Welcome back to Dragon Gate! We return to cover one of their biggest shows of the year, Gate of Destiny.
The card contains some big title matches, along with PAC’s first singles match since his return to the company last month. Now the real question is can they deliver?
Well, we’re about to find out as we…dive right in.
Tag Team Match
K-ness & Mondai Ryu vs. Shachihoko BOY & Stalker Ichikawa
Review: We got our opening match with K-ness and Mondai Ryu tagging up for this one to take on Shachihoko BOY and Stalker Ichikawa. Our opening bouts usually there to please the crowd but could they also entertain them while giving us something good? Which of these two will win?
It was a match…it existed. It was about three minutes and it was pretty much Stalker screwing around in the ring with K-ness and Mondai slapped him around and pulled off his ears from his mask, the monsters. Shachihoko really didn’t do much in this match, nor Mondai for that matter since it was only K-ness really that did the majority of the work here for the match. K-ness would Sunset Flip Shachihoko for a two count and would have his legs on his body to roll him around the ring in that same position until he pinned him that way again and gets the three count. I just wasn’t a fan of this match and nothing really happened in it at all, it just happened just for the sake of a match existing.
Rating: Vince Russo and a half
Six Man Tag Team Match
Natural Vibes (Punch Tominaga & YASSHI) & Hyo Watanabe vs. Don Fujii, Gamma & Ryo Saito
Review: Our next match is a six-man tag match with two members of Natural Vibes, Punch Tominaga and Brother YASSHI teaming up with Hyo Watanabe as they take on the team of Don Fujii, Gamma, and Ryo Saito. Good to see Don and Ryo still being a tag team here and they could possibly go for the Triangle Gate Championships again if they want to. Which of these teams will win?
Well, I can at least say that this was a better match than the previous one I saw but at the same time, this one was just average itself. Natural Vibes teaming up with Hyo was a weird combination in itself and it just seemed like they didn’t flow well together whereas Don, Gamma, and Ryo would pair off a bit better than the other team since they have teamed up before and know what they’re doing together. Again, the match was a basic tag match for what you see when a unit teams up with one random person and you get some nice sequences from some of the people in the match like with Gamma and Hyo going back and forth into the match and makes me hope we could get a one on one match with these two since it could be solid if done right. Don would hit Hyo with a Chokeslam to get him down as Gamma goes to the top rope to hit a Corkscrew Moonsault almost missing Hyo and pins him for the victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Daga & R.E.D. (Eita, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Yasushi Kanda) vs. Tribe Vanguard (Kagetora, U-T & Yosuke Santa Maria) & Kota Minoura
Review: We now have an eight-man tag match with R.E.D members, Eita, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, and Yasushi Kanda along with non-member, Daga as they take three members of Tribe Vanguard, Kagetora, U-T, and Yosuke Santa Maria along with non-member, Kota Minoura. R.E.D has been establishing dominance with Eita leading the charge and now looks to take out Tribe Vanguard in the process. Can R.E.D keep the momentum going or will Tribe Vanguard take it?
Least we were able to get a solid eight-man tag match in the mix almost at the end of our halfway point. R.E.D does what they do best when they start attacking their opponents before the bell would ring to get the opening advantage in the match to make themselves look strong. Tribe Vanguard worked well together in this match with Kagetora and Yosuke still being probably the more underrated people on the roster while U-T is slowly rising up in the ranks with his ability to show us what he can do. From what I can see with Kota, he’s still a bit green since he’s new but he also does have a ton of potential to do really well for himself. Daga is someone new to me and is actually his first time in Dragon Gate and is a freelancer from Mexico, but he was pretty impressive in his Dragon Gate debut and looked like he fitted in with R.E.D well also. Yusuke, U-T, and Kota would all hit Eita with a Missile Dropkick to get him down until Kanda and KAZMA would stop Kota from trying to pin their leader. Kota would try to do a flash pin to KAZMA for a kick out and KAZMA would hit a Pop-up Powerbomb onto Kota until Tribe Vanguard broke it up and R.E.D throws them all outside. Daga would hit a Gutbuster onto Kota and picks him up for Eita to hit the Superkick onto him and gets the win for R.E.D.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Open The Triangle Gate Title Three Way Elimination Match
Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Kzy & Susumu Yokosuka) (c) vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Shun Skywalker & Yuki Yoshioka vs. MaxiMuM (Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida & Naruki Doi)
Review: We have our first title match of the night with Natural Vibes defending their Open the Triangle Gate Championships in a Three-Way Elimination Match as they defend against MaxiMuM members, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida, and Naruki Doi along with the team of Masaaki Mochizuki, Shun Skywalker, and Yuki Yoshioka. Natural Vibes has a good chance of being eliminated to losing the titles, but they could also have a chance to beat both teams and retain. Will Natural Vibes retain or will one of the two teams take the titles?
So for this elimination match, it looks like once a member loses the match that the whole team would be eliminated instead of just having to beat all three members to eliminate them and that might be better this way honestly, and it appears as though that all three men can be in the match instead of just two people starting and tagging in whoever. These are the types of matches that just make me wanna love Dragon Gate with their nonstop action, entertaining Lucha style mixed in, and just mixing it up with some wrestling to go with it. There was one spot where one person would wrap their legs around his neck for a chokehold and it would keep going until Jason Lee was the last one to make the bridge and Kzy would try to get into the mix until Mochizuki takes him down and it looked like he wanted to do it himself but he goes over to the front end to deliver the longest Boston Crab I’ve seen in quite some time and it wouldn’t last long since Jason Lee was right by the rope and grabs it right away. Yuki would start showing some spark in the match with his back and forth action with Kaito with trying to roll each other up or hit each other and it would come to an end when Kaito hits the Tiger Suplex on Yuki to eliminate Mochizuki Dojo making it now Natural Vibes and MaxiMuM.
Naruki and Kzy start going at it right away and Naruki doesn’t hold up against him as he hits him with a DDT and runs towards Kzy for him to catch him by surprise with the Skayde Schoolboy for the surprise pin and Naruki kicked out of it and hits his Bakatare Sliding Kick to knock Kzy out and Jason Lee quickly picks him up for a German Suplex Hold as Susumu broke the count! Kaito and Kzy are in the ring now and he hits Kzy with the Tiger Suplex and it looks like we have new champions, but Kzy kicked out of it! Kaito got Kzy back up to try and finish him but Kzy would hit him with some elbows before he hits his Running Elbow Smash to get the win and Kaito kicks out as well! Kzy quickly picked him up to hit the Impact and Natural Vibes retains the titles! This is Natural Vibes fifth successful title defense and they said that if they retain it one more time, they’ll hold the record for most title defenses with this belt and their next title match is on November 18th, so let’s see if they can break the record.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Flamita vs. PAC
Review: We now have a special singles match with PAC having his first singles match in Dragon Gate since his return as he takes on Flamita in what people have considered as one of their dream matches for the fans. PAC has been doing well in the tag matches that I’ve seen when he came back but now the real test is to see how he can do by himself now as he takes on this Luchador. Will PAC win his return match or will Flamita derail him?
For something that was titled a dream match, this was very underwhelming. You’re probably asking me how can this be bad since you have PAC and Flamita in the mix? Well, it’s quite simple really that it was just slow and dragged out quite a lot at the beginning of the match. I don’t mind matches going at a slow pace since I enjoy technical wrestling and could watch that anytime, but it was more of PAC just really dragging it out in the match and made nothing about it exciting except just hitting Flamita and maybe have R.E.D attack Flamita once when the referee wasn’t looking. I get PAC is the heel in the match and to get the heat behind him but he just didn’t really do anything at all and some fans will feel blue balled by this match. And before you actually do the whole he’s a heel thing as an excuse, he did a lot more as a heel in WWE than he has in Dragon Gate for his current run right now so I don’t wanna hear that.
