5-Star Match Reviews: Do Fixer vs. Blood Generation - ROH Supercard of Honor 2006, by Alex Podgorski

If you’re a fan of Jim Cornette’s, please leave this review immediately. Because we’re looking at a match that basically checks all the boxes of things he hates in pro wrestling. What we’re looking at is a match that has a blistering pace, ridiculous offense, a thousand flips, and generally being quite possibly the most ‘indy’ wrestling match of all time.

Not only was this match rated 5-stars by the Wrestling Observer, but it was also voted the 2006 Match of the Year by that same publication. That means that fans watching this thought it better than Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker, Marufuji vs. KENTA, and Danielson vs. KENTA, just to name a few.

And the reason for that praise was because this match was said to be so…revolutionary. It was said to be something so incredibly far ahead of its time.

As a reminder, I am reviewing Five Star wrestling matches as rated by Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. It goes back to the 1980s and I’m going to pick different matches from different eras to see how they look today. Check out previous entries in my 5 Star Match Reviews series right here.

The story

This is a six-man tag team match between two teams from Dragon Gate with strange, Engrish names. One team is called ‘Blood Generation’ and is composed of CIMA, Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi. The other, called ‘Do Fixer’ is composed of Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito. Here are a few key details about some of them:

  • CIMA was known for an incredible arsenal of daredevil big moves. He became one of Dragon Gate’s biggest stars and currently has a role with All Elite Wrestling (AEW)
  • Naruki Doi was something of a breakout star between this match and the end of 2009. He would have many great matches throughout the tail end of the 2000s, including a handful against Bryan Danielson that I would strongly encourage you to seek out
  • Dragon Kid is basically Rey Mysterio on speed. He’s the poster child of the ‘flippy indy wrestler’ concept. He moves faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, and his matches are filled with absolutely ridiculous offense and gravity-defying athleticism. It amazes me that WWE never signed him, because in my opinion, he would’ve been the perfect wrestler to pick up Rey Mysterio’s mantle and for WWE to build their cruiserweight division around him.
  • I’m not too familiar with the others. Luckily, we’ll see how good they are in this critically-acclaimed match.

As a reminder, I am reviewing Five Star wrestling matches as rated by Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. It goes back to the 1980s and I’m going to pick different matches from different eras to see how they look today. Check out previous entries in my 5 Star Match Reviews series right here.

The match

This match took place on March 31, 2006 in Chicago.

Saito is the guy in orange trunks, Horiguchi has black and yellow tights, and Dragon Kid is the luchadore. Yoshino is the skinny guy in long black trunks, Doi is the one with short black trunks, and CIMA has the tassles on his trunks. This is important because without this distinction it’ll be hard to tell who’s who.

This match is contested under ‘Dragon Gate rules’ which means that physically tagging in isn’t necessary, but tags still happen.

Saito and Yoshino start things off with a quick chain grappling sequence that ends in a standoff and applause. They exchange arm holds and both to Dynamite Kid-style kip-ups. Dragon and Doi are tagged in and Doi lands a hard shoulderblock. Dragon ducks some clotheslines and reverses a tilt-a-whirl into an arm drag and drops Doi with a headscissor takedown. He mocks Doi with a 619 fakeout and the crowd applauds.

Horiguchi and CIMA enter and CIMA lands a dropkick after leapfrogging. CIMA whips Horiguchi into a corner, Horiguchi blocks and charges but Doi kicks him in the back. CIMA charges but hits Doi instead of Horiguchi and Horiguchi lands a headscissors of his own. Saito and Yoshino enter and they run at a lightning-quick pace. Yoshino hits some arm drags and tries a headscissors of his own but Saito counters into a sidewalk slam.

Dragon comes in with a diving club to the back and a snapmare knee drop for a one-count. Both Saito and Horiguchi come in and double team Yoshino and hit an impressive multi-strike combination. If you ever wondered where the Young Bucks got their inspiration, look no further.

Dragon tags in but Yoshino carries him to his corner and tags in his buddies. Doi and CIMA hit a strike combination on Dragon as he straddles the top turnbuckle and Doi hits a scoop slam/suplex combo for a two-count. CIMA tags in and hoists Dragon up for a one-handed back suplex and tosses him effortlessly. Impressive. Most impressive.

CIMA stomps on Dragon’s face then slams him and jumps on him with a senton for another two-count. Dragon escapes with kicks and tags in Saito, who whips CIMA and lands a hard elbow to the face. A standing leg drop from Saito gets a one-count. Doi and CIMA jump in and stop Saito’s submission hold. Again, that’s legal because this is Dragon Gate rules.

