When Bryan Danielson left WWE in 2021, he talked about wanting to face the best wrestlers in the world. Now in AEWAt the second Forbidden Gate, Danielson landed the dream match many have wanted to see for years as the American Dragon faced off against the Rainmaker, Kazuchika Okada. There were no titles up for grabs, except who can argue that he is legitimately the best fighter in the world.
The dream match began with a dream entrance, as Danielson went down to his old theme song “The Final Countdown.” The two veterans started slowly, picking up on the chants of the crowd and testing each other’s strength. Things started to pick up on the outside, where Okada sent Danielson into and over the barricade. Danielson fought back, pinning Okada into the posts and kicking him into the announce table before striking with his knee. Inside the ring again, the BCC member took him down with some submission moves and jabs at the Rainmaker. The two went back and forth with their forearms to the face, leading to Okada hitting a flapjack. Danielson then landed a vicious dropkick to Okada’s jaw. The two of them stepped outside once more, flying over the barricade and into the approving crowd.
In the ring, Okada hit the Dragon with a neck breaker for a count of two. The two made it to the top rope, where Danielson battled Okada and landed an impressive missile dropkick. Okada retaliated with a shotgun dropkick, but it had little effect when Danielson landed a German suplex. Okada then impressed with two of the best dropkicks you’ll ever see. An elbow drop from the top rope turned into a submission move from the Blackpool Combat Club icon. As Okada ended up on the ground, Danielson dove, which Okada caught. He went for a Rainmaker, but Danielson dodged it. Okada took Danielson down on the ramp in a terrifying move. Both athletes returned to the ring when the former WWE Champion writhed on the canvas. Okada nudged and called for the Rainmaker. Danielson started convulsing again when the doctor checked on him to make sure he was okay. The crowd went silent, nervous about Bryan’s past, but it was all a ruse as Danielson went on the attack.
Bryan Danielson defeats Kazuchika Okada
The American Dragon hit a knee for a count of two and then yelled that he was going to kick Okada’s head off. He stomped on the face and another swift kick to the side of the head. He went old school with a YES chant, but he waited too long. Okada was ready and hit the Rainmaker, though he only managed a two count.
Danielson regained his strength and hooked Okada into a LeBell lock. He used his legs to then trap Okada’s arms behind his back, with Okada’s shoulders at an awkward and painful angle. That’s when The Rainmaker tapped out, surprising the crowd, who surely expected the match to go on for a bit longer. Still, the two living legends delivered a great dream match. If the question is who is the best fighter in the world, tonight the answer was Bryan Danielson anyway.