I know, I know, you must all be confused. Al is reviewing a match that happened in Dragon Gate? I didn’t even know that Al knew what Dragon Gate was! Here’s the deal, ladies and germs. I’ve decided that I want to start digging my heels into some more wrestling alongside my girlfriend, who is also looking to do the same. I’ve asked the ever-faithful members of Wrestling With Words’ staff to give me recommendations on matches that I may not have seen for my viewing, and likewise reviewing, pleasure. I’ve set some guidelines and boundaries with these recommendations:
- Matches CANNOT be more than one hour run time
- Matches cannot be something that I have seen before – this excludes the majority of WWE content
Otherwise, I am actively taking suggestions from the staff and will be reviewing them, kind of as an eye-opener, if you will, to the different styles and presentations of the art of wrestling around the globe and in different and in some cases, non-mainstream promotions. Before getting into my review, I would like to state, as I will with all of these: These are all brand new promotions and matches to me. I do not claim to know who all the performers are, nor any of their moves or any background about them. I apologize in advance if I mess up some facts, names, or what have you, but I will do my best to get them right. The first match I’ve undertaken reviewing is a Dragon Gate match via the suggestion of Quentin (@qt_moody). Strap yourselves in lads, because the first review in this adventure begins….now!
One thing I do think is cool about the Japanese culture of wrestling is the addition of streamers and that added fanfare into championship matches. It’s such a far cry from the way it’s handled in WWE (what I’m used to) and it adds this nice layer of presentation to a fan who isn’t familiar with these pleasantries. As far as I know, Dragon Gate’s Twin Gate Championship is on the line in this match up, which as I understand it is their tag team championship. Jimmy Kagetora starts things off with Masato Yoshino, quickly taking an elbow and collar tie up into a few different holds ranging from a suplex set-up into an arm/wrist nerve hold. Yoshino has the advantage over Kagetora early, throwing in some amateur wrestling antics which serves to only piss off Kagetora. Kagetora and Yoshino engage in some incredible athletics, with Kagetora faking an outside dive. We get the tag on both sides, and now Jimmy Susumu and Shachihoko Boy tie up. Shachihoko is flying all over the place, bringing the fight to Susumu early on and rattling the challengers. Shachihoko and Yoshino are focusing on the arm of Susumu with laser precision, utilizing frequent tags in and out to inflict crippling pain. Shachihoko and Susumu trade some bone-rattling chops that sound like someone’s hitting a wet towel with a tennis racket. Kagetora makes the tag in and relives his partner who is selling the absolute hell out of his arm to this point. Susumu and Kagetora are going to town on the back of Shachihoko Boy, who I just noticed is sporting some sort of athletic tape or bandaging there, painting a clear bullseye. Again, Shachihoko and Susumu trade stiff chops until an exploder suplex out of nowhere flattens Shachihoko Boy. In comes Kagetora, who tries to take down Shachihoko but is countered by a brilliant athletic display and a head scissor takedown. Yoshino comes in off the hot tag, with both him and Shachihoko ascending to the top turnbuckle and in unison, hitting moonsaults.
The action returns to the ring with Susumu and Yoshino inside, as Yoshino has the advantage and hits a big dropkick, but runs into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker trying to follow up. Susumu has Yoshino in position for a piledriver, but Yoshino fights out and locks in a maneuver akin to the Black Widow employed by AJ Lee. Shachihoko and Kagetora try to run interference, but both tie up in submission holds of their own. Shachihoko displays some more beautiful athletic work, hitting a running moonsault accompanied by some handsprings, and once again engaging in a battle of ferocious chops with Kagetora. In another impressive athletic display, Shachihoko and Yoshino have both Jimmys in the corner and Yoshino hits a missile drop kick on one while connecting with a senton on the other. Just a lot of beautiful athleticism on display in this match by everyone, really. Susumu rallies back on Yoshino and hits a HUGE clothesline in the corner that nearly sends the poor guy flying over the top turnbuckle. Speaking of the top turnbuckle, it’s superplex time! Susumu gets all of the superplex and connects with a monstrous lariat that nearly decapitates Yoshino.
More lariats from Susumu, who is taking a lot out of himself with that injured arm coming into effect. Yoshino tries to wrap on a tilt a whirl arm bar not once but TWICE and eats a lariat for his troubles each time, finally connecting with one of his own to derail Susumu. Yoshino connects with a DDT on the arm of Susumu and locks in one of the most uncomfortable looking arm-based submissions I’ve ever seen, taking the arm into almost an X like formation and hyper extending it. Shachihoko Boy tries his best to fend off Kagetora, but he just isn’t able to keep him down as he makes his way in for the save before Susumu is forced to tap. Kagetora plants Shachihoko Boy with what looks like a Michinoku Driver, but Shachihoko is able to just barely get his shoulder up before three. The Jimmyz connect with a rolling senton into a flying elbow drop but again aren’t able to pick up the victory. Right now it’s just big move after big move and neither team can get the edge. This is incredibly entertaining to see play out. Shachihoko and Kagetora roll each other up in the ring, trading near falls until Kagetora hits a huge move that I’m not even sure I can describe properly. Yoshino charges at Kagetora with a head of steam but is sent floating over the top turnbuckle and to the outside area, followed by Kagetora connecting with a barrier-shattering outside dive. Back inside the ring, Shachihoko and Susumu exchange huge move after huge move to no avail as neither man is willing to stay down. Shachihoko Boy finally is able to roll up Susumu for the three count for the victory!
So, for what little I do know of Dragon Gate, this was an excellent match, especially for someone like myself. I enjoyed the athletic prowess that both teams seemed to possess, and the selling was top notch too. You could clearly see the damage done to Jimmy Susumu’s arm, as it was worked over the entire match. It seemed that lariats and clotheslines by him were supposed to finish off an opponent with ease, especially with his cocky covers after delivering them. If that’s the case, then the story there was that the damage was beyond repair and Susumu could not deliver in the way he needed to. Brilliant psychology on that part, and as I said, the in ring work took a bit to pick up, but was also top notch in my books. Not a bad match by any means.