Doi and Saito exchange chops and Doi goes down. Dragon and Saito come in and Dragon lands a clever assisted tile-a-whirl kick to Doi. All three of Do Fixer come in and land a triple dropkick to Doi for a two-count. Doi blocks a suplex and pushes Horiguchi into his corner. All three members of Blood Generation take turns hitting snapmares by pulling on what little hair Horiguchi has left. Drop toehold/dropkick double team combo by CIMA and Yoshino. Yoshino and Horiguchi exchange chops and Yoshino applies an Octopus hold as CIMA and Doi stop Horiguchi’s partners from breaking it up.

Yoshino transitions into a sunset flip for a two-count and tags in Doi, who lands a Kevin Owens-style cannonball. He tags in CIMA and they land a double-team shoulder tackle. Then Blood Generation land a triple-team senton by lifting Horiguchi off the ground. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. That gets them a two-count and Doi applies a seated abdominal stretch until Horiguchi reaches the ropes.

CIMA tags in and lands a running dropkick to Horiguchi, driving his head into the turnbuckle. Blood Generation continues their onslaught with combo diving splashes onto Horiguchi’s torso and a springboard double foot stomp. All of that gets Blood Generation a 2.5-count. Another abdominal stretch continues to wreak havoc on Horiguchi’s torso. Horiguchi hip tosses Yoshino but Doi cuts him off as he was about to tag his partners.

Horiguchi reverses a vertical suplex and finally manages to tag in Saito. Saito tosses Doi over his head with a belly-to-belly suplex and Dragon lands a double-rotation hurricanrana. Horiguchi comes back in and lands an awesome suicide senton onto Doi and Dragon Kid lands a springboard Asai moonsault out of the ring as well. The crowd loves all of this.

Back in the ring, CIMA and Saito exchange chops. CIMA goes down but does a kip-up dropkick. He escapes a corner charge and tries a dropkick but Saito reverses that into a powerbomb and hits three consecutive Fisherman suplexes for a 2.5-count. CIMA reverses a German suplex and reaches the ropes. Saito tries an O’Connor roll but CIMA reverses into a standing foot comp to the stomach. Blood Generation each hit a charging strike to Saito in a corner and Dragon Kid eats a double-team bulldog but kicks out at 2.5.

Yoshino ducks a clothesline from Dragon and lands a slingblade. He climbs the rope and hits an enormous shotgun dropkick that gets a 2.5-count. Yoshino goes for a suplex…but Dragon reverses into a dragon Stunner. Amazing counter. Dragon charges but Doi pushes his partner out of harm’s way. Dragon goes for a headscissors but Doi reverses it into a facebuster. Another excellent counter. He whips Dragon into a corner but Dragon sidesteps, and Horiguchi comes charging in and dropkicks Doi hard. Horiguchi hits a rib breaker and goes for a second-trope moonsault, but Doi gets his knees up to block.

Fireman’s carry by Doi, no, it’s reversed into an inverted DDT by Horiguchi. Another two-count for Do Fixer. Saito goes for an Alabama Slam but Doi reverses and lands an F-5-like facebuster for another pin and kick out. Cue the fans chanting ‘this is awesome’ back when that was rare and not an every match occurrence.

Doi ascends the turnbuckle but Doi cuts him off and places him on his shoulders. Here comes Dragon Kid to help his partner. Aided frankensteiner sends Doi flying from an incredible height. A diving splash by Saito gets another two-count. Dragon goes for a twisting frankensteiner, Doi blocks it and Yoshino charges in and lands a huge basement dropkick. Yoshino whips Dragon, but he escapes the ring and Horiguchi lands a missile dropkick onto Yoshino. But in comes CIMA who superkicks the hell out of Horiguchi.

CIMA goes for the Schwein Redline but Horiguchi reverses into a DDT.in comes Doi who drops Horiguchi with a Rydeen Bomb. Then Saito comes in and drops Doi with a frankensteiner. Yoshino tries a headscissor but Saito drops him with a bridging German suplex. The referee counts one, two, thr—no, Yoshino kicks out. Then Dragon kid comes out of nowhere with a perfect springboard frankenstewiner but that gets broken up as well. Dragon kid signals the end. The fans are on their feet.

