Home Wrestling Dragongate Kobe World Professional-Wrestling Pageant 2023 (July 2) Outcomes & Evaluate

Dragongate Kobe World Professional-Wrestling Pageant 2023 (July 2) Outcomes & Evaluate

Dragongate Kobe World Professional-Wrestling Pageant 2023 (July 2) Outcomes & Evaluate


JULY 2, 2023

Watch: Dragon Gate Community


This was as entertaining as a sub-three minute match may very well be. Sure, beneath three minutes. Clearly Dragongate was anxious about how lengthy the final two matches have been going to take. Each mixture of this match was intriguing. Fairly frankly, it was a poor transfer by Dragongate to not give this match extra time. This deserved 12 minutes, not 2. For what this was, it was nice. 

Dia pinned U-T with a DDDDT at 2:46 to win the match for his squad. ***


Jason Lee didn’t make his second profitable protection of the Open the Courageous Gate Championship. This win marks the primary time in ISHIN’s profession that he’d held a singles title. 

The dream of Jason Lee’s “PAC-esque” Courageous Gate run isn’t any extra. Lee, who has lengthy been top-of-the-line wrestlers on this planet and one of the best junior heavyweight not named Hiromu Takahashi, was rewarded after years of arduous work in Dragongate with a Courageous Gate run that started in March. It appeared like this is able to be the time for Lee to burst out in a serious means. He has change into Dragongate’s best secret, somebody that individuals “within the know” respect and adore, however not somebody who’s acknowledged outdoors of the fast Dragongate sphere. 

Lee efficiently defended his title towards Dragon Dia in Could in a match that was good, however didn’t final lengthy sufficient to actually be nice. I hoped that this is able to be an undeniably nice encounter that will put each Lee, and the surging ISHIN on the map, however as soon as once more it fell into the “good, not nice” class. 

ISHIN, wrestling’s first supernova, a second-generation star who follows within the footsteps of each his mom and father, each of whom have been former wrestlers, was in a position to seize singles gold for the primary time in his profession with this win. 

Whereas Lee has made a profession out of intricate, intensive technical wrestling, this was very cleary An ISHIN Match. Following within the footsteps of Dragongate’s energy juniors earlier than him, the supernova took glee in beating up the Hong Kong native en path to his title win. 

ISHIN notably kicked out of a Most Driver, one thing virtually nobody has finished earlier than. He dodged a Hong Kong Twister, and with that momentum all of the sudden on his facet, he finally planted Lee with a Swinging Scrapbuster. 

This match was not good, however the ending stretch was immensely satisfying. ***1/2 


Simply essentially the most disappointing factor on the cardboard, these 4 heavy-hitters went on the market and put forth a disjointed tag match that didn’t dwell as much as the potential that the names concerned dropped at the desk. 

Previous to this encounter, every little thing Kenoh had finished in Dragongate was golden. He was a nice addition to the roster and a uncommon occasion of an outsider seeming like he truly belonged within the promotion. This goes down as his worst outing but. It’s not that he did something mistaken – in truth, my large takeaway was that there was a ton of Kenoh/Kondo stuff left on the desk. 

This was disjointed and unusually lifeless. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it wanted extra time. Nothing about this match felt proper. Kenoh gained along with his signature Foot Stomp on Don Fujii. ***


For the second consecutive 12 months, comedy icon Konomama Ichikawa put out an open problem for Kobe World. 

This 12 months, four-time Open the Dream Gate Champion Shingo Takagi answered the decision. Takagi had been introduced for this present beforehand as a second for Hiromu Takahashi. This was every little thing you’ll need it to be. Takagi is a wrestling genius. There isn’t something he can’t do. Ichikawa is Ichikawa, and that continues to be a optimistic. This was a ton of enjoyable. NR


This win marks the primary profitable protection of the Open the Twin Gate belts for the M3K duo of Susumu Mochizuki & Yasushi Kanda. 

It’s arduous to imagine that Yasushi Kanda is a thriving Twin Gate Champion within the 12 months 2023. For almost 25 years, he frolicked losing away because the bottomfeeder of his unit. He’s reworked into an growing older hero of kinds, a stunning twist within the latter stage of his profession. Kanda was but once more nice right here, battling it out with Ben-Okay and surviving offensive onslaughts from BxB Hulk. 

This was a no-frills Dragongate encounter. Mochizuki hits arduous, Kanda hits arduous, Ben hits arduous, and Hulk hits arduous. Thus, you had a hard-hitting match between these 4. Very similar to the Courageous Gate match earlier within the night time, this began gradual however had a white-hot ending stretch. 

After a tope from Kanda eradicated himself and Ben-Okay from the bout, the match got here to an in depth with Mochizuki and Hulk within the ring. A collection of Jumbo no Kachi lariats didn’t put Hulk away, however a supercharged Yokosuka Cutter did the trick. With that, M3K retained the gold. ***3/4 


This dream match was greater than only a dream match. Relationship again to the All-Star Junior Pageant, which was produced by the LEC Company, YAMATO has railed towards New Japan Professional Wrestling and their followers for under utilizing Dragongate and different small promotions once they need assistance drumming up pleasure. In consequence, this match was positioned on Dragongate’s largest present of the 12 months. 

What we acquired from this highly-anticipated singles match was a match that didn’t dwell as much as the lofty ceiling that was positioned earlier than it, but additionally didn’t really feel like a disappointment. YAMATO and Takahashi had a powerful skilled wrestling match that dipped into their best hits in a satisfying means. Takahashi’s off-kilter, alternative-like charisma wouldn’t be doable with out the highway that Dragongate paved. His risk-taking, “act first, ask questions later” in-ring method feels way more in-line with the prolonged Dragon System Universe than it does Tatsumi Fujinami or Jushin Thunder Liger, the pillars of the New Japan juniors division. This match, if something, affords us an awesome piece of historical past and an intriguing “what if?” have a look at Takahashi in Dragongate. 

These two completely introduced it within the ultimate minutes of the match, with Takahashi hitting a Galleria, then YAMATO coming again and almost scoring the win with a Frankensteiner of the Almighty, all earlier than Takahashi lastly put the five-time Dream Gate Champion away with the Time Bomb II. ***1/2 


Pure Vibes didn’t make a profitable protection of the Open the Triangle Gate Championships. Gold Class are actually the 87th Open the Triangle Gate Champions in historical past. 

After quite a lot of matches that have been good however nothing to exit of your option to see, the Open the Triangle Gate Championship match introduced forth the greatness that you’d need out of the most important present of the 12 months. Every thing about this match clicked, particularly the interactions between Minorita and Massive Boss Shimizu. 

Shimizu has acted as an enormous thorn within the facet of Minorita since his debut two years in the past. At present, the pint-sized brawler sits at 0-5 all-time in singles matches towards the large man. That didn’t cease him from difficult Shimizu at each alternative on this match and as a rule, he got here out forward. 

Then, in fact, there was the Naruki Doi issue. Doi was an unique member of Gold Class. When he turned an unique freelance wrestler final September, he relinquished his tasks within the unit. This didn’t mark a return to the fold, however quite an unrequited partnership that was foisted upon Doi by each Gold Class and GM Ryo Saito. Within the ring, Doi was sensible. He’s been sensible all 12 months, ever since going freelance. It’s freshened him up each in Dragongate and elsewhere. 

Jacky “Funky” Kamei was one other shining star on this match, which is changing into par for the course. Kamei has developed a knack at 23-years-old for rising to the event in large matches. He’s one thing of a Robert Horry-like determine. Kamei would possibly by no means be the face of a unit and he would possibly by no means be a Dream Gate Champion, however Kamei continues to steal the present at any time when doable. He was absurdly nice on this match. Regardless of being small in stature, every little thing Kamei does feels large. He belongs in large rooms. He thrives on this surroundings. 

After Kamei cleared home with a dive to the ground, Kzy and Kota Minoura have been there to shut issues out. Minoura is certainly not an ideal wrestler, however he was unbelievable right here. He appeared just like the unstoppable, but attractive wrestler that Dragongate has all the time needed him to be right here. He shook off a DDT from Kzy and plastered him with a Jumbo Tsuruta-esque operating knee. That led to a Gang, which Kzy kicked out of, all earlier than a Hearth Thunder Driver, which ended Vibes’ night time for good. 

This was traditional trios motion in a means that solely Dragongate can do. It lived as much as the thought of what the Triangle Gate needs to be, a mix of in-ring types in an effort to search out essentially the most balanced crew. This was all of that. This, in brief, was nice. ****1/4


This win marked the primary profitable Dream Gate protection for Madoka Kikuta. 

