Dragon Gate
Fantastic Gate 2015
December 3, 2015
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan

Dragon Gate has a relatively quiet month in November. Their month kicked off in Korakuen Hall with All Out War, but after that middle of the road show, nothing of note happened. Thankfully, Dragon Gate’s Decembers are traditionally an exciting time and this year is no exception as Dragon Gate lands in Korakuen Hall twice, once on the 3rd, then again on the 16th, before finally wrapping up their year in Fukuoka for Final Gate on the 27th. This December kicks off with a huge main event as Shingo Takagi defends his Open the Dream Gate Championship against Gamma in the main event.

Genki Horiguchi, Ryo Saito, & Jimmy Kanda vs. Takehiro Yamamura, Kaito Ishida, & Eita

A very basic way to open up this Korakuen show. No crazy antics or dives from either side, just a light way to open up the show. Both Ishida and Yamamura continue to look incredibly comfortable in their roles already. I can’t wait to see how these two progress. **

El Lindaman vs. Shachihoko BOY

As the president of El Lindaman’s fan club (I hereby appoint myself that title), I can say that I fully support him getting some singles action in Korakuen Hall. For the most part, Lindaman’s singles opportunities have come in dark matches or on Dragon Gate NEX shows, so this was an opportunity to show non-die hards what he has a chance to do. Both guys were a little sloppy here and the fact that Korakuen sat on their hands for the entire bout didn’t help things. BOY has proven to be a fun wrestler when given the chance, but tonight was not his night, either. Lindaman’s Locomotive German Suplexes were the only bright spot in this match, as that continues to be one of my favorite moves in wrestling. A disappointing outing for both men. **½

Cyber Kong & Mondai Ryu vs. Jimmy Kness J.K.S. & Jimmy Susumu

Susumu and Kness are two of the most dynamic wrestlers in Dragon Gate, but even they are dragged down by the dead weight of Kong and Ryu in this match. There was nothing bad in this match, at times it was actually fun with Kness taking a huge beating from Kong and Ryu, but nothing grabbed me in this match. It was fine. Another dull match on this undercard. **¾

Masato Yoshino, Akira Tozawa, & T-Hawk vs. Dragon Kid, Kzy, & Big R Shimizu

Akira Tozawa gave this show the life it needed! This guy could get people cheering at a funeral. He’s unbelievable. He’s the most charismatic man in this match, but I can’t discredit Yoshino, Shimizu, and Dragon Kid for keeping the crowd invested in this match. Kzy, even, who has found his calling in Dia Hearts, is gaining better reactions every time I see him. T-Hawk is the glaring omission here. I loved his work in 2013 and 2014 with Eita and the rest of The Millenials, but he does not fit in with Monster Express. He doesn’t have the charming charisma that the rest of the members posses. He feels more bland than Shingo Takagi did at the end of his run in that unit.

The match was a vast improvement over the prior three. Shimizu adds such a unique dynamic to these six-man matches. No one in the company uses their size as well as Shimizu. I could watch him throw Yoshino around all day. Yoshino, who, now that I think about it, has had a really underrated year, had some great sequences with Dragon Kid in this match. Their chemistry is of the charts. Fun stuff. ***½

YAMATO, Naruki Doi, Naoki Tanizaki, & Kotoka vs. CIMA, Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii, & Punch Tominaga

This match was really unique. Something about VerserK is making me incredibly excited whenever I see them. All four of their members here gel well with each other. Their chemistry is undeniable. It’s also interesting seeing the way Fujii worked here, compared to his prior bouts against VerserK when he was teaming with The Jimmyz. Here, he was extremely serious. He came across as a fighter. Mochizuki was excellent in his role here. Kotoka decided to target him and Mochizuki made him pay for it.

