Yoshino vs Fox

I like feuds, but I prefer them to be personal and to be an exception rather than the rule. As a rule, I prefer a contest whose drama is contained within the parameters of a single bout. I like the roles of hero and heel to emerge in the action of the match itself--not set up in previous shows and most definitely not in promos or pre-match monologues on the microphone. And in most cases I want the matter resolved at the final fall or submission. I have never much liked the open-ended match (disqualification, tie, etc.), though I certainly don't mind when a particularly exciting match calls for a rematch. (I realize I am in the minority here, since I'm told that many wrestling fans prefer the para-wrestling theatrics to the wrestling itself, hence the enormous popularity of WWE--but I have long contended that WWE's success is due no less to its flagrant pandering to audiences who don't actually like wrestling than to the McMahon family's business wiles.) 

This preference is one reason I also generally prefer underground wrestling to most stadium-filling events. Typically the underground scene and smaller wrestling venues cannot finance the narrative peaks and valleys of a long-running soap opera. They have to win their audiences with each and every match individually. The wrestlers have to define their characters through costuming, the flourish of their entrances, and the pushing of the audience's buttons (pro and con) throughout the match, but mostly through their actions in the heat of the contest. Heels reveal themselves through their underhanded and illegal tactics, heroes, through their long-suffering adherence to scientific wrestling, till, pushed to the breaking point, they sometimes give the heels a taste of their own medicine (occurrences which, as many of you know, are my definition of "heaven").

Case in point: Masato Yoshino, 5'8", 160#, defeated AR Fox, 5'10", 185#, at Dragon Gate USA on November 12th, with a straightjacket triangle choke, as pictured above. During the match, Fox generated a good bit of heat with the crowd, first by his brutal acts of aggression on fan-favorite Yoshino and then by his big-mouth asides throughout the bout. At the end of a hard-fought match, however, the two men can honor each other's achievement. (Once Fox exited the ring, however, Yoshino was attacked by his sworn enemies CIMA and Ricochet, till PAC came to the rescue, all part of a serial storyline involving leagues called Blood Warriors, bad guys, and Junction Three, bad guys. I tend to dislike leagues, mostly for the same reasons given above, but I'll save that rant for another day perhaps.)

Photos: Scott Finkelstein.


  1. Oh, ditto on the leagues! One of the least entertaining innovations of the current era. A recent example: the Shield in WWE. For one thing, none of the members can have a decent singles or tag match without, usually, extraneous, unnecessary interference. What began as a good match too often descends into boring chaos. Then, there's the matter that usually there's someone in the league who just being carried by the other members. Two members of Shield could be a decent tag team, but the other is just annoying. It can get worse in the larger leagues.


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