Monday, 11 February 2013

Bryan Danielson vs The World - DVD Review

Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing some of the Ring of Honor DVD releases where they paid tribute to, or cashed in on, depending on your point of view, those stars who have gone on to grace bigger stages.

Now they’ve done it again, and following on from their look at the ROH career of the then-Bryan Danielson and future Daniel Bryan they’ve released another two disc set where he faces stars from around the globe. The release in question is Danielson vs. The World.

And there’s no better place to start than with….

Disc One
June 22nd, 2002
Danielson takes on my fellow Brit and future TNA star Doug Williams at Road to the Title.

As you can probably tell from the date this was from one of the earliest ROH shows, with both men looking to secure the final spot in the four-way iron man match to determine the first ever ROH Champion.

This one didn’t last too long, but they did manage to fit in a lot of great technical stuff. In fact I don’t recall either man throwing a punch.

It turned out to be a highly competitive encounter, with each man countering the other in the mat game before they took the action up a notch.

It looked all over when Williams took his man down with the Chaos Theory suplex until our Bryan kicked out of the pin. He then put the Brit on the top rope and came down with a back superplex.

Danielson then went for the Cattle Mutilation. Williams soon countered and took Danielson down with an Ocean Cyclone suplex before getting the pin and the last spot in the final.

November 16th, 2002
Danielson faces Williams once again, this time in a 30 minute iron man match at Scramble Madness.

Now this was good. I’ve seen these two against each other three times now, and this was by far the best.

The extra time they were give meant that they could go that extra mile with their technical exchanges. It was a joy to behold as they went move for move.

Danielson took the first pin around the 18 minute mark, pinning Williams’ shoulders to the mat after a second Dragon Suplex.

Williams went on to dominate the remainder of the match. As the clocked ticked down the Brit went all out, but despite two Chaos Theory suplexes and the Bomb Scare knee drop from the top rope Daniels kept kicking out.

As the match reached it’s final minute Williams locked in a crossface. Danielson fought it for as long as he could, but as the old saying goes he was saved by the bell when the time limit expired to give him the win.

June 17th, 2006
Danielson is now the World Champion as he faces former champion Samoa Joe and Pro Wrestling NOAH star KENTA in a non-title three-way at In Your Face.

I know this DVD is all about Bryan Danielson, but I’ve just got to mention the performance of Samoa Joe.

In short, it was top notch, the kind of which we rarely see from him these days. His exchanges with KENTA were both brutal and a joy to watch, and they were also the best thing about this match.

In fact all three men put in great performances. There wasn’t much three-way action, but that didn’t detract from the overall entertainment value.

So after nearly twenty minutes of hard hitting action it was the visiting Japanese star who came out on top as he took Danielson out with the Go to Sleep for the winning pin. Go to Sleep? Now where have I seen that move before?

August 13th, 2006
It’s another Japanese opponent for our World Champion as Danielson faces SUWA at Anarchy in the U.K.

This was the first of two title defences for Danielson on this show, just 24 hours after he’d beaten Nigel McGuinness to unify the World and Pure titles.

It began with a ringside brawl, with SUWA busting Danielson open after clobbering him on the top of the head with a chair - the plastic kind, not the folding kind.

When they eventually made it to the ring SUWA dominated the action as he took the champion apart. He also earned the ire of the British referee when he wiped Danielson’s blood across the official’s face.

Danielson’s moments of offence were few and fleeting, and SUWA’s offence was quite brutal at times, but the Dragon, against the run of play, took the pin with a small package as SUWA ran the ropes.

September 16th, 2006
Danielson faces KENTA once again, this time in singles action as he defends his World title at Glory by Honor V Night Two.

This was a classic, and then some. For over 30 minutes these two put on a wrestling clinch in what could possibly be one of the best matches of Danielson’s career.

Danielson came into this one with his right shoulder taped up, and that was like a red rag to a bull for the Japanese challenger. KENTA was absolutely brutal as he tried to wreck the limb.

But no matter what KENTA did Danielson kept coming back for more as both men tried a variety of submission holds, Danielson coming closest with the Chicken Wing.

As the match moved towards the finish KENTA brought out the big guns as he took Danielson down with the Go to Sleep. The champion managed to escape though, putting his foot on the bottom rope when KENTA went for the pin.

