MARCH 4, 2021

Watch: Dragon Gate Network

Before the opening contest, Ben-K, Dragon Kid, Keisuke Okuda, and YAMATO made their way to the ring to announce that the name of their new unit was High End. 


Predictably, this show began with a run-of-the-mill Natural Vibes affair. I’ve been a huge fan of the rebooted unit, even if the initial idea confused me. With their R.E.D. challengers at Champion Gate squaring off against Masquerade later on in the card, they were left to fight a hodgepodge of unaffiliated talent. As you’d expect, U-T once again went after the much bigger, meaner Shuji Kondo, to the delight of us all. It’s amazing how much better this unit works with U-T in place of Tominaga. Whenever Taketo Kamei comes back, I have no doubt that he’ll fit like a glove. 

There was less comedy in this bout than you’d expect (Maria did hit her Rainmaker-style kiss, though) but the action never boiled over into anything special. Kzy pinned Maria with a running Canadian Destroyer. **3/4 


The dueling Dragon tandem took their first loss as a team by way of Kazma Sakamoto’s continued hot streak and Diamante’s Vuelta Finale powerbomb. This was, unfortunately, a really bad night for Bokultimo. I thought everything he did looked sloppy. Had this been on the first loop of shows he had done under the hood, I wouldn’t have cared, but we’ve seen this act before and we’ve seen him execute all of these moves much cleaner than he did on this evening. 

Keep your eyes on Kazma Sakamoto going forward. He’s been on a hot streak as of late and Jae on English commentary was sure to remind us of that in this match. **

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If there is a degenerate out there who bet the finish of this match correctly, more power to them. The least likely team to win was Arai and Kanda and the least likely outcome was one of them pinning Takashi Yoshida, who is challenging for the Twin Gate belts this weekend, but that’s exactly what happened thanks to some help from HYO. 

The highlight of this match was not the extended interaction between the men fighting over the Twin Gate belts at Champion Gate, but rather the two men fighting over the Open the Brave Gate title. Keisuke Okuda and HYO have been terrific in the build to their bout. Okuda is obviously positioned higher on the card. He’s positioned as a tougher, smarter, better wrestler, yet I still can’t rule HYO out. He could very easily come up with a Rube Goldberg Machine-type distraction for R.E.D. which would give him the chance to roll up Okuda for the win. It’s not my desired outcome, I don’t think it’s the likely outcome, but I can’t rule it out. 

Even if he is tied up with the Brave Gate coming out of Osaka, I hope we get to see more of Okuda and Ben-K as a tandem. Their chemistry as a team is electric and Ben-K looked great here tossing around everyone at will. 

Mochizuki and Yoshida could only do so much for me. The finish was so surprising that it popped me, but they’ll now have an uphill battle when it comes to getting me invested in their Twin Gate match at Champion Gate. ***1/4 


An extensive preview of the upcoming Kaito Ishida vs. Shun Skywalker match can be found here.

This was a strong, albeit slightly unspectacular go-home match for the headlining bout of Champion Gate weekend. R.E.D. and Masquerade have had plenty of better matches against one another. This was missing the spark that La Estrella provides. At press time, I’m unsure as to why he was not on this show. 

Replacing the masked flyer was Kagetora, someone who I’ve been incredibly down on lately. I’ve found his effort to be poor on DG’s less important televised shows and all throughout 2020, he was a background player putting in background effort in the generational wars. He’s someone who looks bored and feels out of place in the current DG landscape. If he was ever going to flip the narrative, teaming with Masquerade would be a good start. Instead, Kagetora, while not being actively bad in this match, was far from active. He didn’t make his presence felt in the ring until well after the match started and even once he hit the ring, outside of aping Masato Yoshino’s Slingblade, he didn’t provide much entertainment. 

The Skywalker vs. Ishida interactions were tremendous, although I do worry about native crowd investment with those two. I have no doubt that their title match will be great. It’s an issue as to whether or not they’ll be able to get an already-subdued clap crowd behind them. 

I assumed Ishida would make Kagetora tap, but instead it was the champion, Skywalker, getting the win over Dia Inferno with his patented SSW. The champion looked great. ***1/2 

After the match, Kagetora grabbed a microphone and told everyone that Masato Yoshino wished for Jason Lee to use the Slingblade going forward. This continues a trend of Yoshino gifting his signature moves to the younger generation as his retirement draws near.    


SB Kento is so good. God, it’s just ridiculous. This isn’t a match that I found to be “great” in the workrate since, but the performances from both SBK and Dragon Kid were individually tremendous. I really think that one of the biggest victims of the clap crowd era is SBK. Think about what he’s done with them. Think about how a year into his career, he’s established himself as one of the most deadly and compelling heels in a loaded heel unit. He’s clearly gotten over and has done all he can to pull reactions out of a purposefully subdued audience. This match would’ve likely been great under a normal crowd. 

Whether his rocket pack push gets turned up another level or this is laying the groundwork for something much later down the line, I can’t help but look at this match as the blueprint for a future SBK Dream Gate challenge. The pacing was slow and deliberate. SBK never acted rushed. He was in complete control of the match, his opponent, and the audience the entire time. This was a veteran performance from a 21-year-old. 

Dragon Kid had countered SBK’s attempt to rip off his mask once already in the match when the flying veteran took to the sky in an attempt at an Ultra Hurricanrana. With the referee distracted on the floor, SBK caught Dragon Kid, ripped his mask off, and rolled him up for the finish. This was a dirty finish that came across more cunning than it did cheap. It was perfectly timed and executed. SBK looked great in scoring the victory while also giving Dragon Kid a chance at redemption down the line. This was a win for everyone involved. ***3/4 


Not the big climax that I was hoping for on this show (and with this angle), but a solid outing nonetheless. These two have been at each other’s throats since September when KAI turned on YAMATO. They spent the year and a half prior to the turn teaming with one another. What I’m saying is that I think I’m ready for a break with YAMATO and KAI. The former will likely be back in the Dream Gate picture after this program concludes in May and the latter has assimilated himself within the DG roster far better than I ever thought he would, but I need to not see these two in the same ring for six months or so. 

The match was bookend with high points. To start the bout, YAMATO did a tope con hilo onto KAI with his ring jacket still on. That’s very un-YAMATO-like. The visual was pleasant. The finish saw SBK accidentally whack KAI with a chair, giving YAMATO the chance to score a rollup victory. The middle portion was brawling that served a purpose, but never grabbed me as anything special. ***1/4 

After the match, Masato Yoshino made his first appearance in Tokyo in 2021. He was quickly attacked by R.E.D., leading to a save by the returning Naruki Doi. Portions of the audience shrieked when Doi came out. This is the loudest reaction I’ve heard in Korakuen Hall from any promotion since the pandemic began. Doi announced that he would return to the ring next month in Korakuen Hall. 

Final Thoughts:

Glorious Gate did not live up to the lofty standards of its name, but after beginning the year at a comfortable, cruising altitude, this promotion is clearly prepping the runway for a huge second quarter of 2021. The announced cage match, Doi’s return, and the consistent performances from the roster’s young core could bring DG back to the glory that it reached in 2020. As it stands, the second half of Glorious Gate is worth your time