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A Returning Champion
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

545 days, 38 successful title defenses. Those are the numbers set by Nigel McGuinness during a title reign that started at ?Undeniable? in October 2007 when he defeated the monster Morishima, and came to a close at ?Supercard of Honor IV? in April of 2009 when the 20-year veteran Jerry Lynn pinned Nigel’s shoulders to the mat.

It was well known that McGuinness was heading into that match with some serious and aggravated arm injuries following matches at ?Steel City Clash? and the ?7th Anniversary Show?. Most people thought the champion was insane just to get into the ring in the first place in New York City when he defended the ROH World Title against KENTA. After all, it wasn?t the first time Nigel had suffered a serious bicep injury, and many were worried about his future if he elected to compete that night. Suffice to say he competed, and triumphed, but the backstage scene told a different story. The picture of Nigel McGuinness following that match told a tale of pain and suffering. He didn?t look like a champion in that moment; he appeared more like a man who was fighting for his own wrestling survival.

When it comes down to it, that’s really what a champion is: a man fighting to survive with the whole world on his heels. And McGuinness fought as hard, if not harder, than any champion who came before him. Be it concussions, back injuries, or torn biceps, McGuinness persevered through it all and defeated quite literally everyone on the ROH roster. From Jacobs to Aries, Shiozaki to Danielson, D?Lo to KENTA, Nigel toppled them all before that fateful afternoon in Houston, TX. And through it all Nigel’s body more than paid the price.

As you will soon see during ?Take No Prisoners 2009?, the former champion wasn?t really given the chance to leave with his head held high. Thanks to Claudio Castagnoli, McGuinness injuries were further aggravated when the Swiss native jumped him from behind after Nigel was smartly pulled out of his scheduled tag match where he would have teamed with Castagnoli. Regardless of the reasons, Claudio felt disrespected by Nigel, like he had been slapped in the face, and wasn?t going to stand for it. ?I don?t care what was wrong with Nigel.? stated Castagnoli, ?He made a promise to stand by my side and because of his cowardice, I lost that match to that neanderthal Brent Albright! Nigel had to suffer the consequences; I don?t care about his poor little arm.?

Only Nigel knows how much Claudio’s assault aggravated his injuries, and he isn?t divulging that information. But we do know Nigel has spent the last two months rehabbing his injuries, trying to let his body recuperate, and paying close attention to what’s been going on here in Ring of Honor. ?Don?t think that just because you haven?t seen me that I haven?t been around, mate.? said McGuinness, ?I?ve sat in on commentary, watched the matches, and kept my eyes on the prize. Jerry Lynn has done one helluva job as champion. I don?t yet know if I can say the better man won in Texas, but that’s why I want to take a seat at ringside in New York City and watch it with my own eyes, love.?

Not only will Nigel make his way to NYC on June 13th, but he will also be in attendance this Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia as ROH tapes its next batch of episodes for HDNet. More importantly than that, Nigel shocked ROH officials when he dsigned to face Claudio Castagnoli on June 26th when ROH returns to Detroit, MI. Officials were more than happy to give Nigel some microphone time to address his former ally, but he insisted that a match be signed for the Motor City.

Understandably the wrestling world is extremely worried about Nigel’s arm and his overall physical condition. Even Ring of Honor officials aren?t convinced that a return to the ring this soon is wise. But McGuinness had this to say when asked about his health, ?My time away from the ring HAS helped me heal. Don?t get me wrong, I?m not where I was before I won the title, but I?m not sure if that’s even possible. Being champion for as long as I was, well, it leaves a mark on you. On your body, your heart, and your soul?it wears you down. But I?ll be damned if I?m not ready to fight with everything I?ve got left in me body. It’s time. And I?ll be damned if I?m going to let Castgonads walk away with out some payback. Spend all your time thinkin? I?m not up to snuff mate, and I?ll spend my time thinking of new ways to break your jaw!?

Tickets are available right here at for HDNet TV Tapings this Friday and Saturday, for NYC on Saturday June 13th, and for Friday 6/26 in Detroit. Don?t miss out on the greatest wrestling action you?ll find, and don?t miss out on the return of Nigel McGuinness!