Top: The white version of the logo
Bottom: The black version of the logo
|Founded||July 5, 2004|
|Headquarters||Kobe, Hyogo, Japan|
|Sister||Dragon Gate USA|
Dragon Gate UK
|Number of employees||50|
|Website||Official Japanese Website|
Dragon Gate Inc. (DRAGONGATE株式会社 Doragon Gēto kabushiki-gaisha) operating as Dragon Gate Pro-Wrestling (ドラゴンゲートプロレス Doragon Gēto Puroresu) and often referred to as Dragon Gate (ドラゴンゲート Doragon Gēto), is a Japanese professional wrestling promotion formerly known as Toryumon Japan. It stayed behind after Último Dragón left Toryumon and took the name and rights with him in 2004 Most of Dragon Gate's wrestlers were graduates from Último Dragón's Toryumon Gym, and thus the promotion is based on a Junior Heavyweight style with varying emphasis on high flying maneuvers, flashy technical grappling, and submissions. Takashi Okamura served as has served as the President of the promotion since it's creation until Nobuhiko Oshima took over the presidency of the promotion, after Okamura left the promotion on May 7, 2018. Toru Kido serves as the President of Dragon Gate Entertainment a parent company formed to take over all domestic operations. Shortly after, the attenaence for the shows in 2018 started to decrease, especially in the Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival. In 2019, Dragon Gate celebrated its 20th anniversary, culminating with Último Dragón making his return to the promotion and becoming a senior advisor for the promotion.
Since its creation, Dragon Gate is one of a few promotions to be broadcasted by GAORA. Dragon Gate is arguably the second largest wrestling promotion in Japan, in terms of attendance and revenue. Dragon Gate has also engaged in working agreements with other promotions around Japan, including DDT Pro-Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH, and New Japan Pro Wrestling, and also around the world, including AAA and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Dragon Gate's biggest event is the Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival, which celebrates the anniversary of Dragon Gate.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Roster
- 3 Broadcasters
- 4 Championships
- 5 Tournaments
- 6 Affiliates
- 7 Events
- 8 External links
Overview[edit | edit source]
History[edit | edit source]
Establishing in Japan (2004–2005)[edit | edit source]
In early June 2004, it was announced that Ultimo Dragon, who just returned from a one-year stint with WWE, leaving the Toryumon Japan promotion and taking the Toryumon name since he owned the rights. The last show was promoted under the Toryumon name that took take place at the fifth anniversary show "Vo Aniversario" at World Memorial Hall in Kobe on July 4. Takashi Okamura, was serving as the Director of Toryumon Japan while Ultimo was in WWE, then he announced that the promotion would continue on independently as Dragon Gate.
Naming the promotion Dragon Gate was itself taken from the meaning of the word Toryumon itself. The word was coined after the homonym that is translated as climbing up dragon gate, which means the gateway to success.
Following the split, Dragon Gate immediately went on to work, launching the Every Day Pro Wrestling project. As part of the Fuji Television "Adventure King" as an attraction in Tokyo, Dragon Gate wrestlers would wrestle two shows per day throughout July and August, often having two or three matches per show. They would hold the larger scale "Premium" shows once a week during this time. The project was a success and it brought in new fans to Dragon Gate and wrestling in general. They would hold a second in 2005, which further increased the fanbase.
The promotion reached a very intriguing predicament by the end of 2004 and going into the start of 2005 as several key wrestlers left, either by their own or by being fired. Those who left were Milano Collection AT, SUWA, TARU, and the entire Aagan Iisou unit, the latter group has been the main heels of the promotion. Also, the highly popular and revolutionary Crazy MAX unit had folded due to SUWA's departure. Following a bad period in the month of January in 2005, company ace CIMA would turn heel and start a new unit called Blood Generation that got the promotion back on track.
