NOVEMBER 3, 2020

Watch: Dragongate Network


  • Mike (@fujiiheya): Co-Host of Open the Voice Gate & Everything Elite. Mike is screaming from the roof tops that Kaito Ishida vs Keisuke Okuda is the best thing in wrestling in 2020 and that tracksuits are the official clothing item of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • Ricardo (@wallyrgr): Dragongate is a beautiful thing and The Gate of Destiny should be another home run. Follow Ricardo’s Twitter for sporadic DG love and many documentary recommendations.
  • Jon (@FatmansAlright): Jon’s writing this at 3 AM, the witching hour, on Halloween. Proceed if you dare, for his most horrifying and bone-chilling Dragongate takes to date. Be sure to follow him on Twitter if your feed doesn’t suck enough already. 

Pre Show
K-ness., Konomama Ichikawa, Shachihoko Boy & Ho Ho Lun vs. Yosuke♡Santa Maria, Problem Dragon, U-T & Jimmy

Mike: It’s very nice to see K-ness, Shachi and Ichikawa on this show. This is K-ness’ first match in almost five months, he’s at an age that the decades of injuries pretty much have him permanently sidelined. Jimmy’s starting to get more and more ring-time, and it is starting to pay off, but this is a match zero, and everyone’s just here so folks can waive at them. This will be nice, short, and out of our memories before Dragon Storm plays. There’s more full-timers on Maria’s team so there you go. Prediction: Maria, Dragon, U-T & Jimmy

Ricardo: I haven’t seen much from Jimmy lately and I’m starting to lose all hope in DG pushing him. I’m happy that Ichikawa is back though; his interactions with Yosuke should be fantastic. Beyond that, this will be your fun three star opener. I hope U-T gets the win. Prediction: Maria, Dragon, U-T & Jimmy.

Jon: This should be as fun as a match zero really gets, with big show appearances from K-ness, Ichikawa and Shachihoko Boy. U-T’s been a total treasure on every card since coming back. I’ll forgive them for sticking him on the pre-show because he and Maria are already pegged for a title match at Kobe World. Fingers crossed that Jimmy, king of the match zero, gets to pin Stalker. Prediction: Maria, Dragon, U-T & Jimmy

Dragongate Generation (Ben-K, Strong Machine J & Dragon Dia) vs. R.E.D. (BxB Hulk, H・Y・O & Dia Inferno)

Mike: Dragongate’s handling of Ben-K since losing the Dream Gate has been fascinating. He’s not downright buried or hidden, but he main evented the two previous Gates of Destiny and now he’s opening the show with his former Triangle Gate partners. This is the return for Strong Machine J since that team lost the Triangle Gate. He’s been on the shelf with his recurring shoulder issues, which is somewhat worrying as it’s an issue SMJ’s had throughout his 18 month career. Them, Hulk and HYO aren’t the story here, this is about Dragon Dia and Dia Inferno.

Since his debut at the September Korakuen show, Dia Inferno has been an interesting character. Introduced as the rival for Dragon Dia, he is a rather unique character: the heavy mask and full body suit is distinctive, his ring style is a lot more brutal than other characters with a devastating Back Stabber and constant bites, and each time Inferno faced off against a Dragongate-gun team he focuses entirely on Dia. It’s a generational rival that Dia badly needed, but I’m not certain it’s working. DG crowds are a lot louder than others in this era and they have sat on their hands during these matches. The mask seems really restrictive. Everything feels accelerated as if they’re rushing through what should be Dia’s trademark feud and they know it’s not working. Regardless, there’s bigger things on the radar in a Dia vs Inferno singles match at Kobe World and I think this will be like most of Inferno matches where he gets DQed for either a weapon attack or mask rip. Prediction: Dragongate Generation by DQ

Ricardo: The objective of this match is to heat up the Dragon Dia vs. Dia Inferno match that will take place in Kobe World. I’m utterly intrigued by this feud. How long will it last? Will this be a short thing to push Dia? Will Inferno be quickly unmasked? Is Yoshioka behind the mask? (I really hope it’s him, otherwise he’d still be stuck in Mexico) So far the record between these two in team matches is 3-3, so this will be the tie breaker and a fascinating preview of Kobe World. I also hope Ben-K spears BxB Hulk so hard that his horrendous red hair turns blonde again. Prediction: R.E.D.