Dragongate tried one thing, and I’m undecided they caught the touchdown. 

Madoka Kikuta was irrelevant on this present final 12 months. He had returned from a year-long absence in Could 2022, however had no fast path and had taken no steps, fairly frankly, in any path. He had change into a man on the roster and nothing extra. In August, he joined D’Braveness as an assistant – not even a full member of the two-man unit that featured each Dragon Dia and Yuki Yoshioka. In D’Braveness, he discovered goal. He thrived. He shortly gained momentum and have become a focus of the unit, profitable the Twin Gate belts with Dragon Dia after which seemingly rivaling Yoshioka in recognition in the course of the tail finish of Yoshioka’s Dream Gate run. The transformation he has undergone over the past 11 months has been absurd. It’s arduous to think about a time now when Kikuta wasn’t a focus of the roster. It occurred in a single day, and Kikuta labored to a degree that now he gained’t go anyplace anytime quickly. 

For the most important present of the 12 months, Dragongate went D’Braveness vs. D’Braveness, pitting the 2 largest and finest younger stars towards each other. I used to be an avid supporter of this match earlier than it was booked and shortly thereafter. This was the most important match that they had. It made sense to do it right here. The one situation is that the construct to this match didn’t work in the way in which that Dragongate needed it to. 

D’Braveness are ultra-babyfaces. There are not any shades of grey, nor heelish tendencies. That implies that even within the construct to this match, Kikuta and Yoshioka by no means strayed from the D’Braveness path. They maintained their good man standing all through, oftentimes teaming with each other even after it had been introduced that they have been wrestling one another for the large belt on the large present. 

It simply didn’t work. 

The match felt colder the nearer we acquired to it. It wasn’t the catastrophic failure that final 12 months’s Dream Gate construct was, however this will’t be thought of successful. 

When it was lastly time for Kikuta and Yoshioka to collide, they went large. They labored this prefer it was a Tokyo Dome predominant occasion. It was gradual and drawn out with each males choosing large strikes that echoed all through a sold-out Kobe World Memorial Corridor. They ditched a variety of intricate work that had been discovered of their prior Dream Gate matches. Yoshioka labored Kikuta’s leg with intense focus. Jae and Ho Ho on commentary put over how Kikuta wouldn’t have the ability to launch hip assaults with a bum knee. All of it made sense. It simply didn’t land. 

On no account was this a nasty match. The truth is, it was superb. It simply occurs to be the worst large match that both of those guys have had in a 12 months. 

The ultimate strike exchanges between these two have been electrical. They pummeled each other. Yoshioka countered Kikuta’s discus lariat with a Battle Hook. Kikuta countered Yoshioka’s Battle Hook with a lariat of his personal. Kikuta finally landed a Rolling Lariat, however Yoshioka kicked out a tick earlier than the rely of three. 

A ultimate, short-range lariat put the challenger away for good. 

How does one discuss a match that was good, however not so good as it wanted to be? D’Braveness has been the point of interest of the promotion since they shaped in January 2022, and Kikuta’s implementation to the group solely made their picture stronger. The D’Braveness explosion, nevertheless, will go down as a forgetful chapter of their bigger, grander story. ***3/4  


When Diamante made his Dragongate debut in 2019, I wrote, “Diamante appeared out of nowhere.” earlier than waxing poetically about his dimension and energy. 

It’s true. Having not adopted his prior haunts, whether or not it’s All Japan Professional Wrestling in 2018 or CMLL all through the early 2010’s, Diamante’s sudden debut in Dragongate got here as a shock. This was a month after Ultimo Dragon’s triumphant debut in Dragongate, and it turned clear instantly that Diamante, a tall and lanky luchador, was tailormade to work with the growing older legend. 

Initially regarded as somebody who would weigh large matches down, Diamante slowly reworked into maybe the only best Dragongate success story for a foreigner, edging out the transformations of PAC, Ricochet, and others. Diamante appeared clumsy and misplaced throughout his first few excursions with the promotion. Almost 4 years later, he’s thought of to be the Mexican Claudio Castagnoli, a genetic freak with unparalleled basing capability. Regardless of working as a heel throughout his total time within the promotion, Diamante has developed a powerful following. He’s the place the motion is. Issues are higher when Diamante is round. 