International expansion (2005–2015)[edit | edit source]
That year also saw the foundations for expansion outside of Japan, a very ambitious concept for a company that was nearly a year into its independent existence. CIMA, along with first Dragon Gate trueborn's graduate Shingo Takagi, traveled to the United States to wrestle in ROH. In November, they ran a show in Kanan, China that drew 3,500 attendance, setting the creation of plans to run shows in the United States and South Korea. Also in November, Mexican gaijin Vangelis and King Shisa, who would later reveal to be Pentagon Black, appeared in Dragon Gate and were followed by American gaijin Jack Evans and Roderick Strong. This would set the tone for the promotion, previously under isolationist principles, for the most part, opening their doors to outside talent from 2006 onward.
Dragon Gate sended talent to ROH and PWG in 2006 where they immediately won the heart of American fans, through which produced the legendary Blood Generation vs. Do FIXER in a six-man tag team match on March 31, 2006 in Chicago Ridge, Illinois that won acclaimed and earned Match of the Year honours of the Wrestling Observer as well as a prestigious five-star rating from its chief editor Dave Meltzer. In addition, Dragon Gate would a start series of events called WrestleJAM, bringing together wrestlers from Japan, America, and Mexico to celebrate and showcase their in-ring styles.
On January 6, 2008, CIMA announced at the end of a PWG show that Dragon Gate would be running their first US show in Los Angeles later that year. It would take place on September 5, 2008, in Bell Gardens, which they followed with a show in Waikiki, Hawaii the next day. This would lay the expansion for the launch of Dragon Gate USA the following year. Also in 2008 since Naoki Tanizaki's return to the promotion, Dragon Gate started to allow their wrestlers to compete elsewhere in Japan.
Despite an unfortunate incident that was made public in mid-2009, Dragon Gate continued to grow stronger than ever with increasing fanbases in Japan and in the United States following the first Dragon Gate USA show on July 25 in the former ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Furthermore, they ran the first of what would become the annual visits to Europe, in particular, the United Kingdom, in October and November, later it was created a sister promotion called Dragon Gate UK that increased the fanbase in Europe including BxB Hulk making the first ever title defense of The Open The Freedom Gate Championship in Japan on December 12 against Susumu Yokosuka. Dragon Gate also produced one show in Barcelona, Spain in October 2009 named Open the Spanish Gate. Later, in 2014, Dragon Gate held its last show in the UK and since then it wasn't held any shows in the UK. On August 15, 2015, Dragon Gate ended its expansion in the USA in order to Gabe Sapolsky to focus more on Evolve.
Open The Dream Gate Championship accident (2015)[edit | edit source]
On July 21, following the Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival, it was reported that Open The Dream Gate Championship has been lost. Following this, it was immediately reported to the police the incident. All championship titles were locked in aluminum suitcases. All titles were found, except for the Open The Dream Gate Championship which as declared stolen. The situation was declared to be further investigated and Takashi Okamura made the highest priority finding the championship, leading to the promotion ordering a new title.
Dragon Gate restructure and return of Último Dragón (2018–Present)[edit | edit source]
It was reported, in October Okamura became sick and he would perhaps retire by the end of the year. During the period of Dragon Gate USA, Okamura and Nobuhiko Oshima always had discussions over the International expansion of Dragon Gate, but Okamura was not concerned Internationally but only in Japan. He also wasn't fully committed on the partnership with Oriental Wrestling Entertainment. On March 21, 2018, at Memorial Gate in Wakayama, Dragon Gate announced Dragon Gate Network, a new streaming site for the promotion's events.
On May 7, Takashi Okamura announced his withdrawal from the promotion due to medical issues. As a result, it was formed a parent company called "Dragon Gate Entertainment, Inc." where Toru Kido was appointed as president and would also serve as executive director of the promotion. Kido would also take over all domestic operations, while Nobuhiko Oshima would take over the role of president of "Dragon Gate Inc.", the international department of the promotion with the Headquarters in Shangai, China. Oshima would bring with him three wrestlers from the promotion to work for Oriental Wrestling Entertainment in Shanghai, China, where they would be signed Dragon Gate Entertainment. Dragon Gate would be based in Shanghai, with the purpose of being coordinated with Oriental Wrestling Entertainment and other international bookings. Dragon Gate would solely focus on Japan. Kido also created a board of directors to turn the company over with Masato Yoshino, Yoshiyuki Saito and Takayuki Mori taking part in it. There were some reports claiming that Dragon Gate had a formal split with Oshima and Kido having two sides, despite Kido denying them.