Jon: It’s nice to see the Ben-K, Dia and J team back together. Their brief Triangle Gate run was lovely. Really though, everything outside of Dragon Dia and Dia Inferno here is extraneous. Fortunately, the two already share a good deal of chemistry. Acting as the proper opener might motivate these guys to go big, but the objective here is just to carry that feud to Kobe. HYO’s presence tells me that the RED squad is taking a big fat L. Prediction: Dragongate Generation

Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii, Gamma & Bodyguard (Freelance) vs. Toryumon Generation (Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, Shuji Kondo & Kagetora)

Mike: Bodyguard, being someone whose career started in Osaka for Osaka Pro, is here entirely to see if they can get some crossover fans. There’s entirely zero to read into his appearance unless he sticks around for next week’s Korakuen or Kyoto shows. With that out of the way, we’ve got the entire Kobe World Triangle Gate contender team opposite of Bodyguard and the cranky old men, so this should be a bunch of fun. I used to think Shuji Kondo was this looming presence since his return, but over the last three months it seems like the company sees him as a complimentary figure, which is somewhat of a bummer but maybe things change after this generational war. Usually I’d say the future challenge team would win this match, but they’ve had them lose already in the lead up to World and Bodyguard is the outsider, so I think that settles things here. Prediction: Mochizuki, Gamma, Fujii & Bodyguard

Ricardo: A wild Bodyguard appears! It should be fun to watch him interact with Shuji Kondo, but let’s not get our hopes up to see anything special here. Fujii has been on fire and even though he doesn’t have any dojo trainee to destroy here, I’m sure he will be as cool as always. However, with Gamma and Saito here, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up having a lot of comedy. I think Kagetora is here to eat the pin. Prediction: Mochi, Fujii, Gamma & Bodyguard

Jon: It’s cool to see Bodyguard here, but at this point the guy is basically a sack of potatoes shaped like big muscles. Still, he’s a very cool sack of potatoes, and I’m sure Dragon Kid will figure out something to do with him. The selling points here are watching Shuji Kondo mix it up with any of these four dudes, and that moment in every Kagetora match where you say, “Hey, he’s still pretty good!” Prediction: Mochizuki, Gamma, Fujii & Bodyguard.

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Toryumon Generation (Ultimo Dragon, Masato Yoshino & Yasushi Kanda) vs. Kento Kobune, Taketo Kamei & Madoka Kikuta

Mike: It is time for the rest of the world to recognize what my OTVG co-host, Case Lowe, and I have been saying for years: There’s no training school in the world that is turning out complete wrestlers at a quantity like the dojo in Kobe for Dragongate. Unlike most Japanese promotion, DG recognizes what they have with the Class of 2020, and they’ve been having Kento Kobune, Taketo Kamei, and Madoka Kikuta pick up big wins in their rookie year. 

Each of the kids have their distinct style. Kento Kobune is a jacked 20 year old that has a top of the card appeal which should have him ready for main events by the time he could rent cars in America. Taketo Kamei already has a great handle on how to use his diminutive size as a natural babyface and the ring skills to compliment that. Madoka Kikuta was someone that was an X Factor for because it was very hard to wrap our heads around him. Kikuta’s incredibly lanky, debuted in midst of empty arena shows, and is somewhat unassuming. In October everything clicked with him: he uses his size as a weapon and has one of the most devastating discus lariats I’ve ever seen. It’s a Hand of God.

It’s funny the trio they’re going up against here. Ultimo Dragon outright begged off from the kids in a previous match. He’s in his fifties and doesn’t want to deal with 20 year olds who chop really hard and scream a lot (I don’t necessarily blame him). Masato Yoshino has extended his career for an indeterminate period of time due to time off because of Covid-19, but is playing the hits for the most part. Yasushi Kanda exists now as much as he did last time I did one of these previews, take that as you will. As much as I’d love to see Kikuta crater Kanda with the Hand of God, Ultimo will eventually do La Magistral and that’ll be it. It’d be cool if the Class of 2020 got an upset and interject themselves into the Triangle Gate match at Kobe World though! Prediction: Toryumon Generation

Ricardo: On the October 7 Korakuen Hall show, Kobune and Kamei defeated a bunch of legends and Kikuta pinned Kagetora while teaming with Masato Yoshino. We know all these rookies have the DG seal of approval but, will they get any offense against Ultimo Dragon? That would be huge. I don’t think the match itself will be anything special (Ultimo and Kanda are here) but the dynamics will be fascinating. I’m gonna be so angry when Ultimo casually enters the match to pin Kikuta with a Casita though. Prediction: Toryumon Generation

