Event: Dragon Gate PPV 2/23/05
Date: February 23rd, 2005
Location: Korakuen Hall, Japan
Lets do something different. At the beginning of the summer I reviewed my first Big Japan event, and since Autumn is now upon us it’s time to review another new promotion. Dragon Gate, as far as I can tell, is unlike any other promotion I have watched before. They have a lot of Lucha Libre traits, but it is far from the same. For starters, Dragon Gate throws in a bit more comedy/silliness in some of their matches then many other promotions. Dragon Gate can almost be seen as a blend of Puroresu and Lucha Libre, as they have the acrobatic spots but are also more stiff with their strikes and have more power/dangerous moves. The wrestlers are set up in different factions, which I will get into when the matches come up. You can pick up this event for only 3.99 over at www.ivpvideos.com, which was by far the cheapest place that I found this event. For this show, the card is as follows (these were the announced matches, two would actually change as the PPV unfolded):
Don Fuiji vs. Kenichiro Arai
Naoki Tanisaki vs. Stalker Ichikawa and Michael Iwasa
Anthony W. Mori, Super Shisa, and YOSSINO vs. Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi, and Magnum TOKYO
Daniel Mishima vs. Ryo Saito
CIMA, Naruki Doi, and Shingo Takagi vs. K-ness, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Susumu Yokosuka
I apologize to hardcore Dragon Gate fans everywhere if I miss a rule or don’t understand one of the Dragon Gate quirks. I asked around and watched as many matches as I could before sitting down for this review, so I assure you that I will do my best. If I missed anything or made any mistakes, feel free to email me so I can fix it.
The event starts with a handful of wrestlers drawing colored balls out of a box. When two wrestlers draw the same color, they are paired off in a tournament that is taking place at the next event. Since I won’t be covering the tournament in this review, I won’t bother go into details, although the crowd does get quite excited watching this.
Don Fuiji vs. Kenichiro Arai
Fuiji’s group, Blood Generation (lead by CIMA) comes down to the ring with him, and before Arai can even get to the ring, Fuiji jumps Nakajima, the youngest wrestler in Final M2K. Arai runs down to aid him and the match officially begins. Irish whip by Arai, reversed, but he ducks the clothesline and spits liquor in Fuiji’s face. Arai grabs a house microphone and talks meanly to Fuiji before charging him again. They exchange chops, Irish whip by Fuiji, reversed, and Fuiji hits a chop. Fuiji charges Arai in the corner, Arai gets his foot up and goes off the side ropes and shoulderblocks Fuiji to the mat. Arai drags Fuiji to his feet and throws him into the turnbuckle. Stomp by Arai in the corner, he goes for a scoop slam, but Fuiji blocks it and hits a scoop slam of his own. Fuiji picks up Arai and chops him in the chest, but Arai returns fire. Poke to the eyes by Fuiji and he throws Arai out of the ring. Blood Gen has their way with Arai on the outside, before kindly throwing him back in. Stomp to the back by Fuiji and he wrenches Arai’s arm. Fuiji applies an armbar, but Arai makes it to the ropes. Elbow to the back by Fuiji, and another one. Fuiji applies a cross armbreaker, but Arai somehow gets a toe on the bottom rope and Fuiji breaks the hold. Blood Gen gets up on the apron, and while Fuiji has the referee distracted they all attack Arai’s arm. Cover, but the referee was too busy to make the count as he was taking care of Blood Gen. Chops by Fuiji, then he alternates in punches, Irish whip, and he elbows Arai in the face. Arai pops up to his feet, he gets more chops, Fuiji goes off the ropes, but he avoids Arai’s dropkick. Fuiji goes off the ropes and clotheslines Arai in the back of the head, he applies a side headlock, but Arai hits a backdrop suplex. Arai charges Fuiji, Fuiji back bodydrops him over the top rope, but Arai lands on the apron and hits a springboard dropkick back into the ring on Fuiji. Cover by Arai, but it only gets a two count. Arai gets Fuiji in the corner and charges, but Fuiji moves and Arai goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Fuiji goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, but Arai doesn’t budge and yells at Fuiji. Fuiji goes off the ropes again, but this time the lariat knocks Arai to the mat. Fuiji picks up Arai and nails a chokeslam. Cover, but Arai kicks out. Fuiji goes for a vertical suplex, Arai blocks though and hits a brainbuster. Arai quickly goes out to the apron and hits a springboard knee drop and then follows up with a quebrada (Lionsault). Cover, but it only gets a two count. Scoop slam by Arai, he goes up top, but Fuiji rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Fuiji then goes to the top turnbuckle and hits Arai with a knee drop. Back up, Fuiji goes off the ropes, but Nakajima trips him up from the outside. Fuiji rolls out of the ring, and he along with Blood Gen slap around Nakajima. Still in the ring, Arai sees what is going on and he flies out of the ring with a tope. Blood Gen continues kicking around Nakajima, while Arai tries to fight them off. Final M2K (Arai and Nakajima’s faction) comes to their aid, and Nakajima even gets a few licks in before he starts getting destroyed again. The referee’s count is getting high, and with all the distractions, neither man gets back in the ring in time. Result: Double Countout
Post match: Blood Gen drags Nakajima into the ring to continue their abuse of the young wrestler. Irish whip by Fuiji, but Nakajima ducks the clothesline and dropkicks Fuiji to the mat. Nakajima then quickly bails the ring and re-joins Final M2K on the outside, as the crowd roars their approval. They mouth off some more and start brawling all over again, but Final M2K gains control of the ring in not too much time.