On July 22, it was also announced that Dragon Gate would hold live events in Hong Kong on October 22 and 23 and later securing a venue to run regular events. The shows would also be streamed on the Dragon Gate Network. On December 26, Dragon Gate announced a television deal with MBS TV, beginning on January 9, 2019, with the creation of a new program called Cutting Edge Battle Dragon Gate. Each episode would be 30 minutes long and would air at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. On February 10, Dragon Gate held their last show in the Hakata Star Lanes, before the arena being demolished.
From the beginning of 2019, Dragon Gate started celebrating its 20th anniversary when the promotion was founded as Toryumon Japan. Throughout the celebration, various wrestlers who worked for the promotion in the past or graduated as part of the Toryumon classes, which included wrestlers who worked for its splinter promotions part of the Dragon System such as Toryumon 2000 Project returned to the promotion such as Shuji Kondo, Takuya Sugawara, Toru Owashi as part of the celebration. The celebration culminated on July 21 at Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival, with the founder of the promotion Último Dragón making his return to the promotion. Afterwards, Drágon returned to the promotion full-time, while also becoming a senior advisor.
On October 1, it was announced that Cutting Edge Battle Dragon Gate would change the airing schedule from 2:30 a.m. on Wednesdays to 2:50 a.m. on Sundays. On December 4, Dragon Gate unveiled its new logo, while also announcing that Dragon Gate Entertainment Inc would be changing its name to DRAGONGATE Inc., as part of a plan to expand the fanbase for the company into overseas markets. On January 31, 2020, Dragon Gate produced the Toryumon Reunion show, which featured the return of various wrestlers that graduated from the Ultimo Dragon Gym classes. The following day, Dragon Gate announced a working relationship with American promotion Major League Wrestling (MLW), which would include a talent-exchange between the two promotions.
On March 1, Dragon Gate began canceling events starting with the Glorious Gate tour between March 3 and March 8 and the March 13th show, including a show on March 5 in the Korakuen Hall. Initially, it was announced that the Glorious Gate would be resumed on March 14, however, the tour ended up being canceled, following the recommendations by the Japanese Ministry of Health regarding the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, other wrestling promotions began to cancel or postpone their shows in an attempt to prevent further spreading of the COVID-19 virus. On March 11, it was announced that the Memorial Gate in Wakayama would be postponed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 22, Dragon Gate began holding shows behind closed doors with no audience and only essential staff present. Four days later, Dragon Gate canceled more events from March 28 through March 31. This led to on March 30, Dragon Gate canceling more events from April 4 through April 8. On April 8, Dragon Gate canceled more events including 2020 Dead or Alive, following Japan's declaration State of Emergency. On May 11, Dragon Gate canceled more events from June 2 through June 10. From May 15 to June 7, Dragon Gate held the entire 2020 King of Gate behind closed doors with no audience and only essential staff present, leading all Dragon Gate programming being relocated to the Kobe Lapis Hall. The format of the tournament was changed to a singles elimination tournament for the first time in four years, due to COVID-19. On June 3, Dragon Gate canceled all of its June events between June 13 through June 29. Six days later, it was announced that the July 9 event would also be canceled. On June 12, Dragon Gate announced the rules and regulations for fans who attend Dragon Gate events. On June 17, it was announced that the 2020 Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival would also be postponed. It was also announced that starting on July 4, Dragon Gate would be resuming shows with fans after the Japanese Government lifted the State of Emergency. On July 2, it was announced that the Memorial Gate in Wakayama event would be rescheduled to take place on August 2. On August 15, it was announced that the 2020 Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival would be rescheduled to take place on November 15.
