DECEMBER 5, 2017

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


This match happened, and after watching it, that is for sure the only positive thing that I can say about it. I was pro-Punch for a very long time, but that luster is long gone. He’s regressed into a dreadful wrestler. As for Syachihoko BOY, believe it or not, being in the same ring as Masato Yoshino and Akira Tozawa for a few years made him look drastically better. A generous ONE STAR for this bout, especially considering the badly botched rollup finish. *


This was a very fun opener. Any time Ishida, Jason Lee, and Ben-K can tangle, I’m all about it. I was pleasantly surprised to see the chemistry between Ben-K and Problem Dragon, of all people. Is Ben-K the first person to have good chemistry with Problem Dragon? Maybe Yosuke Santa Maria, but that might be a stretch. Somehow in a match that included Gamma, Big R managed to be the weakest link of this match. Other than one spot with CIMA, I have no memory of him stepping up to the plate and delivering some action in this match.

Speaking of CIMA, he dissected Shun Skywalker, tossing him over, locking him in a Romero Special, only to have Kaito Ishida land a brutal Roundhouse Kick before CIMA finally locked him in the Mexican Stretch for the victory. This victory came across as defiant and meaningful, even if it was technically the opener on the show. I would not want to be squaring off against CIMA right now. He looks fit, he looks motivated, and he is not afraid to deliver his shots with maximum impact. I ate up this finishing stretch. It was great seeing CIMA get a win with something rather unexpected. ***


This sub-five minute match was a breeze. Horiguchi targeted Yoshioka, much like CIMA did with Skywalker in the prior match. Maria then tangled with Yoshioka, who she eventually pinned with the Neraiuchi. Inoffensive and quick. **1/4


This was U-T’s televised debut as a member of Tribe Vanguard and much like the prior match, this was a quick, painless bout. I don’t know how U-T flipped the switch, but he went from being an injury prone scrub to a scrappy undercard fighter (who, unfortunately, is still injury prone). The size difference between these two teams was played up well; even Kanda, who isn’t all that big, looks big compared to Kzy and especially U-T. Right as it looked like Yoshida was going in for the kill, Kzy caught him with a Skayde Schoolboy and rolled up him up for the win. Fun stuff. **3/4


This was more like it. After a slow start, I became worried that this undercard would’ve been a total dud. It’s becoming a constant that YAMATO and Hulk are a rung below the upper tier of Dragon Gate wrestlers. They are not bringing to the table what Yoshino, Doi, Yokosuka, or Kagetora are. YAMATO can’t go back to VerserK, but desperately needs to be a heel. Hulk hasn’t been a heel in nearly four years, and he’s suffered greatly because of it. VerserK isn’t the place for these two, but as we’ve come to realize, neither is Tribe Vanguard.

Luckily, these six turned up the action, this became a blistering six-man filled with kicks, flips, and everything in between. It was really great seeing Yokosuka tear it up with Kagetora. Although The Jimmyz, other than Kanda, haven’t drastically changed their ways since disbanding, it’s matches like this that make me a little happy The Jimmyz are no more. These two have excellent chemistry and their interactions felt fresher than anything on the show up to this point. Right before the match hit the 12 minute mark, Kagetora was able to catch Yokosuka by surprise and roll him up (the third rollup victory in a row) for the win. This is the first match of the evening I can fully recommend. ***1/2

Metal Warrior attacked Kagetora again, this time with a John Woo. He unmasked himself to reveal Yasushi Kanda. He continued his attack, using scissors to cut off a large chunk of hair. He called him an idiot. He was so quick to doubt the other ex-Jimmyz. He really never thought it could be him? He went to cut off the rest of his hair but referee Yagi tackled him. Why? Because hair is very very very important. Kanda clearly doesn’t understand this. If he wants to cut some hair he should cut his own. Why? Because fuck people who get to have long hair! Kagetora actually had to calm Yagi down. He was the one who had his hair cut, so he is the one that gets to be angry. He challenged Kanda to come after the Brave Gate so he could get his hands on him.


This match was great, but it is not what Ryo Saito needed.

At the time this review is being written, there is no main event announced for Final Gate, although everyone and their mother assumes that it will be Saito challenging Masaaki Mochizuki for the Dream Gate title, and it’s hard to deny Saito a title shot after pinning Takagi clean in the middle of the ring. That being said, Saito needed a much stronger outing against Takagi. He took too much of Takagi’s offense. He wasn’t throwing his shoulder up at 2 after a Made in Japan’s. He ate lariat after lariat, escaped VerserK attacks, and just by chance got lucky and caught Takagi in a Dragon Suplex and pinned him.

Saito had his moments. After Takagi tore apart the Owari Gate title and then brought a chair into the mix, Saito sent him flying to the outside and then used Takagi’s praying taunt against him, which was awesome. This match wasn’t as heated as I was hoping it would be, but it had its moments. This was so close to being a great story, and had it happened a month prior and there was another month to build up to Final Gate, this would’ve worked, but time is running out and Saito needed a more emphatic win heading into what could be a big PPV main event. In a vacuum, this match was awesome, but it did not accomplish the job it was supposed to. ****


While this was no MOTYC or even one of the best Korakuen main events of the year, this was an effective main event that reintroduced Eita back into VerserK in an effective way. Granted, it would have been even more effective had Dragon Kid been healthy enough to compete, but alas, he is injured yet again.

Eita certainly got his chances to shine, but I thought this was the MochiFujii show more than anything. Don Fujii had his working boots on (amazing how effort increases when you main event the show instead of opening it) and I thought his chemistry with the young guns of VerserK were excellent. He and Mochizuki beat the piss out of Lindaman early on in the match. Quite literally, they didn’t pull any punches.

After a Cerberus by T-Hawk, Eita grabbed the cover on Don Fujii and picked up the victory for VerserK. This was a strong victory over three of the four most established names on the roster, with the fourth being the injured Dragon Kid. Eita looks refreshed and vibrant decked out in red and yellow. A strong way to end the show. ***3/4

Eita demanded that CIMA live up to the stipulation and vacate the Twin Gate. They belong to Eita & T-Hawk now. Lindaman tried to enforce the other stipulation. The one that required a distinguished 20 year legend lick the boots of a rookie only 3 years into his career. Enjoy it. Be sure to lick the whole thing. Take it in. Susumu came in to make the save. No one is licking anything here. He turned to CIMA. It was unfortunate that he had to give up the Twin Gate, but there was nothing preventing him from just taking them right back. He offered to team with him to take out T-Hawk & Eita and win back the Twin Gate. CIMA talked about winning and defending the Twin Gate for over a year with Dragon Kid. They weren’t beaten in a match, they had to give them up in such an unpleasant manner. He accepted the offer from Susumu.

It was time for Doi Darts! He called the entire roster to the ring. As has become tradition, some kids were pulled from the crowd to help select the members of the main event for the final Korakuen Hall of the year. Last year, Yoshino made a little girl cry and the selected match was so precarious that Doi & YAMATO had to be added to it. This time around, El Lindaman had his spot hit 6 times, including 3 in a row by the same kid.

The matched ended up:

Yasushi Kanda & El Lindaman & Hyo Watanabe & Don Fujii & T-Hawk vs. Big R Shimizu & Eita & Naruki Doi & Kotoka & Susumu Yokosuka

Final Thoughts:

Another Korakuen that was not the greatest, but it was perfectly fine. The undercard was quick, but bland. The second half of the show delivered a strong semi-main event and a good main event. Doi Darts, as usual, was entertaining and something that everyone should sit through. It might be the most accessible thing in puro. Language barrier be damned. A thumbs in the middle for Fantastic Gate.