Match Thoughts: Not a bad opener, as it was more about Blood Generation vs. Final M2K then Arai vs. Fuiji. Fuiji played the part of brute heel well, and Arai hit all his spots. I was impressed that even in this short of a match that Fuiji still focused on the arm (since in theory, the wrestlers in the match don’t know it is going to be short beforehand), and Arai sold it throughout the match. The ending was a bit disappointing for a PPV, but since it was the opener it didn’t come across too bad. Score: 5.8
Milano comes out and announces that he is too injured to defend the Triangle Gate Championship. The last match tonight will crown the “interim” champions until an official title match can be held at a later date (March 6th).
Naoki Tanisaki vs. Stalker Ichikawa and Michael Iwasa
Tanisaki quickly dropkicks Iwasa out of the ring as soon as the match starts and snapmares Ichikawa to the mat. Tanisaki applies a choke sleeper hold, and Ichikawa taps out. Your winner: Naoki Tanisaki
Post match: Tanisaki leaves, obviously mad. Iwasa gets on the mic and, from what I can tell, makes fun of Ichikawa for getting beaten so fast. He then challenges Ichikawa to a match, which Ichikawa accepts. They crowd is laughing throughout this, so you can assume this is not a heated exchange. The bell rings, and the match starts.
Stalker Ichikawa vs. Michael Iwasa
I can already tell you that this is going to be a comedy match judging from what Stalker is wearing, so if anything I type looks weird that is why. Iwasa asks for a Test of Strength, but instead Ichikawa trips him and goes off the ropes. Leapfrog by Iwasa, he does the splits to avoid Ichikawa and arm drags him to the mat. Iwasa picks Ichikawa up, Irish whip, and he hits a scoop slam. After throwing Ichikawa into the turnbuckle, Iwasa hits a series of chops. Iwasa slaps Ichikawa in the back, laughs at him, and slaps downward on his bottom lip. Iwasa allows Ichikawa to slap him in the chest, but then Iwasa slaps him in the face. Irish whip by Iwasa and he hits a back bodydrop from his knees. Irish whip again by Iwasa and he hits another back bodydrop. After playing with the crowd, Iwasa hits another back bodydrop, cover, but it gets a two count. From the corner, Irish whip by Iwasa, but Ichikawa flips over him and hits a drop toehold. After stomping on top of Iwasa, Ichikawa goes to the corner for a body press, but Iwasa is standing clear on the other side of the ring so Ichikawa naturally misses. Irish whip by Iwasa, but Ichikawa ducks a clothesline and hits a spinning headscissors. Iwasa rolls to the outside, and Ichikawa sails out of the ring with a somersault tope suicida through the second rope (hitting a guy in the crowd in the process). Ichikawa throws Iwasa into the apron, gets on the apron himself, but botches a quebrada (I think on purpose). Iwasa tosses Ichikawa into the ring, Irish whip from the corner, Iwasa does a cartwheel ala Great Muta, but lands in the middle of the ring and simply backs the rest of the way until he elbows Ichikawa in the corner. Iwasa goes off the ropes, but Ichikawa kicks him in the stomach. Ichikawa goes for a clothesline, but Iwasa (with the help of the referee) ducks it Matrix-style. Kick to the stomach by Iwasa and he hits a scoop slam. Iwasa gets on the second rope as if to do a quebrada, realizes he can’t do one, so he gets the referee to kneel behind him and he rolls down the referee’s back onto Ichikawa. Cover, but Ichikawa kicks out. Irish whip by Iwasa, but Ichikawa hits a DDT. La Magistral by Ichikawa, but it only gets two. Ichikawa calls for the end and goes for a brainbuster, but Iwasa easily reverses it into a brainbuster of his own. While Ichikawa is sitting up on the mat, Iwasa goes off the ropes twice, jumps down behind Ichikawa, and pushes on his back. This is too much pain for Ichikawa to bear and he gives up! Your winner: Michael Iwasa