Every time Luis Meza, the true identify of the person behind the masks and presumed new ring identify for the Monclova-born luchador, makes his official debut in Dragongate, it is not going to be out of nowhere. It would have heaps of lore and emotion behind it. After an almost 40-minute, grueling cage match, Diamante was compelled to unmask in the midst of the ring on Dragongate’s largest present of the 12 months. Within the course of, Dragongate could have unlocked a future celebrity. 

The primary occasion of Kobe World was a grueling, violent endeavor that ended with Diamante, Ultimo Dragon, and many people in attendance, in tears.

The identical can’t be stated for this encounter, the second (or third, should you rely Masato Yoshino’s retirement match on Pace Star Remaining) non-Dream Gate match in historical past to headline Kobe World. In 2006, CIMA and Magnitude Kishiwada politicked their means into the primary occasion, happening after a Dragon Child vs. Susumu Yokosuka Dream Gate match that has garnered a a lot better illustration than the No Rope Match that went on final. 

This was no CIMA/Kishiwada. Regardless of wrestling custom pointing in favor of the world title match happening final on a present like this, nothing may’ve adopted this affair. Every thing about this match was laid out completely, and each notable spot appeared to register with the viewers. This match began with Diamante pouncing on Ultimo Dragon and ended with the 2 embracing in the midst of the ring. Factoring in every little thing in-between, this is among the perfect matches of the 12 months.

Normally reserved for the Lifeless or Alive pay-per-view in Could, Dragongate’s cage matches have garnered worldwide notoriety for his or her normal show of zaniness not discovered elsewhere in wrestling. This was not that. If you would like the usual affair Dragongate cage match, you’ll have to dig into the archives. This was a struggle, and simply essentially the most “conventional” cage match Dragongate has ever had, even when nothing about it was actually conventional. Ric Aptitude and Kerry Von Erich weren’t preventing for masks on prime of a cage, however they have been pummeling one another with strikes and brutalizing each other with the cage itself. Whether or not or not this match results in a Freebirds-like revolution of the territory is but to be seen. 

As anticipated, Ultimo Dragon escaped the cage first (though Dragon Child, who entered the match solely to guard Ultimo, did attempt to sneak out of the cage earlier than his mentor, which led to thunderous laughter). Finally, Dragon Child did what he got down to do. He protected the legend en path to getting his masks, and with that, the Ultimo Dragon legacy was secure. 

In what initially appeared like a humorous spot turned out to be a superb segue into the following part of the match, as Ultimo, now 56-years-old, couldn’t truly climb over the cage and onto the ground. He retrieved his masks after which climbed again down, with Dragongate officers opening the cage door for him. In that second, Z-Brats ran out, dumped weapons into the ring, and have been then chased off by Pure Vibes. The introduction of chairs and tables into this match upped the stakes much more. 

Dragon Child was subsequent out, surviving a centered onslaught from Diamante and finally utilizing the luchador’s personal energy towards him, as he was catapulted up into the air, solely to land excessive atop the cage, as solely Dragon Child may do. 

With the 2 elder statesmen out of the way in which, this match may concentrate on the three folks that really mattered. 

Diamante and Skywalker, former Twin Gate Champions in their very own proper, placed on a good looking and sensible double-team show on the wounded Sturdy Machine J. It appeared possible that the Z-Brats duo would beat him so badly that they’d have the ability to waltz to the highest of the cage, leaving him stranded alone and maskless. After blasting J with a conchairto, the heel crew headed to the highest of the cage. J, unwilling to go down and not using a struggle, met Skywalker on the prime of the cage and prevented him from escaping. Diamante, who was on their own in his nook, inches away from discovering a means out of this hellscape, dropped down and pulled each males down from Skywalker’s nook in an effort to help his stablemate. 

Nonetheless, it remained a glorified handicap match, and after Diamante’s save, it appeared like the previous Twin Gate Champions have been stronger than ever as a crew. One way or the other, J shook out of a Cielo Finale try and led a babyface comeback that made me imagine in all issues good on this planet. Masks ripped, overwhelmed past perception, and Sturdy Machine J was nonetheless preventing. 

