Joe Doering (c) vs Go Shiozaki
Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Heard real great stuff about this match. I don’t actually know that I’ve ever seen a Joe Doering match before, but he’s got the look, brother, classic 90’s All Japan gaijin stuff. I’ve never been a huge fan of Go, but he’s certainly serviceable, and Doering looks amazing, so hopefully they do great things here. The two go right at it with some chops and forearms, and Doering knocks the challenger down with a shoulderblock. A test of strength ends with Go hitting a Northern Lights, but Doering knocks him down again with a shoulderblock, and locks in an abdominal stretch. At this point, I notice that Doering has these goofy looking cowboy boots on, which is great. He chops Go, and Go fires up a bit and chops him right back, and his selling here is fantastic. Doering boots him in the middle, whips him off the ropes, and elbows him out of the ring, and I love what he’s doing here. Wonderful big gaijin gimmick, awesome throwback shit. He works over Go with some headbutts and strikes, with Go showing a lot of fire, but not enough to take it to the champ. Go makes a comeback by reversing a suplex from Doering into one of his own, and charges him in the corner, eats a boot, and fights through it, throwing a chop. He goes to whip Doering into the opposite corner, but Doering reverses it and chops him back. Go fires up and gets in the champ’s face, and they fire chops back and forth, and Go eventually gets a big back suplex and basement superkick for two. He muscles up the champ with a fisherman suplex for two as well. Go whips Doering off the ropes and hits him with a pair of chops, but Doering runs through them both and fires back with a big shoulderblock in a spot I really like. A lariat in the corner pulled out into a second lariat and a standing elbow drop gets Doering a two count. There’s no wasted movement in anything Doering does here, which is fantastic. Doering walks around with a big vertical suplex that gets him another two count. He goes for a powerbomb but Go fights it, and fights out of a fireman’s carry attempt and hits a DDT. Doering fires up out of it and goes for a lariat, but Go lariats his arm and DDTs him again. Doering fires up again and throws a line, but Go ducks it and DDTs him yet again. Doering again fires up and throws a line, but Go doesn’t go down, and when Doering goes to whip him off the ropes, Go reverses it and lays out Doering with a lariat of his own for a double down. Awesome little monster vs underdog spot. Doering struggles to his feet but eats another lariat from Go, bleeding out to the apron. Doering powders out and stays on the outside, catching his breath, and the ref starts the count. He comes back inside and is lariated right over the ropes again by Go in a fantastic-looking spot, and the crowd is real into it. Go fires up and hits a big ol’ dive over the top onto the champ. Go tosses him back inside and chops him hard in the corner, putting him up top, and hitting a Frankensteiner for two. Go hits a real impressive suplex that was probably supposed to be a Go Flasher, but just ends up being a rolling release suplex, for two. He chops Doering twice in the back of the head and comes off the ropes and eats a spinebuster from Doering. This is one of the more loving Korakuen crowds I’ve seen this year, not like, the hottest, but one that really cares. The two men throw strikes back and forth, and Go is firing up, but eats a huge forearm from Doering when he goes for a rolling elbow. Doering goes for a pair of lariats, but Go ducks ‘em both, and he finally hits a HUGE running crossbody for two that I bit hard for because it fucking ruled. Incredible spot. Doering goes for a spiral powerbomb that Go reverses into a DDT in the absolutely most perfect manner possible, and follows it up with a great lariat for two. Holy shit, this match. Go hits the Go Flasher and the ref counts reaaaal slow, and Doering kicks out. Go’s selling here is pretty great, and Doering’s is a little lacking, but as this big monster gaijin, I suppose he’s not meant to sell as much. Spinning chop to the back of the head puts Doering’s face on the top turnbuckle, and then Go sits him on the top and goes for a goddamn Burning Hammer, and hits a goddamn Burning Hammer Go Flasher for two. It’s not pretty, but the idea of it is tremendous. The two men lariat each other but don’t go down, and Doering has the advantage and puts Go down for a very close two count with another running crossbody. He goes for another spiral powerbomb, but his legs give out, and Go tries to pin him twice, getting a one count the first time and two the second in a wonderful spot. Doering eats a superkick and lays out Go with a lariat, just collapsing on him for a two count. Both men struggle to their feet and lariat each other again, and go down when they collide a second time. They lariat each other yet again, and Go fires up for a quick discus chop that sends the champ down, and Go struggles to his feet, using the ropes, and hits a second and third discus chop, but Doering doesn’t go down. A fourth one and he’s still up, asking for more. A lariat nearly puts him down. Go fires up, the spitting image of Kobashi, and lays out Doering with a second lariat for the win. What a fucking match. Incredible Kings Road throwback shit. This match has been almost completely slept on as far as MOTY rankings go. Better than anything on WK9, for damn sure. Definitely, definitely go out of your way to see this.