Welcome to our latest review of Dragon Gate over to Pro Wrestling Post instead of just previews. I usually cover Dragon Gate at the other website I write for but I wanted to bring it here to balance both sites and my personal life without the need of adding another promotion into the mix. We got a big show with three exciting title matches along with the main event you don’t wanna miss. Let’s not waste any time as I…dive right in.
0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
1 Star: Vince Russo
2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
5 Stars: Jim Cornette
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Dragon Dia, Jason Lee, Keisuke Okuda & Yuki Yoshioka vs. Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Punch Tominaga & YASSHI) & Mondai Ryu
Review: Our first match of the show is an eight-man tag team match to get the crowd pumped like in most big Dragon Gate Shows. They usually have people from different units paired up when they don’t have anything special on the card to be a crowd pleaser. Which one of these two teams will win?
It’s a bit all over the place for most of the match but its also solid enough to help give eight of them a little bit to showcase. Dragon Dia is known as Dragon Kid’s protege and he’s grown from the past couple of months that I’ve watched him in. Yuki and Keisuke are both that have a bit of work to do if they wanna try to climb up in the ranks down the road. Natural Vibes did great as always due to the chemistry they all have together in the ring and Mondai being apart of it flowed smoothly. Jason Lee would hit Mondai with the Michinoku Driver as Mondai kicked out at two, but Yuki quickly hits the Frog Splash before Mondai could react to give his team the victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half.
Tag Team Match
Shachihoko BOY & Stalker Ichikawa vs. K-ness & Ryo Saito
Review: Our next match is a tag team match with Shachihoko BOY and Stalker Ichikawa taking on K-ness and Ryo Saito. The only thing you should expect from this type of match is a comedy type and guys like Ryo and Stalker are also really good at what they do here. One of the main things in Dragon Gate is their humor and they look to show that for this match. Which one of the teams takes it?
Wow, this was actually pretty hilarious here. Seeing Stalker walking back and forth on the ropes as Ryo guides him and a small little banter with his partner before they fall, it was some funny stuff. Ryo and K-ness had some type of argument as they were poking each other and their opponents would try to capitalize on that with a Headscissor but they pushed them off while still arguing like they didn’t exist. Stalker got mad at the ref for counting slow and told him to count really fast as Ryo and K-ness rolled them up for a two count despite it being really quick. Five minutes but those five minutes were worth it as BOY would go to the top rope for the Moonsault but he hits his partner while Ryo and K-ness pinned him for the victory. Funny match and had a good laugh or two.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
Tag Team Match
MaxiMuM (Kaito Ishida & Masato Yoshino) vs. R.E.D. (Ben-K & Eita)
Review: Our next match is another tag match with MaxiMuM members, Kaito Ishida and Masato Yoshino taking on R.E.D members, Ben-K and Eita. There has been some tension in R.E.D again when Ben and Big R Shimizu lost the Open the Twin Gate Championships to YAMATO and KAI as Eita has been arguing with Ben lately, so MaxiMuM could use that for their advantage. Will R.E.D be able to stay on the same page or will there be more tension?
I forgot how good of a talent Eita can be when he’s not too wrapped up in any R.E.D stuff and I was able to see that side of him in this match. The story with Eita and Ben is the big focus point of this match when Ben would blind tag him to get more time in the ring to shine, or when one would refuse to tag the other, the emotions in that conflict between them really showed that. Kaito and Masato are also great talents and were able to give us a really solid match with four amazing talents in the ring, knowing what they’re doing in there. Ben would hit Masato with a Spear and it looked like it was over but Eita threw him off to try and get the win but Masato kicked out. Ben had enough as he hits Eita to get him down while Masato hits the Torbellino and a Lightning Spiral on top of that to get the win for his team. The tension between Ben-K and Eita continues and wonder what will happen later.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Six Man Tag Team Match
Tribe Vanguard (Kagetora, KAI & Yosuke Santa Maria) vs. Strong Machine F, Strong Machine G & Strong Machine J
Review: Before the big matches happen, we got a six-man tag team match with Tribe Vanguard members, Kagetora, KAI, and Yosuke Santa Maria taking on Strong Machines F, G, and J. I don’t know who is who under those masks and not a lot of info about them, but this is what Dragon Gate booked and I’m open to seeing where this leads. Which one will win?
It’s really hard to tell which Strong Machine is which, so it’s kinda hard to give them a fair opinion on them but for just being used today, I think they would go rather well. Tribe Vanguard, of course, would be working well together in this match since they’re more of a stable unit than most. Other than that though, the match was solid but nothing too great either since this was just for Strong Machine to come to Dragon Gate. It looked like Tribe Vanguard was getting the upper hand when KAI hits one of them with the Brainbuster and Kagetora tops it off with a Diving Elbow Drop but the other Strong Machines broke the pinfall before Tribe Vanguard could win. Strong Machine has them cornered now as they pummeled Yosuke in the ring despite him trying his best to hold them off, but it wasn’t enough as two of them would do a Doomsday Device Bulldog before Strong Machine J picked Yosuke up for a Majin Fusha Gatame to get the victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters.
