wrestling / Video Reviews

Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Dragon Gate: UK Invasion

January 11, 2013 | Posted by TJ Hawke

November 1, 2009
Oxford, England

Lion Kid vs. Stixx
I’ve actually seen these two have a couple of matches in 2012. Those matches were a little sloppy, so I imagine a match between them in 2009 wouldn’t be outstanding. This was apparently Kid’s debut, which isn’t probably going to help matters. This was a dark match.

Stixx attacked Kid before the bell. Kid came back with a botched handspring move. Kid then managed to send Stixx to the floor with a hurricanrana. Kid followed that with an extremely sloppy Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring, Stixx cut Kid off with a rolling forearm. Stixx got the heat for a while after that. Kid made a comeback, and he hit a goofy 619 variation. Kid got a nearfall with a springboard cross-body. Kid went for a shooting star press, but Stixx avoided it. Stixx then caught Kid with a Black Hole Slam: 1…2…NO! Stixx locked in the Rings of Saturn. Kid escaped, and he then delivered a series of kicks to the head. Kid went for a moonsault, but Stixx avoided it. Stixx went for another Black Hole Slam, but Kid reversed it into a pinning combination: 1…2…3

These guys really need to work shorter matches. They are just not crisp enough to maintain an interesting match for any lengthy period of time. Obviously, the big botches didn’t help but the real problem is that they just don’t seem to have chemistry.
Match Rating: **

Real Hazard (Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito) vs. Team UK (Marty Scurll & Jonny Storm)
It appears that Genki and Saito are heels because they are not appreciating the bald chants directed towards Genki.

Scurll went after Genki’s ponytail early, to the delight of the crowd. Saito and Genki ended up on the floor. Storm wiped them out with a corkscrew plancha. Shortly after that, Real Hazard managed to isolate Scurll, and they got the heat on him. This went on for a while. Scurll was eventually able to tag in Storm. Scurll hit Saito with a tope suicida. Storm hit a wacky wheelbarrow DDT on Genki. Genki then hit Storm with a brainbuster, and Scurll had to make the save. Real Hazard ran through Team UK with a series of combo moves. Real Hazard went to the same top rope, and Storm then hit them with a Double Perfect Storm. Scurll got a nearfall on Genki with a neckbreaker. Storm hit a slow-motion suicide dive DDT on Genki. Saito hit Scurll with a pair of low blows, and he then got a small package: 1…2…3!

This was a good way to start the “official” show. Genki and Saito put in their usual undercard performance. Scurll has improved so much since this show. That was really evident. I had never seen Storm before (weird, I know). He didn’t do anything to wow me, but it’s not like he brought down the match.
Match Rating: **3/4

KAGETORA vs. Mark Haskins (w/ Kelly Adams)
Haskins was the rudo here, and the crowd was more than willing to support the Dragon Gate talent.

The crowd called Haskins a “hobbit.” He’s too pretty to be a hobbit. Not much of note happened until Adams tripped up KAGETORA from the floor. Haskins promptly cut him off and then worked him over for a while. Haskins hit a running back elbow for a nearfall. Haskins went for a shooting star press, but KAGETORA avoided it. KAGETORA then avoided a pair of brainbuster attempts, before KAGETORA hit a snap suplex. KAGETORA then made a comeback. Haskins came back with a neckbreaker for a nearfall. Haskins hit a superkick, but KAGETORA came back with a step-up enzuigiri: 1…2…NO! Haskins hit an Ace Crusher for a nearfall. KAGETORA came back with an Emerald Frosion. Kelly Adams distracted the referee. Haskins recovered and hit a cradle Tombstone Piledriver: 1…2…3!

This match wasn’t super interesting. KAGETORA has never really excited me, and he’s always seemed like a natural tag team wrestler (or at least, if I have to watch him, I rather it be in a tag team match). I haven’t seen much of Haskins (if any), but based on this match, I would guess that he would be more fun as a babyface.
Match Rating: **1/4

Dragon Kid vs. Masato Yoshino
I really am not a big fan of these guys in singles matches. They both have had awesome matches obviously, but usually I feel underwhelmed by their efforts. They had a few matches in DGUSA that didn’t do much for me, but others definitely enjoyed them more than I did.

