review by Brad Garoon
Cyber Kong, Shinobu & Super Shenlong VS. Akira Tozawa, Super Shisa & Shisa Boy
This is completely different than the initial lineup for the match, which was plagued with injuries and scheduling issues. Shinobu and Super Shisa start. They trade wristlocks. Bridging occurs and both men go for dropkicks. Tozawa and Kong tag into the match. Tozawa hits a butt butt. Kong comes back with a shoulder tackle. He press slams Shisa Boy. Shenlong and Shinobu hit a double facebuster and a double dropkick for 2. Shenlong hits a bodyslam and Kong hits a second rope elbowdrop for 2. Shisa Boy hits a handspring back elbow. He dropkicks Kong’s knee. Tozawa hits Shenlong with a diving headbutt. The Shisas roll Shenlong up for 2. Super Shisa hits a bodyslam but Tozawa misses a senton. Tozawa gets triple-teamed in the corner. Kong hits the Cyber Cutter. Shenlong hits a back flip kneedrop for 2. He hits a bodyslam and Shinobu hits a shooting star press for 2. Shenlong and Shinobu hit dropkicks before diving onto the Shisas on the floor. Kong and Tozawa trade clubbing blows. Kong hits an avalanche and the Pineapple Bomber for 2. He hits it again for the win at 5:16. Not much going on here.
Anthony W. Mori VS. Genki Horiguchi
Horiguchi comes to the ring dressed as Mori, using Mori’s mannerisms. Mori hits him with a dropkick before the bell. He hits an armdrag and another dropkick. Horiguchi bails so Mori dives onto him from the top turnbuckle. Back in the ring Mori misses a senton and Horiguchi spits blue mist in his face. He hits a swinging DDT. He hits a neckbreaker. He hits a bodyslam and puts on a chinlock. Mori gets to the ropes. They trade strikes until Horiguchi hits a leg lariat. He hits a tiger driver for 2. He puts on a headlock. Mori gets to the ropes. He comes back with a vertical suplex. He hits a back suplex. He hits a dropkick off the top and a northern lights suplex for 2. Horiguchi trips him up a moonsault hits knees. Mori hits the X-Factor and climbs the ropes. The Eleganton hits knees. Horiguchi comes off the top with a dropkick to the back. He hits a brainbuster for 2. Mori counters the Beach Break to a roll up for 2. Horiguchi hits the Beach Break for 2. Mori ducks a chair shot and hits a low blow. He breaks the chair over Horiguchi’s face. He gets Elegant Magic for 2. He gets a roll up for 2. He gets a backslide for the win at 7:17. Beating Horiguchi with his own finisher is cute, but the rest of the match was rather dull. After the match Dr. Muscle hits Mori with the Miracle Ecstasy Bomb.
Taku Iwasa & Kenichiro Arai VS. El Blazer & PAC
Iwasa & Arai had just successfully defended the Open the Twin Gate belts against CIMA & Dragon Kid, so the belts aren’t on the line here. PAC and Iwasa start. PAC hits an armdrag to escape a hammerlock. The referee gets involved in a wristlock exchange. PAC hits a hiptoss. Iwasa hits a bodyslam but misses an elbowdrop. PAC gets a headlock takedown but Iwasa quickly counters to the head scissors. PAC misses a standing moonsault. Blazer and Arai tag into the match. They dodge each other’s offense until Arai hits a chop. Blazer hits a tiger feint kick and a running shooting star press. PAC hits a standing corkscrew press for 2. Iwasa forces PAC to give Blazer a stunner. He puts PAC in a half crab. Blazer makes the save with chops. The Twin Gate champs force Blazer to put PAC in a leglock. Iwasa and Blazer trade chops in an exchange that Iwasa wins. Iwasa hits a backbreaker and Arai hits a diving headbutt for 2. Iwasa hits a slam. Arai double stomps Blazer onto Iwasa’s knees. Iwasa puts on a half crab but Blazer gets to the ropes. Arai hits a springboard kneedrop. He puts on a camel clutch. Blazer gets to the ropes. He hits a springboard dropkick. PAC tags in and hits Iwasa with an enzigiri. He hits Arai with a dropkick. He follows Arai to the floor with a springboard corkscrew dive. Blazer dives over PAC onto Iwasa. In the ring Iwasa chops PAC down for 2. PAC gets a funky takedown into a half crab. Arai makes the save. Arai hits another double stomp on PAC over Iwasa’s knees. The champs hit a double slam for 2. Blazer does some astonishing flips before kicking Arai’s head. He hits a dropkick for 2. He runs the ropes to hit another dropkick. PAC comes off the top with a shooting star press. Blazer has a little trouble but manages to hit a floating 450 splash for 2. Arai is too hurt to be Irish whipped. The champs catch Blazer and throw him into PAC. Iwasa clotheslines PAC for 2. Arai hits a tiger suplex. PAC rolls up Iwasa for 2. Iwasa punts PAC’s head before Arai hits a Tombstone Piledriver for 2 when Blazer makes the save. Arai hits a springboard double stomp for the win at 12:32. Blazer was flopping all over the place, slipping on the ropes and the apron. The rest of the match was solid, but the finish was anticlimactic.
