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Dragon Gate is one of the largest independent wrestling federations in Japan - large enough that some wouldn't even call it an indy fed. It has broken the 10,000 attendance mark, and it has a weekly televised show.

Originally founded in 1997 as Toryumon by Ultimo Dragon, the federation was primarily a showcase for the wrestlers he trained. Each year would have a "graduating class", introducing new wrestlers a few at a time. It was notable for its isolationism, rarely opening its doors for wrestlers who did not come up through the Toryumon system. It sanctioned one title, the Ultimo Dragon Gym title.

Early in 2005, Ultimo Dragon left the promotion and took the Toryumon trademark with him. Now run by Noriaka Kawabata, the promotion renamed to Dragon Gate. It continued to produce young wrestlers from a dojo who would form a significant part of the roster (and in many cases, push the older Toryumon guys to the background), but it ended the isolationism. Dragon Gate has become a visiting grounds for many an American wrestler in Japan.

In 2006, Dragon Gate sent six of their wrestlers - CIMA, Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, Ryo Saito, Dragon Kid, and Genki Horiguchi - to Ring of Honor. The match, a six man tag team battle pitting the first three named against the last three, obtained the coveted Five Star Match rating, and exposed Dragon Gate to an American audience.

The federation expanded fully into the American market with Dragon Gate USA, featuring about 2/3rds of the regular DG roster and many big name indy wrestlers from America. There has been significant interpromotion with CHIKARA.

As of April 2009, Dragon Gate recognizes and books the following titles.

  • Open the Dream Gate - CIMA - since December 2011
  • Open the Brave Gate - Ricochet - since November 2011
  • Open the Triangle Gate - Genki Horiguchi H-A-Gee-Mee & Ryo Jimmy Saito & Jimmy Kanda - since March 2012
  • Open the Twin Gate - Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy Kagetora - since March 2012

There's also the Open the Owarai Gate title, but it doesn't really count.

Dragon Gate USA crowed its own title, Open the Freedom Gate. BxB Hulk defeated YAMATO, CIMA and Chikara's Gran Akuma to become the inaugural champion. It is now held by Johnny Gargano.

As a promotion, Dragon Gate has a few quirks. Most notably pretty-boys make up roughly 95% of the roster. For probably related reasons it also has a proportionally large female fanbase, and panders to it by repeatedly decreasing the size of the wrestlers outfits. It is also a great source of newly invented moves, making it wrestling's premier example of the Lensman Arms Race. Matches generally end with full on barrages of these newly invented moves, which causes a lot of non-DG wrestlers to dislike and resent the promotion. [1]

Dragon Gate is also very heavily factionalized, with usually at least four Power Stables active at one time, and generally only undercard wrestlers have no stable alignment.

Notes

  1. For one thing, it's considered bad Wrestling Psychology - these finisher barrages usually ignore everything that happened prior to the match. They also desensitize the fans, who require longer and more intense finisher barrages to get them on their feet. And, they devalue the moves themselves - a finisher isn't much of a finisher if it takes 5 of them to keep a guy down.
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