Jimmy Susumu (c) vs Shingo Takagi
Open the Dream Gate Championship
03/06/2016, aired 03/23/2016
EDION Arena Osaka #2, Osaka, Japan
(reviewed 01/17/2017) Embarrassed by his loss back on Valentine’s Day, Shingo starts this match fired up, even more aggressive than usual, leaning into strikes and shoulder blocks early in the match. Clearly, he’s gunning for his title and isn’t fucking around. Susumu, a pretty docile guy himself, is probably the only guy in the promotion who can match Shingo for sheer firepower, but even he would have trouble with a pissed off Pumping Hawk. This would make for an interesting and exciting match (more in line with Shingo vs Mochizuki from the previous November), but instead, these lads cool off any heat they had with the usual trite Dream Gate formula. Shingo targets the champ’s arm, looking to neutralize the Jumbo no Kachi that defeated him weeks before, trying to win this war of attrition with weak, aimless limb work that is far from his strong suit. Susumu makes a comeback, but his laid back demeanor means that it lacks a distinct energy that EDION #2 sure isn’t able to make up for. Once they transition into the bomb-heavy finishing stretch, it’s fairly fun stuff, the usual fireworks-laden spotfest, but everything that preceded it was so banal and paint-by-numbers that I can’t help but be bored by it. Sad to see that after his fantastic run in the latter half of 2015 that Shingo has lost all the fire that made that run memorable and eye-opening.