YAMATO VS. Naoki Tanisaki
Tanisaki, who had left Dragon Gate for El Dorado just over a year earlier, recently defected from the rival company. YAMATO attacks him on his way to the ring. In the ring YAMATO stops a springboard maneuver with a forearm. He spears Tanisaki to the floor. Back in the ring he hits a bodyslam. He hits a back elbow for 1. He puts on a chinlock. He hits an elbowdrop for 2. Tanisaki hits the DH. He hits a running forearm and a basement dropkick. He hits a back suplex for 2. YAMATO comes back with a spear. He hits a powerslam for 2. He hits a vertical suplex for 2. Tanisaki hits a cross legged vertical suplex for 2. He rolls through a powerbomb. He hits the FH. YAMATO hits a German suplex for 2. Some weirdness leads to the BH from Tanisaki. YAMATO hits a forearm but gets caught with the DH again. Tanisaki kicks his head repeatedly. He hits the Implant for the win at 7:52. This really had no flow to it, and seemed to be there just to get Tanisaki’s knee kicks over again. YAMATO may have dominated most of the match, but to lose so quickly made him look quite weak.
After the match Tanisaki asks YAMATO to be his tag partner but YAMATO refuses. Ryo Saito comes to the ring and says he’d team with Tanisaki. After some heat between YAMATO and Saito sends Saito to the back YAMATO and Tanisaki slap each other around and shake hands. Weird stuff here.
Masaaki Mochizuki & Don Fujii VS. Masato Tanaka & Tatsuhiro Kuroda
I just watched these two in the finals of last year’s World-1 tournament (Special Edition coming in the future) so I kind of know what to expect here. Mochizuki is a regular in ZERO1-MAX, and was their junior champ at this point. Kuroda comes to the ring with an old lady holding a poster of him, and seems to be having a hard time keeping a straight face. Can anyone tell me what the story is there? Fujii shoots Kuroda to the floor to start. Back in the ring they clothesline each other to the mat. Tanaka trips Fujii so Mochizuki trips Kuroda, pulls him to the floor and kicks him. Fujii and Tanaka trade strikes. Fujii and Kuroda brawl up to the second floor while Mochizuki and Tanaka trade shots in the ring. Mochizuki puts on an armbar and points at Kuroda getting an incredibly long running start before hitting Fujii with a clothesline. Fujii tries to toss Kuroda off the balcony but chooses instead to drag him down the stairs. In the ring Mochizuki is still working over Tanaka’s arm. Kuroda rams Fujii into the ring post. Tanaka hits Fujii with a forearm in the corner. Kuroda tags in (there are tags in this match?!) and has a woman at ringside help him work over Fujii’s legs around the post. She seems to be someone important but my ignorant ass has no clue.
Tanaka tags in and they hit a double shoulder tackle. Tanaka hits elbowdrops for 2. Fujii sends Tanaka into Kuroda in the corner. He hits Tanaka with a leaping clothesline. Mochizuki tags in and hits Tanaka with a missile dropkick. He kicks Kuroda to the floor. Fujii hits Tanaka with a bulldog. Mochizuki kicks Tanaka’s chest for 2. Kuroda hits both opponents with clotheslines. He hangs Fujii on the top rope. Tanaka hits his opponents with a DDT and a stunner. Mochizuki gets double-teamed in the corner. Tanaka hits a stacker stunner for 2. Kuroda and Tanaka both hit flying elbowdrops for 2. Tanaka hits the Slide D for 2 when Fujii makes the save. Mochizuki hits a knee to the face. He keeps the pressure on with kicks and hits the Slide D on Tanaka for 2. Tanaka hits a brainbuster. Mochizuki hits the Twister. Fujii hits a chokeslam for 2. He drapes Tanaka over the middle rope and Mochizuki hits the Ikkakugeri. Fujii hits the Nice German for 2. Mochizuki kicks Fujii by mistake. Fujii clotheslines Mochizuki by mistake. Tanaka hits a forearm and Kuroda hits a clothesline on Fujii for 2. Tanaka unloads the forearms. Fujii hits a headbutt. Tanaka hits the roaring forearm for 2. He hits a brainbuster and the Slide D for the win at 13:02. The action was a little chaotic for my tastes but this was an undeniably fun match. Everyone plays nice after the match.
