1. Mr. Quu Quu Naoki Tanizaki Toyonaka Dolphin, Jimmy Kanda, Genki Horiguchi H.A. Gee. Mee!! vs Gamma, Dragon Kid, Masaaki Mochizuki – This was guys doin’ stuff. Super sprinty (even by Dragon Gate standards), super hot opener with everybody working hard and having fun. Look, you either love this or hate this, but for an opener it’s the kind of match that I think most would agree is completely inoffensive even if it’s not their cup of tea. I love this style of match, if for nothing else than the intricacy of the spots and the high level of athleticism and skill on display. I think WWE could use fun sprinty matches like this to open some of their shows. ***

2. Yuga Hayashi & Yosuke Santa Maria vs Don Fujii & Ryotsu Shimizu – This was the third match ever (to the best of my knowledge), and the major show debut for Hayashi, yet another highly touted young wrestler on a roster chock full of good prospects. Hayashi seems to be unofficially aligned with The Millenials, but is still decked out in the typical black tights/black boots/generic haircut young boy look. Seeing Fujii on the opposite side had me concerned for Hayashi’s health and well being, especially when Hayashi Pearl Harbored (is 70 years too soon?), sneak attacked Fujii before the bell. Hayashi got waaaaay more shine here than I figured he would get, as he was essentially positioned as the star of the match. He used a judo throw into a cross arm breaker combo on Shimizu that almost scored a tap. Later, he hit a nice looking German suplex with a bridge on Shimizu for a near fall. He didn’t fair as well against Fujii, but in typical young by fashion didn’t back down, going right at him with chops over & over despite Fujii no selling and then killing him. Hayashi even survived a Fujii chokeslam. The finish was Hayashi going for the judo throw again, but this time Shimizu blocked it. Hayashi ended up in Shimizu’s crab hold, and nearly made the ropes before tapping out. Hayashi is a little rough around the edges, but he looked pretty advanced for a guy at his experience level. For my money the Dragon Gate system in the best training system in the world, and they just keep churning out good young talent. ***

3. Kenichiro Arai, K-ness, Sachihoko BOY vs Kotoka, Jimmy Kagetora, Jimmy Susumu – Arai and Susumu did a dueling headbutt spot that will have some people whining for sure. Hey, it’s not my head, or my future brain trauma. With what we know about concussions, I understand that stuff like this is a major turn off for some. It doesn’t bother me, but I understand the idea that it can be a turn off, because watching death matches has a similar effect on me. I have no desire to watch guys (or girls, since that’s a hot button topic these days) cut themselves or use weed whackers on each other or roll around in broken light tubes or drop each other on cinder blocks. But with that said, who am I to tell these people what to do with their bodies? I just choose to not buy a ticket. Anyway, Arai did another stiff headbutt later to knock Susumu off of the top rope. I mean, some of these things sounded like banging coconuts together. This match was a slightly less fun version of the opener, aside from a hot closing stretch where K-ness and Susumu went back and forth with pin attempts. K-ness kept trying his Hikari no Wa, and Susumu countered one into a cradle for the win. **1/2

4. Akira Tozawa & Shingo Takagi vs YAMATO & Punch Tominaga – Punch had been intentionally getting himself disqualified in every match, and was vowing to do so until he got his hands on Shingo. So, this was his chance. Punch took off his tie to choke Shingo, and Vince McMahon immediately fired him. After being re-hired, this was built around Punch vs Shingo, with Tozawa and YAMATO as the bit players. YAMATO must be watching Togi Makabe house show tapes, because he did literally nothing in this match and literally disappeared for almost the entirety of it. I can see Punch having go away heat in some circles, but I like the character. He does a great job getting over that he’s bat shit fucking insane. With the ref distracted, Punch got a hold of his brass knuckles, and went to town on both Shingo and Tozawa. The ref turned around as he was pounding Tozawa, and called for the bell. Welp, another DQ for Punch. One spot I found funny was Tozawa doing his triple dive onto the entire Mad Blankey unit, plus the young boys —except for Doi, who was chilling out in the corner. He must watch those Makabe tapes with YAMATO. Post match, Punch talked shit about Tozawa, Shingo, and then CIMA, who did not take kindly to this and hit the ring. They did some dueling promos, and let me tell you, Punch must be some talker, because the crowd eats out of his hands. I have no idea what he’s saying, but his facials and voice inflections are tremendous, and I can’t take my eyes off of him. It looks like they are elevating him, and he’s getting over, so it’s working. Punch tried to bait CIMA into a fight, but CIMA resisted. The end result was a No DQ match between Punch and CIMA at Dangerous Gate. This was effective in making me want to see them against each other. **3/4


