Below is a special guest post written by our friend Martin Bentley, whom you can always find insightfully opining about great wrestling on Twitter @themib. The fantastic Yokosuka vs. Yoshino and Shingo vs. PAC are courtesy of Kieran Lefort (@Gwailofilms).
On October 21st, Dragon Gate started their third tour of the United Kingdom in as many years in Broxbourne, a small town north of London. The Civic Hall has played host to many promotions, including Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling NOAH. It also held a Dragon Gate show last year, which featured an excellent match between Shingo Takagi and Susumu Yokosuka, itself a sequel to a great match they had in 2009 at Dragon Gate’s debut UK show in Oxford. They went on to have their deciding match in Nottingham the following evening, but the Broxbourne show saw both men in challenging matches against fellow Junction Three members in preparation.
A. Jack Gallagher defeated Paul Robinson – The show started with an exhibition between two young British talents. Whilst not working the traditional Dragon Gate style, they still put on an entertaining contest that got the attention of the fans filing into the arena, which can be difficult to do, especially if not everyone knows who you are. Robinson was more of a high flier, with Gallagher more grounded, working submissions. Robinson went to the well once too often, missing a Shooting Star Press, and Gallagher tapped him with a Fujiwara Armbar. If you see either man on a show in the UK, make sure you keep following them, this exposure will only help them. Gallagher had a match a few weeks prior to this show against Ring of Honor World Champion Davey Richards, a match Richards called one of his favourite matches of his career, so that shows you what a talent Gallagher is already.
1. Akira Tozawa [Blood Warriors] defeated Dragon Kid [Junction Three] – Despite being in a small suburb, the fans clearly watched their PWG. However, we didn’t get the PWG Akira Tozawa, but the Dragon Gate Akira Tozawa is just as awesome, in a completely different way. This Akira Tozawa was such a troll, antagonizing the fans and being evil all the time. Kevin Steen taught him well. Plus he was up against Dragon Kid, who you just can’t help but love.
The match was what you’d expect, really good, fresh and exciting and stiff as hell, but also leaving room for later matches to have their shine, which is a difficult task to accomplish. Dragon Kid got his flashy offense in, Tozawa got his dickery in, and the end result saw Dragon Kid trapped in Tozawa’s delayed German suplex for the pin. Excellent opener to the main show.
2. Gamma [Junction Three] defeated Naoki Tanizaki [Blood Warriors] – This was a rarity” Tanizaki in a singles match where he would need a three count to win. In Japan, he’s doing matches where he only needs a two count to win, such favours obviously don’t carry over to the UK. Gamma became a cult hero to the fans in Broxbourne, with his craziness, his propensity to dribble water onto Tanizaki and his UUUUUUUU!
And there was more Tozawa, who came out as Tanizaki’s second, helping him cheat throughout the match. He was doing an effective job of distracting referee Chris Roberts (who refereed all the matches on the show) which allowed Tanizaki to do as he pleased, including hanging Gamma with a rope at one point. But it was all for naught, as the cheating backfired, and Gamma came back to win with the Gamma Special. Definitely the most gimmicky match on the show, but that’s just fine every so often. It worked great in this situation as comic relief early in the card.
3. Mark Haskins, Marty Scurll & Lion Kid [Team UK] defeated CIMA, Naruki Doi & BxB Hulk [Blood Warriors] – Dragon Gate six man tags never fail to entertain, and this was a really good one, as Blood Warriors’ three biggest members took on three of the UK’s best.
Marty Scurll has gained massive experience this year, including a brief tour of the USA with matches against the likes of El Generico, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly. This bout only added to that experience. He may be overshadowed somewhat by his regular tag team partner, Zack Sabre, Jr., who has really made a name for himself in the States and in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH, but Scurll is proving himself a major talent in his own right. Haskins has done tours for Dragon Gate in the past, and has recently made appearances in the US, where I believe he will compete more regularly in the near future. Perhaps the only disappointment in this match was Lion Kid. He wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t on quite the same pace as the other five men that particular night (he would go on to have a better singles match with BxB Hulk the following night in Nottingham).
Despite not teaming together regularly, Team UK were able to keep up with the more experienced Blood Warriors team, even with Tozawa and Tanizaki back out to help them cheat. The match was well paced and picked up even more towards the end when, after several near falls and great chaos, Scurll pinned CIMA with a Tourture Rack into a double knee back breaker. The defeat left CIMA at four straight losses in Dragon Gate UK, which put him in a situation where if he lost his match in Nottingham the following night, he wouldn’t be allowed to compete in Dragon Gate UK again. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, as he would team with his old partner Gamma (in a rare Blood Warriors/Junction Three alliance) to defeat Haskins and Scurll and keep his place in Dragon Gate UK.
4. Susumu Yokosuka [Junction Three] defeated Masato Yoshino [Junction Three] – I was admittedly a little distracted during this match, as my camera battery died (thanks to Kieran Lefort @Gwailofilms for bailing me out), but what I did see from this match was really good. Yokosuka did a really effective job of controlling Yoshino’s speed, which gave the fans a slightly different match to what they expected, but still a really good one. The audience supported both men, and it built to a good finish, with Yoshino looking to apply his patented Sol Naciente submission hold, but Yokosuka foiled him every time, eventually leading to Yokosuka hitting his Jumbo no Kachi!gatame (a running lariat) for the pin.
Yokosuka is criminally underrated. For those surprised by KAGETORA and Super Shisa when they competed in CHIKARA for the King of Trios earlier this year, Yokosuka is just as good as them, if not better. If you’ve only seen Yoshino on tape, and wondering if he’s really that fast, believe me, he is. And he’s so well conditioned, that it doesn’t affect him as the match goes on.
5. Shingo Takagi [Junction Three] defeated PAC [Junction Three] – Even though PAC was massively popular back home in the UK, there was still support for Shingo. Fans were willing both men on for a great contest, and they delivered in spades.
PAC displayed all the flashy moves in his collection, whilst Shingo brought his power, and it made for a fantastic match. PAC did such moves as flipping off Shingo’s shoulders into a kick, various Frankensteiners, and even his patented British Airways corkscrew Shooting Star Press, which would have finished Shingo off, if not for being too close to the ropes. Shingo concentrated his early attacks on PAC’s midsection, and this would eventually prove decisive, as PAC lost momentum as the match drew on, and Shingo took advantage with his Pumping Bomber and then two Made in Japans (his pump-handle half nelson driver) for the pin.
The fans gave both men a standing ovation for the match, which has a good shot of being a match of the year contender in Europe.
A-Merchandise, who put the tour together for Dragon Gate, usually have their DVDs ready fairly quick, so you should check out amerchandise.co.uk store or dragongateuk.com to see when this show, along with the others on the tour, become available, as well as purchasing the previous shows and the NOAH shows. Wrestling in the UK is making a good comeback after many barren years, but it still needs support, so make sure you buy these DVDs to enable more shows like this to take place here.