Views from the Hawke's Nest: Dragon Gate UK Festival of Fire Finale
Posted by TJ Hawke on 05.31.2014
DGUK's 2013 shows come to a close with another strong show.
February 24, 2013
Castleford, West Yorkshire, England
Mark Haskins [5-3] vs. Marty Scurll [2-6]
Haskins essentially lost on purpose on the first night of the Festival of Fire in order to ensure that Scurll had an opportunity to stay in the promotion (Scurll managed to pin Cima in that match). After losing on Night 2 though, Scurll’s roster spot is once again on the line. These guys are both a part of Team UK in DGUK. They also both have great music. Scurll also somewhat turned heel on Night 2.
Haskins and Scurll engaged in some gay fear “comedy” before the match with the referee for unknown reasons. Neither man could get much of an advantage early on. Haskins hit a tope suicida, but Scurll then channeled Finlay by using the ring skirt to trap Haskins. Scurll cut Haskins off with an enzuigiri and then got the heat. Haskins came back and hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. They started going back and forth. In fact, neither man was able to string together more than one of two movez in a row. Haskins got a single leg crab. Scurll managed to reverse it in a way that sent Haskins into the referee. Scurll then hit a low blow and a tombstone: 1…2…3
It’s so rare that a fuck-finish does not bother me, but that was certainly the case here. It made perfect sense and did not ruin the match in the least. They also managed to pull off some nifty exchanges and kept the crowd engaged the whole time. Thumbs up! I really enjoyed what they did with Scurll’s character this weekend. It gave him purpose when a lot of performers in DGUK have a much less defined purpose. Match Rating: ***
Noam Dar [1-2] vs. YAMATO [1-3]
They were not working a million miles per hour, but I was definitely interested in the early work. YAMATO was pretty much in complete control until Dar got a pinning combo after a table top. YAMATO had to run under the ring to get back the advantage. YAMATO was in control for a while after that. Just as Dar seemed to be building momentum, YAMATO did a ref bump and a kick to the balls. Dar responded with a kick to the balls of his own. They went back and forth for a while. Dar was going after the left leg a bunch and eventually got the Champagne Super Kneebar. YAMATO survived and got a nearfall with a bridging German. YAMATO connected on the punt to the head and brainbuster combo: 1…2…NO! Galleria: 1…2…3!
This match was super engaging and one of the more interesting matches of the whole weekend. Much like DGUSA had to in 2010-2011, DGUK needs to build up a roster of local talents to maximize the quality of the product. Noam Dar should obviously be on every DGUK show going forward, and I would hope that a DG tour is not out of the question for him. Match Rating: ***1/2
Akira Tozawa [4-1] vs. Lion Kid [3-5]
Tozawa is the most fun member of the visiting DG talent. Lion Kid is the least fun member of the local British talent. Something has got to give! In all seriousness though, this should be a good one.
After a lot of gaga to start the match, Kid was in control for a bit. Tozawa came back with three straight tope suicidas. Tozawa was in control after that, but he was not taking Kid too seriously. Kid eventually came back and got a nearfall with a sliced bread. Tozawa avoided the SSP. Kid then avoided the Wizard, but Tozawa pounced with a German, a Yakuza, and saito suplex. A bridging German got Tozawa a nearfall. Tozawa then hit the strait jacket German: 1…2…3
As far as glorified/extended squashes go, this was pretty entertaining. Akira Tozawa is very good, people. Once Tozawa took over the match, the quality increased dramatically. I’m still not a big fan of Lion Kid, but he did not really bring down this match or anything like that. Match Rating: ***1/4
Genki Horiguchi [1-2] vs. BxB Hulk [4-4]
Hulk attacked Horiguchi as soon as his introduction was over. Horiguchi fought back, but Akira Tozawa helped Hulk get the advantage back. They used the exercise band attack on Genki twice in a row. Hulk was in control for a little bit, but Genki made a comeback quickly enough. He also avoided some of Hulk’s signature spots until Hulk connected on a pair of axe kicks. They did an exchange that caused Hulk to accidentally no-sell a Canadian Destroyer. They avoided some more signature spots. The referee yelled at Tozawa for interfering. Hulk spat at Genki and then hit EVO: 1…2…NO! BACKSLIDE FROM HEAVEN: 1…2…3! YAY!