5. T-Hawk & Eita vs Uhaa Nation & Masato Yoshino – T-Hawk & Eita are the Open the Twin Gate champs, but this was non-title. A few keys observations from this one. Masato Yoshino is having one hell of a year, Uhaa continues to project himself more & more like a true star, and T-Hawk just gets better & better as he ascends up the card on his way to becoming a sure fire star. T-Hawk scored a major win here as he beat Yoshino with the Night Ride. Mochizuki & Dragon Kid came out to interrupt The Millenials post match promo, and challenged for the Twin Gate. They get their shot at Dangerous Gate. ***

6. Open the Dream Gate – BxB Hulk (c) vs Naruki Doi, Kzy, Mondai Ryu, Cyber Kong – Yes, a four versus one handicapped match for the Dream Gate. I didn’t hear from a single Dragon Gate fan who wasn’t annoyed about this when it was announced, but the post match stuff talked me off of my ledge (we’ll get to that). Hulk already lost a stacked odds bout to Mad Blankey last month, so traditional booking would say he would win this one, especially as the babyface and as the champion. Well, he lost. After eliminating Ryu and Kong, and teasing a running of the table, Doi won the title. Mochizuki came out and was annoyed that the title changed hands this way, and tried to talk Yagi (the authority figure ref) into reversing. Yagi wouldn’t go that far, but instead declared Doi the interim champion and scheduled a one on one rematch at Dangerous Gate. If Doi wins, he’s officially the new champ. If Hulk wins, he gets the title back and his v1 defense is restored. Dragon Gate is never predictable. ***1/2

The main event immediately made me think about how much I hate WWE style stacked odds handicapped matches, which the babyfaces always, always, always win. Don’t believe me? John Cena is 46-2 all time in 1 vs 2 matches. He’s 13-1 when facing three men. That is utterly ridiculous, and serves no purpose other than to make your heels like like impotent fools. BxB Hulk has now lost two stacked odds bouts against Mad Blankey back to back. In fact, he’s never even managed to eliminate enough men to pair either match down to a one on one situation. Despite this, he still came out of both matches looking strong, like he had all of the heart in the world. Losing didn’t hurt him at all, and the way these matches were booked, he ended up looking just as strong as if he had pulled out miracle wins. The key here though, is if he had won either match, the heels (particularly Doi, a protected star) look like complete goofs. With Hulk losing valiantly nobody comes out of either match looking bad. Hulk comes off like a guy who will fight to the death, and the heels don’t look like morons who can’t find a way to beat one guy when they have a three man edge. Unless it’s against jobber types or you are booking a giant or a monster, nobody should ever win a stacked odds handicapped match. It just ends up counter productive, because why would anybody pay to see your heels one on one if they can’t even win three versus one? The babyface should go down putting up the fight of his life, and the idea should be to create a situation where fans want to see him to get his hands on the heel fair & square, one on one. And that’s exactly how Dragon Gate is paying off this feud at Dangerous Gate, with the Hulk vs Doi main event. Picture perfect log term booking.

This was your typical fun Dragon Gate show, and served as a set up for the bigger Dangerous Gate show on 8/17 (this show will air in Japan as an episode of Dragon Gate Infinity one day before Dangerous Gate). This is well worth a watch for hardcores because of all of the storyline advancement. Casuals may want to wait for Dangerous Gate, or catch this when it airs for free as an Infinity.

Order the VOD of “Scandal Gate” below:

Here is the Dangerous Gate card, courtesy of iheartdg.com:

8/17/2014 Tokyo, Ota City General Gymnasium ~DANGEROUS GATE 2014~ – USTREAM $24.99

  • 0. K-ness, Kenichiro Arai vs. Shachihoko BOY, Ryotsu Shimizu
  • 1. Jimmy Kanda, Jimmy Kagetora, Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!! vs. Yosuke♡Santa Maria, Gamma, Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa
  • 2. Don Fujii, Yuga Hayashi vs. Jimmy Susumu, “Mr. High Tension” Kotoka
  • 3. No DQ Match: CIMA vs. Punch Tominaga
  • 4. Open the Brave Gate Championship Match: Flamita vs. Mr. Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin
  • 5. Open the Twin Gate Championship Match: T-Hawk, Eita vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid
  • 6. MONSTER EXPRESS vs. MAD BLANKEY Loser Revives Survival Instant Comeback Captain’s Fall Elimination Match: Masato Yoshino, Shingo Takagi(c), Akira Tozawa, Uhaa Nation vs. YAMATO, Kzy, Cyber Kong, Mondai Ryu
  • 7. Open the Dream Gate Championship Decision Match: Naruki Doi (Interim Champion) vs. BxB Hulk (20th Champion)

*If Doi wins, he becomes the 21st champion. If Hulk wins, he will continue his reign as 20th champion and be credited with his 1st defense

Rules for match six are as follows:

Eliminations can occur via standard pin, submission, or over the top rope methods. Once a participant is eliminated, he can return to the match when a member of the opposing side is eliminated. For example, Kzy is eliminated. He will wait at ringside until a member of MONSTER EXPRESS is eliminated, at which point he is able to return to the match. If a team has had multiple members eliminated, they are able to choose who revives into the match. Only the captain needs to be beaten to win the match.