Some of Daniel Bryan’s very best Ring of Honor matches
If you are familiar with WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan, but have never seen Bryan Danielson, then do you don't know the half of what Daniel Bryan is capable of. Daniel Bryan, real name Bryan Danielson, was one of the founding fathers of Ring of Honor and there is a whole catalogue of great matches he was a part of. Ring of Honor has put 6 of those matches on a DVD for release. However, now you can only buy the DVD as a digital download (although the ROH digital download service seems to be temporarily down, so you will have to be patient).
Best of the American Super Juniors 2005
Bryan Danielson vs. Brian Kendrick: ***1/2…this was one of the few bright spots in the doomed ROH Best of the American Super Juniors tournament…this is the first time these two wrestled in ROH since the third show…Dragon was in his black tights/wizard beard phase…also of note, these two are obviously two of the first graduates of Shawn Michaels’ wrestling school…the first ten minutes was filled with impressive matwork…Dragon completely dominated the first half of the match…Spanky made his comeback, which included some stiff kicks and a great suicide dive…Spanky went for a springboard move but Dragon caught him in an arm-bar and turned it into a Cattle Mutilation…Spanky got to the ropes, but Dragon was then able to work over Spanky’s injured arm…Spanky hit a superkick and Sliced Bread #2 but Dragon kicked out…Spanky hit a Frog Splash but Dragon still kicked out…crowd became really hot after those two kick outs…Dragon was then able to lock in a Sharpshooter but Spanky managed to get to the ropes…Dragon hit a super back suplex but Spanky kicked out… Dragon avoided another Sliced Bread #2 and then won with a bridging Regal-Plex…a very good match…the one weakness is that the first half of the match did not seem to play part in the finishing sequence
Glory By Honor 2005
Bryan Danielson vs. James Gibson© (ROH Title): ****1/4…Gibson is obviously more famously known as Jamie Noble…Gibson had recently won the title from CM Punk, who was holding the title hostage before he left for WWE…Gibson was about to return to the WWE as well, but he was not claiming to be bringing the title with him…Dragon was in storyline, saying that he no longer saw any reason for him to be in ROH unless he held the title… the match was filled with physical matwork at the start…that was finally broken up when Gibson suplexed Dragon to the outside, and followed it up with a running knee…Gibson was able to get the best of Dragon for while, “Dragon ain’t goin’ nowheres”…Dragon started his comeback after a kick to the head…Dragon looked to be gaining some momentum but Gibson locked in a Guillotine to cut him off…Dragon victory-rolled Gibson out of the ring (yes), skinned the cat, and then hit a suicide dive…Dragon was dominating the match at this point, and started to get a little cocky…Gibson stayed alive, but Dragon almost locked in a cross-arm-breaker…Gibson managed to reverse that into a Cloverleaf…Dragon was setting for a tombstone but Gibson reversed it one of his own, and got another Guillotine locked in…Dragon managed to stand up, but Gibson hit a tornado DDT and a Gibson driver, but Dragon still kicked out…Dragon showed FIGHTING SPIRIT and hit a Dragon Suplex and locked in Cattle Mutillation…crowd went nuts for that transition…Gibson managed to stand up but Dragon transitioned into a Tiger Suplex… Gibson stood up again and went for the Hart/Austin Survivor Series rollup, but Dragon kicked out…Dragon locked in a Crossface Chickenwing with a bodyscissors and Gibson was forced to tap…a great match but not quite as epic as I remembered…fans popped huge for the title change
Dragon’s speech after the win:
Thank you very much for that warm reception. You don’t know how good it feels to hold this belt. But before I say anything else, I would like everyone to give a round of applause to a man who did not have fight here in ROH because he signed a WWE contact…
Idiot Mark in Crowd: SELLOUT!
Hey, if you call what he did in this ring a sellout, by damn, I’m a sellout too. So if everyone would give James Gibson a round of applause. [cue applause]. James you can have a shot at this title at any time. Now that we’re done thanking James Gibson, it’s my turn.
I just have something I wanna say real quick. The last couple of ROH champions, they’re goals have been to go to the major leagues, to go to the WWE, to go to TNA, but that’s okay because you have to make a living in this job. But there are reasons why I became a professional wrestler, and that’s not to have be subjected to the man, but so that I could have freedom, and this title represents WRESTLING FREEDOM! So, as long as I remain ROH champion, I will not go to WWE, I will not go to TNA, I will stay right here and defend this championship like a MAN!
Bryan Danielson© vs. Nigel McGuinness© (ROH Title & Pure Title unification match): ****1/2…they show a quick video to hype up the match…the match is contested under “Pure rules”…this show is in England so the crowd is completely behind Nigel…Dragon is in full-out heel mode , which if you haven’t seen yet, is truly awesome…early in the match, Dragon locked in cross arm-breaker and Nigel was forced to use a rope break…Nigel quickly came back with a corner lariat…Dragon locked in Cattle Mutilation and Nigel was forced to use a rope break…Nigel quickly came back with the Tower of London which forced Dragon to use the ropes to avoid the pin…Nigel then locked in Cattle Mutilation which forced Dragon to use a second rope break in a matter of seconds…both men had used two rope breaks by this point, for those not paying attention…are you paying attention now?...good…Dragon tried to force Nigel to get counted out to get an easy victory, but Nigel beat the count and hit a huge Lariat…Dragon came and forced Nigel to use another rope break…the fans started to heckle Dragon, which lead to him yelling, “I could kill every single one of you”…Nigel crotched Dragon on the ropes and hit a huge lariat off the turnbuckle; Dragon had to use his last rope break to avoid pinfall…Nigel hit another Tower of London but Dragon kicked out…they rolled to the outside and they proceeded to do one of the stupidest spots in wrestling history: Dragon pulled Nigel’s head into a ringpost and Nigel bled hardway (Question for Nigel in 2011: was it worth it?)…Dragon followed that up with his springboard dive to the crowd…Nigel was understandably wobbly and a bloody mess…Nigel almost got counted out but he just made it back and the crowd exploded…Nigel was so pumped when he got back in and Dragon looked scared shitless…then they proceeded to headbutt each other and boy were those headbutts stiff…Nigel hit a rebound lariat (he actually almost fell through the ropes); Nigel crawled to pin him, but Dragon reversed it into CATTLE MUTILATION! (and Nigel is out of rope breaks for those still not paying attention)…Nigel was able to rollover into a pin bit Dragon kicked out…Dragon started using the elbows and the ref called for the bell…a great, fantastic match…fans think the finish is bullshit…while this is clearly agreat match in ROH history, I feel it is a tad overrated (as this got a lot of 5-star talk)
Glory By Honor 2006
Bryan Danielson© vs. KENTA (ROH Title): *****…the big storyline going into this match was KENTA had pinned Dragon multiple times with Go 2 Sleep in non-title matches…this was Dragon’s first match after terrible injuring his shoulder in a match with Colt Cabana, so KENTA was kicking that shoulder without mercy…after some brutal shots to Dragon’s shoulder, Dragon finally started his comeback with a cravat suplex and some kicks of his own…Dragons set up for the Surfboard, but he lost the hold and decided to just drive the knees into the mat (“I don’t ever FUCK UP”)…Dragon pretended that he couldn’t get out of the Figure 4 when the ref told him to break the hold…KENTA came back and locked in the arm-breaker but Dragon made the ropes…Dragon locked in the Crossface Chickenwing but KENTA made the ropes himself…this lead to a series of strikes where they just kicked the living shit out of each other…they went to the outside and Dragon hit the Springboard Plancha into the crowd with one good arm…the fans approved of that move…Dragon went to finish him with a rolling forearm but KENTA caught him in an armbar; Dragon made the ropes (the fans were totally ready to buy that as the finish)…KENTA hit a RKO and went back to the