Match Thoughts: Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â To quickly explain, Tanisaki was “mad” that he was put in a comedy match, so he choked out Stalker and left. I don’t know how to rate comedy matches, so I am not going to. What always amuses me the most in these matches is that both of these guys really can wrestle, which they showed a few times in the mat, but instead do comedy matches. A good bit of the match they were playing with the crowd, and since I don’t speak Japanese I really can’t say how funny they were being except that the crowd and the cute commentator were all laughing throughout. A fun spectacle to watch once, although naturally you wouldn’t want to see a full card of matches like this. Score: N/A
Anthony W. Mori, Super Shisa, and YOSSINO vs. Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi, and Magnum TOKYO
Before the match we are treated by TOKYO and his group of women dancing in the ring. Always fun. YOSSINO and Horiguchi start things off, after YOSSINO taunts Horiguchi by flinging his hair in Horiguchi’s face. I better take a minute to explain this. Horiguchi is going bald, and the Japanese word for bald (apparently) is hage. So he is taunted because of his situation, since most the wrestlers in Dragon Gate are pretty boys between the ages of 20 and 28 who still have lots of hair. Horiguchi does embrace his fate, however, and gets the entire crowd to chant H-A-G-E as soon as the match starts. This angers Mori and company, so they leave the ring and go towards the back. Finally they return, as Horiguchi gets the crowd to do another chant. This is a crowd interactive promotion. Back to normalcy (as normal as things get in Dragon Gate), YOSSINO and Horiguchi face off again. The H-A-G-E chant starts again, this time without Horiguchi’s help. More delaying, as YOSSINO looks upset. Ok, finally, now the match starts. Tie-up, waistlock by Horiguchi, reversed into a hammerlock by YOSSINO and he gets Horiguchi to the mat. Horiguchi gets back up, pushes YOSSINO down and goes for a leg submission, but YOSSINO quickly reverses it. Arm wrench by YOSSINO, Horiguchi flips out of it, but YOSSINO armdrags him down. Another armdrag, they jockey for position, but neither man gets anywhere and both tag out. Now we have Super Shisa and Dragon Kid facing off. Kick to the stomach by Super Shisa, but Dragon Kid reversed the snapmare and goes off the ropes. Super Shisa evades Dragon Kid’s charges, but Dragon Kid armdrags him out of the ring anyway. Super Shisa rolls back in, and Super Shisa armdrags him out of the ring. Dragon Kid gets back on the apron, but Super Shisa dropkicks him off and TOKYO takes Dragon Kid’s place in the ring as Mori comes in for Super Shisa. Kick to the stomach by TOKYO, he applies a side headlock, Mori Irish whips out of it, but TOKYO shoulderblocks him to the mat. TOKYO goes off the ropes, leapfrog by Mori and he hits an armdrag. Mori goes for a monkey flip, TOKYO catches him and tries to go for an Alabama slam, but Mori reverses it with a headscissors. Dropkick by Mori and he throws TOKYO into the corner. Mori tags in Super Shisa, who kicks TOKYO in the stomach. Snapmare by Super Shisa and he applies a submission hold. Roll-up by Super Shisa, but it gets two. TOKYO crawls to his corner to make the tag, but Super Shisa catches him in time and tags in YOSSINO. They both yank on TOKYO’s legs, and YOSSINO clubs TOKYO in the back. TOKYO fires back with chops though and tags in Horiguchi. Horiguchi chokes YOSSINO while he is in the corner and throws him by his hair. Snapmare by Horiguchi, and Dragon Kid hits a double stomp from the top turnbuckle. Dragon Kid throws YOSSINO into the corner and hits a chop, followed by a dropkick. Stomps by Dragon Kid in the corner, snapmare, and he knees YOSSINO in the stomach. Cover, but it only gets two. YOSSINO charges Dragon Kid and pushes him back into his own corner, allowing him to tag in Mori. Kicks by Mori, Irish whip, and he elbows Dragon Kid down. Cover, but Dragon Kid kicks out. Mori hits a snapmare and applies a reverse chinlock. Dragon Kid manages to tag in Horiguchi, he and TOKYO give Mori a double Irish, drop toehold by Horiguchi, and he holds Mori for TOKYO so that TOKYO can hit a dropkick. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Horiguchi picks Mori up, scoop slam, and he hits a moonsault from the second turnbuckle. Cover, but again it gets two. Mori tries to reach his corner, and makes it with the help of YOSSINO. Super Shisa is tagged in, and he chops Horiguchi in the head. Super Shisa picks Horiguchi up and grabs what little hair he has while YOSSINO comes off the top with a double stomp on Horiguchi’s head. Cover by YOSSINO, but it only gets a two count. Super Shisa comes back in and he applies an abdominal stretch. Dragon Kid and TOKYO get sound-makers from under the ring (no, I am not kidding), and lead the crowd in a H-A-G-E chant to help revive Horiguchi. It works, as he hits a hiptoss. Mori immediately jumps on him though, and the two exchange chops. Horiguchi hits a rolling dropkick, and this gives him time to tag in TOKYO. Irish whip by TOKYO on YOSSINO and he dropkicks him down. Super Shisa runs in, and he also gets a dropkick. Irish whip by Super Shisa on TOKYO, but TOKYO rolls through a sunset flip attempt and dropkicks Super Shisa in the face. Dragon Kid runs in to intercept YOSSINO and Dragon Kid goes up on his shoulders, rotates all the way around YOSSINO twice, and then transfers over to Super Shisa while still in the air and headscissors Super Shisa out of the ring. Beautiful. YOSSINO attacks Dragon Kid, Irish whip from the corner, but Horiguchi runs in and headscissors YOSSINO out of the ring while Dragon Kid hits a hurricanrana from the apron down on Super Shisa. Horiguchi then goes off the far ropes and flies out of the ring with a somersault tope suicida on YOSSINO. Back in the ring, Mori and TOKYO face off. TOKYO gets Mori in a corner, Irish whip, reversed, but TOKYO flips over and knees Mori in the face. TOKYO puts Mori up the top turnbuckle and nails his Gyrating Frankensteiner. Cover, but it only gets a two count. TOKYO goes off the ropes, but Mori gets him down with a delayed DDT. Mori gets back to his feet, but Dragon Kid comes off the top turnbuckle with a hurricanrana. This brings in YOSSINO, Irish whip by YOSSINO on Dragon Kid, but Super Shisa intercepts them. Double Irish whip, but Horiguchi comes in the ring with a springboard dropkick on YOSSINO and Super Shisa. Mori goes for a missile dropkick from the top turnbuckle on Horiguchi, but Horiguchi steps out of the way. H-A-G-E! Irish whip by Horiguchi to Mori from the corner, Dragon Kid hits a spinning heel kick, Horiguchi hits a somersault, and TOKYO comes in last with a clothesline. Dragon Kid goes off the ropes, and hits a multiple rotation DDT on Mori. Cover, but it only gets a two count. TOKYO goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. Cover, but YOSSINO breaks it up. Horiguchi picks up Mori, but Mori rolls him up for two. Horiguchi goes for a backslide, Mori rolls out of it, but Horiguchi ducks a punch and holds Mori for TOKYO. Mori avoids TOKYO’s kick however, and is hit instead. Mori tries to roll-up TOKYO, can’t get him over, but Super Shisa runs in the ring and rolls up TOKYO successfully for two. TOKYO reverses the roll-up and he gets a two count as well. YOSSINO comes running in and gets a sunset flip on TOKYO, but he also only gets a two count. Super Shisa is back, he rolls up TOKYO, but he also gets two. YOSSINO hits a chop on TOKYO and applies an arm submission, and Super Shisa rolls up TOKYO (with a headstand) for two. TOKYO gets Super Shisa in a waistlock, Super Shisa gets out of it with elbows, but TOKYO hits an enzigieri. TOKYO goes for a pump handle slam, but Super Shisa reverses it into the Yoshi Tonic for the three count. Your winners: Anthony W. Mori, Super Shisa, and YOSSINO
Post match: Super Shisa talks on the mic, but is rudely interrupted by Tanisaki. YOSSINO is still in the ring as well, and he slaps Tanisaki, but Horiguchi dropkicks YOSSINO and grabs the microphone. After talking for a moment, Tanisaki kicks him down and continues his own tirade. TOKYO talks as well, but no more blows are thrown.
