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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Dragon Gate Dead or Alive 2014

September 10, 2014 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Dragon Gate Dead or Alive 2014  

I did not like Kobe this year, but I heard great things about DoA. If I don’t respond positively to this show, I’m probably done attempting to watch full DG shows. It’s just a matter of tastes. I understand why other people like DG so much, but I think I’m getting closer to realizing it’s not for me.

May 5, 2014
Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

MAD BLANKEY (Cyber Kong & Kzy) vs. Monster Express (Syachihoko BOY & Uhaa Nation)
I feel like Uhaa could be in a better spot on major shows this year. He had an undercard match at Kobe, too.

Syachihoko hit an Asai Moonsault early on. Uhaa and Kong squared off in the ring. Kong actually won that battle with a lariat. Kong then got a nearfall on Syachihoko with a diving elbow and then hit him with the Cyber Bomb: 1…2…3

Wow, the lack of crowd reaction to the finish was startling. Cyber Kong is really not over in the slightest. They actually managed to pack in a solid amount of action given the time they had, but this was nothing you need to see.
Match Rating: *

Gamma & Yosuke♡Santa Maria vs. Jimmyz (Genki Horiguchi HAGeeMee & Jimmy Kagetora)
I’m going to copy/paste (from my earlier 2014 review of Infinity) my concerns with the Maria character now: “I’m all for characters that are transgender, but this is just defining a character by their sexuality/gender identity. Weak sauce. Why does everything not constituted to be “normal” have to be so defined by its “weirdness”? This kind of comedy does not appeal to me at all. However, if someone would like to explain to me how Maria’s exotico portrayal does not make transgendered people into some strange “other,” I would love to read some alternate opinions on the matter.”

Gamma came out and was dressed in what I guess was meant to be homosexual attire. It made Genki really uncomfortable because gay fear. Gamma sprayed water in Maria’s mouth instead of on his opponent. I believe the commentators made vomit sounds. If that was true, that is a disgrace. Kagetora caught Maria with a small package to get the win.

Sadly, having transexual characters that are heroes feels somewhat progressive for wrestling. However, otherizing “non-normal” characters is beyond backwards and makes this a complete fail (since it was the entire substance of the match).
Match Rating: DUD

Stalker Ichikawa vs. Tatsumi Fujinami
This was a special bonus match! Stalker had Mocchy and Fuji in his corner.

I think Stalker has a good chance against the six-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Fujinami almost fell down early, which was a little sad. He did snap off a gnarly dragon screw legwhip and then applied the dragon sleeper. I think Mocchy or Fuji threw in the towel or Stalker tapped out. Regardless, Fujinami won.

Mocchy and Fuji got mark pics with Fujinami after the match.

I was perfectly fine with the existence of this match. It was short and inoffensive.
Match Rating: 1/2*

Flamita (c) vs. Jimmy Susumu [Open The Brave Gate Title Match]
This is the second Flamita match that I have seen. He had an underwhelming match with Dragon Kid a few months later at Kobe World, but I’ve heard great things about this match.

Flamita hit a very early tope con hello. Flamita was in control until he went for a handspring move and Susumu hit a lariat. Susumu was then in control for a while. Flamita came back after a springboard move and then hit an Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring, Flamita hit a spectacular springboard 450 from the second rope for a nearfall. Susumu avoided a moonsault and hit an exploder into the turnbuckle. He then got a nearfall with a super exploder. Flamita handspringed into a Mysterio ‘rana for a nearfall. Susumu came back with a diving DVD and then hit Jumbo no Kachi: 1…2…NO! Flamita came back with a Codebreaker out of the Muscle Buster position. Susumu then blocked a springboard move and hit Jumbo no Kachi-gatame: 1…2…NO! Flamita avoided Mugen and another lariat. Susumu went for Jumbo No Kachi, but Flamita reversed it into a standing Spanish Fly: 1…2…3! Hot dayum.

This match started out fine (and very similar to the start of the Dragon Kid match), but the closing stretch was just killer if you like fun and excitement. The last five minutes really carried the match.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Monster Express (Akira Tozawa & Shingo Takagi) (c) vs. We Are Team Veteran (Don Fujii & Masaaki Mochizuki) [Open The Twin Gate Title Match]
Well, this should be some hot fighting. I will be so grateful though if it does not overstay its welcome.