Susumu Yokosuka, Ryo Saito & Dragon Kid VS. Naruki Doi, Gamma & Yasushi Kanda [Number One Contenders Match]
The losers can never challenge for the Open the Triangle Gate Championship. Everyone brawls to start. Horiguchi & Kanda double-team Yokosuka in the ring. Horiguchi takes his spot outside the ring, allowing Kanda and Yokosuka to trade shoulder tackles. Kid hits Doi with a head scissors takedown. Doi hits a back elbow. Kid hits an armdrag. He hits another head scissors takedown. Saito and Gamma tag into the match. Gamma spits in Saito’s face. Saito gives Gamma the Angel’s Kiss. Saito swings Kid into Gamma. Kid takes Yokosuka down onto Gamma. Saito and Yokosuka are pulled to the floor, allowing Gamma to regain control. Kanda tags in and hits a back elbow for 2. Gamma hits a slingshot dropkick and Doi hits the Dai Bosou. Doi dropkicks Kid in the ropes. Gamma & Kanda double-team Kid. Doi hits a somersault senton for 2. Gamma tries to dribble water in Kid’s face but Kid puts Doi in the way. Kid hits the Déjà vu on Gamma. Saito hits Doi with a hurricanrana. Yokosuka clotheslines Kanda off the apron. Kid hits Kanda with a suicide dive. In the ring Kanda hits Saito with a powerslam for 2. Saito catches Kanda with a German suplex for 2. He ducks a box shot and hits a German suplex for 2. Gamma and Yokosuka fight over the cane. Gamma gets it and hits Yokosuka’s gut. Doi hits Gamma by mistake. Yokosuka hits Doi with a clothesline. Doi comes back with a spinebuster. Kanda hits Yokosuka with a swinging side slam.
Gamma hits the Gamma Special. Kanda hits a German suplex for 2. He hits a low blow. He climbs the ropes but Yokosuka crotches him. Yokosuka hits a super exploder and Saito hits a big splash for 2. Doi gets sandwiched with clotheslines. Saito hits him with two dragon suplexes for 2. Kid hits Yokosuka with the Dragon Rana by mistake. Gamma hits Kid with the Blitzen for 2. The Outlaw’z triple-team Kid. Gamma hits a facebuster for 2. Kid tries to hurricanrana Doi off of Saito’s shoulders on the top rope but gets powerbombed for 2. Kid hits Kanda with a stunner. Yokosuka sunset flips Saito, helping him German suplex Doi into Kanda. Yokosuka clotheslines Saito by mistake. Doi hits Kid with the Doi 555. He hits the Bakatare Sliding Kick for 2. Kid comes back with a crucifix bomb for 2. Kanda hits Doi with the box by mistake. Yokosuka hits a lariat and Saito hits a dragon suplex for 2 when Kanda takes out the referee. The referee clotheslines Kanda. Gamma tries to throw powder in the referee’s eyes but Saito blocks it and puts the bag of powder on Gamma’s head. Yokosuka hits Doi with a second ropes DVD for 2. He hits a lariat but Doi rolls forward for 2. Yokosuka hits another lariat. Saito and Yokosuka hit the Double Dragon Suplex and Kid hits the Dragon Rana for the win at 15:24. Good stuff from two teams that know each other well. Some of the bigger spots were repeated from earlier matches (mainly the Twin Gate match from the last PPV) but I can live with that.
