Dragondoor "Prelude"
review by Zedi

Date: July 19th, 2005
Location: Korakuen Hall
Attendance: 1,560

This is the Dragondoor official debut show.

- Extreme Tiger vs. Joe Lider
- Touru Owashi & Shogo Takagi vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi
- Shotei Tiger Mask & Gran Hamada vs. Ultraman & Solar
- The Tiger vs. Ultimo Guerrero
- Kondo, brother YASSHI, Sugawara vs. Ishimori, Iifushi Kota, Little Dragon, Milanito Collection a.t

Most of the wrestlers wrestling for the event are Toryumon graduates, formally working for the defunct "Toryumon 2000 Project;" there are also some "guest stars," such as Jinsei Shinzaki and Mexican luchadors.

Match 1: Extreme Tiger vs Joe Lider
Lider and Tiger are both young Mexican masked luchadors; Lider is in control early, but Extreme Tiger applies an armbar. A quick exchange of armdrags follows, ending with a double dropkick; Lider works stiff with a series of chops and Tiger follows with a springboard modified Victory Roll takedown. Extreme Tigers hits a couple of kicks, then climbs the ropes for a beautiful lucha-style headscissors takedown; Lider rolls to outside the ring, but Tiger drags him back in and hits a leg Lariat. Tiger entraps Lider in the corner and hits a Missile Dropkick to the gut. Extreme Tiger goes on top for a springboard dive, but Lider counters with an inverted Lungblower (very nice spot); Lider then hits an over the shoulder inverted Powerbomb.

He goes for a top rope move, but Tiger recovers and tries a Tornado DDT to outside, which gets blocked by Lider, who hits a Solo Spanish Fly to outside. Back in the ring, Lider tries to get the pin, but Tiger kicks out at 2. Lider hits a Wheelbarrow Driver, but Tiger kicks out again; Lider goes for an Uranage, countered by Tiger into a swinging DDT.

Lider rolls to outside and Extreme Tiger hits a Corkscrew Top Rope Asai Moonsault, landing very close to the first seat row. Extreme Tiger drags Lider back in the ring and unsuccessfully tries a pinning cradle twice, hits a second rope moonsault, which is countered in a Piledriver by Lider! Awesome match so far... 2 count again. Gutbuster and Backbreaker by Lider, only to get another 2 count.

Lider hits a running Thunder Fire Powerbomb, with Extreme Tiger landing in the corner. Extreme Tiger recovers and, after taking Lider down, hits a split-legged Moonsault, goes on top again, but Lider, back on his feet, catches him and hits a Rubix Cube Piledriver. Lider then takes Tiger to the outside of the ring with a Spear; he climbs the apron, but Tiger recovers and slams him down again to the floor. Extreme Tiger goes on top and hits a Firebird Splash from the top turnbuckle to the floor and rolls back in the ring, while Lider isn't able to move. Extreme Tigers wins the match by count-out at 11.03

Match Thoughts: Surprisingly good opener, this was really an entertaining match, with nice spots, lots of near falls, high risk maneuvers and crazy drives. Both Joe Lider and Extreme Tiger seem to be good workers; the match itself was a little spotfest, but an extremely good one: ***1/2

Match 2: Touru Owashi & Shogo Takagi vs Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi
Shinzaki is accompanied by his mini version, Shinjitsu Nohashi, a Toryumon graduate, like Owashi and Takagi.
The match starts with a brawl around the arena; back in the ring, Owashi and Shinzaki exchange chops and shoulder blocks, until Shinzaki superkicks Owashi. Nohashi slaps Takagi, who tags Owashi in: Nohashi goes for the praying rope walk, but Owashi breaks it.

The match moves out of the ring again, with a brawl. Takagi returns in the ring, followed by Nohashi, and takes control with a series of boxer punches. Owashi tags in and destroys Nohashi with chops. Takagi tags in again and hits his Jeet Punch, with good crowd participation, twice. Nohashi barely kicks out.

Owashi tags in with a chair and hits the poor Nohashi, then proceeds with stiff chops. Takagi tags in and tries a suplex, but Nohashi land on his feet and hits a Springboard Headbutt. Anyway Nohashi isn't able to reach Shinzaki's corner, due to Owashi's interference. Touru Owashi with a Vertical Suplex and a legdrop gets a 2 count; double team by Owashi and Tagaki, but Nohashi is able to avoid Owashi's Lariat, which hits Takagi instead. Shinzaki is finally able to tag in and takes down Takagi with a Superkick and Owashi with a Mandara Hineri. He then tries a Bodyslam, but Owashi is too heavy; Big Boot by Owashi, who attempts a Chokeslam, but Shinzaki reverses it into a Hurricanrana.