The match was all hot fighting at the start. The only negative was the awful pants that Mocchy was wearing. What on earth was he thinking. Tozawa got isolated and worked over by We Are Team Veteran. Someone has informed me that those pants are Mocchy’s traditional gear and that most people prefer him in those. Shenanigans. Tozawa eventually escaped and tagged out. In one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in a while, Tozawa pretty much immediately started doing dives after tagging out. What was the point of seeing him worked over if he has John Cena’s recovery abilities? The teams started going back and forth after the Tozawa dives. Fuji hit Tozawa with a super chokeslam, which was pretty cool. Tozawa and Mocchy did a pretty damn awesome sequence together. Takagi trapped Fuji in a crossface, which allowed Tozawa to hit Mocchy with the strait jacket German: 1…2…3

Tozawa and Mocchy almost completely redeemed the match in the closing minutes. At the very least, the match ended at its peak. Shingo was basically a non-entity in this match for reasons that I do not understand. The psychology after the heat on Tozawa was just all wrong, and I think the crowd was perfectly justified in reacting with indifference until the end.
Match Rating: **1/2

Millenials (Eita, T-Hawk & U-T) (c) vs. We Are Team Veteran (Dragon Kid, K-ness & Super Shisa)[ Open The Triangle Gate Title Match]
The teams went back and forth for a while. U-T was worked over for a few minutes. The Millenials then made a comeback. U-T and Eita hit stereo tope suicidas. The teams started going back and forth. The action was pretty fun. Eita took out almost everyone with a moonsault to the floor. T-Hawk then finished Super Shisa in the ring with Veracruz.

I thought this was moderately enjoyable. There’s something so lifeless about Dragon Gate tag matches to me these days. I’m afraid to go back and watch past tag matches that I’ve liked. I think I’ve finally reached the point where I can no longer watch them. It just never works out.
Match Rating: ***

Ricochet (c) vs. YAMATO [Open The Dream Gate Title Match]
YAMATO went after Ricochet’s right leg. If Ricochet sells that leg well in this match, I’ll admit that I am a jackass for assuming he’s not going to do it well. YAMATO was in complete control (mostly targeting the injured leg) until Ricochet hit a Trouble in Paradise. Ricochet then made a comeback. They traded a bunch of forearms. Ricochet hit the Go-2-Sleepy Hollow, but he hurt his injured leg doing so. YAMATO avoided the SSP and applied a submission to the injured leg. Ricochet survived and hit his Northern Lights/brainbuster combo for a nearfall. YAMATO hit Galleria out of nowhere for a nearfall. Ricochet came back with a Galleria of his own and then hit a SSP: 1…2…NO! Ricochet hit the Benadryller. His leg was so injured that it took a while to make the pin: 1…2…NO! Mad Blankey kept interfering at the end, but Monster Express helped Ricochet out. YAMATO eventually hit the punt to the head and a brainbuster: 1…2…NO! YAMATO has so much charisma. Holy shit. Sleeper from YAMATO. Galleria: 1…2…3

I’m a jackass, and YAMATO is an incredible performer. The moment where he posed right before he applied a sleeper gave me chills. I would make YAMATO champion for a year if I was in charge after this match (it lasted less than three months).
Match Rating: ****

After the title match, each of the competitors in the main event cage match came out with the stablemate they will be fighting for. Yoshino is fighting for Syachihoko BOY’s mask. Cima is fighting for Dragon Kid’s mask. Jimmy Kanda is fighting for Jimmy Susumu’s hair. Dolphin is fighting for Genki Horiguchi’s hair. BxB Hulk is fighting for Cyber King’s mask. Naruki Doi is fighting for Kzy’s hair. I think I have to root for Kanda to lose this match based on the options.

Six Way Scapegoat Mascara contra Cabellera Steel Cage Match
BxB Hulk vs. CIMA vs. Jimmy Kanda vs. Masato Yoshino vs. Mr. Kyu Kyu Naoki Tanizaki Toyonaka Dolphin vs. Naruki Doi
I’ve seen one or two of these matches, and they’re a lot of fun. The person to not capture one of the flags loses the match.

