Shun Skywalker is going to lose his match against PAC on March 3rd, and that’s okay.
PAC comes into his match with the masked underdog with one successful defense of the Open the Dream Gate Championship under his belt. On top of that, he’s stronger than Skywalker, has more experience that Skywalker, and despite what any power rankings poll might tell you, PAC is simply better than Shun Skywalker.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) February 10, 2019
Despite all of that, Skywalker has earned this match due to currently experiencing one of the all-time jetpack pushes. In 2018 at the Champion Gate event, Skywalker worked the dark match and defeated Oji Shiiba. It was clear that he was favored over some of his peers like the aforementioned Shiiba, who has struggled to stay healthy since that encounter, or even Yuki Yoshioka, who is developing a taste for the cerebral aspects of wrestling. Whereas Skywalker is all flash, Yoshioka is all technique. The flash won out in the battle of peers.
Doing moonsaults in opening matches doesn’t guarantee you a title shot at one of the company’s marquee events, however. It’s not like Shun Skywalker came back from the All Japan Jr Tag League with a fresh coat of paint, either. His month-long trip to Zen Nippon with mentor Masaaki Mochizuki laid the blueprint for what Skywalker has become; a plucky, more-guts-than-brains type of wrestler that seems to have an affinity for walking up to the biggest guy in the bar and challenging him to a fight. So far, it has worked out for Skywalker.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) September 18, 2017
He scrapped with U-T for 20 minutes in December and the effort displayed there led to the Rookie Ranking Tournament at the turn of the calendar. Skywalker wiped the floor with Dragon Dia in the first round of the tournament before overpowering Yoshioka to gain entry to the finals at Korakuen Hall. There, he cemented himself as a future star, someone ahead of his peers, by pinning Kaito Ishida in the middle of the ring. A definitive victory that put Skywalker in a separate league from undercard bottom feeders like Dragon Dia, Hyo Watanabe, and Problem Dragon.
Skywalker didn’t spend long in-limbo between the undercard and the big picture, as moments after his victory, he challenged Ben-K, a multiple time Twin Gate champion, to a singles match. Skywalker would go onto win that match. Clean. In Korakuen Hall. That is how Shun Skywalker went from gimmicked masked man on the undercard to smashing into Dragon Gate’s main event scene.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) February 5, 2019
Shun Skywalker is going to lose, but that’s okay.
Skywalker has a record of 11-12 in 2019 as of when this article was published. Those 12 losses have been in multi-man matches when Skywalker has been dragged down by his lesser Mochizuki Dojo students. The last time Skywalker took a fall was on December 16th in a non-televised singles match with Bandido. What’s far more impressive about Skywalker’s win-loss record is the fact that he’s 6-0 in singles matches since the start of the new year. That includes wins over the rookies in January, the Korakuen victory over Ben-K, and a win over the more powerful Takashi Yoshida on February 20.
PAC is an astonishing 31-16 since linking back up with the company in October and has yet to take a fall in his second stint with the promotion. PAC not taking falls is not exclusive to his post-WWE career. He worked a full-time schedule with Dragon Gate through the summer of 2012 when he signed with WWE, and amazingly, won most of his final matches with the company. The last time PAC took a fall was on March 4, 2012, when he fell in defeat to CIMA while challenging for the Open the Dream Gate Championship.
One last spot from this match. I've always felt like this is a great representation of CIMA as a character. He had been one-upped by PAC too many times in this match. He wasn't going to let it happen again pic.twitter.com/XKH7c9YmVX
— Case (@_InYourCase) August 9, 2018
Five years and a day since his last true loss in the promotion, PAC puts a winning streak and the top prize in Japan’s second biggest wrestling company on the line against someone who, six months ago, would’ve been laughed at if he came out to challenge for the Dream Gate belt.
If Skywalker were to win, he’d join an elite group of wrestlers that features Masaaki Mochizuki, Magnitude Kishiwada, Jushin Thunder Liger, and YAMATO to win the Open the Dream Gate Championship in their first attempt at challenging for the title. That’s not going to happen, however, and that’s okay.
Dragon Gate has elevated Shun Skywalker into star status in a matter of months, something that seemingly the entire US independent scene (and some major promotions, really) have failed to do now that WWE, AEW, and ROH are sweeping up talent at a rapid rate. Ironic, considering the rumblings that Shun Skywalker has struggled gaining bookings during his first weekend in America on WrestleMania Weekend because American promoters either don’t think he’s a draw, or simply don’t know who he is. At press time, he is only booked for Wrestlecon events throughout the weekend.
Skywalker is exactly what the US indies have been missing, and now, save for a few, they’re refusing to acknowledge him.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) December 23, 2018
Dragon Gate has lost CIMA, El Lindaman, T-Hawk, T-Hawk, and Shingo Takagi to other promotions in the past 12 months. They’ve lost BxB Hulk as a true main eventer due to a career-threatening injury and Kotoka was forced to retire due to copious amounts of injuries. Yosuke Santa Maria and Oji Shiiba have been absent from cards for months due to poor health. Dragon Gate could’ve put YAMATO in this spot. Naruki Doi is always an arm’s length away from a Dream Gate shot. It would’ve made sense for Susumu Yokosuka to step up to the plate and challenge PAC after he defeated his unit mate, Kzy, in a match of the year candidate at Dragon Gate’s Truth Gate show in Fukuoka.
Dragon Gate didn’t return to the same-old, same-old, though. They made a star in the blink of an eye, because Dragon Gate has been a star-making machine for 15 years now. CIMA and his Strong Hearts stable were some of the first signees announced for AEW and Shingo Takagi, since joining the New Japan Pro Wrestling brigade, has started emerging as a top star. This is not because Dragon Gate has an unbreakable glass ceiling, it’s because the wrestling media, both in the West and in Japan, have chosen to ignore Dragon Gate.
They are doing it once again with Shun Skywalker. Few wrestlers have been as exciting in the new year as Skywalker. He’s a legitimate candidate for Wrestler of the Year as we approach being a quarter of the way through the year.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) January 16, 2019
Shun Skywalker is going to lose, and that’s okay, because his career is stable now. He’s going to lose to PAC, but if PAC performs anywhere close to the way he did against Kzy a month ago, Shun Skywalker is going to be finally noticed by the wrestling media, because they will no longer be able to shield their eyes away from the masked man. US indie promoters will return his emails, and Skywalker will hopefully ask for more money, because his ignorance is not their issue.
Shun Skywalker is going to lose, and that’s okay, because Shun Skywalker is a star.