wrestling / TV Reports

411’s Dragon Gate Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival Review 7.23.2014

July 23, 2014 | Posted by TJ Hawke

Warning: I’ve become quite ignorant to DG story lines, and I have very little idea what is going on in the company. Please feel free to start a conversation in the comments so that this review can have more detailed info about what is going on.

Go to I Heart Dragon Gate: The absolute best coverage of Dragon Gate news and information.

July 20, 2014
Kobe, Japan

Jushin Thunder Liger, Stalker Ichikawa & Uhaa Nation vs. We Are Team Veteran (Don Fujii, Gamma & Masaaki Mochizuki)
This is a delightfully random match, but I would have liked to see Uhaa in a better showcase match. Liger, Uhaa, and Stalker need to battle Kota Ibushi, Akebono, and Kazushi Sakuraba one day.

Stalker convinced his teammates to allow him to start the match. Mocchy immediately hit a Sick Kick: 1…2…3!

Team Veteran immediately went to the back to celebrate. Liger and Stalker convinced them to come back for another match.

Jushin Thunder Liger, Stalker Ichikawa & Uhaa Nation vs. We Are Team Veteran (Don Fujii, Gamma & Masaaki Mochizuki)
Once again, Stalker convincedhis teammates that he should start the match.

This time he avoided the Sick Kick and actually got a schoolboy for a nearfall. Stalker managed to snap off a headscissors takedown and tagged out to Uhaa. Stalked tagged back in and got cut off. He was worked over for a bit. He eventually tagged out to Liger who made a big comeback. The teams went back and forth. Mocchy ate the Fucking Machine Suplex and a Liger Bomb. Uhaa had Fuji pinned with the Uhaa Combination, but Mocchy made the save. Stalker went to German Fuji on a chair, but he slipped and hit his head on the chair: 1…2…3

This was amusing. I’ve seen funnier matches but there were enough moments that made me chuckle to give this a slight thumbs up.
Match Rating: **1/2

Jimmyz (Jimmy Kagetora & Jimmy Kanda) vs. MAD BLANKEY (Mondai Ryu & Punch Tominaga)
Well, this looks awful. Mondai Ryu? More like Mondai Poo.

Tominaga keeps his hands in his pockets the majority of the time. Kanda kind of got worked over. Kagetora made a comeback, but Ryu gave him a lariat. Tominaga and Ryu eventually got disqualified after attacking the ref and using chairs as weapons repeatedly.

This was a disaster. No one gave a fuck in the ring or in the crowd.
Match Rating: DUD

Flamita© vs. Dragon Kid [Open the Brave Gate Championship]
I’ve yet to see a Flamita match yet, but I’ve heard great things about him.

Flamita hit an early tope con hello, but Kid cut him off right after that. Sloppy nonsense. Kid was in control for a bit until Flamita connected on a handspring back elbow. Flamita was then in control. Kid came back and hit a slingshot hurricanrana to the floor. They went back and forth in the ring after that. Flamita hit a sloppy gutbuster maneuver from the suplex position. This match has grinded to a screeching halt. They did a really labored setup for a super ‘rana from Dragon. At least the ‘rana looked pretty. Dragon called for the Dragonrana, but Flamita avoided it. Flamita hit a DVD slam and then a 450: 1…2…NO! Kid came back with a 619 and a Dragonrana: 1…2…NO!!! Woah. Flamita came back and hit butterfly backbreaker for a nearfall. He went for a short arm Spanish Fly, but Dragon reversed it into Bible: 1…2…NO! Dragon then went for the Dragonrana, but Flamita reversed it into a buckle bomb. Flamita then hit the short arm Spanish Fly: 1…2…3. I believe that move may be called the Fly Flame. Or is it the Flame Fly? I’ve seen it both ways/

Well, this match started off fine but it really fell apart down the stretch. I was hoping for a lighthearted, high-flying match. I got that but there was zero structure and emotion in the most important parts of the match. This was a real disappointment.
Match Rating: **1/4

MAD BLANKEY (Cyber Kong, Kzy & Naruki Doi)© vs. Jimmyz (Genki Horiguchi HAGeeMee, Jimmy Susumu & Mr. Kyu Kyu Naoki Tanizaki Toyonaka Dolphin) [Open the Triangle Gate Championship]
While the trios matches Dragon Gate talent put on in America are known to be classics, I think I’ve yet to see a great trios match in proper Dragon Gate. That’s obviously a result of my lack of DG watching and not a reflection of the wrestlers.

