Dragon Gate 20th Anniversary[edit | edit source]

The Dragon Gate 20th Anniversary was a period of series of events on the Japanese professional wrestling promotion Dragon Gate that marked the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the promotion. The anniversary began on January 16, 2019, and concluded on December 18, 2019.

The anniversary featured the return of many Dragon Gate and Toryumon veterans such as Magnitude Kishiwada, Toru Owashi, Shogo Takagi, Takuya Sugawara, Anthony W. Mori and BxB Hulk's Darkside Hulk persona and the return of the legendary units such as M2K, Aagan Iisou. The event also featured the return of the founder of Toryumon, Último Dragón who returned to the promotion after the Dragon Gate split.

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

In 1993, Último left Universal Lucha Libre in Japan and signed with the Wrestle and Romance promotion, later renamed Wrestle Association R, run by Genichiro Tenryu. Through WAR, Último would make return trips to New Japan Pro Wrestling and would develop a lasting reputation in successfully mixing puroresu and Lucha libre into a style of his own. Through the working relationship that existed at the time with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Último Drágon was used in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). During Dragón's time in the United States in WCW, Dragón decided to open up a wrestling school to give Japanese hopefuls the chance to learn the Mexican Lucha Libre style. The wrestling school operated after the same principles of a university, divided into classes with several terms where wrestlers would "graduate" (debut) at the same time. Toryumon's combination of traditional Japanese Puroresu, Mexican Lucha Libre, and elements of Sports Entertainment that Último Dragón had observed while working for WCW such as outside interference and referee's being knocked out, something that at the time was not traditionally used in Japanese wrestling.

As the Ultimo Dragon's students were developing their own reputations within Mexico, Japan, and to an extent the United States, it was decided for a promotion to be developed in Japan. Through it, the students would be able to gain some more in-ring experience, with the Japan-based Toryumon promotion running its first show on January 31, 1999, in Tokyo at the Korakuen Hall. The names of the shows for Toryumon Japan remained true to its Mexican origins including pay-per-view shows being called "Vamonos Amigos" and "Revolucion." In the beginning, Toryumon Japan comprised of the first class of Ultimo Dragon Gym graduates and a number of journeymen wrestlers such as Masaaki MochizukiTakashi Okamura, and Yoshikazu Taru. While the first class of Ultimo Dragon Gym graduates was starting up their own promotion in Japan, the second class of students was being trained back in Mexico. What would make this group of students stand out from their predecessors would be a greater emphasis in Lucha libra-style submissions or Llave. They would make their debut as a separate promotion on November 13, 2001.

In addition to their differing wrestling style, T2P would stand out for having matches contested within a six-sided wrestling ring as opposed to the standard four-sided. T2P would be the first promotion to use a six-sided ring. The group would successfully develop their own following and it created a debate among fans as to which class of Ultimo Dragon Gym graduates were better. Afterwards, Toryumon Japan and Toryumon 2000 Project wrestlers, or second class graduates, developed a feud, which led to a successful pay-per-view on September 8, 2002, which also saw the in-ring return of Ultimo Dragon. The roster of Toryumon Japan soon after began being divided into various units such as Crazy MAX, Do FIXER, M2K, Italian Connection, and Florida Express. After a series of incidents with talent from both sides crossing over, they put together a pay-per-view show on September 8, 2002, with the majority of the matches featuring the Toryumon Japan talent against T2P talent. Afterwards, the two classes were merged after T2P was formally closed on January 27, 2003. That same year, Ultimo Dragon stepped down as President and Director of the Toryumon promotion, handing the reigns over to business partner Okamura and then leaving Japan to sign with WWE.

On August 22, 2003, a third Toryumon promotion was put together made up of students who graduated from the Ultimo Dragon Gym, named Toryumon X. As a means of separating them from Toryumon Japan and Toryumon 2000 Project with Toryumon X having a greater emphasis on the actual Lucha libre-style of wrestling in general as opposed to a collective mix. It has been implied that everyone in the group was brought up sooner than they were supposed to and were immediately pressured to be at the level Toryumon Japan and T2P were at. Some of whom never even made their debut at all. With poor decision making, bad booking, and the inexperience of the talent the promotion was forced to close the doors. Although having they would have a final show on September 9 of that year, with only Naoki Tanizaki getting integrated into Toryumon Japan with the rest of the talent being scattered.

After his one-year stint in the WWE, Ultimo Dragon returned to Japan. In early June, a press conference was held in which it was announced that Ultimo Dragon was pulling out of the promotion all together and take the Toryumon name with him since he owned the rights. The last show to be promoted under the Toryumon Japan would be at the fifth-anniversary show "Vo Aniversario" at Kobe World Hall in Hyogo on July 4, 2004. Subsequently, Toryumon Japan changed its name to Dragon Gate, continuing the traditions of Toryumon Japan including references to Último Dragón. The name, Dragon Gate was taken from the meaning of the word Toryumon itself. The word was coined after the homonym that is translated as climbing up the dragon gate, which means the gateway to success.

Dragon Gate Generation War[edit | edit source]

The Dragon Gate Generation War was a period of series of events of the history on the Japanese professional wrestling promotion Dragon Gate that split the promotion between three sides, the Dragon Gate Generation, those who were trained and debut during the Dragon Gate promotion, the Toryumon Generation, those who trained under the wing of Último Dragón and debuted and were part of the Toryumon Japan promotion, and R.E.D, the villanous, who refused to joined either side. The war began on December 18, 2019, and concluded on December 27, 2020.

History[edit | edit source]

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