Mathew changes gears a little and decided to cover Dragon Gate! Let’s see what’s going on with the bastard PAC.
Welcome back to Dragon Gate as it’s been a couple of months since I covered their shows.
Last time I did one of their shows, PAC won the Open the Dream Gate Championship and now, let’s talk about what else happened since then. Natural Vibes set the record for most Open the Triple Gate Championship defenses before dropping them to R.E.D recently, BxB Hulk suffered an injury and had to vacate the Open the Twin Gate Championships with YAMATO and that made Ben-K & Big R Shimizu the new champions in the process, Dragon Kid and Eita’s rivalry finally came to an end when Kid defeated Eita as he made him shave his head, and now we have PAC’s first title defense on this show.
PAC vs. Kzy for the Dream Gate is set! #dragongate
— Narcissistic Sports Pimp (@GolazoDan) January 19, 2019
Let’s see how 2019 fairs for Dragon Gate as we…dive right in.
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Gamma, K-ness, Mondai Ryu & YASSHI vs. Dragon Dia, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida & Shachihoko BOY
Review: Our opening match is an eight-man tag match with random people teaming up with Gamma, K-ness, Brother YASSHI, and Mondai Ryu taking on Dragon Dia, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida, and Shachihoko BOY. We also found out that Jason Lee has officially signed with Dragon Gate for a full-time contract, so expect to see him in some more stuff soon. Which one of these two teams will win?
Nothing really too special about this match since it was a typical opening contest with each person on the team getting a little bit of a chance to showcase everything they had in their little arsenal. Dragon Dia is still new to the game but he’s showing some progress in the ring and if he can keep it up with how he is then I have no doubt he’ll be okay in the near future. K-ness is someone that doesn’t get much time in the ring these days but I think he’s looking to be making a comeback this year, we’ll have to wait and see. Jason’s team would do a little combo set of moves onto Mondai to try and go for the pinfall but it would be broken up before the three count. K-ness tried to roll Jason up and soon as he kicked out, K-ness would be able to do the Hikari no Wa to score the pinfall victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a quarter
Stalker Ichikawa vs. Don Fujii
Review: Our next match, we have Don Fujii taking on Stalker Ichikawa. I know it sounds a little bit weird to hear, but I can assure you that you’re reading it right. If you don’t know about Stalker Ichikawa by now, he’s mostly used for comedy matches and Don Fujii can be pretty comedic as well as we’ve seen that during his partnership with Ryo Saito. So what type of hijinks will we see in this match?
Why was there a ladder in the ring during this match? I don’t know since I have no idea what Ichikawa was saying during his little mini promo there. It was exactly how I expected it to go with it being mostly comical with what they were doing and despite knowing that, I thought they did a good job with the delivery of it. Ichikawa was pretty much selling Don’s moves as if he was this all-powerful guy and the fans seem to be having a good time with it and that’s all that really matters. Ichikawa was out of the ring past the twenty count but the referee would still count pass that anyways to give it a bit more of that humor they were going for. Don would climb this ladder all the way to the top and it looked like he was gonna go for a Splash off the top but he would just climb all the way back down to the other side of the ladder and hits him with a stomp, genius. Ichikawa would attempt to go for a German Suplex but falls down when Don didn’t go down with him and would just pin him for the three count and victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Three Way Match
Kagetora vs. Shun Skywalker vs. Yasushi Kanda
Review: Our next match is a triple threat with Shun Skywalker, Yasushi Kanda, and Kagetora. Shun Skywalker has apparently been on a roll lately and even had a win over Ben-K at one of their more recent shows, if he keeps this momentum up then he might get some title opportunities coming his way. Will Shun keep the ball rolling or will one of his opponents make him lose that chance?
A little short for my taste, but they would get the job done with what they needed to do and it was mostly to get Shun over if they wanna move forward with the younger generation with the company. While it wasn’t Shun’s best this year either so far, it again still gets the job down with what they needed to do. Kagetora was a good choice to add into this match since he can definitely work in the ring while Yasushi…not so much and it shows here in this match. I wish Yasushi wasn’t involved in the match since I would’ve loved for a singles match between Shun and Kagetora for this show since it would’ve been a lot more better in the long run. Shun would get the victory when hits the Ashla onto Yasushi and he keeps the momentum ball rolling along here! Shun is hopefully moving to title opportunities in the future, but we’ll see.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Six Man Tag Team Match
R.E.D. (Eita, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Takashi Yoshida) vs. Mochizuki Dojo (Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura & Yuki Yoshioka)
Review: We now have a six-man tag match with R.E.D members, Eita KAZMA SAKAMOTO, and Takashi Yoshida taking on members of the Mochizuki Dojo, Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura, and Yuki Yoshioka. This looks to be our only unit type of tag match and R.E.D wants to try and have a clean sweep with the three matches that they have today. Will R.E.D get their first victory for the night or does the dojo prevent that?
This was a basic R.E.D match with them attacking their opponents before the bell could ring along with part of the match is taken outside as they had the advantage when they attacked their opponents before putting them back into the ring. Mochizuki Dojo, however, really did impress me with how all of them performed in the ring as all three of these guys were crisp and showed a bunch of potential. Yuki Yoshioka could be a star in the making if things are done right alone with Kota Minoura showing some more of his moveset to the crowd, and Hyo Watanabe is slowly growing on me as a competitor and I’m excited to see where this direction could lead them. Aside from the beginning of the match being a typical R.E.D match, it was still a solid enough tag match to get by without any issues. Yuki would go for a Splash on Eita once Mochizuki Dojo would to a little combo on him but got caught by Eita’s feet to get him out of the ring and Kota would suffer the tag team spots with the Throat Thrust and Enziguri combo to start it off. KAZMA would hit a Pop-up Powerbomb onto Kota and Takashi hits a Diving Elbow Drop right away for a two count and Eita hits his Imperial Uno Superkick to give R.E.D the victory.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Tag Team Match
Big Ben (Ben-K & Big R Shimizu) vs. Tribe Vanguard (KAI & U-T)
Review: Our current Open the Twin Gate Champions, Ben-K, and Big R Shimizu are set to take on U-T and KAI. KAI has been with Dragon Gate more recently and it appears as if he’s considered apart of the Tribe Vanguard unit during his time here and is possibly looking for some gold to take with him. Will Big Ben stay on top of will Tribe Vanguard get a victory to be one step closer to a title shot?
I don’t know why KAI randomly gets involved into things, but I guess it’s just because of who he is and I guess the rest of Tribe Vanguard was busy to help U-T out and were like “Here’s KAI, have fun.” Joking aside, he didn’t do too bad in the match here and was able to hold out his own against Big Ben while U-T gave us a solid performance as well. Big Ben were doing fine on their own until R.E.D got involved and they would, of course, have Tribe Vanguard to the outside of the ring to attack them all over the place for a good couple of minutes and I don’t know why it has to happen every time, but I guess it’s just the R.E.D way at this point and can get a bit old if overdone. Big Ben is a solid tag team, mostly because of Ben-K being amazing but I don’t think they always need something like this and I guess I’m wrong since they seem to disagree with my little rant about it.
KAI was able to square off with Ben-K for a little bit when he would get the hot tag in and would get that opening that he needed to get the crowd behind him and made Ben go to the outside. U-T did have plenty of time to play the underdog a bit when he was getting destroyed in the ring and it looked like Big Ben was going to try and finish it off, but Eita would get a little too involved into the match at this point. Eita would attempt to hit U-T with the chair but he would accidentally hit Ben-K with it, causing him to get rolled up by U-T to get another upset victory! R.E.D looks like they’re slowly falling apart as Eita doesn’t take the blame for what has happened in the match and it looks like KAI now wants a shot at the Open the Twin Gate Championships with U-T and I think we’ll see that match soon. Solid little tag match.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Masaaki Mochizuki, Naruki Doi, Ryo Saito & Susumu Yokosuka vs. MaxiMuM (Dragon Kid & Masato Yoshino), Genki Horiguchi & YAMATO
Review: We got an eight-man tag match coming up next with Masaaki Mochizuki, Naruaki Doi, Ryo Saito, and Susumu Yokosuka taking on Dragon Kid, Masato Yoshino, Genki Horiguchi, and YAMATO. This match looks like it’s just random pairings just to give us a good show since we got people from the same units fighting each other in this match-up as well. Will they give us a fun match to remember and which one will win out of these two?
Another name for this one was also the ‘Thank you, Hakata Star Lanes Special’ and I didn’t get it fully at first but I found out that the arena that they’re at now is considered the final show in this arena, guess they’re closing down. Anyway, onto the actual match itself and these eight men would tear the house down in a way that you would expect things to go down. This match was more about the memories they made in this arena along with just having crazy action non-stop is something the fans of Dragon Gate really do enjoy seeing here. Mochizuki is still showing how much of an amazing talent he is in the ring for someone that’s almost 50 and still wrestles as he can still go with the younger guys.
Dragon Kid would hit Susumu with a nice Springboard Frankensteiner for a two count. Naruki and YAMATO would start sharing exchanges to each other back and forth as it looked like YAMATO would go for the Ragnarok and Naruki would get off of him to hit a Reverse DDT to get the two of them down. Once Mochizuki would hit a Springboard Dropkick onto YAMATO to get him out of the ring, Genki would run into the ring to try and take on the man who pretty much destroyed his opponents in the ring. Genki would try to go for the Backslide of Heaven a few times but Mochizuki would kick out of them until he would get it the fourth time since the fourth times the charm, he would actually get the surprise victory to get the win for his team. Dragon Gate has been going to this arena since their Toryumon days years ago and I think this show was fitting enough to give it their final day here and these eight men would deliver just that to give them that moment.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Open the Dream Gate Title Match
PAC (c) vs. Kzy
Review: We now have our main event tonight as PAC is set to defend his Open the Dream Gate Championship against the leader of Natural Vibes, Kzy. A lot of people have wanted a shot at PAC ever since he returned as a heel and even beating Masato Yoshino for the title, but it looks like Kzy was lucky enough to be the first one in line to face him. Kzy also recently defeated Naruki Doi and YAMATO in an Elimination Match to give himself some momentum leading into this match. Will PAC’s first title defense be a success or will Kzy finally win the big one?
After seeing this match, I think it’s safe to say that Kzy has now moved up to my favorite wrestler in Dragon Gate after this performance here in this match since he gave PAC his best match since he left WWE. PAC actually played the heel persona better here as he would just take control of the match as a heel should and Kzy does a fantastic job playing the sympathetic babyface in this match. PAC even starts pulling some big spots at the beginning of the match when he hits a Brainbuster on the top rope. The best part about this match is that both R.E.D and Natural Vibes didn’t get themselves involved in the match at all since it would’ve been way too much for the match and I would’ve been turned off by it.
The second half of the match was probably my favorite part as both men were able to pull enough big moves in the match to make it more exciting and the crowd wanting more with each spot in the match. Kzy would finally get some momentum rolling in with his Running Elbow Smash to get PAC down as he hits the Swanton Bomb and instead of going for the cover, he goes to the top rope again to attempt the Frog Splash but PAC puts his knees up before he could land and PAC gets the heat back into the match. PAC would hit a stiff Lariat onto Kzy to flip him inside out and would go for the Black Arrow but Kzy fights him off to hit a Brainbuster off the top rope and a Running Elbow Smash for a two count. Kzy and PAC were fighting on the top rope and PAC would get him down and hits a Shooting Star Press right on top of him and goes for the pin and Kzy kicks out once again! Once Kzy hits the Frog Splash, PAC would kick out but Kzy quickly went to the top rope once again to try and finish the job as PAC went to the top rope to grab Kzy as he hits a Tombstone Piledriver from the second rope. Instead of pinning Kzy, he would go back to the top rope and hits the Black Arrow to retain the title!
After the match, PAC would tell Kzy that he should’ve listened to his warning before he would dare to fight him. He now says that he’s on top of the world and feels like nobody is ready to challenge him now as Shun Skywalker of all people would come out and actually make the challenge for the Open the Dream Gate Championship. Eita cuts him off by saying he doesn’t deserve a chance to fight him but PAC actually disagrees and puts Shun over by saying he’s a great fighter and is generous enough to actually give him the match as it’ll happen on March 3rd.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and three quarters
Overall: I honestly thought that the show was nicely done with the card we were given here aside from the first two matches. We had two great matches at the end of the show to make it worth watching and curious to see how PAC and Shun’s match will play out.
Favorite Match: PAC vs. Kzy
Least Favorite Match: Gamma, K-ness, Mondai Ryu & YASSHI vs. Dragon Dia, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida & Shachihoko BOY