After cracking Diamante throughout the cranium with a chair shot and slamming Shun Skywalker by way of a desk with a Sundown Flip Powerbomb, J raced to the highest of the cage and secured his household lineage. 

The 2-on-one part of the match was stunning. Sturdy Machine J has had a rocky highway to stardom. He battled a stale gimmick and accidents for a very long time, however the work Shun Skywalker has finished with him over the past 4 months has helped J attain a brand new echelon on the Dragongate roster. His efficiency getting out of the cage was heroic. In a wrestling world crammed with “shades of grey”, Sturdy Machine J’s escape to freedom represented heroism that solely wrestling is able to producing. 

Skywalker, now alone along with his companion, seemingly provided an act of gratitude in the direction of his fellow Z-Brats member. It appeared as if Skywalker, who had been saved by Diamante, who may’ve simply escaped, was going to sacrifice his masks in order that Diamante may escape. 

Then, as Dragongate Jae on commentary so aptly put it, Skywalker turned “a fucking snake”. 

The 2-time Dream Gate Champion yanked Diamante off the highest of the cage (probably reaggravating Diamante’s elbow damage from earlier within the 12 months) and commenced a focused assault on the person he as soon as shared a tag title with. 

I’ve a tough time pondering of one other character who has nailed each beat of his act over the past two years in the way in which Skywalker has. He misplaced the Dream Gate belt for the primary time on August 1, 2021 at Pace Star Remaining. He started descending into insanity shortly thereafter, turning his Masquerade companions towards him and finally costing Dragon Dia his masks with the intention to defend his personal. 

He ditched the purple & silver, donned the black & yellow, gained and misplaced the Dream Gate belt yet one more time, and has been the only most attention-grabbing factor on this promotion because the summer season of ‘21. His betrayal of Diamante was not a swerve for the sake of a swerve, however quite simply one other beat that Skywalker hit out of the park. His character, his battle with Sturdy Machine J, and his epic saga with Diamante all belonged on the most important stage Dragongate has to supply. 

Skywalker felt superior to Diamante all through the ultimate stage of this match. There have been moments the place Diamante appeared sturdy, however Skywalker was extra crafty than Diamante may ever think about being. Skywalker hit souped-up variations of his signature strikes, then tied the again of Diamante’s masks to the ring ropes, paving the way in which for a straightforward exit for the Gifu-native. 

Confronted with the proposition of both eradicating his masks to halt Skwyalker’s progress up the cage, or take care of the crushing defeat and subsequent unmasking, Diamante selected the latter. The ending, in a means, was efficiently anticlimactic. Skywalker, fairly actually, stood atop Diamante ultimately. It was soul-crushing. It was the type of factor that makes you need to crawl to Kobe and struggle Skywalker on behalf of Diamante. It was evil and unjust and excellent all on the identical time. 

Ultimately, Dragongate put forth their finest effort, creatively and bodily, in one in all their most unforgettable matches ever, on their largest present of the 12 months.

Skywalker, all the time keen to speak, grabbed the microphone after the mayhem was completed and blamed Diamante for letting Sturdy Machine J escape. That was met shortly with a dropkick from the wounded luchador, and a subsequent exit from the two-time Dream Gate Champion. 

Ultimo Dragon got here out to the ring subsequent, by Diamante’s request, and helped the person who he introduced into Dragongate unmask. I don’t begrudge any grown adults who shed a tear throughout this second. That is the form of stuff that solely Dragongate can do. These are the moments that make me push again on the “it’s not what it was once narrative”. CIMA wasn’t there, Shingo was within the again, and none of The Massive 6 have been current for Diamante’s unmasking, but it nonetheless hit that uncooked chord of human emotion that Dragongate sometimes strikes, like within the case of Uhaa Nation’s farewell ceremony or BxB Hulk getting his head shaved by Shingo. This all felt so actual and human and most significantly, humongous. 

That is solely the start for the artist previously generally known as Diamante. ****3/4

Remaining Ideas:

Dragongate closed their largest present of the 12 months with a cage match that needs to be seen to be believed. As soon as once more, Dragongate displayed uncooked human emotion in a world filled with phony appearing and faux-emotion. Diamante’s unmasking will go down as a without end reminiscence for a lot of Dragongate followers. It was, in brief, pretty much as good because it will get. Kobe World 2023 was not an ideal present, however that doesn’t imply that it didn’t have an ideal second.

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