DECEMBER 23, 2017

Translations: IHeartDG.com/Watch: NicoNico (Guide on Ordering via NicoNico)


Oji Shiiba is Dragon Gate’s newest young boy, as well as Kotoka’s real life brother.

This was the Shun Skywalker showcase. He turned it up a few notches today, which was great to see. Big moonsault to the outside, big moonsault for the finish, and then a walk to the back. For me, that’s all I need out of these youngsters. Shiiba has plenty of fire. He’s clearly descended from the Kotoka family. **


Dragon Gate has put on their working boots tonight. Really liked the effort put in by K-Ness, Maria, and U-T. There was nothing special about this match, but it was light on gimmicks and heavy on flash pins, which is a great way to win me over. Maria pinned Ishida with Neraiuchi. **1/2  


There was nothing to this match. The typical Don Fujii attempted balcony murder spot was prolonged, as both he and Horiguchi attempted to execute murder in Fukuoka with the VerserK dorks. They both failed, and of course this led to a near-countout spot, as these things tend to do. Fujii prevailed in the end, however, with a devastating chokeslam for the victory. **1/4


It’s heartbreaking to see Kanda drag Kagetora down to his level on a big PPV show. I don’t dislike Kanda, but I think he’s boring, and at times, I really do find him to be the least talented roster member. Sure, someone like Punch is not technically proficient, but Punch also isn’t being put in opportunities like this anymore. This was VerserK dominating Kagetora, and Kanda just so happening to be the one that’s allowed to pin him.

I find it odd that Kanda’s main point of attack since joining VerserK has been cheating; I have yet to see a dominant heel performance out of the guy in this post-Jimmyz’s world. Kanda’s reign, I’m sure, will be more of the same, which means I will be tuning out of the Brave Gate scene for the foreseeable future.

There was nothing to this match. No exciting spots, nothing out of the ordinary for the heel unit, but it just so happened to be on a big stage, which is infuriating. Kagetora was made to look like a total jabroni. This sucked. DUD

Verserk interfered heavily to help Kanda win the Brave Gate. Kagetora lost the Jimmyz, now he has lost his title. He has nothing left. Kanda asked for hair clippers so he could also take what was left of his hair, but Referee Yagi tackled him. He clearly still doesn’t understand how important hair was. 


The beefiest tag match Dragon Gate could possibly put together delivered, adding a much needed spark to this show. All four guys in this match have been on somewhat of a roll lately. Takagi, while not being quite as dominant as he had been for a substantial period of time, continues to make his presence felt on every single show he’s on. Much like Tomohiro Ishii of New Japan, I think he is widely considered to be a great wrestler, but I don’t think people give him the credit that he fully deserves. I audibly popped for Takagi catching Shimizu on his shoulders and delivering a Death Valley Driver as a counter to Shimizu’s full body press attack.

Yoshida, while not lighting the world on fire, feels stable. The mask is off, the gimmicks are behind him, and while he’s a clear rung or two behind the elites, he is doing his job well and that’s all I can ask from him. I like seeing him tangle with Shimizu and Ben-K. Ben-K gutwrenching out of a pin, which he did in this match, will never not amaze me.

Although Big Ben fell short in this match, but both of these men are poised for success in 2018. I feel like Shimizu is only a few big wins away from in the Dream Gate picture. Ben-K is still so young in his wrestling career, yet he is so talented, and he looks like a million bucks. The white pants he wore tonight made him jump off the screen. Everything he did, I was glued to.

I loved the intensity of this match. I give Takagi most of the credit for that, because he was extra mean on this night, but these four big, beefy men gave this show the boost it needed. Takagi flattened Shimizu with a Pumping Bomber for the pin. ***3/4

Takagi claimed another easy win. Shimizu & Ben will never reach the top because they are utterly predictable. Everyone has them figured out. Get out of the ring. Verserk has cemented their spot as the top unit of 2017. Kanda won the Brave Gate fair and square. Takagi & Yoshida coasted to victory here. Later on, T-Hawk & Eita would win the Twin Gate. The fans should get used to it and learn to love it.



This is what I have been looking for. This felt like Dragon Gate firing on all cylinders. All six men in this match turned it up to 11 and cranked out one of the best Triangle Gate matches I have seen in recent memory.

MaxiMuM’s multi-man tags have far and away been the highlight of Dragon Gate this year, and the addition of Jason Lee into the unit has only made things better. He shined bright tonight, mixing his unique charisma with his eccentric charisma in a way that really made him stand out. I’m thrilled that WWE missed the boat on him, because he has been an excellent addition to the roster.