Jon: The rookies picking up surprise wins at Korakuen adds a fun wrinkle here – can they continue stringing together upsets? After pushing back his impending retirement at Dangerous Gate last month, I’m glad Yoshino’s lending some of his newfound time to working with the young’ns. I’m sure they appreciate it too if the alternatives are Ultimo and Kanda. With Kobune establishing himself as a savvy strong boy alongside Kamei’s aerial leanings, keep an eye on Madoka Kikuta here. His size on this roster makes him a real presence, with mean looking strikes and an even meaner likeness to Matthew Lillard. Seriously, don’t tell me you don’t see it too. Prediction: Toryumon Generation

Special Singles Match

Mike: KAI’s heel turn at Dangerous Gate has been such a success that I’m surprised that not many saw it coming. He provides upper card support to R.E.D, an unit that desperate needed it, he has better chemistry as an opponent for people in DG-gun versus being a partner, and KAI is a tremendous sleazebag. He and YAMATO have been going at it ever since and he’s a natural foil to the company ace. If we weren’t dealing with a twelve-day break between The Gate of Destiny and Kobe World, I’d want KAI to sleaze his way to a win to set up a bigger match (No Ropes maybe? Haven’t had one of those in six years) at Kobe World. Sadly, I think there are bigger things ahead for YAMATO, so we might revisit this feud in December or in 2021.  Prediction: YAMATO

Ricardo: KAI has done a tremendous job in DG and a big part of that comes from his chemistry with YAMATO. The KAI betrayal and heel turn at the top of the cage during Dangerous Gate was perfect and did more than enough to hype this singles match. I know many people don’t trust KAI, but he constantly delivers in this company, at least from a supporting role. If they manage to translate their tag team chemistry into a singles match, then we’re in for a treat. I think YAMATO will get his revenge and maybe move into bigger things. Prediction: YAMATO.

Jon: One of the more underappreciated stories running through this year has been the tense and evolving triangle of BxB Hulk, KAI and YAMATO. While YAMATO and BxB’s rich history lends to a clear chemistry and intensity in their matchups, it’s about goddamn time we appreciate KAI. After all, he might have done the heaviest lifting. He’s aptly handled the roles of the Dragongate Generation’s biggest cheerleader; the unsuspecting target of a returning BxB Hulk’s scorn; and most importantly, YAMATO’s big, dumb, smiley right hand man. Then, the piece de resistance: his perfectly executed betrayal atop the cage at Dangerous Gate. All this without mentioning he’s been an underrated in-ring asset to the company. Hopefully this is a mean one. I predict KAI takes it, and honestly, he deserves to. Prediction: KAI

Open the Brave Gate Championship Match
Kaito Ishida (c) vs. Keisuke Okuda

Mike: Kaito Ishida vs Keisuke Okuda is the best feud in the world this year. I have a column more about that coming out on Monday. If Ishida wins here, in the same building that he won this title, he will enter year two of his championship reign. There’s still a couple of title defense he could do (Dia after Dia’s done with Inferno, U-T if they trust his body to hold up, Dragon Kid if they really want to) if he retains here. I think that Ishida has a big 2021 ahead of him, and Okuda winning here is a logical endpoint of this feud. Okuda opens up some fresher Brave matchups, and he already has a feud with HYO that they can revisit at Kobe World. If Kaito Ishida gets through his biggest challenge, we will start talking about this title reign in the same air as PAC’s Best Brave Gate Reign of All Time and Flamita’s Brave Reign that He Coasted on the Remainder of his Dragongate Tenure. Regardless, this and the main event are the clubhouse leaders of Match of the Night, if not a late challenge for Match of the Year.  Prediction: Keisuke Okuda

Ricardo: Ishida vs. Okuda is the best feud in wrestling of 2020 and it’s not even close. Crowd or no crowd, noise or no noise, they managed to build a layered, complex and thoroughly engaging feud that has lasted for nearly five months. And even before the great interactions, bursts of fury and Okuda’s double-turn, I want to remind everyone that these two already had an outstanding, hard-hitting match back when the rivalry was in diapers. Their chemistry is off the charts and with so much drama and story behind this rematch, I wouldn’t be shocked if this ends up being a MOTY contender. Predicting a winner is tough. Is Kaito Ishida ready to move on? I think he is and even though I would like him to get a couple more title defenses to fully establish his reign as one of the best in the company’s history, Okuda winning the belt would be a huge moment and storyline-wise, it’d be a deserved reward for his part in the feud. Prediction: Keisuke Okuda.

