Bryan Danielson has perfected his craft through out the years in various territories and for numerous promotions. Danielson early days started as he trained with WWE’s Shawn Michaels and trained next to, two current WWE Superstars now in Brian “Spanky Kendrick and Lance Cade. The three trained with Shawn Michaels and Rudy Gonzales at the Texas Wrestling Academy. November 11th, 1999, The American Dragon, Lance Cade, and Shawn Michaels traveled to Japan to compete for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FWM.) Not only was this Danielson’s first match in Japan, which would be repeated multiple times, but was also met with much success. Cade and Danielson beat the team of Mammoth Sasaki & Naohiko Yamazaki.
After signing a developmental deal with WWE, the trio were shipped to Memphis Championship Wrestling and under the tutelage of William Regal and Bobby Eaton, Danielson was developing a style that would make him one of the most dominant Indy wrestlers the United States has ever seen. Danielson was released by the WWE and soon became a regular in Northern California’s APW. Becoming the King of the Indies in 2001 and becoming one of the corner stones to Ring of Honor. It wasn’t long before Danielson was being booked on both coasts with Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, New Japan/USA and various others. It also wasn’t long before Danielson was becoming a global phenomenon. Danielson would go on to wrestle in England, Germany, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Danielson was a hot commodity. Eventually Danielson was Heavyweight Champion in Ring of Honor, Heavyweight Champion in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, competing for NOAH, in Japan, and solidifying his claim to be the greatest wrestler in the World.
Then the day came… the challenge was made.
On August 18, Danielson defeated Adam Pearce in the semifinals of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament. He was scheduled to face Brent Albright for the title in Puerto Rico on September 1st. However, on August 25, Danielson fought Morishima in an attempt to regain the ROH World Title. He lost in what was immediately described as one of the best matches in the promotion’s history. During this match, he suffered an orbital fracture and a retina injury. The NWA announced on August 27th that due to the injury, Danielson would be unable to compete in the September 1st title match, and that Adam Pearce would be selected in his place to face Albright. Danielson was later chosen to be the special referee for the bout as announced on August 30 at NWAWrestling.com. Danielson made the pin with supposedly both men’s shoulders on the mat, yet awarding the win and thus the belt to Adam Pearce.*