Flamita, on the other hand, did try to make the match good as best he could but it, unfortunately, wasn’t enough either to make it exciting and he didn’t get a lot of offense in this match either. He does take the spot of the night though when PAC threw him up in the air for a pop-up and Flamita caught him with a DDT on the way down and PAC sold that beautifully, so I will give him credit for that one at least. The match would try to pick up in the last couple of minutes of it but it’s really hard to get invested into this match fully when nothing has been standing out from the beginning of the match. Flamita would have PAC up for a Musclebuster and he slams him down in a Codebreaker style which looked great and goes to the top rope to hit the Phoenix Splash but PAC rolled out of the way. PAC would quickly go up to the top rope now he hits the Black Arrow (still think it should be called R.E.D Arrow) and gets the win over Flamita. So how did PAC do in his first singles match back? It was honestly disappointing, to say the least, and hope he works on it in the next one he does.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
Open The Brave Gate Title Match
Dragon Kid (c) vs. Bandido
Review: It’s time for our second title match with Dragon Kid defending the Open the Brave Gate Championship against someone else that’s not Eita, but instead it’s Bandido. This was one match I really wanted to see in Dragon Gate and now it looks like we can finally have it and for a title no less. Will Dragon Kid retain or will Bandido take it?
So after finally getting our little dream match here, did it live up to the hype? While this one was already better than PAC/Flamita, I thought this match was a slight letdown as well. Not that it was a bad match or anything since it was still solid, but also felt like they could’ve done so much more at the same time and made it a bit underwhelming. The match would start off strong with the lucha style we expected from them, but also felt a little bit slow too and would lose a little momentum when Bandido messed up a Diving Moonsault to the outside and hits one of the ring crew by accident while Kid tried to catch him. After that, they would do some moves here and there to make it stand out but it’s a little too far in between that it felt a bit hard for it to be wowed unless it was near the end. Bandido though did do very well in the match I thought and was always impressive to see and really does fit in well with Dragon Gate if he ever does decide to wrestle there full-time and could potentially be a big star.
There was one move Bandido did that really made him stand out since it’s actually the first time I’ve seen it, but it was Dragon Kid bent over while holding onto the ropes (hot) and Bandido looks to do what appears to be a Forward Flip Springboard Suplex and it looks awesome but Kid still kicked out of it. After that, Bandido would do a Flipping Fallaway Slam off the top rope and Kid kicked out again before Kid would start to get momentum now and hits the Bible for a two count. Kid would now hit a Frankensteiner for another two count and would go to the top rope to hit the Dragonrana and gets the pin to retain the title. Eita would come out after the match and it looks like he wants to have one final match against Dragon Kid for the title. If it’ll give us one final match and let them move on after this, then let them have it.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Open The Twin Gate Title Match
Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk & YAMATO) (c) vs. R.E.D. (Big R Shimizu & Takashi Yoshida)
Review: We have our next title match with the Open the Twin Gate Championships being on the line as BxB Hulk, and YAMATO defend the belts against R.E.D members, Big R Shimizu, and Takashi Yoshida. R.E.D were able to beat Tribe Vanguard earlier in the show during the eight-man tag match and with PAC beating Flamita, R.E.D looks to be in pretty good shape to maybe have a clean sweep if they win. Will R.E.D keep at it or will Tribe Vanguard retain?
I’m sure a lot of people know by now that I’m not a big fan of Takashi Yoshida and Big R Shimizu but I will say that they do make a decent heavyweight tag team while it’s no BigBen, it’ll pass at least. They both play to their strengths in the match with their power to try and dominate their opponent and this will move Ben-K to a more solo run, then I’m fine with those two staying as a tag team. YAMATO and Hulk are still quite the team and slowly becoming my favorite set of current champions since CIMA & Dragon Kid, just the chemistry these two share in the ring just make it work out for them and I hope this reign lasts a little bit longer.
