In a week already marred by offensive, lazy examples of heel heat and story building in a major American company, it’s comforting to know that somewhere in the world of wrestling, the brutal artform we love can still create beautiful stories. This was on full display in Tokyo’s Ota City Gymnasium Monday when before 4,000 rabid Dragon Gate fans, the Jimmyz—a stable established in March 2012—came to their tragic end at the hands of the relentless, evil high school bullies Verserk.
The match—a culmination of Dragon Gate’s recent 5-Unit Survival League—put an end to Dragon Gate’s longest running stable ever and more than that, broke up a unit of outcasts and loners that won the hearts and minds of Dragon Gate fans everywhere. Jimmy Susumu, Jimmy K-ness J.K.S., Jimmy Kanda, Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!! and Ryo “Jimmy” Saito did all they could to prove that good guys can sometimes win before the harsh reality of life came crashing down on them, the bad guys always win.
The match, as reviewed by our very own Case Lowe, was unlike anything we’ve seen in Dragon Gate:
“This match was bananas. There has never been a match like this in Dragon Gate, and there never will be again. It’s hard to put into words how insane this was.”
Both units entered the ring in full-on street fight mode with pants tucked into boots, white tape around the wrists and war paint, lots and lots of war paint. This was not a match to either of these units, this was a war. This was less a contest of who would win or lose but who would survive. The match features barbed-wire bats, cork-boards filled with skin-puncturing wire, exposed turnbuckles, chairs, tables, boxes and more. One may look at this match and think of it as one of the many overdone plunder brawls so prevalent in today’s wrestling. However, this match felt less like shopping cart matches (see 1999 WCW hardcore matches) and more like the standard bearer that popularized these types of matches in North America: Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).
ECW hardcore brawls were defined as much by their weapons and brutality as they were the deep, intricate stories that were told by the use of said weapons. Far too often pro wrestling bookers, wrestlers and fans alike have felt the chair shots, the scaffolds, the fire, the tables, etc. are what make “hardcore” matches and moments stick out. That’s wrong. It’s the stories. ECW proved that some twenty years ago and Dragon Gate proved it again on Monday.
In the end, it was Verserk (Shingo Takagi, Punch Tominaga, Cyber Kong, T-Hawk and El Lindaman) who emerged victorious, surviving the war.
Susumu, the Jimmyz’s last hope, survived a two-on-one assault from Shingo and T-Hawk, kicking out of piledrivers through tables and Last Falconrys on chairs, before finally succumbing to T-Hawk’s Cerberus.
— LARIATOOOO!!! (@MrLARIATO) September 18, 2017
That is was Susumu who would take the final fall for the Jimmyz is as pure a story as can be told.
Susumu, the perpetual underdog represented all that was pure and wonderful about the Jimmyz unit. A man who despite being a two-time Open the Dream Gate Champion, would have to wait ten years between singles title reigns, a man who would drop the title he won in dramatic fashion less than a month later to the high school quarterback who always gets what he wants in Shingo Takagi. Susumu as the one to take the final three for the Jimmyz is as perfect as it is tragic.
— LARIATOOOO!!! (@MrLARIATO) September 18, 2017
When the final bell rang it was, who else, but Susumu who took the mic and apologized for failing the unit and failing the fans. They would hear nothing of it, this was a sad moment, sure, because it was the end of a great unit but it was a happy moment for a unit that far exceeded any and all expectations. The good guys lost again but look at all they accomplished over the last five years. The cast of characters that made up the Jimmyz had no right being apart of Dragon Gate’s longest running stable. They had no right to win the titles they won or the moments they had. Still, they did.
“That Jimmy name that he once hated so much. Today he fought with all his might to keep it. He failed. The Jimmyz are finished.” (iheartdg.com)
They may have lost the battle and the war but they can hang their heads high. Even in defeat, even in their final moments as a unit, you couldn’t help but see the beauty of the outcasts proving their worth. As 4,000 fans mourned the end of the stable, the Jimmyz can hang their hat on never giving up and never surrendering. They lost because Verserk was better on this night, but the Jimmyz will forever live on in our hearts and our minds.
We’ll have a more extensive look at the Jimmyz stable coming this week from Open the Voice Gate host Michael Spears so be on the lookout for that if you’re looking for more on the rise and fall of the Jimmyz. Be sure to check out Case Lowe’s reviews of Dangerous Gate, one of the more important Dragon Gate shows of the year (and maybe ever) below: