Dragon Gate "Open the New Year Gate" on 1/12/15
review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  January 12th, 2015
Location:  Kobe Sambo Hall in Kobe, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,000 (Super No Vacancy Full House)

Backtracking over a month, not completely my fault since the Dragon Gate events appeared out of order.  This is actually a somewhat important event as the tournament for the Open the Brave Gate Championship ended here.  Here is the full card:

- Dragon Kid and Mr. High Tension Kotoka vs. T-Hawk and Yosuke Santa Maria
- Open the Brave Gate Title Tournament Semifinal: Eita vs. Jimmy Kagetora
- Open the Brave Gate Title Tournament Semifinal: Dr. Muscle vs. Yuga Hayashi
- Gamma and Ryu vs. Mr. Que Que Naoki Tanizaki Toyonaka Dolphin and Shachihoko BOY
- Masaaki Mochizuki and Big R Shimizu vs. Shingo Takagi and Akira Tozawa
- Open the Brave Gate Title Tournament Final: Dr. Muscle vs. Eita
- CIMA, YAMATO, Don Fujii, and Cyber Kong vs. Jimmy Susumu, Ryo "Jimmy" Saito, Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, and Jimmy Kanda

This looks pretty normal for a Dragon Gate show, let’s see how vague I can make the play by play so my brain doesn’t explode.  Did you know that is the reason I am slow to review Dragon Gate?  Their events make me type so much usually, I’ll try to dial it back to the important spots which goes against every fiber of my being.  I’m a History Major, we are wordy people.

Dragon Kid and Mr. High Tension Kotoka vs. T-Hawk and Yosuke Santa Maria
Yosuke is one of the few gender-related gimmicks that I find funny, he cracks me up.  Yosuke and Kotoka start off and Yosuke hits a shoulderblock.  Yosuke sits on Kotoka’s face but Kotoka kicks him in the chest.  Dragon Kid and T-Hawk tag in, I still love Dragon Kid, which I realize is an outdated opinion.  Dragon Kid knocks T-Hawk out of the ring, Yosuke comes in it but Dragon Kid tags in Kotoka.  Kotoka stomps on Yosuke before a triple headlock is applied.  Yosuke isolates Dragon Kid but Dragon Kid elbows him, Dragon Kid goes for the handstand kneedrop but he gets a kiss instead.  Has every male puroresu wrestler been kissed in the ring at some point?  Wrestling is funny.  T-Hawk and Kotoka fight in the corner and T-Hawk hits a vertical suplex.  Overly contrived chop to the chest by T-Hawk, Kotoka eventually kicks T-Hawk in the head and T-Hawk bails out of the ring.  Yosuke comes in but Kotoka dives out of the ring onto T-Hawk.  Dragon Kid comes in, Yosuke dumps him onto the apron and goes for a kiss but Dragon Kid wisely blocks it and rams him into the turnbuckle.  Front flip stunner by Dragon Kid but the Tiger Feint Kick is ducked.  Hip attack by Yosuke and Dragon Kid is double teamed in the corner.  Leg drop by Yosuke to Dragon Kid, he goes up top but T-Hawk grabs him.  Kotoka puts Yosuke on his shoulders as Yosuke for some reason cooperates, allowing Dragon Kid to hit an avalanche hurricanrana.  T-Hawk comes in and chops Kotoka and he hits a sit-down powerbomb for a two count.  T-Hawk picks up Kotoka and drops him with the Night Ride for a three count.  This wasn’t bad, they went a little too far in the ‘overly contrived’ department, I love flashy moves but not when it takes too long to set them up.  Yosuke is funny though so we have that.  Score:  4.5