A few moments later a final surge fired up the Dragon even more as he went for the Cattle Mutilation. KENTA fought it for as long as he could until he finally succumbed and tapped out to give Danielson the submission win.

July 16th, 2007
Danielson is now without a title as he travels to Japan to face Go Shiozaki at Live in Tokyo.

This was just like watching a Pro Wrestling NOAH show, a match filled with tons of hard-hitting exchanges watched by a respectful Japanese crowd who politely applauded every big move.

Shiozaki’s hard chops were out in force here as he turned Danielson’s chest and back beet red. However, it wasn’t long before the Dragon began to negate Shiozaki’s main weapon as he worked over his man’s right shoulder and arm.

As the action moved on they began to bring out the big guns, and it was fun to watch as both men went all out.

But when Shiozaki missed with his moonsault Danielson took his chance, and although Shiozaki survived the first Cattle Mutilation when he made it to the ropes he didn’t survive the second attempt when he tapped out to give Danielson the submission win.

July 17th, 2007
Danielson, still in Japan, teams with Naomichi Marufuji and CIMA against Davey Richards, Rocky Romero and Masaki Mochizuki at Live in Osaka.

This one had a little extra flavour as far as Japanese fans were concerned because CIMA and Mochizuki normally competed for Dragon Gate while Marufuji worked for NOAH. Japanese wrestling politics meant nothing in the ROH ring though.

As with the previous match this was more Japanese-style than ROH-style. The home country guys, and CIMA in particular, really impressed me.

It began with some nice exchanges between Richards and CIMA before the No Remorse Corp used Danielson for target practice as they worked over his left arm and shoulder.

It wasn’t long before we move toward the six man brawl, which featured some great triple team moves before CIMA pinned Romero with his Egoist Schwein finisher. If you want to know what it was just think of Sheamus’ White Noise.

August 24th, 2007
Danielson goes up against another future WWE employee in the form of PAC, aka the future Adrian Neville, at Caged Rage.

This was PAC’s debut on American soil, and Danielson was obviously eager to ground the man that gravity forgot by working over his legs early on before PAC made a brief comeback.

Danielson went on to dominate the next few minutes with a variety of holds as he tried to put the Brit away, but no matter what he did PAC kept coming back for more.

PAC’s high flying arsenal eventually came into play, and very impressive it was too, but when he crashed and burned into Danielson’s raised knees Dragon quickly seized the opportunity and applied a triangle choke, with PAC passing out to give him the submission win.

August 25th, 2007
It’s the final match of disc one, and the first of five matches against Takeshi Morishima as he challenges the NOAH star for the World title at Manhattan Mayhem III.

Danielson went into this one with a massive size disadvantage, which meant that this wouldn’t be your usual type of American Dragon match.

It began with Danielson kicking away at Morishima’s tree trunk-like legs. The big man kept coming back, and he soon took control of the action with his superior power.

Even though he suffered an eye injury Danielson’s never say die attitude kept him in the match. It eventually began to pay dividends as he went for a variety of submission holds.

But the champion managed to survive, including when Danielson synched in the Cattle Mutilation, and eventually Morishima took Danielson out with a Backdrop Driver for the title retaining pin.

Disc Two
September 15th, 2007
Danielson challenges Morishima for the title again, this time at Man Up.

Danielson came into this one wearing an eye patch, courtesy of the injury he’d sustained in their previous encounter. Having seen this Morishima made a pre-match promise not to go after the injury.

This was a somewhat shorter but altogether different kind of encounter. It began with Danielson going after the big man’s legs once again as he tried to take him off his feet. Morishima was having none of this though and soon brought his power advantage into play.

This time around though Danielson went for a more submission-based approach as he gained some amount of success with a triangle choke and a rear naked choke, but ultimately he couldn’t get the job done.

In the end Morishima went back on his promise and attacked Danielson’s injured eye, and as he lost consciousness during the assault the referee had no choice but to stop the match and give Morishima the win.

November 3rd, 2007
Morishima is now without the title, but Danielson still wants a piece of him at Glory by Honor VI Night Two.

To say that this was heated would be an understatement. Danielson attacked Morishima as he made his entrance with a suicide dive before whipping him into the ringside barriers.

They eventually made it to the ring where the hard-hitting exchanges continued, but it wasn’t long before they returned to the ringside area where Danielson took his man out with another dive, this time from the top rope to the front row.

