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    Monday, January 22, 2018

    #MustWatchMonday: Ricochet vs. Eita (Dragon Gate: The Gate of Destiny 2017)

    If you've ever checked my bio down at the bottom of the page, you'll see that I'm a pretty big fan of Dragon Gate. It has all the things that I want in my wrestling—continuity, good stories, and really good wrestling. I don't get to write about it as much as I'd like to, but today I've got a bit of an excuse to do so.

    In case you haven't heard, Ricochet has officially joined the WWE. Fans of Ricochet would most likely know him exclusively from his matches in PWG and NJPW, as well as for being (spoiler alert) Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. Before he made it big in these promotions, Ricochet was honing his craft and tearing it up in Dragon Gate, the promotion that helped him perfect his style. Dragon Gate has one of the best rosters in the world up and down the card and has been a home for many of the mainstream wrestlers you know today. Some very well known examples include Johnny Gargano, Apollo Crews, Akira Tozawa, Neville, Sami Zayn, and of course, Ricochet.

    Ricochet was pretty much full-time with Dragon Gate from 2011-2014. He had a short stint there in 2015, and finally in 2017, he announced that he would be doing one last tour with the company. This pretty much confirmed the rumors that Ricochet was about to head to the WWE. His lone singles match during this short tour would be against Eita, whom you may recognize if you watched the Super J Cup from 2016.

    The story to set up this match was pretty simple. Eita was in a stable called Over Generation. This stable was made up of younger guys and the OG veterans, and the idea was that the veterans would mentor these younger guys to become successful in the system. Eita was one of these younger guys. In the month or so leading to this match, Eita was growing more and more discontented about his place in this stable, complaining about his stablemates, yet being on a bit of a losing streak himself. CIMA (think of him as DG's equivalent of Hiroshi Tanahashi, the former Ace of the promotion), sick of his antics, told Eita that he would set him up in a singles match to try and set him straight. He didn't announce the challenger at the time, but it was revealed a couple of weeks later that it would be Ricochet, returning for his final tour with the company.

    The match really showed how much Ricochet has matured as his career has progressed. A few years ago, Ricochet was the "wrestler who does a lot of dives." It was great, and it was really entertaining to watch, but it was a style that he would not be able to sustain as he got older. He's since transitioned to a more "really good wrestler who sprinkles in pretty dives" type of style. This match was basically as smooth a wrestling match can be, showing how beautiful this sport can be. In a bit of a throwback to his flippier days, Ricochet finished Eita off with a springboard 450 and a top rope 630, instead of his more current usual, the Benadryller.

    On November 8, Ricochet had his last match at Dragon Gate, at least for the foreseeable future, and he had an emotional graduation ceremony. CIMA reminisced about when he was trying to recruit Ricochet, and all the Dragon Gate wrestlers shared memories of their time with him. Ricochet, for his part, called Dragon Gate his home, and that he would find a way to return someday.
    Ricochet has been highly successful throughout his career. His time in Dragon Gate was no different. He won the Dream Gate (main event) and the Brave Gate (midcard) championships once, and the Twin Gate (tag) titles twice during his time there. Most importantly, he captured the hearts of fans all around the world. One can only hope that he can replicate that success in the WWE.

    (In case you were wondering about Eita, he has since turned heel and is now one of the heads of the top heel unit in Dragon Gate, I really recommend trying to follow this promotion.)

    Should I be doing more Dragon Gate stuff? How did you find the match? Leave a comment!


    Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.
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    Item Reviewed: #MustWatchMonday: Ricochet vs. Eita (Dragon Gate: The Gate of Destiny 2017) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: bodonium
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