Jon: Over the course of two colossal reigns by Susumu Yokosuka and Ishida, it’s easy to lose sight of what the Brave Gate really represents. For the better part of the past two years I’ve held it on high as a sure-thing “good match belt”, and Ishida’s deservedly flown up the card with it around his waist. While the belt compliments Kaito’s perfectly shitheaded demeanor so well, he’s cleared out most viable challengers and it’s time to move on. Okuda’s going to win the first truly decisive bout of, again, the best current feud in wrestling. It’s the odds-on favorite to steal the show, and I have little doubt Keisuke Okuda will continue the recent tradition of Brave Gate matches whomping ass. Prediction: Keisuke Okuda

Open the Twin Gate Championship Match
Dragongate Generation (c) (Kota Minoura & Jason Lee) vs. Toryumon Generation (Susumu Yokosuka & Genki Horiguchi)

Mike: Yokosuka and Horiguchi are a remarkable challenger team, if only become they’re the oldest pairing on the roster that really hasn’t happened before. Even though these two have been linked constantly in units dating back to M2K, Susumu and Genki never really were a tag team. Yokosuka had his teams with K-ness, Kanda, and Kagetora, and Horiguchi had Marraha Isappa with SaiRyo. Earlier this year they picked up the Micro Indie Kyushu Pro titles and that was really the first time they did things as a tag team together.

I’ve waxed poetically enough about how this Twin team of Kota Minoura and Jason Lee has been an excellent case of elevating Minoura and getting Lee his mountain top. They’ve become one of the best tag teams in the world and I want to see this reign continue. A defense against DoiYoshi in two weeks would be an excellent semi-main event at Kobe World. This match perhaps has the highest ceiling of any match on this card and will be required viewing if you want me to take your “Best of 2020” list seriously. Prediction: Minoura & Lee

Ricardo: Susumu Yokosuka is the Leonardo Da Vinci of pushing young wrestlers; he’s a masterful professor that always makes sure that his students come out of class better than when they entered. He already busted his ass helping Minoura and Lee in Dangerous Gate and with such a capable wrestler in his corner, he should have lots of freedom to make them look like superstars. If the crowd could shout this would be my pick for Match of the Night. But it breaks my heart hearing a reduced amount of noise when Genki wrestles and goes for the Backslide from Heaven. Prediction: Kota Minoura & Jason Lee.

Jon: This one’s interesting because it’s just a slight alteration on the incredible Twin Gate matchup from Dangerous Gate. Here, Genki replaces a Dragon Kid, who pulled out some inspired performances in that bout and the leadup to it. I don’t expect Genki to match those performances, but perhaps he provides a greater chemistry with Susumu— the two currently hold the Kyushu Pro tag belts together. They even defended them earlier this month in a Dragongate ring against the endlessly interesting team of Mentai Kid and Kodai Nozaki. 

Even if this is just a slightly lesser version of the prior Twin Gate match, that’s still a fantastic result. Kota Minoura’s impossibly become one of the most exciting wrestlers on one of the world’s most stacked rosters, and I’m not certain Jason Lee or Susumu Yokosuka even know how to have bad matches. Throw in a few backslides and that stretchy yellow thing, you’ve yourself a stew. Prediction: Kota Minoura & Jason Lee

Open the Triangle Gate Championship Match
If Team Boku loses, the Ryotsu Shimizu character is discontinued
R.E.D. (c) (Takashi Yoshida, Diamante & Kazma Sakamoto) vs. Team Boku (Naruki Doi, Ryotsu Shimizu & Punch Tominaga)

Mike: Team Boku has been a confounding thing. The crowd really likes them. They are heavily pushed. But it’s still a goofy proto-unit that now has Punch Tominaga in a Triangle Gate challenge and it feels like it’s keeping people busy until bigger things are on offer. The R.E.D. champion team over-delivered in their title win at Dangerous Gate and if this goes into the freewheeling brawl style that benefits them, this match could be a lot of fun. I feel like DG is somewhat tipping their hand here: one team has Punch on it, the Ryotsu Shimizu gimmick is hopefully a placeholder, and would they really put one of their biggest stars in a multi-team Triangle Gate match in Masato Yoshino’s final Kobe World? I would love to not have Takashi Yoshida as Triangle Gate champion. Would LOVE that. But I don’t think this is happening on Tuesday. Maybe Kobe World answers my dream. Prediction: R.E.D.

