Views from the Hawke's Nest: Dragon Gate UK Festival of Fire Night 1
Posted by TJ Hawke on 05.29.2014
Shingo vs. Ricochet!
February 22, 2013
Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England
Naruki Doi [3-2] vs. Lion Kid [2-4]
I’m not a fan of Lion Kid, but his gear is a little bit better now at least.
Kid hit a slingshot hurricanrana that sent Doi to the floor. Doi cut Kid off right after that and then worked Kid over. Doi threatened to go after the mask, but that just fired Kid up. They started going back and forth. Doi avoided a SSP and then hit a Doi Fives/Bakutari Sliding Kick combo: 1…2…no? That was an unexpected kickout. Doi went for the mask again, but that allowed Kid to catch Doi with the prawn hold: 1…2…3
Doi attacked Kid after the match. He even took his mask off, but Kid managed to keep his face covered.
This match was very, very average for Naruki Doi, but I do not expect much more from Lion Kid to be perfectly honest. The finish made story line sense since Doi never seemed to be taking Kid seriously. That’s pretty much the nicest thing I can say about this. Match Rating: **
Jimmy Susumu [3-3] vs. Noam Dar [1-0]
Unlike Lion Kid, Noam Dar is a British talent that I find to be very interesting. Yokosuka is pretty much beloved in DGUK because of his trilogy of matches with Takagi.
Dar actually managed to get the first advantage of the match and worked over Susumu for a bit. That did not last too long though, as Susumu got the advantage by going after Dar’s left arm. Dar came back, but Susumu caught him with an exploder into a corner for a nearfall. Dar got the Champagne Super Kneebar, and he was working over a leg earlier. Susumu got to the ropes. Dar did a double stomp to the injured knee, hit a dragon screw, and then locked in the kneebar again!. Susumu got to the ropes again. They traded strikes. Susumu hit a weak lariat and then hit a bigger lariat. JUMBO NO KACHI: 1…2…NO! Mugen: 1…2…3
The structure of the match was sound in theory, but the drama down the stretch was not what I hoped it would be. It felt like the crowd just never bought that Dar could beat Susumu. Match Rating: ***
Marty Scurll [1-5] vs. Cima [2-4] vs. BxB Hulk [4-2] vs. Mark Haskins [4-2]
If Scurll loses, he will be cut from the DGUK roster. Cima laughed at him, which is funny because he was in the same situation in 2011. Cima is the current Dream Gate Champion, which means he is not losing this match.
The commentators actually clarified that Scurll must *win* the match to not be cut. Scurll quickly hit a tope suicida on Cima. There were a few early spots that were worked like a tornado tag, but Hulk gave Cima an axe kick to thankfully put an end to that. Ugh, shortly after that, the match pretty much settled down into a tag match. I hate that in single fall four ways. Haskins was actually even letting Scurll to get pinfalls so he would not be cut. Haskins then accidentally superkicked Scurll. Hulk sprayed his wine into Cima’s face. Haskins took out Hulk with a tope suicida. Cima and Scurll went back and forth. Scurll avoided a Meteora and hit Party’s Over. Tombstone: 1…2…3! WOAH WTF.
That finish is genuinely one of the most shocking finishes I’ve seen in wrestling. I knew Scurll would win the match, but I am beyond shocked that Cima ate the pinfall. Their sequence (and finish) really saved the match (which featured a lot of uninspired action) beforehand. Four ways are usually better off with hungry young guys looking to make an impression. Match Rating: **3/4
Akira Tozawa [3-0] vs. Genki Horiguchi [1-0]
Tozawa got early control after connecting on a pair of tope suicidas. Genki eventually made a comeback that included a tornado DDT and a brainbuster. The crowd is pretty split. Tozawa dropped Genki on his head with a German, but Genki got the Backslide from Heaven for a nearfall. Tozawa got another nearfall with a deadlift German. He then got the straitjacket German: 1…2…3!
This is easily the best match on the show so far. There was not a lot to it, but Akira Tozawa is so over in England (also, everywhere else in the world) that the crowd environment ensured that this match would be enjoyable. Match Rating: ***1/4
YAMATO [0-2] vs. Masaaki Mochizuki [0-2]
Based on their records, I’m going to guess that both men only appeared for DGUK in 2010.
Mochi got the advantage by going after YAMATO’s left arm. He was relentless in his assault of that limb. YAMATO avoided a yakuza kick and then went after Mochi’s left leg. Mochi avoided a brainbuster but then ate a punt to the head. YAMATO followed that with a successful brainbuster attempt. YAMATO got a heel hook on the injured leg, but Mochi got to the ropes. Mochi came roaring back with a leaping knee strike and a sliding punt to the chest. YAMATO went for another punt, but Mochi swept the leg. Mochi got a nearfall with a sole butt to the side of the head. YAMATO came right back and got a nearfall with an exploder. Mochi got a cross armbreaker on the injured arm. Mochi escaped another ankle lock and avoided Galleria. They traded some shots and strikes. Mochi got a nearfall with Twister. Mochi followed it up with a Sankakugeri to the Face: 1…2…3!
This match was pretty cool. It probably could have benefited for more consistent work on the injured limbs and a finish that played off that work, but I enjoyed everything they did regardless. The environment also was not quite what I was expecting, but it did not take away from the match or anything. Match Rating: ***1/2
Shingo Takagi [4-2] vs. Ricochet [0-0]
As you can tell by his record, this is Ricochet’s DGUK debut. Shingo is one of the biggest DGUK stars because of his trilogy with Yokosuka.
They were doing the big guy/small, flippy guy dynamic. I do love that dynamic Ricochet did a feint dive before connecting on the Sasuke Special. It took a while, but Takagi was finally able to cut off Ricochet (with a Total Anarchy). Takagi was in control for a while after that. Ricochet was eventually able to connect on a springboard lariat for a nearfall. Takagi got his knees up on a standing moonsault and then hit a spiked DDT to cut off Ricochet again. Ricochet hit an enzuigiri, but Takagi rebounded immediately and hit Made in Japan: 1…2…NO! Ricochet came back and hit a 630 for a nearfall. Takagi came back and hit the Pumping Bomber: 1…2…NO! Takagi followed it up with Last Falconry: 1…2…3!
This was a rock-solid main event. They had the level of chemistry that I was expecting/hoping for, but they did not take advantage of it fully down the stretch. That’s not the end of the world or anything, but this show probably needed a blowaway main event to be considered one of the top DGUK shows ever. Match Rating: ***3/4
The 411: While this was not the greatest DGUK show ever, by 2014 standards, it's still a pretty good show. The crowd felt a little off compared to past DGUK events, but it is not like they were dead or anything. The standout match was clearly Shingo/Ricochet. Shingo Takagi is just clearly one of the best wrestlers in the world, and I love that DGUK has essentially made him *the* main eventer of the promotion. Make sure you check out the DG:UK website and buy DG:UK DVDs here.