I’ve spent the last few weeks showcasing select promotions in hopes of helping fans branch out. Funny enough, I have yet to cover the one that is, arguably, my favorite. Dragon Gate is a wrestling company with a rich history, a great roster, and a hybrid of styles that truly has to be seen. Some of you may already be semi-familiar with Dragon Gate. Perhaps it’s due to their workers appearing on TNA, ROH, and Wrestling Society X. Maybe it’s due to some of their talents now being in WWE (including Crews, Tozawa, Neville). Even so, few seem to follow the actual promotion. Let this guide help you, if you choose to allow use it.
Ultimo Dragon, yet that Ultimo Dragon, started the company decades ago under the name Toryumon Gym. When he left, during his shot run in WWE, the company changed up and became the Dragon Gate that it is today. The company specializes in a mixture of puroresu and lucha libre, creating fast hitting and quick paced matches. Ultimo may be gone, but he is still deep in the heart of the company. It’s worth noting quickly that Toryumon actually still functions separately.
Fans of American indie fed EVOLVE, who will be covered soon, also may have some knowledge of the promotion. Dragon Gate ran a side promotion, appropriately titled Dragon Gate USA, alongside EVOLVE a few years ago which saw DG talent working with indie names like Daniel Bryan and the Young Bucks. EVOLVE is now the main face of parent WWNLive now, but only truly due to DGUSA folding.
So, time to talk about the names who make Dragon Gate special. Nearly the entire roster is split into units, or factions. VerserK, a villian stable, is my favorite. It’s leader is Shingo Takagi, who I consider to be one of the most talented workers in the world. There’s also Tribe Vanguard with YAMATO and BxB Hulk, Over Generation with CIMA and Dragon Kid, The Jimmyz with Susumu and Saito, and MaxiMuM with Doi and Yoshino. Other names to know include vets like Fujii and Mochizuki, young workers like Yamamura, T-Hawk, and Big R, and freelancers like the amazing Flamita. The fact is, Dragon Gate sincerely is stacked with talent.
Since this is a brief introduction, let’s move on. How about we talk gold?
Dragon Gate features two singles champions, tag belts, and a trios title. The main honor is the Open the Dream Gate championship, which happens to be one of my favorite belts in wrestling. YAMATO is the current holder. The secondary belt is the Open the Brave Gate title, currently around the waist of Kagetora of the Jimmyz. Over Generation members, CIMA and Dragon Kid (CK1) are the Open the Twin Gate Tag Champs and MaxiMuM members Doi, Big R Shimizu, and Ben-K hold the Open the Triangle Gate belts. Dragon Gate also holds two main tournaments each year. King of Gate is a round-robin singles series, and there’s also the Summer Adventure Tag League for teams.
Dragon Gate’s big annual event is the Summer Kobe World festival show. Final Gate shows take place at the end of the year, and the insane Dead or Alive in May. Outside of those, they run several shows every month, ranging in importance. The biggest issue newcomers will have, admittedly, is going to be with the storylines. Longtime fans will see references at times to plots that are years old, and jumping in blind on some shows can be very confusing if you don’t know the story. Despite this, I still urge you to jump in somewhere. It’s well worth it, but perhaps ask me for further advice if you feel overwhelmed.
So, are you ready to start watching? If you are insistent of English commentary, check out DGUSA at WWNLive.com or on FloSlam. The only issue with that is going to be DGUSA closing down a few years back. If you don’t mind non-English options, the Real Hero Archive is easily the best source. Mix that with iheartdg.com if you need help following along. There are other ways, but these will be your best options.
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