Dragon Gate is back in Korakuen as the road to Kobe World continues. However, the round-robin King of Gate tour rages on with the second Korakuen stop of the tour. Tonight. we have a first time singles match with T-Hawk and Dragon Kid, another meeting between YAMATO and Don Fujii, a flashy match between Jimmy Susumu and Eita, and then in the main event, former partners and longtime rivals, Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi clash again.
King of Gate
June 2, 2016
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
Akira Tozawa, Big R Shimizu, Shachihoko BOY def. Masaaki Mochizuki, Jimmy Kanda, Jimmy K-ness J.K.S.
This started off as the perfectly acceptable and rather fun Dragon Gate opener, complete with dives and sharp strikes and jaw-dropping speed. They shifted into another level on this one, however, as Mochizuki and Big R ended up duking it out for supremacy. Mochizuki ate a Shot Put Slam earlier this year and took the pinfall and he was not about to suffer the same defeat twice. I marvel over Mochizuki’s quickness and skill for his age all the time, and this was no different. He countered a Shot Put into a Cross Armbreaker and it was a thing of beauty. Bravo. Tozawa and K-ness closed things out with hot fighting and in the end, Tozawa’s beautiful Snap German gave his trio the victory. Hot opener. ***1/2
Punch Tominaga, El Lindaman def. Mondai Ryu, Kotoka
Despite being in the same unit, there is a huge contrast here between Punch and Lindaman that I find fascinating. Lindaman is the prince, and (hopefully) the future ace of Dragon Gate. He’s bursting with potential. Punch is, hm, the human trash bag? He doesn’t really have much going for him. This was a very basic tag in which Linda looked good and Kotoka looked bald. Skippable unless you’re all aboard the Lindaman Hype Train. **1/2
KING OF GATE C Block: Dragon Kid vs. T-Hawk
These two have met many times in tag matches, including a gem last month at Dead or Alive, but this is a first time singles match.
T-Hawk brought the hate in this one, folks. He was not playing around. He needed a win, badly, in King of Gate, and he took that frustration out on Dragon Kid in this match. DK got offense in, but these two kept on going back and forth and in the end, T-Hawk’s strength and power outmatched DK’s flips and speed. A great contrast by two very talented wrestlers. Fun, with just enough hate for an undercard match. T-Hawk put him away with the Night Ride. ***1/2
KING OF GATE A Block
Don Fujii def. YAMATO
There is something to be said for the opening spot of this match being crowd brawling in which Fujii left YAMATO for dead and stumbled back into the ring like the old geezer he is, hoping for a countout victory. While he may not have won by countout, Big Match Fujii arrived, saw, and then conquered YAMATO, throwing a major curveball in Block A.
This match didn’t feel like a Dragon Gate match. Granted, it wasn’t a prototypical New Japan match, but it felt like it should’ve been in the G1 and not King of Gate. This had a slow build for Dragon Gate standards and was built off of strikes. It was a major contrast to what the crowd had seen in the match prior. YAMATO has some of the best elbows in wrestling and Fujii delivers his strikes beautifully. After a series of counters, Fujii rolled YAMATO up with the Gedo Clutch and secured the victory. Wild match. Wild finish. Thumbs up to both men. ****
Peter Kaasa Japanese Debut Match: CIMA, Gamma, Peter Kaasa def. Ryo “Jimmy” Saito, Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Jimmy Kagetora
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Dragon Gate dedicate a match to getting one guy over as much as they did with Kassa here. He came in, did his flips, and won after crushing Horiguchi’s mid-section with a devastating 630 Senton. He did his Sasuke Special, a handful of suplexes, and then the aforementioned 630 to pick up the win. This was quick and simple and designed to make Kassa feel at home, and in my eyes, this was mightily effective. He appears to be welcomed in with open arms by the Dragon Gate faithful and I can’t wait to see Kassa progress in Japan. We will see him next on the 6/5 Sambo Hall show as he teams with Gamma, Eita, & Dragon Kid to take on Tribe Vanguard – Hulk, YAMATO, Kzy, & Santa Maria. ***
KING OF GATE B Block
Eita def. Jimmy Susumu
Eita is finally beginning to shine through and show his skill in ways that Dragon Gate fans like myself have been waiting for for years now. He’s shown skill since his debut. He won people over with his performances in the King of Chop, and now after backstage issues, injuries, and a few small peaks at success, he is now on a roll. He put on a classic with Akira Tozawa the prior month at Korakuen, and now, he’s done the same with Susumu.
