Monday, 23 March 2009

DRAGON GATE - Infinity 122 + 123!


1. Open the Twin Gate Unified Tag Title: YAMATO & Cyber Kong (c) vs. Susumu Yokosuka & Ryo Saito

The story going into this was that Ryosuka may not have had a stable anymore, but they still had each other and they felt that was all they needed to get another run with the Twin Gate. YAMATO and Kong have been the most dominant champs in many months so they were gonna be hard to knock off. The match was as good as you'd expect when you've got the two best sellers in the company and two of the best heels beating their asses down. When it looked like Susumu and Ryo had things going their way, we were dealt with a huge shock. As Susumu had the pin, the referee was pulled out of the ring by RYO! The crowd gasped but the genius was that Susumu didn't know what happened. He called his partner back into the ring for a double team. Everyone in the building but Susumu knew Ryo was dirty and then with his back turned we got this awesome visual as HEEL RYO was about to strike:

Ryo blue-boxed his partner, and one YAMATO Galleria later and the deal was done. Saito had joined Real Hazard and he and his new allies put the boots to Susumu until a surprise intruder made the save - Gamma!

2. Open the Triangle Gate Title: Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii & Magnitude Kishiwada (c) vs. Shingo Takagi, Dragon Kid & Taku Iwasa

The main event was another great Zetsurins match in what has been a superb couple of months for them. Kid was there to take a beating, Shingo was there for the hard hitting exchanges and Iwasa was there to once again step the F up in Mochi's face. Towards the end the action was at a frantic pace, as you'd expect from a DG tag. Not surprisingly, it came down to Mochi and Taku and finally the upstart got the pin over the vet. With that we had new Triangle Gate champs. KAMIKAZE were sitting atop the Dragon Gate world.

Overall a very good episode with a phenomenal angle turning Ryo and two enjoyable matches.

Infinity 122 - 8


1. Naruki Doi, Naoki Tanizaki & m.c.KZ vs. Shingo Takagi, Dragon Kid & Taku Iwasa

Non-title match here for the Triangle Gate champs. They went about 13 minutes at a heck of a pace. KZ was impressive. He's really coming along nicely and has a ton of personality. Doi and Shingo tore into each other as always and it was great. Can't wait for them to meet up again in singles. Fingers crossed it happens. A crazy dive sequence near the end left Taku and Naoki in the ring, and surprisingly it was Naoki who picked up a BIG win for him. Post match Real Hazard attacked and a World-1 vs. KAMIKAZE vs. Real Haz match was set up for the belts at Sumo Hall.

2. Open the Twin Gate Unified Tag Title:
YAMATO & Cyber Kong (c) vs. Gamma & Susumu Yokosuka

Best Infinity match in weeks here. The heat the heels got on Gamma was unreal. The crowd were going nuts. When Susumu made the hot tag the roof came off and he went to town with Exploder Suplexes and lariats. RH got the advantage back and then for the second week running we got an awesome creative turn. As the heels were doing the train spot in the corner, KAGETORA out of nowhere changed directions and hit Arai. Gammasuka took over and finished off Kong to become NEW Twin Gate champions!

Gamma got on the mic and informed a dejected RH crew that he KAGE and Susumu were a new unit, but there was one more member...... I..... LIKE.... COOOOOLAAAA!!! hit the speakers and out came the returning CIMA! The look on YAMATO's face was worth a zillion bucks. He looked like a 4 year old who just had their favourite teddy bear carved up with a fork. The new unit announced their name as Warriors-5 and member number five would be revealed in due time.

Awwwwesome episode here. Two great matches and another really hot angle, much like last week.

Infinity 123 - 8.5

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

DRAGON GATE - Infinity 121

We're days away from the biggest Dragon Gate show ever. So I figured it's time to bust out a TV review. This show was taped at Korakuen Hall so good stuff was to be expected.