On September 9, Dragon Gate in partnership with LEC Corporation announced the creation of a new program titled dragongate, with the name being in lower-case to denote the show's difference from the Dragon Gate main roster. The program will be available on the Japanese version of Amazon Prime, with the first volume starting on September 10. On December 27, Dragon Gate announced a collaboration with Okinawa-based promotion Ryukyu Dragon Pro-Wrestling for the "DRAGONGATE FUTURE" project.
Roster[edit | edit source]
Since the promotion started to run independently in 2004, Dragon Gate has functioned on having a vast majority of its roster aligned with one unit or another. There are generally multiple factions active at one time.
Staff[edit | edit source]
|Katsuya Ichikawa||Play-by-play commentary and backstage interviewer|
|Naoto Kikuchi||Ring announcer|
|Shoki Ono||Ring announcer|
|Takayuki Yagi||Referee and general manager|
|Toru Kido||Senior managing director|
President of Dragon Gate Entertainment
|Yatsuka Nakazawa||Dragon Gate Records|
Broadcasters[edit | edit source]
Current[edit | edit source]
- Gaora (2004-present, broadcasting monthly shows and live specials and taped shows of Dragon Gate Infinity)
- MBS TV (2018–present, currently broadcasting weekly highlights show Cutting Edge Battle Dragon Gate)
- SKY PerfecTV! (2017–present, currently broadcasting live pay-per-view events)
- Nico Nico Douga (2016-present, streaming untelevised spot-shows and interviews)
- Fighting TV Samurai (2004–present, currently broadcasting live specials, retrospective shows and magazine shows)
- Dragon Gate Network (streaming service, in partnership with Gaora, broadcasting most Dragon Gate shows live, as well as on-demand classic)
Championships[edit | edit source]
Active Championships[edit | edit source]
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held|
|Open The Dream Gate Championship||Shun Skywalker||1||November 15, 2020||153+|
|Open The Triangle Gate Championship||Natural Vibes
(Kzy, Genki Horiguchi and Susumu Yokosuka)
|2||January 13, 2021||94+|
|Open The Brave Gate Championship||Keisuke Okuda||1||November 3, 2020||165+|
|Open The Twin Gate Championship||Masaaki Mochizuki and Takashi Yoshida||1||March 7, 2021||41+|
Inactive Championships[edit | edit source]
|Championship||Last Champion(s)||Date Won||Notes|
|I-J Heavyweight Tag Team Championship||Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi||October 12, 2007||Unified with Open The Twin Gate Championship on October 12, 2007|
|Open The Owarai Twin Gate Championship||Don Fujii and Kikutaro||April 12, 2009||Has seemingly been forgotten about after its first appearance|
|Open The Owarai Gate Championship||Shingo Takagi||March 6, 2018||The title became inactive after Takagi escaped the Dead or Alive seven-way steel cage match, where if Takagi escaped the championship would be declared inactive.|
|International Junior Heavyweight Championship||Masaaki Mochizuki||November 23, 2006||Mochizuki beat Gedo in a decision match on January 26, 2007 to determine the then final champion and then retired the title.|
Tournaments[edit | edit source]
|Tournament||Last winner||Last held|
|King of Gate||Eita||June 7, 2020|
Affiliates[edit | edit source]
|Promotion name||Location||Partnered on||Notes|
|Dragon Gate NEX||Japan||2006||Active|
|Dragon Gate USA||United States||2009||Inactive|
|Dragon Gate UK||United Kingdom||2009||Inactive|
Events[edit | edit source]
Marquee events[edit | edit source]
- Champion Gate
- Memorial Gate
- Dead or Alive
- King of Gate
- Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival
- Dangerous Gate
- The Gate of Origin
- Gate of Destiny
- Final Gate
Marquee tours[edit | edit source]
- Open the New Year Gate
- Brand New Gate
- Fantastic Gate
- Gate of Evolution
- Gate of Generation
- Gate of Victory
- Gate of Maximum
- Fantastic Gate
- NEX Sanctuary
- PRIME ZONE
- Rainbow Gate
- Truth Gate