Match Thoughts: Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Certainly a fun match, and a good representation on the essence of Dragon Gate. It started with a bit of comedy, which the crowd really got into. Then we had a phase where they were actually tagging in and we had solid one vs. one action, and we ended with a giant cluster with different wrestlers hitting their big moves until one came out on top. I wish there was a little long-term selling (as I usually do), but the way this match was structured it really wasn’t needed. My biggest complaint is that the ending sequence I think took way too long, it probably took Shisa a good 10 seconds to reverse the pump handle slam to the Yoshi Tonic as he had to go all the way around TOKYO’s back while in mid-air to make the reversal. With such a fast pace match, it just seemed to go against what they had been working towards, I was expecting a “flash” pin of some sort since wrestlers were flying all over the place. All the other moves were hit flawlessly however (I think I might have popped a little for the transferred headscissors, which doesn’t happen with me too often), and all six wrestlers looked very impressive. I already liked Dragon Kid, but Super Shisa in particular really stood out in this match. Overall an entertaining match for sure though, and like I said it’s a good example of what Dragon Gate wrestling is. Score: 6.9
Next they showed a match from 10/28/01 (a mega flashback if you will) that crowned the UWA Six Man Tag Team Championships. This is to help hype the final match tonight, which is for the interim Truth Gate Championship. Normally I would recap it, but the match is literally cut in half (11 minutes of 21 minutes shown), which is just a bit too much. Since it is not part of the actual event shown, I will just let it slide, but it is a very good match from what they showed us.
Daniel Mishima vs. Ryo Saito
They circle each other to start, tie-up, Mishima gets Saito into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up, waistlock by Saito, reversed by Mishima, Saito applies an arm wrench, but Mishima flips out of it. Single leg takedown by Saito, and he applies a leg lock. Mishima slowly get to his feet and applies a side headlock, Saito Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither budging. Mishima goes off the ropes with the same result, goes off again, but this time Saito hits a hip toss and then shoulderblocks him down. Stomp to the gut by Saito and he pounds on Mishima’s back. Irish whip by Saito, he hits an elbow strike, cover, but it only gets two. Saito applies a reverse chinlock, but Mishima gets a foot on the ropes to break the hold. They exchange chops as Mishima gets to his feet, Saito hits a scoop slam, but Mishima immediately pops back up and kicks Saito into the corner. Choke by Mishima in the corner, he picks Saito up and elbows him in the back of the head. Slap by Mishima, Saito slaps him back though and pounds him in the back before kicking him in the head. Another kick by Saito, scoop slam, and he drops an elbow. Cover, but Mishima kicks out. Saito applies a modified single leg crab (more like an old-school Lion Tamer), but Mishima makes it to the ropes. Saito kicks Mishima in the head a few times, and stomps him in the chest. Back up, Saito chops Mishima in the corner, Irish whip, but Mishima avoids his charge. Twice Saito kicks Mishima away when he comes at him, Saito goes up top, but when he jumps off he is met with a jumping knee strike by Mishima. Spinning heel kick by Mishima, Saito rolls out of the ring, and Mishima follows him out with a pescado. Mishima throws Saito back in the ring and stomps him in the back. Chops in the corner by Mishima, Irish whip, and he hits a jumping knee in the corner followed by a quick suplex. Cover, but Saito kicks out. Mishima picks up Saito, Irish whip, reversed, but Mishima applies an abdominal stretch. Saito makes it to the ropes, Mishima goes for a suplex, but Saito lands on his feet. Saito hits an overhead belly to belly suplex, goes for his Fisherman Express (two rolling fisherman suplexes followed by a fisherman buster), Mishima temporarily blocks the final buster, but Saito nails it anyway. Mishima gets quickly gets back to his feet though, knee to the head, and Mishima hits a backdrop driver for two. Mishima applies a crossface submission hold, but Saito makes it to the ropes. Back up, strikes by Mishima, he goes for another backdrop driver, but Saito reverses it into a German suplex for two. Saito goes for a Dragon Suplex, but Mishima rolls him up for a two count. Mishima goes off the ropes, goes for a jumping knee, but Saito blocks it and nails the Dragon Suplex for the three count pinfall. Your winner: Daniel Mishima