Shingo Takagi & BxB Hulk VS. KENTA & Ishimori [GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Match]
Old Man NOAH reads the title match declaration. Hulk and Ishimori start. They trade holds on the mat. Hulk hits an armdrag. Ishimori hits a dropkick. Hulk hits another armdrag and a dropkick. Ishimori hits a head scissors takedown. Hulk bails so Ishimori fakes a dive. Takagi and KENTA tag into the match. KENTA unloads with kicks. Takagi unfazed until KENTA slaps him. Takagi hits a bodyslam and a kneedrop. Hulk tags in and hits a senton for 2. They trade shots until Hulk goes down. Ishimori tags in and hits a basement dropkick for 2. Takagi comes in and hits a DDT. Ishimori hits a dropkick on Hulk while hitting an elbow on Takagi. KENTA knocks Takagi to the floor. He kicks Hulk’s back repeatedly. Hulk returns the favor. KENTA hits a clothesline. He slaps Hulk across the face. Ishimori tags in and they hit a double back elbow for 2. KENTA tags in and puts on the Mark Nulty Special. Hulk gets to the ropes. Ishimori tags in and puts on a seated abdominal stretch. He pins Hulk for 2. KENTA tags in but Takagi shoots him to the floor. Ishimori hits Hulk with a bodyslam. KENTA comes in and hits a bodyslam on Hulk. He kicks Takagi off the apron. He hits a neckbreaker for 2. Ishimori tags in and hits a neckbreaker for 2. He hits a Cobra Clutch legsweep and buts on the Cobra Stretch. KENTA kicks Hulk’s chest for good measure. He tags in and hits a dragon screw for 2. Hulk hits a back heel kick but the challengers keep him from making the tag. Hulk bleeds from the face (from a KENTA kick to the nose) as he hits a springboard DDT. Takagi comes in and cleans house. He hits Ishimori with a DVD. He slams Ishimori onto KENTA during a double-team attempt. Hulk dives onto Ishimori on the floor. He hits KENTA with a gutbuster and a spear. He hits a senton for 2.
KENTA comes back with a vertical suplex, having busted Takagi’s lip open with a kick. Ishimori hits a dropkick off the top. He hits a handspring cartwheel kick for 2. Takagi hits the gutwrench toss. Hulk tags in and kicks Ishimori off his feet. He hits the EVO for 2. He hits a bodyslam and climbs the ropes. Ishimori cuts him off and brings him down with a hurricanrana. KENTA hits a powerbomb and Ishimori hits the Swanton Bomb. Hulk hits a tiger flip but Ishimori catches him with a guillotine DDT for 2. Takagi hits KENTA with what looks like an exploder on the floor. In the ring Ishimori bodyslams Hulk. He climbs the ropes but Takagi cuts him off and Hulk hits a leg lariat. They double-team Ishimori in the corner. They hit a Doomsday Leg Lariat for 2. Ishimori hits an enzigiri and a crucifix bomb on Takagi for 2 when Hulk makes the save. Ishimori hits a bodyslam but Takagi catches him with the Blood Fall and the Pumping Bomber for 2 when KENTA makes the save. The champs go for another Doomsday maneuver but KENTA knocks Hulk off the top and Ishimori hits Takagi with a hurricanrana for 2. KENTA hits Hulk with a superplex. He hits Takagi with a springboard dropkick. He hits a dropkick in the corner. He hits a side suplex for 2. Ishimori kicks KENTA’s face and dropkicks him into a back suplex from Takagi. Takagi hits a clothesline in the corner. He hits a second rope DVD but KENTA pops up. Takagi hits a lariat and the Last Falconry for 2. Ishimori hits Hulk with a dropkick. He hits a German suplex. KENTA hits the Busaiku Knee Kick for 2. Hulk kicks Takagi by mistake. KENTA hits Hulk with the Falcon Arrow. Ishimori keeps Hulk on the floor with a corkscrew press off the top. KENTA hits Takagi with a tiger suplex for 2. He hits the Go2Sleep. He kicks Takagi’s head three times for the win and the titles at 22:54. Watching Hulk and Takagi get PISSED after KENTA busted them open was great. The final exchange between Takagi and KENTA was epic. Some awkwardness keeps this from being classic but it was still a great way to spend twenty odd minutes.
