Dragon Gate
The Gate of Destiny 2016
November 3, 2016

Osaka, Edison Arena Osaka

Meet our previewers:

Case Lowe:  Voices of Wrestling’s official young boy. Almost a legal adult. Current duties include cooking meals for other writers, mopping the floor, and reviewing Dragon Gate major events. Find him on the Open the Voice Gate podcast or on Twitter @_InYourCase

John Carroll: They started all this Open the Voice Gate crap so as always, blame them. Lately John has been stuck in a hell of their own making: trying to get more serious about learning Japanese. Podcasts! Textbooks! Anki! Dear god kill them! Find them on Twitter @toshanshuinla if you like stupid garbage.

Jules: Writer of words, mostly metaphors. Mother of all DG rookies. #1 Masaaki Mochizuki stan. Probably crying right now.

Michael Spears: New co-host of Open the Voice Gate and former host of Inside the Gate. You can find him at @fujiiheya where he’s lighting votive candles in hopes that Kenichiro Arai is going to make a surprise return at Gate of Destiny and is going through existential crises about getting his MBA.

Takehiro Yamamura, Kaito Ishida, Punch Tominaga vs. Futa Nakamura, Hyou Watanabe, Shun Watanabe

Case Lowe: One of these things is not like the other. That thing being Punch Tominaga. Tominaga started his career in 2010, and since then, has slowly transitioned from actively bad to decent. Bottom line, he’s the worst guy in the Dragon System. The other five participants in this match are all young and exciting, especially Nakamura. Nakamura’s side is still too young to pick up the victory in this match, so I expect Ishida to pin one of the Watanabe’s. This will be a fun look at Dragon Gate’s bright future. Prediction: Over Generation

John Carroll: Punch Tominaga has been pretty difficult to find on DG cards these days. Here’s his entire match history since the beginning of September: 2 minute loss to T-Hawk at a Prime Zone taping (9/9), 8 minute loss to Tadasuke in front of 200 fans, called an Osaka Pro show as an insult to its memory (9/18), sub-10 minute loss to El Lindaman at Korakuen (9/29), sub-10 minute loss to unit mate Eita at another Prime Zone taping (10/14), and finally a tag team match with partner Hyou Watanabe against the VerserK kids of Lindaman & T-Hawk on the last DG NEX show (10/21). Three guesses what happened to him there: yep, they lost. This means he has had exactly one non-Prime Zone, non-NEX appearance in Dragon Gate in the last two months, which is pretty crazy. Oh, and if you’re keeping score at home, his last singles win came back on December 21st, 2015. And it was against U-T. So uh, yeah. Punch is not exactly getting a big push right now. But hey, he’s on this show, so maybe this is the start of a Tominaga comeback! (It is not.) Prediction: Over Generation

Jules: Nakamura and the Watanabe’s form a super fun team that seems to already have a cool dynamic despite their relative inexperience and very few matches wrestled as a team. Nakamura, who is big, beefy and beautiful, is the clear leader, and though he’s not exactly facing veterans here, he has a way of standing up to his elders that is already remarkable. The very small Hyou Watanabe is a great face in peril already, and as Ishida and Yamamura have been getting more and more confident recently, I wonder if they’ll follow in their mentors’ Osaka06’s footsteps and bully the poor kid. Shun Watanabe, while not as ripped as Nakamura, is already physically impressive, tall and lean and learning to use that to his advantage. On the other side the Ishida/Yamamura tandem is one of the most fun teams to watch in DG right now, and their chemistry is undeniable. Punch Tominaga has been lost in space for a while, and I doubt he’ll do much in this match, but it’s already good that he’s on the card. The OG trio will pick up the win here, probably over Hyou, but once again, this match will likely be all about Futa Nakamura. Prediction: Over Generation

Michael Spears: The obvious answer is the Over Generation guys. W2N, as I’ve dubbed them, are still in their young boy stage so it’s easy to say “well they are going to rolled upon/this is the first match so the result is clear.” My answer to that is but what if? Nakamura obviously has been positioned as their next young guy to break out, and this might be the key moment to go over the lowest ranking guys in Over Generation. That being said, I expect the OG boys to win, but I expect the elevation of Nakamura to be a story to watch in 2017. Prediction: Over Generation

Kzy, Yosuke♡Santa Maria vs. “Hollywood” Stalker Ichikawa, Shachihoko BOY

Case Lowe: Oof, this could be rough. Shachihoko BOY has an amazing track record in Korakuen Hall, but once he leaves those hallowed grounds, he returns to geek-form. I expect this to be short, with Maria & Kzy picking up the victory. Prediction: Kzy & Maria

