicks him and hits a roaring
forearm for a two count. Danielson locks in the Crossface Chicken Wing. He
wrestles him down to the mat with a body scissors. McGuinness makes it to the ropes,
but uses his last rope break.
Danielson delivers a
release German Suplex. He tries to hit the diving headbutt from the top rope,
but McGuinness counters it with a boot to the face. With both men on their
feet, they exchange some super stiff slaps to the face. Danielson wins the
mini-exchange and hits a flying forearm in the corner. McGuinness fights back
and places Danielson on the top rope. He goes to the second rope, and he turns
Bryan inside and out with a lariat. This forces Dragon to use his final rope
break. McGuinness goes up. Danielson decides to join him, but he is sent back
down from a headbutt. Danielson brushes it off and hits a dropkick. He goes up
top and locks in a Crossface Chicken Wing on the top-rope. Awesome spot.
McGuinness battles out and hits the Tower of London, but it only gets two!
Outside, they both try to smash each other’s head into the ring post.
Danielson pulls McGuinness’s arms into it several of times, causing his head to
smash against the ring post super hard. This spot was utterly gruesome, busting
McGuinness open the hard way. Danielson dropkicks McGuinness, sending him to
tumble over the barricade. Danielson goes back in and springboard dives onto
McGuinness. Awesome spot that creates a “Holy S---” chant. At the count of 19,
Nigel makes it back into the ring. He hulks up and screams “COME ON, COME ON!”,
sending the crowd into a frenzy. Nigel creeps closer to Dragon, who pulls a Ric
Flair move by begging him not to attack him.
Both start viciously
headbutting each other. Danielson headbutts McGuinness into the middle of the
ropes, allowing him to launch back with a Jawbreaker Lariat! Nigel slowly rolls
over to pin Danielson. At the count of about two and about half, Dragon rolls
Nigel over and locks in Cattle Mutilation. Nigel gets to the ropes, but it
doesn’t matter because he is out of rope breaks. He fights out of the hold.
Dragon tries to lock it back in, but Nigel reverses it into a pin attempt. At
the count of two, Dragon kicks out and then elbows the hell out of Nigel’s
already wounded head! After repeated shots, Nigel is out conscious, so the
referee puts an end to this one at 26:23.
This was an exquisite display
of fine art. Bryan did a good job of enacting a narcissistic heel
and dictating the pace based on crowd’s reactions. The portrayal of the
night, however, went to none other than Nigel McGuiness, who tremendously
played an empathetic babyface. Without question, the hulking
up/fighting spirit spot where Nigel cries “COME ON”, with pain and
intensity in his voice, is one of the most genuine and compassionate moments in
pro-wrestling history that I have ever seen. It made everyone in the crowd to
rally him on as loudly as possible. This was smartly wrestled match, too. They built and structured this entity
immaculately. In the midst of every transitional period, the strikes became
stiffer, the moves became more forceful, the intensity escalated, the urgency
and desperation continued to augment, and their total hatred for one
another amplified off the charts. This just kept building and layering until it
reached the frenetic summit. Incidentally, they played off their previous
bouts and the crowds’ expectations.They revolved this into an
entirely different direction just when the crowd thought they knew what
was coming next. On top of all of that, there were a lot of awesome
striking exchanges straight out of AJPW in the 1990s, a finishing sequence for
the ages, and a shrewdly booked finish that made Nigel still look like a
warrior, even in defeat. 2006’s MOTY and easily a top 5 match in ROH’s history.
MATCH #4: 2/3 Falls for
the ROH Championship: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Epic Encounter II,
Nigel is aggressive in the early going, forcing Danielson to backs
off. They begin chain wrestling. Danielson puts on a headlock and threatens to
keep the hold on for the entire 60 minutes. He segues it into a headscissors
and then a chinlock. Nigel makes the comeback and targets Dragon’s shoulder.
Danielson fights back with a dropkick and hits a dive to the floor. Back, he
hits a missile dropkick. He uses the Thesz Press and locks in a crossface.
Nigel fights back with a lariat and then the headstand mule kick. Suddenly,
Danielson picks up a pin-fall with a small package. Danielson keeps stalling
the action after this. Nigel tries to fight back, Danielson goes right back to
the side headlock. Danielson dives to the floor, but Nigel gets a chair up.
Back in, Danielson hits Nigel with his own Tower of London finisher. Danielson
goes for the diving headbutt, but Nigel gets his knees up and puts on Cattle
Mutilation. Danielson reaches the ropes.
Nigel goes for the Tower of London,
but Danielson counters it and puts in Cattle Mutilation. Nigel escapes and hits
the Tower of London for three. It is now one to one. Nigel hits a big
lariat for two and puts on his New Arm Submission. There is only five minutes
left. Nigel tries everything to pick up a pin-fall, but time keeps ticking.
Danielson starts cranking Nigel in the face with elbows. With 30 seconds to go,
Nigel reverses the elbow and starts hitting his own. The bell rings, signifying
that the match is out on. 60:00 draw. Wow, what were they thinking? This
had an excessive amount of stalling and downtime. There were, also, too many times
where the crowd was completely silent. This was also affected by
the fact that everyone knew it was going the distance. They just structured and
laid this out in an erroneous manner, which
was unfortunate because these two were thoroughly
capable of putting on a compelling 60-minute match. ** ½
Number One Contender
Match: Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson, Domination, 6.9.07
The crowd is going insane before this even stars.