Open The Brave Gate Title Match
Susumu Yokosuka (c) vs. U-T
Review: We have our first title match of the evening as Susumu Yokosuka will defend his Open the Brave Gate Championship against U-T. Susumu won the title recently when he defeated Dragon Kid for it on the March 23rd show. U-T was known to be the next contender for the title as he now looks to make the most of his opportunity right here to win his first singles title. Will U-T be able to win it or does Susumu get his first successful title defense?
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Susumu in singles competition and I forgot how solid of a worker he is on his own and I’m glad I’m able to see it here with this match. U-T really has come a long way since his debut six years ago and is without a doubt one of Dragon Gate’s underrated performers. I really enjoyed the transitions of U-T trying to work on Susumu’s arm during the match to go for the submission later on and his chain wrestling skills mixed with his high-flying as well. Susumu would mostly take him down with some Lariats to do some damage to his chest area and it’s one of those moves that are still very effective for many years and still is today. Susumu had U-T up on the top rope to hit the Yokosuka Driver and U-T was able to kick out of it somehow, but Susumu quickly goes for the Lariat as U-T wraps around his arms to apply the Skayde and he has it in locked tight and this could be it, but Susumu had his foot on the rope to break the hold. U-T would have him on the top rope but Susumu would quickly have him on his shoulders to hit the Yokosuka Story! Susumu would then hit a few more Lariats to take him down before he hits the Yokosuka Cutter and he gets the victory to retain the title. Low-key great match and I have no doubt that a title run is in U-T’s future here.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Open The Triangle Gate Title Match
R.E.D. (KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida & Yasushi Kanda) (c) vs. Mochizuki Dojo (Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura & Masaaki Mochizuki)
Review: Onto the next title match as we have R.E.D members, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida, and Yasushi Kanda defending their Open the Triangle Gate Championships against members of the Mochizuki Dojo, Hyo Watanabe, Kota Minoura, and Masaaki Mochizuki himself. Both KAZMA and Takashi have been busy with two different tournaments with Takashi being in All Japan’s Champion Carnival and losing while KAZMA was in NOAH’s Global Tag League with Takashi Sugiura and winning the whole thing with him. It’s good to see Mochizuki Dojo get a title opportunity for this belt and now we can see if they can go all the way and win. Will we have new champions or does R.E.D leave strong?
This match was more to showcase what Mochizuki Dojo can really do, especially Hyo and Kota since they’re the shining future stars and guess what? It worked. It worked really well seeing how all three of them would act as a unit with Mochizuki coaching these two. R.E.D did fairly decent and then again, this is pretty much the bottom of the barrel with this part of the faction except for KAZMA who I enjoy a lot. It was a solid and fun bout but Hyo and Kota were the ones that shined the most here in the match and their performances should be viewed to get a good look at these guys. We had Hyo and Yasushi in the ring as Ry looked to get Yasushi with the Panther Clutch again like he did last time at a previous show but Kanda kicked out at two. Hyo quickly charges at him but KAZMA rolled Kanda out of the way to hit the Pop-up Powerbomb onto Hyo before he hits the Plus Driver to retain the titles for his team.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half.
Open The Dream Gate Title Match
PAC (c) vs. Dragon Kid
Review: Up next is our last title match of the evening as PAC will defend his Open the Dream Gate Championship against Dragon Kid. PAC has had two successful title defenses so far and he looks to keep that streak going by taking out a legend in Dragon Gate. Dragon Kid has won about every title in Dragon Gate except for the main on and now he looks to accomplish that accolade right here on this show. Will PAC have three successful defenses or will Dragon Kid become a Grand Slam?
Say what you will about PAC’s run in the WWE, it really did help him out in the grand scheme of things with carrying the knowledge he learned over there along with working a bit of a safer style while still able to go all out, it’s easier for him to control himself now while still being able to deliver. While not as a great as his match with Kzy, this one was a lot better than his title match with Shun as he was able to work with a better opponent. Dragon Kid is a fantastic talent and still going with bad knees for this long really is something and still showing that he can still go as if he was ten years younger. PAC had early control in the match when he caught the 619 and would hit a Tombstone Piledriver onto the ring apron and would almost get the count out victory as Kid got back in at nineteen. Since Kid is weak now, PAC used that to his advantage to work on his neck a bit and taunt the crowd while they cheered for Kid to try and defeat him.