John Carroll: I am 100% here for Maria-Stalker exchanges. That alone should make this match a worthwhile endeavour. Kzy is an underrated comedy guy too (he’s underrated in just about everything he does, mind you) so that could also be some fertile comedic ground. Shachi will….exist. Prediction: Kzy & Maria

Jules: As a big proponent of Kzy/Maria before the whole Lindaman story/debacle, I am SO GLAD that these two are teaming up more regularly these days. They’re a super fun team, one that I can only hope lasts. Maria is in a weird place right now, after losing her Brave Gate title and then the failed Triangle Gate challenge at Dangerous Gate, but I have no doubt she’ll bounce back soon.  I have more affection for Shachi than maybe (definitely) all of my three co-hosts combined, so I’m happy he’s on the card at all after Monster Express disbanded. This will be short, fun, and probably sweet. Not much to say, really. Prediction: Kzy & Maria

Michael Spears: Poor Shachi. Monster Express breaks up and he’s saddled with Stalker. The Tribe Vanguard team are the lowest members of their unit, however, it feels like Maria is about to rebound out her post-Brave Gate lull. I’ve mentioned this on Open the Voice Gate, but I hate how they immediately saddle the most recent Brave Gate champion with a shove down the cards/losses. I don’t think this result is really in any doubt. Prediction: Kzy & Maria

Don Fujii, Gamma vs. El Lindaman, Mondai Ryu

Case Lowe: Another match that doesn’t feel like PPV-worthy. Lindaman recently joined VerserK, after handling his first breakup (with the lovely Yosuke Santa Maria) rather poorly. Sadly, he’s strapped alongside Mondai Ryu, who is nearly guaranteed to take the fall. I look forward to seeing Linda and Fujii interact. Fujii has been on fire lately, since the new crop of young boys have debuted. Prediction: Fujii & Gamma

John Carroll: Yeah this is kind of a nothing match. Gamma and Fujii have teamed before but that’s not exactly a pairing the world waits to see with baited breath or anything. The Fujii-Lindaman stuff will be interesting, but the result isn’t exactly in doubt with Mondai Ryu in there. Prediction: Fujii & Gamma

Jules: Imagine joining Verserk because you want to become stronger, but instead you get stuck with Mondai Ryu. No wonder El Lindaman has become so emo these days. Nevertheless, his interactions with Fujii will be something to look out for here. Linda refused to let Fujii coach him earlier this year, resulting in some pretty hilarious real life freeze frame moments. I wish Linda was higher on the card in the Triangle Gate match, but if I can’t get that, then I’ll enjoy this while it lasts. Prediction: Fujii & Gamma

Michael Spears: So we’ve got the newest member of VerserK & the rudo mainstay against the dads. I think the thing to watch for in this match will be the Fujii and Linda interactions: Fujii offered to be Linda’s mentor a few months ago, and Linda is being positioned as the rising young guy in VerserK. I think this will be really interesting. Ryu is obviously the regular loss post of the unit and Fujii and Gamma have the tenure/safe in their positions to make me believe that an upset by Linda is possible or even likely since he’s being elevated. I feel like this is the coin-flip match of the undercard, and I’m going with the veterans if only because the VerserK team has the unit loss post. Prediction: Fujii & Gamma

Open the Brave Gate Championship Match: Eita vs. Flamita


Case Lowe: How about this? What a first time match. Flamita is two years removed from one of the best Brave Gate runs ever. Eita’s reign has been bizarre, as after defeating Yosuke Santa Maria at World, he’s had two floundering defenses, one against “brother” YASSHI and the other against Lindaman. I have no doubt that this match will be outstanding. A win here for Eita will do wonders for his career. He’s hotter than he’s ever been, and pinning someone like Flamita, who rarely ever gets pinned, would elevate him to a new level. Rarely do I ever root against Flamita, but I am #TeamEita for this bout. Prediction: Eita

John Carroll: I don’t know why the hell this match is below Random Triangle Gate Clusterfuck #34234897, because this is about as big of a Brave Gate match as you could book at this point. It has the history, with Eita facing off against his former Millennial mate and someone who he self-admittedly wrestled many times when he was training in Mexico. It has the build-up, as Eita has had a fantastic 2016 while doing very few jobs and Flamita also rarely drops falls and never lost the Brave Gate to begin with. On top of all that, it will probably be a fantastic match. Yeah, I would have made this the semi-main (especially with no Dream Gate match), not fourth from the top, but what can you do I guess. Prediction: Eita

