Views from the Hawke's Nest: Dragon Gate Infinity #324
Posted by TJ Hawke on 01.30.2014
Yoshino and Mochizuki have a MOTYC.
My interest in Dragon Gate has run hot and cold over the years. I love a lot of the wrestlers, but the story lines (the never ending stable warfare) and the promotion's wrestling style often leave me cold. Late 2011/early 2012 was the peak of my DG fandom, but a number of factors caused to stop paying attention. CIMA had just started another Dream Gate reign, and I could tell that was not going interest me much. Infinity switched from one hour every week to random three hour broadcasts. (The incredibly tight one hour television show was damn near perfect. The three hour shows were filled with a lot of fluff and dragged for me.) On top of all that, DG footage suddenly stopped being available. 2012 looked to be the start of a period of time where I may become obsessed with DG. Instead, my interest slowly trickled away until I basically stopped watching completely. However, I at least like to check in on them a few times a year just for change of pace. When I saw Jae and Alan4L put over this episode (and specifically, the main event) so strongly, I figured it would be fun to check back in.
Warning: I've become quite ignorant to DG story lines, and I have very little idea what is going on in the company beyond that Yoshino is the current champ. Please feel free to start a conversation in the comments so that this review can have more detailed info about what is going on.
Here are some great, must-read sites to help you with all things Dragon Gate: Open the Garoon Gate: Reviews of every single Dragon Gate related show/match. I Heart Dragon Gate: The absolute best coverage of Dragon Gate news and information. Open the Tumblr Gate: The Tumblr that collects great Dragon Gate and DGUSA related links and photos. Good times are had here.
Jimmy Kanda, Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Jimmy Kagetora vs. Don Fujii, Gamma, Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa
Kagetora immediately caught Stalker with a pinning combination: 1 2 3
I loved that so hard. Sadly, it was ruined by Stalker getting everyone to restart the match.
Kagetora almost beat him right away again. Stalker survived and wisely tagged out to Fuji. Stalker and Gamma hit stereo dives. The teams went back and forth a bunch. Kanda eventually caught Stalker with a bridging German: 1 2 3
Kanda was attacked by Naruki Doi after the match. They then cut promos on each other. I'm so out of touch with DG at the moment. I have no idea what that it was about. It's weird watching a promotion after not watching or even really paying attention to it for over a year.
This was a perfectly fine little match. It wasn't anything special, but it entertained me enough for the few minutes it had. Match Rating: **
Dragon Kid vs. Yosuke♡Santa Maria
Maria is the former Super Shenlong (third version). I have not seen him since he became an exótico.
Maria decided to make Kid uncomfortable by coming on to him. Has there ever been an exotico that did not do that? I'm all for characters that are transgender, but this is just defining a character by their sexuality/gender identity. Weak sauce. Why does everything not constituted to be "normal" have to be so defined by its "weirdness"? The majority of the match was Kid trying to avoid unwanted sexual advances from Maria. Maria eventually connected on a kiss that got him a nearfall. Maria then schoolboyed Kid by grabbing his balls for a nearfall. Kid caught him with a crucifix driver: 1 2 3
This kind of comedy does not appeal to me at all. However, if someone would like to explain to me how Maria's exotico portrayal does not make transgendered people into some strange "other," I would love to read some alternate opinions on the matter. Match Rating: 1/2*
K-ness, Super Shisa, & Kenichiro Arai vs. BxB Hulk, Mondai Ryu, & Kzy
After the teams went back and forth for a bit, Arai was eventually worked over by Mad Blankey. I can't believe some of these stables are still around. The tecnicos were eventually able to make a comeback. Shisa hit a wacky dive onto Kzy. The teams went back and forth. Arai wiped out Hulk with a dive. Shisa hit Kzy with a Code Red: 1 2 3
I enjoyed this a fair bit more than I expected. Of the people in the match, I've only ever had strong opinions on Hulk and Kzy, but everyone did their role well enough here to put on a good match. I know some of the other guys in the match are well-regarded, but I just haven't watched enough DG to have an opinion on them. Match Rating: **1/2
CIMA & Chihiro Tominaga vs. Kotoka & Ryotsu Shimizu [2 Count & 3 Escape Rules]
Other than CIMA, I have not seen anyone in this match in a really long time.
The teams went back and forth for a while. Kotoka and Shimizu managed to isolate Tominaga and work him over. Shimizu hit a Giant Swing. Kotoka accidentally gave Shimizu a high kick. CIMA finally returned to the match to save the day (Because he is CIMA). CIMA and Tominaga locked in stereo submissions. Kotoka tapped out to Tominaga's.
This match did not grab me in any way. If it served some greater purpose that I am not aware of, please inform me in the comments. Match Rating: *
Oh, it looks like the match was just there to get all these guys in the ring for a segment. Shimizu shook CIMA's hand after the match. Kotoka attacked CIMA. Shimizu was initially displeased, but he then attacked CIMA, too. Mad Blankey came out after the match. The disadvantage to not watching a company for a year is that you have no idea what's going on. Please help. It seemed that Mad Blankey was running down Kotoka and Shimizu. Kotoka and Shimizu then turned to CIMA for help seemingly. It seems that those three ended up aligned somehow after the match. I should really see how Jae explained this segment. Go to I Heart Dragon Gate for more information on all of this.