Owashi rolls to outside, so Shinzaki is able to hit a Suicide Dive. In the ring, Takagi hits his Jett Punch again, but this time Nohashi doesn't sell it and hits a Chokeslam; Nohashi hits a Praying Powerbomb, but Owashi makes the save. With Shinzaki still outside the ring, Owashi hits an Enzigieri and a Chokeslam, but Nohashi kicks out at 2 and a half. Takagi hits a Full Nelson Slam, goes on top and hits a diving Elbow Drop, but this time Shinzaki breaks the count. Owashi goes on top for a Big Splash, but Nohashi, back on his feet, slams him down to the mat. While Shinzaki is out dealing with Takagi, Nohashi hits a Bodyslam on Owashi, then tries a springboard headbutt, which he misses. Owashi hits him right on the back of the head with an Enzigieri, hits a Running Chokeslam and a Top Rope Splash. Nohashi is unconscious, but Shinzaki comes back and breaks the count. Takagi blocks Shinzaki and Owashi is able to Powerbomb Nohashi at 14.50 for the final pin.

Match Thoughts: Way too slow at the beginning, with too much brawling, this match recovered during the final minutes. But it wasn't, certainly, a particularly good one: **

Match 3: Shotei Tiger Mask & Gran Hamada vs Ultraman & Solar
An over-40 match; Shotei Tiger Mask is the original one, Satoru Sayama. Solar and Ultraman are 2 old luchadors.
Hamada and Solar start the match with mat wrestling; Hamada takes the control with an Ankle Lock and a headlock, but Solar escapes; Ultraman and TM are now in and Tiger Mask hits some kicks. Ultraman comes back with a lucha armdrag, then they both tag their partners in. Very quick (but not so good) sequence between Hamada and Solar, then it's time for another tag.

Ultraman hits an Inverted DDT, then another... both DDT are awful looking; Tiger Mask kicks out at 2. Superkick by Ultraman and Shoulder Block by Solar; Ultraman follows with a Body press, but Tiger Mask is able to recover. Solar is in and hits an Armbreaker, but Tiger Mask escapes, showing his mat skills. He tags Gran Hamada in: series of hard headbutts, but Solar delivers a tilt-a-whirl Backbreaker. Hamada recovers and hits a top rope heel kick, then starts chopping Solar's chest, until Ultraman interferes. Tiger Mask comes in too, but gets knocked down; both Hamada and Tiger roll out of the ring. Solar hits a Topè and Ultraman a Suicide Dive. Back in the ring Tiger Mask tries a Sasuke Special, stopped by Solar, but that's a botched spot. Hamada drags Solar out and hits a diving forearm smash. In the ring TM hits a Snap Suplex on Ultraman for a 2 count; he then gets the pin with a Backslide at 11.44.

Match Thoughts: Bad match. Everyone looked visibly old and out of shape, especially Ultraman; there were botched spots and sloppy sequences and the entire match didn't flow well. One of the main problems with Dragondoor was the fact too many of "Ultimo Dragon's old time friends" were used, despite not being able to guarantee a solid performance: *1/4

Match 4: The Tiger vs Ultimo Guerrero
This match is for the CMLL Singles Title. The champion, Ultimo Guerrero, faces the challenger, The Tiger, who is Ultimo Dragon wearing the Tiger Mask outfit for whatever unknown reason. Technical start, with Guerrero taken down with grounded headscissors. Monkey flips exchange, with Tiger landing on his feet; Ultimo Guerrero tries a Snapmare twice, but the Tiger lands on his feet. The fight moves to outside the ring, with Ultimo Guerrero throwing Asai among the chairs with a Gorilla Press Slam.

