A quick diversion for a match that perhaps didn’t get as much buzz as it deserved in 2017…

We’re going back to the summer of 2017, and the Resistance Gallery in London. More commonly known as the home of EVE, this was during the spell when their “brother” promotion, the XWA, were trying out a series of more intimate shows with bigger names and dream matches. While the “other” show in the format was a little more riotus, and drew worldwide fame after Kota Ibushi showered himself with fireworks outside the venue, this was a rather more measured event.

Keith Lee vs. Daisuke Sekimoto
The first meeting between these two, they’d go on to have another match in April 2018 on the WWN Mercury Rising show. That was a good match, but kinda overshadowed by WWN quickly using it to build to a match between Lee and Nick Gage later in the weekend.

This was Sekimoto’s first ever match in England, having previously appeared a whole load of times in Oberhausen for wXw (which makes sense, since he was their champion in 2011!). Needless to say, this was a special moment that a lot of people were waiting for with baited breath.

Our referee is… Dillon D’Angelo?! The bell rings, and the pair lock-up like a pair of bulls, with Lee eventually taking Sekimoto into the corner for a clean break. Sekimoto tries his luck with a side headlock, but he’s shoved into the ropes as the pair clatter into each other as we have the Big Lads Shoulder Tackles… which don’t work. Forearms to the chest do though, and Lee gives what he gets, before Sekimoto finally charged him down with a shoulder tackle!

For a ONE count.

Sekimoto tries to haul up Lee for a slam, but he loses it and gets slammed himself for a two-count, before the Big Japan star opted to throw some chops. Lee replies in Kind, but his single chop rocked Sekimoto… and his own hand! The chops continued until Lee rained down a double-handed chop, before he leapt over a charging Sekimoto and surprised him with a ‘rana. That’ll never not be impressive.

Daisuke tries to fire back with chops, but Lee’s forearms put him back on the mat. Another Sekimoto fightback ends when he misses a crossbody, but he was able to reverse a brainbuster and drop Lee to the mat as both men fought back to their feet. Shoulder charges followed as Sekimoto caught Lee in the corner, then hauled him up into a Torture Rack!

Lee slips out and grabs a chinlock, but Sekimoto manages to escape and hit an atomic drop before rolling Lee into a Boston crab. After getting free, Lee’s forced to take some more chops, before he simply threw Sekimoto with a standing overhead belly-to-belly suplex, before he scaled the ropes and connected with a moonsault. The biggest the Resistance has ever seen… and it was still only good for a two count to bemuse and confound the Limitless One.

A powerbomb’s next, but Sekimoto sandbags himself and counters with a back body drop before we’re back to the chops… which sent a LOT of sweat flying into the air. Yep, it was warm in the Resistance that day! The pair fight for a German suplex, with Lee winning out, before he misses a charge into the corner. That opened the door for Sekimoto to come back with some clotheslines, taking Lee down.

Problem was, he didn’t stay on top of Lee, and quickly was met with a Spirit Bomb for a near-fall, before Lee went back up top… only to miss a second moonsault. Sekimoto didn’t need asking again, as he quickly rushes in with an enziguiri and a bridging German for a near-fall, before lifting up Lee into the rack for a Burning Hammer for the win. Rewatching this back more than a year later, this still felt special. A real clash between two big guys, and one that genuinely felt like they’d given it their all to get the W – even if it was just an “international dream match.” ****¼

This one’s up on the EVE on Demand service, so if you’ve already signed up for that… dig it out! The match is available on its own or as part of the XWA 47 event, that was headlined by a bonkers Tea Party Massacre…