JUNE 1, 2018

Translations: IHeartDG.com

Watch: Dragon Gate Network


YASSHI stinks. I’m very annoyed that he’s in Natural Vibes, because everything else about that unit rocks. It makes sense that he is in Natural Vibes. In fact, there is no one more qualified to be in a unit called Natural Vibes. It is just that he is a terrible wrestler, and the last thing Dragon Gate needs is a subpar guy taking up space on the card. This was a good showcase for Watanabe and Yoshioka, the latter of whom rolled up Shachihoko BOY for the pin. For as much as I’d like to praise this, how many times have I said “this was a good showcase for [enter youngster here]” over the past year? It never ends. This match, did, however, in just over 7 minutes. It was fine, but nothing worth watching. **1/4


This is more like it. U-T jumped Skywalker as soon as he had the chance, and that set the intensity for the rest of the match. Hulk was pretty much a non-factor (shocking, I know) as U-T took turns taking beatings from Skywalker and the Open the Dream Gate Champion. In fairness, U-T actually got in way more offense against Mochizuki than I expected. It didn’t exactly damage Mochi, but U-T landed more strikes and submissions than one would expect. Skywalker planted U-T with the Ashla for a victory. Very fun stuff. ***


Kagetora pinned Big R Shimizu (note: Shimizu is one-half of the Open the Twin Gate Champions) with the Gurumakakarikai. There was a clear shift in the way that Kagetora and Maria, especially, wrestled this match. They wrestled this match with desperation, grit, and determination. Maria was more focused on finding a way to pin Lee or Shimizu’s shoulder to the mat, and less on finding some lip-to-lip action.

I guess me calling it lip-to-lip action gives away the fact that I have not had a lot of “lip-to-lip action.”

Kagetora and Shimizu have strange chemistry. Perhaps one of my readers can clarify this with me on Twitter (@_InYourCase), but these two have very fiery chemistry. Kagetora ran through a series of strikes ending with a slap, which normally takes his opponents to the ground, but Shimizu shot up one more time before eating a harder slap that took him down. This led to the pin, which was good to see. I really liked this match. I think it’s well worth your time. ***1/2

“Kagetora & Maria approached Shimizu backstage. Kage wanted to bring the Twin Gate to Tribe Vanguard. Shimizu, seeking revenge for today, accepted the challenge.” IHeartDG.com


Seeing Ryo Saito wrestle like a young boy has given me a new appreciation for Ryo Saito. He’s someone that I have always felt like is really, really good, and if he ever found a new homebase outside of DG, he’d become one of the best wrestlers in the company. Everything he does, he excels at. Even if some of his comedy isn’t for me, like his entire feud with Shingo Takagi, he has a comedic timing that very few wrestlers have, and his young boy mannerisms have popped me every time. On top of that, he showed in this match that few wrestlers can put together a closing stretch like he can. This ruled. He finally builds momentum, and right when it looks like he’s going to pin Yokosuka with a SaiRyo Rocket, Punch Tominaga knocks him out of mid-air. It would take another minute for him to pin Yokosuka, successfully hitting the Premium Bridge.

This match was way better than it had any right to be. Saito, Fujii, & K-Ness could be a really, really fun Triangle Gate team, especially if they took things relatively seriously. I am all for them getting a push. Natural Vibes continue to deliver, and this trio outclassed the opening match duo of YASSHI and Horiguchi to a great degree. Had this match gone on a few minutes longer, I would really be singing its praises. As it stands, I have no issue calling it a great match. Perhaps I am vastly overrating it, but I came into this show a very grumpy man, unhappy with the way King of Gate has gone, and this match put a smile on my face. This is the energy that I love from Dragon Gate. ****

“Rookie(?) Ryo Saito celebrated the biggest win of his brief(??) career. He asked Mr. Horiguchi, Mr. Susumu, and Mr. Sawada for an opportunity at their Triangular Door Waist Straps. He got a big win today after his successful King of Gate he thought he earned it. Kzy confirmed that he actually meant the Triangle Gate. He did get the win over Susumu today…but what was that about KOG? How many points did he accumulate? Saito confirmed the total was 0. Fujii & K-ness. didn’t even participate! Saito wouldn’t take no for an answer. Eventually, Kzy relented and GM Yagi pounced on the opportunity to make the title match for the July Korakuen.” IHeartDG.com


Kaito Ishida stole the show. He took the heat well, he fired back in an exciting fashion, and the finish to the match was lethal. It is a shame that we are nearly three years deep into this VerserK/Antias reign as top heels, though. I have run out of energy to talk about this group. One of the first things I wrote for the site was an ode to Mad Blankey, who had just disbanded, and since then, it has been all red and yellow. I’ve seen their heat segments, I’ve seen the way they sell, and I’ve seen them in every angle I want to see them in. This was fine, but with the exception of the finish, I won’t remember any of this a week from now.

