Welcome back to Dragon Gate as we are now in the final round of the King of Gate tournament where we have YAMATO taking on Masato Yoshino. The winner will face Masaaki Mochizuki the next day for the Open the Dream Gate Championship.
The tournament as a whole has been incredibly lackluster and I probably won’t cover their next one due to how poorly the network handled it, but I will however still be covering certain shows along with the big ones. Let’s get this started and just…dive right in.
Tag Team Match
K-ness & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Natural Vibes (Punch Tominaga & YASSHI)
Review: It feels weird that the companies big champion is the opening contest in these last recent shows, but I guess it’s just how they work. K-ness would rip off Punch’s do-rag off of his head and once that happens, we get Punch abuse by K-ness just slapping the bald spot on his head any chance he would get and it happens quite a lot, even Mochizuki does it a couple of times too, but Punch abuse gets the crowd laughing. Also, Brother YASSHI, what are you doing grabbing their dicks in the match like they’re Joey Ryan? I mean I get that it’s a distraction, but couldn’t rake their eyes or something instead of grabbing and raking the dicks, man?
The match would feel a bit slow at times despite some of the humor they had in the match involving Punch, but also a few sloppy spots in there to hurt the match a little bit. Near the end of the match, Punch and Mochizuki would be in the ring with Punch going for a few strikes and Mochizuki slapping the bald spot on his head along with a few stiff kicks until he hits the Saikyo High Kick to knock Punch out and win the match for him and K-ness.
Recommended: Average match, so unless you like seeing Punch get abused, skip it.
Shun Skywalker vs. Susumu Yokosuka
Review: We got Shun in singles action as he would take on Susumu Yokosuka. Susumu would go up to the referee when he comes into the ring and leans over on him once he was standing on the ropes with the ref between his legs, but once he got down, he saw a kid in the ring holding the flowers as he took them since I guess he wanted to feel pretty and he took a picture with the fan.
The match, for the most part, was solid for what they did since they were crisp with their spots and just had a nice flow with their chemistry here. Shun is someone that keeps on improving in the ring and I feel like he could be a big player in the upcoming years, but I’m still not a fan of his in-ring attire and I guess it’s mostly just due to the colors of it that throw me off than anything else. I don’t know why it happened, but when Susumu would have Shun in a Powerbomb position, he would just smack his ass a few times like he owned it, Natural Vibes is being weird today…well weirder. The last couple of minutes I enjoyed a lot with Susumu attempting to for the Lariat a few times, but Shun would roll him up quickly for a roll up, but no prevail there, but he would go for it the second time and still no luck. Once Shun got up, he got hit with a stiff Lariat for a two count. Susumu would eventually hit the Jumbo No Kachi on Shun and gets the win.
Recommended: It was pretty solid, I would say it’s worth at least a view.
Ben-K vs. Yasushi Kanda
Review: We now have Ben-K taking on ANTIAS member, Yasushi Kanda in out next singles match and the last time these two fought in the ring during the King of Gate tournament, Ben-K would defeat him by countout and I guess he looks to try and get an actual win over him this time.
We had Kanda attacking Ben before the announcer would finish saying his name and took Ben to the outside so he could try to knock him down a little as the bell rang. Once they got back inside, Ben would get the upper hand on Kanda for a brief moment and use his power to try and knock him down, but it wouldn’t last long as Kanda would send Ben back to the outside again and I feel like they already overdid it since they did it a total of four times this match and wasn’t really spaced out either, so it did hurt the match a lot to me in my opinion. ANTIAS is becoming how Suzuki-Gun was in NOAH where they would do this stuff in almost every match and during times when it’s just not needed and becomes overkill for me. It looked like they’re still protecting the Ben-K Bomb when he wouldn’t hit it again, but would eventually Spear Kanda to try and pin him only for ANTIAS to run in and start assaulting Ben-K.
The beat down would only happen for a while til Over Generation came out to make the save as they have a big match set for July between the two units as the loser of that match would disband. The referee would rule the bout a no contest.
Recommended: I love Ben-K, but the match was pretty awful.
Tag Team Match
Don Fujii & Ryo Saito vs. Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi & Kzy)
Review: The last time these two teams fought was in a six-man tag with Saito getting the surprise win and it looks like they’ll be fighting again in a regular tag team bout this time around. I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t do the Natural Vibes dance and I know they did it for the opening bout, but I wanted to see it again.
