Tozawa & Katsuo VS Katsuhiko Nakajima & BxB Hulk
Funny bit at the beginning when Hulk invited Nakajima to dance with him, and Nakajima was game to try, but quickly bowed out when he couldn’t keep up with Hulk and the dancers.
The match itself was a change to see Hulk not getting his ass handed to him and Nakajima playing the grumpy heavy hitting senior. Nakajima’s over confidence almost got the better of him when Tozawa was able to score two near falls on him though. But most of the match was basically the rookies getting worked over with small bursts of offence here and there.
Tozawa & Katsuo definitely don’t look like the average Dragon Gate worker, so it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with for them when their time comes. I’m guessing they’ll more likely be more technical styled or maybe even brawlers.Match Rating: *King of Gate Semi-Final: Shingo Takagi VS Ryo Saito
Ryo got his nose busted open right at the start of the match, and for the most part it was Shingo overpowering Saito. Shingo dropped Ryo twice, once with a dangerous backdrop, and another where he basically just picked him up and slammed him on his head like what Shuji Kondo did to Dragon Kid in 2004. But Ryo was able to tough it out and even withstood a barrage of hard lariats from Shingo and hit two dragon suplexes to put him away. I thought the ending was a bit anti-climatic since Ryo was playing the underdog role to Shingo throughout the match and I would have liked to have seen more offense from Ryo.Match Rating: **King of Gate Semi-Final: Susumu Yokosuka VS CIMA
Susumu hit ONE lariat to start this match and from there it was CIMA in control working his arm for the next 5 minutes or so. I thought it sort of drag things down a bit as it was again a match where the heel was working on an injured body part with small bursts of offense from the face. Luckily they gave Susumu more than that as he battled back big time pulling off two really cool spots, first when he countered the Schwein into the Yokosuka Cutter, then he and CIMA pulled off one of the best sequences ever when Susumu popped up from the Schwein to hit the Jumbo no Kachi, only for CIMA to pop up and hit a second Schwein only for Susumu to pop up again and hit another Jumbo no Kachi!
The one thing I don’t get about this match was CIMA suddenly going all over confident as he dared Susumu to lariat him and mocked him when Susumu didn’t have the strength to hit it. This was CIMA’s downfall as Susumu hit him with leg lariat instead (ala K-ness), followed by a Schwein of his own and finally the Jumbo no Kachi for the win!
The match started off slow, but in the end worked out really well with some good heated moments which the crowd (and myself) ate up. Solid stuff, and hopefully the finals will deliver big time as the two semis have been rather underwhelming thus far.Match Rating: ***International 3-Way Dance: Vangellys & King Shisa (Mexico) VS Roderick Strong & Jack Evans (USA) VS Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi (Japan)
Am I the only one who thinks Yoshino looks like a 12yr old kid now?!?
I think it’s pretty obvious why Dragon Gate invited Jack Evans back to tour with them and not Roderick Strong, and it’s something I’ve noticed in his TNA appearances too. Mr. Messiah of the Backbreaker has NO PERSONALITY. Sure Strong is good at working the mat, but he doesn’t play to the crowd to get them into it like Evans does. He’s just all business, which is not a bad thing, but he could a lot better. Evans on the other hand is just a treat to watch. He has exciting offense and it genuinely hurts to see him take punishment due to his flexibility. But together with Strong they have some really good tandem moves, like the powerbomb/flipping footstomp combo, and this incredible move where Strong had Yoshino in a torture-rack, and Evans came off the top with a foot stomp on Yoshino before twisting into a moonsault on Doi! They did have one minor slip up though when Evans was way off mark with a corkscrew flipping senton, but Strong was smart enough to follow up with something so that it didn’t look that bad.
I am really impressed with King Shisa as well, as the man moves really well for his size and I really wonder who is under the mask, if he’s really Mexican or not and what name he uses in Mexico? Vagellys is built like a house, but still seems a bit green at times. I’d definitely like to see more of him though.
I hate to say it, but Doi & Yoshino were more or less carried in this match as they seriously looked like the weaker team compared to the others. Sure they had a good share of offense, but they weren’t in there as much as the others and didn’t really bring anything new to the table.
Overall, this was a really fun match with a lot of great work from all involved, including some good comedy bits. I’m really interested to see more of Evans in Dragon Gate and hope that he gets a shot at the Brave Gate one day.Match Rating: ****Survival Gate Battle Royal
No.1 – Don Fujii
No.2 – Masaaki Mochizuki
Fujii attacks Mochi as he gets in the ring and they trade hard chops before Mochi tees away at Fujii with big kicks. Fujii assumes the sumo stance and asks for more, and Mochi lays it in to him. Fuji pounds Mochi in the corner as the next two entrants come out.
