Finally, the dream rematch that the world has been waiting for has happened. Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr happened once before, in a tiny match in 2008 in a much different time. Both men have evolved in huge ways since then, and this match proved just how good technical wrestling can be.
Jon Moxley stayed on commentary for his third match of the night – the most matches by a “special guest commentator” in AEW history – to watch history be made, as two of the all-time great technical wrestlers faced off in a dream match at WrestleDream 2023. He dominated the commentary booth for this match, explaining the intricacies of the bout and all the techniques used in the match with infectious glee.
The match was a masterclass in the British-style of technical wrestling. It is a style that Danielson learnt from William Regal in his youth, while Zack Sabre Jr has brought the style back into fashion in Japan, where Antonio Inoki was clearly a big fan of that kind of wrestling.
Zack Sabre Jr was the first to start the strikes on Danielson. The pair traded uppercuts, before Sabre goaded Danielson into using his recently-broken arm – shoulder checking him mid-attack and getting the upper hand over The American Dragon. However, Danielson fought back, and the pair traded holds, with Danielson hitting in particular one of the most painful Dragon Screws I’ve ever seen – both men’s selling was brilliant in this bout.
The pair become locked in a leg lock, as they kicked and slapped the taste out of each other’s mouths before making the way to their feet. They traded kicks and strikes, ZSJ targeting the injured arm of Danielson, while The American Dragon focused on the leg he had targeted for the entirety of the match.
In the end, Bryan Danielson won a physical war to show that he is the best technical wrestler in the world. It took two running knees to put away Zack Sabre Jr, in what Jon Moxley declared “the finest displays of wrestling I’ve ever seen in my life”.
If this is not a five-star match in Dave Meltzer’s eyes, then I don’t know what could be.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.