Both wrestlers shake hands and then begin mat wrestling. They chain-wrestle to
a few stalemates, as neither wrestler can gain the advantage. Nigel starts to
work over Dragon’s arm and shoulder. The battle lingers outside of the ring.
Danielson tips the timekeeper’s table onto Nigel’s head. Nigel comes back with
a rebound lariat sending Danielson over the guardrail into the crowd. Danielson
hits Nigel with a sick looking suplex on the guardrail. Back in, Danielson goes
to work on Nigels’ back by delivering a series of hard-hitting knees into it.
Nigel fights his way back up. Danielson greets him with a sequence of strikes
to the face, but Nigel drills him with a hard-hitting lariat. Nigel delivers a
smashing Superkick and lariat for a two-count. Nigel goes for the Tower of
London, but Danielson counters it. They have a breathtaking sequence of
reversals that concludes with Nigel delivering a powerbomb that only gets two.
Nigel locks in half Boston Crab, but Danielson makes it to the ropes.
In the corner, Nigel goes for his trademark
headstand followed by a kick move, but Danielson runs at him and dropkicks him
in the face. Danielson hits a super back suplex for a two-count. He goes for
the Chicken Wing, but Nigel fights out of it. Nigel hits the Tower of London.
Both men are selling the effects of the match. They hit each other with some
brutal headbutts, with one of them busting Danielson open! Danielson tries to
clothesline Nigel, but Nigel ducks it and takes his head off with a lariat!
Nigel goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat, but Bryan blocks it. He follows it up
with a Dragon Suplex that only gets two! Dragon tries to segue it into Cattle
Mutilation, but McGuinness rolls Danielson onto his shoulders for a close two
count. Dragon rolls through and elbows him to oblivion. He puts in Cattle
Mutilation and they call for the bell, even though Nigel did not tap out @
24:31. Prazak said the ref called for the bell because Nigel passed
Finally, a match with realistic mat and chain wrestling that also didn’t feel
meaningless. There have been too many matches with laughably contrived chain
wrestling; the kind where it is excessively recognizable that they are working
together, and it usually has no bearings on the later courses of
the match. Both wrestlers had to work hard for each hold and maneuver they
locked in because the opposing wrestler was trying to defend or counter it. The
mat and chain stuff was comparable to some of classical technical matches seen
Britain in the 80s. There was no give to anything they did, either. The intensity was off the charts while every move, strike, or bump was done at full force. This had some
awesome back-and-forth, counter-for-counter exchanges, although this had too much gas in
the tank and the crowd was too into it for it to end so suddenly. Given five
more minutes and a good finish, this is their best match ever. **** ½
Nigel McGuinness &
KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson & Takeshi Morishima, Respect is Earned, 5.12.07
Danielson and KENTA start off by going back and forth for a few
minutes. Both tag in their partner. It breaks down with everyone hopping in the
ring. Todd Sinclair reestablishes order. Danielson and McGuinness are the legal
men. In the corner, Danielson and Morishima beat on Nigel. McGuinness makes a
comeback and makes the hot-tag to KENTA. He unburdens on Danielson and gets a
near fall with a missile dropkick. Danielson recuperates and tags to Morishima,
who hits a missile dropkick on KENTA. Morishima delivers a Boss Man Slam, but
KENTA comes back with a powerslam. Morishima hits McGuinness with a missile
dropkick. McGuinness no-sells it and hits a lariat for a two count. Morishima
fights back and hits a Back Drop Driver on McGuinness. KENTA breaks up the pin attempt.
Morishima goes back to the top rope. KENTA grabs his leg, which allows
McGuinness to hit the Tower of London. Danielson and KENTA are the legal men
and both try to hit their trademark moves and finishers. The fight goes to the
floor. McGuinness goes up top and hits a big dive onto Morrishima, leaving
Danielson and KENTA in the ring. Nigel goes in the ring and the referee does
not even kick him out for not being in legally.
KENTA hits the GTS Danielson, but Morishima breaks it up. Nigel is
getting his injured arm taped up by the trainers. McGuinness hits a reckless
lariat on Morishima with his injured arm. KENTA nails a top-rope Falcon Arrow
on Danielson for two. Danielson locks in Cattle Mutilation on KENTA. KENTA
fights out and goes for Go 2 Sleep, but Danielson reverses it and puts on
Cattle Mutilation again. McGuinness tries to break it up, but Morishima stops
him from doing so. KENTA taps out at 24:50. This was a very good outing that had a lot of back and forth action and
striking exchanges. I was not a fan of the referee allowing the not legal wrestlers
into the ring. The whole point of establishing rules is so the heels can break
them in order to get heat. Anyways, this was ROH’s first PPV main event ever, so this was them giving
the new viewers a taste of what these four can do rather than the whole
enchilada. In terms of what the mainstream companies were doing at this time,
this entire PPV was a huge breath of fresh air. *** ½