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Charles (Loss)

[2008-03-20-Dragon Gate] Shingo Takagi & BxB Hulk vs KENTA & Taiji Ishimori

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Mostly a juniors exhibition style match. Hulk, a DG guy, surprisingly supplies the majority of the structure by playing a really good face-in-peril. The hardway bloody nose from KENTA's kicks helps this out for sure. KENTA and SHINGO have some kind of heat between them or KENTA is just being a dick to the "big man" on the other team. Can't tell. Finish has SHINGO kicking out of some big KENTA offense before going down to the GTS and a head kick. SHINGO comes off looking really good from this match, so I have to think that's what it was about mainly.

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KENTA >>> SHINGO. SHINGO is easily the worst thing about Dragon Gate matches consistently now. New Hazard would be my favorite DG team if it was not for him. Horiguchi, Hulk, and Cyber Kong would be ultimate dream DG team. You have a great character, a good flyer/seller (there are obviously a lot of these in DG, but I think Hulk is one of the better at selling) and the best power guy they got. SHINGO is supposed to be their ultimate hybrid wrestler that can do a little bit of everything that could hang with the NOAH juniors if he was to wrestle there, but also keep up in DG. If you listen to Paul E.'s shoots with Austin, he definitely envisioned RVD as ECW's sort of all-around wrestler and crown jewel. I feel that both these guys suck and part of it is that they are so watered-down because they are supposed to be good at everything when they really were not that good at anything. I thought KENTA easily outclassed SHINGO in being the "heavyweight" of the match.

New Hazard (SHINGO & BXB Hulk) vs NOAH (KENTA & Ishimorii) - Dragon Gate 3/20/08

 

I am really disappointed that none of these matches so far have included BXB Hulk's entrance with all the dancing women. I really enjoyed getting to see Magnum Tokyo's entrance in the Kensuke Sasaki match and I was hoping to see Hulk's entrance. Hulk impresses throughout this match as he is by far the best wrestler in the match. He works well with both Ishimorii in a flyer vs flyer battle and the KENTA portion has a great bully vs. underdog vibe. SHINGO is great at throwing Ishimorri around, but keep him and KENTA away from each other. It is just mindless striking and suplexing. KENTA is just so much better at that style and has way more charisma than SHINGO. KENTA totally outclassed SHINGO in home to be the heavyweight of his team. At times, KENTA was channeling some Tenryu in how he was treating Hulk during the great face in peril. I liked how this face in peril built in drama. At first they are controlling Hulk, but before you know it they are really being dicks to him. Then as he gets his hope spots in, KENTA really starts brutalizing his face and opens him up hardway. It was really compelling. SHINGO was a pretty good hot tag, I would have loved him to throw Ishimorii down on KENTA a little sooner instead of making KENTA way like an asshat, but picking nits, because it was a great spot. Once KENTA/SHINGO get together, it gets messy. Ishimorii starts flying around to keep me entertain. This was not enough of a spotfest to salvage this so they really needed to pick up the wrestling. When Hulk tagged back in, I loved his intensity and passion. None of these lame strikes, he was going for Ishimorii and I dug it. Ishimorii rattles off a quick super hurricanarana. I would have loved them to actually transition back into another face in peril, but with more nearfalls and really ramp up tension. SHINGO kills Ishimorii with a JBL-orgasm-inducing lariat. Ishimorii is really great at these bumps. Hulk impressively whiffs on tackling KENTA to prevent the break-up. I mean he dived in opposite direction of the way KENTA was going had me laughing.

 

​The finish stretch is surprisingly really strong and smart. They choose end with the two big hitters: KENTA vs SHINGO. However, the underlying theme is that since they are so even that each needs their little buddy to give them a boost. First KENTA has the advantage, but a timely kick by Hulk and then a dropkick into a Back Drop Driver gives SHINGO control. As SHINGO rattles moves off, KENTA does a sweet drop down into an out of nowhere Ishimorii dropkick. It was wicked nice. Now SHINGO tries to orchestrate a double team with Hulk to regain control, but it backfires and Hulk hits (ok, grazes) SHINGO. Ishimorii takes Hulk out with a wicked corkscrew splash to the outside. KENTA polishes off SHINGO with G2S and wicked kicks to head.

 

There were stretches that were boring and filled with inconsequential spots, but overall this was more entertaining than not and the finish stretch actually added to the match. It is incredible how many matches I am actively thinking to myself please don't fuck this match up. I like rewarding matches that finish on a high note. KENTA was perfect as the hard-hitting bully of the match. I prefer Ishimorii over every single one of DG's flyers. He is so fluid and bumps huge. Hulk was great as the face in peril and added a lot when he was featured. SHINGO is so bland, but at the end of the day KENTA smoked his ass and that made me a happy camper. ****

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