Back in the ring, Ultimo Guerrero tries to rip Tiger's mask off; after several seconds the Tiger recovers and hits an Irish Whip, followed by a series of chops. Masao Orihara tries to interfere by helping Ultimo Guerrero, blocking the Tiger to the ground, but gets accidentally hit by a Crossbody. Somebody gives Asai a new mask, cause the one he's wearing is completely ripped; he goes on top and hits a Plancha to outside, landing on Ultimo Guerrero. Back in the ring, the Tiger tries to rip off Ultimo Guerrero's mask; they both climb to the top turnbuckle and Asai hits a Dragonsteiner for a 2 count only. The Tiger with a kick, which gets reversed into a Powerbomb attempt, countered with a Hurricanrana, rolled through a Sunset Flip by Ultimo Guerrero, for another 2 count. They climb to the top again and the Tiger tries a Dragonsteiner, this time reversed into an avalanche style Powerbomb; Asai barely kicks out. Ultimo Guerrero tries a Moonsault, but misses, so Tiger kicks him to outside the ring, goes for an Asai Moonsault, but gets blocked by Guerrero's enforcers. Back in the ring, Lariat by Guerrero; he drags the Tiger on the top turnbuckle and hits an Inverted Superplex, but Asai is able to kick out one more time.

Asai DDT out of nowhere, and the 2 wrestlers both lay down for several seconds; when they are back on their feet, Asai goes for another Asai DDT, but Ultimo Guerrero suddenly rips off his mask and nails a Schoolboy for an easy pin at 12.19, thus retaining his title.

Match Thoughts: A decent match, but I expected something more, considering it was the most hyped match. For a 12 minutes match, it sure had to much stalling and mask ripping: **1/2

Match 5: Shuji Kondo, brother YASSHI, Takuya Sugawara vs Taiji Ishimori, Iifushi Kota, Little Dragon, Milanito Collection a.t.
It's main-event time, a 3 vs 4 elimination match between the heel stable, the "Aagan Isou", leaded by Shuji Kondo, and the face stable, leaded by Taiji Ishimori. Each pin counts as 1 point, and who gets pinned is eliminated. Ishimori and Kondo, the two leaders, start the match. Very good technical mat stuff in the first minutes, with Ishimori taking advantage with a Jujigatame. YASSHI and Kota tag in; down to the mat again, where YASSHI looks very skilled: rolling headscissors cradle, but Kota is able to escape. They hit each other with stiff kicks and chops (Kota hits really hard), then Kota hits a Dropsault and quickly tags Little Dragon in. Also Sugawara comes in; Dragon takes Sugawara out with a Crucifix Bodyscissors, then fakes a Suicide Dive; YASSHI comes in and viciously hits Dragon from behind. Milanito Collection AT tags in and, after hitting a dropkick, entraps YASSHI with a modified Paradise Lock, with legs and arms trapped across the first rope; a running Dropkick follows, then Ishimori tags in, followed by Kondo. Hurricanrana by Ishimori, 619 avoided by Kondo, so Ishimori runs out of the ring, hitting another 619 using the turnbuckle as a support. He then misses a Slingshot Plancha and here starts a huge brawl around the arena.

Back in the ring, Aagan Isou looks to be in clear advantage, with all 3 members on their feet and Milanito being beaten by Kondo and Sugawara, while YASSHI distracts the referee. Milanito can't stand on his feet and YASSHI bites his forehead; Sugawara tags in, but Milanito avoids a Lariat with the Matrix evasion, hits a step-up Enzigieri and is able to reach his corner and tag Little Dragon in. Forearms exchange, ending with Little Dragon knocked out. Kondo in, one handed Gorilla Press Slam. Triple team dropkick, uppercut by YASSHI, but Little Dragon kicks out. Sugawara comes in and hits a Vertical Suplex for another 2 count.

Nice double team, with YASSHI performing a somersault Senton from Kondo's shoulders, but somehow Little Dragon kicks out; headlock by YASSHI, broken by Dragon, who isn't able to tag due to Sugawara's interference. Sugawara and YASSHI try a double team, but Little Dragon springboards for a backflip into double elbow smash. Dragon is finally able to reach his corner.

Ishimori and Kondo in the ring again: nice Handspring Elbow by Ishimori, then Venezia (a midget in gorilla outfit who seems to be the babyface mascot) hits a top rope diving Hurricanrana. Kondo rolls out of the ring. At the same time Kota dropkicks Sugawara and hits him with a Shooting Star Press from apron ring to the floor. Ishimori hits a Topè con hilo on Kondo. Milanito and YASSHI are in the ring: Milanito chops YASSHI with no result and gets beaten down, until Ishimori makes the save with a springboard somersault Dropkick. Kota stuns YASSHI with a series of stiff kicks and Milanito Collection AT is able to hit his Natare Bianco (a high speed Gannosuke Clutch) for the pin: 1-0 for the faces, and YASSHI is eliminated.