Jules: I am so excited for this match. The ex-Millennials are all very near and dear to my heart, and Eita’s renaissance this year, from his incredible run in King of Gate to his much deserved title win, has been such a joy to watch. Having Flamita back in DG is an absolute blessing, as he always puts on entertaining and breathtaking performances, which is absolutely what I expect to see here. These two are, in my opinion, two of the very best at what they do right now, Eita reviving the wacky and innovative llave style to much success, and Flamita being the #1 high flyer in the world today. I don’t see any way this isn’t going to be a showcase of excellence, and if everything goes right, the win over Flamita, who had one of the most impressive Brave Gate reigns of the last few years, will help propel Eita even further in the best year of his career. Prediction: Eita

Michael Spears: This is the match that Eita needs to solidify his Brave Gate reign. He’s had two relatively scummy title matches that only got him some notches on his belt. But they were just notches and aren’t anything to go out of your way to see. Eita really needs a banger of a match to make him the Brave Gate threat of his generation and lucky for him, he’s facing the last guy to have an impressive Brave Gate reign. On top of that, you have Eita, the guy who has most identified with Lucha/Llave out of the Millennials, and Flamita, the resident gaijin ace who has been, in my opinion, the greatest success out of that unit (sorry the failed T-Hawk main event run of 2015 was just a failure). This has the potential to be the best match of the show, should cement Eita as my most improved Dragon Gate wrestler of 2016. Prediction: Eita

Open the Triangle Gate 3 Way 6 Man Championship Match: Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Ryo “Jimmy” Saito, Jimmy Kanda vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Big R Shimizu, Peter Kaasa vs. “brother” YASSHI, T-Hawk, Cyber Kong


Case Lowe: There’s not a lot I can add because John typed their preview before me and they hit on every point I wanted to make. I don’t understand why this is happening, and it’s a damn shame that it is, because T-Hawk feels lost in the shuffle. As long as the VerserK side doesn’t stick up the joint, this should be a relatively fun match. It seems like Dragon Gate is itching to put gold on YASSHI and T-Hawk feels fresh. VerserK is going to pick up the win here. Prediction: VerserK

John Carroll: Boy, talk about non-existent build up to a Triangle Gate match. This one has to set a record. Monster Express breaks up, Shimizu and Kaasa decide to continue teaming anyway (cause they’re both….big? I dunno?), and here’s Mochizuki for a never-adequately-explained reason? And then because god forbid a PPV Triangle Gate match not be a 3-way, VerserK decided to insert themselves. Now, with all that said I think this match will probably be pretty good; Kong and T-Hawk already showed a lot of chemistry teaming together on the 10/2 Hakata Star Lanes show (in a winning effort against Yoshino & Shachi), and it makes sense they’d be good together since they’re both big bullies. YASSHI teaming up with the two big dudes could be fun, as he can play the little punk hiding behind his much larger friends (which was essentially his role way back in Hagure Gundam/Aagan Issou, hiding behind Shuji Kondo & Touru Owashi). The Jimmyz team is having a quietly great Triangle reign, as they almost always do. I can see where Michael is coming up with a win for the unaligned babyfaces, leading into a new unit, but I don’t think Mochizuki is ready to jump back into the unit fray yet. As we all should know by now, he vastly prefers to remain unaligned, and he put in his years with Dia so I think he’ll be left alone for now. Instead I think the VerserK trio pulls this one out, to give some steam to the “new VerserK”. Prediction: VerserK

Jules: Peter Kaasa still being around in DG, and getting yet another title shot to boot, annoys me to no end. He’s bland, inconsistent, and quite frankly unsafe too often for me to want him around any longer. Not to mention his, um, beliefs… But I guess CIMA’s boner still hasn’t calmed down, so here we have Kaasa in another title match where his team is looking at good odds of winning. It’s hard for me, because I’m happy about Mochizuki and Shimizu possibly getting belts as they are two of my favorites, but man I wish they had literally any other teammate. The Verserk team also feels weird. Cyber Kong should be in match 3 with his beloved Monchan, while Lindaman should be in this challenger team. He and T-Hawk have potential as heel buddies, and who better than YASSHI to act as their enabler, but no, instead we get Cyber Kong, who I really hope is just here to get bodied by Shimizu. Basically, Kaasa and Kong are probably going to keep this match from being truly enjoyable for me, especially since the Jimmyz, who are the only pure thing left in this rotten world, are probably going to drop the belts. Bleh. Prediction: Mochizuki & Shimizu

