Thursday 18 July 2013

Dragon Gate Kobe World 2013 Preview By Shaun Nichols

The Kobe show is classed as Dragon Gate's biggest show of the year and the promotion itself is having a really strong year. Thanks to USTREAM now airing DG iPPV's it now makes much easier to keep up to date and even watch the big shows live.

The main event sees CIMA defending the Open the Dream Gate title against Shingo, CIMA is attempting to make his 16th successful defence of the title since dethroning Maasaki Mochizuki at Final Gate 2011. Despite being champion for over 18 months his title run doesn't appear to being showing much sign of fatigue and he's still very popular.

Shingo is the leader of the akatsuki stable which haven't been altogether that successful. Although he did manage to win the Twin Gate titles with YAMATO which only led to YAMATO turning on him saying he was sick and tired of carrying Shingo. Since then Shingo has been on a major role and won the latest CIMA Royale to win this opportunity. This is also Shingo's first singles title shot at CIMA, as his only previous attempt was in a 3 Way Elimination alongside BxB Hulk at Final Gate 2012.

This could go either way and should be a great match, I've got a feeling that we might see a title switch setting up the former akatsuki partners battling for the title in the second half of 2013.

Twin Gate champions Akira Tozawa and BxB Hulk defend against Naruki Doi and Ricochet, the Tag Titles have been bouncing around quite a lot this year. The Mad Blankey duo are the fourth team to carry the belts this year. They won the belts last month following YAMATO's turn on Shingo and this will be their first defence.

Doi & Ricochet are two of the big stars in the World-1 International group and Ricochet especially has had a very good 2013 which included winning the King of Gate tournament. They have both got experience of being successful in the tag team scene (Doi with Masato Yoshino, Ricochet with CIMA) but I can't see the two big stars of Mad Blankey losing in their first defence.

The second big singles match is YAMATO facing off in a No DQ match against Maasaki Mochizuki, this as the potential to be a really great match. Since his turn, YAMATO has joined up with Mad Blankey so don't rule out lots of outside interference especially considering the stipulations.

YAMATO is also now doing a gimmick where he says he's the coolest and sexiest wrestler in DG and it's nice to see him back being put in a prominent position again. Of course this attitude hasn't sat particularly well with the no-nonsense Veteran Army leader Mochizuki. Both these wrestlers are excellent and I expect to see a very enjoyable affair leading to a YAMATO win probably through some kind of shenanigans.

Masato Yoshino is defending the Open the Brave Gate title against K-Ness. K-Ness seems to be around for a little while and then disappears for months at a time. But he looks to be back and in pretty good shape and got great reviews for his title challenge against CIMA earlier on in the year.

Yoshino has had a pretty average year until he dethroned Dragon Kid to win the title in an absolute show stealer at the Dead or Alive iPPV. Yoshino will be the favourite to retain but Dragon Gate have done a good job in making K-Ness into a strong and viable contender. He's even brought back the Sol Noches El move which basically is a counter to Yoshino's Soi Naciente submission move, which he used when they met in a recent tag team match to earn a victory for his team. Saying that though I'd still favour Yoshino to leave Kobe with his belt intact.
Open the Triangle Gate match sees current champions The Jimmys, represented by Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi and Jimmy Kanda defend against the Veteran Army of Don Fujii, Dragon Kid and Gamma and also Mad Blankey team of Kzy, Mondai Ryu and Uhaa Nation.

This is your typical DG faction warfare in the setting of the six man tag, this will be a whole kind of fun and The Jimmys (which means Simple in Japanese, so it's meant as an insult) are incredibly popular especially Horiguchi doing the H-A-Gee-Mee (bald) rallying gimmick when he's in trouble.

This really could go in any direction and probably depends more on how the rest of the show will be booked, I'd go for either The Jimmys or the Veteran Army being victorious.

As for the undercard we have legendary job guy Stalker Ichikawa getting his routine beating from an outsider to the group. This year he's facing ageing Yoshiaki Fujiwara (yes, him of the armbar) in a submission match. It will have its moments and be very funny and then Stalker will tap out.

Opening the show is Super Shisa, Rich Swann & Shachihoko BOY (World-1 International) facing akatsuki team of Super Shenlong III, Chihiro Tominaga and Kotoka. This is really just getting a spot on the card and have fun opener with lots of nice dives and other highspots to get the crowd into the show. Don't think it really matters who wins here.

Finally rounding off the card is Jimmy Susumu, Jimmy Kagetora & Mr Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin (formerly Naoki Tanizaki) battling the random team of HUB (look out for the tail), Cyber Kong and NOSAWA Rongai. This again will probably be an entertaining match but lacking a clear story or reason to care all that much.

The top five matches all have either titles on the line or in the case of YAMATO vs. Mochizuki a clear story to tell so they all have reasons for fans to take a keen interest in the results. More importantly though is that I can't see these matches not delivering in the ring.

This show should be well up in contention when it comes to Card of the Year thoughts, I would encourage any fan to consider buying the show. The event takes place on Sunday 21st July and is available to buy for $25 (approx. £18 so not much different to WWE PPV cost) and will start at 7am UK time although it will be available on video on demand.

Also if you haven't checked out Dragon Gate's last major iPPV event 'Dead or Alive 2013' then I urge you all to do so. It was a brilliant show with four matches at least **** or better. Simply a great wrestling show.

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