DRAGON GATE
SCANDAL GATE
AUGUST 8, 2017
KORAKUEN HALL – TOKYO, JAPAN

Translations: IHeartDG.comWatch: NicoNico (Guide on Ordering via NicoNico)

MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI, GAMMA, & SHACHIHOKO BOY DEF. YUKI YOSHIOKA, KATSUMI TAKASHIMA, & SHUN SKYWALKER

Mochizuki’s continued abuse to the youngest wing of the Dragon Gate roster continues to be nothing short of thrilling. The youngsters jumped him at the bell, so not only was Mochizuki extra cranky, but Gamma was on this night too. I very much prefer grumpy Gamma to “CIMA’s buddy” Gamma. Mochizuki pinned Yoshioka by sending him into oblivion with the Shin Saikyo High Kick. Another opener worth watching.  ***

Fujii had some harsh words for Shun, Hyo, Takashima, & Yoshioka. They keep losing and not progressing. They will never become regulars if they continue in this fashion. Don’t they want more for themselves? Yoshioka said they wanted to make an impact and become regulars. To help them achieve this, he asked Fujii to reactivate Fujii Heya and guide them. He was firmly against the idea but they eventually talked him into it. Hyo & Shun have characters and gimmick names. Yoshioka & Takashima don’t. His first act as their leader will be to come up with better ringnames for them. Fully aware of the types of names Fujii has come up with in the past they were hesitant. If they refused, then he wouldn’t go through with Fujii Heya. They relented. He will unveil their new names next month.

JIMMY KANDA & JIMMY KNESS J.K.S. DEF. DON FUJII & HYOU WATANABE

I always enjoy seeing a scrappy bout like this on the undercard. Hyou Watanabe, who wrestles a lot like CIMA did at the start of his career, tore it up with Kness in their interactions. I’d love to see those two do more with one another. The real story was Don Fujii putting in a ton of effort, just like Gamma did in the opener. Not sure why those two decided to put on their working boots today, but I’m glad they did. He had a pin battle with Kness that was especially entertaining. Kanda pinned Watanabe for the victory. **3/4

A brief side note: Hyou Watanabe needs to stop wrestling in tennis shoes if he wants to be taken seriously. It works for Yoshino, it does not work for Watanabe. Ditch the dollar store Converse.  

5 UNIT SURVIVAL RACE
CIMA & DRAGON KID DEF. GENKI HORIGUCHI & JIMMY KAGETORA

This just never got going. I hate to sound like a broken record by disliking all of what CK-1 has been doing lately, but this has to be looked at as a letdown. These four seemed hellbent on keeping things grounded. Horiguchi and Kagetora couldn’t work this at the lightning quick pace that makes them so entertaining. Horiguchi ate a Mad Splash at the 13 minute mark, which was the final blow. I really wanted more from this match. Very skippable. **1/2

5 UNIT SURVIVAL RACE
EITA, KAITO ISHIDA, & TAKEHIRO YAMAMURA DEF. BIG R SHIMIZU, BEN-K, & KOTOKA

I should stop being surprised to see great matches with any of these six men involved, because right now, they are all at the top of their game. This match never slowed down. From the start, this was red hot with all six men getting their sharing of action.

I really loved seeing Yamamura and Big R continue to go at it, following their classic back in February. They brought it to each other once more and it was just as entertaining as before. This was Ishida’s first time in Korakuen all year and he delivered in a big way as well, even if his dye job is minus five stars.

The finish belonged to Eita and Kotoka, the latter of which was tied up with the Numero Uno just before the 12 minute mark of the match. This kicked ass. It was refreshing to see all these guys crush it. Well worth your time. ****

5 UNIT SURVIVAL RACE
MASATO YOSHINO & NARUKI DOI DEF. RYO SAITO & JIMMY SUSUMU

Masato Yoshino’s stock as an all-time great has shot up with his performances in 2017. It’s easy to forget that we were fearing that he might not wrestle again at the start of the year, and here he is eight months later tearing it up in Korakuen Hall, business as usual. Dragon Gate’s main event scene is still dire, but Yoshino has led the charge in making MaxiMum vs. the Jimmyz far and away the best part about the product.

These two teams are no strangers to each other. They’ve had a handful of terrific matches in the past, and this was no different. Perhaps it’s a strange Dragon Gate nostalgia that this match gave me, seeing as how I’ve seen these teams wrestle multiple times, but this match was really a great reminder of what I love about Dragon Gate. These men have timing that is off the charts.

The finishing stretch was something else. Doi and Susumu are cardio machines and their chemistry is unmatched. Doi missed a Bakatare Sliding Kick, which led to Saito trying SaiRyo Rocket, but Doi got his knees up. From there, Yoshino and Doi were able to hit their signature moves, leading to the eventual pin. Highly recommended match. ****1/4

5 UNIT SURVIVAL RACE ELIMINATION MATCH
YAMATO, BXB HULK, KZY, & YOSUKE SANTA MARIA DEF. SHINGO TAKAGI, T-HAWK, TAKASHI YOSHIDA, & EL LINDAMAN

I certainly didn’t see a clean sweep of VerserK coming, but I am not going to complain about it. I am still disinterested by the idea of YAMATO wrestling VerserK, but this was an exciting chapter, which I don’t often say when it comes to this topic.

This is one of those matches that first time Dragon Gate viewers would love. There’s a little bit of everything that the promotion does well. There was brawling, there was intense, high-speed action, and there was a unique and engaging story told. Other than the fact that this was a sweep, it was stuff I’ve seen before. I liked the prior match with SpeedMuscle and RyoSuka more because it felt fresher. I want to know what’s going to happen with those teams after the match. For as good as this was, it was still VerserK and Tribe Vanguard, and so I can really only care so much.

I will also note that I found it interesting that T-Hawk was the first one eliminated from the VerserK side. How the mighty have fallen. He was main eventing their biggest show two weeks before this. The focus was put back on Takagi as the top guy in VerserK, and while I’m sure that annoys some, for now, it’s the right move. He ate the final pin from Kzy, adding to their longstanding feud that always seems to heat up in Korakuen Hall. ****

Tribe Vanguard started to close the show when Mochizuki interrupted. Even though the focus of this tour was on the units, the independents were as active as ever. He pinned YAMATO in Kyoto the other day, so he wanted a Dream Gate title match. YAMATO said that one win over the champion wasn’t quite enough to earn a championship opportunity. He was about to accept, but Big R Shimizu came back out. Mochizuki has one win over YAMATO. A fluke win in a tag match. Shimizu reminded everyone he pinned the champion in 3 minutes in a singles match a few months ago. He should be the next challenger. He & Mochizuki agreed to a #1 contender match for the September Korakuen.

I am all in on Mochizuki vs. Big R Shimizu at the September Korakuen show.

Final Thoughts:

Lots of good stuff on this show. The opener, as well as the top three matches, are all worth watching. Dragon Gate seems to be heating up with the 5 Unit Survival Race gimmick, and I’m all for it. Per usual, the Jimmyz and MaxiMum was the highlight of this show. I highly recommend everyone seek out DoiYoshi vs. RyoSuka. Overall, a thumbs up for Scandal Gate 2017.

Dragon Gate 5 Unit Survival Race Preview & Prediction