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Richeyedwards

[2019-01-05-Wrestle-1] Shotaro Ashino vs T-Hawk

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After a long wait one of my most anticipated matches of the first week of January finally aired and it was really good.

Ashino is a guy who just oozes charisma and confidence, he is a model ace who can play as both a dickhead heel and as a technical babyface. Here he worked the later against the invading #STRONGHEARTS faction representative T-Hawk. T-Hawk was always one of my favorites in Dragon gate when I watched and I never got the hate he got as he was really good.

This was worked from the off with some stiffness from the chops of T-Hawk and Ashino Quickly learning that he would have to avoid them and get into his usual tactics of taking a limb apart. Ashino is probably the best out there at taking a limb apart feeling focused in his attacks but also letting the attacks breathe and let it sink in to the audience. Here he went after the left ankle to set up for his finish the ankle lock, he was relentless in his attack and it was sold well by T-Hawk when it was being done. But now we come to the main stumbling block of the match, T-Hawks selling. When he was being worked over it was very good, it was also very good at the end stretch as he struggled to get much movement but when he took over after the heat segment he kind of forgot about selling until the ankle lock a few minutes later in the match.

This was disappointing as T-Hawk has always been one of the better guys from the dragon system when it comes to selling MUCH better than someone like Tozawa or Yoshino. But here he let me down a bit. This was not match ruining or anything like that it was not Suzuki vs Okada it was not useless. But it did for me at least stop the match from being a MOTYC.

People who do not place such a emphasis on consistent limb selling will probably really love this match, those who I watched the match with definitely seemed too. This review probably comes off as overly negative, I did really enjoy this match and Ashino was impeccable throughout. This is a match I do highly recommend but do think it could have been even better. ***3/4-****

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Stronghearts finally win some gold in the first Japanese promotion they showed up in. T-Hawk had some doubters back in his DG days for one reason or another, and while I never really agreed with most of those complaints (aside from being pushed too hard), I can safely say he is still a great talent. Even if it's the still not as talked about as much as they should be W-1, T-Hawk proved his worth by taking down the promotions "Ace" for the big one. Ashino's leg work was very brutal stuff as well as his offense, and while I think T-Hawk's selling was a little spotty, I think he sold the important moments really well. Excellent finishing stretch with a white hot crowd virtually split on both guys made this one of the better matches for WK week, ****1/4.

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Really good, hard-hitting match. T-Hawk's chops are a violent thing of beauty and Ashino's is great at working over his opponents' limbs. I agree that T-Hawk's leg selling was a bit spotty especially with the finish, but it wasn't like Ashino had been working on it for 15 minutes straight either. All in all, a highly enjoyable title match.

****1/4

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I didn't have any issues with T-Hawk's selling in this one. I thought he kept it a focus right up until the end, never making it out that he was totally hobbled, but clearly it was a constant factor from the moment Ashino targeted it. In general I thought his selling was believable and engaging, which I don't always expect from a match like this. I agree that Ashino was great in this start to finish too. I liked the way their styles meshed and would love to see a rematch.

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