Dragon Gate Rainbow Gate is is Dragon Gate’s last televised event before Kobe World 2015, their version of WrestleMania. Open the Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino and his challenger, T-Hawk, are kept apart on this show. Instead, a majority of the focus on this show is T-Hawk’s tag team partner, Eita, and his quest to capture the Open the Brave Gate Championship from Akira Tozawa. While Kobe World is Dragon Gate’s WrestleMania, there isn’t a clearly positioned “money match” at this point which is a bit odd. The focus of Kobe World and the shows prior should be on T-Hawk making a run at the top prize in the company — instead it’s been on generational warfare and in this case, a secondary title match. T-Hawk’s momentum has decreased so much that instead of looking forward to seeing him possibly become the new ace of the promotion, I’m looking elsewhere on the 7/20 card for entertainment.
Rainbow Gate 2015
July 12, 2015
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium #2 – Osaka, Japan
Yosuke♡Santa Maria, El Lindaman vs. Shachihoko BOY, Mike Sydal
Lindaman, BOY, and Sydal will meet again at Kobe World, once again in match “0”. El Lindaman is an excellent little undercard wrestler that I hope turns into a star one day. This is largely a nothing match with the highlight being Sydal’s “Yoga mat moonsault press”. What a wonderful move this is. Sydal is very green but I can see him being a very fun wrestler down the line. Skippable opener unless you’re wanting Santa Maria antics or have an eye on El Lindaman’s progression. **1/2
Stalker Ichikawa, Jimmy Kanda, Mr. Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin vs. Cyber Kong, Mondai Ryu, Punch Tominaga
Ichikawa is replacing Genki Horiguchi who is out with a lower back injury. This is a match that I’d normally skip if I wasn’t reviewing it. Ryu is always pretty useless, Kong, who is debuting new gear here, does nothing, which leaves Punch Tominaga, who is always rather clumsy. Kanda and Quu Quu take the night off here which leaves the interesting dynamic of Ichikawa vs. Tominaga — a real clash of the titans. The scary thing is, Ichikawa ends up pinning Tominaga. One year ago at World, Tominaga was being built up as a threat to Shingo Takagi and CIMA. He even pinned CIMA in a singles match in August. Here, he gets pinned by Stalker Ichikawa. **
Super Shisa vs. Kotoka
I have no issue saying that I am a huge Super Shisa mark. His wacky submissions are a breath of fresh air on Dragon Gate undercards. Kotoka, prior to joining the Millennials, annoyed me to no end. He was never very good and his “Mr. High Tension” persona had immediate go-away heat with me. Luckily, he’s found himself this year and does his part to produce a really fun undercard match with Shisa here. Kotoka countered the roll-through Boston Crab here and that was pretty great. This is a simple, basic grappling contest with a fun finish. Super Shisa is a treat sometimes. ***1/4
Ryo “Jimmy” Saito, Jimmy Susumu vs. Dragon Kid, Kzy
Kzy’s hair has become a combination of Shinsuke Nakamura and afro-era Muhammed Yone. It’s nothing short of spectacular. This starts off rather boring with the exception of a Susumu comedy spot with Kzy. Things pick up towards the end with Susumu and Dragon Kid, who have such incredible chemistry, doing the majority of the work. Things start slow and pick up towards the end, making this a solid match. ***1/4
BxB Hulk, Masaaki Mochizuki, Big R Shimizu vs. CIMA, Don Fujii, Gamma
I’m so curious as to where Big R Shimizu will be at this time next year. Since ditching *his* blue pants and adopting this animalistic gimmick last October, Shimizu has shot up the ranks in Dragon Gate. He already has one reign with the Triangle Gate Championship and is in a high-profile match at Kobe World. This match is all about him and his interaction with Don Fujii.
Mochizuki and CIMA did look good here, but the Shimizu/Fujii stuff was excellent. Right off the bat, Shimizu shoves Fujii down to the ground. This leads to a series of cheap shots between the two, most of which take place while the other is standing on the apron.
They dynamic between these two was so intense. Shimizu looked so fired up, which makes sense after being belittled by Shingo Takagi two weeks ago in Korakuen. Shimizu was out to prove he was a force to be reckon with and he successfully showed that to the veteran trio. I expect nothing but big things to come Big R’s way in the near future. ***3/4
Akira Tozawa, Matt Sydal vs. T-Hawk, Eita
I had to watch this match twice and I almost never do that. This match starts off so odd as there’s no real flow to the match. There’s a lot of “stuff” in here but it never flows or feels natural and so it comes across really awkward. There’s a point, however, towards the end, where Eita and Tozawa start giving us a preview of what we’ll hopefully see at Kobe World. Eita works Tozawa’s arm to death and if that wasn’t enough, he surprises Tozawa with a few flash pins.
T-Hawk and Sydal are afterthoughts in this match, which in the case of T-Hawk, is highly confusing. He just doesn’t fit in this match. Sydal doesn’t do much but everything he does looks great. I’m really hoping he spends a lot of time in Japan for the rest of 2015. I could very easily be underrating this match. I had such a hard time rating this because the beginning of the match is so weird. The closing stretch, however, was electric. Super excited for Eita vs. Tozawa after seeing this. ***3/4
Masato Yoshino, Shingo Takagi, Ricochet vs. Naruki Doi, YAMATO, K-ness
This is nothing any Dragon Gate fan hasn’t seen before. For any other promotion, it’s an exciting six-man tag. For Dragon Gate, it’s just more of the same. Ricochet looked outstanding at the 7/2 Korakuen Hall show and followed that up here with another really good performance. He looks incredibly motivated when he’s out there. Not sure why Yoshino was chosen to be beaten down here the most. He’s your top guy going into the biggest show of the year and K-Ness was getting plenty of offense on him. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some K-Ness, but this is not the time for him to put the boots to Yoshino. Speaking of K-Ness, he constantly puts together some incredible finishing stretches with Hikari no Wa (a rolling sitout pin), which he used here as well. I loved everything on K-Ness’ end but I’m not sure why Yoshino had to counter the pin and squeeze out the win here. This was the last chance to put him over strong before Kobe World and they didn’t do that. ***1/2
Final Thoughts: For what was a go-home show for the biggest show of the year, this was really quite good. Matches #5 and #6 creep into 4* territory and the main event offered enough excitement to keep my interest. Dragon Gate’s go-home show is a success as it only increased my interest for their biggest show of the year.
If you have any interest in reading about prior Kobe World shows, I am currently reviewing them here as a part of the Countdown to Kobe series. Reviews 2004-2010 are up and expect 2011-2014 to be up later this week.