A2Z Analysiz – Nigel McGuinness: An ROH Career Retrospective (Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins)
by Jake Ziegler on May 2, 2012

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MATCH #1: Nigel McGuinness vs. Chet Jablonski, Wrath of the Racket, 8.9.03

This is McGuinness’s ROH debut. It’s also Jablonski’s debut, and he was never heard from again. The winner of this match gets a shot at Chad Collyer’s HWA Championship back in the home promotion. This match starts in progress with Jablonski working the arm. McGuinness escapes but runs right into a spinebuster for two. Jablonski hits a big shoulderblock for another two-count. McGuinness fights back with a European Uppercut and Jablonski responds with a t-bone suplex. Jablonski puts on a Greco Roman Knuckle Lock and McGuinness uses his athleticism to reverse and then escape the hold. McGuinness then turns his attention to the arm. He pushes Jablonski to the ropes and nails him with an enziguiri type kick to the back of the neck. The idiot referee gets in McGuinness’s way for no reason, and Jablonski recovers to land a clothesline. McGuinness is not impressed and takes Jablonski right back down to the mat. Jablonski powers his way out and chops away. He hits a Fisherman’s Northern Lights Suplex for a two-count. McGuinness comes back with a couple of cradles for near-falls. Jablonski grabs McGuinness and hits a leg capture Emerald Frosion for two. That could have been a finish. Jablonski goes to the top rope and misses a big senton bomb. McGuinness traps Jablonski’s legs in a cradle and that’s enough to get the pin at 6:31. They did a good job of showing their stuff in a short match, and it was a good clash of styles.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Nigel McGuinness vs. Homicide, Midnight Express Reunion, 10.2.04

Homicide is accompanied by Julius Smokes, who specializes in drawing attention away from the guys in the ring. They start with some mat wrestling, since Homicide has no reason to be angry with McGuinness at this point. McGuinness targets the arm early on. Homicide tries to turn it into a shoving contest and McGuinness responds by going after the leg. I love how the commentators try selling Homicide as a good mat wrestler as he sloppily tries to counter McGuinness’s mat prowess. Homicide instead dropkicks McGuinness to the floor and then follows him out with an axe handle off the ring apron. McGuinness responds right back and viciously attacks the arm, ramming it into the steel ring post and barricades. Back in the ring McGuinness continues the arm work. Homicide tries to come back with a Tornado DDT but McGuinness blocks it and slams him down to the mat. The first 10 minutes has been almost all McGuinness, which is surprising. Having said that, Homicide repositions the referee and hits a low blow, and then Smokes interferes behind the ref’s back. Now Homicide is in complete control, and Smokes continues interfering every chance he gets. Homicide hits an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. He follows up with another low blow and then locks on the STF. McGuinness reaches the ropes but Homicide stays in control. Homicide goes up top and hits a diving headbutt for a two-count. He goes back up top but this time McGuinness cuts him off and hits an overhead belly-to-belly (called a Dragon Suplex by that idiot Mark Nulty) and both men are down. McGuinness goes right back to the arm and hits a back suplex on it for a two-count. Homicide comes back with an STO into the turnbuckles and a piledriver for two. McGuinness comes back with an overhead wrist lock into a dropdown. That gets him a near-fall as the crowd is behind him. Even so, Homicide hits a bridging T-bone suplex for two. McGuinness comes back with the headstand in the corner and turns it into the Tower of London but Homicide gets his leg on the bottom rope with a little help from Smokes. Now McGuinness goes to the top rope but Smokes grabs his leg, and Homicide pulls him down with an Ace Crusher. Homicide then hits the Lariat but it only gets two because his arm has been so weakened. He takes off the elbow pad and goes for another Lariat but McGuinness blocks it and hits a Divorce Court and then locks on That Arm Submission and then turns it into a cradle to get the pin at 20:01! That’s a huge upset for the time. Homicide actually sold really well, and McGuinness looked like he belonged in ROH, and that’s exactly what happened as a result of this match. The pace was slow but it worked for the story they told.
Rating: ***

MATCH #3: Soccer Riot Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Colt Cabana, Night of the Grudges 2, 8.20.05

