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Thread: Dragon Gate

  1. #1
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    Dragon Gate

    In the general Japanese wrestling thread, I've been talking quite a bit about Dragon Gate (mostly along with mizfan). Since this is a promotion I really want to follow, I figured it would help if I created its own thread for it.

    I've gone to a handful of their shows in person and every time I've thoroughly enjoyed the show. Their shows are great, and they have a really solid roster that I don't think gets nearly enough credit in the Japanese wrestling community. That's the reason I want to learn and talk more about this company, so I can help spread the word about them to more people who can potentially enjoy them as a viable alternative to New Japan.

    If you're someone who's a fan of Dragon Gate and wants to chat about anything from classic matches from the past to recent shows, or if you're like me and want to learn more about the company and its wrestlers, let's chat!

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    Yeah it might just be me and you in here for a while, but hopefully others come along because Dragon Gate is super fun. Honestly I'd say it's my favorite promotion in Japan, as it appeals to my tastes more than New Japan, and I'm glad it's popular to the extent it is as the #2 promotion in the country. My favorite matches this year have been the Jimmyz vs. Verserk losing unit must disband match, BxB Hulk vs. Shingo Takagi from King of Gate, and first and foremost the massive Title vs. Hair vs. Mask match from Dead or Alive:

    https://rutube.ru/video/5b5351afd5d0...14a4cdf742fa2/

    Their best stuff tends to be crazy multi-man stuff like that, as the company specializes in stable-wars and most of the time the whole roster is tied up in shifting groups and allegiances, which is another unique appeal for the promotion. They tend to put big stipulations and sometimes crazy rules on those big gang warfare matches, but it's worth it to follow along. There's a great site that provides English translations and explanations of important stuff as it happens in the company, iheartdg.com. Their distribution is, sadly, not very good at all so they can be hard to find, but you can dig them up if you're interested enough.

    My favorite guys over there right now are BxB Hulk, Takashi Yoshida (formerly known as Cyber Kong), and the great Punch Tominaga, a half comedy/half crazy character who is just wonderful to watch. Also love guys like Mondai Ryu, Don Fuji, and Yosuke Santa Maria, all of whom often have very fun elements to their matches along with pure wrestling, and I love their resident evil group Verserk, which pinballs back and forth between mischievous and downright vicious. There's a comedic element to the company, especially the undercard, that I really enjoy, and they do some fun stuff that you don't really see anywhere else, and they pay a lot of attention to the history of their characters when advancing storylines and shifting the various gangs. If they have a failing, it's probably their their top singles matches tend to be a little overlong and aren't as much fun as their multi-man bouts, but I tend to think almost all Japanese main events are too long so your mileage may vary.

    All in all this is a great company and one that I try to catch semi-regularly. Maybe someday they'll launch a network and I can follow them even more closely!

  3. #3
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    is most if not all of the important dragon gate uploaded from that real hero archive? I was into dragon gate a few years back but frankly it got exhausting to keep up and also know where to find shows. I like watching complete shows and not feeling so lost. I remember a guy had all the big shows and infinties on one site but that got shut down i think. Also know of an english news site. TBH, VOW talks about Dragon gate on my timeline but i've seen less buzz lately. Just for reference one thing i clearly remember watching was B&B Hulk and Shingo wrestling in a Main event at Kobe Hall.

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Yeah, that's basically the only place to find it. Rutube is hit or miss for me in terms of how well it wants to work, so that doesn't always help! And yeah, it can be tough to keep up. Guys shift to different groups, groups disband and new ones are formed, and so on. I took a little time off and when I came back, about half the stables were different, haha. Usually I can pick it back up on the fly pretty easily, but there's definitely a lot going on. Like many Japanese promotions, they run a TON of shows so it can be tough to know what's important what's not. Again, you can piece it out with a little effort, but you definitely have to pay attention.

  5. #5
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    The Real Hero Archive has most of their shows (even the tiny show I went to back in July) so that's how I've been trying to watch a bit more of them. Some shows are uploaded quickly (like last week's Gate of Destiny show is already there) but seems like most of them take a week or two - sometimes more - to get up there. In an effort to keep up I've been reading more review sites instead and if something catches my eye I'll try to seek out the video. Like yesterday, Dragon Gate held a show at Korakuen Hall, and a few interesting things seemed to happen there.

    The current Open the Brave Gate champ, Kagetora, challenged K-ness for a title match that's going to be happening in a few weeks. I'm guessing Kagetora retains.

    Jason Lee was invited to join MaxiMuM after Yoshino and Doi invited him, and he accepted. Things are looking up for that kid - the very little I've seen of him, he does seem to have a lot of upside to him so I hope that he continues to develop.