He climbs the top rope but CIMA cuts him off. But here comes Saito. Diving sunset flip/release German Combo. What a crazy move. Back-to-belly piledriver by Horiguchi. Horiguchi crawls for a pin, but CIMA kicks out at 2.9. What a close call. Horiguchi climbs the turnbuckle again but Yoshino cuts him off and he gets dropkicked. Blood Generation whip Saito into the opposite corner and he eats three running strikes. Blood Generation pick him up for a triple team move. Diving foot stomp onto Saito and a corner backstabber onto Horiguchi. Dragon Kid comes flying in for another franksnetsiner but CIMA blocks it. He drops Dragon with the Schwein Redline. He goes for a pin, but Dragon Kid kicks out. Doi hits a running dropkick but Horiguchi breaks it up. The fans are chanting ‘please don’t stop’.

Doi puts Dragon on his shoulders on the top turnbuckle but Dragon fights out. Diving ace crusher! He climbs the turnbuckle again. DRAGONRANA! What an amazing move. The referee counts one, two, three! There’s the match.

Winners after 20:34: Do Fixer (Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi)

Do FIXER vs Blood Generation: FULL MATCH! (ROH Supercard of Honor 2006)

Review

This might sound cliché, but I really felt like this match was taking place on fast forward. This match brings about an entirely different vocabulary to describe the action: words like absurd, ridiculous, blistering, insane, gravity-defying and nonsensical are but a few of the words I could use to describe what happened here.

In many ways, this match had an even greater impact on modern wrestling than the Marufuji/KENTA match that took place seven months later. This match started a trend of wrestling matches being more about ‘moves’ and crazy sequences than about a deeper inner story. In other words, it was about athleticism over logic and deeper meaning. It was groundbreaking for 2006, and it put Dragon Gate on the map as a company to follow in the coming years.

These six wrestlers showed unbelievable speed and athleticism here. I’ve seen many fast-paced wrestling matches, but this was something else. They took the concept of ‘blistering pace’ to new heights, and demonstrated just how incredibly skilled smaller wrestlers could be.

But to call this a 5-star epic is stretching it, at best.

This didn’t come across as a wrestling match, but more as a choreographed display of stunt-work. There was almost no selling of big moves whatsoever here. All six wrestlers performed at more or less the same pace from start to finish, with a fewer slower spots sprinkled throughout to give some moves more gravitas. But there was no purpose behind moves, no logic, and no greater justification for why some stuff was done. It was just ‘big move, big move, reversal, reversal, big move’.

Adding to that, there was almost no psychology here, especially surrounding the big submission holds and ‘high spots’. Stuff that happened earlier in the match meant nothing in the end, while a whole bunch of random, crazy dives were made to be more important. Even the best matches in WWE have fantastic selling sequences in which one wrestler or another is trying to overcome some kind of pain or challenge. Here, that concept was threadbare, with wrestlers coming and going whenever they saw fit. I understand this comes down to stylistic differences, but pro wrestling at its core involves some degree of deep storytelling, and that wasn’t shown very well here.

Final Rating: ****1/4

If there was ever a wrestling match that defined ‘video game wrestling’ it’s this one. It was non-stop action from bell to bell, but there was no semblance of realism to it. They put an absurd amount of action into that twenty-minute period, but all of it was chaotic and nonsensical.

But pure ‘highspots’ shouldn’t come at the expense of giving the fans a reason to be invested in a particular match. Just doing big moves for the sake of getting a reaction isn’t a reason to have a wrestling match. Moves, sequences, reversals, changes in control, and controlling the audience should serve a purpose. Gratuitous aerial athleticism might make a match exciting and memorable, but that doesn’t make it perfect or epic, at least not in my opinion.

I understand rating this match 5 stars when it first came out because something like this hadn’t ever been seen in the United States before. But to put this ahead of some junior heavyweight classics like Eddy vs. Rey from Halloween Havoc 1997, Liger vs. Pillman from 1992, or Liger vs. Owen Hart is simply asinine. Those matches were revolutionary, and they were better than this one because the slower pacing allowed fans to digest what was happening and actually allowed big moves and sequences to mean something.

That wasn’t the case here. This was the opposite of a realistic match; the action felt so unrealistic and overly choreographed. I’m not saying this is a bad match; it’s just not deserving of a 5-star treatment. All of the matches I’ve looked at so far have even the slightest modicum of realism, which might’ve come from the pacing, wrestler selling, or the execution of big moves.

This match was like a wrestling video game coming to life, and this is coming from someone that has played a lot of wrestling video games. And in my opinion, if you want to see ‘video game wrestling’, play an actual wrestling video game instead of turning real-life wrestling matches into a video game.

Check out previous entries in my 5 Star Match Reviews series right here. Thanks for reading.