First off, yesterdays Dragon Gate The Final Gate 2018 had 2 title changes, R.E.D trio of Takashi Yoshida, Yasushi Kanda & KAZMA Sakamoto ended the Open the Triangle Gate reign of Natural Vibes, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka & Genki Horiguchi. Big Ben, Big R Shimizu & Ben-K, also R.E.D, are the new Open the Twin Gate Champions, following the belts being vacated by YAMATO & BxB Hulk, following an injury to Hulk. YAMATO teamed with Kagetora, who eliminated Speed Muscle, Doi & Yoshino by pinning Yoshino and MexaBloods, Bandido & Flamita, by pinning Bandido, Big R Shimizu would get the win for Big Ben by pinning Kagetora, it was MOTN for many. Dragon Kid and Eita settled their feud with a Hair vs Mask match, Dragon Kid won, Eita had his head shaved but destroyed the Brave Gate belt afterwards.
I tried not to have too much of a bias with my known favourites, categories are generally Overall, Heavyweight, Heavyweight Tag, Junior and Junior Tag and Promotion related. There’ll be a Joshi Puroresu edition when I get caught up on my Joshi.
Wrestler of the Year: Masashi Takeda
A man who won the BJW Death Match Championship and would go on to hold it for 449 Days, is still the reigning King Of Freedoms World Champion, wrestled in All Japan’s Junior Tag Battle of Glory, showcasing his skills outside of the Death Match scene. Had numerous bangers this year that got the wider puroresu fanbase talking about Big Japan with his match against Isami Kodaka.
Singles Match of the Year: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Takashi Sugiura (C)
This GHC Heavyweight Championship bout captivated me, other matches that I considered were Miyahara vs Marufuji I, Zeus vs Miyahara 1.
Tag Team of the Year: Violence Giants
Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa, does this need any justification? Other teams worthy of consideration, Koji Doi & Shuji Kondo, Big Ben, The Aggression, SANADA & EVIL.
Tag Team Match of the Year: Big Ben (C) vs YAMATO/BxB Hulk
This Open the Twin Gate match stole the show at the big Dragon Gate show in Kobe, YAMATO and BxB Hulk defeated the team of Big R Shimizu and Ben-K in an absolute amazing tag team match. Other matches I had considered were Doi & Kondo vs El Lindaman & T-Hawk and The Bomber, Doering & James vs Violence Giants.
Best Unit/Faction/Stable: DAMNATION
Daisuke Sasaki, Tetsuya Endo, Soma Takao, Mad Paulie, Shuji Ishikawa & Nobuhiro Shimatani. K-OD Openweight Championship, Sasaki currently holds, have held the trios and tag title as well as the Iron Man Heavymetalweight.
Trios Team of the Year: Natural Vibes (Kzy, Susumu & Genki)
The former Open the Triangle Gate Champions, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka & Genki Horiguchi put on excellent matches throughout their reign as well as various other Natural Vibes constellations, an effective and cohesive unit.
Trios Match of the Year: 4 Way 6 Man Elimination Dragon Gate
PAC, Big R Shimizu & Ben-K vs Kzy, Susumu & Genki vs Doi, Yoshino & Lee vs BxB Hulk, YAMATO & Flamita.
Rookie of the Year: Kaito Ishida
Was impressive in the units disband match between Antias and Over Generation but his full potential is showing now that he has joined MaxiMuM, an impressive striker, a likely candidate to win Dragon Gate’s rookie tournament in 2019. Other candidates for this were Utami Hayashishita and Takuya Nomura.
Rookie Tag Team of the Year: The Astronauts, Takuya Nomura & Fuminori Abe
Young tag team that just do everything right, put on great matches during Saikyou Tag League in Strong Block, their match against Okami was great.
Gaijin of the Year: Zack Sabre Jnr
Won New Japan Cup, had a good match against Okada for IWGP, decent G1, made Taichi interesting.
Junior Heavyweight Section
Jnr Heavy WOTY: Daisuke Harada
Reigning GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, just after reclaiming the belt from Kotaro Suzuki in Yokohama, one of the best in ring, definitely in my Top 10 overall.
Jnr Singles Match of the Year: Daisuke Harada vs Kotaro Suzuki I
I still favour their first encounter from the Korakuen in October, but the second from Yokohama is also great.
Jnr Tag Team of the Year: RATEL’S (HAYATA & YO-HEY)
2x Global Junior Tag League winners, including this years edition.
Flippy Boi Special Award: Bandido
I hope ROH don’t botch him.
Promotion of the Year: All Japan Pro Wrestling
Title Reign of the Year: Takashi Sugiura – GHC Heavyweight Championship
Tag Title Reign of the Year: Violence Giants – AJPW World Tag Team Champions
Trios Title Reign of the Year: Natural Vibes – Open the Triangle Gate Champions
Fighting Spirit: Naomichi Marufuji
Surprise Moment: PAC comes back to Dragon Gate
Announcement: Marufuji announces KENTA for Flight
Shocking Moment: Kaito Kiyomiya defeats Takashi Sugiura for the GHC
Have a Happy *insert chosen winter/holiday related preference* & a good New Year,