Looking through Cagematch last week, there was one singles match that leapt off the page about Absolute Andy… it happened twice, and only one is up on wXwNOW (at time of posting). This, is “the other one.”
At the end of the 00s/start of the 10s, Dragon Gate were starting to branch out into Europe – this was the second of a three-day tour in 2009, with Oberhausen sandwiched between Barcelona and, err, Oxford.
The main event of that Oberhausen show saw SHINGO cash in the title shot that he earned earlier that year by winning 16 Carat Gold… a run that saw SHINGO beat Andy in the first round. This show feels like a time capsule, with no overdubbing meaning we get the original entrance music and crowd reactions. When Les Rita Mitsouko hit? Chills.
wXw World Heavyweight Championship: SHINGO vs. Absolute Andy (c)
Andy’s got the size advantage over SHINGO here, which was obvious in the staredown. SHINGO refuses a handshake, which led to the Oberhausen crowd chanting “die SHINGO, die”. The SHINGO, the?
We’ve dualling “let’s go SHINGO/fuck you SHINGO” chants as Andy locked up with him into the ropes, before the favour was returned, with SHINGO trying to swing on the break. SHINGO tries his luck with shoulder tackles, see-sawing with Andy off the ropes before the pair exchanged a knock-down each. Andy drops to a knee as SHINGO looked to have the better of him in a knuckle lock, but quickly overpowered his challenger before catching him in an overhead wristlock. That quickly gave way to a Thesz press and some punches, only for SHINGO to elbow his way free… then miss a double knee drop off of the middle rope.
Pouncing on his challenger, Andy begins to work over the knee, only for SHINGO to shut things down, grabbing a side headlock as the pair went back-and-forth on the mat. They upgrade to chops from there, with the slaps ringing around the room until Andy snuck in a poke to the eye… then dropped a knee to the back of SHINGO’s knee as he went back to that body part. Hey, Andy tries to kick SHINGO’s leg out of his leg from there, eventually having more luck with a chop block before SHINGO tried to slip out of a suplex… only to land on his bad leg as Andy pounced again, this time with a Figure Four. That hold almost pins SHINGO, who somehow manages to roll the hold, only for Andy to grab the rope to force a separation.
Getting back to his feet, Andy tries for a Sharpshooter, but SHINGO is in the ropes as he’s on the defensive… at least until he surprised Andy with a short-range spear. A deadlift brainbuster followed, then some bell clappers as SHINGO wore him down for a chinlock. Dusty punches and a snapping Mongolian chop has Andy on the deck next, ahead of some choking in the ropes as SHINGO looked in control… only for Andy to begin his comeback, right on cue. Manhattan drops lead to a sidewalk slam for a near-fall, after SHINGO got bounced into the corner, before a trip up top led to Andy getting cut off and press slammed down to the mat.
A bodyslam followed, then a fist drop as SHINGO opted to climb the ropes and finally connect with a knee drop. That’s good for a two-count, as SHINGO then mocked the crowd by declaring he’d be the new champion. It riled up the locals briefly, as Andy ended up running into a snap Flatliner ahead of the Blood Fall – torture rack into a sitout facebuster – for a two-count. SHINGO stops for a swig of water – hopefully ohne gas! – before Andy burst back out with a ‘rana. That took SHINGO outside, as a plancha quickly followed, before Andy took it back inside for a slam as he then teased a trip up top… only to jump down and roll SHINGO into a Sharpshooter, with SHINGO having put his legs up to block a knee drop.
The ropes save SHINGO, but Andy’s getting worn down now as well, as he ended up getting back body dropped away from an A-Klasse attempt. SHINGO knocks him down with a mean lariat, prompting Oberhausen to start chanting for the challenger for once… only for an Andy superkick to turn it right back around and pick up a near-fall. The A-Klasse follows, but SHINGO’s up at two… then again after an elbow drop off the middle rope. Another crack at the Sharpshooter’s countered as SHINGO cradles the champion for a two-count, before a Saito suplex caught Andy unawares. A death valley driver’s next, then a Pumping Bomber… but Andy’s able to just squirm his shoulder off the mat in time. The pair trade elbow strikes from there, but it’s SHINGO who pulls ahead as he ended up catching Andy with a Made in Japan… again for a near-fall.
Andy’s met in the corner as SHINGO looked for an avalanche death valley driver… only for Andy to counter with a top rope ‘rana. Bloody hell Andy! SHINGO roars up, but can’t avoid a spinebuster, as Andy then rolled him over into what eventually became a Sharpshooter… pulling SHINGO away from the ropes before eventually forcing the tap-out.
Result: Absolute Andy submitted SHINGO to retain the wXw World Heavyweight Championship in 21:37 (***½)
In a vacuum, it was fascinating to see the Oberhausen crowd not be solidly behind Andy – as they sort-of were when he beat Bryan Danielson for the title months earlier. However, the post-match chants of “Douglas gonna kill you” pointed to the fact that we were just weeks away from Andy defending against his former tag partner Steve Douglas… with crowd loyalties being split there.