Morishima eventually got back into the match with a Backdrop Driver on the floor, and as Danielson tried to climb back into the ring Morishima kept clobbering him off the apron, sending him flying into the barriers and busting him open.

A shoulder barge to Morishima’s ample mid-section led Danielson back into the match as the action got even more heated. Morishima began to target Danielson’s bad eye again, an attack that came to a blinding halt when Danielson connected with a low blow.

Danielson then inflicted further damage with several stomps to the groin area, but when the referee tried to stop him Danielson threw him across the ring, a move that earned him an immediate disqualification as the locker room emptied in an attempt to stop his assault.

December 29th, 2007
It’s the fourth battle with Morishima, this time at Rising Above 2007.

Contested under the “relaxed rules” stipulation this time it was Morishima who attacked Danielson as he made his entrance, whipping him into the barriers before hitting him with the timekeeper’s table, busting him open.

Morishima continued the brutality in the ring, but the Dragon eventually came back into the match. It soon developed into a ground and pound war before Morishima connected with a low blow. He then took a measure of revenge when he connected with a series of stomps to Danielson’s groin. The referee had no choice but to disqualify the Japanese star.

The ring soon filled with officials and referees as they tried to stop the carnage, with Morishima taking one referee out with a Backdrop Driver before Danielson grabbed the timekeeper’s hammer in an attempt to take Morishima’s eye out.

March 15th, 2008
Go Shiozaki makes his second appearance, teaming with World Champion Nigel McGuinness as our man partners Austin Aries at Double Feature.

If you get to watch this DVD you may recognise this particular arena. It’s where Randy “The Ram” Robinson faced the Ayatollah, 20 years after their original encounter.

As for this match it was actually quite sedate compared to the Morishima encounters. Danielson and Aries looked quite good as a unit, and while the Shiozaki/McGuinness team looked quite an odd combination, mainly because Shiozaki observed the Code of Honor, they looked okay.

Danielson took the punching bag treatment in this one as the Brit/Japan combo doubled up to good effect until Aries got the hot tag and the four-way action began, with the obligatory almost everyone flying over the top rope spot.

In the end we saw stereo submissions. While McGuinness tapped out to Danielson’s Cattle Mutilation Shiozaki tapped out to Aries’ Last Chancery to give their team the submission win.

May 10th, 2008
Naomichi Marufuji makes a return appearance, this time in singles action against Danielson at A New Level.

This one had quite a bit of back story to it. Takeshi Morishima had just returned to ROH after a five month absence, and give the situation between those two ROH and NOAH officials wanted to keep them apart. Instead they let them choose each other’s opponent, with Danielson choosing the Necro Butcher for Morishima and Morishima choosing Marufuji for Danielson. Sounds like the Dragon got the better end of the deal there.

The crowd were absolutely electric in this one. They ate up everything that happened in the ring. For 20 minutes these two put on a tremendous contest filled with a ton of great back and forth action.

Marufuji went into this one with the plan to work over Danielson’s head and neck, and this he did to good effect, particularly when he took him down with a Brain Buster on the ring apron.

Nothing could keep the Dragon down though, and as the match went into overdrive and they brought out the big guns things got even better.

Both men almost got the pin with their own versions of the triangle choke, but when Danielson finally locked in the Cattle Mutilation Marufuji finally tapped him to give our man the submission win.

September 14th, 2008
It’s back to Japan for our man as he challenges Yoshinobu Kanemaru for the GHC Junior Heavyweight title at The Tokyo Summit.

Danielson was at his technical best here. Kanemaru controlled the early going, particularly when the action spilled out to ringside, until Dragon quickly took control once they returned to the ring.

Once there our man began to work over the champion’s left arm, and at one point it looked like he was trying to tear it from his shoulder.

Kanemaru managed to survive these attempts and came back with his DDT variations, but after several hard-hitting exchanges Danielson finally managed to lock in the Cattle Mutilation, with Kanemaru tapping to give Danielson the title winning submission.

September 19th, 2008
Danielson faces Go Shiozaki once again, but this time the future Antonio Cesaro, aka Claudio Castagnoli, is thrown into the mix in a three-way elimination match at Driven 2008.

