Tokyo, Korakuen Hall
Kotoka Road to Final – The Ending
1. U-T, Shun Skywalker⭕️, Hyo Watanabe, Yuki Yoshioka (4:55 Skywalker Moonsault) Gamma, Problem Dragon, Kaito Ishida, Shachihoko Boy❌
2. ▲K-ness. (4:16 No Contest) Punch Tominaga▲
3. Big R Shimizu⭕️, Ben-K (9:27 Shot-put Slam) Yasushi Kanda❌, Takashi Yoshida
4. Flamita⭕️, Zachary Wentz (10:06 Flam Fly) Jason Lee, Bandido❌
5. Open the Owarai Gate Championship Match: Shingo Takagi⭕️ (8:01 Pumping Bomber) Ryo Saito❌
★Takagi becomes the 41st champion via fan decision
6. T-Hawk, Eita⭕️, El Lindaman (14:14 Biblia) Kzy, Susumu Yokosuka, Genki Horiguchi❌
7. Kotoka Retirement Match: Masaaki Mochizuki, YAMATO⭕️, Yosuke♡Santa Maria, Don Fujii, Kagetora (25:00 Galleria) Kotoka❌, Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, CIMA, Dragon Kid
8. Kotoka⭕️ (2:40 Caldera) Oji Shiiba❌
Kanda & Yoshida attacked both Punch & K-ness., causing the no contest. Kanda raged at Punch. That Brave Gate title belongs to him. It is all Takagi’s fault that Punch has it. The belt will be back where it belongs after Wakayama. Punch called it a gift from Takagi, because deep down he really loves him. He was going to protect the gift that Shingo Takagi gave to him in Wakayama. Kanda was furious and demanded Big Ben come out for the next match.
Takagi refused to cooperate in any of the Owarai Gate division antics, while Saito could barely contain his delight. Takagi wouldn’t budge from the corner to pose for the ceremonial photo, so Saito & Yagi came to him. Saito wondered why he had such a serious face on. He has been stalking Takagi on social media and found he is a fan of Yoshimoto Shinkigeki. He must have been watching it to learn how to be funny! Takagi told him to leave his private life and hobbies out of it. There will be no comedy and no cooperation in this farce. When it came time for the fans to decide, Referee Yagi & Saito encouraged the fans to cheer loudly for Takagi. The poll for Saito was cut short and the title was quickly awarded to Takagi. Takagi flew off the handle at the result and demanded a new poll. That ended with the same result. Winner and new Open the Owarai Gate champion, Shingo Takagi. He blamed it all on Kanda. Someone who couldn’t beat the likes of Punch Tominaga deserves this belt more then him. He tossed the belt at Kanda. Kanda told him the fans have spoken. Put the belt around your waist. The argument escalated until Lindaman mediated. Takagi vowed to never forgive or forget the indignity that Saito, Yagi, and the fans did to him today.
Saito told him to treat the belt with respect, it is his now. He thanked the fans for playing along and putting the title around Takagi’s waist.
Antias kept up the attack in the post-match on Horiguchi & co. Punch came out to make the save. In the midst of the all the arguing, he stopped to congratulate Takagi on his newly won championship. Eita proposed a 4 on 4 match. Kanda demanded the 4th spot on the Antias side. Takagi said it was no spot for a FORMER Brave Gate champion. Kanda replied that it was no spot for the CURRENT Owarai Gate champion. He was going to deal with Punch himself. Kzy interrupted. Who agreed to a 4 on 4 match? Kanda & Takagi can both be in the match. Did they already forget his warning from last month? There are others out there with a bone to pick with Antias. One of them will be their partner, making it 5 on 5. He called out “brother” YASSHI. Last time we saw him, he was a member of Verserk. Seems they don’t exist anymore. No one bothered to even tell him. What the fuck? In Dragon Gate it doesn’t matter if you are good guys or bad guys. Your stablemates are your family. Those mother fuckers gave him the finger and betrayed him. Now those mother fuckers will have to answer to him. T-Hawk wasn’t impressed with his vulgarity. Dragon Gate only has room for real professionals. The pros would show him how things are done. Antias accepted the 5 on 5. GM Yagi was quick to make the match, but he added a stipulation. It would fought under Oedo Style Elimination rules. Lindaman said that it didn’t matter what the rules were. The results would be the same as today.
Oji Shiiba interrupted the first attempt at the retirement ceremony. He couldn’t let his big brother retire before they had a 1 on 1 match with each other. It was one of his dreams and if it didn’t happen here it never would. He pleaded for the match to happen now. Kotoka was deeply moved. He was pretty beat up, but how could he say no? He told his baby brother to bring all he had.
The retirement ceremony began with various gifts from media outlets. Gaora prepared a special DVD of his famous matches for him. Each member of the roster was then given the opportunity to say goodbye.
He shares the same hometown as Horiguchi, so he is sad to see him go. At the same time, he is relieved that he won’t have to see him in constant pain from his injuries. Oji will carry on his legacy, Horiguchi is sure of it.
U-T is an only child. Seeing Kotoka and Oji just now, he wished he had a brother. His family is Dragon Gate. He is small, just like Kotoka. He will strive to carry on the spirit that Kotoka carried as someone who wouldn’t let his size get in his way.
Hulk asked him if he found what he was looking for these past 10 years. He has a new path to look on now. His own path.
Maria asked for a kiss. Kotoka complied with a very long and very deep one.
Flamita presented him with one of his masks and they posed for photos.
