1. KAGETORA and RYOMA vs. Akira Tozawa and Kenshin Chikano - 2
A decent, plucky, although dispensable, start to the show. There was effort and some crowd support, but story was tossed aside for sheer volume of spots. Kenshin did some crisp kicks. Tozawa dumped RYOMA dangerously on his head with a compact German suplex. RYOMA was not to be outdone, later hitting a breathtaking Tope Con Hilo to the floor.
2. Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii, and Magnitude Kishiwada vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Takashi Okita, and Kento Miyahara - 4
There was a lot to like in this one, Fuji's lucha-inspired work, Masaaki stepping up to show the young Kensuke boys how to work snug, Kishiwada's mask squeezing his enormous head, and of course, Nakajima. Mochizuki got his team the victory with a pin on Okita after a barrage of kicks.
3. Susumu Yokosuka and Gamma vs. Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi - 3
They gave this some time, but it never truly got off running, albeit sputtering with life at moments. The heels worked an extended heat segment on Gamma, which while it worked with moderate success on me at home, didn't seem to echo much sympathy from the live crowd. Gamma hit a Skytwister Press on Horiguchi, but Saito broke up the subsequent pin attempt using a blue, plastic box as a foreign object. Besides the box, a laughable weapon choice at best, the match also saw use of a kendo stick and mist. It felt like a placeholder match in the overall scheme of their feud.
4. Masato Yoshino vs. CIMA - 5
CIMA looked pretty good, in this, his big return match. His facials are still some of my favorites, with his big, expressive eyes. This went short of twenty minutes, but built decently, with a couple really choice spots. Yoshino's "Octopus Hold" makes me want to eat some octopus--perhaps I've been watching too much Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel. Masato's selling is hit-or-mess at best. A lot of times, he does this really grandiose sell where he'll sort of sit up stunned like he just awoke from a cocoon. It works on occasion, but can be done to overkill. The rest of his sells are shoddy, often looking like his underwear is chaffing and he's mildly aggravated instead of genuinely in pain. The finishing sequence was hot and CIMA got the win after coming from the top turnbuckle with double knees onto a fallen Yoshino.
5. Shingo Takagi, Dragon Kid, and Taku Iwasa vs. BxB Hulk, Naoki Tanizaki, and PAC vs. YAMATO, Yasushi Kanda, and Kenichiro Arai - 4
This was fun in that train wreck kind of way. So many people in and out, hard to tell a coherent story, but we did get crazy, super fast spots in spades so at least it was entertaining drivel. PAC did more flying than Delta Airlines and it all looked swank. Everyone brought a little something to the dance: Dragon's smoothness, Arai's jumpsuit (looked like he just got done changing someone's oil), Shingo's intensity, BxB's homoerotic longings, YAMATO's well... nevermind. Kenichiro got absolutely fucking killed by taking a reverse hurricanrana while he was sitting on top of Takagi's shoulders, and did I mention, Takagi was sitting on the top turnbuckle? Ouch!
6. Cyber Kong vs. Anthony W. Mori - Mask vs. Hair Match - 5
Cyber Kong does a Warlord-like character and for a guy who inducted the Powers of Pain into our HoF you know I can dig that. I enjoy the psychology of a big guy vs. little guy match when done well. Kong did a German suplex to Mori while he was sitting in a chair. If anyone in high school is reading this I suggest you try that to someone in study hall. A bunch of people run in and there's a ref bump and things get wacky. Match re-starts and Mori fights for his life using a triangle choke but Kong's powerful enough to lift him up and destroy him with a Running Lyger Bomb for the victory. Afterwards saw Cyber Kong delight in shaving Mori balder than a Buddhist monk. I've been feeling a good haircut lately myself--anyone got Kong's pager number?
7. Naruki Doi vs. Koji Kanemoto - 7
This was a good main event to one of the biggest Dragon Gate shows to date. It had a real interesting dynamic, basically, Koji was wrestling the next generation’s equivalent to what he personified in the 90’s. Koji was the brash, not afraid to kick you straight in the fucking face, high-flyer of NJPW back then and Doi is trying to build a similar mantra for himself. Koji just whips Naruki’s ass for large batches of this, just real, mean, hurtful kicks and strikes, etc. Naruki gets the occasional hope spot, but as a rule of thumb, Kanemoto ignores a lot of Doi’s offense making the conscious effort to swat it away or just blow it off completely.
This match had the best facials of the night. Doi sells like he’s doing a Popeye the Sailorman impersonation, one eye tightly closed, etc. Koji looks unruly, like Cletus Spuckler from The Simpsons with a bad goatee. Koji, at one point, having just hit Doi with something big, is seen in a close-up giving this subtle confident smirk that was so money. This isn’t New Japan, it’s Dragon Gate, and the homegrown boy does good as Doi rallies for the win.