If you’ve seen the previous match between the teams, then it’s pretty similar with the mixture of comedy and other spots throughout the match, but no Fujii hitting Saito with a water bottle again, he knew better or we get that face again. That’s what I love about Ryo Saito, he’s not only hilarious, but he tells a story with his comedy and wrestling, but he knows how to do it so well and that’s why the fans are so behind him when he’s in the ring. The chemistry between Kzy and Genki is probably my favorite of the two out of the whole Natural Vibes unit just by how they do their moves together and the flow of their teamwork. The match was a lot of fun since we got nice spots and humor in here, but Kzy would get payback this time as he does the Skyade Schoolboy on Saito to pick up the win. After the match, Saito would tell Kzy that he wants a match for the Open the Triangle Gate Championships in which Kzy accepted, but no official date for the match yet.
Recommended: Very entertaining match and a ton of fun, worth a view.
Six Man Tag Team Match
MaxiMuM (Big R Shimizu, Jason Lee & Naruki Doi) vs. Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk, Kagetora & Yosuke ♡ Santa Maria)
Review: This is a mostly for hyping up the Open the Twin Gate Championship match as both Yosuke and Kagetora are scheduled to fight Big R and Ben-K for the titles the next day as well and I don’t know why Ben just wasn’t booked for this match instead of being in that match against Kanda since it did nothing for him, but oh well.
When are people gonna learn not to pick up Jason Lee from behind when he’s in his meditating position? Because he’s just gonna Arm Drag you every time you try to pick him up from behind, so stop trying it even though it’s still cool to see regardless. Soon as Yosuke got into the ring and Naruki was tagged in, Jason and Big R just backed away for a moment because they don’t wanna deal with him since they know what he’s about. People may not like the type of gimmick Yosuke is doing, but I personally love it and is a damn good worker on top of that, I’m glad he’s being used more. Very fun match with everyone playing their part and the highlight for moe out of the six here is Kagetora because he started exploding with his offense throughout the match, especially with Jason Lee. There was one cool spot with Big R going for a Powerbomb on Yosuke and it got reversed when he was high into the air Leg Dropping him on the way down, but only got a two count with that one. Big R went to go for his Shot Put on Yosuke, but it got reversed into the Neraiuchi which looked insane as he pinned Big R to get that much-needed momentum for tomorrow’s show.
Recommended: I enjoyed this one a lot, definitely watch.
Six Man Tag Team Match
ANTIAS (Eita, Shingo Takagi & Takashi Yoshida) vs. Over Generation (Dragon Kid, Gamma & Kaito Ishida)
Review: It looks like we’re gonna get a little preview here with a six-man tag between the two units to hype up what’s to come sometime in July, how as to who should disband? That’s really a tough call since both of them should split up, especially with CIMA leaving to help out his Chinese promotion OWE, but ANTIAS has been doing pretty bad lately and wouldn’t mind them disbanding as well, however, the only problem is that they’re really the only heel faction right now and if they did disband, then there’s really no heel team.
Enough with attacking them to go to the outside once the bell rings! Here and there I don’t mind it if it’s spread out or anything, but the fact they did like four in Ben/Kanda that it already made this one feel a bit forced this time and it’s at the point where it’s incredibly annoying. Despite that, the match actually does get good since ANTIAS did get some nice heat into the match with Over Generation getting some strong offense in as well. One funny little spot I liked was when Dragon and Kaito would pin Eita down on the mat while Gamma was on the top turnbuckle and spits water down on him as if he was a little fountain or something and after seeing how Eita did during the whole King of Gate, he deserved it. Something that annoyed me between Eita and Dragon Kid is that they actually did better during their encounter in this match than their actual King of Gate tournament match where it was one of the worst matches in the entire tournament, which is a shame too since they’re both great workers and I hope we can an actual match soon, but we might if it’s for the Open the Brave Gate Championship. When they were going for their last moments in the ring, Dragon would hit the Bible on Eita to get the win for Over Generation.
Recommended: Solid match, worth a watch.
King Of Gate 2018 Final Match
Masato Yoshino vs. YAMATO
Review: Here we are as this is the final round of the King of Gate tournament as it comes down to A Block winner, YAMATO and D Block winner, Masato Yoshino. Both men are no strangers to the Open the Dream Gate Championship also as YAMATO has won it four times while Masato has won it three times. YAMATO defeated Naruki Doi in a fantastic match to advance while Masato defeated Takashi Yoshida to make it here as well. Last year, T-Hawk would be the winner of King of Gate to fight YAMATO who was the champion at the time but failed to capture the title. With YAMATO in the finals, he wants to win the whole thing so he can get that rematch against Mochizuki to try and take back what he feels is rightfully his, but he needs to beat Masato first who hasn’t won that belt in three years. Who needs the win more? Who will win the King of Gate 2018 tournament and who will fight Masaaki Mochizuki tomorrow for the Open the Dream Gate Championship? We’re about to find out, right now.