    Also in the show, Ricochet had his final match in Dragon Gate after working a few shows for them this week. He teamed up with CIMA and got the win over Yamato and Kzy and had his graduation ceremony afterwards, where a lot of the wrestlers had some awesome stories to share.

    Out of all that, though, the biggest news out of that show is Eita betrayed Over Generation and re-joined VerzerK. He turned on Dragon Kid and proceeded to take his mask in the process. That's going to be pretty interesting. From what I've read, VerzerK seemed to be getting a little stale so this will definitely freshen things up for them.

  6. #6
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    So in the other thread Dragon Gate got compared with Lucha, and I come in here and see the hair vs mask match and that really chimes with the lucha thing in my head. But I've never fully got lucha, and it's probably an understatement to say 'fully' if I am honest. So my question is whether or not there's a lot in the promotion for people who aren't into that style, or if it's very much an alternative based on lucha libre before all else?

  7. #7
    The Brain
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    I love Dragon Gate graduation ceremonies. The one for Uhaa Nation had me legit tearing up, that dude was BELOVED by the roster.

    I like the idea of Eita turning heel again, I liked him best as a cocky jerk back in the Millenials stable and Verserk should be a great fit for him. A feud with Dragon Kid should be really good too.

    To answer Pete's question, Dragon Gate style is known as "lucha-resu", as it's a hybrid of lucha libre and puroresu. It definitely has a lucha influence, more so than any other promotion in Japan, but you still have a lot of classic puro elements as well. From what I know of your tastes Pete, I think it would probably not be a perfect fit for you but you would still enjoy certain matches/performers if you gave it a solid look.

  8. #8
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    I haven't followed much of traditional Lucha Libre so I can't comment much on how much that style is pervasive in Dragon Gate, but it definitely is visible. Dragon Gate matches seem to be a mix of fast-paced action alongside some hard-hitting action that's more the Japanese style, so there's a little of both there. It definitely is a different vibe than all other Japanese wrestling promotions I've seen so far, and I dig it a lot.

    I do think it's a bit difficult to follow at times just based on their structure. Like mizfan mentioned in an earlier comment, most everything revolves around the different stables in the company, moreso than the individual performers. It took me a while to figure out the different stables that exist, the members of each stable, which stable is feuding with which stable(s), etc. For me, that was one of the bigger humps I had to get over, and I still struggle with it a bit. It's not a massive thing, but it was certainly a different thing compared to just about any other wrestling promotion I've seen. New Japan also has plenty of stables but the focus is on the individuals for the most part.

    I highly recommend watching a few of their matches like mizfan linked to above. I've said elsewhere that the Dragon Gate roster does not get the credit it deserves compared to New Japan's stars. There are some really, really good wrestlers there.

  9. #9
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    Sorry for the double-post, but I want to keep this thread alive! In keeping up with Dragon Gate, here are some current stories going on in the company after Sunday's show:

    After an opening tag match between MaxiMuM and Over Generation, Stalker Ichikawa came out and demanded a match. CIMA said the only way he would accept a match is if Ichikawa's Open the Owarai Gate Championship was on the line. Ichikawa eventually accepted, which led to CIMA beating him pretty quickly to become the new Open the Owarai Gate champion. He's now a double champ, along with his Open the Twin Gate championship.

    I looked back at the history of the Owarai Gate championship, and I noticed that just last year CIMA beat Ichikawa for the title but refused it. I know it's a joke title and all that, but I'm curious why CIMA didn't want it before and now he's fine with it. Does anyone know why?

    Kagetora defended his Open the Brave Gate championship against former Jimmyz stablemate K-ness, but after the match the mysterious Metal Warrior made an appearance and hit Kagetora with another former Jimmyz stablemate Susumu Yokosuka's finisher. Backstage, Kagetora confronted Susumu, who denied doing anything. So it sounds like it's going to lead to a title match between them down the road. Poor Kagetora, all of his stablemates are gunning for him it seems.

  10. #10
    The Brain
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    Gonna throw that CIMA question at Jeff on twitter and see what he comes up with!

    Really digging the storyline updates idea. I forget to catch up and then have to drop in and figure out what's going on every few months. I'm also a little surprised there's so much focus on Kagetora, I like the guy but I didn't see him as a top guy. I guess the Brave title is more like IC level but still.

  11. #11
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    I'm just posting the storyline updates here so that I can use that to keep myself up to date as much as possible. If it helps other join in like you, I'm all for that, obviously. Thanks for relaying the question about CIMA, hopefully he'll be able to chime in so I can fill in some blanks from the past.

    It's kinda cool that the Brave Gate title has had a lot of focus on it, as well as the Jimmyz breakup continuing to factor into some storylines. I really dug them as a group when I first saw them last year and was bummed that they broke up since I didn't catch the bulk of their run, so I was hoping that it would lead to some good things for the company in general.

