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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Dragon Gate: Gate of Destiny 2011 Review

October 31, 2011 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Dragon Gate: Gate of Destiny 2011 Review  

Most of my Dragon Gate knowledge comes from DGUSA (except for the occasional DG PPV) so forgive me if I screw anything up on the specifics of the product’s characters or history. Let’s get started then!

K-Ness, Taku Iwasa, and Kenichiro Arai vs. Super Shisa, Super Shenlong, & Kotoka:
K-Ness’s team seems to be the heels…the heels steal some Machine Gun offense (the Motor City, not Karl Anderson kind), which makes them smart in my book…Kotoka got worked over for a little, but Shisa made a tag and locked in a double abdominal stretch…Shenlong then came in and did some flying around…Shenlong hit a lionsault for a nearfall, but the heels regrouped and worked over Shisa…Kotoka came in and did some rollups for nearfalls…Kotka then got hit with a Sick Kick and a Gory Bomb to give the win to the heels

An OK opener execution wise, but it was not very engaging…nothing was botched, but the action did not have the crispness that one expects from the Dragon Gate guys…Kotoka seemed to have some charisma that may connect well with the American fans, so maybe he will get an extended excursion to the States like Tozawa recently did
Match Rating: *3/4

The 6 men in the main event came out and presumably mocked the men who were in the opposite stable…nothing like watching an extended talking segment in a foreign language

There was a video package hyping up Brodie Lee and Yoshihiro Takayama, so maybe there will be a singles match between the two at Final Gate

Don Fujii, Stalker Ichikawa, & Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Blood Warriors (Yasushi Kanda, Brodie Lee, & Metal Mask)
Takayama was brought in for the last DG PPV too for a similar match…he fits in surprisingly well

Lee wanted Takayama, so he tagged in: crowd was pumped for those two…after a test of strength, Lee hit a dropkick and then tagged out…match almost immediately thereafter broke down into a brawl all over the place…Stalker went for a dive off the top rope to the floor, but Metal Mask dodged it and Stalker went splat…things calmed down and Stalker was worked over in the ring…Lee even hit a slingshot senton into the ring on Stalker, which the crowd popped for…Fuji made a hot tag after Stalker hit a headscissors on Kanda…Lee superkicked Takayama and then followed that up with a SUICIDE DIVE!…Lee hit the Black Hole Slam on Stalker but Fuji and Takayama made the save…the faces then immediately hit stereo bridging German suplexes to get the win…naturally, Fuji hit Stalker with a chokeslam after the match, because that is just what they do

I was surprised Lee got pinned so easily in such a non-descript manner…regardless, this was fun little undercard match
Match Rating: **1/4

Ryo Saito vs. Rich Swann
They immediately started going a mile a minute…Swann hit a tremendous no-hands sommersault plancha…Saito cut him off with a snap Belly to Belly suplex…Saito then worked him over for a while…Swann came back with a spinning shin kick and a FameASSer…Swann went for Rolling Thunder, but Saito blocked it and hit a brainbuster for a nearfall…Saito went to the top rope but Swann hit a hurricanranna, a nice Frog Splash and the jumping 450 splash, but Kanda distracted the ref to prevent the 3-count… Swann goes for a cartwheel move, but Saito caught him in a German for a nearfall…Saito followed that up with a Dominator to get the win

The match was a lot of fun, but too short to be anything more than that…Swann’s stock is probably on the rise in Dragon Gate because his 450 splash seemed to give him the win in the eyes of the fans before Kanda interfered…Swann’s execution and crispness has improved greatly during his stay in Japan
Match Rating: **3/4

Blood Warriors (Naruki Doi, Kzy, & Naoki Tanizaki)© vs. Junction-3 (Masaaki Mochizuki, Gamma, & Susumu Yokosuka) [Triangle Gate Title]
I’m disappointed that Mochizuki is not defending the Dream Gate title on this show because his match with Hulk at Kobe World Festival was one of my favorite matches of the year

Blood Warriors attacked J-3 at the bell, and the match started as a brawl around the ring…back in the ring, J-3 got the advantage after working over Kzy’s ponytail, and then Gamma spit water on him! …BW got the heat after giving all three of the faces low blows…Yokosuka eventually got a hot tag and ran wild for a little…the two teams started going back and forth after that with big moves and kick outs…Kzy ate a Gamma Special, Angels Wings and a Twisting Brainbuster but his partners made the save…Gamma hit Doi with a Singapore Can and Yokosuka hit a pair of big lariats but Doi kicked out each time…Kzy threw powder in Yokosuka’s face who the was hit with a twisting GTS from Tanizaki and a Bakutari Sliding kick from Doi: 1…2…3!