The match would start off with some slow chain wrestling with Masato actually controlling the majority of it as he would work on YAMATO’s arms for a moment and being smart by just working on that body part mostly since it could cut down his arsenal quite a bit if he damages the arm enough. YAMATO would eventually find a way to get some time to breathe as he went for a Crucifix for a two count but would catch Masato into a Crossface the moment he kicked out, but there would be a rope break. The two would eventually have a chop battle going back and forth, but it looks like YAMATO had the upper hand when he applied a Guillotine choke on Masato to slow him down while wrenching the arms a little bit in the process. Masato would attempt to go for a Reverserana, but he goes to choke YAMATO with his legs while he was over the ropes and while the referee was calling for the five count, Masato would move him over to the other side of the rope to choke him out again before letting go. Masato would get control again as he applies the Black Widow for a moment and turns it into a Sunset Flip for YAMATO to kick out and hits a beautiful yet quick Sling Blade the minute YAMATO got up. Masato would run at YAMATO again only to be caught in a Tombstone position and hits a Fire Thunder Driver for a two count. Masato would apply his Sol Naciente to try and make YAMATO tap out and it almost worked since he fell down almost unconscious, but he got back up and hits the Ragnarok for a two count. Masato would get back up and hits the La Mistica and a Torbellino Crucifix to get the pin as Masato Yoshino has won the King of Gate!
My thoughts on the match was that there were times that it was slow, but around the middle and on is when it started to pick up to be a great match and if it had that flow from beginning to end, then this would’ve been the best match out of the whole tournament and a worthy final, but I would have to give it to YAMATO and Naruki Doi for being the best match of the tournament. Masato winning this one was a shocker for me since I felt like it should’ve been YAMATO to get that anticipated rematch between him and Mochizuki, but I can’t be mad with the result, so congrats to both of these men and we’ll see if Masato will be the one who will dethrone the champion.
Recommended: Definitely worth a watch.
Overall: The show was a rather entertaining one as we had some good matches with one horrible match, but it was a good show for the final and a great main event. Now we find out what happens the next day as we have two title matches to cover.
Favorite Match: Masato Yoshino vs. YAMATO
Least Favorite Match: Ben-K vs. Yasushi Kanda
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 4 B Block
Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?
Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?
Sapporo is a fun city for the main event, with a lot of general history.
Will Ospreay having a neck injury means he’s not working the undercard tonight.
Those are probably the two points that matter the most. So I guess let’s get to the show!
- Jyushin Thunder Liger & Kota Ibushi vs Yota Tsuji & Shota Umino: Ibushi wins via Half Boston Crab @8:20 – **
- Toa Henare, Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA: BUSHI wins via MX @7:20 – ** 1/2
- Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Lance Archer vs KENTA, Clark Connors, Karl Fredricks & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @11:30 – ***
- Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI: Okada wins via Rainmaker @8:45 – ** 1/4
- Block B: Shingo Takagi vs Toru Yano: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @6:15 – ** 3/4
- Block B: Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto: Juice wins via Pulp Friction @12:20 – *** 1/2
- Block B: Jon Moxley vs Jeff Cobb: Moxley wins via Draping Deathrider @8:55 – *** 1/4
- Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brainbuster @19:15 – **** 1/2
- Block B: Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito: Taichi wins via Last Ride @21:00 – *** 3/4
Liger and Ibushi take on Young Lions because Will Ospreay is nursing an injury. So this was unexpected, but who’s gonna argue with some Liger? Bare bones basic Young Lion match, but Liger and Ibushi kept the interest high.
EVIL and SANADA are facing one another on Thursday, but they were on the same team tonight. Part of this story was BUSHI remaining to look strong since the end of the BOSJ, while EVIL and SANADA had the tension building up. Instead of the LIJ fist bump after the win, EVIL tries to cheap shot SANADA, SANADA counters and then they have a stand off.
This Suzuki-Gun match was beautiful. It was just a gang fight, with each member of Suzuki-Gun taking someone off and Lance Archer even joined commentary at some point. House show quality match was a good way to describe this, but it was still fun and got across the point for future matches and just great character work.
