Masashi Takeda vs. Alex Colon (GCW Nick Gage Invitational 6 11/13/21)

Match Reviews

Featured image by Hal Grayson

This review was commissioned by Hippoboy281 over on my Ko-fi account.

Look at the line up for this edition of the NGI, and this is the match you really want to see. The best Japanese deathmatch wrestler going against the best deathmatch wrestler in the States. Between being for the Ultraviolent Title, coming in the finals of a big name tournament, and the talent involved, one can reasonably call this a fight for the throne of best deathmatch wrestler in the world.

It doesn’t entirely deliver on that promise. There’s a few things standing in its way. Just in general, the finals of deathmatch tournaments are the hardest to really stick the landing with. That’s just a natural result of both men already having put their bodies through hell just to get to this point. Add on to that the promotion at hand. Beyond just my lack of interest in GCW, there’s a whole host of production issues that often follow in that company’s wake as well. On this show, the ring mics are rather muted, camera angles are never quite ideal (oftentimes exposing when spots are more worked than legitimate), and KG’s on commentary.

Structurally too, there’s a few things that don’t entirely gel. Perhaps the big defining image of the match is Alex Colon being forced to tape up his head after lacerating himself on some smashed tubes on the outside. It’s just a shame that Colon sustains that injury right before he goes on a bit of a control segment, and the injury itself never really playing any major part in slowing him down except to get patched up on the outside while both men are selling a big bump. Might just be the pedant in me, but I’ve seen how deathmatches (and even Colon himself) can utilize big gruesome wounds like this to escalate the drama of a thing with purpose instead of being more of a passively cool visual.

All that being said, just enough of it whoops ass.

There’s just a baseline level of talent and comfort here that means this was always bound to be good. As far as deathmatch wrestlers go, Takeda and Colon both are exceedingly gifted at finding the pace of a match like this. Not only getting to those big crazy setpieces, but also finding ways to escalate down the stretch even when all the best toys are already gone. They even keep a great pace to start, establishing themselves as equals to really put over what a major test this will be for the both of them.

They benefit too from having the coolest toys of the evening. This match gets the lighttubes strung up on the ropes, the ones propped up between the ladders, that big chair tower. Just a bunch of nasty stuff for these two to fall into and cut themselves on. Even with my complaints about how it plays into the match as a whole, the patch up job on Colon’s head does leave a lasting impression as well. It’s a passive thing, but it adds to the narrative of Colon getting through this international star to basically assert his position as the top deathmatch guy in the world.

Patchy in places, but violent and cool enough as a whole to be on the right side of great.

Rating: ***3/4

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