Post match: Horiguchi makes an appearance, and hits a Beach Break on Mishima. Iwasa tries to help, but he gets kicked back outside. Horiguchi gets on the microphone and talks with Mishima
Match Thoughts: Saito is currently the leader of Do Fixer, although at the time of this event he was the #2 man. Mishima is one of the Florida Bros., but as you could tell is currently wrestling seriously and not in comedy matches like his partner Iwasa. I can’t say this match did much for me, there really wasn’t any flow to it and I didn’t like the no selling. As I have said in the past, there are many times that no selling is a great visual, but I tend to like it when either both wrestlers are doing it or the wrestler does a delayed sell instead of not selling the move at all. Here, Mishima twice flat out didn’t sell something (one of which was one of Saito’s bigger moves) and not only did Saito not ever return the favor but Mishima didn’t even do the delayed sell to make Saito look good. Something like that really hurts the match and doesn’t add anything besides changing the momentum for no real reason. To me it is a cop-out for not having a well-planned transition spot. To their credit both the wrestlers hit their moves fluidly, but the match itself was lacking. Score: 3.7
CIMA, Naruki Doi, and Shingo Takagi vs. K-ness, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Susumu Yokosuka
This match is for the (interim) Triangle Gate Championship. It features Blood Generation versus Final M2K. Blood Gen jumps M2K as the bell rings, and the match is under way. They take it to the outside, as K-ness takes Doi towards the back. K-ness goes to Irish whip Doi into the back wall, but it is reversed and K-ness goes hard shoulder-first into the wall. K-ness is rolled back in the ring, and CIMA wrenches on his injured arm. Key lock suplex by CIMA, he gets a chair, holds it by K-ness’s shoulder, and Doi dropkicks the chair into his shoulder. Arai comes roaring out of the back and tackles Doi, CIMA pins him down, but the referee loses all control as all seven men brawl in the ring. Tired of the carnage, the referee calls for the bell and throws the match out. Winners: No one?
The brawling continues, as Final M2K tries to get help for K-ness. Blood Generation says that they won, but the referee informs them that they have not. Arai gets on the microphone to retort, and it is decided that the match will be restarted with Arai in K-ness’s place.
(K-ness was too injured to compete in the first place, so they did this angle to take him out of the match and insert a different member of Final M2K in his place.)
Kenichiro Arai, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Susumu Yokosuka vs. CIMA, Naruki Doi, and Shingo Takagi
This match is for the (interim) Triangle Gate Championship. Final M2K rushes the ring as the bell rings, and the match is on. They all go outside the ring to continue brawling, as Yokosuka takes CIMA into the back and throws him into the same wall the K-ness was thrown in earlier. Takagi attacks Yokosuka with chairs, but Arai comes to his aid. Arai throws Doi into the apron and brings him into the ring. Chop by Arai, and Doi returns fire. They exchange chops, but Doi rakes his eyes and shoulderblocks him down. Quick dropkick by Arai, and Doi falls out of the ring. Arai tags in Yokosuka as CIMA comes in for Doi. CIMA hits a high dropkick on Yokosuka, Irish whip, but Yokosuka avoids the dropkick this time and nails a spinning backbreaker. CIMA rolls out, and now the final two face off. Chop by Mochizuki on Takagi, Takagi chops him back, kick to the leg by Mochizuki, Irish whip by Takagi, but the shoulderblock yields no results. They continue pushing each other, which Takagi eventually wins by knocking Mochizuki to the mat. Mochizuki doesn’t stay down for long, Takagi goes off the ropes, kick by Mochizuki, snapmare, and he kicks him in the back. Stiff kick to the face by Mochizuki, Doi comes in for Takagi, but he gets a hard kick to the head as well. Mochizuki stomps on Doi, scoop slam, and he tags in Arai. Arai comes off the top with a double ax handle on Doi, and stomps him in the back of the head. Irish whip by Arai and he hits an elbow. Cover, but Doi kicks out. Arai kicks Doi while he is kneeling on the mat and tags in Yokosuka. Irish whip by Yokosuka and he knees Doi in the stomach. Yokosuka goes for a suplex, but Doi pushes Yokosuka back into his own corner and tags in Takagi. Takagi and CIMA both attack Yokosuka while he is in the corner, and CIMA comes in the ring to continue his assault. CIMA puts Yokosuka up in the tree of woe and applies pressure to his lower midsection. Doi chokes Yokosuka from the outside, but the referee gets him back to his corner. CIMA continues the choking and slaps Yokosuka in