Of course, the real star of this match was Masato Yoshino, who many of us feared would never wrestle again 11 months ago. Yoshino has had a rollercoaster year, but he ends on top, holding the Triangle Gate Championship. He was surreal in this match; one that can be added to his “all-timer” case. He was lightning quick, more than just in the typical Yoshino way. He ran around the ring like he was healthy, and like the idea of another injury has never crossed his mind. He submitted BxB Hulk in what I would file as an essential viewing kind of match. ****3/4  

Takehiro Yamamura appeared after intermission to talk about his injury. Right here in Hakata back on October 1st, he took a bad bump on his back and was briefly paralyzed from the neck down. He was initially diagnosed with a spinal concussion. After re-examination it was revealed that he actually suffered a dislocation of the 1st cervical vertebrae. He still has numbness in his hands. The doctors have told him that a comeback is currently not possible and he should start to consider his options for life after wrestling. He refuses to give up. He is only 22 so he time is on his side. It may take a very long time but as long as there is even a tiny chance he can come back he will fight to make it happen. He hopes the fans will wait for him.


After 397 days of being the Twin Gate champion alongside Dragon Kid (and a brief interim period in which the titles were vacant), CIMA laid flat on his back in Fukuoka, looking up at T-Hawk and Eita, both dawned in VerserK’s red and yellow, no longer a champion.

Although this match bordered on parody at times due to the excessive interference from VerserK, the message that they needed to get across came across loud and clear; T-Hawk & Eita are back, and they are not playing around. T-Hawk looks so much more confident with his former Millennial partner right beside him.

CIMA had an incredible reign as Twin Gate champion alongside Dragon Kid. For as much flack as CIMA gets for being selfish, he ate the pin, clean as clean could be here, which shocked me. He’s protected for a reason. T-Hawk & Eita now are ushered into the new year with a victory over CIMA, new titles, and now a new unit, branded to their liking. The interference from VerserK lackey’s was too excessive for this match to reach a truly phenomenal level, but as presented, it was still a match I feel comfortable calling “great”. ****

Verserk ruled the ring after the Twin Gate match. Eita was especially annoying. CIMA had the nerve to call them B class. That must make these old fucks D class. Their time is over. They are finished. Young Verserk are the ones that dictate the direction of Dragon Gate now. He turned his attention to Punch. He does nothing but mess up and hold the unit back. He doesn’t deserve to be a member anymore. They attacked him. Backstage, he was officially kicked out. T-Hawk announced that Verserk would be undergoing major changes. The Young Verserk trio were taking control. The veteran trio of Takagi, Kanda, & Yoshida will provide background support. To commemorate this, Verserk will undergo a name change in 2018.


On November 1, 2015, Masaaki Mochizuki fell short in his quest to capture the Open the Dream Gate Championship from Shingo Takagi. At the time, I gave it five stars. It has aged like fine wine, and I have no problem calling it one of the single greatest matches ever. At the time, however, I thought that was the final bit of Mochizuki greatness we would ever see. He was stepping down on the card, and I was okay with that, because his career had been nothing short of incredible for over 20 years.

Well, I was wrong.

Mochizuki, in what felt like an emergency move, was thrust back into the top of the card in mid-2017. He is now in the midst of his third reign as Open the Dream Gate champion, crushing it against the likes of YAMATO, Susumu Yokosuka, and now Ryo Saito.

Saito, who has been caught up in a comedy whirlwind for a majority of his career, put the goofiness behind him for a night and met Mochizuki in a memorable battle. It speaks to both Saito and Dragon Gate as a whole that I was biting on nearly every near fall. I believed in Saito. Crazier things have happened, certainly, and Saito leaving Fukuoka with gold around his waist wouldn’t have shocked me at all.

Mochizuki continues to put on performances for the ages. I truly think he is one of the best to ever lace up a pair of boots. He was lightning quick. Each kick he throws could be the last one needed to finish his opponent off. I say it time and time again, but I am glued to the screen when he’s on it. His final Shin Saikyou High Kick looked like it could’ve sent Saito’s head into the fifth row. This had the big time feel that Dragon Gate hopes to accomplish with their Dream Gate matches, while also having the compact, quick entertainment that I have come to expect with a Dragon Gate match. ****1/2  

Final Thoughts:

Dragon Gate ends their year with a bang. Skip the undercard. There’s nothing to watch. Start with the VerserK vs. MaxiMuM tag and sit back and enjoy the quality entertainment that Dragon Gate provided.

2017 was a year of disarray for Dragon Gate.Most of their shows ended and while on paper they were good, they often left no impact, and the next show would feel like a new show. Nothing mattered. The booking was stagnant, and it hindered my enjoyment of the in-ring product. However, MaxiMuM having gold around their waists, Eita standing over CIMA with his new title, and Mochizuki continuing to lead the company at the top of the card gives me hope. Dragon Gate still has the best roster in the world. I expect great things from them in 2018.