The opening period of the match was not that fun to be perfectly honest. The wrestlers worked with way more urgency once they were allowed to go after the flags. In a bit of a swerve, BxB Hulk hit fellow Mad Blankey member, Naruki Doi, with an axe kick when he could have hit Dolphin. Everyone then climbed but Doi. Doi then knocked them all down. Mad Blankey got the door open, and Doi escaped. He didn’t have a flag though. Doi ran to the back and sprayed the wrestlers with a water gun. There was a five way submission spot, and Cima teased attacking all of them. He got smart though and started to climb. Dolphin prevented him from winning though. Cima was about to get a flag a few minutes later, but the Jimmyz threw water balloons at him. Gamma climbed up to pie Dolphin, but he hit Cima by mistake. Dolphin was then sprayed with a water gun. This is great fun. We Are Team Veteran helped out Cima by spraying water to clean his face. Cima then did this genuinely impressive gymnastic spot to give Dolphin a Meteora. A genuine spot of the year contender. The other wrestlers then tried to stop him from winning, but Gamma helped him out. Cima got a flag and saved Dragon Kid’s mask.

Kanda and Doi battled on top of the cage for the second flag. Kanda got the flag and saved Susumu’s hair.

It’s Yoshino vs. Dolphin vs. Doi vs. Hulk. Hulk and Doi are in the same stable, which should theoretically give them the advantage. Yoshino and Dolphin were on a cage. Kanda climbed and didn’t know who to help. Ryo Saito showed up and encouraged him to hit Yoshino. He did. Dolphin got a flag and saved Genki’s hair.

Yoshino vs. Hulk vs. Doi. Mad Blankey took Syachihoko BOY’s mask off on the floor, and he ran to the back. Doi was close to a flag at one point, but Yoshino spanked him and dragged him to the mat. Doi and Hulk went to climb at the same time, but Yoshino dragged Doi down. Hulk was made aware and was conflicted. He eventually went back into the match to help Doi. Yoshino made a comeback and started to climb. Kong and Mondai Ryu climbed the cage to stop him. Monster Express attacked them with wooden planks to make them stop. Kzy tried to throw powder at Yoshino, but Yoshino did some awesome gymnastics to avoid it twice. Syachihoko BOY then ran Kzy off. Yoshino got a flag. Syachihoko BOY’s mask is safe.

Kzy and Kong then realized one of them was about to lose. Hulk and Doi then went at it. It was not that interesting to be honest. I expected the crowd to be hotter for Hulk. Hulk climbed, but Kzy went to stop him. Kzy took the flag and brought it to another part of the cage. Kzy also set up a rope for Doi to climb to the flag. Hulk speared him off the rope though. Hulk went to climb again, but Kong stopped him. Well, that just kills all the emotion of the match. What is Hulk fighting for if Kong will fight against him? Monster Express put a stop to the Mad Blankey interference. Doi kept going for the Muscular Bomb, but Hulk avoided it. Hulk hit multiple kicks to the head. They looked very weak. He then hit a good kneeling superkick. Mad Blankey threw powder in Hulk’s face. Again, Kong helped Mad Blankey. WHY IS THIS MATCH HAPPENING AFTER THIS MOMENT? WHAT IS HULK FIGHTING FOR? Hulk climbed the rope to the flag but all of Mad Blankey continued to fight against him. Doi finally recovered, but Hulk got the flag! Our international nightmare is over! Kzy loses his hair.

I understand that this angle was done to set up Hulk for his babyface run to the Dream Gate Championship, but it was super frustrating to experience. This was not 47 minutes well spent in the end. That’s a real shame as the first four flag captures were a lot of fun. The crowd got into Hulk towards the end, but I stopped caring long before he won.
Match Rating: **1/4

Masato Yoshino(c) vs. Ricochet [Open the Dream Gate Championship Match]
DG did a really nice video package before the match.