Eita vs. Jimmy Kagetora
This match is part of the Open the Brave Gate Title Tournament.  They jockey around to start and Kagetora hits a shoulderblock.  Powerslam by Eita and he attacks Kagetora arm.  Kagetora bails out of the ring holding his arm but returns after a moment, and Eita continues working on it.  Slingshot DDT by Eita and he applies the Numero Uno but Kagetora gets to the ropes.  Kagetora lariats Eita and Eita rolls out of the ring, Kagetora goes to the apron and hits a moonsault down to the floor.  Kagetora slides Eita back in, kick combination by Eita and he gets a two count.  Rolling dropkick by Eita and he hits a standing moonsault.  Enzigieri by Kagetora and he hits a jumping knee before dropkicking Eita into the corner.  High kick by Kagetora in the corner and he hits a brainbuster for two.  They trade elbows and Eita kicks Kagetora in the arm.  Superkick by Eita but Kagetora hits a Tiger Feint Kick.  Kagetora uses the ropes to hit a DDT, but Eita rolls Kagetora to the mat and applies the Numero Uno.  Kagetora has finally had enough and he taps out.  This was a more grounded match but I liked it, the focus on the arm was good and Kagetora did a solid job of selling it.  Eita didn’t do much to act impacted by Kagetora’s big moves as he usually transitioned back to offense pretty quickly, but overall it was a well structured match.  Score:  6.0

Dr. Muscle vs. Yuga Hayashi
Hayashi dropkicks Dr. Muscle out of the ring to start the match and hits a pescado.  Hayashi throws him back in but Dr. Muscle rolls to the other side, Dr. Muscle hits the ring bell and hits Hayashi repeatedly with it.  He then gets a chair and hits Hayashi with that too.  Back in the ring Dr. Muscle rams Hayashi in the corner and hits a dropkick.  I have no idea who Dr. Muscle is these days.  Piledriver by Dr. Muscle, he picks up Hayashi and Dr. Muscle hits a vertical suplex.  Dr. Muscle charges Hayashi but Hayashi body drops him out of the ring, he goes for a pescado but Dr. Muscle moves out of the way.  Dr. Muscle rams Hayashi in the ring post but Hayashi ducks the lariat and dropkicks him.  Hayashi goes off the ropes but Dr. Muscle hits a cutter.  Dr. Muscle hits a DDT, he picks up Hayashi but Hayashi gets away.  Elbows by Dr. Muscle but Hayashi hits a judo throw.  Dr. Muscle goes for a chokeslam but Hayashi reverses it into a cross armbreaker attempt.  Dr. Muscle gets to the ropes, they trade waistlocks and Hayashi hits a German suplex hold for two.  Dr. Muscle goes off the ropes but Hayashi hits a judo throw.  Hayashi goes off the ropes but he is hit in the head with a box, Dr. Muscle picks up Hayashi and he hits a chokeslam.  Darkness Buster by Dr. Muscle and he gets the three count.  This was an interesting heel power wrestler vs. face submission wrestler match.  It worked pretty well, it felt like Hayashi was always in the match because the cross armbreaker could end the match at any moment.  It wasn’t earth shattering but it wasn’t bad, and since Dr. Muscle had another match later you wouldn’t expect them to go all out in the semifinal.  Score:  6.5

Gamma and Mondai Ryu vs. Mr. Que Que Naoki Tanizaki Toyonaka Dolphin and Shachihoko BOY
Ryu and Tanizaki start off the match and Ryu attacks Tanizaki from behind.  Tanizaki gets the upper hand and tags in Shachihoko BOY, and Gamma is tagged in as well.  Gamma spits in Shachihoko BOY’s face but Shachihoko BOY hits a dropkick.  Double team to Gamma but Gamma hits a tombstone to Shachihoko BOY.  Ryu puts something in the ring and Gamma powerbombs Shachihoko BOY onto it.  Gamma picks up Shachihoko BOY and throws him out of the ring.  Shachihoko BOY is attacked out on the floor before they return to the ring, and Ryu elbows Shachihoko BOY in the corner.  Running knee by Ryu but the cover gets two.  Gamma gets some water and spits it down into Shachihoko BOY’s face.  Ryu slaps Shachihoko BOY in the corner, he sends Shachihoko BOY out to the apron but Shachihoko BOY rolls back in and hits a heel kick.  Shachihoko BOY tags in Tanizaki as Gamma comes in, and Shachihoko BOY elbows Gamma.  Gamma returns with a high kick, he goes off the ropes but Tanizaki hits a knee.  Ryu is isolated in the ring and double teamed, and Shachihoko BOY hits a moonsault.  Tanizaki gets Ryu on his back but Ryu gets away.  Tanizaki is hit from the floor but Ryu is accidentally hit with a pole.  Ryu is pretty unphased but then Gamma accidentally lariats him.  He does it a second time, Tanizaki grabs Ryu and he nails the Implant for the three count.  A fun sprint, I really like Tanizaki and they kept Gamma’s wackiness to a minimum.  Dragon Gate has such talented wrestlers they can have good matches in their sleep, it never went to the next level but what they did was entertaining.  Score:  6.5

