Danielson began his professional wrestling career in 1999 on the independent circuit, and signed an 18-month contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), in 2000; he later went onto make uncontracted appearances in WWE until 2003. Danielson then wrestled under the moniker American Dragon for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) between 2001 and 2004, and won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (with Curry Man). He signed with Ring of Honor (ROH) in 2002, winning the ROH World Championship and ROH Pure Championship once each, and was the inaugural winner of the annual Survival of the Fittest tournament. During this time, Danielson also won several championships across worldwide independent circuits.
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