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Dragon Gate ‘The Gate of Destiny’ (11.4.19) Results & Review

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All four titles are on the line in front of 3,120 fans at the EDION Arena Osaka for The Gate of Destiny. Dragon Gate provided English commentary from Larry Dallas and Lenny Leonard for the big event. Kaito Ishida receives his first singles title challenge as he takes on Susumu Yokosuka for the Brave Gate. Ben-K has his third defense in the main event in a rematch from last year’s Gate of Destiny with the roles reversed as he’s challenged by Masato Yoshino. Let’s get started!

Keisuke Okuda, Kota Minoura & Yuki Yoshioka def. BxB Hulk, KAI & Yosuke Santa Maria @ 7:57 – **1/2
The Mochizuki Dojo boys had a chance to prove themselves against the veterans. Yoshioka flashed the most in the match with a tope con hilo and a swanton bomb but Minoura spent the most time in the ring. He took a nice beating before he wound up catching Maria in a roll up to take the win. Of the three, Okuda flashed the least. He didn’t have the big spots nor was he the one to score the fall. The heart of Minomura was on display along with the flashy nature of Yoshioka. Mochizuki Dojo picking up the fall is a good sign for the near future.

Battle Royal
Dragon Dia def. Ho Ho Lun & Jimmy & Kagetora & Kanjyouro Matsuyama & Mondai Ryu & Oji Shiiba & Punch Tominaga & Stalker Ichikawa & Syachihoko BOY @ 7:35 – **1/4

The best thing about Dragon Gate battle royals is they don’t go long. Everyone comes in, hits their signature and make their exit. In the case of both Jimmy and Lun though, neither had a chance to showcase anything which was a glaring bummer because these guys can be something. Not tonight. The match came down to Kagetora and Dia and they had a short but strong back and forth that led to an upset win by Dia. That’s two matches in a row where we’re seeing the young guys being put over which can only be seen as a positive.

Kzy & YAMATO def. Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker @ 13:28 – ***3/4
Partners for the match were determined by a drawing of cards right before the bell. Skywalker left Mochizuki Dojo earlier in the year at Dead or Alive which angered Mochizuki but here they are forced to team. Even since leaving Mochi Dojo, Skywalker has struggled to find success. He had a big time singles against Kzy at Kobe World (a match won by Kzy) and has failed in each challenge he’s issued as he’s been on a quest to prove himself. Once again, he took the fall to Kzy here and after the match was mocked by Mochizuki for leaving him just to go and follow Ben-K. The story of Skywalker has been a highlight of Dragon Gate’s year. Everyone is waiting for the guy to pull off his signature win but we’ve continued to watch him fail.

H.Y.O, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Takashi Yoshida & Diamante vs Genki Horiguchi, K-ness, Super Shisa & Ultimo Dragon – Double Countout @ 14:00 – **
One of Dragon Gate’s major stories this year has been the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Toryumon, the precursor to Dragon Gate. Ultimo Dragon founded Toryumon in 1999 but the group split in 2004 and Ultimo hasn’t been seen with the crew since. Ultimo came back for the anniversary after being begged by Yoshino and has made regular appearances since, recently signing with the company. The heel unit of R.E.D. has taken exception to the nostalgia act has the original Toryumon crew has been main eventing shows throughout the second half of the year. This match ended in a double countout thanks to the R.E.D. brawling and their newest masked member holding Ultimo from making it in before the count of twenty.

With the Toryumon crew getting the R.E.D. B-Team, no one really stood out. Ultimo likes basing off Diamante so their exchanges were the highlight but the finish was flat because of a combination of the story losing steam and the R.E.D. crew not being the most inspired.

Open the Brave Gate Championship
Kaito Ishida def. Susumu Yokosuka (c) @ 17:47 – ****

This was Ishida’s first chance at a singles title. I’ve been vocal on Twitter that I have problems with Ishida. I’m not sold on him being there yet but I appreciate that they’re giving him a try and this match was his best case scenario. Getting to work with one of the most consistent members of the roster in Susumu who was able to put together a very logical match centered around limbs. Susumu relentlessly attacked the legs of the “Kick Boy” Ishida and forced him to comeback. There’s a section of the match where Ishida is trying to land kicks but Susumu is blocking with lariats which comes back to bite Susumu as the lariat is his big move and he’s now being worn down by blocking Ishida.