This is the blowoff to an awesome feud that made both men look good. Cabana was in charge of naming the stipulation of this match, and he comes out holding a soccer ball and wearing a soccer jersey. That’s because he has chosen a “Soccer Riot” match, which basically is a No-DQ Match. Cabana spends the first part of the match explaining that things like ball shots, closed fists, and kicks are legal as he is doing exactly those things to McGuinness. The battle spills to the floor as Cabana continues to remind everyone that pretty much everything is in fact legal. Cabana throws McGuinness into a wall and then throws a succession of chairs at him. It’s all Cabana as they make their way through the crowd. Finally McGuinness fights back with a low blow and then throws Cabana into a pile of chairs. They get back to ringside and McGuinness whips Cabana into the barricades. Finally they make it back inside the ring and McGuinness is in control, working the back. McGuinness kicks the soccer ball into the crowd just for fun. Cabana comes back and takes McGuinness down in the corner, and the crowd throws the soccer ball back in the ring! That’s awesome. Cabana whips it at McGuinness, and then hits the Golden Globes, straight up kicking McGuinness in the groin. McGuinness goes to the floor and Cabana tries a leap off the top rope but misses and crashes hard. Once again McGuinness is in control, and he hits a receipt low blow. McGuinness tries to suplex Cabana from the ring through a table on the floor but Cabana blocks it. They fight on the apron and nothing comes of it. Cabana goes to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick and then follows with a moonsault for two. He gets a hold of the iron but McGuinness goes low again. McGuinness then hits a DDT. He sets up two chairs and puts Cabana on the top rope, and then hits him with the iron, sending Cabana crashing through the table on the floor! McGuinness goes out to make the cover (I guess it’s falls count anywhere too), but Cabana kicks out. Back in the ring Cabana reveals that he brought his own iron, and he cracks McGuinness with it for a close near-fall. They get back to their feet and trade forearms and Cabana hits a big Lariat for the pin at 17:37. That was fun and a good way to end the feud but they could have come up with a better finish. I mean how many matches did Cabana ever win with a Lariat?
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: ROH Pure Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe, Dragon Gate Invasion, 8.27.05

Joe has been the Champion since 5.7.05, and this is his seventh defense. He already successfully defended it against McGuinness at The Future is Now in June, but after the Soccer Riot match, Colt Cabana was awarded a shot at the ROH World Title and McGuinness was given another shot at the Pure Title as a consolation prize. They get aggressive with each other right away and McGuinness takes Joe down to the mat to work on his arm. Joe counters with a headscissors. They engage in a test of strength and Joe wins that battle with a hard kick to the chest. McGuinness sneaks in a closed fist behind the referee’s back, and then does it again. Joe gets frustrated and uses a closed fist right in front of the referee, and gets a warning for it. The anger is good for Joe, as he hits an inverted atomic drop, a kick to the face, and the Big Joe Combo (trademark Brad Garoon) for a one-count. Joe follows with a powerslam and then locks on a cross armbreaker, causing McGuinness to use his first rope break. The Champion is dominant in the first part of the match. Joe goes for a face wash but McGuinness rolls to the floor. When Joe goes for a dive McGuinness clobbers him with a chair! Referee Todd Sinclair charges him his second rope break for that. Why not a disqualification I wonder? McGuinness is in control now and he goes after the arm, causing Joe to use his first rope break. He continues to thwart Joe’s comeback attempts and go after the arm, and Joe uses his second rope break. Both men only have one left. A frustrated Joe unleashes a hard right hand to the face and the referee charges him his third rope break. McGuinness charges into the corner and Joe catches him with the STJoe. The challenger perseveres and tricks Joe into the corner and uses a submission move, which Joe has to fight out of since he has no more rope breaks. McGuinness tries the headstand in the corner but Joe kicks him right in the face. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster but McGuinness slips out, only to get drilled with an enziguiri. McGuinness avoids a charge in the corner and hits the Tower of London to get the pin at 14:48! Joe had his foot on the ropes but he was out of rope breaks so it didn’t matter. McGuinness looked great here and cheated in effective ways but still went over really clean, which helped him a great deal. This was another very important match in the evolution of Nigel McGuinness’s ROH career.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #5: ROH Pure Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries, Unscripted II, 2.11.06

McGuinness has been the Champion since 8.27.05, and this is his eighth defense. Aries is one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions with Roderick Strong, and is a former ROH World Champion, so he has the chance to become a Triple Crown winner in this match. They start with some chain wrestling, and McGuinness strikes first with a hard elbow to the face. Aries counters by going after the arm and quickly makes the Champion use his first rope break. They continue the mat wrestling and McGuinness uses a headscissors, and is able to block Aries’ escape dropkick! That’s a guy who’s done his homework, Jess. Aries comes back with a clothesline. McGuinness responds with a vertical suplex for two. He tries the headscissors again and this time Aries hits the dropkick, sending McGuinness to the floor. Aries follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits the slingshot senton and an elbow drop for two. McGuinness uses the headstand to come back and hits Aries with the kick to the back and elbow to the chest combination. That combo always needed a name. McGuinness starts going after the arm now and keeps the pressure on. He goes for a series of pins, forcing Aries to use his first rope break. McGuinness then pitches Aries to the floor. Back in the ring Aries hits a Saito Suplex and both men are down. Aries is fired up now, hitting a hard roaring elbow and then the Power Drive Elbow for two. Of course he did these moves with his injured arm. Aries hits another elbow, and follows up with a Finlay Roll. He goes up top and hits a Frog Splash but it only gets two. McGuinness avoids a charge in the corner and drops Aries’ leg on the top rope, and then hits him with the big clothesline. Aries avoids getting pinned by using the ropes, which is his second rope break. Moments later McGuinness hits the Tower of London and Aries uses his final rope break to save himself. Aries blocks a suplex and drops McGuinness on his face, then locks on an awkward looking submission that forces McGuinness to use his second rope break. Now Aries goes to the top rope and McGuinness takes him down with the Tower of London but it only gets two. Back on their feet Aries grabs a quick inside cradle for a near-fall. McGuinness tries the headstand but Aries drills him with the IED. Aries hits the Brainbuster and the Champion is saved by the bottom rope. That is the third and final rope break for McGuinness, despite what Lenny Leonard says. Aries goes up top and again McGuinness knocks him down, but this time Aries perseveres and lands the 450 Splash but McGuinness is able to kick out! The crowd doesn’t like that. McGuinness then grabs That Arm Submission from out of nowhere and Aries has to tap out at 18:50. They went all out in this one and tried to make up for the changed card and they did a really good job. This was another important match in the rise of McGuinness, as this was the second former ROH World Champion that he defeated, so it made the Pure Title more prestigious too.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #6: World Title Vs. Pure Title Unification Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson, Unified, 8.12.06

Danielson has been the Champion since 9.17.05, and this is his twenty-ninth defense. McGuinness has been the Pure Champion since 8.27.05, and this is his eighteenth defense. These two met in April in a Title versus Title match, which McGuinness won by countout, and then Danielson won the second match in July, so this is a the rubber unification match, and will be contested under Pure Rules. The Liverpool crowd is hot for both guys before the bell even rings.

They lock up fiercely to start as the crowd chants loudly for both men. Danielson strikes first with a slap to the face. They chain wrestle briefly and McGuinness issues a receipt for the slap, much to the crowd’s delight. McGuinness goes after the arm and Danielson fights out with a dropkick. The back and forth continues, as both men battle for the first advantage. Danielson targets the arm and viciously attacks it. He hits a butterfly suplex and locks on a cross armbreaker, causing McGuiness to use his first rope break. McGuinness comes back and hits the Guns of Brixton (that’s what I’m calling the Kick to the Back/Elbow combination in the corner that he does). Danielson comes back with a step-up enziguiri. He then teases the surfboard but just stomps on McGuinness instead. They take it up top and Danielson hits a superplex. Danielson immediately goes back up top and hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. He follows up with Cattle Mutilation and McGuinness has to use his second rope break. McGuinness fires up and hits the Tower of London! Danielson breaks up the pin with his first rope break. McGuinness then uses Cattle Mutilation and Danielson quickly uses his second rope break. The battle spills to the floor and Danielson reclaims control, slamming McGuinness into the ringside table. Danielson then holds McGuinness down with the table, looking for a countout. McGuinness barely makes it back in the ring and the match will continue. They start trading forearms and McGuinness hits a huge Lariat for two. McGuinness tries the headstand but Danielson dropkicks him and hits a roaring forearm for two. Danielson then locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing, and it looks like McGuinness’s mouth is busted open. He takes him down to the mat with a body scissors but McGuinness is able to make it to the ropes and he uses his third and final rope break.

Danielson hits a release German Suplex and goes up top for the diving headbutt but McGuinness blocks it with a boot to the face! Both men get back to their feet and they trade hard slaps to the face, staggering each other. Danielson wins that battle and hits a leaping forearm in the corner. McGuinness comes back and places Danielson on the top rope for the Lariat, which gets two when Danielson uses his third and final rope break. That Lariat needs a name too, so I think I’ll call it the White Riot. The ropes are now in play for both competitors. McGuinness goes up top and Danielson joins him, only to get sent back with a headbutt. Danielson shrugs it off and hits a dropkick, and then goes up top and puts on the Crossface Chicken Wing! That’s creative. McGuinness battles out and hits the Tower of London! That only gets two. Danielson rolls to the floor and McGuinness follows him. That proves to be a costly mistake, as they fight through the ring post and Danielson pulls McGuinness’s arms, causing his head to crack against the ring post insanely hard. That busts McGuinness open and is one of the more dangerous things I’ve seen in Ring of Honor. It’s just insane that anyone would take that. Danielson dropkicks McGuinness into the front row and then wipes him out with the springboard dive. McGuinness just barely makes it back to the ring to continue the fight and the crowd is going ballistic. Amazingly they trade headbutts, which is just painful to watch. McGuinness lands the Jawbreaker Lariat but can’t cover right away so Danielson is able to kick out. Danielson immediately rolls into Cattle Mutilation, and then turns it into the series of elbows to the face and the referee stops the match at 26:20. That is one of the best matches in ROH history, and was suitably epic for the buildup it was given. I was legitimately uncomfortable watching the abuse Nigel McGuinness put himself through for this match. Almost six years later this match is still amazing.
Rating: *****

MATCH #7: GHC Heavyweight Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Glory By Honor V Night 2, 9.16.06

This is the first time the GHC Heavyweight Title has been defended outside of Japan. Marufuji has been the champion since 9.9.06 and this is his first defense. That’s a pretty big deal. They go back and forth a bit as Jimmy Bower invades the booth to thank NOAH officials for allowing this match to happen in ROH. Marufuji goes after the leg as he takes the first sustained advantage of the match. Nigel escapes a Figure Four Leglock by getting to the ropes and then he rolls to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring Marufuji continues going to work on the leg. After several minutes Nigel avoids a charge in the corner and Marufuji hits his shoulder into the ring post. Nigel takes control and relentlessly attacks the now injured shoulder. After a few minutes of abuse Nigel hits the first lariat of the match for a two-count. Nigel wisely goes right back to the arm. Marufuji fights back with a dropkick to the knee and a sliding clothesline for a two-count. Nigel comes back with another hard lariat for a two-count. He hits the headstand mule kick for a two-count. He tries the top rope lariat but Marufuji avoids it, only to get the top rope snapped back in his eyes. Nigel joins Marufuji on the apron and Marufuji is able to catch him in a Shiranui all the way to the floor!

Back in the ring Marufuji covers for a two-count. Marufuji sets Nigel on the top rope but it backfires, as the challenger hits the top-rope lariat and it only gets two! Nigel hits the Tower of London but Marufuji hits the Shiranui before he sells the move, and now both men are down. They get back to their feet and Nigel is in control with a series of forearms. Nigel hits the Jawbreaker Lariat but Marufuji kicks out at two! He sets Marufuji up top and hits the Tower of London onto the apron! Once again both men are down on the floor. They get back in the ring and Nigel covers for two. They trade slaps and then blast each other with superkicks. Marufuji wins that battle and gets a two-count. Nigel tries the headstand but Marufuji kicks him in the face. Marufuji sets Nigel in the Tree of Woe and hits the corner to corner dropkick. He follows up with a super Shiranui to get the pin at 22:32. It was obvious Marufuji wasn’t going to drop the belt, but Nigel made quite a go of it. This was a big match in establishing Nigel’s credibility, it was really good from start to finish, and the crowd was with them the whole way.
Rating: ****

HIGHLIGHTS: From the Battle of the Icons show on January 27, 2007, Jimmy Rave defeated Nigel McGuinness with the Heel Hook at 17:34 in a No DQ I Quit Match. The stupid thing is Nigel never said I Quit but the referee just stopped the match. Why book that stipulation if you’re not even going to adhere to it? I originally gave the match 3.25 stars.