YAMATO, Cyber Kong & Genki Horiguchi vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii & Anthony W. Mori

Mainly a match to further the Mori/Kong feud. Lots of fun stuff here, especially YAMATO getting to showcase more of his offence than usual (he's a hell of a wrestler if you haven't noticed!). Genki was super smooth as always and ate a string of the babyfaces big moves for the finish. The last of which was Anthony busting out a Cyber Bomb to ZING Kong. Those two had to be separated post match and they ended up challenging each other for a Mascara vs. Caballera match at Sumo Hall.

Open the Brave Gate Title: Masato Yoshino © vs. KAGETORA

One of my all time favourite wrestlers taking on one of the dudes I'm digging alot currently. Bound to be a good match and of course it was. They meshed really well for two guys who I don't think have been in the ring together before (unless Yoshi had a hand in KAGE's training). We had some RH interference spots which did kind of get in the way a bit, but it didn't harm the match too much. Some big nearfalls that the crowd really got into. KAGE was put down by a pair of Lightning Spirals (the second of which was a sick bump). Post match YAMATO voiced his displeasure at KAGE not winning the belt.

Special Singles Match: BxB Hulk vs. Koji Kanemoto

A rematch of their bout in New Japan in 2007 when BxB was just a pup and Koji beat the tar out of him. Hulk wasn't about to take that shit this time and got allllll up in the vets face. Match was filled with some awesome striking exchanges. They didn't go as all out as you might expect towards the finish but it was still effective. Kanemoto picked up the win, which seemed surprising initially until it became clear that he wasn't done in DG just yet.

The reason being Open The Dream Gate champion Naruki Doi hitting the ring and challenging Kanemoto to a title match at Sumo Hall. He threw the key gimmick at him and Koji was all like "WTF is this bullshit" and kicked the key out of the ring. YOU DON'T DISRESPECT THE KEYS KOJI! A mortal sin in Dragon Gate land.

Solid show this week. Two matches were set up nicely for the PPV and we got three very enjoyable matches with Yoshino/KAGE probably being the best.

Infinity 121 - 7.5

Monday, 16 March 2009

Michinoku Pro: 1st March 2009

Another three months pass, and more M-Pro arrives courtesy of desu on the DVDVR boards, so much gratitude as ever. Interesting looking show - unlikely to have a high end MOTY candidate like the December show did, but the trios could be tidy.

Opener is a perfectly decent singles match Shinjitsu Nohashi and Rui Hiugaji, and are both guys that could be useful in the future. If Michinoku Pro are trying to reclaim their glory years, then Nohashi is obviously their Shinzaki, and Hiugaji is their Dick Togo. Not quite as good as Dick, of course, as we shall see later. They tick all the competitive undercard match boxes with stalemate chain wrestling and strike exchanges, which is fine. Nohashi controls the body of this, targetting Hiugaji's upperbody, and though he does tend to move his focus around a little, its mainly around the lower back. Hiugaji selling performance here is interesting: he does a good job conveying being pained and worn down over the match, but doesn't sell the specific body part. That said, Nohashi wasn't pulling out insane, back breaking moves, so it didn't feel like much of a problem. Hiugaji spikes himself from a hurricanrana which looked cool. Ultimately, despite Hiugaji's fightback, Nohashi is able to overcome the rookie with a couple bigger impact moves . Can't reasonably ask for much from a 10 minute opener, and I could stand to see more of both guys.

Rei & Toudai Raman vs. ken45° & Shibaten and Kesen Numajiro vs. Flying Kid Ichihara don't really hold my interest. The faces in the first at fun flyers, but not much more. I really get nothing out of Numajiro. Old, short, out-of-shape guys need to be a either little more insane or crazed or a lot more technical maestro for me to get interested. Numajiro is neither.

The semi is Dick Togo, Yoshitsune and Rasse vs. Shu Sato, Kei Sato and Maguro Ooma. The most noteworthy thing here is Dick's performance, which is terrific. From the first fast exchange across the ropes, his wild swinging lurches during the heat section, through to the diving opportunistic somersault off the apron and his impassioned comeback, he brought a tremendous energy to the whole match and rallies the crowd behind the face team. They may pop for Yoshitsune's acrobatics, but it's Togo that makes you want to see them win.