armbar…again, the fans thought this could be the finish…Dragon pulled off a bridging Regal-plex but KENTA kicked out…Dragon hit a super back suplex and locked in Cattle Mutilation but KENTA made the ropes…Dragon went for a top rope move but KENTA caught him on his shoulders and HIT GO 2 SLEEP!...1 2 3-no Dragon got his foot on the ropes and became the first ROH wrestler to survive Go 2 Sleep...Dragon was desperately trying to lock in Cattle Mutilation and was also delivering elbows…KENTA was eventually forced to tap and end one of the greatest matches I have ever seen…Dragon’s arm injury and cocky attitude perfectly mixed with KENTA’s relentless strikes and viciousness…a near perfect wrestling match
Manhattan Mayhem 2007
Bryan Danielson vs. Takeshi Morishima© (ROH Title): ****1/2…so Dragon just returned recently from injury and was getting his first shot at the new champion, Takeshi Morishima, the monster from NOAH…this match was voted best match of the year in the Wrestling Observer Awards…Dragon also infamously had one of eye retinas torn in this match, which forced him to wear an EYE PATCH for a couple of months…Dragon is still a heel here, but the fans are desperate for him to slay Godzilla…Dragon was keeping his distance with kicks but Shima was able to close in and overpower him…Shima hit a huge kick to Dragon’s eye (which may have been the one that tore the retina)…Shima was just playing with Dragon as if he was a ragdoll…one of the shots to his eye created a gash above his eye…Dragon finally dodged an attack and got Shima into the crowd; Dragon immediately ran to the ring and did the springboard plancha into the crowd…fans went nuts for that move…Dragon took to Shima’s leg with a chair, and then hit a dropkick but Shima did not budge…Shima then cut him off with a HUGE lariat…Dragon went right back to working on Shima’s legs but Shima cut him off again with a series of suplexes (or 'supley' if you will)…Dragon hit a top rope dropkick and applied a modified leg lock…Shima came back with Thesz press but Dragon rolled into a Calgary Crab…Shima went for the Backdrop Driver but Dragon reversed it into a small package(which won him many matches during his world title reign) but Shima kicked out…Dragon actually hit a bridging German and then attacked him with his elbows…Shima fought to his feet but fell victim to more kicks…Dragon locked in Cattle Mutilation, but Shima made the ropes…Shima turned Dragon inside out with a lariat and followed it up with a Backdrop Driver for the win…excellent, heated Big-man vs. Little-man match…Dragon got a huge reaction for making it to his feet and a “Best in the World” chant and a “Thank You, Dragon” chant
Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black: ****1/4…Dragon was now a babyface, and Black was one of the rising stars of the promotion…Black is known now as Seth Rollins in the WWE Developmental territory…Black immediately gets over by the fact that he shows no intimidation or respect towards Dragon…Dragon was getting progressively more and more agitated, and decided to mess with Black…they ended up on the outside and Black hit a RVD moonsault off the guardrail…this sequence lead to Black working over Dragon…Dragon came back with a running clothesline, a top rope drop kick and a suicide dive…Black cut Dragon off with a suplex to the floor and hit a Fosbury Flop…Black threw Dragon back in the ring and hit an Alarm Clock style kick…Dragon made a comeback and both guys eventually cross bodied each other at the same time…they started trading fore arms but neither man got the advantage…Dragon tried for Cattle Mutilation but could not lock it properly…after hitting some elbows, Dragon was able to lock in Cattle Mutilation…Tyler got to his feet, so Dragon went for the Tiger Suplex but Black landed on his feet and hit a enzuigiri…Black hit the Phoenix Splash but Dragon rolled it into a small package for the win out of nowhere…crowd was going batshit for the finish…an awesome match that made both men look like superstars
Final Thoughts: an incredible collection of matches but the DVD is missing a key ingredient: thoughts from Bryan Danielson about the matches, which would have pulled the whole thing together