Masaaki Mochizuki and Big R Shimizu vs. Shingo Takagi and Akira Tozawa
Mochizuki and Tozawa start off and they trade kicks and elbows.  Mochizuki drops Tozawa on the apron but Tozawa ducks when Mochizuki charges and Mochizuki sails out of the ring.  Shimizu and Takagi come in next, Shimizu knocks Takagi of his feet and then hits a powerslam.  Shimizu beats on Tozawa next and tags in Mochizuki.  Tozawa chops Mochizuki in the corner but Mochizuki switches positions with him.  Double vertical suplex to Mochizuki but Shimizu comes in and hits a vertical suplex on Takagi.  Shimizu and Tozawa become the legal men and they trade chops, which Shimizu wins.  Shimizu tags in Mochizuki and he kicks Tozawa in the ribs.  Back kick by Mochizuki and he applies a headscissors to Tozawa.  They trade kicks, Shimizu hits a shoulderblock on Tozawa and Mochizuki kicks Tozawa in the chest.  Shimizu chops Tozawa in the corner but Tozawa hits a backdrop suplex on Shimizu.  Tozawa dropkicks Mochizuki and makes the tag to Takagi.  Takagi lariats Shimizu, Tozawa comes in the ring and hits a tope suicida on Shimizu and Mochizuki.  He hits a second one, back in the ring Mochizuki kicks Takagi (Mochizuki doesn’t sell topes), boots by Mochizuki but Takagi punches him in the face.  Vertical suplex by Takagi and he hits a tombstone on Mochizuki while Tozawa kicks him in the head.  Mochizuki goes off the ropes and Tozawa kicks him, but Mochizuki delivers a dropkick.  Mochizuki tags in Shimizu and he hits a body avalanche to Tozawa in the corner.  Shoulderblock by Shimizu and he hits a Samoan Drop.  Giant Swing by Shimizu to Tozawa and he applies an elevated crab hold.  Powerbomb by Shimizu, double Irish whip to Takagi and he eats a double shoulderblock.  Mochizuki kicks Takagi but Takagi hits a lariat.  Chokebomb by Shimizu to Takagi but Tozawa breaks it up.  Shimizu picks up Takagi but Takagi back bodydrops out of it.  Lariat by Shimizu, corner kick by Mochizuki to Shimizu and then Takagi hits the Talon of the Hawk for the three count.  There were some selling issues here, which isn’t unusual in Dragon Gate, a wrestler would hit a big move and a few seconds later the next wrestler would, etc.  which is fine entertainment but is the kind of thing for me that keeps a lot of Dragon Gate below the ‘awesome’ line.  I like a little structure, that’s all.  But it was a fun mix of Southern Tag style and fast paced heavyweight sprint and overall it was enjoyable.  Score:  6.0

Dr. Muscle vs. Eita
This is the Open the Brave Gate Title Tournament Final.  Dr. Muscle attacks Eita outside the ring and beats him up around the floor.  Dr. Muscle piles up some chairs and he hits a piledriver into the pile.  They return to the ring and Dr. Muscle hits a neckbreaker before choking Eita with Eita’s shirt.  Dr. Muscle clubs on Eita and catapults him into the second rope.  Piledriver by Dr. Muscle and he covers Eita for two.  Chinlock by Dr. Muscle and he stomps on Eita.  Eita finally hits a springboard dropkick, Dr. Muscle falls out of the ring and Eita hits a tope con hilo.  Eita has recovered from the beating, he goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick.  Eita kicks Dr. Muscle back and he hits a rolling dropkick but Dr. Muscle gets his knees up for the standing moonsault.  Dr. Muscle hits Eita with a low blow and he hits a Shining Wizard for a two count.  Thrust kick by Eita to Dr. Muscle, Eita goes up top but Dr. Muscle recovers and tosses Eita off the top turnbuckle.  Dr. Muscle goes up top, Eita joins him and he hits an avalanche Falcon Arrow for a two count.  Eita goes off the ropes and Dr. Muscle hits a jumping kick.  Another kick by Dr. Muscle but it gets a two count.  Dr. Muscle grabs Eita but Eita rolls him up for a two count.  Gamma and Ryu come in to help, and Dr. Muscle drops Eita with a modified Muscle Buster.  Front Flip Piledriver by Dr. Muscle, cover, but Eita kicks out.  Dr. Muscle picks up Eita and he hits a double-arm piledriver for the three count.   I would have liked it Eita had sold his beating a bit more but not a bad match.  I don’t like interference directly leading to the win in title matches, at least give Eita a hope spot after it to break it up, it just comes across as cheapening the title.  Eita was fun here and Dr. Muscle looked fine, it just didn’t feel like a title match.  It had potential, it just didn’t quite get there for me.  Score:  5.0

