Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #33: DG Cutting Edge Battle!! Catchup pt.1 (Featuring Content from Episodes 140-148)

 

Up first we have K-ness' retirement match which was simply fantastic stuff. They leaned into the style that they helped perfect and that DG is known best for (because of these guys, of course) and put in for a high speed, emotional tag team contest. I easily recommend this one not just to longtime fans of the company, but to newcomers as well that want to see a proper sendoff for one of Dragongate's vets.

EPISODE 140, OVERALL RATING: 85/100%


This episode featured a massive multiman match to determine which unit got to go after Jason Lee and a bit of a singles match (along with some other clips) to set it up.

Admittedly that singles match was fun, but too little short to rate.

The nine-man, three team main event was epic, though. If the K-ness retirement match was a showcase of the lucharesu vets, this was a showcase of the genre today. Chaotic, largely fluid insanity with a thousand cogs moving all at once. They were very creative with the finish too, giving us a unique and masterfully timed double-pin.

I can see this edition being polarizing, but I thought it was yet another top shelf installment that combined exciting in-ring entertainment and quality storytelling.

EPISODE 141, OVERALL RATING: 85/100%


Moving along, I next pulled this episode which saw Kota Minoura once again get to the finals of the King of Gate tournament, just to fall. Yuki was given the nod instead and he ran with it in a match that did well to remind fans that DG is always about progression.

We were given a look at clips of earlier tournament matches first, including a look at Skywalker besting the newly returned Eita. Lots of drama and excitement.

Next, they gave us a clipped down look at Skywalker and Yuki's semifinal battle which saw the latter work from underneath until the final moments. Good shit.

The other semi featured Kota besting Kondo. I really dig Kondo, by the way. I've been a fan of the dude for a long time now and feel he's vastly underrated. Not enough of it aired to rate, but the dude once again was generous and it all worked out well enough. Minoura and Z-Brats cheated along the way right up until the finish.

The finals were borderline great, though there was a very scary botch. It served as a nice piece of evidence that the future that DG has been building toward for the past couple of years is here and there's no looking back. Yuki was the right dude to win and they at least kept the heel stuff to a minimum here, given the circumstances.

While this wasn't an episode that I'd say is truly must-see for most wrestling fans, it was still an entertaining half-hour of content and featured a big moment that anyone interested in the product should see. If that's you, check it out. If not, skip.

EPISODE 144, OVERALL RATING: 75/100%


Next, we had a reunited Aagan Iisou taking on MsanK from episode 145. This just happened to be the debut of Mochizuki's kid and a tribute to Toryumon, too. As a huge fan of Mochizuki, I was all in here and they threw the kid right into the fire. I'm going to be keeping a close eye on this dude! The match itself was admittedly nothing super special, but it was fun and served a purpose and sometimes that's enough.

KAI stalled a lot in his match against Kondo. I loved seeing W1 get some love here because to be blunt I fucking miss Wrestle-1. Take a look at the earlier days of this site (and the old PWD group on FB) and you'll see that I used to watch a lot of stuff from them.

Oh well.

But yeah, KAI stalled a lot in typical puro heel fashion and then heel unit tactics took center stage, too.

DG is more than capable of using these tropes in a positive manner, providing for puzzle pieces that add to the overall contest without taking away anything. Here, that didn't happen. Instead, we had an overbooked mess that did neither man nor the belt any favors and a shit finish with Kota running in to top the shit sundae off with a sewage covered cherry.

I've been a bit split on KAI as Dream Gate Champion, but this proved to me that enough was enough. I'm thankful that he dropped it shortly after, at least.

Skip this episode unless you really hate yourself.

EPISODE 146, OVERALL RATING: 15/100%


me, after watching this fuckery

Seriously, fuck that episode. Also, why wasn't there a cage match this year at Dead or Alive? Lets move on...

M3K, and Mochi Jr. as a result, won gold quickly into their existence in pull nine as the unit put down NOAH's Perros faction at Kobe (doubling as a special 35th anniversary for Ultimo Dragon). While it feels a bit rushed, I'm cool seeing Susumu, Mochizuki, and Mochizuki Jr. as champs so it's a whatever situation. Clearly they have big hopes for Jr.

The match was okay, but admittedly below expectations and far from the palate cleanser that I was looking for. They did lean into M2K history and end it with a count out which is sure to be a turn off for some, too.

Watch for the result if at all. The episode, for those that care, also did feature a Brave Gate defense and Muto in action as well as Ultimo Dragon drama. I skipped those due to time and effort restraints but they might interest you more than they did me and it felt like I should mention it.

I close the set with a banger from Kobe as Kung Fu Masters' Lee and Jacky challenged Z-Brats' Diamante and Skywalker with the latter's Twin Gate straps on the line. This ended the wave of emotions and quality on a high note for sure as both teams dug deep to provide us with one of the best matches of the year.

They worked their asses off for just under 20-minutes of nonstop action full of nearfalls. If you must watch only one thing from this set, make it this one!

EPISODE 148, OVERALL RATING: 95/100%


This set was hit or miss at times but I found the hits to be knockouts. I strongly recommend matches 1, 3, and 10 from the list below. Thanks, as always, for watching. More to come.


RATINGS

  1. Kzy, Dragon Kid vs Knesuka ****
  2. Skywalker vs Lee NR
  3. Elimination: Natural Vibes vs Z-Brats vs HIGH-END ****
  4. King of Gate Semi: Skywalker vs Yuki ***1/4
  5. King of Gate Semi: Minoura vs Kondo NR
  6. King of Gate Finals: Yuki vs Minoura ***1/2
  7. M3K vs Aagan Iisou **1/2
  8. Open the Dream Gate Title: KAI(c) vs Kondo *1/4
  9. Open the Triangle Gate Titles: Perros del Mal de Japon(c) vs M3K **1/2
  10. Open the Twin Gate Titles: Z-Brats(c) vs Kung Fu Masters ****3/4