Kzy is bald?????? What the fuck!?!?!? Mad Blankey attacked the Jimmyz as soon as the introductions were done. They started brawling in the crowd. They got back to the ring in record time and started going back and forth. It was not that interesting. The Jimmyz did the tired as fuck elastic band spot on Kzy. Mad Blankey came back and cut off Genki. He got worked over for a while. Genki finally managed to tag out after snapping off a hurricanrana on Doi. The Jimmyz made a comeback. Dolphin and Genki hit stereo dives. Susumu came right after with a tope con hello. They went back and forth in the ring after that for a while. My gawd, this went on for a very long time. Kzy ate the Jumbo No Kachi from Susumu and Implant from Dolphin, but Kong made the save. Doi and Susumu did a nasty pinning combination sequence. Jumbo No Kachi got a nearfall. There were some shenanigans. Susumu took a powder shot, a lariat, a briefcase (or whatever) attack, Doi Fives, and Bakutari Sliding Kick: 1…2…3

Susumu and Doi did one sequence towards the end that the crowd was into, but other than that, this match was so cold. The back and forth sequence went on for such an obnoxiously long time. You cannot even justify it by saying the crowd was hot for it. They did not care. I did not care. Thumbs down. The Jimmyz were stale a long time ago. They are now moldy.
Match Rating: **

Cima & Matt Sydal vs. Monster Express (Ricochet & Masato Yoshino)
This is Matt Sydal’s first match since being fired by the WWE. Ricochet actually came out with the Open the Freedom Gate Championship belt, which is funny since DGUSA is likely done as a company.

Cima and Yoshino did a sequence. Sydal and Ricochet then did a sequence. Sydal seemed a tad rusty. Cima was worked over for a while. Sydal broke up a pinfall, and then Yoshino was worked over for a while. Yoshino eventually caught Sydal with a running dropkick. Ricochet made a big comeback. He hit the Sasuke Special. Sydal took out Ricochet with an Asbury Flop. Ricochet got a nearfall on Cima with a Go-2-Sleepy Hollow. The teams started going back and forth. Ricochet and Sydal hit SSPs at the same time (on each of their opponents). Sydal said he did it better. Ricochet went for the Generico suplex-powerbomb thing but Sydal reversed it into a hurricanrana pin. Sydal went for a super ‘rana, but he missed and split legged moonsault himself. Never seen that before. Ricochet hit Cima with a 630, but Sydal made the save. Yoshino took out Sydal with an Arihara moonsault. Cima avoided the Benadryller and hit a superkick, but Ricochet hit the Superman Punch. Sol Naciente by Yoshino. Ricochet then gave Cima a superkick for good measure. Cima showed fighting spirit. Ricochet then gave him a SSP while he was still in Sol Naciente. Cima finally submitted!

I heard Sydal did not look good in his return match at all, but I think those reports are greatly exaggerated. He blew one spot in an early sequence, but I didn’t notice any rust in the ring after (he possibly was gassed on the apron at times, but he could have just been selling for all I know).

Anyway, this was a fun match. Unlike almost every major Dragon Gate tag match that I’ve seen, they did not go overboard. I greatly appreciated that. I look forward to checking out many more Sydal matches in DG.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Monster Express© (Akira Tozawa & Shingo Takagi) vs. Millennials (Eita & T-Hawk) [Open the Twin Gate Championships]
Tozawa and Takagi being a team sounds like the best thing ever.