the face. Yokosuka gets back to his feet, but CIMA kicks him low. CIMA slams Yokosuka into his corner, and Yokosuka is attacked by all the members of Blood Generation. Scoop slam by Takagi on Yokosuka and he hits an elevated knee drop. Cover, but it only gets two. Reverse chinlock by Takagi and he rakes Yokosuka in the eyes. Takagi applies a front facelock, but Yokosuka hits a scoop slam and tags in Mochizuki. Arai comes in as well, double Irish whip, and they hit a double chop. Strikes by Arai to Takagi in the corner, Irish whip, and Arai knees Takagi in the face. Backbreaker by Arai, and Mochizuki comes off the top with a knee drop. Mochizuki puts Takagi up in the tree of woe and kicks him repeatedly in the chest. Headbutt by Mochizuki and he kicks him hard in the corner. Cocky cover, and it gets two. Mochizuki tags in Arai, Yokosuka comes in the ring as well, double Irish whip, and they hit a double back elbow. Another double Irish whip, and this time Yokosuka and Arai hold Takagi upside down for Mochizuki so that he can hit a hard kick to the chest. Cover by Arai, but the referee is too busy with Blood Gen to make the count. Mochizuki comes in the ring, scoop slam by Mochizuki and he applies a single leg crab to Takagi. Doi tries to come to his aid, but Arai intercepts him. Takagi gets to the ropes, Irish whip by Mochizuki to the corner, Takagi gets his foot up when Mochizuki charges and goes to the second turnbuckle, but Mochizuki kicks him as he comes off. Mochizuki goes for a suplex, but Takagi reverses it into one of his own and tags in CIMA. Yokosuka greets CIMA with a kick, Irish whip to the corner, but CIMA headscissors Yokosuka into the second turnbuckle. CIMA puts Yokosuka up top and goes for a superplex, but Yokosuka pushes him off and delivers a snap suplex to CIMA. Cover, but it gets a two count. Yokosuka goes off the ropes, but CIMA hits a drop toehold, then jumps off of Yokosuka to dropkick Mochizuki (who had just come in the ring). Back to Yokosuka, Irish whip by CIMA, reversed, and Yokosuka hits a drop toehold. Yokosuka then tries to do the same thing that CIMA just did, but Takagi moves out of the way of the dropkick. Takagi goes for a dragon suplex on Yokosuka, Yokosuka spins out of it, but Takagi nails a STO and applies his MANRIKI hold. Yokosuka slowly inches to the ropes and finally he makes it. Stomp to the back by Takagi, he picks Yokosuka up, Irish whip, and he hits a backbreaker followed by a DDT. Cover, but Yokosuka kicks out. Takagi tags in Doi, who promptly drops an elbow on Yokosuka. After a few stomps he picks Yokosuka up, hits a series of strikes, but Yokosuka gets fired up and returns with a staggering blow. Irish whip by Yokosuka, reversed, he kicks Doi in the chest, but Doi fires back with an elbow strike and gets a two count cover. Doi tags in Takagi, CIMA comes in as well, Irish whip by Takagi and he slams Yokosuka into the mat. Yokosuka then sets up Takagi in a catapult and flings him to CIMA and Doi, who hit a double Complete Shot. Takagi holds down Yokosuka, as he is kicked repeatedly into the mat by CIMA and Doi. CIMA stays in the ring with Yokosuka and applies a leg submission. Doi kicks Yokosuka while he is in the hold, but Yokosuka still manages to make it to the ropes. CIMA picks up Yokosuka and headbutts him against the ropes. He then holds Yokosuka across the ropes for Doi, who jumps over his back and down on Yokosuka. Doi then does the same for Takagi, Doi holds Yokosuka again, and CIMA comes off the top turnbuckle with a double stomp. Cover by Doi, but it only gets a two count. Irish whip by CIMA from the corner, CIMA hits a double knee strike, Doi hits a forearm, and Takagi comes in last with a clothesline. Yokosuka sure is taking a lot of punishment here. Takagi puts Yokosuka up on his shoulders, CIMA goes up top, but Yokosuka ducks the crossbody and flips Takagi into the second turnbuckle. Finally able to roll out of the ring, he does so, and his team mates storm the ring. Mochizuki and Arai go to Irish whip Doi and Takagi into each other, Doi and Takagi reverse it, but Mochizuki and Arai avoid each other and charge back at Doi and Takagi. Both Mochizuki and Arai hit a boot to the face, and Arai flies out onto Takagi with a tope. In the ring, Mochizuki kicks Doi hard in the chest repeatedly, Doi hangs in there at first, but eventually goes down. Mochizuki picks up the limp Doi, Irish whip to the corner, but it is reversed by Doi and he rakes Mochizuki in the eyes. Doi goes for a front bodyscissors, Mochizuki gets out of it, Doi then goes for a German suplex, but Mochizuki lands on his feet. CIMA comes running in, he goes for a German suplex, but again Mochizuki lands on his feet. Double Irish whip by CIMA and Doi, but Mochizuki ducks the