MATCH #8: Fight Without Honor – Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Rave, Fifth Year Festival: Finale, 3.4.07

McGuinness’s right leg is taped up due to an injury he suffered last night against Samoa Joe. Rave tries stalling and avoiding McGuinness in the early going. He slaps McGuinness across the face and gets drilled with a Lariat for it and rolls to the floor. McGuinness follows him out and throws Rave into the barricades. He grabs a chair and takes it back to the ring but it backfires as Rave dropkicks it back into his knee. Rave viciously attacks the leg, which is smart strategy. Out on the floor Rave tries to slam McGuinness’s head into the ring post a la Unified, but McGuinness comes back and talks trash to Rave while he beats him up. McGuinness finds another barricade under the ring and slides it right into Rave’s chest. He sets the barricade between the ring apron and the real barricade, and flapjacks Rave on top of it, and then slingshots him face-first into the other side. Rave has been busted open. Back in the ring McGuinness goes for a straight chair shot but Rave blocks it. Rave hits the running knee to the face for two. He follows up with a running knee in the corner and then a neckbreaker for two. Rave hits a Spear for another two-count.

McGuinness fights back and hits the short-arm Lariat for two. He goes for the Tower of London but Rave fights him off and hits a missile dropkick. McGuinness is able to connect on his next Tower of London and it gets a two-count. Rave hits the Lighting Spiral and the Pedigree but McGuinness kicks out! McGuinness blocks a tornado DDT and straddles Rave across the top rope to hit the big Lariat! Amazingly, Rave kicks out. They fight to the ring apron and Rave delivers an STO right on top of the barricade! Back in the ring Rave gets a two-count. Rave follows with a superkick and then charges at McGuinness, only to get backdropped right on top of the guardrail! McGuinness sets up a chair and hits the Tower of London on it! Unfortunately Rave kicks out of that, rendering the Tower of London completely meaningless. McGuinness tries the short-arm Lariat again but Rave ducks it and puts on the Heel Hook! As McGuinness fights his way out of it the referee gets accidentally bumped. McGuinness drags Rave to the apron and hits the Tower of London onto the barricade! That was nasty looking. Back in the ring a new referee is out to make the count but Rave actually kicks out. I call shenanigans. They trade slaps now and Rave hits a Spear but McGuinness bounces back with the Lariat for the pin at 21:17. That was sick and the hatred felt real. I wish they hadn’t killed the Tower of London so bad though.
Rating: ****

Disc 2

Highlights: At Fighting Spirit on April 14, 2007, ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima successfully defended the title against Nigel McGuinness in a match I gave 3.75 stars to when I originally reviewed it.

Highlights: At United We Stand on June 22, 2007, Nigel McGuinness & Bryan Danielson beat Naomichi Marufuji & ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima when McGuinness cleanly pinned Morishima with the Jawbreaker Lariat. I gave the match 3.75 stars.

Highlights: At Live in Tokyo on July 16, 2007, Takeshi Morishima once again successfully defended the ROH World Championship against Nigel McGuinness with the Back Drop Driver. I gave this one 3.5 stars when I reviewed it.

MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Takeshi Morishima, Undeniable, 10.6.07