Can someone tell me if Japanese (or even just Dragon Gate) referees generally ignore powder suddenly appearing on a wrestler’s face?…if they do, then it was a fine heel tactic, but otherwise, I generally dislike cheating tactics that make the ref look so incompetent…having said that, this was a really fun match…I was surprised that Doi and Mochizuki were downplayed so much in the match, but perhaps they were just there to make the other guys look like bigger stars by association
Match Rating: ***1/4

PAC© vs. Genki Horiguchi [Brave Gate Title]
PAC has had a tremendously long reign for a non-Japanese talent (400+ days)…according to the video package, Genki had attacked PAC numerous times at recent shows; so this is a grudge match as much as a title match

Genki came out with a Sting-style mask…if you haven’t seen PAC in the last year, the man has become absolutely shredded; only action figures have his body…they went back and forth for a while until PAC got sent to the outside and Genki hit a no-hands sommersault plancha…Genki got the heat after that…Blood Warriors distracted the ref so that Genki could send PAC into an exposed turnbuckle…PAC came back with a snap suplex; he went for a standing shooting star but Genki got his knees up and then worked him over some more…PAC sent Genki to the outside; PAC hit a Shooting Star to the floor, but he also hit his legs on the apron on the way down…that looked really scary but PAC did not show any damage…back in the ring, Genki cut him off by using the exposed turnbuckle again…Genki hit a brainbuster: 1…2…NO!…PAC came back with a step-up enzuigiri and a snap German…PAC sold the back of his head after that (Genki injured his neck over the course of his many attacks)…PAC gets caught on the top rope: DRAPING DDT!: 1…2…NO!…GENKI hit his neckbreaker finisher: 1…2…NO!…fans thought that could be the finish…Genki went for a top rope version of his neckbreaking finisher, but PAC escaped and hit a springboard sunset powerbomb…Springboard 450!: 1…2…NO!…PAC went for a the top rope inverted moonsault but Genki rolled out of the way…Genki went to hit PAC with a foreign object, but PAC superkicked it in his face…PAC to the top rope: CORKSCREW SHOOTING STAR PRESS: 1…2…3!

Excellent matchup…Genki’s heel facials are top rate, and his strategies for taming the high flyer were sound…this has been one of my favorite singles matches for PAC…while most of his (and really all big Dragon Gate) matches rely on ridiculous moves and kicking out of finishers at the end, here they were done better than usual…if I didn’t know the result of the match going in, I totally would have bought Genki winning at several points
Match Rating: ****

The Spiked Mohicans of the Blood Warriors (CIMA & Ricochet)© vs. Junction-3 (Masato Yoshino & Dragon Kid) [Twin Gate Titles]
The Spiked Mohicans had recently also captured the DGUSA tag belts to make them undisputedly the best team in all of Dragon Gate

CIMA and Ricochet are rocking a slight variation of the Zack Ryder one legged tights: woo woo woo…the Mohicans sent Kid and Yoshino to the outside and hit stereo dives to the floor on them: those dastardly heels!…back in the ring, the Mohicans had the advantage for a while, but eventually J-3 came back and worked over Ricochet’s arm…the ref got distracted, which allowed CIMA to spray something in Kid’s eyes…CIMA then went after Kid’s mask; the Mohicans were then able to isolate Yoshino…Kid was able to make a tag, but he got worked over and sent into an exposed turnbuckle for his trouble…CIMA then slammed Kid’s injured back into one of the title belts…Kid finally made a hot tag and Yoshino ran wild…Kid and Yoshino then both hit stereo Asai Moonsaults from the middle turnbuckle (never seen Yoshino do that)…Yoshino was still in control back in ring…Ricochet went to cut him off but Yoshino got his knees up on a standing shooting star…Yoshino and Kid then both locked in Abdominal Stretch variations…CIMA escaped and broke up the other submission…the teams went back and forth for a while with big moves…Ricochet was hit with stereo 619’s and then a Dragonranna: 1…2…METEORA BY CIMA ON KID!: 1…2…YOSHINO MAKE S THE SAVE…SCHWEIGN ON YOSHINO: 1…2…NO!…Yoshino came back and locked in Sol Naciente on CIMA; Cima dragged Yoshino into the corner: 650 SPLASH BY RICOCHET…Ricochet went for the double rotation moonsault, but Kid blocked…Yoshino to the top rope, but he was met with a Venus from CIMA: DOUBLE SUPER SCHWEIGN by the Mohicans: 1…2…KID MAKES THE SAVE…Ricohet wipes out Kid with a sommersault plancha, and CIMA hits Meteora on Yoshino: 1…2…3!

Whew, that was exhausting to write up…CIMA and Ricochet are really playing their heel roles well, and not just worried about hitting cool moves…the audience is going to explode when someone eventually defeats them…meanwhile, this was an excellent match…my only complaint is that the Double Super Schweign should have been the finish
Match Rating: ****

Mask vs. Hair Steel Cage Survival 6 Man Match
BxB Hulk vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Cyber Kong vs. Shingo vs. Yamato vs. KAGETORA
I know that Japanese audiences (and the Dragon Gate audience specifically) is very different than American audiences, but just imagine if TNA booked this gimmick match: I would say the internet would explode but I don’t think people care enough about TNA anymore…what was I writing about?; oh right a 6 man Mask vs. Hair Steel Cage Survival Match…here we go

For those who don’t know, the last of the 6 men to climb the cage and grab one of the 5 flags, will get their head shaved or lose their mask…the 6 men started brawling, stable vs. stable, inside the cage…Tozawa got to the top of the cage first, but he seemed to have trouble getting the flag (or maybe he didn’t want to abandon his stable mates; either way he walked down and got tossed into the cage)…at some point, Blood Warriors had the advantage as the ring announcer said something: suddenly everyone started climbing the cage (I honestly don’t know if there was a connection between the PA announcer and the actions of the wrestlers…can a more die hard Dragon Gate fan clue me in?)…J-3 had the advantage in climbing the cage, so the rest of Blood Warriors used tennis rackets to hit tennis balls at them and prod them with long steel rods: this is the greatest heel stable in the history of pro wrestling…KAGETORA finally survived the onslaught of tennis balls and was the first man to grab a flag…BW had a 3 on 2 advantage in the ring, and they started pelting Yamato and Shingo with tennis balls…Shingo was on the top rope; Tozawa went to attack him, but got caught and hit with a Super Death Valley Driver…Shingo then gave Cyber Kong an Alabama Slam (yes, I’m sure he has his own name for that move which probably involves a random combination of letters and numbers)…Yamato and Shingo went to climb the cage, but the steel rods and tennis rackets were their undoing once again…Yamato had the opportunity to grab a flag, but he saw that Shingo was being attacked 3 on 1, so he went back to help his friend: BABYFACES~!…Hulk and Shingo ended up at the top of a cage; a member of Blood Warriors climbed up and gave Hulk his wine…Shingo stole the wine and spit it in Hulk’s face, which allowed him to grab a flag…Hulk then did a tight rope walk across the top of the cage to grab another flag…back in the ring, it’s Cyber Kong and Tozawa vs. Yamato…Yamato tried repeatedly to climb the cage, but he was overwhelmed by the double teaming (that sounded better in my head, than on the page)…Tozawa went to climb the cage, but Yamato try to stop him: Tozawa overcame that and grabbed a flag…Yamato vs. Cyber Kong: Hair vs. Mask…Yamato finally knocked out Kong with a sleeper; he went to get the flag, but Tozawa climbed up from the outside, took the flag and moved it to the opposite corner of the cage…more Blood Warriors climbed the caged and threw foreign substances in Yamato’s eyes until he finally fell off the cage…Kong then mauled Yamato before climbing the cage himself, but he seemed to be having trouble…Hulk then climbed up the outside with a rope: Kong still couldn’t climb the rope…Yamato then held Kong down, but Kzy and Hulk got a fucking rope ladder to make it even easier for Kong to climb (FANTASTIC!)…Shingo started climbing from the outside, as Yamato held onto Kong for dear life…Yamato pulled Kong back to the ring: GALLERIA!…both stables were desperately fighting the outside; someone from Blood Warriors then cut the ladder down right before Yamato got to the top…Kong powerbombed Yamato as Hulk pulled out another rope ladder: Kong is at the top of the cage and and he got the FLAG!…YAMATO IS GETTING HIS HEAD SHAVED!…Blood Warriors took great satisfaction in shaving Yamato’s head afterwards…Yamato looked like he was going to cry

Hawke: I don’t know how or if I should rate this. For starters, it didn’t really feel like a match, but more of a 40+ minute segment to get even more heat on Blood Warriors and to make Yamato very sympathetic. In that sense, it was incredibly effective. The Blood Warriors look like even bigger dicks, and the image of Yamato fighting back tears as his hair was taken away was very powerful. I can’t wait for the next PPV.


The 411: This PPV (with intermission) was almost 4 hours long, which is just too damn long for a wrestling show. I understand the value of getting younger guys (and the veterans) PPV exposure, but this show would seem much better if they cut out the first two matches. With that said, this was a pretty damn great PPV. The Brave Gate and Twin Gate matches were both great, and the spectacle of the main event made it well worth watching.
 
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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