Tag-team wrestling has undoubtedly become a much less important part of the professional wrestling landscape over the past few years.
While the WWE has more or less ignored their tag-team division, TNA has slowly begun the rebuilding process of establishing a competitive division with credible champions.
There has been no denying that 2010 was a rough year for fans of tag-team wrestling, but thankfully there are promotions out there, in this case CHIKARA and Dragon Gate USA, to help satisfy our fix for quality tag matches.
CHIKARA is a Pennsylvania-based independent promotion, founded in 2002 by Mike Quackenbush and Tom Carter. What originally started out as a wrestling school has evolved into one of the most unique and entertaining wrestling promotions going today.
The heavy influence of lucha libre is apparent with one glace at the CHIKARA roster. A good portion of wrestlers don masks and perform under colorful personas, giving CHIKARA a bit of a cartoon feeling that is only enhanced by their sometimes over-the-top story lines.
Over the years, CHIKARA has worked closely with many independent promotions, including a strong partnership with Gabe Sapolsky’s Dragon Gate USA promotion.
DGUSA was founded in 2009 as an American offshoot of the popular Dragon Gate promotion from Japan. The company features many of the top Japanese stars and some of the best young talent from the American independent wrestling scene. They have partnered with CHIKARA from the get-go.
Both promotions share a deep appreciation for lucha libre, as many of the top Japanese stars from Dragon Gate have spent time training and competing in Mexico.
This shared appreciation for lucha libre has led to several multi-man tag-team matches between the promotions, including No. 4 on my list of the best matches of 2010. Team CHIKARA, consisting of Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Hallowicked, taking on Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and BxB Hulk of the World-1 faction of Dragon Gate.
This trios match was the main event of the biggest CHIKARA show to date, Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Show, which took place on July 25, 2010 at the famed Arena in Philadelphia, Pa.
The friendly rivalry between the two promotions had turned ugly in Dragon Gate USA thanks to the Kamikaze USA faction of YAMATO, Gran Akuma, Akira Tozawa and Jon Moxley. Their rivalry with Quackenbush, Hallowicked and Jigsaw came to an end the night before at DGUSA’s first-year anniversary event.
Masato Yoshino aligned himself with the CHIKARA team that night and they were victorious over Kamikaze USA. The next night though, inside of a CHIKARA ring, Yoshino and his World-1 stable mates Doi and Hulk would stand across the ring as the opposition for Quackenbush’s team.
The result proved to be perhaps the most fun match of 2010 as the two teams battled for just under 17 minutes of non-stop action.
Some may call it a spot-fest, but to me this was just good fun, high-impact, fast-paced wrestling between six of the top relatively unknown talents in wrestling today.
Mike Quackenbush may be the best all-around wrestler in the world today. The man can do everything from technical submissions to high-flying and he possesses an innovative array of impact maneuvers. He is regarded as one of the best light heavyweights in wrestling and he showcases why in this match.
Jigsaw and Hallowicked are two of Quackenbush’s finest students from the Wrestle Factory. Watching a man the size of Hallowicked fly is always impressive. Jigsaw would’ve been a perfect fit in the old WCW cruiserweight division with his suicide dives and reckless style.
Doi, Yoshino and Hulk are three of the very best that Japan has to offer and they do everything they can to show the CHIKARA fans why in this match.
Watching a match with Masato Yoshino always makes me feel like I’m watching something special. The guy is that good. He is the fastest wrestler I’ve ever seen and his offense often leaves me with my jaw on the floor. There is a reason why he is currently the top champion in Japan’s Dragon Gate.
BxB Hulk is the top champion in Dragon Gate USA and his agility and in-ring skill continue to get more and more impressive. He sells better than just about any wrestler I can think of today and has evolved into a more focused competitor as of late.
Naruki Doi brings power wrestling to this match far more than any other competitor involved. He also brings some deadly sliding kicks and outstanding double team maneuvers with his Speed-Muscle partner, Yoshino.
The level of talent in this trios match is off the charts.
They all managed to pull off all of their big moves, give the fans plenty of near falls and work their hardest in one of the fastest-paced trios matches in recent memory.
This match is a perfect example of the action you will find in CHIKARA and Dragon Gate USA. It is a testament to the notion that tag team wrestling still exists and still can be great.
The bottom line is this is just a fun match to watch. It gets a little too “spotty” at times but the action is just so fast and furious that it is hard to even be bothered by it. If you aren’t familiar with these wrestlers or promotions, I couldn’t recommend a better match than this one for you to check out.
The No. 4 spot on the best of 2010 countdown goes to Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Hallowicked against BxB Hulk, Doi and Yoshino.
Keep an eye out for the third installment of this series, which will feature what is easily the most hardcore match on the list, a match which added more fuel to the fire of wrestling’s hottest feud this year.
Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to check out the No. 5 match on the list, the Kings of Wrestling vs. the Motor City Machine Guns from Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor V.