Morishima has been the Champion since 2.17.07, and this is his twenty-first defense. He has successfully defended against McGuinness twice already. They immediately start throwing big bombs at each other, including their finishers, but neither can hit one. Instead they trade some forearms and Morishima hits a big boot and then a Boss Man Slam. Morishima bowls McGuinness over and they take the battle to the floor. McGuinness misses a Lariat and Morishima throws him into the barricade. Morishima stars going to work on the arm, which is smart. Back in the ring Morishima continues the arm work. McGuinness tries to fire up but Morishima just swats him back down. Morishima continues the high powered attack, keeping McGuinness down in the corner. Finally McGuinness is able to get a little offense in, connecting on a couple of Lariats for a two-count. His arm should be pretty injured but he didn’t sell that at all. Another Lariat gets another two-count for the challenger. McGuinness goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat but Morishima blocks it and hits a Lariat of his own. Morishima then squashes McGuinness in the corner. He follows up with the missile dropkick for two. Morishima goes back up top but awkwardly jumps right into a Lariat and McGuinness gets a near-fall. McGuinness tries the headstand in the corner but Morishima avoids it and hits a Lariat. Morishima lands the Back Drop Driver but McGuinness kicks out at two! The Champ goes back up top and this time McGuinness knocks him down and hits a superplex for a two-count. McGuinness his more Lariats but can’t take Morishima down. Morishima clobbers McGuinness with a Lariat and hits the Back Drop Driver! McGuinness pops right up and hits the Jawbreaker Lariat but it only get two! He goes up top and Morishima joins him, so McGuinness hits a big sunset bomb for two. McGuinness unloads with a flurry of strikes and a huge Lariat but Morishima kicks out at one! Morishima hits the hip attack but McGuinness comes back at him with the Jawbreaker Lariat to get the pin and finally win the title at 14:21! The pop for the win was enormous. McGuinness’s offense was certainly heavy on the Lariats, but he had pinned Morishima with that move once already, so why not try it over and over? It wasn’t as epic as some of the past title change matches, but the actual title change itself felt big, and that’s what counts.
Rating: ***¼

After the match, the locker room empties to help McGuinness celebrate, and Morishima personally hands the title belt over. Bryan Danielson comes out and tries to ruin it, but Austin Aries runs him off.

Highlights: At Rising Above on December 29, 2007, Nigel McGuinness successfully defended the ROH World Championship against Austin Aries. I don’t recall what I gave the match because my Cool Kids’ Table archive didn’t survive, but if I had to guess I’d say around 4.5 stars.

In ring speech from Final Battle 2007: A majority of the fans chant “drop the belt,” referring to Nigel’s injury sustained the previous night against Austin Aries. He says that maybe he should drop the belt, that someone who is able should defend it tonight. Then he gets angry an indignant with the fans, talking about his sacrifices and that’s why he deserves to be Champion. That actually turns the crowd back to his side.

MATCH #10: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Tyler Black, Take No Prisoners, 3.16.08

Black earned this match by beating Erick Stevens last night, and then Go Shiozaki, Delirious, and Claudio Castagnoli in a four-way mach earlier tonight. McGuinness has been the Champion since 10.6.07, and this is his eighth defense. Black foolishly turns his back before the bell rings and McGuinness throws him shoulder first into the ring post. That gives the Champion an immediate advantage and he goes after the injured limb. Black comes back with a back body drop and a vertical suplex. McGuinness cuts him off and goes right back to the shoulder. Every time Black tries to fight up McGuinness is ready for him. McGuinness dumps Black to the floor and follows him out to whip him into the barricade. He tries to use a chair but Black kicks it back into his face, sending the champ into the crowd. Black goes back in the ring and attempts a springboard dive but McGuinness gets the chair up! Eventually Black is able to crawl back to the ring and McGuinness covers for a two-count. McGuinness tries a Lariat but Black ducks it and gets a quick schoolboy rollup for two. Moments later McGuinness connects with his first Lariat but Black kicks out. McGuinness then locks on the London Dungeon and Black reaches the ropes. Now McGuinness tries the Tower of London but Black avoids it and sort of hits Diamond Dust, and McGuinness tries to hit the Jawbreaker Lariat but Black ducks and hits a Mafia Kick. Both men are down. Back on their feet they trade strikes and Black lands Paroxysm for two. McGuinness comes back with the Guns of Brixton for a two-count. He goes up top and Black knocks him down and hits a superplex. Black rolls through the superplex and hits an F5 for a near-fall. He goes up top and McGuinness grabs him and hits the Tower of London, which of course only gets two because it means nothing as a finisher. Black ducks a Lariat and hits God’s Last Gift, but that also only gets two. He goes up for the Phoenix Splash but there’s no water in the pool. McGuinness puts on the London Dungeon and Black reverses it to a quick cradle for two. The crowd is losing their collective mind. McGuinness puts Black on the top rope and clobbers him with a Lariat but again it only gets two! Black spits in the champion’s face and eats a short-arm Lariat for it. Amazingly Black kicks out again! McGuinness hits the Jawbreaker again and Black kicks out! The crowd is going ballistic. McGuinness his one more Lariat and locks on the London Dungeon and this time Black has to tap out at 21:22. That was an unbelievable coming out party for Tyler Black, as he was perpetually over in Ring of Honor from this day forward.
Rating: ****½

MATCH #11: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli, New Horizons, 7.26.08

McGuinness has been the Champion since 10.6.07, and this is his nineteenth defense. Castagnoli hits an immediate Bicycle Kick and almost wins the match. He goes for the Ricola Bomb but McGuinness blocks and hits a short-arm lariat. Castagnoli displays #FightingSpirit and pops back up to hit the Ricola Bomb for a near-fall. McGuinness slips to the floor and Castagnoli follows him, showing no mercy. The Champ tries to run but Castagnoli leaves no space between them. Back out on the floor McGuinness drops Castagnoli crotch-first on the guardrail, and then hits the Tower of London to the floor. Back in the ring McGuinness stays in control, working Castagnoli over with European Uppercuts and such. The fans try to get Castagnoli back in it, but McGuinness cuts him off with a Lariat and then slaps on a headscissors. McGuinness taunts his main rival Bryan Danielson while he continues the assault on his current challenger. He hits a DDT and covers for one. McGuinness then successfully uses the headstand to land a mule kick, which is rare. That gets a two-count. McGuinness tries the headstand again but this time Castagnoli avoids it and hits a diving European Uppercut. Castagnoli unleashes a flurry, including the Match Killer for two. He clotheslines McGuinness to the floor and follows him out with a nice suicide dive. Back in the ring McGuinness comes back and tries a superplex but Castagnoli knocks him back, only to miss a big flying cross body block. McGuinness hits the Divorce Court for a two-count. He follows up with Guns of Brixton and then hits the Tower of London for two. Castagnoli comes back with a European Uppercut and the Bicycle Kick for two. He goes for the Ricola Bomb but McGuinness fights his way out of it. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker Lariat but Castagnoli awesomely blocks that with a Giant Swing! It somehow only gets two. McGuinness tries the top-rope Lariat but Castagnoli fights out with an enziguiri and a superplex for a two-count. Castagnoli hits the dead-lift German Suplex for two. He follows with the Alpamare Water Slide for another two-count. McGuinness avoids the Ricola Bomb but runs right into a pop-up European Uppercut for a near-fall. Castagnoli finally hits the Ricola Bomb but it only gets two. They continue fighting back and forth until McGuinness levels Castagnoli with the Jawbreaker Lariat to get the win and retain the title at 19:21. This was a great title match between two guys who are very similar, which sometimes leads to bad matches. Thankfully that was not the case here.
Rating: ****

MATCH #12: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. El Generico, Glory By Honor VII, 9.20.08

McGuinness has been the champion since 10.6.07, and this is his twenty-sixth defense. They start off cautiously with basic chain wrestling, and Generico breaks that up by chopping the World Champion up against the ropes. McGuinness comes out shoving and lands a chop of his own. He switches to European Uppercuts and he immediately goes into wear-down mode, focusing on the arm. Generico comes back with a leg lariat for one, and hits some mounted punches in the corner. He also hits a rana off the top rope for two-count. McGuinness comes back with the mule kick in the corner and goes right back to the challenger’s arm. The battle spills to the floor where McGuinness stays in control. Back in the ring it’s more of the same, with the champion dismantling the challenger. Generico comes back and hits a Blue Thunder Driver for two. He avoids several of the champion’s lariats, but does fall victim to a Tower of London. He kicks out at two. McGuinness hits another Tower of London, this one on the apron, and that only gets two. He puts on the London Dungeon and Generico makes it to the ropes. Generico lures McGuinness to the top rope and tries the Super Brainbuster but McGuinness avoids it. And now Generico has entered his standard “barely selling the beating he’s taken for so long” phase of the match. He avoids a lariat and hits the brainbuster for a near fall. They trade holds and McGuinness hits a DDT, and then he undoes the turnbuckle pad off, and while referee Paul Turner tries to reattach it, McGuinness attempts to use his belt as a weapon. However, Kevin Steen is there to stop him and he hits a superkick. That gets a near fall (Turner’s hand actually hit three times), and the crowd is hot now. Generico hits the running Yakuza Kick and sets up for a Super Brainbuster on the exposed corner but McGuinness pushes him down and gets a jackknife pin to get the win and retain the title at 20:59. The crowd is pissed, but they were pretty quiet for most of the match until Steen interfered. That was the usual good match from the Champion, but Generico’s selling is starting to get out of hand.
Rating: ***¼

Highlights: At Supercard of Honor IV on April 3, 2009, Jerry Lynn finally ended Nigel McGuinness’s 545 day title reign in his thirty-eighth defense. That tied Nigel for the most successful defenses ever with Bryan Danielson, and places him second in reign longevity to Samoa Joe’s 645-day title reign from 2003-2004.

