My first attempt at watching independent wrestling live was back in 2005 for the UXW promotion here on Long Island. It was difficult to enjoy for a bunch of reasons, but it had my interest piqued to try again. I was able to also attend a WSU show before they became an all women’s promotiion, and then shortly during that tenure of time, I began following Ring of Honor because they were doing shows in my backyard, of sorts, thanks to Mick Foley.
Beginning at “Sign of Dishonor”, I was captivated by the talents in the ring for ROH. From CM Punk to Chris Daniels to AJ Styles to Samoa Joe to Jay Lethal to Jimmy Rave to Matt Sydal to Bryan Danielson….. Stop there.
Danielson was a man, correction, IS a man who has the ability, when given a chance to do, to perform at any and all levels of professional wrestling. From being the comedic genius, as prevalent from his recent match at the 7th Anniversary show teaming with the returning Colt Cabana, to being scientifically superior, as prevalent by pretty much any match he has been involved in, to being as hardcore as they come, as prevalent from his blood feud with Takeshi Morishima, Bryan Danielson has the ability to sway a crowd’s emotions literally almost at the drop of a hat.
I was on site at the Sports Plus Rec Center in Lake Grove, Long Island, when the American Dragon returned from a hiatus from ROH, and proceeded to win the ROH title from James “Jamie Noble” Gibson in a match that was incredible to experience live. I was also on hand when the Dragon dropped the title almost 19 months later to the Notorious 187, Homicide, in New York City’s Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center, where there was a near riot on more than one occasion, and Dragon, even in defeat, was up to the challenge, and provided a show that, to this day, I have not been able to experience anything better.
Just the other day, as my son and I are prepping to attend ROH’s next venture in to the Grand Ballroom, I had told him of the signed ROH World title match between Danielson and Aries, and quite frankly, he was psyched, and so was I. Aries and Danielson are the best talents ROH has to offer at this time, and to see them compete for the richest prize in the company, well, there’s not much more than can be said about that except, where do I sign to be in the crowd for that one?
Now fast forward to tonight. As I am getting information about Summerslam, I read on ROHwrestling.com and here at Wrestleview that Danielson has signed with WWE.
I remember a while back, Danielson saying he wouldn’t “sell out”, and he wouldn’t, in not the exact words, “take a WWE contract.” Now, I’m not going to hold the man to his word, by any stretch, because let’s face it, when the money’s there, you take it. I just am saddened myself for the loss that will soon belittle ROH with more holes in its roster than a slice of swiss cheese.
For years, I went to ROH religiously because I knew I’d have the chance to see stars like Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Chris Daniels, Homicide, Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, Matt Sydal, Jimmy Jacobs, Colt Cabana, Roderick Strong, The Briscoe Brothers, Nigel McGuinness, Jimmy Rave, Claudio Castagnoli, I could go on and on. Now, I know time passes, and things happen, and contracts aren’t renewed, and offers abound, Where a few years ago you had that cast of characters, now you have El Generico, Kevin Steen, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Chris Hero, Nigel, Cabana (after a failed stint in WWE), the Briscoes, Roderick Strong, Jacobs, Tyler Black, and others.
Is it an equal exchange?? Only time will tell. But this is what I take out of this particular situation.
ROH is desperate for cash.
There are a handful of talents inside the ROH umbrella that I would consider to be absolutely untouchable. Those talents are the Briscoe Brothers, Austin Aries, Nigel McGuinness, Tyler Black, & Bryan Danielson. I would think, if I was owner of ROH, that I would do everything in my power to keep these particular men happy, healthy, and well paid. Why? Simple. They have already begun to build their names on television through the HDNet show, and they are the focus of the company’s shows outside of Philadelphia while the HDNet cameras are rolling. Obviously, I am suspecting that the Briscoes, Aries, Nigel & Black are all accounted for, and maybe Danielson got an offer that was out of the ball park, we’ll never truly know.
But, I think, and I believe in my heart, that this loss for Ring of Honor, will be significantly more devastating than losing the TNA stars, than losing Matt Sydal, than losing CM Punk, and losing, albeit briefly, Colt Cabana.
Bryan Danielson in World Wrestling Entertainment, if given the chance to perform to his best, can be another Rey Mysterio, just not as flippy. Bryan Danielson, if given the chance to perform at his ultimate, can be another CM Punk. Bryan Danielson, if allowed to do what the American Dragon does, will make WWE better, and make the product better. I believe that in my heart.
However, there is the anthesis here. Talented men like Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Low Ki, and others that can be named, have had the shot to enter the big leagues, and have either done so with shackles on their arms and legs, virtually speaking, or have remained imprisoned in the minor leagues of Florida Championship Wrestling.
Vince McMahon wants new stars. I think he has them. While I am not so sure on Tyler Reks, Sheamus, Yoshi Tatsu, or Abraham Washington, more so on Washington than the other three, I believe he has new stars waiting to arrive at any time. Kaval (Low Ki) is the first man I would get up to the roster immediately. When Danielson finishes his committments, don’t hesitate to get this man in to the ring on the main roster, and let him learn under Punk and Bourne’s wing. Punk and Bourne have so much history with Danielson that they can show Bryan the ins and outs of WWE wrestling, and he’ll pick it up like its nothing.
What needs to happen here, is immediate result for your investment. Hopefully, WWE will see that, and make the necessary steps happen to get that result.
In the meantime, back at Ring of Honor, Cary Silkin has to be worried sick. He loses his ace, and let’s be honest, Danielson has been the ace of the company for seven years, since day one. For years, the feeling in arenas all across the east coast when the Final Countdown by Europe was being played was second to none. It’s something that I think will be increasingly difficult to be able to replace.
September in Manhattan for Ring of Honor just became more interesting and intriguing. Will ROH do for Danielson what they did for Punk, and give him the ROH World title for his final few days in the company? He has a shot at the title in NYC against A Double. Only time will answer that question.
My heart is filled with mixed emotions today, ladies and gentlemen.
I am saddened by the fact that one of the men who I paid good money to see compete for years is no longer going to be on stage for that company in the near future.
I am gladdened that perhaps, if given the opportunity, I will be able to see that man peform on a much grander scale for a much more refined product and with much more potentially outstanding results.
I am angered by the fact that I believe someone here dropped the ball. I won’t say who, what, or why, because I believe it’s painfully obvious where to fill in the blanks here, but I would say that someone dropped the ball by letting this occur.
And to the man, himself. The American Dragon, Bryan Danielson. I’ll never get the chance to do this in person, but I can sure as hell do it here in my forum.
Thank you for years of entertainment, and emotional charges I will have a very hard time duplicating.
Thank you for busting your ass to entertain me.
I am honored to have had the chance to see you compete, and win your ROH World Championship.
Thank you for reading.
Oh, by the way. 5 – 2 for Summerslam. Not too shabby for a runt with no knowledge. 🙂