DRAGON GATE
DANGEROUS GATE 2016
SEPTEMBER 22, 2016
OTA CITY GENERAL GYMNASIUM – TOKYO, JAPAN

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DON FUJII, EL LINDAMAN, FUTA NAKAMURA, SHUN WATANABE def. GAMMA, TAKEHIRO YAMAMURA, KAITO ISHIDA, HYOU WATANABE

To no one’s surprise, this ended up being a barrel of fun. The Over Generation trio (and Watanabe) were no match for the strength, speed, or brutality that the opposing foursome brought to the table. Fujii seems to have fresh legs. He’s working hard against these youngsters and it’s great to see. I can’t go without mentioning El Lindaman, no longer flanked by Maria. He was brutal in this match. Like a smaller version of Fujii. To boot was Futa Nakamura, who will probably be main eventing this show in five years. He’s going to be a superstar. Linda won after pinning Ishida with a Tiger Suplex.

After the match, Linda attacked everyone and ran away. Real mature, Linda. Real mature. ***

CYBER KONG def. JIMMY KNESS J.K.S.

This was such a weird match. These were the two odd men out as the rest of their units found themselves in title matches later on in the evening. This felt like it went far too long, which isn’t typically an issue with Dragon Gate undercard matches. Perhaps it was just the shock of The Immovable Object, Cyber Kong, tangling with a grappler the likes of Kness. Cyber Kong put him away with a Cyber Bomb for the three. **1/4

OPEN THE BRAVE GATE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
EITA def. BROTHER YASSHI

Can we kill the YASSHI experiment dead? The dude stinks. There are people that have off days, and then there are people that just aren’t good. YASSHI falls under the latter. He stunk up the joint here just like he did at Kobe World. How does anyone have a bad match with Eita in 2016?

YASSHI is fine in Wrestle-1. He had a match recently that I really enjoyed (granted, Dick Togo was involved). However, he’s not up to the working standard of the current Dragon Gate roster and it shows. He’s a step behind. Things have to be slowed down for him and his heel act does nothing for me. Eita no-sold some powder and tapped out YASSHI like the geek he was. As I noted in my preview, this had a very high ceiling and a very low floor, which we don’t see a lot of in modern Dragon Gate. This crashed and burned into the ground. **1/2  

OPEN THE TRIANGLE GATE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
GENKI HORIGUCHI H.A.GEE.MEE!!, RYO “JIMMY” SAITO, JIMMY KANDA def. BXB HULK, KZY, YOSUKE♡SANTA MARIA

Watching Maria work so many important multi-person matches lately has been very interesting. She is great at playing the Ricky Morton. She gets beat down and beat down and whether it was Linda in the Summer Adventure Tag League or here with Hulk, her partner(s) are able to bring the fire. She’s no slouch. Yes, she took the pin here, but that was after an incredibly exciting series with Saito and Horiguchi.

The Jimmyz continue to trudge on. I don’t know how, after four years, they’re still as entertaining as they are. I guess having two all-time greats in Horiguchi and Saito help. Kanda looked great here. He’s another guy that plays his role and blends in throughout the year, but when DG needs him to bring it, he delivers. Very fun match. Not as off the walls as some would expect, even for a modern Triangle Gate match, and most of them now are relatively tame. Maria ate the pin after a Double Cross from SaiRyo. ***1/2  

CIMA, DRAGON KID, MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI, FLAMITA def. MASATO YOSHINO, T-HAWK, BIG R SHIMIZU, PETER KAASA

In a little under 20 minutes, these eight men put on an absolute spectacle of athleticism and a display of glorious professional wrestling. Masaaki Mochizuki continues to amaze me. At 46, he looked better than anyone in this match. He’s a wizard that does not age. On the other end of the age spectrum is Flamita, who I think is the best high-flyer going today and he showed that off again tonight. No one in wrestling has better body control. He controls himself amazingly well for the insane amount of flips he does in the ring.