Not much of note happened in the early goings. If you have never seen either of these two before, it would have probably looked impressive though. Kid got the first advantage, and he worked Yoshino over for a while. Kid eventually went for a springboard move, but Yoshino blocked it. Yoshino then worked over Kid. That went for a while until Kid hit a Déjà Vu and a Bermuda Triangle. Back in the ring, Kid got a nearfall with a springboard dropkick. Yoshino came back with a Sling Blade for a nearfall of his own. Kid locked in Christo and hit a slingshot stunner: 1…2…NO! Kid hit a 619, but Yoshino came back with a powerbomb. Both men were down. Yoshino got a nearfall with his missile dropkick of doom and destruction. Kid came back with a snap hurricanrana for a nearfall. Yoshino avoided the Dragonrana, and he then hit the Lightening Spiral: 1…2…NO! Yoshino got another nearfall with a Torbellino. Kid came back with a crucifix driver: 1…2…NO! They trading pinning combinations until Kid got a Sunset Flip Reverse Pin: 1…2…3!

These guys didn’t maximize the eighteen minutes they got, but the second half of the match was a ton of fun. These guys have great chemistry, and they did enough to really get the crowd going at the end. Good stuff.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Shingo Takagi vs. Susumu Yokosuka
These guys had a legendary trilogy of matches in DG: UK, and I am very excited to watch them all.

Shingo really lost his trademark mohawk, and a little of his charisma was definitely missing. However, I do recall him looking pretty badass with a shaved head in 2009. Yokosuka got the first advantage by attacking Shingo’s left knee. Yokosuka was in control for a bit. Yokosuka got a figure four, but Shingo was eventually able to force his way to the ropes. Shingo finally caught Yokosuka with an exploder suplex. Shingo got a nearfall with snap powerslam, and he then locked in an Anaconda Vice variation. Yokosuka survived, and he then hit a HUGE vertical suplex on Shingo. Yokosuka then hit a middle rope exploder suplex: 1…2…NO! Shingo came back with a pop up DVD, but Yokosuka then hit the lariat! Both men are down. They traded forearms. Shingo then overwhelmed him with a combo of forearms. Yokosuka came back with a series of elbows and lariats. Shingo hit the Made in Japan: 1…2…NO! Yokosuka got a nearfall with a victory roll. Yokosuka then killed him with a lariat and Mugen: 1…2…NO! Shingo killed him with short range lariat, but Yokosuka then came firing back with the Jumbo no Kachigatame: 1…2…3!

There wasn’t a ton of storytelling, as the early knee work by Yokosuka really went nowhere (or at least didn’t play a significant role down the stretch), which makes the early portions of the match feel somewhat lame in retrospect. However, they absolutely had the crowd rabid when it mattered, and this match was just flat out, a ton of fun.
Match Rating: ****

CIMA & The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) vs. PAC, BxB Hulk, & Naruki Doi
A lot of things change in three years. The Young Bucks had a lot more pep in their step. PAC looked like less of a star. BxB Hulk had yet to discover his rudo character that would make him one of the most interesting DG wrestlers. Naruki Doi was the Dream Gate Champion. CIMA was CIMA. Because he is CIMA.

PAC and CIMA squared off early. I mention that because they had an amazing Dream Gate Title match in 2012. CIMA challenged PAC to a pushup contest. CIMA used that to attack PAC. PAC came back with a standing shooting star press. FYI: I eventually will not be able to keep up with what happens in this match. We’re not at that point yet, but not much has really happened. Matt Jackson got worked over for a while. Matt eventually gave Hulk a nasty neckbreaker or head smasher. CIMA tagged in and gave Hulk an assisted backstabber: 1…2…NO! Hulk got worked over for a while. Hulk finally escaped the beatdown. Doi tagged in and ran wild. PAC wiped out CIMA with a Fosbury Flop. Doi killed Nick with an assisted DDT. CIMA hit Doi with a gamengiri, but Doi caught him with a spinebuster: 1…2…NO! CIMA came back on Doi with an inverted Pedigree: 1…2…NO! Hulk ate a spear, a Meteora, and a combo from the Bucks. PAC had to make the save. PAC hit CIMA with a standing corkscrew shooting star press: 1…2…NO! PAC ate a series of big moves, but he kept kicking out. He then ate a pair of superkicks and More Bang For Your Buck: 1…2…HULK MAKES THE SAVE! PAC came back with a shooting star knees on Matt. Doi then hit Matt with a Doi-5 and a Bakutari Sliding Kick: 1…2…NICK AND CIMA MAKE THE SAVE! Hulk gave Matt a Mouse and an EVO. PAC then hit the Corkscrew Shooting Star Press: 1…2…3!