No. 3 – Michael Iwase
No. 4 – Daniel Michima
The Floridas immediately give Mochi a hand and Daniel gets slammed hard by Fujii. Fearing a similar beating, Michael whips Mochi into a slam by Fujii! Michael then whips Daniel into Fujii, but before Fujii can slam him down, Michael shoves down Fujii and Mochi & the Floridas pile on top of him to pin and eliminate him as the next two men enter!
No. 5 – Magnum TOKYO
No. 6 – Naoki Tanisaki
I have NO IDEA why, but Tanisaki wheels out Magnum who’s sitting in a garbage can and carrying a broom! Tanisaki gets beat up by everyone as he gets in the ring, and Magnum needs the ring seconds to help him out and get in the ring. Everyone turns their attention to TOKYO, but Magnum beats on Tanisaki for sticking him in that garbage can! Everyone puts the boots to Tanisaki, but turns their attention to the entrance curtains as the 10-second countdown begins.
No. 7 – Stalker Ichikawa
No. 8 – Syachihoko Machine
Everyone stands back as the bizarre duo enters the ring before beating them down. Stalker gets his ears and antenna ripped off Magnum & Naoki and slammed down hard as the next duo comes out.
No. 9 – DG President Takashi Okamura (!)
No. 10 – Magnitude Kishiwada
Everyone steps back as Syacho steps on the apron, but Magnitude stomps his way to the ring and the two immediately face off as they get in the ring. Okamura gives Kishiwada a big kick and tries for a Last Ride! He quickly switches to a backslide and gets a near fall as the announce team is going nuts and everyone else is just standing there watching! Kishiwada puts the boots to Okamura than flattens him in the corner with a splash as the next duo come out.
No. 11 – Genki Horiguchi
No. 12 – Dragon Kid
Kishiwada tries for the Last Ride, but STALKER makes the save by giving Dream Gate champion a diving double finger butt poke! Kishiwada slams Stalker as Genki enters the ring and gets tossed to the other side by the Floridas. The ring is filling up now. Everyone is grabbing Genki by his hair and tossing him around! He almost flies over the top on one of them, but everyone pulls him back in! Everyone turns their attention to Magnitude as the next entrants come out. It’s the Florida Brothers theme that plays, but Michael & Daniel are already in the ring looking at each other and wondering what’s up. Why it’s non other than…
No. 13 – Johnson Florida
No. 14 – Jackson Florida
Johnson stashes several loaves of bread under the ring. Hard to keep up now that the ring is full of wrestlers. Daniel chokes Stalker in the corner as Syachihoko stomps on him and Okamura tries to take off Dragon Kid’s mask, but everyone’s attention once again turns to Magnitude. Everyone is actually scared of the Dream Gate champion as the next duo comes out.
No. 15 – Super Shisa
No. 16 – Anthony W. Mori
Syachihoko gets shoved into Magnitude who kicks him aside, Stalker follows and is also brushed off. Genki & Shisa double whip Kishiwada into the ropes and Magnitude ducks a double clothesline, but as he rebounds off the ropes, Anthony pulls down the ropes and Kishiwada goes over and is eliminated! Kishiwada runs off Mori as the next man comes out.
No. 17 – Karaoke Machine!
Machine appears in the audience and sings his trademark ballad (despite needing a lyric sheet), and everyone in the ring stops what they are doing and claps along to his performance! Probably one of the funniest things you’ll ever see is all the DG boys swaying in unison! Everyone yells at Karaoke to extend the song, but than just forget about it and the action starts up again in the ring. Karaoke Machine finally finishes his song as Magnum tries to rip off Kid’s mask and almost gets it done. Instead of getting in the ring, Karaoke Machine joins the timekeeper at ring side! Everyone is beating on Stalker again, and Okamura gives him one HARD punch as Magnum pins him and gets a near fall. Stalker has an antenna sticking out of his ear. Okamura gives Stalker another punch and Magnum pins him for another near fall. Genki is hanging to the ringpost outside the ring! Okamura tries to suplex Stalker, but Stalker reverses it into a small package and everyone joins in to hold down Okamura for the pinfall to eliminate him!
Syachihoko gets launched into the corner and he does the Syachihoko pose on the corner! Stalker grabs Daniel and does the rope walk all the way over to where Syachihoko is. Michael goes over to help hold Syachihoko in place and Stalker steps over him to cross the corner. Everyone applauds the move, including Daniel who cause Stalker to lose his balance and crotch himself on the ropes before falling out of the ring, taking Syachihoko with him and eliminating them both!