clothesline and kicks them both. Mochizuki goes of the ropes, but he is met with a double dropkick and falls out of the ring. Doi follows him out with a tope, back in the ring CIMA goes for a tombstone on Arai, it is reversed multiple times, and Arai ends up nailing the move. Arai goes up top, but his old friend Don Fuiji grabs his leg, allowing CIMA to recover and hit an Iconoclasm. CIMA goes up top for a mad splash, but Yokosuka grabs him from the apron. This gives Arai time to recover and he hits a jawbreaker on CIMA from the second rope. Arai goes for a Tiger Suplex, but CIMA kicks him low to get out of it. Doi bounces off the ropes, but Yokosuka grabs his leg from the outside. Yokosuka comes in the ring the same time Takagi does, Irish whip by Takagi from the corner, Yokosuka gets his foot up when he charges, but Takagi gets Yokosuka down with an armdrag. Takagi goes for a clothesline, it doesn’t work, he goes for another, and Yokosuka catches him with a cross armbreaker. Takagi shows his strength by lifting Yokosuka off the mat and hitting a sit-down powerbomb, cover, but it only gets a two count. Takagi picks up Yokosuka and goes for the Last Falcony, but Yokosuka elbow out of it. Takagi goes off the ropes now, but Yokosuka ducks the clothesline and Takagi is kicked hard from the apron by Mochizuki. Mochizuki comes in the ring, double Irish whip, and Yokosuka hits a drop toehold. Arai then hits a springboard knee drop from the apron, and Mochizuki kicks Takagi hard in the chest. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Yokosuka gets Takagi to his feet, CIMA runs in and goes for the Schwein on Yokosuka, but Mochizuki springboards off the side ropes and kicks CIMA in the head before he can complete the move. Arai spits liquor in CIMA’s face as he nears the ropes, Yokosuka charges CIMA, but CIMA nails a Nakayubi. Doi comes in the ring, but Mochizuki catches him with a dropkick before he can do anything. Yokosuka goes off the ropes and hits a clothesline on Doi, Mochizuki nails the Twister, cover, but Doi barely kicks out. Mochizuki gets Doi to his feet and goes for a brainbuster, Doi gets out of it, Mochizuki kicks Doi to the mat, but Takagi kills him with a lariat. Takagi gets Mochizuki to his feet, CIMA brings in a chair, Takagi puts Mochizuki on his shoulders and CIMA comes off the top rope with a chair shot. Takagi nails a sit-down powerbomb, cover, but Mochizuki kicks out. CIMA hits a quick kick on Mochizuki, connects with the Schwein, cover, but Yokosuka breaks it up. Doi picks up Mochizuki and hits the Doi 555. With Mochizuki kneeling, Doi bounces off the side ropes and takes off his head with a Bakatare Sliding Kick. Cover by Doi, and he gets the three count pinfall! You winners and new (interim) champions: CIMA, Naruki Doi, and Shingo Takagi
Match Thoughts: A very entertaining main event, as we got to see the more “serious” side of Dragon Gate. No dancers, no sound makers, no chants…. just solid hard hitting action. Mochizuki lays in kicks so hard that even Tajiri would cringe, and Yokosuka took a man-sized beating for his team. Similar to the last six man tag, the first half of the match was very structured, but the ending was chaos with wrestlers from both teams running in and trying to make the difference to pull off the victory. While the craziness can seem random at times, it was clear that all the wrestlers knew what their role was and there really wasn’t a miscue or hiccup in the entire match. Even though Mochizuki at the time (and still is) the main champion in Dragon Gate, it took a lot to get him pinned, including getting hit with two different finishers in under a minute. Overall a lot of fun, and after this I am tempted to pick up more Dragon Gate in the future. Score: 7.9
Let me just say that for my first Dragon Gate experience, I was very impressed. It can be difficult getting into a new promotion, but from reading about the wrestlers and watching other isolated matches I had enough of a feel for Dragon Gate that after a few matches it didn’t seem foreign anymore. All the wrestlers did well in their roles, and the last match, while not a classic, was non-stop action from the original opening bell to the end. Originally I was going to just give the event a Recommended, but then I remembered the special six man match that I did not recap, which I think is good enough to tip it up to the next level. I am not claiming that this is the best Dragon Gate event ever. But for only 3.99 I think that it is a good event to pick up since it is a solid representation on everything that Dragon Gate has to offer.
Moves in italics can be seen at www.wrestlingencyclopedia.com, under the “puroresu wrestling clips” section. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks.