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Mathew’s Dragon Gate King of Gate 2020 Round One Results & Review

After dealing with Corona-chan, personal issues, and other things, it’s time to come back and we’re going to start with Dragon Gate’s tournament, King of Gate. I and Andrew covered it two years ago, which was underwhelming and last year won us back, so time to bring it back for this year. They’re doing it differently this year as it’s not a round-robin but a single elimination with three blocks. The winner of the blocks will meet in the semi-finals and the fourth person will be decided in a Battle Royal with all the people that lose in the tournament.

Before we begin, gonna post some predictions with block winners and the actual winner of the tournament to see how far I get.

  • A Block: YAMATO
  • B Block: BxB Hulk
  • C Block: Eita
  • Battle Royal: Kzy
  • Winner: Eita (Eita and YAMATO in finals)

Now that we got some of the set-ups for the tournament, who will win their respective blocks? Will the Open the Dream Gate Champion win the whole thing? Will R.E.D win the war? Let’s find out as we…dive right in.

Rating System:

  • 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
  • 1 Star: Vince Russo
  • 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
  • 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
  • 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
  • 5 Stars: Jim Cornette


A Block 5/15/2020

King of Gate A Block Match
Kzy vs. H.Y.O

Review: Our first match of the show and A Block is Kzy taking on H.Y.O. Kzy recently failed to defeat Naruki Doi for the Open the Dream Gate Championship and this could be his chance to get back in the picture if he wins the tournament and block. Will Kzy be able to get a second chance or does H.Y.O score the upset?

H.Y.O attacking Kzy right away before the bell rings as a typical R.E.D fashion thing to do and is on the attack. Kzy is an underrated performer and I wish he would win the top title one day but chances of that now feel slim and is just a gatekeeper of the company at this point. H.Y.O seems to have improved since the last time I saw him as he gained a bit of muscle and seems like an actual powerhouse. Kzy would eventually get some momentum back after hitting some beautiful uppercuts and a quick Overcastle with a nice sequence.

Kzy eventually lost momentum for a bit as H.Y.O hits a nice combination with an Atomic Drop, Stunner, and rolled him for Kzy to kick out at two. H.Y.O attempts a Diving Senton but Kzy rolled out of the way and hits a Running Elbow Smash. Kzy attempts to pick him up as H.Y.O kicked him below and belt and rolls him but the referee refuses to count since he saw the actions played out. Kzy would have him by the corner but H.Y.O hits him with the turnbuckle pad and continues to do so until the referee attempted to stop him. This would lead H.Y.O to hit the ref with the pad and gets himself disqualified, making Kzy advance to the next round. H.Y.O wasn’t done as he hits Kzy with a Diving Senton after the bell has rung.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter

King of Gate A Block Match
Ryo Saito vs. YAMATO

Review: It’s now time for our next match as Ryo Saito takes on YAMATO. The winner of this bout will be facing Kzy in the next round. YAMATO looks to regain the gold after not being champion for nearly three years. Ryo Saito looks to beat the former ace and move on to hopefully win his first big title. Will YAMATO reach the top or does Ryo get the biggest win of his career?

Ryo is more than a comedy character since he has proven time and time again that he can actually go in big matches and since there’s no crowd to entertain with comedy, he focuses more on his in-ring ability and he still doesn’t disappoint me. YAMATO is no slouch either and he makes sure Ryo brings his A-game to give us a great match. They didn’t need to do anything crazy as the two were just telling a story in the ring while executing their moves rather flawlessly.

Ryo was gaining momentum while the two were exchanging forearms with each other as Ryo would be the one that would win the blow for blow with each other. Ryo would hit a Dragon Suplex on YAMATO and would kick out at two. Ryo was looking to end it as he had his arms in a straight jacket position while lifting him, but YAMATO would shift his body around to catch him for a Sleeper. Ryo would do his best to try and fight him off but it was too late as he fell onto his knees, giving YAMATO enough time to hit the Gallaria to secure the victory. YAMATO would now fight Kzy in the next round. Great performances from both of these men.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters

King of Gate A Block Match
Dragon Kid vs. Diamante

Review: We’re halfway done with A Block as we have two matches left with Dragon Kid taking on Diamante. H.Y.O failed to represent R.E.D in the first round but Diamante could help support the team if he can defeat the protege of Ultimo Dragon. Will Dragon Kid get rid of R.E.D in A Block or does Diamante get rid of one of Dragon Gate’s top stars?

Diamante would try to go for the early assault onto Kid but he saw right through his attempt and was able to get the early advantage. This is my first time seeing Diamante in singles competition, so it would be good to see how he does on his own and a little rough around the edges, but he also has a lot of potentials to do better. The match was a little more mat-based than what you would see in a match involving Dragon Kid but he knows how to adapt and moves rather quick for someone that’s over forty, showing that age is just a number. Of course, these shows are expected to play out differently without a crowd but also makes them focus more on the in-ring aspect of the matches to make it their selling points and it does work given the environment they’re dealing with right now.

Diamante would hit a beautiful Springboard Dropkick onto Kid, which was impressive for a man that tall and would attempt to put the veteran away. Dragon would attempt to make a comeback after hitting a Tilt-a-Whirl DDT to put him down. Dragon Kid attempts to go for the Bible but he knew he wouldn’t hit that as he tries to hit the Dragonrana, but Diamante catches him to attempt a Powerbomb but Dragon turns it into a Sunset Flip for a two count. Kid charges in as Diamante caught him for a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker and flipped him to turn it into a Gutbuster right after. Diamante wasn’t down as he would hit the Vuelta Finale to score the upset victory over Kid!

Rating: Eric Bischoff

King of Gate A Block Match
Susumu Yokosuka vs. Yosuke Santa Maria

Review: It’s now time for the final match of A Block as we have AJPW Junior Heavyweight Champion, Susumu Yokosuka taking on Yosuke Santa Maria. Susumu still holding the belt after he went over to AJPW for a tournament as he looks to win the tournament and has a chance to have gold on two different promotions. Santa Maria is also a popular wrestler who is looking to win in his Cinderella story to try and win the big title for the first time. Does Susumu fight Diamante or will Santa Maria score a big win?

Before the bell rang, the two would just slap each other back and forth to have their match underway. Susumu is someone who has had a great year so far, especially with his performances with Hikaru Sato in AJPW (which you should check out). Santa Maria has changed his look a little bit while still wearing the attires we all know and love, and still performing at a top-level, showing looks can be deceiving.

Susumu would toss Yosuke in the air but he would counter that with a beautiful Sky Love to take him down and he looks to have an opening as he attempted to kiss Susumu but had no luck in doing so. Susumu would attempt to go for the Yokosuka Cutter but Yosuke would fight it off as he attempts to hit a Lariat on him, which Susumu doesn’t fall and hits his Lariat. Yosuke would attempt several ways to try and roll him up but Susumu would keep kicking out of them. Susume would finally hit the Jumbo no Kachi!gatame as Yosuke kicked out at two! Soon as Yosuke kicked out, he would catch his arms for a Crucifix pin as Susumu kicked out again but wait, Yosuke does the Leg Clutch to catch him for another pin and he gets the upset victory! Yosuke finished the first round with a big win and will fight Diamante in the next round in a solid bout.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

B Block 5/16/2020

King of Gate B Block Match
Kaito Ishida vs. Jason Lee

Review: Time to get started on the B Block portion of the tournament as we have Jason Lee takes on the current Open the Brave Gate Champion, Kaito Ishida. Kaito has been improving himself ever since he aligned with R.E.D and is looking to win the tournament to challenge the Open the Dream Gate Champion, and he has a good chance of that happening if he can make it to the block final. Will Kaito win or does Jason knock Kaito down a peg?

In typical R.E.D fashion, Kaito would attack Jason before the bell would ring and begins the assault. Kaito would find his opening as he worked on Jason’s leg and starts to make that his target for the match. Kaito has been showing progress and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him work, so this is a good treat to see his work as a heel. Jason is someone I’ve been a fan of since he came to Dragon Gate and he screams future Open the Brave Gate Champion, so it could be a reality this year is he can outmaneuver Kaito. Jason got a small comeback and showing to get back into it but Kaito would hurt his leg and applies the Ankle Lock, which Jason fights off it the first time. Kaito would apply the Ankle Lock again and while Jason attempts to fight it off a second time, Kaito laid down to bend his leg while applying the lock as Jason tapped out and Kaito advances!

Rating: Eric Bischoff


King of Gate B Block Match
BxB Hulk vs. Keisuke Okuda

Review: Time for our next match as BxB Hulk is set to take on Keisuke Okuda. Hulk is my pick to win the block so he could fight YAMATO in the semi-finals to have that grudge match finally. Keisuke isn’t looking to go down so easily against the vet. Which one of these two will fight Kaito in the next round?

Oh no, who didn’t see this coming when Hulk attacking his opponent before the bell rang? It’s not like I just saw this in the previous match…oh no… Anyway, arrogant Hulk works and he can put on a good match with the right opponent or if he really wants to, but this match was to just show how arrogant he can be. This was more one-sided than anything else since it was Hulk assaulting him in and out of the ring, even choking him with a towel it looks like. Keisuke would only show a little bit of offense with MMA style punches but it doesn’t phase Hulk and just kicks him down.

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Hulk looks like he’s had enough toying with Keisuke here and he looks to put him away but what’s this? Keisuke is starting to fight back and has him up on his shoulders, kneeing him a bit before hitting the Lights Out real quick for a two count. Keisuke didn’t waste any time as he picked Hulk up to hit the Lights Out one more time and pins him for the win and advances to fight Kaito! *Rips my notes up and throws them in the air* Hulk, you had one job…

Rating: Eric Bischoff

King of Gate B Block Match
Genki Horiguchi vs. KAI


Review: We’re halfway done with B Block as we now go to our next match as Genki Horiguchi takes on KAI. KAI is looking to be apart of the tournament and aim to win the whole thing. I’m sure he would’ve loved to get payback against Hulk but SOMEBODY had to lose due to their arrogance. Genki, however, is looking for a chance to possibly fight the Open the Dream Gate Champion. Who will advance to the next round?

Oh, thank god, not another pre-match assault in this match. KAI was someone I’ve been on and off with during his early years but now, I’ve been enjoying his improvements and is someone that is now tolerable to watch. Genki is also someone that can still work a good match and this is what we get between these two. Things started off fairly even with the chain wrestling but Genki was able to get the early advantage by working with KAI’s leg since it could be beneficial to Genki to cut KAI’s speed or make him tap if he wants to. Unlike the previous match, this one was more balanced with some solid wrestling action from both of these men. Genki near the end would try to put KAI away with the Backslide from Heaven but KAI was able to kick out, however, Genki attempted it a second time with KAI kicking out again. KAI tries to fight it off in the third attempt and he would by rolling Genki for the Gannosuke Clutch and KAI was able to get the win!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

King of Gate B Block Match
Naruki Doi vs. Big R Shimizu

Review: It’s now time for our final match of the block as Big R Shimizu takes on the current Open the Dream Gate Champion, Naruki Doi. Can’t remember the last time when the champion would take part in the King of Gate tournament but he’s looking to do that for this to help out Dragon Gate during their time in need. The winner of this one will face KAI in the next round. Will the champion be taken out in the first round or will the champion prevail?

God damnit, I thought I was done with the pre-match attacks but it looked like Naruki was prepared for him though as he was able to dodge him while the two do a battle of shoulder tackles, which Big R would win obviously. Big R had the early advantage with his powerhouse style with Naruki matching him off with his quickness. While the match was less than five minutes, they made sure it was full of action to make it interesting without feeling like it would drag at any point in the match. Naruki ran towards Big R but he catches him to look for a slam as Naruki landed a DDT on him instead. Naruki hits the Bakatare Sliding Kick to take him down and as he attempts the second one, Big R would stop him to attempt the Shot-put Slam until Naruki rolled him up for the V9 Clutch and secures the victory to advance!

Rating: Eric Bischoff

C Block  5/17/2020

King of Gate C Block Match
Ben-K vs. Kagetora

Review: It’s now time to get started with our final block of the first round as Kagetora takes on Ben-K. Ben won the tournament last year along with the title on top of it, so he would wanna win it back to back and defeat Naruki to avenge his loss. Will Ben be one step closer or will his dreams get cut short?

Aww, Ben got rid of his shogun gear again, very sad. Anyway, the match itself wasn’t terrible but nothing special at the same time. Kagetora didn’t get too much offense in and whenever he did, it’s usually with his Shining Wizard, which is always beautiful whenever he hits it. Ben had a good majority of the control in the match and should be able to since he is a top star with a story behind him. Kagetora would hit another Shining Wizard to get a little bit of a comeback and starts working Ben on the turnbuckle with an Enziguri to daze him. The two started to brawl a bit more and Ben attempts a Spear but Kagetora jumps over him as he attempted to roll him up afterward for a two count. The two would run the ropes back and forth until Ben eventually caught him with the Spear to secure the victory.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters


King of Gate C Block Match
Eita vs. Strong Machine J

Review: We now have our next match as Strong Machine J takes on the leader of R.E.D, Eita. It looks like J is on his own after he and the other Strong Machines lost the Triangle Gate Championships last year and is looking to make a big impression here. Eita made it to the finals last year and he looks to win the whole thing this time as my pick. Will Eita be able to fight the man who beat him in the finals last year or does J score a big win?

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After two days, Eita decides to be the first person from R.E.D in this tournament to not attack their opponent before the match started. This is my first time see Strong Machine J in singles action and I have to admit, he’s very impressive in the ring. I’m not sure who the person under the mask is but it’s easy to see why he won the Best Newcomer Award in the Tokyo Sports Awards last year. If he ever does decide to unmask himself and be his person, I think he could be a big star but I don’t see him dropping the gimmick since his father, Super Strong Machine was the one to start it and probably wants to honor that in his career. Eita is a great heel and he does have moments to show that when he doesn’t fully rely on his group all the time.

The two were fighting on the top rope as Eita is looking to hit the Superplex but J would be able to fight him off and flip over him to pick him up so he could hit the Powerbomb, pinning Eita as he kicked out at two. J doesn’t stop himself as he goes to the top rope to hit the Diving Headbutt for another two count. J picked Eita up as he hits the Devil Windmill Suplex but Eita’s legs were on the ropes, making J unable to pin him as he dragged him to the center of the ring, but it was too late since Eita kicked out at two. J goes back to the top rope to attempt another Diving Headbutt but Eita puts his foot up and would hit the Imperial Uno to knock J down as Eita wins in an impressive match. It looks like the finals of the tournament last year will take place on round two, which should be interesting.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

King of Gate C Block Match
Masaaki Mochizuki vs. KAZMA SAKAMOTO

Review: Halfway through the block, as we now have our next match with Masaaki Mochizuki taking on KAZMA SAKAMOTO. Mochizuki currently lost the GHC Tag Team Championship and he looks to win this tournament to regain the Open the Dream Gate Championship. Will Mochizuki be able to make it to the next round or does KAZMA play the spoiler to him and score a big victory?

Safe to say that this was my second favorite match in the first round and never knew I wanted a singles match between these two until it happened during this one. Mochizuki never disappoints and proves age is just a number as he wrestles like he’s half his age. KAZMA is someone I’ve been starting to appreciate more during his return to Dragon Gate and his small run in NOAH. The two didn’t need to do anything crazy to keep the viewers interested as it was just a wrestling match with the two fighting in and out of the ring, executing moves flawlessly and share a unique chemistry.

Mochizuki delivers a couple of kicks to KAZMA until he caught his leg on the last kick and hits him with an Uppercut as the two fall down after. The two start to get back up and they slap each other but Mochizuki delivers a Roundhouse Kick and goes to jump the ropes as KAZMA hits him with another Uppercut with a Falcon Arrow after that. KAZMA would attempt to hit the Plus Driver but Mochizuki fights it off by flipping him over and delivers a kick to KAZMA. Mochizuki would attempt the Saikyou High Kick a couple of times but KAZMA would block his kicks and hits the Plus Driver this time to pin him and KAZMA moves on to the next round. Talk about shocking victory here since I did not expect him to win, but we needed one of them to happen in the first round and it was a great match on top.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters

King of Gate C Block Match
Dragon Dia vs. Takashi Yoshida

Review: I think it’s time to close up the first round with our final match of C Block with Takashi Yoshida taking on Dragon Kid’s apprentice, Dragon Dia. This is Dia’s first time in the tournament and he looks to do Dragon Kid proud by trying to win the tournament. Which one of these two will fight KAZMA in the next round? Does R.E.D win the block with a clean sweep?

Oh wow, Takashi didn’t even attempt to attack Dia before the bell, that must’ve been hard for him to resist unless he’s that confident. You can tell that Takashi wasn’t taking Dia seriously since it seemed Dia’s moves wouldn’t fully phase him right away, he would even do a test of strength with him with only one hand while Dia uses two. While there were times it could’ve felt one-sided but this one worked in a story sense since Dia is the underdog in the match while Takashi is the big monster heel that overpowers him. Dia was able to try and gain some momentum when he hits the Hurricanrana and a Springboard DDT on top of that but Takashi kicked out at two. Dia would attempt the Reptilian Rana but Takashi caught him to try and hit the Powerbomb as Dia flipped over for a Sunset Flip with Takashi kicking out. Dia would be able to catch Takashi off guard with the Reptilian Rana and lands it this time while getting the upset victory over Takashi!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter

Overall: They were able to run the show without a crowd and they made it work with solid first-round matches. The second round is shaping up to be interesting with unique match-ups happening, making it difficult to see what the outcomes would be.

Favorite Match: YAMATO vs. Ryo Saito

Least Favorite Match: Ben-K vs. Kagetora

Score: 7.5/10

 

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