PWG has built a reputation for being the place to be for independent wrestling. For well over a decade they’ve produced classics that gain major popularity among hardcore fans and ultimately, it was a platform that gave performers the chance to rise up the ranks in the business and gain further opportunities to earn contracts at promotions such as WWE and NJPW.
I could list off the many godly bouts held in a PWG ring, but instead I’d like to acknowledge something that perhaps hasn’t received the attention it deserved, despite it involving one of the greatest to ever step foot in a ring. It was just over halfway through the summer of 2007 and ‘The American Dragon’ Bryan Danielson was slated to participate in two matches on PWG Giant-Size Annual, with the flagship bout being a title match with the PWG World Champion El Generico. As you can imagine, this earned massive praise and would result in Danielson wining the belt. Considering all of this, it’s easy to understand why the match Danielson endured prior to this got overshadowed.
The match in question was of course against Necro Butcher with a Street Fight stipulation. What makes this particular match remarkable to me is how the pair managed to condense so much into just nine and a half minutes. Instead of letting the time given to the match be a detriment, they turned it into an advantage.
The early goings suggest that Necro Butcher is frustrated with Danielson. After Danielson drops his knee onto the head of his opponent, Necro Butcher rolls away and slams the mat with fury. This is actually quite a vital moment in the match which we’ll get into later. Colour is introduced early on as Necro Butcher is busted open. Usually having someone bleed excessively this soon into a match would seem unrealistic, but with the stiffness of Danielson’s strikes this is an exception and is believable.
Admittedly, my first impression of Necro Butcher was a mad-scientist that just happens to be a professional wrestler (mainly due to the hair), but this dude is crazy. He’s no slouch whatsoever. His strikes are almost on par with Danielson’s and at one point in the match he decided to just simply throw multiple chairs from the crowd at Danielson. Absolutely unhinged. Side note, but hearing a younger Excalibur on commentary was awesome. It’s even more cool considering where both he and Danielson ended up fifteen years later. A healthy portion of this bout occurred in the seating area of the venue, and it really added to the rough and tough theme of the match. The pair battered each other continuously here as the audience watched just a few steps away. The action resumes in the ring where Danielson connects with a diving headbutt and soon after applies the Cattle Mutilation. Necro Butcher manages to get to his feet and reverse headbutts his way out of the hold. He then throws punches like a loose cannon at the American Dragon before being caught with a German Suplex. Due to his ever-reliable submission finishing move not getting the job done, Danielson resorts to elbowing the living daylights out of Necro Butcher before the referee is forced to bring an end to the match before things turn sour.
Danielson being forced to adapt his approach to the match due to the pure violent nature of the man standing across from him is what sets him apart from other all-time greats. Obviously Danielson isn’t new to this style, but as seen in the opening moments of the match, he tried to defeat Necro Butcher with his technical prowess until Necro Butcher himself changed the pace of the match by making use of the steel chairs. Both men attempted to indicate the pacing of this very early on as they tried to force one another to adapt their styles.
Necro Butcher successfully pressured Danielson into fighting the way he wanted to, but that was what would cost him in the end. Once you understand this, it becomes clearer why this ended the way it did with the persistent elbow strikes rather than a submission. Danielson had to beat Necro Butcher at his own game. To have this depth in a match that didn’t surpass the ten minute mark is just really impressive. It’s not your classic flashy, over the top PWG extravaganza that we’ve grown to love from this prestigious promotion, but it was simply a wonderful exhibition that demonstrated how simple wrestling really is.