What I Like
Not usually a fan of what I've seen of Dragon Gate, formerly Toryumon Japan, a Japanese promotion specializing in Mexican-style lucha libre. In 2009, the company extended its franchise to the USA, mixing talent and ring styles from the two continents. Sure, I like the idea of multicultural fusion and international flavor, but in practice, what I had seen of it, DG and I were not a good fit. Not for me are the flipping, high flying, neon tasseled costumes, manic frenzy, and goofball comic characters. Too Chikara for me, I thought. But Scott Finkelstein's photos of a January event in Philadelphia show me that what I like can show up in unexpected places--and that maybe I need to give DG a second look. What do I like? If you haven't figured that out, you may have catching up to do, because I've been droning on about it in these pages for over two years now. In a nutshell, I like matwork, long agonizing matwork, exquisite agony, muscle twisted to the tearing point, sexually suggestive holds, beatdowns, body slams, and buckets upon buckets of sweat. I also like the guys you see here: Masato Yoshino, Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, CIMA, Austin Aries, Akira Tozawa, Jigsaw, Cheech Hernandez, Chris Dickinson, and, new to me, RV1.