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Charles (Loss)

[2009-09-06-Dragon Gate USA] Bryan Danielson vs Naruki Doi

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Nobody brutalizes a limb more compellingly than Danielson & that truly shows here as he destroys Doi's arm in the most vicious & enjoyable fashion. That of course came as an answer to Doi's brief attack on Danielson's knee - Doi doesn't work over it a ton, but he does some stuff over it in the beginning, and it shows till the end as Danielson does some awesome subtle selling with it. Good examples of that would be him falling down, holding the knee after delivering a big move to Doi, and then a while later after he had delivered a yet another big move, he couldn't capitalize & cover because the knee was hurting, as he had to rest for a few seconds on the corner. He doesn't exactly sell it dramatically, and those two moments sound more dramatic when I write them than they actually were. I'd say it's really good selling, because like I mentioned, Doi's attack on the knee was pretty short lived, and he never really came back to it as the match went on. I also really loved the slugging-it-out portions of the thing, which were mostly all about Doi's quick slaps vs. Danielson's lethal kicks. Really good & hard hitting stuff w/ both guys bringing their own flair to the bits, making them standout from your usual generic indy/puro strike standoffs. Danielson was fantastic all the way through, but Doi was really good as well. He didn't do much with the arm that Dragon destroyed, and he was pretty great on the offense himself. There's definitely lots to love here as I've highlighted, and I also gotta mention the finishing stretch, which was absolutely awesome. The two nearfalls Danielson gets before Doi puts him away with the Muscular Bomb rule big time. Great match. ****

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Open The Dream Gate Champion Naruki Doi vs Bryan Danielson - DGUSA 9/6/09

Bryan Danielson is on his Indy Retirement Tour and like all good rockstars (*cough* Motley Crue *cough*) this is a fake-out and 2010 ends up being his real Indy Retirement because of the infamous tie choke-out. Dragon Gate USA is Gabe's promotion after he left Ring Of Honor, but before he started Evolve I believe, he leveraged his ties with Dragon Gate, which was at peak American popularity. Naruki Doi is one half of Speed Muscle (see I know things about Dragon Gate) and I do believe he is the muscle because Yoshino is the leaner of the two. Open The Dream Gate is the Top Dragon Gate prize not to be confused with Open The Freedom Gate, the top DG USA prize. I think thats all we need for context. 

The match sucks. I am watching a bunch of matches for a new project that I dont want to jinx by announcing what it is and so I was going through a bunch of Observer Match of the Year Contenders (Thanks Mookie!). So this made the list. Normally, I can kinda see why someone would really love a match even if I dont like it. I am hard pressed to figure out why this match would rate highly (I can understand someone saying this is good or even great, but to call this a Top 100 contender is baffling to me). Meltzer gave it 4.75 stars. I can understand somebody who likes the workrate style giving this around ****, but 4.75?!? Bizarre. The reason I say that is I didnt find this very impressive from a pace or highspot perspective. I have seen balls to the wall spotfests where I am like I get it. This isnt for me, but I get it. This was worked at a standard pace and featured routine highspots. I think that is my problem with Dragon Gate is that their highspots tend to be more modified slams or do a normal move with a spin. To quote Shania, it don't impress me much. I much rather watch a Kota Ibushi or a Ricochet wow me aerially OR a KENTA go a million miles per hour and kick my head off. Rather than doing a modified slam. The Muscle Bomb is an egregiously bad finish. I thought Bryan was reversing into a victory roll, but decided nope I am just going to tuck my chin and fall. Why do the move to yourself? It was dumb. The moment I realized I was watching a really bad match was towards the end. I was coming up with ways of trying to write a positive review in my head while I was watching. Then Danielson is hitting his MMA Elbows to Doi on the top rope (granted he already hit ~15-20 on the ground and this put Doi out basically, it has been established that this move is deadly). Doi absorbs about 5 of these doesnt really do anything to counter and next thing you know Danielson is taking some sort of lame slam that is essentially just him doing a bellyflop to himself. So yeah fuck this match. I can give more examples. Danielson does his second anklelock has it in for a while too. Doi's next moves is to run a million miles an hour hit I believe a dropkick and then definitely a full speed canonball in the corner. It was ridiculous. That was the fundamental problem of the match there was no hook. Nothing was sticky. There was no take home message. Nothing mattered. The limb psychology was nonsensical. Danielson was trying his hardest to sell the leg. I mean he was basically wearing a "Kick Me" sign on his knee. Honestly, he should have just screamed at him to hit him in the knee. It was ridiculous. Doi was so oblivious. The one redeeming part of the match was at the beginning Danielson tortured Doi's arm in a way that would have made Dick Murdoch proud. That was a very, very strong control segment. Other than that, this match sucked out loud. The bulk of the blame is on Doi. it is clear Danielson had an idea of what he wanted to do and Doi was blowing off selling and blowing off Danielson's selling, which I think new level of sucking. Like everyone blows off their own selling, but I dont think I have seen a wrestler IGNORE when their opponent is selling and basically begging them to work a body part. This was bad. 

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