Michael Spears: I really don’t like how they feel like they need to saddle Gate of Destiny with a 3-Way Triangle Gate match. I mean, I get it: You want some crazy multi-man match and these are the guys available. The Jimmyz, who are in probably the best Triangle reign of the year, face the unaligned beefy dudes team and the strongest remaining members of VerserK. We are in this “winds of change” time of Dragon Gate (I’ll buy you a Coke Do, for stealing your catch phrase), so we have this unaligned team which could win and become the nucleus of the new unit. We also have VerserK, which could really use a title to strengthen their claim as the top unit of 2016. I really hate my prediction, and it’s nothing against Mocchy and Shimizu, but I really don’t care for Kaasa as a person. However they’ve got to start building their next tecnico unit, and Dragon Gate loves their muscular flippy boys. Going off of what Jules said about Lindaman being in this match, this would have been the perfect time for him to get his first title belt. Prediction: Mochizuki/Shimizu/Kaasa

Open the Twin Gate Championship Match: Jimmy Susumu, Jimmy Kagetora vs. CIMA, Dragon Kid


Case Lowe: I am ridiculously excited for this one. All four men are decorated athletes and have a laundry list of accomplishments, and while CIMA may very well be the king of Dragon Gate, but Susumu & Kagetora are more accomplished tag team wrestlers. There might not be a team with stronger chemistry in wrestling today. CIMA and Dragon Kid have never teamed in a Twin Gate match before. As much as Iove the prospect of that team, I have to hand this one to The Jimmyz. They’re more established and I feel as that they need the direction to keep The Jimmyz going. Prediction: Yokosuka Ichoume

John Carroll: Four true veterans of the Dragon System get ready to do battle, as CIMA & DK challenge for the Twin Gate. If you don’t count the Owarai Gate (and you absolutely should not), CIMA will have gone one full year without a title reign by the time this show comes around. His last reign was the CIMA/Fujii/Gamma Triangle Gate reign from 6/14/15-11/1/15. Recent history says CIMA would be due for another title reign here: before the Triangle Gate reign he had a short Twin Gate reign with Gamma (11/2/14-12/3/14), so it would fit into his recent pattern of getting an itch for gold about once a year or so. And as we all know, what CIMA wants in Dragon Gate he usually gets…. Prediction: CIMA & Dragon Kid

Jules: It’s like this card was made to ruin my life. I get antsy whenever CIMA gets a title shot against someone I like, because he’s CIMA and usually gets whatever the fuck he wants, so I’m particularly antsy here as Yokosuka Ichoume are far and away my favorite active tag team in DG, and I want them to reign for much longer than this. I’m not even sure how this match came about since it was announced after CIMA pinned Genki Horiguchi (y’know, one third of the TRIANGLE GATE CHAMPIONS), but hey… it’s CIMA. This is frustrating. It’ll probably be a super fun and entertaining match, but it’s very, very possible that the “wrong” team will win. However, unlike with the Triangle Gate match, I WANT TO BELIEVE that DG can collectively get its head out of CIMA’s ass for this one. Please. Prediction: Yokosuka Ichoume

Michael Spears: This is the other contender for the stand-out title match of Gate of Destiny. On one side, you have Yokosuka Ichoume, which along with YAMADoi have been one of the dominant tag teams of the last few years of Dragon Gate. The other has CK-1, two of the Dragon System mainstays, whom are making their first joint title challenge since 2008 (AraIwa never forget!!!!). So I can see it going either way: further solidifying the Original Jimmyz’ legacy or CIMA and DK, who have been without titles for  a hot minute, get another reign in their respective storied histories. I feel like it’s almost time to have a relatively short Twin Gate reign after the monster ones of YAMADoi and Yokosuka Ichoume. Prediction: CIMA & Dragon Kid

Team Tozawa Akira Final Special 6 Man Tag Team Match: Akira Tozawa, Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi vs. Shingo Takagi, YAMATO, BxB Hulk


Case Lowe: “Goodbye Tozawa, it’s been nice.”

