OCTOBER 7, 2020


Watch: Dragon Gate Network


As is so often the case when Okuda and Yokosuka are paired against one another in the same match, the bulk of this bout was designed around those two swinging as hard as they can at one another. Okuda threw sharp middle kicks that were intercepted by Yokosuka’s lariats that he throws with home run-like power. Yokosuka is the perfect foil to Okuda’s power, and as we saw in this match, also Lee’s speed. In essence, Yokosuka is the perfect wrestler, but I digress. 

Thanks to the Twin Gate gold being wrapped around Lee’s waist at the moment, Kanda was firmly positioned as the weakest link in this match and thus he took the fall, eating an awkward Lights Out from Okuda to cap off a breezy opener. **3/4 


Things are happening with the Class of 2020. Outside of the opener on the March 1 Champion Gate show, the final show before the shut down, Kobune and Kamei had lost every televised appearance they’ve had. This past weekend in Fukuoka when Madoka Kikuta scored the first big pinfall of his career, marking the first notable victory for the newest four rookies. Had Sora Fujikawa not had to get surgery on his jaw, he’d be right in the mix as well.

This win, despite the nefarious way that it came about as they rolled up Don Fujii after Masaaki Mochizuki hit him with the Sankakugeri kick. The fact of the matter is Kobune and Kamei are now back in the win column with a pinfall over an established veteran. 

This match played into everyone’s strengths. It was really a textbook way of making everyone shine. The focus was primarily on the rookies, Fujii, and Mochizuki, and whenever Gamma or Arai found themselves in the midst of action, they were selling big for whoever was on offense. The simple formula mixed with the intensity and desperation of Kobune and Kamei to score a pinfall was brilliantly done. The win is a valid win, but it leaves room for them to grow. Perhaps next month in Korakuen Hall they won’t steal a victory, they’ll earn one. ***1/2 


Continuing the trend set in place in Fukuoka, Madoka Kikuta scored another fall here, this time cleanly pinning Kagetora after nearly knocking his head off with a discus lariat. 

Kikuta remains the wild card of the class of 2020. Kobune is a surefire steadyhand, Kamei has underdog charisma, and Fujikawa could one day have YAMATO-like charm and charisma. Kikuta, as I’ve talked about on Open the Voice Gate, moves like a newborn animal. He’s not as fluid as his contemporaries, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not talented. He’s different, almost in the way that Kagetora feels different than any of his Jimmyz counterparts that he teamed with for years. That could be why he and Kikuta had excellent chemistry in this match, as they really laid into one another with big strikes that echoed throughout Korakuen Hall. For Kikuta to get the win, not only against an established roster member like Kagetora, but while teaming with someone like Yoshino, is a huge seal of approval for Kikuta this early into his career. ***1/4 


Under normal circumstances I would spend this portion of the review talking about how we’ll likely see a Shuji Kondo vs. Kazma Sakamoto King of Gate match next year and how it will probably be excellent. I might even spend some time talking about how dynamic Dragon Kid is at his advanced age. However, these are not normal circumstances, and all of my energy must be devoted to talking about the finish and post-match affairs. 

After a standard R.E.D. six-man, one full of sleaze, brawling, and cheating, Diamante and Ultimo Dragon struggled for positioning, with Diamante eventually finding himself in front of Ultimo but facing away from him. What followed was perhaps the deadliest move in the history of wrestling, as Diamante drove the heel of his boot into the groin of Ultimo Dragon, forcing Ultimo to have a near-seizure in the middle of the ring. Diamante and his R.E.D. bandits quickly left the ring, but the same cannot be said for Ultimo. 

The legendary luchadore remained down for minutes after the match. In fact, he never made it to his feet, failing to give a thumbs up or an “I’m good” gesture to the audience. Instead, he was carried to the back by Shuji Kondo after getting his midsection destroyed by a fellow luchadore. 

He sold a nut shot more aggressively than most people sell piledrivers. 