MATCH #13: Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson, Glory By Honor VIII, 9.26.09

They lock up and McGuinness gives Danielson a clean break. In no great shock they take it to the mat with some chain wrestling. Danielson takes the first advantage and viciously attacks McGuinness’s arm. The crowd shows their appreciation for both men throughout the match. McGuinness responds by also attacking Danielson’s arm in unnatural ways. I’m going to miss these guys. Danielson comes back with a bitch slap and then puts McGuinness in a surfboard position in order to punch him in the ear. Hero works in a Chad Collyer reference on commentary, and now I just miss Chad Collyer. In the meantime McGuinness has regained control. Danielson comes back with a boot and a leaping European Uppercut. He takes McGuinness down and hits a diving headbutt off the top rope for two. He goes up top for a missile dropkick and McGuinness blocks it, only to find himself quickly trapped in a triangle choke. McGuinness reaches the ropes, but as everyone knows, Danielson has till five to break. They do the fish out of water spot, and the crowd just loves everything that they’re doing. Danielson hits a running clothesline and then sets McGuinness up top for the belly-to-back superplex. McGuinness blocks that so Danielson settles for the Tree of Woe. That sufficiently softens McGuinness up for the belly-to-back superplex, and that gets two. Danielson tries Cattle Mutilation but McGuinness counters it into a Tower of London, which Hero calls the London Bridge for some reason. McGuinness takes Danielson out to the apron and tries another Tower of London, but Danielson avoids it and pushes him into the crowd. McGuinness uses a ring attendant to block Danielson’s dive, but when he gloats about it Danielson hits him with a running knee strike off the apron, which once again sends McGuinness into the crowd. Danielson this time follows him out with the springboard dive. He gets up on the barricade and McGuinness pushes him right into the ring post, effectively busting Danielson’s head open. McGuinness is in control now, hitting a big Tower of London on the floor now. He then returns an old favor, pulling Danielson’s already bloody head into the ring post a couple of times. Back in the ring (barely) McGuinness hits a Tower of London on the apron. He hurriedly throws Danielson back in the ring for a two-count, and then locks on the London Dungeon, but Danielson reaches the ropes. McGuinness tries for a lariat but Danielson avoids it and hits a missile dropkick. Danielson hits a running knee strike but McGuinness comes back with a Jawbreaker Lariat! It only gets two, so McGuinness immediately applies the London Dungeon. He even traps Danielson’s legs, but Danielson rolls through and hits some elbows, but McGuinness counters with elbows of his own. Danielson simply powers out of them and hits some forearm strikes. They run the ropes and knock heads. That inspires them to trade sickening headbutts. McGuinness tries the Jawbreaker again but Danielson counters with a small package for two. On the next attempt McGuinness does hit the Jawbreaker but can’t make the cover right away, so it only gets two. Danielson’s momentum rolls over and he locks on the Cattle Mutilation. He rolls that into the elbow strikes for a two-count. Danielson hits a series of kicks to the head, and then locks on the triangle choke and accentuates that with elbow strikes, and Sinclair calls for the bell at 28:23. Well these two certainly had a lot to live up to, and while it wasn’t as good as the matches in the prime of their feud, they did show why they are regarded as two of the best in the world, and two of the most important wrestlers in the history of Ring of Honor.
Rating: ****¼

Bonus

This is a really cool, approximately 17-minute interview from the Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown DVD in which McGuinness looks back on his Ring of Honor career, which began in August of 2003. This is a really cool feature to have, as Nigel runs through his entire career and puts over everyone who got him where he is today.

The Pulse: This is an absolutely must-own DVD. The match selection is phenomenal, and the highlights help accentuate some of the more important matches and also help round out his career peaks. But the real reason to own this DVD is that it doubles as a shoot interview with Nigel McGuinness, who is fascinating and candid about his career, which was definitely cut way too short. You need to buy this DVD, and you can do so at the ROH Store.




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