These two were so quick, and so smooth. Eita on the mat is a treat. In a non-grapplefuck era, he could be a viable candidate for WON Best Technical Wrestler. Even now, I could see him sneaking onto ballots as a #3 vote. Anyways, he worked like a madman in this match, working over Susumu’s arm to:
- Setup the Numero Uno
- Take away the Jumbo no Kachi
And in the end, that’s just what happened. Susumu tapped to a Modified Numero Uno. Great stuff. ****1/2
Shingo Takagi, Naoki Tanizaki, “brother” YASSHI def. BxB Hulk, Kzy, Yosuke♡Santa Maria
Tribe Vanguard is the new unit of YAMATO, BxB Hulk, Kzy, and Yosuke Santa Maria. They were camo, they look pretty cool, and most importantly, Yosuke wears pink camo and it looks cute.
These two sides have great chemistry judging from their multi-man matches on 5/8 in Osaka and now this match. Hulk and Shingo continue to beat the tar out of each other, and now Shingo has gotten to a point where he has great chemistry with both Kzy and Santa Maria. This was a four star match through and through until the finish, as “brother” YASSHI stole the win with a lame low-blow and rollup.
Look, I don’t like YASSHI at this point. I thought it was really cool that he came back for one night and teamed with Yoshino – I loved that. I don’t want him full-time in Dragon Gate, however. He fits in with VerserK fine, I just don’t like him in the promotion. He’s not for me. That being said, this was a really fun match. ***3/4
KING OF GATE D Block
Masato Yoshino def. Naruki Doi
Yoshino has a career 7-1-1 record against Naruki Doi in singles matches. Their draw came from the first outing they had in 2005 in the Brave Gate League. Their next meeting was in 2009 when Doi retained his Dream Gate Championship against Yoshino. Since then, whether it be in Japan, England, or America, Yoshino has come out on top.
The story was no different here. These two never seem to light it up the way they should, considering that they’ve been in the ring with each other so much, whether it be in singles or as arguably Dragon Gate’s best tag team ever, SpeedMuscle, and this continued that trend. I thought it was great. Yoshino, especially, came across to me as a total pro. He understands what he’s doing in every situation on the card, and he constantly delivers in seemingly every situation. He put away Doi with the Sol Naciente in just over 16 minutes in a fun, exciting match to close out a tremendous show. ****
“After the main event, a brawl broke out between Verserk, MONSTER EXPRESS, & eventually TRIBE VANGUARD. Tozawa told TV this was none of their business. YAMATO noted that he said the same thing to Yoshino when he came out after the main event last month. Takagi ran down everyone in sight. Particularly that worthless piece of trash Shachihoko BOY. No matter how much effort the other members of ME put in, they can’t make up for that loser. After some arguing, a 3 way 6 man tag was made for next month in Korakuen. Takagi, Doi, & YASSHI will represent Verserk. For TRIBE VAGUARD it will be YAMATO, Hulk, & Kzy. ME will field Tozawa, Yoshino, & Shachi. Takagi berated Shachi some more, until he snapped and slapped Takagi hard across the head, staggering the champion.
Yoshino, as the winner of the main event, closed out the show. ME shared some banter about KING OF GATE. Yoshino was in the same block as Shimizu, and admitted he would be rooting for Horiguchi to beat him in his final league match. Yoshino promised to be the first repeat winner, while Shimizu quietly disagreed in the background. – IHeartDG.com“
Dragon Gate continues to kill it in Korakuen Hall this year. They have yet to put on a main event in this building this year that I have given less than four stars. No other company is consistently putting on great matches the way this company is. Few matches this year are going to feature sleeker matwork than Susumu vs. Eita, that was a thing of beauty. Two thumbs up. Tremendous show.