FEBRUARY 10, 2019

Translations: IHeartDG.com / Watch: Dragon Gate Network


A fun, standard Dragon Gate opener. Nothing special to note other than that Dragon Dia seemed like a background player as he continues to get healthier. K-Ness scored the fall on Jason Lee with the Hikari no Wa. **3/4

K-ness. said that even though it was the young generation making waves right now, the veteran ranks still had a lot left in the tank. He’s been sitting back quietly for awhile now, but he plans on making a move in the very near future.


Ichikawa came the ring with a ladder so big that Jeff Hardy would’ve trembled in fear had he had to jump off of it. What ensued was a bout of epic proportions. Ichikawa vs. Fujii, one last time for the Hakata Star Lanes crowd. This is a building that once gave us the gift of Ichikawa vs. All Japan Pro Wrestling legend, Toshiaki Kawada. Ichikawa was crushed under the weight of his own German Suplex, and thus, his Hakata Star Lanes flame burnt out. What a match. NR


Certainly not his best match of 2019, but this can be chalked up as another fun Shun Skywalker match. What was originally slated as Kanda vs. Skywalker was turned into a triple threat, and the inclusion of Kagetora ended up adding to this bout. They worked with a sense of urgency, as this match was not being held under elimination rules. This match made me want to see what Skywalker and Kagetora are capable of in a singles match, but Skywalker has blown past him in the pecking order now. He also planted Kanda with the Ashla at 7:37 for the win. ***1/2


More fun from the Mochizuki Dojo kids in this match. They all went right after the dominant heel trio. Yoshioka continues to reach new heights as a performer, Minoura continues to show ridiculous potential, and Hyo Watanabe continues to look good in 2019. Whether a push comes from his string of “good” outings is yet to be seen.

I take issue with the finish once again, as after a beautifully timed Powerbomb/Elbow Drop combo from two-thirds of the Open the Triangle Gate Champions, Minoura kicked out, much to the dismay of Takashi Yoshida. Instead of having the big man finish him off once and for all, Eita came in, landed his Imperial Uno superkick, and pinned the young standout. Dragon Gate continues to give Eita wins in matches that he doesn’t need to win. I still believe his best course of action would be to hang low until King of Gate season, but Dragon Gate is making it clear that he’s not going to do that. It’s my one big complaint with the current booking of the company. Too much Eita.

That aside, this match was a lot of fun and is worth seeking out. Yoshioka is turning into a stud. I don’t know how soon he’ll be elevated, but he has to have a Brave Gate challenge in the back of his mind. I firmly believe he’d deliver if given the opportunity. Tonight, however, R.E.D. reigned supreme. ***1/2


This is a match result that would’ve made absolutely no sense a year ago. It currently makes no sense that U-T and KAI work as well together as they do, but I’ll have to tackle that some other time. What’s important here is that KAI showed his A-game against the boys in R.E.D. today. Working against Ben-K and Shimizu has to be much more comfortable for him than working against Horiguchi or one of the Mochizuki Dojo kids.

U-T got a handful of hope spots in throughout the match, but it was starting to look like he just wasn’t going to have the strength to get the victory. That is until Eita, by accident, plastered Ben-K with a chair, leading to a rollup victory. In one week, U-T has pinned Takashi Yoshida and Ben-K. Amazing.

This match fit the theme of the rest of the show in that it was a ton of fun. KAI slugged it out with the big guns, U-T worked his ass off like usual, and R.E.D. continues to splinter. Another good match. ***1/2

Eita accidentally hit Ben with a chair, leading to the U-T win. Shimizu put all the blame for the loss on him and asked for an explanation. Eita refused to take any blame. They were the ones in the match and they were the ones that lost. Not like Ben-K was capable of doing anything. He can’t even talk. Eita made a mistake, but Ben was the one who got pinned. Aren’t they Twin Gate champions? They keep this up and they won’t be champions much longer. KAI interrupted and said them not being champions much longer sounded good. He & U-T beat the champions today, so it is only fair that they get a title shot. 


This match reminded me a lot of the Sapporo Tensein Hall Final match that took place in May 2015. A hodgepodge of established and reputable talent banded together and put on a thrilling final match for a building that has been the stage for so many great company matches.

If we include Toryumon in this timeline, the company began running Hakata Star Lanes on their third tour. Footage and matches from said event can be found on the Dragon Gate Network. Since then, a handful of times each year the Dragon System stars have stopped by and put on shows with high-quality matches. Most notably, an Open the Dream Gate defense by Masaaki Mochizuki as he fended off the white-hot Ryo Saito on February 6 2005, the tear-jerking Brave Gate bout between Kagetora and Naoki Tanizaki, and the Dream Gate epic between Shingo Takagi and Jimmy Susumu Yokosuka.

