Thursday, the 5th of July saw Dragon Gate come to the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo for the final day of the ‘Rainbow Gate’ tour, the show features an Open the Triangle Gate title defence and a Loser’s Disband match between Antias and Over Generation.
Minoura Kota, Natural Vibes (Tominaga & YASSHI) vs MaxiMuM (Yoshino, Ben K & Lee)
This match is billed as Kota’s debut and he’s backed up with supporting players from Natural Vibes. He faces off against Open the Dream Gate Champion, Masato Yoshino as they show off their technical ability, the debutant holds his own for the time being. The technical side of things takes a back seat for Jason Lee and YASSHI as they go at a high octane pace. The story of Ben K v Punch Tominaga is about Ben K and his power and how Punch can overcome it or if he can. Once Kota returns, he is isolated by MaxiMuM but momentum for his side is regained by Tominaga and YASSHI. Kota does a nice Belly to Belly Suplex on Ben K which is followed by a two count.
After that he gets triple teamed by MaxiMuM, which is followed by Kota getting nearfalls until Ben K takes him down with a Spear, solid win for MaxiMuM.
KAGETORA & Yuki Yoshioka vs Hiroshi Yamato & Hyo Watanabe
Watanabe and Yoshioka are two young members of the DG roster that have been crying out for something to do, in front of the Korakuen Hall crowd they were given a spotlight to show what they could do.
In a decent match, that went back and forth as Yoshioka and Watanabe were occasionally isolated from their respective partners, despite suffering the brunt of the offence, they looked well. Hiroshi Yamato got the win over Yuki Yoshioka with a Fisherman’s Suplex with a bridge that held for the pinfall. KAGETORA looked well and showed what he can offer.
Tribe Vanguard (Yosuke Santa Maria & U-T) vs Shun Skywalker & Masaaki Mochizuki
Skywalker and Mochizuki teaming again as they look to the Junior Tag Battle of Glory in August for All Japan. Probably the weakest match on the card really. Strong kicks and strikes from the veteran, Mochizuki. High flying ability from Skywalker, his endless ability to amazement. The usual antics from Maria mixed with her usual fightbacks and the development of U-T.
The match did look like it could go either way from my perspective, as it just wasn’t one team dominating but in the end when Skywalker hit the Ashla on U-T and went up top and landed a Moonsault, there was only one outcome and that was victory for him and Mochizuki.
Post-match: Yoshioka and Watanabe were ringside, in the corner of Skywalker and Mochizuki, they asked Mochizuki to form and unit with them and Skywalker. Mochizuki said he was intrigued but wanted to face them 3 on 1 before he makes his decision.
MaxiMuM (Naruki Doi & Big R Shimizu) & Bandido vs Tribe Vanguard (YAMATO & BxB Hulk) & Flamita
Billed as a Special International 6-Man Tag and it delivered on the special front, if you’ve seen the gifs on Twitter of any interaction between Flamita and Bandido, you may have seen glimpses of why. It benefited from having some story to it and not just about the lucha prowess of the Mexican duo but BxB Hulk and YAMATO will be challenging Big Ben (Ben K & Big R Shimizu) for the Open the Twin Gate titles at Kobe World. Big R and Doi have been at each other, albeit jokingly, lately about losing and such and I felt this was there in the background as if either one of them lost the pinfall, this issue would raise its head.
Any face-off between Flamita and Bandido was amazing, YAMATO and BxB worked well together but it came down to Doi and BxB, after a mistake from Big R Shimizu, BxB got his sidekick to the head called First Flash on Doi and pinned Doi for the win.
Post-match: Shimizu and Doi were at it again on the microphone but was eventually mediated by Ben K. This time there was a definite edge to it though and I can see this coming to a singles match.
Open The Triangle Gate Championship Match:
Ryo Saito, Don Fuji & K-Ness vs Natural Vibes (Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka & Genki Horiguchi)
While still looking like he might be under the Young Lion gimmick, Ryo Saito was less comedic than usual and played an absolute blinder for his team today against the Champion trio of Natural Vibes. The veteran side held control for much of the match as Natural Vibes looked to get a successful first defence but early on, it wasn’t going their way as Fuji, K-Ness and Saito kept control.
The performance of Saito really did stand out, even getting a trio of Fisherman Suplexes in, a couple of Dragon Suplexes and in general, being there for his team mates. The last few minutes saw an upturn for Natural Vibes as Kzy and Saito were left alone, Kzy set up the Skayde Schoolboy and got the win.
Losers Disband Match: Antias vs Over Generation
This was contested under elimination rules, pinfall, submission and over the top rope, wrestlers could still leave the ring by going under. Wrestlers came out at timed intervals.
Order of entry; Eita (A), Dragon Kid (OG), Takashi Yoshida (A), Kaito Ishida (OG), Yasushi Kanda (A), Mondai Ryu (OG), Shingo Takagi (A) and finally Gamma (OG).
Antias always held the numerical advantage until all eight men had entered but the level playing field did little to alleviate the dominance of Antias despite spells of Over Generation turning the tables, it just didn’t look like it was going to be enough until Over Generation got Kanda eliminated after Ishida rolled him up for a three count. The Over Generation fight back looked on until Yoshida faced off against Mondai Ryu, getting a nearfall before picking up Ryu for a Powerbomb and eliminated him with a successful pinfall attempt.
Gamma and Takagi then became the focal point in the centre of the ring, Yoshida joined in, Eita soon followed. Eita delivered a Murder Kick to Gamma and got the pinfall. Murder Kick, nice name for a Superkick isn’t it? Ishida then eliminates Yoshida by over the rope after kicking him off the apron, despite Yoshida trying to hold on, the match was level again at 2 vs 2. Takagi breaks an Ishida pinfall on Eita, Ishida suffers two big Lariats from Shingo Takagi who then picks him up for a Powerbomb which he held for the pin that got the three count.
It was now Antias, Eita & Shingo Takagi vs Dragon Kid. It wasn’t looking good for Kid until Shingo Takagi inadvertently Lariats Eita, taking him out of the equation for the time being. Shingo goes for another Powerbomb attempt but Kid reverses with a Hurricarana and eliminates Shingo after pinning him. It was now, Eita vs Kid, who’ll face each other on the 22nd for the Open the Brave Gate title.
Eita lands a Murder Kick but Kid kicks out at two, Dragon Kid with a Crucifix Pin, Eita kicks out. Dragon Kid goes to springboard into the ring, as he springboards in, Eita catches him with another Murder Kick, Kid is up and groggy and Eita delivers another and goes for a cover, 1, 2, 3. Antias win, Over Generation must disband.
Masato Tanaka appeared wearing an Antias shirt, he’ll join Kanda & Yoshida as they challenge Natural Vibes to the Open the Triangle Gate Championship at Kobe World on July 22nd.
Other matches are;
Open the Twin Gate, Big Ben (Ben K & Big R Shimizu) defend against YAMATO & BxB Hulk. Open the Brave Gate, Dragon Kid defends against Eita and Open the Dream Gate, Masato Yoshino defends against Shingo Takagi.
One of my favourites of the year overall, certainly worth a watch.