It might be a little mean to say, but YOSHI-HASHI is in this match, so who cares? Chase Owens does prove why he’s the glue that holds Bullet Club together. He’s a great tag team player and this year he’s looked a lot better than he has in the past. So we’ve got an alright match, Okada wasn’t gonna eat a pin, but I guess they wanted to protect YOSHI a little, so Chase ate the Rainmaker.
Shingo proved he watched the Naito match by trying to get Yano to take off his shirt. Anyone who saw Shingo in Dragon Gate knows he’s got some comedy chops being a former…wait…the current, Open the Owarai Gate champion (Owarai means comedy). Shirt, wrist tape and turnbuckle shenanigans ensue, but the right person won. Shingo gets on the board and doesn’t suffer the shame of getting bamboozled.
This tends to be an issue with Goto and Juice a lot of the time. By this, I mean boredom. Goto and Juice have bumped heads a few times and they both try very hard, but they aren’t exciting together. Juice being a quirky but not overly animated just means you get a snarky line and one move that may be entertaining (usually Left Hand of God) and then the action stalls. So both did good work, it was a tough match, but it wasn’t really anything crazy. Solid enough match though.
Moxley focused on Cobb’s left shoulder, so the story was to take out Cobb’s power and try to figure out how to end the match. We saw another solid match, and Moxley gets across more of his character. He does borderline heel tactics and then apologizes to the referee. So this brawling, unstable babyface is an old school gimmick in Japan, but not often seen in New Japan. It’s nice to watch, and Moxley taking advantage of Cobb’s positioning to hit the Draping Dirty Deathriding Paradigm DDT.
Jay White starts off against two of the heavier hitters from Chaos, his former stable. After taking Goto lightly, Ishii comes into this match after a big win over Jeff Cobb. White came into the match less relaxed, but still playing up his smarmy character. Ishii laid into Jay the whole match, where Jay tried to outsmart the Stone Pitbull, but Jay isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. A great match with well placed false finishes and a lot of tension. Fantastic back and forth, plus Ishii picking up the win is something special.
There were so many story threads going on here. Sapporo is the place of their Intercontinental Championship match earlier in the year where Taichi had Takashi Iizuka interfere. Iizuka left the Iron Fingers for Taichi, but he hasn’t used them in the 6 months he’s had them. This was a great struggle of wrestlers who were once rivals, but Naito has since eclipsed Taichi. Hell, Taichi even hit a Ganso Bomb, shades of his mentor Toshiaki Kawada. References, call backs and a solid match from a story telling perspective. Work rate might not have been fantastic, but that’s the beauty of professional wrestling being more than the moves in the ring. Plus part of the fun of Taichi matches is watch Miho Abe react, since she’s such a lovely devoted valet.
Overall Score: 6.75/10
A lot of this show was driven by the stories and the historical threads between participants, opposed to the in-ring action. I appreciate the mixture of angles that New Japan shows attack with. Many newer fans just know NJPW for great hard hitting work rate, but the beauty of puroresu in general is how deep the stories go.
Sometimes the wrestlers reference things from their mentors/trainers, sometimes it’s just a story line from the isolationist politics that each puro company has dabbled with or sometimes it goes all the way back to when someone was a Young Boy in a dojo. The layers are there for those who wish to know, so part of the fun in nights like this, are what personally floats your boat.
The show was the weakest so far, but there were plenty of satisfying moments outside of ring work.
B Block Standings:
- Tomohiro Ishii – 2-0 (4 Points)
- Jon Moxley – 2-0 (4 Points)
- Juice Robinson – 2-0 (4 Points)
- Toru Yano – 1-1 (2 Points)
- Hirooki Goto – 1-1 (2 Points)
- Shingo Takagi – 1-1 (2 Points)
- Taichi – 1-1 (2 Points)
- Jay White – 0-2 (0 Points)
- Jeff Cobb – 0-2 (0 Points)
- Tetsuya Naito – 0-2 (0 Points)
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.43 ~ 14TH JULY 2019
Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!
Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
After a long break in which it was thought that due to the silence coming from the roster, they had all gone on a short summer break, NOAH returned on the 12th July to hold a show in Tokorozawa.
In Global Junior Tag League, YO-HEY defeated Junta Miyawaki (although he did praise him afterwards in a rambling promo), and Chris Ridgeway defeated fellow STINGER, Kotaro Suzuki by making him tap.
Minoru Tanaka vs Daisuke Harada for Global Junior League, was the main event of the evening, and what a match it was. They pulled everything out of every drawer they had, Tanaka worked on Harada’s knee, while Harada worked on the neck. The match went to a thirty minute draw, and both spoke afterwards about it. Minoru Tanaka says that he won today, and he will win the league. He also mentioned that he wants to see more junior matches main event shows.