BxB Hulk’s weekend may have been the biggest casualty of El Generico getting pulled from the events by the WWE Mexican orphanage. Hulk’s heel work offers a very unique character and in-ring style that these shows would have really benefitted from having in higher profile positions. He looked great here. Genki was his usual self, and the match quality was predictably acceptable yet uninspired. Match Rating: ***
Masaaki Mochizuki [2-2] vs. Naruki Doi [3-4]
Mochi had control early on. This is Doi’s first big match of the weekend. Hopefully, we’ll get a great effort from him. Mochi accidentally kicked a ringpost, which allowed Doi to get control. He worked over Mochi’s injured leg for a while. Mochi is the one DG talent that I have faith will actually sell the leg later in the match. Mochi found an opening and made a comeback. Doi got control again. He hit a nasty shotgun dropkick when Mochi was stuck in the ropes. Mochi reversed a Doi-Fives into a buzzsaw. Mochi followed it up with a Yakuza and the Twister for a nearfall. Doi came back with the Dai Bosou, Doi-Fives, and the Bakutari Sliding Kick: 1…2…NO! He called for the Muscular Bomb. No, please don’t kill Mochizuki. Mochi avoided it and delivered a crazy sequence of strikes. Sankakugeri to the Face: 1…2…3!
Wow, I liked this one a lot. This was definitely a sleeper match of the weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a singles match between these two before, but they clearly have very strong chemistry. Masaaki Mochizuki continues to be an ageless marvel who is still one of the very top performers in all of the world. Match Rating: ***3/4
The Spiked Mohicans (Ricochet [1-1] & Cima [3-5]) vs. Shingo Takagi [6-2] & Jimmy Susumu [4-4]
Ricochet and Cima are reuniting for this weekend. They stopped tagging together a long time ago. Takagi and Susumu’s rivalry basically served as the backbone of DGUK in the first three years. Thus, they are now tagging together. Shingo would be the first person to have a +5 record in DGUK if his team wins.
The Spiked Mohicans were the first team to get an advantage. Shingo and Susumu came back quickly enough though. Ricochet was worked over for a bit. A bit turned into a while. Ricochet eventually avoided a German and hit Shingo with a Zig Zag and Susumu with the running Ace Crusher. Cima hot tag! Ricochet took out Shingo with the Sasuke Special. The teams went back and forth, but it was at a pace that I prefer compared to the usual DG tag match. Shingo and Susumu accidentally hit each other and briefly went at it. Cima tried to attack them both, and they got back on the same page in time to take out Cima. They continued to go back and forth. Shingo ate a series of devastating movez from the Mohicans, but Susumu made the save. Susumu hit two Meteoras, but Shingo made the save. Ricochet teased the double rotation moonsault, but Shingo and Susumu fought back. They hit big lariats. Ricochet then ate the Mugen and Made in Japan: 1…2…NO! Shingo and Susumu then hit Ricochet with corner lariats. Ricochet then fell victim to the Stay Dream: 1…2…3!
They went a bit long for my tastes, but the substance of the match was not really overkill to me. A more detailed story down the stretch would have pushed this match up to the level of some of the best matches in DGUK history. Match Rating: ***1/2
The 411: DGUK closed out their 2013 weekend with another strong show. While the loss of El Generico undoubtedly hurt them, there's no denying that DGUK did not match the heights of the two best 2011 shows this weekend. That's not to say that these shows weren't super enjoyable and consistent (they were). Invasion III and Shingo vs. Yokosuka III were just shows that it was nearly impossible to live up to. Regardless of all of that comparing, I enjoyed this show a bunch and recommend it for purchase if you're into DG wrestlers mixing it up with non-DG guys and/or watching them in a different environment. Make sure you check out the DG:UK website and buy DG:UK DVDs here.