Christian Cage & Colt Cabana vs. Christopher Danielson & “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), ROH How We Roll – May 12th, 2006
I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions (and even written in length about it) that ROH was the prototype for much of the current WWE product. While World Wrestling Entertainment currently does their best to gather the best talent both in the U.S. and abroad, this smaller federation was doing a great job of it over a decade ago. Though this match is more of an exposition than anything else, it is still impressive that Christian, at the time the NWA Heavyweight Champion via his TNA run, was able to face-off with then ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson. Even more intriguing, this match takes place after the initial ROH/TNA break in 2004, in which Ring of Honor lost a good number of their top talents to TNA contracts. Though not important at all, it is also kind of cool that the teams end up being the current champion of their organization with a future champion of the same one, with Cabana eventually holding the NWA title and Daniels the ROH World Championship. All four men were also in important eras of their respective careers.
Colt Cabana, now without longtime associate CM Punk, had maintained much of his popularity as a face figure in the brand. Christopher Daniels was pulling double duty between ROH and TNA, having returned to ROH the previous year. He would not win a singles title for ROH until 2010, though he would remain a draw for the company until his second departure in Spring 2007, at which point he returned full-time to TNA in a run that became increasingly bizarre. Bryan Danielson reigned over Ring of Honor as the self-proclaimed “Best Champion in the World”. Though a perfect fit for ROH, he was seen by many as someone who would never make it in the WWE. As they often are, “the many” were wrong. Last, and certainly not least, is Christian. Oh, sorry, Christian Cage. Wouldn’t want to get sued. Christian left WWE as the company entered one of its most confused eras. Recognized by fans as a true candidate for the World title, he would garner this honor in TNA fairly quickly. Though some of the ROH crowd derided him, most of them accepted him as a symbol of the promotion’s apparent rebellion against “Sports Entertainment”. Though he would return to the WWE, it was on the cusp of the company’s reinvention.
As with the majority of the matches I choose, this is a solid one. With four consummate professionals, how could it go wrong? It is also nice to see Christian in a more “wrestling” and less “entertainment” environment, and to see that he excels in it as well. What’s really important here though is that it captures a very unique time in Professional Wrestling. With a seemingly disorganized WWE losing traction, performers and fans alike created something very different. ROH was often the focal point of it, but the appearance of TNA talent bolsters the meaning here. The two biggest “rebel” factions teaming up for a show that almost any wrestling fan could get behind. I don’t think it should be any surprise that all modern promotions do this to a certain extent now.
ROH How We Roll is available on a long out of print DVD of the show, it might also be somewhere in the Honor Club archives, but I was unable to confirm that.