In perhaps no other storytelling medium is legacy as important as it is in wrestling. There are no different installments or clear breaks in continuity. The beginning and end of a character’s journey are marked by the abilities and limitations of a real person’s body as they grow, age and get injured. Having someone new carry the mantle forward is a very natural point to arrive at. Fans can indulge their nostalgia, wrestlers can honor those who inspired them and stories that ended too early can find some continuation. There are many ways to achieve these goals. Gear references are a popular one, as is signature move inheritance, but perhaps the most intense form of tribute is the legacy gimmick – the direct continuation of an old character in some way.
Shun Skywalker vs Jason Lee 03.03.2022 is a terrifying match. Hearing that, a variety of ideas might pop into your head. Death-defying stunts, a brutal deathmatch, perhaps. Classic horror movie wrestlers like Rosemary or Abadon. But it isn’t like any of those things. It isn’t like anything before it. Rather than bringing you the fun, cheesy horror of an old slasher or possession movie, it aims for a different kind of fear, more in line with games like Haunting Ground and Rule of Rose, movies like The Invisible Man. It attempts to bring the terror of abuse, or at least an allegorical version of it, to the wild and colourful world that wrestling portrays.
Xavi looks back at Dragon Gate so far in 2022 to tell us who is doing well and what to watch for in the second half of the year.
“I fucking hate Shingo Takagi” – the story of the eternal rivalry of Dragon Gate’s first trueborns (part 3)
The two rivals ended 2013 back in their old slots on the pecking order – featured, but not at the top. Popular, but less so than their more charismatic contemporaries and seemingly aeons away from possibly replacing CIMA as overall ace. However, for Hulk at least, 2014 would see an upswing in fortune. Throughout the early part of the year, tension had been growing between Hulk and full shit-stirring mode Naruki Doi, which culminated on May 5th in the annual Dead or Alive six-way Hair vs. Mask steel cage escape match.
“I fucking hate Shingo Takagi” – the story of the eternal rivalry of Dragon Gate’s first trueborns (part 2)
May 2008: Takagi and Hulk were once again in opposing units, and now bitter enemies. Takagi saw Hulk as weak, and blamed him for the lack of success of New Hazard, their shared faction. Hulk felt personally betrayed by a man he had formed a huge bond with. Their first singles match since Ota-ku 2006 would take place at Osaka Prefectural Gym #2 on 29th June 2008, once again with a Dream Gate key on the line. The result was shocking, a sixty-minute draw – a first in Dragon Gate history, and by far its longest match up to this point. The aftermath was even more shocking, as current champion CIMA announced he was vacating the title due to injury. Shingo and Hulk would re-match with the title on the line the following month at Kobe World, DG’s biggest show of the year.
That these words became a catchphrase of BxB Hulk shows how intense the rivalry between Dragon Gate’s first two trueborns became and remained. This is the story of two polar opposites whose rivalry existed from the dawn of Dragon Gate until Takagi’s departure from the promotion. Earmarked from their debuts as future aces, they faced similar struggles in their attempts to reach that lofty position.