PAC thanked the crowd. He then let them know that Dragon Gate will be back.

You know exactly what to expect when you see this matchup on a DVD, and it did not disappoint. It didn’t reach the levels of some of the best Dragon Gate trios matches, but that is far from an insult. The best part of this match in my mind is how it was booked to make PAC look like an absolute superstar in his home country. PAC was nowhere near the performer he is now (2013), but he was as exciting as ever, and he clearly delivered the performance he needed to. Great match. Great booking.
Match Rating: ****

BONUS Features
There were some interviews. Mark Haskins talked about his experiences in NOAH and what it means to get this opportunity. Johnny Storm talked about working with Jody Fleisch. I can’t believe this show was my first time watching Storm. Storm talked about his experiences in Zero-1, and the Japanese wrestlers he’s worked with in Europe. Marty Scurll also discussed a variety of things. These interviews didn’t interest me much, as you can tell by my lack of enthusiasm for recapping them.

November 22, 2009
Mark Haskins© vs. Lion Kid from IPW:UK’s Brawl at the Hall
This match was for Haskins’s British Cruiserweight Championship. This was Kid’s second match ever.

Kid frustrated Haskins early with his quickness. Kid looked more polished since his first match. Haskins was eventually able to dump Kid to the floor, and that allowed him to get the heat on Kid. Haskins caught Kid with a Fisherman suplex for a nearfall. Kid finally came back with a slingshot super headscissors. Kid got a nearfall with a hurricanrana. They traded some pinning combinations. Kid got a nearfall with a Lionsault. Haskins came back with a running STO: 1…2…NO! Haskins hit a superkick, but Kid came back with a dropkick. Kid avoided a cradle Tombstone, and he then delivered a series of kicks. Kid got a leglock. Haskins almost tapped, but he made the ropes. Kid then hit a tope con hello. Kid went for a top rope twisting senton, but Haskins avoided it. Haskins hit the Skin Cutter: 1…2…NO! Haskins was not pleased with that. Kid came back with a diving spike DDT! Haskins went for a piledriver, but Kid reversed it into a victory roll: 1…2…NO! Lariat from Haskins. Kid blocked a super Skin Cutter and then hit a Shooting Star Press: 1…2…3!!!

The crowd was pretty into this from start to finish, which made this match a little better than it probably deserved. Strangely, this is probably my favorite Lion Kid match, and it was only his second match ever. Haskins did a good job of carrying the match, and Kid delivered when he needed to.
Match Rating: **3/4

June 21, 2008
Zack Sabre Jr., Dave Moralex, & Mark Haskins vs. El Ligero, Luke Phoenix, & Bubblegum from NOAH’s European Tour
This was a dark match. Not much happened early on to get my interest. Zach Sabre looked like a dork compared to now. Now, he’s one of my favorite wrestlers in the world. Sabre was also a rudo, which is not something I’m used to (except for his magical appearance in Chikara). The rudo team managed to isolate Bubblegum, and they got the heat on him for a while. Luke Phoenix was eventually able to tag in, and he made a big comeback that the crowd loved. Moralex killed Ligero with a Liger Bomb. Lots of moves were traded by all six men. Phoenix hit a suicide dive on Moralex and Sabre. Ligero then hit a double jump somersault dive. Haskins hit Bubblegum with shoulderbreaker: 1…2…NO! Bubblegum came back with a Shooting Star Press: 1…2…3!

This match was solid. There wasn’t much of a story, but the action was fun and the crowd was into it. Good dark match.
Match Rating: **1/2

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

The 411: Remember when Dragon Gate USA was awesome? This is what that Dragon Gate: UK show was like. The two main events make the show worth buying all by themselves. Shingo and Yokosuka delivered an awesome battle, and I can’t wait to watch their two sequels. The main event was everything you would expect, given the competitors. Nothing else on the DVD is all that special, but it’s a total breeze to watch. I’ve got five more DG:UK reviews on the way, and I can’t wait to get to them. Make sure you check out the DG:UK website and buy DG:UK DVDs here.
 
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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TJ Hawke

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