Eita got worked over early on. The Millennials came back, and Eita hit Takagi with a tope con hello. Hawk and Takagi traded tombstone attempts on the entrance ramp. Hawk eventually won the exchange and nailed Takagi with the tombstone on said ramp. Tozawa then got worked over. Tozawa eventually tagged out to Takagi, and the crowd did not react at all. Takagi made a tepid tag. The crowd woke up when Tozawa started doing dives. He hit three tope suicidas in a row. Takagi hit a stereo dive on the last one. The teams started going back and forth in the ring. They hit a lot of movez. Takagi called for Stay Dream on Hawk, but Hawk avoided it. Tozawa then gave him SUPER-DUPERplex. Hawk got ran through for a bit. He ate a tombstone from Takagi for a nearfall. Pumping Bomber/German combo: 1…2…EITA MAKES THE SAVE! The match is picking up. Eita gave Tozawa the Vertabreaker, and Takagi had to make the save. Tozawa ate a Lungblower Device. Takagi barely made the save. Eita and Takagi did an amazing sequence. Give me a singles between these two. Eita had him trapped in an arm submission, and Tozawa barely made the save. Eita teased another lungblower Device spot, but he instead gave Tozawa a moonsault to the floor. How do I always fall for that? Takagi planted Hawk with Made in Japan, but Hawk kicked out at one. PUMPING BOMBER: 1…2…NO! Takagi and Hawk went back and forth. Hawk gave him a Night Ride END: 1…2…NO! Another Night Ride END: 1…2…3!

Dragon Gate tag matches are often not my cup of tea. The matches usually feel like they go ten minutes too long more often than not. Oddly, that was not entirely the case here. The final ten minutes (or so) were my favorite section of the match. However, the match just was not that interesting up until the Stay Dream tease. While the closing stretch made up for a lot of the boring parts, it was not enough to completely redeem this. The lack of clearly defined roles for each team seemingly was the cause the early boredom.
Match Rating: ***

YAMATO© vs. BxB Hulk [Open the Dream Gate Championship]
BxB Hulk’s rudo work the last few years was completely inspired. His babyface act grew so stale, and it became clear to me and many others that he was born to be a heel. Thus, I’m quite disappointed to finally be checking in again with Dragon Gate only to see him once again a face. I hope that his work has improved because his singles main events as a face are often a clusterfuck due to his unwillingness to sell at all. We shall see.

YAMATO was looking like a total star. Not much of real note happened early on. Hulk got in a couple of solid kicks though. Hulk was going after YAMATO’s left arm. YAMATO eventually caught Hulk with a dragon screw in the ropes. Oh gawd, Hulk’s selling of his right leg will be something to keep an eye on to say the least. YAMATO used a chair on the leg. YAMATO went after the right leg a lot. I swear to fucking god if Hulk still does all of his flippy offense after all this work on the knee, I will complain several times on Twitter about it. Hulk finally came back after a missile dropkick. He used several kicks. Hulk hit a tope con hello on YAMATO and the rest of Mad Blankey. He then hobbled for a few seconds. This is apparently selling. Springboard spinning heel kick. El oh el, BxB Hulk. YAMATO caught him with an exploder into the corner. Hulk hit a number of kicks. Then he punched his knee. This is apparently selling. Hulk hit a rolling EVO and then an axe kick. Hulk avoided some trademark YAMATO offense before hitting another axe kick. YAMATO hit Gallaria for a nearfall. Hulk avoided a superplex but then ate another dragon screw on the leg he stopped bother to sell ten minutes ago. YAMATO hit a splash on the injured leg. Hulk hit a Mouse, but YAMATO came right back with a Frankensteiner of the Almighty. Hulk kicked out of two more Gallarias. Hulk hit a flipping Northern Lights and another axe kick. He hit a variation of Made in Japan that I had never seen before. Hulk hit a First Flash and then a number of other kicks. First Flash again: 1…2…NO! Hulk then hit a Phoenix Splash: 1…2…3

At a certain point, you have to just start blaming BxB Hulk’s opponents for still working over a leg when they have to know he will not sell it at all. I also have to blame myself for being the tiniest bit optimistic that Hulk would change. This match was a complete waste of my time, and it makes hesitant to watch future DG main events with Hulk as champion. The crowd was not even that hot for anything in this match, and I cannot blame. I would consider this match to be a failure.
Match Rating: 1/2*

The 411: Even if this was the biggest show of the year for Dragon Gate, this would have to be considered a massive disappointment. Given that it’s their Wrestlemania, it’s an even bigger disappointment. All you need to know about this show is that the crowd barely responded to any of it. It’s one thing for an American to not be a huge fan of their style or the story lines (the constant stable warfare is dull to me), but you’ve got serious problems if your fanbase isn’t responding to the biggest show of the year. The only match here remotely worth checking out is the Sydal return match.

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

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TJ Hawke