Susumu then takes a series of kicks across his chest as a way for Ishida to wear himself down in return. The heart of both guys is on full display throughout the match as they used their own bodies to absorb attacks and punish the other. This was an extremely physical match that was a complete test of wills and they worked up to a great reaction when Ishida was able to overcome the abuse of Susumu. Ishida isn’t the consistent worker that Susumu is but the fact that Dragon Gate are giving their young guys a chance to prove themselves on top shows good faith and allows you to invest in these guys for their future.

Open the Triangle Gate Championship
Strong Machines (c) def. Dragon Kid, Jason Lee & Naruki Doi @ 12:08 – **1/2

One of Dragon Gate’s low notes this year has been the Strong Machines tied up in the Triangle Gate scene. These titles are arguably the best in the company and when held by Don Fujii, Gamma and the green Strong Machine J, it’s pulled the company as a whole down a bit. It also doesn’t help that J has been hurt and unable to get in the reps he needs to improve. Jason Lee has been a Dragon Gate standout for the better part of two years now. The fact that the guy is used as the pin eater for a gimmick like Strong Machines is such a bummer. We got a really good finishing sequence between the Strong Machines and Lee including a funny real moment where KY Wakamatsu tried handing the Strong Machines a chair but was waved off as they hit their final stretch. Kid, Lee and Doi as challengers guaranteed it’d be impossible for the match to be bad but sticking with the Machines is a head-scratching decision.

Open the Twin Gate Championship
Big R Shimizu & Eita (c) def. Ryo Saito & Yasushi Kanda @ 12:29 – ***1/4

The second part of the R.E.D. versus Toryumon story on the night. Kanda had been a part of the heel unit for the better part of the last two years. R.E.D.’s insistent attacks on the Toryumon crew caused Kanda (a Toryumon original himself) to turn to his original training partners. R.E.D. brought out the entire stable for this match and took every opportunity to mug Kanda whenever the referee had his back turned. These matches requires babyfaces the crowd can rally behind in order for there to be any magic. You can’t find a better babyface than Saito and having him paired with Kanda and his story made the team easy to support. The match worked really well and once again the newest masked member of R.E.D. got involved, this time tripping Saito on his comeback which led to a small package win for R.E.D.

Open the Dream Gate Championship
Ben-K (c) def. Masato Yoshino @ 21:45 – ***3/4

A rematch from last year’s Gate of Destiny with the roles reversed. Last year, Ben-K unsuccessfully challenged Yohino as a member of R.E.D. Since that time, Ben-K has been kicked out of R.E.D. and has set out on his own. He defeated PAC for the Dream Gate and has defended the title against YAMATO, Mochizuki and now Yoshino. Early on the story of the match revolved around Yoshino attacking the arm. In order to keep Ben-K down for more targetting, he started throwing bombs. The match turned into a bombfest until Yoshino caught Ben-K in Sol Naciente.

Ben-K used his strength to get out of the move but did more damage to his arm in the process. Yoshino kept a hold of Ben-K’s pants so he couldn’t hit the ropes for the spear, dropped Ben-K with a lariat and locked in Sol Naciente once again. Ben-K collapsed but his foot landed on the rope. They had a slap exchange, hit the ropes and this time it was Ben-K coming out on top by hitting the spear for the win. The match was built really well and like all Ben-K matches, the finish came out of nowhere. This is three defenses in a row with a different move ending the match.

Naruki Doi comes out after the match to issue the next challenge and Ben-K gives a speech to close the show.

Final Thoughts
The big takeaway from the show is that Dragon Gate is going all in with the youth. Minoura getting the pin in the opener, Dragon Dia winning the battle royal, Skywalker having a prevalent story, Ishida’s title win and Ben-K taking out another pillar on his first reign. Even the R.E.D. tags focused on the youth with H.Y.O and crew not taking the fall and Big E getting past Saito and Kanda. They’re investing in getting the young guys over which in of itself is admirable but the results were a mixed bag.

The Strong Machines leaving the show still champions is the biggest bummer of the night but we did get some strong matches. The ones you thought would hit did hit so the show met expectations even if it didn’t quite exceed them. I’m not the biggest fan of Ishida but his win was the highlight of the night. Him getting a chance to showcase himself as a champion shows the good faith Dragon Gate has in him for the future.

Recommended Matches
Susumu Yokosuka vs Kaito Ishida
Mochizuki & Skywalker vs Kzy & YAMATO
Ben-K vs Masato Yoshino
Eita & Big R vs Saito & Kanda

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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