CIMA VS. Masato Yoshino [Open the Dream Gate Championship Match]
CIMA’s gone neon blue! Yoshino became the most successful Brave Gate Champion by getting through CIMA’s challenge in the weeks leading up to this match. CIMA will become the most successful Dream Gate Champion if he gets by Yoshino here. CIMA puts Yoshino in the corner to start. Yoshino hits an armdrag. They go after each other’s arms. Yoshino gets a crucifix pin for 2. CIMA hits a shoulder tackle. Yoshino puts on an armbar. CIMA gets to the ropes. Yoshino hits armbreakers. He hits a legdrop on the arm. He hits a dropkick on the arm. They trade strikes, with Yoshino’s strikes targeting CIMA’s arm. Yoshino hits another armbreaker. He puts on a 3-in-1. CIMA gets to the ropes. CIMA punts Yoshino’s arm. He hits an arm whip. He wraps the arm around the rope and kicks it. The fight spills to the floor where CIMA takes a fan’s umbrella and abuses Yoshino’s arm with it. He slams the arm against the apron. He puts on a wristlock. He brings a chair into the ring, wraps it around Yoshino’s arm and hits an arm whip with it. I’m surprised I’ve never seen that before. He puts on an armbar. He rolls Yoshino into a complicated hammerlock. He rolls Yoshino up for 2. He yanks on the arm. He hits the Perfect Driver for 2. Yoshino puts on the Coumori on opposite sides of the same corner. CIMA hits a dropkick. Yoshino hits the sleeper slam. CIMA misses a knee kick and falls to the floor. Yoshino follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Yoshino hits the Ude Yoshino.
CIMA hits a superkick and a double stomp. He misses a dropkick but hits the Superdrol. Yoshino dodges the Venus and hits a swinging DDT. CIMA pops up and hits a double stomp for 2. Yoshino catches CIMA up top by hitting his arm. CIMA uses the same tactic to regain control. Yoshino counters a powerbomb to a hurricanrana. An obvious mistake leads to Yoshino falling to the floor. Back in the ring Yoshino hits the floating dropkick. He hits a springboard dropkick. CIMA hits the Schwein. Yoshino pops up and hits Another Space. CIMA hits the Venus, a superkick and the Tokarev. Yoshino counters the Crossfire to a sunset flip for 2. CIMA counters the Torbellino to a roll up for 2. Yoshino gets a crucifix pin for 2. He hits the Torbellino. CIMA escapes the Sol Naciente and hits the Schwein for 2. He sets Yoshino up top and yanks on the arm. He hits a super Neji to Hashi. He climbs the ropes but the Mad Splash hits knees. Yoshino puts on the Sol Naciente. CIMA kicks Yoshino’s arm to escape. He hits a superkick. Yoshino gets a roll up for 2. He hits the Lightning Spiral for 2. CIMA uses the momentum of another Lightning Spiral attempt to kick Yoshino’s face. He hits a second rope Schwein for 2. He hits Yoshino with the Torbellino. He hits the Mona Lisa Overdrive. He hits the Crossfire and holds on with the cross arm hold. Yoshino won’t tap so Doi throws in the towel. Yoshino agrees to quit at 29:54. It will take patience to get through the extensive arm work in the first half of the match, but it was necessary for the amazing second half to occur. This was intensely cerebral stuff, and I loved every second of it.
After the match Doi tends to Yoshino’s arm. CIMA gets Yoshino’s Dream Key, making him the most successful Dream Gate Champion to date. Doi gets on the microphone and reconciles with Yoshino, reforming Speed Muscle. Just in time too since Doi’s trios team can’t challenge for the Triangle Gate belts as of tonight. Typhoon mocks the heel love. Yoshino is still selling his arm through all of this. CIMA gives his post-match speech and asks Doi and Yoshino to shake his hand. They think about it but Gamma makes sure there is no peace between Typhoon and the Muscle Outlaw’z. There seems to be some friction between Speed Muscle and the rest of the Outlaw’z. Speaking of friction, Saito asks CIMA to be put into Dream Gate contention, going off of CIMA’s claim that he’ll accept any challenge. He leaves the ring and doesn’t pose with the rest of Typhoon to end the show. YAMATO attacks CIMA on his way to the back. That’s a whole lot to happen after the main event.
The show ends with Ryo Saito positioned for big things. He’s the number one contender for New Hazard’s Triangle Gate titles and seemingly the next in line to fight CIMA for the Dream Gate belt. He’s also firmly entrenched in the ongoing YAMATO drama which now involves Tanisaki. Speed Muscle has reunited but may be at odds with the rest of their faction. From a storyline perspective things are running hot, and from a match perspective this show was fantastic.
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