Another look at some of the more wrestlings we’ve watched that haven’t been part of full show write ups – this time featuring some Dragon Gate, Bar Wrestling, and a WWE match that you’d probably not have expected a decade ago.
Eita vs. Ricochet
It’s an ultra-rare trip to Dragon Gate for us, as we’ve dug up November 3rd’s “Gate of Destiny” show. This was Ricochet’s first appearance there in over two years, having previously been a regular before making the jump to New Japan for a run that including some tag title reigns and a certain match with Will Ospreay…
They keep it on the ground early as we had a rather tentative feeling-out process, before things burst into life. Ricochet’s faked out dive in the opening moments quickly gave way to a Sasuke Special, and it’s almost like he’s never been away!
Back in the ring though, the tide changed as Eita tried to wear down on Ricochet’s shoulder with stomps, at least until Ricochet hit back with a spiking DDT out of the corner, as the former Best of Super Juniors winner started to dish out some receipts. For all the back-and-forth, this was remarkably smooth, with Eita throwing in a missile dropkick out of nowhere, following up with a roll-through into another dropkick… and given that it’d been over three years since these two were in the same ring as each other, there was precious little sign of bad chemistry.
A springboard uppercut from Ricochet looked to put him in the driver’s seat, as did a Regalplex, but Eita somehow found a way to kick out in time, but he’s still left on the defensive, eating a lungblower out of the corner for another near-fall. When the tide did turn, it was back to the tit-for-tat strikes, with Eita sneaking in a back drop suplex and a modified Kudo driver (slash Vertebreaker slash Cop Killa slash whatever-you-want-to-call-it) for a two-count.
Eita counters an attempted Benadryller and ties up Ricochet in a grounded armbar, before grabbing the legs in a failed bid to prevent a rope break. In response, we get a super gutbuster from Ricochet, but Eita comes back with a monstrous wheelbarrow driver for a near-fall as the pair made this look effortless. Ricochet nearly does it with a springboard 450, before a 630 splash finishes it off. Well then… if all Dragon Gate is like this, then I can see why it’s massively raved about. Such fluid stuff, which really helps with the whole “suspension of disbelief” – and if this is the “Ricochet farewell tour” before he heads to WWE, then this is going to be a match he’ll be hanging his hat on for a while. ****
Open The Dream Gate Championship: Susumu Yokosuka vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (c)
We’re sticking with Dragon Gate for the main event from the Gate of Destiny show… this was Mochizuki’s first defence after winning the title in September, and there’s apparently a lot of history between these two going back to when Dragon Gate was known as Toryumon.
They headed outside early as the pair jockeyed for position… but with Susumu getting whipped into and then run into the ringpost, he found himself behind pretty much from the off, with the champion making a beeline for the former Jimmyz man’s arm. When Yokosuka was allowed to have a shot in, it almost felt like a pity strike, as Mochizuki brushed him off before hitting a springboard overhead kick to knock him onto the apron.
Just as it threatened to become one-sided, Susumu caught a kick and dumped Mochizuki with a knee-breaker on the apron… and you can guess what part of the champion suddenly gained a bullseye! Within moments, Yokosuka’d pulled down Mochizuki into an STF, but the hold was quickly broken as the champ countered with an armbar – whilst still having his knee wrenched.
More knee breakers kept the champion down though, as a Figure Four followed in a bid to cut the match short, but again Mochizuki tried to go for the arm to force a break with another submission. Instead, he had to reach for the ropes, before engaging in a back-and-forth race of charging attacks in the corner, which Mochizuki won out by hoisting Yokosuka into a Tree of Woe before kicking him in the head.
Freed from the Figure Four, Mochizuki kept on going for the arm, but he wasn’t able to get too far ahead as Susumu went for another knee breaker. It’s blocked, and just as luck would have it, Masaaki was able to rattle off a series of kicks to get a near-fall, before they traded enziguiris out of the corner. Mochizuki’s missed, but Susumu wasn’t able to capitalise on his straight away… and when he did get off a superplex, Mochizuki someone got back to his feet!
