Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson
When we first heard the news that Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness were parting ways with Ring Of Honor, Contributing Writer Al Castle took an educated guess at how the future would unfold for both men in their new homes ("It's Danielson vs. McGuinness Again! This Time, However, It's Long Distance," p. 50, The Wrestler/Inside Wrestling, Vol. 31, 2010)
After only a few months, I think it's apparent which wrestler is benefitting more from the change.
Days after signing McGuinness, TNA introduced the cocky Brit as Desmond Wolfe, another cocky Brit, and thrust him into a feud with the company's most talented and widely known wrestler, Kurt Angle. Meanwhie in Stamford, Danielson was held under wraps for weeks, long enough to develop so much ring rust that he actually requested a trip to Florida Championship Wrestling (WWE's developmental organization) to recover the step or two he lost during his exile.
Hmm, after two months, McGuinness/Wolfe had several head-to-head matches with a world-class opponent; Danielson has had one meaningless Dark Match against Chavo Guerrero Jr.and a conditioning stint in the minor leagues.
Accordingly, TNA fans are far more familiar with Wolfe's character. WWE fans have little idea of Danielson. In fact, "The Best In The World" is seemingly M.I.A. Wrestling fans are clamoring for Danielson, but it's the kind of clamoring a wrestler doesn't want to hear. The thrust of nearly every email, post, and letter we get here in the office about Danielson is, "What happened to Bryan Danielson?" "Can anybody tell me when Danielson will wrestle again?"
Of course, both men are barely settled into their new places of work. Unless somebody here owns a crystal ball, there's no way we can tell how their careers will pan out.But judging by what I've seen so far, I think I can make an educated guess:
Nigel/Desmond will continue to push for the TNA World title. Expect compelling feuds with Angle, Styles, Daniels, Amazing Red, and Samoa Joe. Eventually, Wolfe be sucked into faction of some kind that will later spit him out ... and he'll land right back up at the top of the card. Danielson, I fear, has a one-way ticket to ECW/Smackdown purgetory-if he even survives the traditional WWE New Year's house-cleaning. He may one day end up as the silent partner of some enhancement-level tag team on Smackdown. But given his lack of charisma and overabundance of technical skills, I'd say he's more likely to end up back at Swanson & Ritner Aves. before his career is over.
That is not meant as a knock on Danielson, who is an extraordinarily gifted wrestler. It about the fit. Nigel has a grating personality hewn over years in ROH. He's simply more TV-ready than Bryan is. Of course, Danielson's move set is the envy of any person that has ever laced up a pair of boots. But that'll do him little good in WWE, where TV-friendly 4-minute matches prevail.
I wish both men good luck with their new employers, however, I can't help but feel that McGuinness will land in a better place than Danielson.