CIMA, YAMATO, Don Fujii, and Cyber Kong vs. Susumu, Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi, and Kanda
Obviously they all brawl to start the match, with Cyber Kong and Susumu finally get in the ring and then it is YAMATO and Kanda’s turn.  YAMATO hits an atomic drop but Kanda hits a dropkick.  CIMA comes in as does Horiguchi, and over the next several minutes all eight wrestlers take turns in the ring.  Things settle down a bit but the action spills back outside the ring with Susumu and company getting the upper hand.  Horiguchi and Susumu suplex Fujii back in the ring and Saito hits a diving doublestomp.  Another brawl busts out as CIMA and friends come in to help, and YAMATO hits a slingshot doublestomp to Horiguchi.  Horiguchi gets his eyes taped over and stomped by YAMATO and CIMA.  CIMA applies a sleeper to Horiguchi and then apples an ankle hold, then Cyber Kong comes in and attacks Horiguchi.  YAMATO elbows Horiguchi in the back of the head, CIMA sets up Horiguchi in the tree of woe, CIMA get a broom and brushes dirt into Horiguchi’s face.  Triple Powerbomb to Horiguchi and Cyber Kong hits a body press for a two count.  Horiguchi snaps off a hurricanrana and makes the hot tag to Susumu but Kanda comes in and hits a tope suicida onto YAMATO and Cyber Kong.  Susumu in the ring kicks YAMATO but he is tripped from ringside.  Suplex by Susumu, but it gets a two count.  Dropkick by YAMATO and he hits a jumping kick to Susumu but Susumu hits a lariat. 

Kanda comes in the ring and trades chops with Fujii, and Fujii hits a side Russian leg sweep.  Lariat by Saito to Kanda and then he also hits one on Horiguchi.  Double lariat by Fujii to Kanda and Kanda eats a backdrop suplex/chokeslam combination.  Saito sits on Kanda, cover, but Susumu breaks it up.  Susumu and CIMA stay in the ring, CIMA hits the Iconoclasm but Susumu pops back up and hits an avalanche suplex.  Susumu hits a rolling fireman’s carry and Kanda hits a diving elbow drop, but Cyber Kong breaks up the pin.  Saito picks up CIMA but CIMA rolls him up for two.  YAMATO runs in and kicks Saito, and Saito is quadruple teamed in the corner.  Diving lariat by Cyber Kong to Saito and he hits the Jackhammer, but it only gets two.  Fujii come in and hits a chokeslam to Saito, then Cyber Kong comes off the top with a diving elbow drop for two.  Fujii picks up Saito but Saito hits a hurricanrana.  Lariat to the back of the head by Fujii but Saito sneaks in a backslide and he picks up the three count.  I liked the flash pin here as with eight wrestlers bouncing around you don’t really have time for a long setup for the winning pinfall.  This was obviously a faction war style of match so lots of cheating and partner exchanges, both of which are the norm for Dragon Gate main events.  I can’t watch too much of this in a row, hence why I space out my Dragon Gate reviews, but it was a fun main event with no real noticeable flaw aside from just a general lack of selling at times.  Entertaining to watch though.  Score:  7.0

Final Thoughts:

This right here is Dragon Gate in a nutshell for me.  A lot of really good matches, since Dragon Gate wrestlers are awesome, but nothing that really set itself apart from an in-ring perspective.  The mini-tournament was good but the wrestlers in it were not the top tier (no idea who Dr. Muscle is these days), even though I appreciated Eita’s spunk.  A fun show, but not a great show and none of the matches really felt special or memorable.

Grade:  C+

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review completed on 2/17/15