Akira Tozawa & Shingo Takagi vs. T-Hawk & U-T
This is an AWESOME matchup.
I don't know what happened to Tozawa's hair, but he should definitely lose DG's annual luchas de apuestas cage match this year. U-T was getting worked over for a bit. That did not last too long. T-Hawk tagged in, and the back and forth action commenced. There some half-hearted nearfalls. Tozawa hit T-Hawk with a tope suicida. Takagi went for Made in Japan on U-T, but U-T had an answer for that. Shingo caught him with a wheelbarrow German and sliding lariat for a neafall. Takagi killed him with the Pumping Bomber: 1 2 3
This was basically a Smackdown version of what I imagine these two teams are capable of. There was so much talent in the ring that I was easily entertained by it, but I know they can do better one day (if they already have not). Match Rating: ***1/4
YAMATO, Naruki Doi, Cyber Kong vs. Jimmy Susumu, Ryo "Jimmy" Saito, Mr. Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin
I really cannot get over that the Jimmyz are still together.
This match started as a brawl all over the building. They brought it back to the ring quickly enough though. The teams went back and forth. They did some gaga, but it was not overwhelming. Susumu was kind enough to take off his shirt for this match. I guess I have not seen him in Japan in a while. YAMATO is YOUR heel in peril. Eventually, the rudos isolated Dolphin and got the heat on him. The tecnicos eventually made a comeback as tecnicos are wont to do. Susumu and YAMATO squared off. Susumu hit the Jumbo No Kachi, but Doi made the save, My DG moveset knowledge is so rusty. The rudos avoided a stereo submission attack. The teams went back and forth. There were a bunch of movez. I forgot how I do not really like DG tag style. There was a schmoz with Kzy and another Jimmy. I guess it was Kanda? Susumu caught Doi with the Jumbo No Kachi: 1 2 3
There was a segment with the referee chewing them all out after the match. Again, visit I Heart Dragon Gate for more on that. Is this me being lazy or am I just comfortable enough with my product ignorance that I rather you all just go to the most informed source? Both. It's definitely both.
I think this is the exact kind of match that always made me feel cold to Dragon Gate. Granted, I'm sure if I was more invested in the product, I would have cared more about this match. However, I'm not invested in the product, and this match did very little to engage me. There were enough fun moments to make it enjoyable enough though. The match isn't bad, but the style just does not do it for me sometimes. Match Rating: **3/4
Mochi blocked an early tope suicida attempt and then hit a moonsault to the floor. This is serious! Mochi was in control for a while and even hit Sankakugeri to the Face when Yoshino was on the apron. Yoshino came right back though with a moonsault to the floor. Yoshino was in control for a while after that. Mochi fought back. He delivered a devastating combination of kicks to his head. He was too weak to make a cover though. They did a killer back and forth sequence of reversals that ended with a Twister from Mochi: 1 .2 NO! Yoshio came back with a slingshot Slingblade. That looked sloppy and nasty. Yoshino got a nearfall with a Lightning Spiral. He then hit Torbellino and locked in Sol Naciente. Mochi just got to the ropes. Yoshino went for a super version of something, but Mochi avoided it and hit a superplex. He connected on High Kick. Yoshino hit another Torbellino. Mochi reversed Sol Naciente into a pinning combination for a brilliant nearfall. Yoshino came back with a folding powerbomb, but Mochi reversed it into a cross armbreaker. He couldn't get it extended though. He transitioned into a triangle choke. Yoshino went for the Rampage Powerbomb. He failed, but Mochi had to break the hold. Mochi hit the High Kick again: 1 2 NO!!! I thought that was it. I love not being spoiled for wrestling. Yoshino avoided a German, but he ate a superkick and Sankakugeri to the Face: 1 2 NO! Yoshino came back with the lariat of his life. It was massive. He then hit his missile dropkick twice in a row. The second time was to the back of the head. Yoshino looks like a killer right now. He followed that up with a super driver of some kind: 1 2 NO! Wow. He then locked in Sol Naciente again. I'm pulling for Mochi so hard despite Yoshino looking awesome in this match. Mochi showed FIGHTING SPIRIT, but he was forced to tap out.
Well, this pretty much lived up to the hype. As usual though for most DG singles main events that I have seen, they did not do a lot of storytelling in terms of what moves they worked and when they worked. For instance, Sol Naciente is an arm submission, but I don't think Yoshino ever tried to work the arm throughout the match. However, the crowd was so hot for it that the dynamic of the match did not really call for that kind of attention to detail. Mochizuki looked half his age here (which is funny, because he worked the pace of a man twice his age on his last DGUSA weekend), and I would have been ecstatic to see him win back the title at this show. I cannot deny though that Yoshino looked brilliant here. He seems to have regained his mojo, and I would definitely be interested in certain title defenses from him going forward. Seek this match out. Match Rating: ****1/2
Overall Thoughts: The main event alone makes this a thumbs up episode of wrestling television. It's the type of match that you should absolutely check out if you're even remotely interested in non-WWE wrestling. The rest of the episode did not do much to increase my willingness to watch DG, but I may check in on it more this year than I originally planned.