YAMATO said that seeing one of his juniors retire before him has made him stop to think. He recalled a time back from around Kotoka’s debut when Kotoka took him drinking at an adult establishment in Ikebukuro. Together they ran up an $800 bill. Between the two of them they didn’t have the cash so they ended up putting it on a card and paying it off in installments. Hopefully they can go drinking again sometime, but maybe not at that type of place…
Kotoka started as a trainee around the time Kagetora came to Dragon Gate. He had doubts that he would make it. He defied Kagetora’s expectations and became a wrestler that was very important to many people. He also hoped to see him again at a place with booze.
Bandido gave him a shout of encouragement.
FUjii was looking forward to getting together with him in Kita Shinchi in Osaka, eating delicious food and talking about the old days together.
Mochizuki talked about seeing younger stars retire many times during his long career. Surely himself & Fujii were next. Fujii first, of course. He extended an open invite to Kotoka to hang out.
Wentz wished him luck and talked about how moved he was by the relationship Kotoka & Oji share.
CIMA talked about the time they went to Russia together for some matches. There were various things related to visas and such that CIMA just had absolutely no idea. He pushed it off on Kotoka and made him do everything. Kotoka really came through there and CIMA is still grateful.
Kid pointed out that he was in his 20th year, while Kotoka was ending his at 10. He isn’t sure if Kotoka learned anything from him. Probably not. He has learned quite a bit from watching him, though. The Kotoka he knows will succeed at whatever new challenges he takes on in his new life.
Gamma was never in the same unit as him. Nevertheless, seeing one of his fellow Dragon Gate wrestlers retire is always sad. Kotoka is still in his 20s. He has a long life ahead of him. Seize that life with both hands, and don’t forget to come back and visit every now and then.
They were in Verserk together, but Problem Dragon had more memories of drinking together than of fighting together. Kotoka has been busy lately so he hasn’t been able to accept any invites lately. Now that he is free from wrestling, he can take it easy and savor his drinks.
Hyo thanked him for helping him out during their short time together. He is a part of the same generation as Oji, so he hopes that they can both work towards the top together. He wished him luck in his new life.
Shun wished he had more time to wrestle and talk with him. He will eat just about anything so he would love it if they could go out together sometime.
In the time between Punch joining the company 12 years ago and Kotoka joining, many trainees came and went. This left Kotoka as his closest junior. He’s done so much for him. He wished him luck in his new life and reminded him that even though he was no longer a wrestler, they would always be friends.
Yoshioka never wrestled him, but he has received a lot of advice from him and he really enjoyed their conversations. Hopefully they will have the chance to have more of them in the future.
Shachi recalled their very brief time together as a part of Windows. Kotoka had such a loud voice at ringside….
Saito will always remember today as the day Kotoka retired and he lost the Owarai Gate title.
Last year, Ishida was injured on the one of the first shows of the year. Kotoka also suffered a bad injury himself but he was always more concerned with how Ishida was doing.
K-ness told him that even though his time as a wrestler was coming to an end, he would always be a part of the Dragon Gate family. He would never be forgotten.
Kotoka’s career was exactly half the length of Susumu’s. Susumu is going to continue to the best he could as a wrestler and wished for Kotoka to do the same in his new path. He actually has a lot more to say but he would send it via LINE later.
Kzy was his first exhibition match opponent and he still remembers how serious his face was. They will still be friends working towards their goals.
Jason gave him a message in Chinese, which Shimizu translated. His translation was dubiously much much longer than the original message. Jason revised his message to a simple “Thank you”.
Shimizu recalled that time that they conspired to join Mad Blankey together, but were betrayed. He is happy they got to fight together in MaxiMuM at the end. He told him that if things ever get rough for him, to cheer himself up by watching Dragon Gate.
Ben-K couldn’t hold himself together. After crying a few days ago in Osaka he had vowed not to cry today. He fought the tears for a long time, fighting them so hard that he accidentally turned the microphone off. He eventually told him he would risk his life for him. They hugged.
Yoshino was amused by the scene. Which one was the senior and which one was the junior? The first unit Kotoka joined was WORLD-1, with Doi & Yoshino. His last unit was MaxiMuM, also with Doi & Yoshino. Their bonds will always be deep. Not as senior or junior anymore, just as friends.
Doi was annoyed at everyone acting so gloomy. This isn’t a funeral! You’re supposed to be cheerful at optimistic at retirements! Kotoka was small, but he excelled. Anyone watching today could see his bravery, his fighting spirit, and his will to succeed. He doesn’t know what Kotoka plans on doing in the future but as long as he keeps those traits he has nothing to fear or cry about. Even though he was retiring today and was no longer a wrestler, Doi ordered him to stay in the MaxiMuM group chat and leave messages every now and then. Maybe he can come do some guest commentary on a DVD or something. Something!
Oji went last. He thanked his brother for granting his wish and fighting him. He had been planning on seeing his big bro off with a happy face on, but the sadness was so strong. He won’t get to achieve his dream of holding the Twin Gate with him, but he did get to go 1 on 1 with him and will always cherish that. He will continue to cheer for and look up to him as little brothers do.
Kotoka admitted he was always bad at speeches, so he prepared this one ahead of time.
Thank you for everything over the last 10 years. When he first decided to retire he had no idea he would get to do it in the main event in Korakuen Hall like this. He owes it all to the fans and to Dragon Gate. Even though he wasn’t the biggest, by believing in himself he managed to achieve a 10 year career in wrestling. If there is anyone out there that is close to giving up or thinks they can’t realize their dreams, he asks them to not give up. Believe in yourself and try your best. You can do it. Even someone of his size was able to live their dreams by not giving up. If he can do it, so can they. It’s time to start on a new challenge. Together, they can walk with excitement and optimism towards the future.