Sadly, Michael Scott can’t cure these blues. This will suck. I really don’t want Tozawa to leave, especially seeing how the Cruiserweights have been handled since the CWC ended. This match will be full of emotion, and it’s nice to see him across the ring from three of his best opponents ever. I don’t see how this ends with anything other than Shingo dropping Tozawa on his head with the Made in Japan. Prediction: Takagi, YAMATO, & Hulk

John Carroll: I don’t even want to talk or think about the fact that this is it for Tozawa, it’s too sad, so let’s talk about the two big reunions in this match. New Hazard remains my all-time favorite unit, and this match is the first time we’re seeing these three of the original native four (Cyber Kong being the other one) teaming together since YAMATO left the unit for Muscle Outlaw’z back on April 17th, 2008. Of course, that ended up being a bit of a ruse as Shingo turned on Hulk less than a month later (5/14/08) and the rest of NH merged with MO’z to form Real Hazard. The result of that split ended up with, essentially, Hulk on one side and YAMATO & Shingo on the other. With only a few breaks, those two stuck together: first (briefly) in RH before Shingo quickly left, then reuniting in Kamikaze and staying together through Junction Three & (the terrible) akatsuki, and then after a couple years apart reuniting again in VerserK. But after YAMATO was kicked out of VerserK, he and Hulk had a reunion of their own (their first since the end of New Hazard), forming Tribe Vanguard together. So now it’s Hulk & YAMATO who are on the same page and Shingo who is on a decidedly different one, which is very much a change of pace. How the three of them are able to get along is of course the big question here. Meanwhile, on the other team you have the Speed Muscle reunion of Yoshino & Doi, leaving fans to wonder: with both of them currently without a unit, is this a one-time-only thing? Or are we about to get our first full-time reunion of the most famous tag team in Dragon System history since their brief one-year run in World-1 International back in 2012? I doubt we’re going to get an answer here (more likely we’ll have a better idea after the 10/10 Korakuen a few days later), but it will definitely be something to keep an eye on. But yeah, later Tozawa. Have fun in New York. Please come home soon. Prediction: Takagi, YAMATO, & Hulk

Jules: How do you even write about something like this? It’s not easy to put into words what Akira Tozawa brought to Dragon Gate and to the people who watched him grow into who he is today. I would know. It’s even worse to try and write about this, his last match in a Dragon Gate ring before he heads to the depths of Monday Night RAW hell. Yeah. Seeing how the Cruiserweights have been treated since their (supposedly) big debut, it’s kind of heartbreaking to think this is here Tozawa is going. It’s what he wants, yeah, it’s his dream, but one can only hope that he actually knows what he’s doing. But hey. Now’s not the time to linger on that.

This isn’t a match I want to “preview” in the regular way. Frankly, I don’t think I can. The result doesn’t matter to me. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it should matter at all. Sure, because YAMATO is giving up a Dream Gate bout for this match, they’ll probably use the result to stir up movement around the top prize, and we’re sure to see some developments in the way of an eventual SpeedMuscle reunion, but in the moment? It won’t be about that. It will be about the present of Dragon Gate, the famed and infamous “Six Pillars”, together for the last time, hopefully doing their damn best to give Tozawa a proper send off. There’s so much history between these six, and in the teams themselves, you can be sure that emotions will run high. I’m not ready for it, but the day has finally come. Sit back, relax, grab some tissues, and enjoy the show. Prediction: N/A

Michael Spears: This is a really wistful match for me. Akira Tozawa and Tozawajuku were the spark to get me into Dragon Gate in 2007. I was aware of the Ring of Honor matches, but the wacky unit of misfits who wanted to gain polish the draw for me. And now, my favorite wrestler in the world is going to WWE to fulfill his dreams and to represent Dragon Gate abroad. Luckily we are getting the Six Pillars, or the Big Six if you so choose, as a sendoff for him. The result of this match doesn’t matter. Either they’ll send him off with one last win, or he’ll see the lights and take the fall. The combinations of this match are an intriguing side dish to this emotional entree: Speed Muscle are back together! YAMATO and Takagi are forced to team together for the first time since Dead or Alive! For us older Dragon Gate fans, we even have a New Hazard reunion for the first time since they turned on Hulk! There are so many emotions, good and bad, tied into this match. And it’s appropriate. Akira Tozawa is an emotional, silly, funny dude prone to being a sociopath. Well that’s one of the reasons why he’s my favorite. The lost trueborn of Dragon Gate is getting his send-off. We are probably going to get a super emotional send-off with Don Fujii, the stoic he is, saying “I am Don Fujii, Goodbye.” He’s probably going to cry a lot. I’d wager that there is no company in the last 20 years that can play with people’s emotions like Dragon Gate does. That all being said, I’m ready to tear up and bid Akira Tozawa farewell and good luck as he opens the gate to the next stage of his career. Prediction: Takagi, YAMATO, & Hulk