Danielson was looking to get back into the World title picture here, but champion Nigel McGuinness told our man he’d only get another shot if he could beat those McGuinness himself had beaten in pay-per-view title defences, and with Shiozaki and Double C also looking for rematches this one was signed.

This one certainly had it’s moments. It began with Danielson and Castagnoli brawling around the ring before Shiozaki came into the equation as it became every man for himself.

The heat went up a few degrees when Castagnoli went all out against the Dragon, But as Castagnoli battered his man in the corner the referee tried to stop him. Double C was having none of this and suplexed the official, earning himself an immediate disqualification.

The man from Switzerland was determined to leave his mark, taking Danielson down with a Riccola Bomb. But as he was about to do more damage numerous officials came running down to the ring to intervene. Several of them went flying before they eventually ushered him away.

This left Shiozaki to feed off Castagnoli’s crumbs as he took Danielson down with countless hard chops. Danielson managed to come back into the match, and although Shiozaki survived two Cattle Mutilations he eventually passed out to Danielson’s triangle choke.

September 20th, 2008
Danielson defends his GHC Junior Heavyweight title against Katsuhiku Nakajima at Glory by Honor VII.

This was the first time I’d seen Nakajima in action. The boy looked pretty good. He was just 20 years old at the time of this match and more than held his own against one of the world’s best.

It was basic storytelling, but executed perfectly, with Danielson working over his man’s arm and Nakajima working over his man’s leg. Add in numerous hard-hitting exchanges and what you’ve got here is a great match.

Although Nakajima came close to getting the win on numerous occasions Danielson’s victory was never really in doubt as he locked in the Cattle Mutilation for the submission win.

April 30th, 2009
Danielson faces Mexico’s favourite Russian Alex Koslov at Supercard of Honor IV.

There’s nothing like a good old fashioned piece of Russian/American rivalry to get the nostalgic juices flowing. With the ROH faithful giving us occasional “Ho!” and “USA! USA!” chants these two gave us a very entertaining encounter.

Koslov matched Danielson quite easily in the wrestling department, with the Russian doing a good job of attacking Dragon’s legs and surviving a couple of Cattle Mutilation attempts.

For me the best part of this match was when Koslov tried a Cattle Mutilation of his own, and when that didn’t work he tried to put his man away with a series of Danielson-like elbows to the side of the head.

It was then that Danielson invoked the spirit of Hogan and Hulked up, warning Koslov off with the finger point of doom. But this meant nothing as Koslov took him down with a Russian leg sweep before draping his Russian flag over him and climbing to the top rope.

The Russian missed with his Frog Splash, and within seconds Daniels locked in his own Cattle Mutilation for the submission win.

December 27th, 2008
It’s the final match of the collection as Danielson faces Takeshi Morishima for a fifth time in a Fight Without Honor at Final Battle 2008.

As was the custom with these two they began with a ringside brawl, with Danielson using the ring bell hammer again in another attempt to gouge out Morishima’s eye.

The action went in and out of the ring for the next few minutes, with Danielson getting busted open again as Morishima sent him flying into the ringside barriers with another clubbing blow.

As the blood poured down Danielson’s face Morishima tried to choke him out with a chain, a rather unique submission attempt that our man managed to survive.

Eventually the action developed into one of those hard-hitting affairs you just couldn’t take your eyes off, and after Danielson survived the pin after a Backdrop Driver by putting his foot on the bottom rope he went for a final surge.

After delivering several stomps to the ground Danielson wrapped the chain around his arm and connected with his trademark elbows to the side of Morishima’s head. He then rolled the big man over and synched in the Cattle Mutilation. The big man soon passed out, finally giving Danielson the submission win he’d been looking for.

In conclusion - the Danielson compilation I reviewed last summer was probably my favourite DVD release of 2012, as well as my favourite Ring of Honor match compilation.

So how does Danielson vs. The World compare to that release? While it may not possess the mainstream star power of the previous release the match quality is right up there.

It’s another example of how the future Daniel Bryan can have a great match with anyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s against a big lumbering brawler like Takeshi Morishima or a technical master like Doug Williams, Danielson can do it all.

This set is the perfect compliment to last year’s release, so if you’ve got that one then I’d suggest getting this one to complete your collection.

So with all of that being said there’s only one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this release the big thumbs up.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Bryan Danielson vs. The World is available to buy online at

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