After a first watch, I wasn't sure whether the match was just Togo, or whether there was more to it. Second time around, I felt surer. The heels are absolutely fine here - they do their shctick, take shortcuts, use weapons, taunt the crowd, boot Togo in the face, and triple team little Rasse. I like how Yoshitsune was kept out of the match for the most part, as the heels went for either the bleeding Togo or the smaller Rasse - a story paid off at the end by Yoshitsune's winning series of big moves. Yoshitsune's limited involvement is also a big plus for a match uilt around heel beatdown, because he's not the guy to do that. Increasingly, I find I prefer 15 minutes stuff like this, with a coherent story and a sense of purpose, to a 35 minute back-and-forth epic.

Fujita "Jr." Hayato & Takeshi Minamino vs. Masahiro Chono & Jinsei Shinzaki is a pretty big main event. Hayato is one of my favourite guys in Japan at the moment, and as he develops into the top guy in M-Pro, he becomes more interesting. He, a fourteen year old (probably) looks confident, boarding on punkish, and evenly matched against the heavyweights, even a heavyweight of the standing of Chono, and attacks credibly with big kicks and realistic looking submissions and holds. There's an extra little wrench on each hold that I appreciate.

Anyway, this whole match is about the local hero and big star overcoming the heel team and all their stable mates who readily get involved, and doesn't require much more that that. Hayato is pretty much working for four - his partner is pretty bland, Shinzaki and Chono just do there things. Shinzaki is fine during the heat section, but it isn't a long term selling thing, so I'm not all that impressed. Amused at finish by Chono going the wrong way on the STF - it must have taken a lot of effort to go against muscle memory like that. And the crowd goes home happy.

Another entertaining M-Pro show, with one match that is definitely worth watching, and a couple of other bits that pass the time nicely. Wish they had more regular TV - not exactly a promotion you can get into and follow much if you only see 2 hours every 3 months, but I look forward to each show, so that's a thing. With K-Dojo seemingly without TV now, I need another small indie promotion to follow, and at this rate, it's going to end up being DDT. Or I'll have to start watching Dragon Gate *shudder*. *Gets kicked by Alan*.

Craig's Puro Matches of the Year

As the DVDVR 2008 puro countdown has now begun, I thought I'd post my ballot. Lots of Battlarts, as expected, a lot of indie stuff, and a couple of things that I idiosyncratically like more than all other humans (numbers 5, 6 and 9, in particular). Will probably do a Zero1 and a K-Dojo best of list seperately at some point, when I've finished all the shows.

1. Ishikawa/Sawa/Otsuka vs. Ikeda/Usuda/Super Tiger II, July 26th, BattlArts
2. Sawa/Hidaka vs. Ishikawa/Yoshikawa, August 31st, BattlArts
3. Akiyama/Rikio vs Sasaki/Nakajima, April 27th, NOAH
4. Mashimo/Madoka vs. Shinobu/MEN's Teioh, May 23rd, BJPW
5. Hidaka vs Mochizuki, June 26th, Zero1
6. Super Tiger II vs. Alexander Otsuka, August 31st, BattlArts
7. Super Tiger II vs. Yuki Ishikawa, October 25th, BattlArts
8. Yoshitsune vs. Fujita Jr. Hayato, December 12th, M-Pro.
9. Madoka vs. Mashimo, July 12th, K-Dojo
10. Tanaka/Hidaka vs Kanemoto/Taguchi, March 2nd, Zero1
11. Misawa vs Morishima, March 2nd, NOAH
12. Nishimura vs. Suwama, June 28th, AJPW
13. Ishikawa vs. Greco, June 1st, BattlArts
14. Usuda vs. Yano, November 16th, BattlArts
15. Kobashi/Honda/Taniguchi vs Morishima/Marufuji/Sugiura, Februay 21st, NOAH
16. Minoru/Mochizuki vs Sawa/Hidaka, May 29th, Zero1
17. Tenzan vs. Iizuka, October 13th, NJPW
18. Tanaka vs Kanemoto, April 13th, NJPW
19. Sekimoto vs. M. Sasaki, February 17th, BJPW
20. T.Sasaki/Miyamoto vs. Kasai/Numazawa, June 23rd, BJPW