Daisuke Harada said that he would not let “that stranger” win, and he would challenge for the belt again, whether the fans liked it or not.
Takashi Sugiura and Hajime Ohara took on Masao Inoue and Kinya Okada, and there was the usual amusing Inoue\Sugiura interplay. Earlier in the evening, joining in with Marufuji not remembering Kenoh’s name, and vice versa, Takashi Sugiura joined in, but changed it so that he couldn’t remember Masao Inoue’s name. Inoue is a sufferer of gout, and naturally Sugiura targeted his foot by keeping him in the ankle lock after Kinya Okada had tapped, and then when his arms were lifted in victory, he continued stamping on Inoue’s foot.
Speaking of Marufuji and Kenoh, Kenoh (when the team of Marufuji, Yoshinari Ogawa, Hiroshi Yamato and Keisuke Ishii took on Kongoh), timed it just right when Marufuji bounced into the ring, landed and turned so that he was there waiting for him, and they both got in each others face. Inamura was chopped to ribbons.
As Go Shiozaki was still absent (he will return to the ring on the 15th), Katsuhiko Nakajima came to the ring carrying both of the tag belts. As he said at the match signing which took place on the 13th June, he was preparing more for the GHC Heavyweight than the singles, and so he started the match off against Kaito Kiyomiya. However, it wasn’t Nakajima who took the win, but Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex on Hi69.
Tokorozawa City Gymnasium, Sub Arena (12th July 2019)
Post match promos – 12th July 2019
Current Global Junior League Scores (as of July 14th 2019)
Minoru Tanaka 5
Daisuke Harada 3
Yoshinari Ogawa 2
Junta Miyawaki 0
Chris Ridgeway 4
Hajime Ohara 2
Hitoshi Kumano 2
Kotaro Suzuki 0
In keeping in the theme of using pets on merchandise (a silhouette of one of Hitoshi Kumano’s little French Bulldog appeared on the back of one of his t-shirts, and Akitoshi Saito had a cat t-shirt) continued when NOAH put the head of Takashi Sugiura’s beloved Shiba Inu on a t-shirt, complete with dog tags which read “company dog”. Naturally, this was a shot at Kongoh (in specific Kenoh, as he is the only one who speaks), who are currently feuding with The Sugiura Army, and the use of the phrase “Company dog” (i.e. someone who does his masters bidding unquestionably, comes goes, fetches, wags tail etc).
The t-shirt will be released on the 15th July at Korakuen Hall, with mail order to follow (a white version is also available).
NAOMICHI MARUFUJI’S COMIC STRIP
Naomichi Marufuji has started illustrating a comic for “Weekly Pro”. The comic is a condensed version of his autobiography, “Heir To The Ark”, and starts off with his childhood growing up in Saitama with three older brothers, and wrestling with them which inspired his love of the sport. The comic starts off with two of his brothers arguing about who they are going to be, then they tell little Marufuji that they feel sorry for him, as being the youngest and the smallest, he is going to get it from them (which he did in reality), and Marufuji fighting back by saying that Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) is strong.
You can find an ongoing translation on my blog.
The main event for TAKAYAMANIA EMPIRE 2 will be Hideki Suzuki and Minoru Suzuki vs Naomichi Marufuji and Masato Tanaka. Event will be held on Monday, August 26 2019 at Korakuen Hall.
Broadcast most likely will be through ABEMA (a Japanese PPV subscription channel, only available to those in Japan).
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
- GHC Junior Champion: Minoru Tanaka
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Stinger (Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa)
~ HAYATA’S garden has produced Daikon. YO-HEY celebrated by putting it in his mouth.
~ NOAH held a joint fan birthday party for Kaito Kiyomiya and Junta Miyawaki. Miyawaki turned 22 in June, with Kiyomiya turning 23 this month.
~ Naomichi Marufuji says he has a new gown for Korakuen Hall on the 15th June
~ YO-HEY made a summer vacation to see his family in rural Yabu. One of his young nieces asked him if he was married to HAYATA.
NOAH’s big Kawasaki Kultz event (and the GHC Heavyweight title, plus the final night of Global Junior League 2019) will air on the 2nd August on G+ at 12.30am JST
NOAH will be broadcast live on Sunday 4th August at 11.30am JST on G+
GIF OF THE WEEK
GHC Heavyweight tag & single championship signing
Picture credit: Noah GHC, PKDK, YO-HEY
GIF credit: Noah GHC