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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Weekend of Thunder: Night One
American Dragon vs Jushin Liger

January 30, 2005 by Thomas Kilduff


I was looking forward to watching this match, cause you know, Liger~! ROH booked Liger on two shows over a weekend in November 2004, which caused a big stir amongst ROH fans, as it was assumed that two match of the year candidates (MOTYC) would be produced.

For those who don't know who Liger is, where the f**k have you been" He wrestled for WCW in the early 90s, becoming the focal point of their fledgling Light-heavyweight division, producing two quite memorable matches with Brian Pillman (R.I.P.), one of which is still considered by many to be the best opening match of a show ever.

Ultimately, the division tanked, as the title was put on people who could not really wrestle the style (case in point: Scotty Flamingo aka Raven). Anyway, Danielson is a staple of the U.S. indy scene, and is considered to be the best wrestler outside of the WWE. Very similar to Chris Benoit, and is a top junior in NJPW, who push him as the new Dynamite Kid. Dragon had just come off a fantastic match with Samoa Joe at Midnight Express Reunion, which had set up the match for the next night; Samoa Joe & Liger v Danielson & Low-Ki, which is another match I am looking forward to watching.

Massive pop for Liger, who I assume will be face in this match (partly due to him wearing his classic red and white power rangers type outfit, you see EVIL Liger wears a black outfit). Danielson forces Liger into the corner off the lockup, which gets a clean break. Liger gets the advantage off the second tie up, with a headsissors on the mat, reversed into an STF into a crossface by Dragon, reversed into a camel clutch. Good sequence. Dragon gets a couple of Dragon screws on the mat, how apt, as Liger reaches the ropes. Danielson establishes himself as the heel by giving the ref a lesson on when he has to break for a hold. Third lockup leads to Dragon grabbing the arm, which Liger reverses with some GYMNASTICS, and grounds Danielson. Crowd is surprisingly split at this point. Liger controls the knuckle lock, on overpowers Dragon. Danielson hits the ropes, but cant knock Liger down, so he goes under on the third attempt, and attempts a surfboard stretch. Since that is Liger's own move, he powers out, and slaps one on himself.

To the ropes, Liger gets a tilt o'whirl backbreaker as Danielson goes to the floor, followed out by a Liger plancha.

Back in, Dragon goes all strong style, and chops Liger into the corner, and chokes him down. Outside again, Liger gets thrown all over the rails, as the crowd turns on Dragon. Into the ring again, as Danielson HITS a…. chinlock, turned into a grounded abdominal stretch. Crucifix pin off that gets only 2, and a butterfly suplex also gets 2. Back to the chinlock, and he tries to take off Liger's mask. Heel heat for that, I've always felt that is and effective, if cheap way of drawing heat for heels against masked wrestlers. European uppercut in the corner on Liger, an Irish-whip is reversed, but Dragon picks him up into an airplane spin as Liger is YOUR dizzy masked wrestler.

Diving headbutt misses from Dragon, and Liger misses one too for the double knockout. As good as Benoit and Danielson are, Dynamite was so much better than them, his matches still hold up today. U.S. strong style exchange from the two, which Liger gets the better of, and hits a PALM STRIKE~! Another PALM STRIKE~!! in the corner, and a top rope hurricarana gets a 2 count.

German suplex attempt reversed, and Dragon gets a dropkick to the arm, that's physiology for ya! Dragon's attempt at a Dragon suplex (hope that makes sense) is blocked, but hits a quick German (suplex that is, not an actual German person) for a two count. Danielson roles into the Cattle Mutilation (double underhook stretch), but Liger will not tap, so he roles into a crucifix for another 2 count. Nice spot. Roaring forearm into a Dragon suplex for 2, and again into Cattle Mutilation. I love that move so much. Crowd comes alive again, as Liger fights off a suplex for a brainbuster. Another palm strike, but an attempted Liger bomb is blocked, but he follows up with a wicked looking compo kick. Fuck yeah! Successful Liger bomb gets two.

Liger posts him on the top rope, as Dragon fights with some headbutts, but Liger comes back, and hits a brainbuster from the top rope (!) for the pin. ***3/4. Not as good as I had anticipated, but some nice exchanges make this match enjoyable. The crowd were really quite during the match, which did hurt Dragon's heat segment a bit.

by Thomas Kilduff ..


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