There was one spot in the match where I thought Kid broke his neck and that was when PAC went to the top rope and hits a Super Falcon Arrow and Kid took it as a neck bump, I mean it was awesome but also a really nasty fall and I’m glad to see that he wasn’t actually injured. Dragon Kid would get some momentum back on his side when he hits a Super Hurricanrana when they were both on the top rope and it looked like he was gonna hit a Dragonrana but PAC moved out of the way to hit a Lariat, but Kid caught his arms to hit the Bible but PAC kicked out at two. Dragon Kid would then his a Reverse Rana off the top rope and PAC was still able to kick out at two and looks to finish him off with the Dragonrana again as he got caught by PAC and delivers two Powerbombs onto him for a two count. PAC had Kid in the corner to hit an Enziguri and had him up on the top rope to hit the Avalanche Tombstone Piledriver and instead of pinning him, he quickly goes up on top to hit the Black Arrow and retains the title. PAC confirmed that his next title defense will be against the winner of this year’s King of Gate Tournament, which starts the next day.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Unit Bonds Steel Cage Survival Five Way Match
Kzy vs. Naruki Doi vs. Shun Skywalker vs. YAMATO vs. Big R Shimizu
Review: Our main event is the Dead or Alive Steel Cage Match. Here’s how it works, we have one member of each unit fighting each other in a Steel Cage Match and for this year we have Kzy (Natural Vibes), Naruki Doi (MaxiMuM), Shun Skywalker (Mochizuki Dojo), YAMATO (Tribe Vanguard), and Big R Shimizu (R.E.D). There will be four flags for each corner of the cage and after ten minutes, they’ll be able to climb up to grab them. The match ends when all four flags are grabbed, leaving one to be the loser and the loser of that match, their unit has to kick someone out of their group. Other members are allowed to distract their opponents from outside of the cage. Which unit will lose and have to kick someone out?
Big R would seem to be everyone’s target due to everyone not liking R.E.D and of course, get the bigger guy out of the way. The first ten minutes, of course, was everyone trying to wear each other down so they wouldn’t go for the flag later on when it was time to grab them. Think the best sequences were whenever Kzy, YAMATO, and Naruki would fight each other in the ring, also this is due to those three being some of the best workers in this match and in Dragon Gate. Once it was time to grab the flag, four people would rush to each corner while their stablemates were out there making sure they wouldn’t grab them as they would use poles with boxing gloves tied to them, balls, eggs, anything they would use to make sure they don’t make it up there. Kzy got covered in streamers as it was attached to him for a good while when he was running around the ring. Our Kzy went up to the corner again while people were trying to pull him down as Kzy was handed a little party cannon to blast streamers down to get himself in the clear as Kzy is the first one to grab a flag, making Natural Vibes safe as he leaves the ring.
We now have four people left in the ring now as bodies are flying everywhere and Shun would use this chance to try and get back to the top of the cage after failing the last time, Shun doing some nifty acrobatics to get to the top but gets dazed when Yosuke would climb on top of the cage to kiss him. We hear music now as Hyosuke Santa Maria came out to help out Shun by giving Yosuke Santa Maria a kiss of his own to stun him as Shun was able to grab the second flag, making Mochizuki Dojo safe. YAMATO, Naruki Doi, and Big R Shimizu are left as now things are starting to get crucial for the other people and Big R wastes no time trying to get to one of the other flag poles. Tribe Vanguard would try to stop Big R from grabbing the flag as Darkside Hulk makes his return and would spray water into their eyes to try and get YAMATO up as YAMATO would grab the flag to have Tribe Vanguard safe, and now we’re down to two people. Naruki almost was able to grab the flag but Ben-K would take the flag out to move it over so he wouldn’t be able to grab it. Naruaki would slam Big R a few times before he hits the Bakatare Sliding Kick to get Big R down as he would climb back up again as Takashi would spit Green Mist into his eyes and Naruki goes down. Big R climbs up now as he’s unable to get the flag but he would jump off the cage for a Big Splash as Naruki moved out of the way and quickly goes up to the cage as Naruki grabs the flag and saves MaxiMuM from losing the match!
Big R has lost the match, meaning that R.E.D has to kick someone out of their unit now. All of R.E.D is in the ring and it looks like they chose Ben-K as they would assault him in the ring, sending a message. I figured this would happen after that encounter earlier on in the show and they had tension for a while, so this is no surprise. Plus, I think Ben works better as a face than a heel. Dragon Gate, if you really want to push the next future star, then now is the time to pull the trigger and make Ben-K your guy. He has the look, ability, can have a great match with anyone, he is a star that’s begging to be made here and what better way to put it in motion by having him win King of Gate this year and beat PAC for the title as a way to get revenge as well. You definitely have the potential here and now is the time to capitalize on that opportunity, it’s now or never with Ben-K, do it.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Overall: I thought this was actually a great show with some amazing action, good humor, and just an enjoyable night. If Dragon Gate can keep delivering these types of shows without any odd booking, they’ll be in great shape for the rest of the year and can’t wait to see what they do with King of Gate this year.
Favorite Match: Susumu Yokosuka vs. U-T
Least Favorite Match: Dragon Dia, Jason Lee, Keisuke Okuda & Yuki Yoshioka vs. Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Punch Tominaga & YASSHI) & Mondai Ryu