    It's kind of weird that the Dream Gate title, being the main belt, hasn't had much of a focus lately. I've only seen Mochizuki in a lot of tag matches since his title defense at the Gate of Destiny show with seemingly no feuds forming there. It's only been a couple of weeks though so maybe I'm a little impatient.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, Dragon Gate has a tendency to rotate their focus to some extent, which I don't mind as it keeps the divisions a bit fresher. I still don't expect Mochizuki to have a really long reign so I wouldn't be surprised if he drops it soon, though I'm not sure who is the most likely contender to knock him off the perch. My gut says one of the bigger heels has the best shot, but who? Probably not Shingo again so soon, though he's always a possibility. Could be a young talent if guys keep breaking up. Could be a very cool generational thing. Almost wonder if it's time to pull the trigger on Eita, or is it too soon?

  13. #13
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    What do you think about T-Hawk getting the Dream Gate title? He had an unsuccessful Dream Gate title shot against Yamato a few months ago, which could play to the story if he were to feud with Mochizuki. And he's been racking up wins for VerzerK for a while now so they must be building him up for something. The few times I've seen him, I've really liked his work (although his aforementioned title shot felt a little flat but was still pretty solid).

    Eita is a good choice given his recent turn. Besides those two, not sure who else could get it that hasn't been done already like Shingo.

  14. #14
    The Brain
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    I feel like T-Hawk is a better fit than Kagetora, at the very least, and I wouldn't be unhappy if he did snag the belt in the near future. I don't think he's on Eita's level so the top title may be beyond him for now, but he could get there in time.

  15. #15
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    Some storyline updates after today's Dragon Gate show in Sendai:

    CIMA vacated the Open the Owarai Gate championship, as is seemingly common. Stalker Ichikawa was scheduled to have a match against Ryo Saito, so he demanded that the match was for the Owarai title. It eventually happened, and Saito beat Ichikawa to become the new Open the Owarai Gate champion. Nothing noteworthy, just the same ol', same ol' for this title.

    Metal Warrior came out again and attacked Kategora for I think the third time, hitting one of Yokosuka Susumu's moves yet again, so they're continuing to build that story up.

    Not much else happened at the show. The main event was Tribe Vanguard versus VerzerK for the Open the Triangle Gate championship, which ended with Tribe Vanguard successfully defending the titles. Not much else seemed to have happened, so it's just another slow march towards their next big event.

  16. #16
    The Brain
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    Speaking of Stalker Ichikawa, this is absolutely hilarious:

    The Trouble With Headscissors

    Wonder if Susumu will actually turn heel? It's been a long damn time since he worked that side of the aisle. Would definitely be interesting.

    Yeah, DG stories don't usually race ahead, I'd say they usually have a few developments per month but there's not a race to cram angles onto every show or anything. I'm really digging these updates though!

  17. #17
    Me Gusta Cola Jeff's Avatar
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    Man I am super-interested to see who is under the Metal Warrior mask. I'm 100% convinced it isn't Susumu but no idea who it could be. SaiRyo? CIMA? A returning-from-injury Yamamoto? I've heard a lot of rumblings and I'm not sold on any of them but damn am I intrigued. I just wish it wasn't putting a rift between my fave DG tag team of all time in KageSuka :c

  18. #18
    The Brain
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    !! A wild Jeff appeared!

    And he still didn't answer the question about the CIMA/Owarai situation, but I grilled him on TGR and he said CIMA is a weird guy who just does what he wants, which actually tracks pretty well with everything I've seen from the guy.

    Any expectation on when the Metal Warrior reveal will be? Not sure when their next big show is.

  19. #19
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    Their next big event seems to be The Final Gate on December 23rd. So there's still a few weeks left to play the story out.

  20. #20
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    Some additional story updates after last night's show:

    Dragon Kid apparently is injured (not sure if kayfabe or not) so CK-1 were forced to forfeit the Open the Twin Gate Championship, ending their 1+ year reign as champs. T-Hawk and Eita tried to weasel their way into being awarded the titles, but Susumu Yokosuka came out and offered to help CIMA regain the titles with him. That set up a match between CIMA / Susumu vs. T-Hawk / Eita for the Open the Twin Gate Championship at Final Gate.

    Also last night, the identity of Metal Warrior was revealed: former Jimmyz stablemate Yasushi Kanda. After another attack on him, Kagetora immediately challenged him and will be facing Kanda for the Open the Brave Gate Championship at Final Gate.

    Those are the two first matches announced for that card. Both sound pretty good, so I'm looking forward to catching the show.

  21. #21
    The Brain
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    Man, I was really hoping for a big Eita/Dragon Kid match after Eita joined VerserK by attacking him. That was a great moment with him even ripping DK's mask off. Maybe down the line they'll get their match, or settle things as part of a Dragon Gate Clusterfuck TM.