Dragon Kid locks Michael in a Monte Cristo submission lock. Daniel puts a headlock on Kid, Genki puts a sleeper on Daniel, Magnum puts a headlock on Genki’s hair, and everyone joins in chain of head/sleeper holds, except Johnson who breaks it up with a whack from a loaf of bread! Everyone turns on Johnson and charges him in the corner, but Jackson has a bad leg and veers off and crashes out of the ring. Fearing a further beat down, Johnson jumps out of the ring, eliminating himself as he’s whipped into the corner.
Dragon Kid & Jackson tee off on each other, and Jackson slams Kid, goes up the top rope and in a really cool spot, the lights go out and a lone spotlight shines on Jackson as he signals for splash! Unfortunately he missed his splash and landed on his bad knees, resulting in a referee stop and Jackson is eliminated!
Super Shisa is whipped into the corner and he does a corner head stand. Genki & Naoki try to make him lose his balance by shaking the ropes. Shisa tries to head scissors Genki, but Genki tosses him to Naoki who tosses Shisa out of the ring to eliminate him.
Mochi tries to suplex Kid, but it ends up in a 7-man suplex as Mochi and the Floridas get suplexed by Magnum, Genki, Naoki & Kid. Mochi & the Floridas team together and put up an invisible barrier! Kid gets launched over the barrier but is triple teamed. Magnum removes the barrier and together with Genki & Naoki beat down on Kid! Mochi tries the triple jump kick to Kid, but gets pushed over by Michael. Mochi is able to hang on and avoid Daniel, eliminating him from the match.
Mochi & Kid team up to try and eliminate Michael next, but just when it looks like Michael is gone, the other three Floridas prevent him from hitting the floor by setting up a chair for him to land on! Mochi goes after Michael, but almost gets eliminated himself! Mochi & Michael duke it out on the apron, and Kid tries to eliminate them both with a dropkick. Michael hits the floor and is eliminated, but Mochi lands on the Florida Chair, avoiding elimination and getting back on the apron! The replay shows Mochi actually went through the chair and his feet did touch the ground, but the ref missed it so he’s still in.
Johnson tries to attack Mochi with a loaf of bread, but Mochi blocks it and hits him with it instead, but Michael whacks him with another loaf and Kid hits the Ultra-Hurricanrana on Mochi to eliminate him! Genki quickly hits Kid with a sliding dropkick and Mochi flips through the hurricanrana and everyone holds down Kid for the pin to eliminate him.
Genki backslides Magnum and pins him with help from Naoki! Two men left! Or is it? Kid points out that Karaoke Machine is still at ringside!
Karaoke disrobes and gets in the ring, and it’s pretty obvious who’s under the mask. Genki & Naoki double team Karaoke, but Magnitude shows up and grabs Naoki as Karaoke hits Genki with a big lariat followed by a nadoa-elbow to eliminate him! Magnitude holds Naoki for Karaoke, but Naoki ducks and Kishiwada is knocked off the apron. Naoki quickly rolls up Karaoke to win the Survival Gate!
That was A LOT OF FUN!!!!Match Rating: ***Entertainment Rating: *****King of Gate Finals: Ryo Saito VS Susumu Yokosuka
The match started off as Ryo working on Susumu’s bad arm, but ended up as Susumu doing everything he could to try and put down Ryo, who became a no selling, super human monster by the end of it!
Susumu is definitely one of the best big match workers in Dragon Gate, and this right here is another prime example of that as he worked a great match with Ryo, truly a main event caliber performance here as he sold his arm, but still played the grumpy senior role as well doing all he can hitting multiple lariats and other big moves to try and put Ryo down. He even took some punishment other than the arm, including a really sick looking DDT on the apron which Ryo countered out of a suplex which slammed Susumu’s face right on the mat.
Ryo put in the performance of a life time here as well. I wasn’t too big on him not selling at end when any normal person should have been put away by the amount of punishment Susumu inflicted. But when Ryo sold, his facial expressions were just priceless. I love the way he stares blankly into space to sell a hard hit, and he took plenty of them here. The Premium Bridge is also a pretty cool Dragon Suplex variation where he locks his opponent’s hands by holding on to their wrists as he does the move. It’ll be interesting to see how Ryo performs in future main event matches. I just hope it doesn’t end up with him no selling all kinds of insane punishment only to hit several dragon suplexes to score the win out of the blue. But he’s young, and can definitely still pick up a trick or two to add to his repotoire. I also hope he invests some of the 5 million yen prize money to straighten out his teeth.Match Rating: ****Overall:
A great ending to a fun tournament and the establishment of two future aces of the company. This was a very good show from start to finish and definitely recommended viewing.
Labels: Dragon Gate