Ricochet briefly had control, but Yoshino came back and hit a moonsault to the floor. Yoshino started to target the left arm. Ricochet hit a running Ace Crusher and then made a comeback. Yoshino started to fight back, but Ricochet hit a Twister for a nearfall. Ricochet was still selling his left arm, but it wasn’t preventing him from doing anything. Yoshino hit a Michinoku Driver for a nearall. He got another nearfall with a slingshot Sling Blade. Ricochet avoided Lightning Spiral and hit a buzzsaw kick. Yoshino came back with Torbellino, but Ricochet avoided Sol Naciente. Lightning Spiral: 1…2…NO! Sol Naciente! Ricochet escaped with the Rampage Powerbomb. They traded a bunch of strikes. Ricochet hit a 630: 1…2…NO! They struggled on the top rope. Ricochet hit the Spanish Fly: 1…2…NO! Yoshino avoided the Benadryller, hit a killer lariat and then the missile dropkick. Superman Punch from Ricochet. He then did a couple of suplexes and a SSP: 1…2…NO! Benadryller: 1…2…3! That was by far the best Benadryller that I have ever seen.

Ricochet is the first non-Japanese wrestler to win the Dream Gate Championship. Most of the locker room came out to congratulate him. Ricochet’s stablemate, Uhaa Nation, did not shake Ricochet’s hand after and challenged him to a match for the title.

This was a solid Dragon Gate main event. It didn’t have the heat of Yoshino’s defense against Mocchy, but there was a lot of fun stuff here. Yoshino’s singles matches would benefit so much from consistent work on his opponent’s arm to set up the Sol Naciente.
Match Rating: ***1/4

Ricochet(c) vs. Uhaa Nation [Open the Dream Gate Championship Match]
This is the first gaijin vs. gaijin battle for the Dream Gate Championship. Ricochet and Uhaa both cut backstage promos before the match. These guys are better seen and not heard.

Holy shit, Uhaa’s entrance music is awesome. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. Uhaa completely overpowered Ricochet early on. That’s an encouraging start. Ricochet came back and went after Uhaa’s left leg. Uhaa slowed him down with a fallaway slam. Ricochet baited him to the floor and hit an awesome tope con hello. He then hit a Fosbury Flop. Ricochet got a few nearfalls back in the ring. Uhaa hit the Fucking Machine Suplex, which is a bit silly given the previous work on his leg. Uhaa avoided a SSP and hit two powerbombs for a nearfall. He got another nearfall with a Superfly Splash. Ricochet avoided the standing moonault. Uhaa ate the Superman Punch, but hit a Brogue Kick and a spinebuster: 1…2…NO! Ricochet kicked out the injured leg (as he’s done several times) but got caught in a tombstone: 1…2…NO! Awesome sequence. Uhaa’s leg was damaged, but he managed to pull off the standing moonsault. Ricochet got an ankle lock out of nowhere though. There’s probably a better way of describing that submission. Uhaa got to the ropes. Uhaa blocked the Benadryller. Ricochet then hit the 630 and a SSP: 1…2…NO! Benadryller: 1…2…3!

This is one of the best singles matches that I’ve seen from Ricochet and by far the best singles match I’ve ever seen from Uhaa. Ricochet looked like a new performer by targeting Uhaa’s leg, and Uhaa really showed me something with his ability to sell the leg. There was one weak moment where Uhaa hit the Fucking Machine Suplex, but other than that, he was great. The crowd got super hot as well. Great stuff by both guys.
Match Rating: ****

Check out some of your favorite Dragon Gate wrestlers in free matches!
PAC & Masato Yoshino vs. Naruki Doi & Ricochet
Akira Tozawa vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
YAMATO vs. Cesaro
Masaaki Mochizuki & Don Fujii vs. Jado & Gedo
YAMATO vs. Jushin Liger
Akira Tozawa vs. Johnny Gargano
Masato Yoshino vs. Ricochet
Masato Yoshino vs. AR Fox
Masato Yoshino vs. Sami Callihan
YAMATO vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
BxB Hulk vs. Gedo
Akira Tozawa vs. El Ligero
Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Cage
Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Arik Cannon
Akira Tozawa & Christian Rose vs. The Kentucky Buffet (Matt Cage & Alex Castle)
Akira Tozawa vs. Davey Vega vs. Gary Jay vs. Dingo vs. JT LaMotta vs. Super-Electro
Akira Tozawa vs. Mat Fitchett

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. Check out a full/organized list of all the wrestling show reviews I’ve done at 411mania.

The 411: The Dream Gate and Brave Gate matches were really enjoyable. However, the rest of the show finally convinced me that Dragon Gate is not entirely for me (after several years of checking in and out). I understand why many people are fans. I'm sure there will be matches that I am interested in going forward, but I doubt I will ever watch a full show again.
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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TJ Hawke

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