This building was treated to one final gem by eight pros. Despite all the ridiculous offense that was in this match, my favorite moment was the way the crowd reacted when Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi tagged in at the same time. “Doi” and “Yo-shi-no” chants overlapped one another and it created a very unique moment.

Masaaki Mochizuki, who gets closer and closer to 50 every time I type, once again put on an MVP performance as he decimated the opposing four, Dragon Kid in particular. Horiguchi, after a series of Backslide From Heavens, was able to keep Mochizuki’s shoulders down for the three count. Everything about this ruled. Mindless Dragon Gate fun. ****1/4


Any doubts that PAC can still wrestle at the main event level that he did during his NXT and pre-WWE run need to be erased after this match. Any questions as to whether or not Kzy can be the future figurehead of this company should vanish as well. This match was 25 minutes of top tier professional wrestling thanks to a mix of marvelous in-ring action, subtle, yet brilliant character work, and a crowd that packed Hakata Star Lanes one last time in hopes of seeing the Open the Dream Gate belt change hands.

The highlights start before the bell even rings. Kzy, during the UK national anthem, was forced to look over his shoulder and side-eye PAC as a result of his actions during the December match where he won the Dream Gate title and attacked Masato Yoshino during the anthem. PAC would have no such luck tonight. Kzy thwarted any hope of pre-match attacks.

Once the bell rang, it was war. PAC, with crowd calls for Kzy echoing throughout the building, took the upper hand early. His offense had that signature PAC-snap to it that he’s been missing in some of his post-WWE matches. I feel like every booking he’s taken up to this point has been training for this match. His timing was on point, his athleticism was peaking, and his overall ability has arguably never been better.

Despite being in control for a good chunk of the match, the first near-death blow was dealt by Kzy, who rallied and then countered a counter for the first deep two count of the match. With PAC hooked in for a Double Underhook Piledriver, it seemed feasible that Kzy could’ve won right there. PAC began to counter by lifting Kzy up over his head, but Kzy had the presence of mind to swing his momentum forward and drop PAC on his head with a Double Underhook Destroyer. PAC’s momentum sent him back up to his feet, dazed, and that’s when Kzy nearly took his chin off with a running uppercut. Not enough to put the champion away, however.

PAC was resilient. He fought and eventually found himself perched on the top rope with a prone Kzy in front of him. He landed a collapsing Shooting Star Press to the back of Kzy, then followed that up with a lariat that sent Kzy head-first into the canvas. Not enough to put away the challenger.

The closing stretch of this match featured major league intensity. This was a crowd that didn’t want to see PAC lose as much as they wanted to see Kzy win. Every nearfall was breathtaking. Every move was hit with perfection. I’m not sure what else you could want from a wrestling match. This was major league execution with a top-notch crowd and a unique atmosphere.

Perhaps PAC took all of those factors into account and that’s what willed him to victory, because at the 25-minute mark, he caved in Kzy’s chest with the Black Arrow. PAC’s first successful defense, Kzy’s second loss as a Dream Gate challenger in his career, and one of the best matches of 2019. ****3/4

PAC told Kzy that he tried to warn him, but he wouldn’t listen. Hopefully now he has learned his lesson. He is the Open the Dream Gate Champion. Who in Dragon Gate can stop him now? He is unstoppable, irrefutable, undeniable. Nobody in this company compares to PAC. This brought out Shun Skywalker. He told PAC he wanted to challenge him for the Dream Gate championship. He beat Ben-K in Tokyo last week, but he doesn’t think he has past him yet. If he could beat PAC then that would cement him at the top. Eita tried to run him off but PAC stopped him. PAC said Shun Skywalker is a good fighter. He’s was impressed that Shun wasn’t scared. He was lucky, because PAC was feeling uncharacteristically generous. He accepted his challenge. GM Yagi told Shun this was his chance to show everyone just how far he has come. The match was set for Champion Gate in Osaka on March 3rd.

Final Thoughts:

PAC vs. Kzy had to deliver. It was a big match between a top heel and the future face of the company in a curtain closing match for an important building in company history. Despite all of those lofty expectations, this match delivered in every possible way. PAC has shed the last of Neville’s dead skin with this match. In a surefire MOTYC, he proved that he can wrestle at an elite level, and Kzy proved that he is the future of an already dominant company.

Truth Gate in Fukuoka was a slam dunk show, and with the wave Dragon Gate is riding, this could end up being the first of many major shows in 2019 that I say that about.