Nigel McGuinness, the current Ring of Honor champion, reached the milestone of being champion for one calendar year this past Monday.
Nigel won the title last October from Japanese powerhouse Takeshi Morishima at the company's "Undeniable" PPV and obviously has not lost it since, with 22 successful title defenses.
But Nigel has been on thin ice lately, nearly losing the title in a four-way elimination match at "Death Before Dishonor VI" in August against Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Tyler Black, who nearly took the title from him.
He has also faced El Generico, Roderick Strong and Jimmy Jacobs since then and faced tough challenges in each match. Somehow he just always finds a way to come out on top.
The question is, will Nigel be able to continue his title reign into 2009? I think not, and I see him losing the title at one of ROH's upcoming events to finish off 2008.
McGuinness is scheduled to face Bryan Danielson on their next PPV and Naomichi Marufuji has also been granted a title shot sometime in the future, most likely at "Final Battle" 2008 in Manhattan.
I say at Final Battle because Nigel cut a promo after his match at DBD VI, saying there was no one left on the ROH roster who he hadn't already successfully defended his title against (although there is clearly a few) and he had prove himself as the top champion because of this.
Marufuji was standing at the entrance stage pointing at Nigel, basically implying he wanted a title shot and Nigel hadn't defended the title against him yet.
ROH makes their return to Manhattan with Final Battle December 27th, which would continue this storyline from the ending of the last Manhattan show, as well as be a significant time for Nigel to lose the title.
It would only mark 14 months of him holding the title, thus not allowing him to pass Bryan Danielson's 15-month reign as champion, the second longest in company history behind Samoa Joe.
So take this as my prediction: The clock is ticking on Nigel McGuinness' title reign and I see it ending in the foreseeable future, most likely to Naomichi Marufuji at Final Battle 2008.
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