Ultimo Dragon is the ultimate worker. ***


This match ended in DQ after a new masked character interfered and attacked Dragon Dia. The Black Demon Mask, who I believe is being referred to as Inferno (that translation could be slightly off), unmasked Dia and then acted unhinged towards the rest of the DG Generation. 

The demon masks over the past year have been a huge win in Dragongate. They generate a lot of buzz and the reveals, like the Yellow Demon Mask that was revealed at the end of this very show, always deliver. 

Inferno appears to be some sort of new generation Darkness Dragon, a character designed specifically to torment Dragon Kid. If that’s the case, I’m all in on this angle. The debut was a massive success. While the match was nothing special, this segment is absolutely essential viewing. NR



The delightfully awkward Our Generation, a unit composed of Doi, Shimizu, and Saito (Doi and Saito still remain members of Toryumon Generation) scored their first win over a Dragongate Generation C-Team. I liked the work in this match a lot. Tominaga did the heavy lifting for the DG side, something that sounds bad on paper but is always a little bit better in execution. While I had no issues with the individual work of this match, I have to acknowledge that it was a weak Korakuen semi-main, especially on a show that had been full of rookies and so angle-heavy up to this point. 

Doi, Shimizu, and Saito bring a lot of star power to the table, but the DG side, for as talented as they are, are bottom of the barrel wrestlers. It was strange seeing Shimizu sell as much as he did for these guys in this position. Granted, he’s transitioning into a new role, one that is likely to cool him off so he can be heated up again, but the full scope of this match did not work. In a vacuum, this match was fine, but I wanted something a little bit more impactful this high up on the card. 

Shimizu folded up Punch and pinned him with a La Magistral for the win. ***


Continuing the trend of exciting finishes on this show, the main event ended after R.E.D.’s Yellow Mask Demon was unveiled. After months of speculation, the predominant favorite, Keisuke Okuda, was indeed under the mask, but as a shock to many, he delivered a knockout roundhouse kick to the skull of Kaito Ishida, giving Ben-K the chance to pin him. 

Because of the finish, I feel that is appropriate to say here that Kaito Ishida vs. Keisuke Okuda is the feud of the year and nothing in wrestling has even come close. The bulk of this feud kicked off on Dragongate’s first empty arena show and remained the unequivocal highlight of anything they did without fans in the building. Once fans returned in July, their beef evolved with Ishida interfering in Okuda’s matches to try to convince him to join R.E.D. That didn’t work, and after a brief cooling off period, the two are back at it and the only natural conclusion is an Open the Brave Gate match, either at Gate of Destiny or Kobe World in November. This is the best program centered around the Brave Gate belt since PAC vs. Ricochet in 2011, fitting as Ishida’s reign is approaching a territory near PAC’s run of greatness. 

This match mirrored a lot of the traits that made the July Korakuen main event so great. When you put eight top level pros in the ring, you’re going to get a good match. This not only had the dynamics of KAI making his heel debut in Korakuen and Kzy and Eita previewing their Gate of Destiny main event, but BxB Hulk once again being so giving and accepting of Kota Minoura’s offense. Hulk has consistently gone out of his way to make Minoura pop off the screen since his rapid elevation began in July. 

Ben-K scored the fall, but after brief words from Kzy and YAMATO, it was Kota Minoura who closed out the show with a promo. He’s a made man. He’s the future. He is the Dragongate Generation. ****1/4 

Final Thoughts:

Gate of Victory acted as the perfect placeholder show for next month, which will be one of the biggest months in Dragongate history. From a storytelling perspective, the elevation of the class of 2020, the debut of Inferno, and the unmasking of the Yellow Demon Mask were all huge wins and should be celebrated as such. The in-ring product, outside of the main event, was down from the usual Korakuen affair, but the aforementioned angles made up for it. 

As the rest of Japan battles the highs-and-lows of tournament season, Dragongate remains a steady beacon of light across the puroresu scene. Gate of Victory was just another notch in the win column for the 2020 promotion of the year.