Kaasa continues to look really strong in Japan. Like Uhaa Nation, the current Apollo Crews on Smackdown! Live, he’s able to pick his spots in these Dragon Gate multi-mans and a huge, muscular man flying through the air is incredibly impressive. Night and day difference between this and his EVOLVE outings a month ago. Super fun match. Dragon Kid put away T-Hawk with the Ultra Hurricanrana. First match of the night worth going out of your way to see. ****1/4

After the match, T-Hawk snapped. Here’s Jae at IHeartDG.com to provide the translation/recap:

“T-Hawk snapped on his Monster Express stablemates after losing. This was all Yoshinos’ fault. Yoshino was out injured, Tozawa was off in America doing whatever. The unit is in disarray and nobody’s doing anything. Especially that stupid idiot Shimizu or that bottom feeder Shachihoko BOY. Yoshino, naturally, took exception to all this. Tozawa was in America raising the profile of Dragon Gate. Dumbass Shimizu? Weakling Shachi? T-Hawk really isn’t one to talk. What exactly has he done that is so great? He sure has been losing a lot lately, in fact. They agreed to have a singles match. T-Hawk said when he wins, he will be the one dictating the direction of Monster Express. He left to a chorus of boos.”

OPEN THE TWIN GATE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
JIMMY SUSUMU, JIMMY KAGETORA VS. NARUKI DOI, SHINGO TAKAGI

My goodness, what a match. This is one of those Dragon Gate matches that you have to sit through. The journey is what’s important. Things started slow—with Takagi and Doi brutalizing the champions—it’s not that they grinded the match to a halt; I was engaged throughout the entire match, but the heat segment was very long. I think Takagi has clearly established that he has the best offense in wrestling. No one makes their stuff looks as brutal, and no one matches his intensity.

The comeback for the Jimmyz duo was quite the scene. Kagetora’s quickness is something to behold. Sometimes I want to tell people to pump the breaks when they praise Kagetora, because although he’s great, sometimes I feel like it’s overblown because of his positioning on the card. Not anymore. This guy is as good as it gets. If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you know I think of Susumu as one of the best wrestlers in the world, and his offense isn’t far behind Takagi’s in terms of being convincing and brutal.

The finishing stretch was a thing of beauty, as Doi slammed Kagetora to the canvas with back-to-back-to-back Doi 5’s before getting caught in a flash pin by the woozy Kagetora for the three count. This took awhile to get going, but once it did, it showed why Dragon Gate is the very best. ****

OPEN THE DREAM GATE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
YAMATO VS. AKIRA TOZAWA

And with one fell swoop, what appears to be Akira Tozawa’s last major match in Dragon Gate is in the books.

This wasn’t the epic that YAMATO had with Shingo Takagi two months ago, or an emotional masterpiece that Tozawa is capable of, like his Brave Gate title win nearly two years ago vs. Kzy. This was a solid professional wrestling encounter between two guys that are capable of more, but what they did was perfectly acceptable. The sad part is that it seemed right like they found their groove and things were going to that next level that Dragon Gate so often hits, YAMATO wrapped Tozawa up and sent him crashing to the canvas with the Galleria. These two are capable of more. ***1/2

The post match was predictably emotional with YAMATO recalling memories from 11 years ago when they were both trainees. Again, here’s Jae from the absolute must-follow IHeartDG.com website with coverage and translations:

“YAMATO told Tozawa that memories from 11 years ago came flooding back to him during the match. When he, Kzy, & Mondai Ryu were still trainees in the summer of 2005. While the entire roster was in Tokyo, they were left alone in the dojo. After spending the day eating and training, they went to sleep. During the night, Tozawa busted into the room with a Famicom and played it night after night. The dojo isn’t that big, so it kept everyone up. Tozawa was his senior, and really wasn’t setting a good example for him. But, even though YAMATO is actually 4 years older than Tozawa, Tozawa is his big brother. The big brother he learned pro wrestling from.

Tozawa thanked him. Yeah, it is true that he is a senior to YAMATO. He hasn’t done anything becoming of a senior. Whether it be actions or accomplishments. He has been playing catch up to YAMATO this whole time. Thank you, for accepting the challenge from this horrible senpai. Take this title belt and protect & carry Dragon Gate. He put the Dream Gate around YAMATOs’ waist. They shared an embrace, and Tozawa left.”

Final Thoughts

Of the three Dragon Gate PPV’s that have taken place so far this year, this is the weakest of the pack. Dead or Alive was packed with energetic sprints on the undercard and was topped off with a beautiful main event, Kobe World was very strong up and down the card, and while nothing was bad on this show, it didn’t pack the punch that most big Dragon Gate shows do. Obviously, a lot of the focus was on Akira Tozawa, and his match under delivered in the main event. YASSHI ruining Eita’s run of tremendous matches surely didn’t help either. All in all, I give this show a thumbs in the middle, leaning up. Nothing was bad, and for most companies, this would be their best show of the year. For Dragon Gate standards, however, this falls a little short.