I actually really liked this match, I thought it was nicely done with both teams playing to what they know best with Takashi and Big R just overpower their opponents while YAMATO and Hulk just use their wrestling experience to match them. If I did have to take one thing away from the match would be the odd pacing here and there in the match to throw it off a little off, but it’s a minor one and still a really good match to see. Big R and Takashi would just manhandle Hulk with just their power as Big R hits the Splash off the top without doing that stupid timber looking version or it and Takashi hits a Diving Elbow Drop as YAMATO broke the count. Hulk would try to hit the First Flash onto Big R but he caught him in time for the Shot-put Slam and Takashi went for the Cyber Bomb and YAMATO broke the count. YAMATO fights off Takashi and gets him in a Sleeper but Takashi would get to the ropes to break the hold and spits green mist into his eyes as he now picks him up to hit the Fire Thunder Driver as we could have new champions and Hulk now breaks the pin. Takashi would slam YAMATO onto the ropes and as he ran to the other side, YAMATO would catch with a Frankensteiner and gets the surprise victory over R.E.D to retain the titles!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
Open The Dream Gate Title Match
Masato Yoshino (c) vs. Ben-K
Review: We have our main event with the Open the Dream Gate Championship on the line now with Masato Yoshino defending the title against Ben-K. The last time Ben-K had a match for the title was around March 4th against Masaaki Mochizuki and he lost, but now he has a second chance to go for the title with his new home in R.E.D. Will Masato be able to retain the title once again or will we have a new champion crowned?
It’s about time that Ben-K goes back to wearing his shogun type gear instead of those generic trunks when he joined R.E.D, he now looks like the Ben-K I know and love, now he just needs to win that belt. I don’t get why we didn’t get these types of title defenses earlier in Masato’s run because this was probably the best defense in his reign next to his previous one against Naruki Doi in September. During the beginning of the match, it looked like Ben would have the opening with how he would be able to throw him around but Masato would use his quickness when he needed to in the match to make Ben hit a Clothesline against the turnbuckle post and give Masato the opening he needed to work on his arm to try and aim for a submission victory like his previous title defenses. I mean it when I say that Ben-K is on another level and I’ve been saying that for months as I think he really could be the ace of that company should they ever decide to actually pull the trigger on that decision because that man can work with a lot of people in different styles while also bringing his A-game during these matches.
I really enjoyed the story of the match with Masato working on Ben’s arm to try for submission victory while Ben would use his strength to try and weaken Masato down for when he needs to hit his power moves near the end to put him away. I also love how fairly even it was between the two while the face and heel getting a respectable amount of shine/heat during the match without affecting the other. I liked the Jumping Slingblade Masato did to Ben while he was on the second rope, it looked unique and did it pretty flawlessly. Masato would attempt to hit the Torbellino and Ben would catch him for the Bubba Bomb and gets a two count. Masato would hit the Torbellino this time around and would quickly turn it into the Sol Naciente to try and make him tap out but Ben would use his power to lift him up and spin him around to slam him into the mat and break the hold. Ben is really selling the arm now and would hit the Spear onto Masato for a two count and he would finally hit the Ben-K Bomb as we could have a new champion, but no as Masato kicked out. The two start to brawl with Masato falling down to the mat, but Masato would get a burst of energy to hit Ben with a Lariat and hits two Torbellino’s in a row before applying the Sol Naciente on him once again. Ben was struggling in the hold this time and tried to fight it off until Masato kicked his leg in to make him collapse as he tapped out to make Masato retain the title!
After the match, it would seem that PAC is the next one to challenge Masato sometime in December. And I have one question for this one, why? I still think Ben-K getting the belt is the better way to go since he’s a great worker and has worked for it and PAC gets one right away just seems off. I had a feeling PAC would get a title match sooner or later like maybe win the King of Gate in 2019, but this feels a bit too early for me and would’ve saved it for a better date. Their booking is weird and I don’t know how this one will go.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
Overall: I thought the show was a little weak with the undercard and the two dream matches being let down, but the tag title matches and the main event were what saved the show to make it slightly passable. We now got Pac and Masato fighting off in his next title defense and it’ll be an interesting month, to say the least.
Favorite Match: Masato Yoshino vs. Ben-K
Least Favorite Match: K-ness & Mondai Ryu vs. Shachihoko BOY & Stalker Ichikawa