If you clicked on this article hoping to find a wealth of stats about the past four months of Dragon Gate, you came to the right place!
I’ve always been interested in the theory behind results in Japan, where the most important factor in the match is who is involved in the fall, not necessarily if you win or lose. With Dragon Gate’s Dead or Alive 2015 event taking place tomorrow morning, it seemed like the perfect time to dive into some results. I scraped together every match results since January 1, noting which person/team won or lost, along with who scored the falls. If it was an elimination-style match, I counted each elimination individually. When I was finished, I had data for 312 matches to work with. Now, there are a few different ways I wanted to drill into the numbers, so I’ll start with the most basic.
The following table shows each wrestler’s raw record (Matches), along with how many times they were involved in the fall (Falls). For example, Jimmy Susumu’s overall record is 25-27, however he is 11-3 when involved in the fall. On the flip side, we have Dragon Kid, whose overall record is 31-10, but is only 6-10 when involved in the fall. The “Total Falls” column, technically Falls Won minus Falls Lost, is where you really get a clear picture. It should come as no surprise that the two highest guys in this category are the current singles champions, BxB Hulk and Akira Tozawa. Hulk has only dropped one fall over the past four months, being pinned by his upcoming challenger, Cyber Kong, in a 6-man elimination match on April 5. Tozawa has only lost three falls in this timespan, once to Jimmy Susumu in January, another to future Brave Gate challenger Dragon Kid and most recently to Genki Horiguchi on April 7. Oddly enough, that is one of only two falls to go Horiguchi’s way since January. Yikes.
Looking at the raw totals is interesting, but I wanted to go deeper. The next table shows the Net Falls on a month-by-month basis. Now you can get an idea of who was rising/falling each month. Take a look at Jimmy Susumu’s January, for example. In 13 matches, he was able to pick up eight falls. This was a perfect build to challenging for the Dream Gate in February. While he has been on the back burner for the last three months, they certainly got behind him in January. If you are more interested in the losers in this scenario, take a peek at Punch Tominaga’s January. He stepped into the ring 12 times that month, and each time he was staring at the lights when the match ended. Not good.
All of this information paints a fairly clear picture of Dragon Gate’s past four months, but I still wanted more. I wanted to capture each wrestler’s momentum heading into Dead or Alive. I started looking into weighing each win/loss based on how long ago it happened. Without getting into too much detail, a successful win two months ago is half as important as a win today. By adding up all of those weighted results, we get the table shown below. This works as a “Who’s Hot/Who’s Not” metric. Just like the raw numbers, the weighted falls have the same two leaders, only this time Tozawa is ahead of Hulk. You can see Cyber Kong making move with an incredibly strong April, or Shingo Takagi quietly sitting in 3rd. It’s also interesting to see the progression of someone like Shachihoko BOY, who had a very weak January, but has come on strong in March/April’s Twin Gate run.
|Big R Shimizu||0.6||3.6||3.4||1.1||8.7|
|Yosuke Santa Maria||-1.3||-0.5||-1.2||-2.6||-5.6|
All of this leads me to Dead or Alive 2015. Just looking at the major matches, BxB Hulk vs. Cyber Kong for the Dream Gate is strong based on the numbers. Both guys have been in the positive for all four months. Hulk has picked up three falls against Kong in April. Using WWE logic, we would likely be looking at a new Dream Gate champion. I don’t get the sense Dragon Gate uses that logic, though.
There’s also the Twin Gate title match, with Masato Yoshino & Shachihoko BOY defending against Masaaki Mochizuki and Big R Shimizu. Yoshino, BOY and Shimizu have all been booked strong lately, leaving Mochizuki as the guy most likely to take the fall on paper. Akira Tozawa defending the Brave Gate against Dragon Kid seems like a formality. Kid has not been pushed strong thus far in 2015, so this doesn’t seem like the best spot for Tozawa to drop the strap. Finally, we have the Mask vs. Hair Steel Cage Survival Double Risk 6-way Match. Using these numbers as a barometer, it looks like T-Hawk, Shingo Takagi and YAMATO have the best odds at surviving. In addition to their recent fortunes, they are all representing guys who do not wear masks, which makes their potential survival that much more likely.