Bryan Danielson vs. Super Dragon from EPIC WAR 2002
Recap from TJ Hawke:
Apparently the match is for the APW Internet Title, whatever that is. Also, apparently this was the first episode of EPIC WAR.
Excalibur is on commentary (and in Super Dragon’s corner), which is awesome. Excalibur explains that Danielson was trained in Texas and that Texas is a “terrible, terrible place.” They started trading kicks and then kicked each other’s shins at the same time. Danielson went for a big forearm, but Super Dragon catches him in a cross armbreaker. That move would have been more over with the crowd if this wasn’t before the UFC explosion. Excalibur and Disco Machine attacked Danielson from the outside. Super Dragon started to work him over after that. Danielson came back with some chops and started working over Super Dragon’s arm. Super Dragon got free for a moment and got a good nearfall. Super Dragon gave Danielson some Kawada kicks, and then hit an awesome piledriver. They started trading big elbows, until Super Dragon finally knocked Danielson down. Super Dragon went to finish him, but Danielson kicked Super Dragon’s injured arm, which allowed Danielson to get the upperhand. Danielson hit a diving headbutt but Super Dragon kicked out at two. Super Dragon blocked another big discus elbow, and turned Danielson inside out with a lariat. Another big lariat! Danielson kicked out at 2! Super Dragon hit a springboard spinning leg lariat, but Dragon put his foot on the ropes to avoid the pin. Danielson hit an enzugiri, which made Excalibur and Disco Machine to attack him some more. Back in the ring, Super Dragon went for a monsault, but Danielson crotched him and hit a super back suplex. Super Dragon avoided cattle mutilation and hit a tiger suplex for a nearfall. Super Dragon followed that up with a SUPER BLUE THUNDER BOMB: 1…2…NO!!!! Super Dragon calls for the Psycho Driver, but Danielson escapes and hits a bridging Regal-Plex: 1…2…NO! CATTLE MUTILATION! THE REF CALLS FOR THE BELL!
Excalibur and Disco Machine attack Danielson after the match, but Samoa Joe and Brian Kendrick run in to make the save. Joe stares down Super Dragon, but Joe turns on KENDRICK AND DANIELSON! PSYCHO DRIVER TO DANIELSON!
This match ruled. Just watch it. Now.
Match Rating: ****
Thoughts from Reggie Gaines:
THIS. MATCH. IS. AWESOME
I remember watching this match back then when it happened. Super Dragon was my favorite wrestler in the world at the time. Now the roles have reversed and now Bryan Danielson is my favorite wrestler in the world and the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. The three elbow reversed into an armbar was a very great spot. Bryan does a bridge while Super Dragon is standing on top of him!! I love how excalibur is biased in this since he was in Super Dragon’s corner. He keeps saying how Bryan is cheating the whole time and its great. Classic Bryan Danielson working over an arm for most of the match. I love that Bryan Danielson still does a lot of this same offense to this day. The match becomes very stiff toward the end with some hard elbows from both. Super Dragon NAILS Bryan with some HUGE clotheslines. Super Dragon showcases a lot of his classic moves in this. Super Dragon hits a SPRINGBOARD DOUBLE STOMP to the floor on Bryan. Super Dragon tries to finish it with the Psycho Driver which was one of the most devastating moves in wrestling at the time. Bryan counters it and ends up DESTROYING Super Dragon with a Regal-Plex and Cattle Mutilation for the win.
I loved this match back then when they both were two of my favorite wrestlers and i still love it now. It has stiffness and a ton of awesome moves from both guys. This match holds up very well and shows why these two were two of the best at that time.