Just when you thought Susumu was edging ahead, Mochizuki found new days to defy him, bouncing up from a lariat at the count of one… so he’s hit with more, only to keep kicking out. He headbutts away another clothesline attempt before repeatedly kicking Susumu in the goddamned head, but it’s still not enough, before one final buzzsaw kick finally put the former Jimmyz man down. Wonderful. Even without knowing the back story, seeing these two was a joy – Mochizuki’s attempts to fight out of submissions by grabbing another hold, whilst Susumu tried in vain to fight from the bottom up. I suspect if I’d been invested in Dragon Gate, I’d have enjoyed this even more. ****¼
Tessa Blanchard vs. Xia Brookside
We’re off to Bar Wrestling out of California here, and their “Head of Household” card from November. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Xia, who has been all over the world – including a tour of STARDOM – since we last saw her in Rev Pro and Empress Pro (remember that group?!)
Commentary paints this as a match between two women who have big shoes to fill, thanks to their famous dads… and we start with some mat-based stuff as Xia tries to ground Tessa with some headscissors… that’s easily escaped. Xia barely gets up out of a corner dropkick, but she ends up trapping herself in the ropes for a lungblower that gets a near-fall for Blanchard.
A huge Saito suplex dumps Brookside on her head for a near-fall as the Brit seemed to be struggling… but she managed to get a head kick in against the run of play to buy herself some time. Xia punches her way back into it, but Blanchard’s even to it, only to get taken down with a bulldog as the momentum continued to swing back and forth. An Ace cutter from Blanchard gets a receipt and another near-fall, before she misses something off the top rope and runs into a lungblower by Xia.
Brookside hits it again after originally going for a Fireman’s carry, and it’s still not enough… so when Tessa hits back with a wonky-looking full nelson facebuster and a flying lungblower, it was no surprise. A pretty decent outing for Xia, but this felt clunky at times. **¾
AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar
We finish off this edition with the semi-main event from last year’s Survivor Series. Yeah, we saw the whole show, but by the time we got to it… who really wants a two-month old review of a WWE show everyone else has covered?
AJ’d won the WWE title a few weeks earlier in Manchester, England, saving us from the spectre of Brock vs. Jinder Mahal. It made for a thunderous atmosphere here as well, but we started out with Brock rattling AJ as he’s always want to do, throwing and punching away at the new champion. It really is men against boys, with the visual of Brock dragging AJ by the head into the corner not helping things. Brock swiftly moves onto German suplexes as Styles almost bounced out of the ring, then got thrown into the German announce table as the one-sided squash continued.
AJ tries to fight back, but he’s easily swept away before finally having a moment of luck as a flurry took Brock into the corner… only for Lesnar to knock him down once more. Second time was the charm as AJ opted for more tactical assaults – a low dropkick and a DDT – to finally knock Brock down. An attempted Asai moonsault nearly goes wrong as Brock caught and slipped backwards, but the recovery takes AJ into a tornado DDT that Lesnar countered with a neckbreaker of sorts.
AJ gets back to his feet first and keeps attacking the downed Lesnar with a Pele kick, but the Phenomenal forearm’s sidestepped and met with a release German suplex, before punching AJ with so much force, Brock sent himself to the outside… where AJ keeps chase, looking to keep him there… but to no avail.
They head back inside, where they continue to trade shots, but still neither man goes for a cover. AJ gets off a springboard 450 as our first pinfall is a two-count, before a series of counters took us from a Styles Clash, to a F5, to a Calf Crusher! Despite leaking sweat, Brock escaped by just pounding AJ’s head into the mat.
Styles comes back again with a Phenomenal forearm as he escaped another F5… but it’s not enough, and when he tries to add in another one, it’s caught and turned into an F5 as Lesnar ended this wild sprint with the win. Really good stuff here, despite some moments that looked brutal (in both senses of the word!) – perhaps the match of the night, and one that was a million miles away from what the alternative could have been! ****
That wraps up another set of “Odds and Sods” – if there’s anything you think we should take a look at in this little vacuum, hit us up via that Contact form!