Segunda Caida

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

2020 Ongoing MOTY List: Ikeda/Ishikawa vs. Ridgeway/Makabe

8. Daisuke Ikeda/Yuki Ishikawa vs. Daniel Makabe/Chris Ridgeway WXW 3/5

PAS: Such a treat to get to see new Ishikawa and Ikeda footage. This is clearly a thrill for their opponents, don't know a ton about Ridgeway but I know Makabe is a giant BattlArts mark and this had to be like a fantasy camp for him. Ishikawa has been more active than Ikeda in recent years, and he still looks likes one of the absolute best in the world. There are a bunch of very cool moments in this match, where Makabe seems like he has Ishikawa caught in something only to see Ishikawa smoothly reverse his way out. The way he spun into a cross armbreaker was just masterful. Ridgeway and Ikeda matched up, and Ridgeway clearly understood how hard he had to hit in a Daisuke Ikeda match. There were a bunch of elbow exchanges in this match - which I don't love - but I did like how both Makabe and Ridgeway would mix in sharp elbows to the body to get an advantage. Ikeda hit pretty hard in this, but never Daisuke Ikeda hard (hopefully that came in the singles against Ishikawa), and I was hoping for this to hit that level of sublime violence which the best BattlArts/FUTEN tags reach. It never got there, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything we got.

ER: Just the fact that this match happened would have likely been enough to make me happy. This feels like an alternate timeline WCW WorldWide match that someone finds years after it happened. Makabe has been one of the most creative and high quality mat workers of the past few years, so seeing him up against two guys who really made me dive into that style was really special. Seeing Makabe get tied up and scramble to save his arms from Yuki was a treat, and I absolutely loved all of Ridgeway's submission attempts on Ikeda. He and Ikeda were constantly going after each other's knees and ankles, from their first roll to their last. Ridgeway broke out some tricks that I didn't expect and appeared to genuinely flummox Ikeda, my favorite moment being Ridgeway twisting through an Ikeda attempt at a kneebar and getting a figure 4 across his knee and ankle. And I really liked the strikes thrown between Ikeda and Ridgeway, actually jumped the first time Ridgeway realllly punted Ikeda in the back after a snapmare. Now, I jumped because I thought a kick like that to a guy like Ikeda was just a fancy way of signing your death certificate, but I loved how Ridgeway sold all of Ikeda's strikes after that. Ikeda came in with some blistering shots to Ridgeway's back and triceps, then threw a few isolated elbow strikes. Ridgeway fought up after each strike, but there was no silly stand and trade, just Ridgeway not backing down until Ikeda really put him down. And it lead to something even better, which was Ridgeway starting to throw decoy strikes to throw Ikeda off his game. Ridgeway threw a sucker high kick that Ikeda bit at, leading to Ridgeway throwing heavy weight behind a shot to Ikeda's body. Later, while working for an ankle lock, Ridgeway leans in his chin to sucker Ikeda into going for an enziguiri, which Ridgeway dodges and grabs *that* ankle. Dug Makabe's hot tag as he capitalizes on the body shots Ridgeway had just dished out to Ishikawa, pastes Yuki with a corner dropkick, and even gets off the Big Unit. Seeing Makabe hit a Big Unit punch on Ishikawa AND Ikeda was something special, and now I'm gonna need to see him fire that off on Katsumi Usuda, Carl Malenko, Takeshi Ono, Alexander Otsuka, just start working a gimmick where he's tracking down old Batt guys to punch, the way some try to visit every MLB stadium. I'll be the first to write about the GoPro video of Makabe finding out where Urban Ken lives and then punching him in the face right as Ken opens the door. Makabe can even call him Suburban Ken as he mocks the man at his own home. Anyway, the match doesn't quite cash in on things they were building to, and the end felt a little abrupt after what we'd seen, but I find no faults whatsoever with the actual ring work. That was everything my eyes wanted.


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