    I can definitely get behind Susumu and CIMA teaming up though. Jeff and I were just talking about how MaximuM was practically empty except for CIMA, and Susumu is a great piece of backup for him. I'm digging the T Hawk/Eita combo too, a nice Millenials throwback.

    Kanda as Metal Warrior is a little disappointing to be honest, considering he was already in VerserK so it's not a stretch he would be coming after the babyfaces. Makes me wonder a bit why he even bothered with the mask, but I guess it was to try to sow dissent between the babyfaces. Kagetora/Kanda doesn't completely thrill me but I think it'll be solid.

    Yeah, Final Gate is looking good. I do wonder who gets the world title challenge spot though, my pick was Eita but now he's busy. Don't really want it to be Shingo again but I'm not sure who else is in line.

  22. #22
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    The show with the big Doi Darts ten-man tag match happened today. Nothing too much of note outside of Shingo battering stablemate Punch Tominaga during their match against Ryo Saito and Stalker Ichikawa. Really interested in seeing what Saito does in 2018, they seem to be building him up pretty hard, and for more than just his upcoming Dream Gate shot. Might be on the verge of becoming a big player in DG again, which will be interesting to see. Kinda predicting him to be the head of a new face stable in the near future.

  23. #23
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    Poor Punch! He's my guy. I'd say he deserves better, but getting battered is something he does well.

    So is Ryo Saito... good? Because despite watching a fair handful of his matches, to me he's still just the guy that I confuse with Susumu.

  24. #24
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    I think Saito is really good. He's kinda mostly known for his comedy chops. He's a very entertaining guy which is why he occasionally finds himself doing work with Stalker Ichikawa. But as a pure wrestler, I think he's very solid, definitely worthy of the Dream Gate shot he got. Kind of an all-arounder with some good suplexes and stuff. Places a great babyface in the ring.

    In some interesting news for 2018, VerserK is gonna undergo a major change. Already the unit has booted Punch Tominaga (dude can't stay in a stable can he?), and they've announced a bit of a reshuffle. In 2018, the group's major focus will be Eita, T-Hawk, and El Lindaman, with the veteran trio (Shingo, Yoshida, and Kanda) moving into a support role. Due to this, they'll be announcing a new name and identity sometime in early 2018. First time I can personally remember a unit rebranding themselves while having all the same members present/not becoming a straight-up new stable. Should be interesting!

  25. #25
    I remember when Dragon Gate used to be my favorite thing in wrestling. Weird to me that Shingo, Yamato and to a lesser extent BxB Hulk never branched out to bigger companies. They are as talented as a lot of the main NJPW guys imo. I guess they have been focuses on building Dragon Gate and it seems to be working for them. Still think they would have been big stars had they worked other companies more often.

  26. #26
    The Brain
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    Well they are the biggest stars of the 2nd biggest company in Japan, which isn't a bad place to be. I'm not sure they would have been a good fit for New Japan, and there wasn't a consistent spot for them abroad outside mid level indy stuff.

    I am majorly sad about Punch Tominaga getting bumped from VerserK!!

  27. #27
    Me Gusta Cola Jeff's Avatar
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    DG starting up again tonight/tomorrow. New to the company are the gaijin tag team of Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz, the indie tag team Scarlet & Graves. Also sometime during this tour we should see the reveal of the new name for the VerserK stable under the leadership of T-Hawk, Eita, and El Lindaman. Really excited about that last thing, I love the latter two and am interested to see how they manage as the head of the main heel group.

  28. #28
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    One of these days I'll make my way to Kyoto to watch a show at KBS Hall. That place with the stained glass windows always looks impressive.

    I'm also a fan of T-Hawk and Eita. Haven't seen Eita as a heel so I'm looking forward to seeing that side of him. El Lindaman, I just want people to punch the dude right in the face so I guess he's accomplished his job as a heel.

    I was wondering who the foreigners for this trip were, as I saw the announcement but never heard of their names. Hopefully they do pretty well.

    One thing I'm wondering is what they'll continue to do with the former Jimmyz members. Will they individually join other stables or continue to be on their own for the time being? Kagetora is doing alright for himself with the Brave Gate title. Susumu got a couple of breaks on his own but not sure where he goes from there just like the rest.

  29. #29
    Me Gusta Cola Jeff's Avatar
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    Yeah the KBS Hall looks SPECTACULAR. Definitely wanna check it out myself one day. Between that, Kobe World Hall, and Korakuen Hall, wanna one day see shows at all three.

    The new VerserK identity has been announced! The group is now known as ANTIAS.

  30. #30
    The Brain
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    Dezmond and Wentz will be interesting for DG. They are pretty prototypical US indy but that meshes ok with DG style so I think they'll do alright.

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