Dragon Gate King of Gate 2022 Preview & Predictions

Dragon Gate King of Gate 2022
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It’s time again for Dragon Gate’s big summer tournament, King of Gate 2022. Last year saw KZY win his first-ever King of Gate, and go on to challenge for the Open The Dream Gate Championship. The format for this year’s King of Gate is a bit different from last year’s round-robin format. This year, King of Gate will be held as a 32 entrant single-elimination tournament and will kick off on May 11 in Tokyo. The tournament finals will take place back in Tokyo on June 3, both at the illustrious Korakuen Hall. With an enormous field, the possibilities have become plentiful. Here is a look at the first-round matches, as well as some predictions and dark horses.

Dragon Gate King of Gate 2022 – Cards

5/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

  • KAI vs Shuji Kondo
  • Yuki Yoshioka vs YAMATO
  • SBKENTo vs Madoka Kikuta
  • Eita vs Shun Skywalker

5/14 Tajimi Bunka Center

  • Takuma Fujiwara vs Ishin Iihashi
  • Problem Dragon vs Keisuke Okuda

5/15 Kobe Sambo Hall

  • Jacky “Funky” Kamei vs Yosuke♡Santa Maria
  • Dragon Dia vs HYO
  • U- T vs Kagetora
  • La Estrella vs Strong Machine J

5/20 Sapporo ii-One Stadium

  • Kaito Ishida vs Susumu Yokosuka
  • BxB Hulk vs Naruki Doi

5/21 Sapporo ii-One Stadium

  • Jason Lee vs Ben-K
  • Dragon Kid vs Diamante

5/22 Sapporo ii-One Stadium

  • Big Boss Shimizu vs Takashi Yoshida
  • KZY vs Kota Minoura

The Favorites to Win King of Gate 2022

KZY

First and foremost, the front runner to win King of Gate is last year’s winner, KZY. The feud between Natural Vibes and Z-Brats has heated up to the point where Natural Vibes got Jason Lee to join them over Z-Brats. From there, the stakes of Susumu Yokosuka and KAI’s Dream Gate match at Dead or Alive with Susumu’s Natural Vibes membership were in the balance. Should KAI win, it might add fuel to the fire of KZY who will have lost his first Vibes member. Furthermore, KZY was the winner last year. When he didn’t claim the belt, there was hefty backlash.

Fans are begging for it to finally be KZY time, and the time may be here. As Dragon Gate enters a new era, KZY has taken this role of making any match he’s in feel like a big match just based on his presence alone. He feels like the guy but needs the championship to prove it. His first-round match is against Kota Minoura, who he beat in last year’s finals. However, a lot had changed since then. The winner of this could take the whole tournament.

SBKENTo

SBKENTo was one of the final four in last years tournament, as he took his block. Losing to the eventual winner, SBK since enjoyed two reigns as Open The Brave Gate Champion and a reign as Open The Twin Gate Champion. SBK is a case where how good he does depends on two things at Dead or Alive: if he becomes the Open The Brave Gate Champion yet again, and if Madoka Kikuta looks good in his return match. If SBK is Brave Gate Champion, it’s safe to say that he probably won’t win this tournament. It’s not impossible but it seems unlikely.

Then, as mentioned, he faced Madoka Kikuta in the first round. If Kikuta performs well in his return match, Dragon Gate could give him a little boost with a strong showing in the tournament. While KAI is Open The Dream Gate Champion, it seems that sooner than later, they’re going to try something with SBKENTo and the belt. One must also consider the Z-Brats leadership, with KAI seemingly being a placeholder. He may lead the unit until SBK takes that next step, which could start with winning King of Gate.

Kota Minoura

Kota Minoura is the other half of last year’s King of Gate finals. Emerging from seemingly out of nowhere to win his block, he beat YAMATO and headed to the finals to meet KZY. Last year’s story was that of Minoura’s rise and him losing in the finals was used as a lesson to teach him. However, with the rematch against KZY happening in the first round, he could beat KZY and be well on his way to winning the entire tournament. Kota Minoura isn’t the same wrestler he was last year. There was no expectation for him last year, but now? People expect not good but great things from him.

After the dissolving of Masquerade, with Minoura leading the charge against the corrupt Shun Skywalker, he was heavily pursued by Naruki Doi to come be a centerpiece for new unit, GOLD CLASS. Minoura ended up accepting this, and as 1/3 of the Open The Triangle Gate Champions. He’s riding a wave of momentum, as the group has not been defeated since forming. Can he right the wrong of last year, and chug to what many feel is his destiny?

King of Gate 2022 Dark Horses

Jason Lee

Jason Lee may not win the tournament, but he definitely could have a strong showing. With the Shun Skywalker matter behind him, and discovering a home with Natural Vibes, Lee gets to reset his career and start strong in King of Gate against Ben-K. The latter was the main reason Lee didn’t want to even consider joining HIGH-END. A win here is big, as Ben is a former Dream Gate Champion. If Lee advances, he faces the winner of H•Y•O and Dragon Dia which could have Brave Gate implications surrounding it.

Yuki Yoshioka

Yuki Yoshioka is a wildcard because he’s someone who could not only have a Minoura-like outburst but believably win the tournament with the waves D’Courage has made this year. They’ve completely changed the landscape of Dragon Gate. Yoshioka’s recent showings, namely his back and forth with Diamanté at the recent Korakuen shows, show the potential he’s been waiting to unleash. A victory is tough, due to him having YAMATO in the opening round. However, Yoshioka could pull off the upset. Even if he doesn’t win, his future could be greatly altered based on his performance.

Eita

It’s funny to call the youngest grand slam winner in Dragon Gate history a dark horse. However, he’s been away from the Dream Gate picture since losing the belt to Shun Skywalker. Eita mainly stuck to the Twin and Triangle scenes while also engaging in escapades in Pro Wrestling NOAH. The latter is, truthfully, the biggest deciding factor in how far he goes in this tournament. He’s the GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion right now, so his schedule is busy between both companies. However, recently, he’s become one of the biggest babyfaces in the company. From his saga with Maria to being the overly proud GHC Junior Champion, he’s received considerable fanfare.

Not only that, but his first-round match is a chance at revenge on Shun Skywalker for ending his Dream Gate run. If Eita wins the tournament and KAI is still Dream Gate Champion, Eita can exact his revenge for all of the members turning their backs on him when he brought them all into the former R.E.D. He’s won King of Gate before, but can he do it again?

King of Gate 2022 – In Conclusion

This year, unlike past years, seemingly has no definitive pick. There are several routes Dragon Gate can go in. However, not going with KZY or Eita seems like money left on the table. KZY did win last year, but fans are still waiting for that moment of him becoming Dream Gate Champion. Meanwhile, Eita’s probably the most popular he’s ever been. Only time will tell who will be the King of Gate.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Looking to watch Dragon Gate? All their live shows will be on their steaming service Dragon Gate Network.