Tominaga, bless his heart, is an incredibly awkward wrestler. However, his awkwardness might just work in Over Generation. Next to CIMA’s crispness and Eita’s furocity, Tominaga might be able to stand out in this unit. He scored the pinfall here over Tanizaki in a great moment for Korakuen Hall. Best match so far. ***¾

“PT celebrated his big win. Gamma would take the Dream Gate later. In Fukuoka, Eita would take out Kotoka for the Brave Gate. That leaves Doi & YAMATO and the Twin Gate. He put them on notice that he was coming for their belts.” -iheartdg.com

Open the Dream Gate Championship
Shingo Takagi vs. Gamma

Dragon Gate has a knack for surprising me when I don’t think things are going to turn out well. Time after time, when I think they’ve booked themselves into a corner, they find a way to create magic. This seemed like a match impossible to mess up. Shingo, the best heel in wrestling, was taking his Dream Gate Championship into Korakuen Hall to defend against the obviously weaker Gamma. I expected heart wrenching hope spots from Gamma. Moments of hope that would suck me in and make me think that someway, somehow, Gamma would leave with his hand raised. Would he? Absolutely not. There was no way Shingo was losing this match. But I wanted to believe. Gamma is my least favorite member of the Dragon Gate roster and even I wanted to see him shine. What we got, instead, was a ridiculously over contrived, smoke & mirrors match.

The match ended in a no contest, which in itself is frustrating. Shingo pinned Masaaki Mochizuki clean as a sheet the month prior. He battles CIMA at the end of the month in Fukuoka for the Dream Gate. Why is Gamma not being squashed like a bug? Why is now the time to protect Gamma? Gamma got way too much offense in. I could’ve lived with the fact that he scored a visual pinfall on Shingo and would’ve won the match if the referee hadn’t been attacked, only if Gamma hadn’t been in control for a majority of the match.

I don’t know what Dragon Gate was going for here. Gamma has never been hotter and Shingo has never been more hated. They had a chance to create magic, as they tend to do, inside Korakuen Hall. Instead, this main event fell flat on its face. *

The show luckily ended on a positive note, as Akira Tozawa, my favorite human on the planet, dawned a fedora and announced the inaugural Akira Tozawa Treasure Hunt.

“It was brought up that the end of the first December Korakuen is the place that the special main event for the second one is decided. It was time for Doi Darts, right? Doi declined. If people were looking forward to seeing Doi Darts this year, too damn bad. He didn’t have time to make a board. Tozawa came out. He chastised Doi for his lack of preparation. Total neglect of duty. Tozawa talked about the various match selection methods used in the past. Doi Darts, the CIMA Royale, Yoshino Lotto, even the Yagi Bread Survival Elimination. It was time for a new one. The Akira Tozawa Treasure Hunt! Tozawa donned a fedora while the Indiana Jones theme played. The rules were simple. Inside each turnbuckle pad were three with names inside. 10 children were selected from the crowd. Each one got to select one pad, then one envelope from the pad. This would decide the special 10 man tag main event for 12/16. For the red corner, it was Arai, Tanizaki, Tozawa, Shachi, & Yoshino. The blue corner will be Kanda, Doi, El Lindaman, Metal Warrior, & Shisa. At the end of this, there were two pads left unselected. Two more kids were pulled from the crowd. The names selected would be the dark match. Gamma & T-Hawk were picked.” -iheartdg.com

12/16/2015 Tokyo, Korakuen Hall
0. T-Hawk vs. Gamma
-Tozawa Treasre Hunt Special 10 Man Tag Team Match: Kenichiro Arai, Naoki Tanizaki, Akira Tozawa, Shachihiko BOY, Masato Yoshino vs. Jimmy Kanda, Naruki Doi, El Lindaman, Metal Warrior, Super Shisa

Final Thoughts: This is the weakest Korakuen Hall show Dragon Gate has produced in awhile. Nothing cracked four stars, which is a rarity, and this is my least favorite Dream Gate match since the infamous CIMA vs. Cyber Kong match at Dead or Alive 2012. Part of that was me getting my hopes up. I really wanted Shingo vs. Gamma to be something special. It was special, but for all of the wrong reasons. Thumbs in the middle, pointing down for this show.