I’m sure Antias was slated to lose, but either Kanda did a superb job selling, or this match finished earlier than it should’ve. Ishida landed a sharp Roundhouse to the back of Kanda’s head, and just like that, three was counted and the match was over. It all happened so fast that I am left questioning whether or not it was supposed to happen like this. Regardless, the closing run with Ishida was by far the high point of this match. Skippable. ***

“Ishida told Eita that the beef with Over Generation ended here. For all his talk about OG needing to disband, Antias were the losers today so they be the ones that disband. Eita told Ishida he was getting carried away with this fluke win. They should settle this once and for all with a unit disbands match. Refusing wasn’t an option. Takagi was pleased with Eita finally taking it here. With Yoshida added it would be 4 vs. 3 and an easy win. Gamma refused that stipulation. Hell, with Problem Dragon involved it would basically be 2 on 4. Takagi told him he had 2 options. Accept the 4 on 3 stipulation or disband right now. This brought out Dragon Kid who announced that he would fight to save OG whether his foot was healed or not. Eita quickly kicked him in the foot. Being eliminated from KOG and being forced into the last place tournament was all DK’s fault. He was going to see to it that he ended this feud broken and retired. The unit disbands match was set for July 5th. Ishida promised to protect his unit and it was just the beginning for him.” IHeartDG.com


I don’t understand what this match was going for. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Yoshida was the one to make it out of his block, especially considering who the other block winners were. Yoshida’s block also consisted of Jason Lee, BxB Hulk, Genki Horiguchi, & Ben-K. Lee is on an upward trajectory but isn’t at a semi-finalist level, and Hulk has slid down the scale past semi-final trajectory. Horiguchi is always going to be there and be a credible defeat, and Ben-K, to me, was the perfect opponent. He is young, he’s hot, and Ben-K winning over Yoshino, Doi, or YAMATO, while it would be surprising, doesn’t sound impossible. Yoshida was a guaranteed loss, and a huge blow to the match quality mindset.

It’s not that Yoshida is actively bad, but he’s never going to have a truly great match. He is not on the level of a Doi, YAMATO, or Yoshino, and while the other members of his block might not be, they can hang with the other block winners in their style of match. This was a Yoshida match. Very slow, lots of gimmicks, and a rollup finish at the end. I knew what I was getting myself into, and yet here I am, mildly upset.

The match was whatever. That’s the best word to describe it. It had its moments, but for a King of Gate semi-final and in the semi-main event of Korakuen Hall, I just have to scratch my head at this booking decision. Ben-K could’ve looked great in a loss, or Horiguchi could’ve made Yoshino look deadly in a hard-fought battle, but instead we got Takashi Yoshida, and everything stayed average. DUD-level booking, but a fine match. ***1/4


I was very close to hating this match. As strange as that sounds, I was afraid that Dragon Gate, having just made a booking blunder in the prior match, was going to double down and have match structure issues in this match. To me, the far more interesting match on paper is Doi vs. Yoshino, so I expected to see Doi in control, fighting to keep YAMATO down for the count.

Instead, YAMATO was dominant. He controlled Doi for the opening two thirds of this match and was first in the race of who can hit their big moves first. Quite frankly, this looked like it was going to be nearly a Doi squash. Finally, Doi fought back. He put up a damn good fight, too, throwing everything he had at YAMATO.

YAMATO is a fierce competitor, however, and he was determined to reach his second King of Gate finals. He won the tournament in 2015, and after dropping Doi with the Ragnarok, he is one win away from becoming a two-time winner. This match starts off very slow. It is a typical Dragon Gate main event, where the opening portion is so slow, but the finishing run is so good. This is one of those matches where the finishing stretch is so good that it saved whatever faults the match had previously. ****1/4

“YAMATO closed the show out. He knows what type of opponent Yoshino is. Everyone does. Tokyo is pretty far from Hakata so anyone that can’t make it can watch on the Dragon Gate Network. It was his mission to win KOG and go on to win the Dream Gate to prove this was his ring. The fans should just be quiet and enjoy the ride.” IHeartDG.com

Final Thoughts:

This show had two great matches on it. Any show with two great matches is in some form or fashion a good show. There is a lot to be excited about as Dragon Gate plows ahead towards Kobe World, but I am still uncertain of the future of this company. The booking still clashes with what I’d like, and there is an entire generation of wrestlers stuck working opening matches with no end in sight. It’s so much good and bad, and I am still unsure of which side outweighs the other. For now, I can call this show a winner. Thumbs up for the King of Gate semi-finals.