Sugawara comes in and takes on Milanito: team work with Kondo, with a Dropkick followed by an Implant DDT, but Milanito is still alive. He counters another double team attempt, taking down Kondo with an Hurricanrana, but Sugawara catches him, hitting his TCO, for the pin: 1-1 and Milanito is out. Ishimori is in, with both Sugawara and Kondo on the ring; he hits a backflip kick to Sugawara's head, while Kota takes care of Kondo. Triple team combo here: low dropkick by Little Dragon, Shining Wizard by Ishimori and Golden Star Press by Kota (a Swan Dive Phoenix Splash), but Sugawara kicks out! Another nice triple team move follows: Electric Chair Drop by Kota and top rope Asai DDT by Ishimori and Dragon. Kondo makes the save just before the 3 and hits a double Lanzarse (running Spear Slam) on Dragon and Ishimori, then rolls out, leaving Sugawara to face Kota: YASSHI hits Kota with a chair shot from outside, so Sugawara is able to hit the Shiisanpuuta for the 3 count: 2-1 and Kota eliminated.

Ishimori takes on Sugawara: avalanche style Hurricanrana, then split-legged Moonsault attempt, but Ishimori slips on the ropes and badly lands on his neck... Ishimori seems confused and isn't able to cover, while the referee checks his physical conditions.

Ishimori is somehow able to continue and hits an Hurricanrana, rolled into a pin attempt by Sugawara: 2 and a half. He hits an Enzigieri and tries the Shiisanpuuta again, but Little Dragon blocks it. Kondo comes in, tries an Uranage, but Dragon counters it with a DDT; he tries a Sunset Flip, but Kondo grabs his throat and brutally slams him down to the mat. Double team slam by Aagan Isou, followed by a hard Lariat by Sugawara, but Dragon kicks out again. Sugawara and Kondo try a double team avalanche style Suplex, but Dragon escapes; Ishimori hits Kondo with a Dropkick, while Little Dragon delivers on Sugawara an Inverted Hurricanrana.

Dragon goes on top and hits a Phoenix Dragonrana (awesome move): 3 count, Sugawara is out, but Kondo runs in and rolls Little Dragon for the pin: 3-2, Little Dragon and Takuya Sugawara out: only Kondo and Ishimori left. Kondo goes for a Powerbomb, but Ishimori counters it with a Sunset flip, but only gets a 2 count; Ishimori tries the Superstar Elbow, but Sugawara hits him from outside with a suitcase; Kondo goes for the King Kong lariat, but Ishimori reverses it into a Crucifix pin, for a 2 count. Ishimori tries a German Suplex, but Kondo counters with an Overhead Slam.

Kondo with the Lariat again, but Ishimori reverses it again, this time with a Jujigatame: Kondo nails an impressive one-armed Powerbomb, with Ishimori still applying the lock. Kondo finally hits the King Kong Lariat at 27.11, for the final pin.

Match Thoughts: Nice match, probably the best in this short-lived promotion's history. Everyone looked good and Kondo performance was extremely impressive; there were only a few miscommunication and timing problems, mainly due to the inexperience of these wrestlers, young Toryumon graduates. Ishimori's botched split-legged moonsault is the emblem of these young performers, who are very talented, but still inexperienced. This was a very entertaining and fast match, considering it nearly lasted 30 minutes and also had some kind of psychology, with the heels basically teaming on one of the faces, who couldn't reach his own corner for the tag. By the way it has to be said that it sometimes was hard to follow, with the wrestlers apparently coming in for no reason, without tagging. It was curious to see how the Aagan Isou, the heel stable, was cheered throughout the entire match as much (and maybe more) than the babyfaces, probably because Kondo and YASSHI were already known for their stint in Toryumon Japan, while the others only wrestled for the less known T2P: ****

Final Thoughts: A strange event, with an excellent opener and a very good main-event; the other 3 matches weren't that good and showed the real problem that would afflict Dragondoor, the poor booking. In fact, despite Ultimo Dragon not being officially involved in the booking team, several old Mexican luchadors were brought to D2P and never offered good performances and didn't get over with the crowd. Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but the only 2 good matches were those which were more similar to the classic Toryumon matches.

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