Ricardo: The winner of this match will defend the Triangle Gate against Kid/Kondo/Kagetora and Ben-K/Maria/U-T in Kobe World. To me it seems obvious that R.E.D. will get the win because that would fully form the R.E.D. vs. Toryumon vs. Dragongate narrative of the Kobe match. Also, I love Shimizu but I want him to lose this match so much. His anime look is embarrassing. This man is a friendly beast that should be destroying people with a smile, not losing matches dressed like a geek. By the way, how wild is that Punch Tominaga is semi-main eventing a huge DG show two weeks before Kobe World. Prediction: Yoshida, Diamante & Sakamoto

Jon: I’ve stared at this match trying to talk to myself into the possibility of Team Boku winning, but it’s just not there. Still, it’s not as bad as it might seem – Diamante and Kazma are capable of piecing together a fun six-man even while Takashi Yoshida does everything in his power to stop them. And what a testament to Team Boku that they’ve made it so I’ll miss this ridiculous Ryotsu Shimizu gimmick, flopping around the ring flanked by Doi and Saito. This match’ll be a blast, Shimizu fighting desperately in the semi-main slot to keep his gag eyebrows. As a fan of the guy, I look forward to what iteration of his character comes next, and pray that Team Boku – the only genuine source of joy for any of us in this nightmare of a world – never goes away.  Prediction: R.E.D. 

Open the Dream Gate Championship Match
Eita (c) vs. Kzy 

Mike: Eita got YAMATO’d in his title reign. Getting YAMATO’d is a reference to 2016, when YAMATO won the Dream Gate at Kobe World, but his title run (which was supposed to be THE RUN, in retrospect) was backburnered for the final Summer Adventure Tag League and then the farewell tour for Akira Tozawa. Since Eita won the Dream Gate at Memorial Gate, in the best singles match of his career, focus got pulled away from him and towards the cage match at Dangerous Gate. So this will be his first defense over three months since he won it from Naruki Doi.

Look Eita needs to win this. We all love Kzy. Love him. Don’t we folks? But I think both history and push-wise, it’s looking pretty unlikely he’s winning the Dream Gate in Osaka. The title has never changed hands at Gate of Destiny. It hasn’t changed hands at Edion Arena Osaka in almost fourteen years. Eita losing the belt here would make him the second ever person to have a zero defense reign in their first (or only) Dream Gate reign. 

Kzy is one of the three best singles wrestlers in the company. He’s Mr. February for a reason: you give him a title match and he will deliver. He had one of the best title matches in Masaaki Mochizuki, PAC AND Naruki Doi’s most recent Dream runs. And Kzy’s time should come. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of Eita. Losing the Dream Gate on his first defense would be something I don’t think he can come back from. This match will rock. No doubt about that. Eita’s gotta win though. Get through this defense, run Eita vs YAMATO as the main event at Kobe World, and all will be good in Dragongate. Prediction: Eita

Ricardo: In-ring, we know Kzy will deliver and Eita just showed he can work at a MOTY pace, so I’m not worried about quality. But, who wins this? Should Eita main event Kobe World?  Has he moved any ticket sales? Do ticket sales even matter during these times? (I guess I should’ve studied some attendance numbers before writing this review) I have no clue how this will go. I can’t see Eita losing the belt so fast, but Kzy has been heavily pushed and in the last month, has been very aggressive. My gut tells me Eita retains. Prediction: Eita

Jon: There’s something happening with Kzy. Ever since last year’s standout bout at Kobe World with Shun Skywalker he’s been placed in enticing singles on big shows for seemingly no reason other than showcasing his world class in-ring ability. With the advent of the Generational War came changes in his look and presentation. He’s no longer dragging a group of tired veterans into a dance routine, and the trueborn generation’s white/black/gold color scheme’s got him looking 8×10 ready. Here, carrying his second Dream Key of the year, it just seems like a matter of time before he wears the gold.

Unfortunately, the man he’ll face is Eita, who will not be relinquishing the top spot so soon after finally scratching and clawing his way into it. At Memorial Gate in August he ended Naruki Doi’s title reign in a thirty minute MOTYC. Who could forget the image of RED slinking up onto the apron like a pack of hyenas, only for Eita to call them off? And if the idea is to establish just what Eita can do in there without the assistance of his RED cohorts, what better opponent than Kzy? This one could be special. Prediction: Eita