The first day of Rainbow Gate that was shown live on the Dragon Gate Network was held at KBS Hall, Kyoto. Dragon Gate are gearing up for the main Rainbow Gate show on the 05/07/2018 in the Korakuen Hall and their premiere event Kobe World on 22/07/2018, two matches are known so far for Korakuen, which will see Ryo Saito, Don Fuji & K-Ness challenge Open the Triangle Gate Champions, Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka & Genki Horiguchi and a 4 vs 4 losers disband match between ANTIAS (Shingo Takagi, Eita, Yasushi Kanda & Takashi Yoshida) vs Over Generation (Gamma, Dragon Kid, Mondai Ryu & Kaito Ishida). The two matches announced for Kobe World so far is Shingo Takagi will challenge newly crowned Open the Dream Gate Champion, Masato Yoshino and Eita vs Dragon Kid for Open the Brave Gate Championship.
Natural Vibes (Kzy, Punch Tominaga & Brother YASSHI) vs Jason Lee, Hyo Watanabe & Yuki Yoshioka
Whatever grouping I watch of Natural Vibes, I’m impressed with the growing chemistry they are developing despite Susumu Yokosuka still not being too good at the dancing. Natural Vibes really had control of this match for a long time, mainly over Hyo Watanabe. Kzy mainly looking the brightest in this trios contest and it ultimately came down to him and Hyo Watanabe who observed much of the punishment from Natural Vibes. Kzy getting the win after a Running Elbow Smash.
Yuki Yoshioka still looking good but DG really need something for him to get something to jumpstart his wrestling career.
Shun Skywalker vs Masaaki Mochizuki
The former Open the Dream Gate Champion needs a win here after losing his belt to Masato Yoshino at the climax of King of Gate, here he goes up with his tag partner for All Japan’s Junior Tag league that’s coming up in August.
Shun instantly took the fight to the veteran, as Mochizuki barely got his foot in the ring as Shun Skywalker pounced on him. I admire the fight in this kid and his athleticism is unreal. But it’s not long until Masaaki Mochizuki fights back and targets the back and legs of the high flying youngster. Shun Skywalker submits after Masaaki Mochizuki locks in an Ankle Lock from an Enziguri reversal.
Gamma vs Yasushi Kanda
ANTIAS (Shingo Takagi & Eita) vs Over Generation (Kaito Ishida & Dragon Kid)
I’m going to do this under the one as they primarily serve the same function, which is to set up the showdown at the Korakuen Hall.
Gamma vs Kanda was thrown out after interference from both groups which I believe led to the set-up of the tag team match, ANTIAS controlled much of the tag team encounter, grinding down Ishida and Dragon Kid but as the match progressed, all competitors were outside the ring as ANTIAS matches tend too. Shingo Takagi was fighting Ishida on the apron as Kanda helped Eita set up chairs to drive Dragon Kid unto, Dragon Kid reversed it into a back body drop and went to go back into the ring, he was prevented momentarily by Shingo Takagi as the referee was counting towards twenty, but Ishida gave Takagi a kick from the apron to allow Kid time to get back in the ring, at which point Eita was back to his feet. Eita got up to the apron at around 16, only to be knocked off by Dragon Kid, he came back at 19 only to suffer the same fate and was counted out to the delight of Over Generation who gain a small mental advantage over ANTIAS.
Ryo Saito & Don Fuji vs Genki Horiguchi & Susumu Yokosuka
Another prelude match, this time for the Open the Triangle Gate championship as K-Ness will join Ryo Saito & Don Fuji to challenge Kzy, Genki Horiguchi & Susumu Yokosuka. Ryo Saito holds a pinfall victory over Yokosuka which enabled him to make the challenge on behalf of his partners.
As with most matches involving Saito, this was a fairly comedic affair as the Young Lions gimmick is still over with the fans and causing amusement and bemusement from members of the Dragon Gate roster. Both teams got an equal amount of time to showcase themselves and gain momentum for the title clash and there was a couple of nice sequences in amidst the comedy, Saito delivered a Fisherman Suplex to Genki Horiguchi only to hold on and do a second, he went for a third but was countered into a suplex from Horiguchi.
Saito got the win after a Backslide pin on Horiguchi. Saito now holds two pins over 2/3 of the Open the Triangle Gate Champions.
Tribe Vanguard (YAMATO, BxB Hulk, KAGETORA & Yosuke Santa Maria) vs MaxiMuM (Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, Ben-K & Big R Shimizu)
Recent history between these two units favours MaxiMuM, as the Open the Twin Gate Champions, Ben-K & Big R Shimizu rebuffed the challenge of KAGETORA & Yosuke Santa Maria, YAMATO was defeated by Yoshino in the final of King of Gate which led to his title victory, claiming the Open the Dream Gate title for the 4th time. The positive side for Tribe Vanguard is during the King of Gate tour, any time BxB Hulk was involved in a multi man tag match against MaxiMuM, they won.
This match showcased everything that I love about Dragon Gate, comic relief from Yosuke Santa Maria, excellent teamwork, high octane offence and highly talented wrestlers.
I said earlier that I was impressed with Natural Vibes, but if any unit in my book was better as a team it would have to be MaxiMuM, they work so well cohesively. While teamwork was a highlight for both units, it was the performance of Ben-K which stood out to me, definitely one for the future, took out both YAMATO and BxB Hulk with a spear. But despite all this, YAMATO got a much needed pinfall victory over Big R Shimizu after a Frankensteiner from the Almighty.
A decent show overall although nothing mind-blowing happened.
After the eight man tag, Doi got on the microphone, I assume it was to berate Big R Shimizu over losing again which was a feature from the King of Gate tour.
Two possibilities spring to mind for me, YAMATO and BxB Hulk challenge for the Open the Twin Gate belts, or Doi and Lee challenge and perhaps have Big R Shimizu prove his worth so to speak with the belts on the line.
I’ll update this theory in the Puroresu Weekly Recap when I see some translations.
Recently there was a poll on The Indy Corner’s twitter about an AJPW digital fanzine, I’m going to go ahead with the project and hope to have it out around the end of June/beginning of July. I’m doing it on my own steam but I would love the ability to have Photoshop and Illustrator to boost the professionalism of it. If you feel like donating head over to https://ko-fi.com/lukehickeypuroreviews and donate by ‘buying me a ko-fi’ which is just a simple paypal payment.