|Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival 2018|
Promotional poster for the event, featuring various Dragon Gate wrestlers
Flat p-Flat mansion series|
Prime Care West
|Date||July 22, 2018|
|Venue||Kobe World Memorial Hall|
|Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival chronology|
The Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival (2018) was a professional wrestling event promoted by Dragon Gate (DG). The event took place on July 28, 2018, at the World Memorial Hall in Kobe, Japan. It was be the 15th Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival, which is Dragon Gate's biggest annual event and its similar to NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom. The event is available in their streaming service Dragon Gate Network.
The show was headlined by the winner of the 2018 King of Gate Masato Yoshino defending the Open The Dream Gate Championship against Shingo Takagi in a rematch from the King of Gate. Another high-profile match scheduled for the show was Dragon Kid defending the Open The Brave Gate Championship. The event included Hiro Saito, Tatsumi Fujinami and Yoshiaki Fujiwara as special guest for the event.
Two other title matches also took place on the show with Big Ben (Ben-K and Big R Shimizu) defending the Open The Twin Gate Championship against Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk and YAMATO) and Natural Vibes (Kzy, Genki Horiguchi and Susumu Yokosuka) defending the Open The Triangle Gate Championship against ANTIAS (Takashi Yoshida, Yasushi Kanda and Masato Tanaka). All in all, the event featured nine matches (including one on the pre-show).
The Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival 2018 was officially announced in January 2018. Tickets for the event went on sale on April 18, 2018. The will air live through Dragon Gate's internet streaming site, Dragon Gate Network, with Japanese language commentaries. The Japanese commentary will be provided by Katsuya Ichikawa. The event also aired on tape delay on Japanese TV Gaora Sports to be launched in Dragon Gate's ~ Infinity ~ Series. On April 18, Dragon Gate announced on Twitter that tickets would go on May 20.
The event will feature former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami, his son LEONA and Yoshiaki Fujiwara as special guests for the event. Fujinami made an appearance for Dragon Gate in May 2018, teaming with Dragon Kid, and Masaaki Mochizuki in a loss against Shingo Takagi, Takashi Yoshida, and Yuko Miyamoto. Meanwhile, Fujiwara as made appearances since 2013 usually appearing for the Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival, with his last appearance being in the 2016 Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival teaming with Masaaki Mochizuki in a winning effort against Don Fujii and Masakatsu Funaki. It was later announced that Fujinami, LEONA and Fujiwara would also participate in the event.
On June 27, it was announced that contract signing ceremony for the title matches would be held on July 21, broadcasting live for free at Dragon Gate's internet streaming service Dragon Gate Network. On July 4, Dragon Gate announced that some seats were already sold out. The following day, it was announced the full card of the event, containing nine matches, which four are contested for championships. On July 15, it was announced that LEONA would be unable to take part of the event, after suffering a broken left foot, he was replace by Hiro Saito who is also signed by Dradition. Two days later, it was reported Oji Shiiba suffered a lower back injury and would be pulled out of the show, he was replaced by Yuki Yoshioka who will compete in the event twice, on pre-show and the following match.
The Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival was be main evented by Masato Yoshino defending the Open The Dream Gate Championship against Shingo Takagi. The storyline behind the match dates back to 2015. In August 2015, Takagi started showing some signs of a heel turn, after berating T-Hawk for losing against Yoshino at Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival and started to have some tension with Yoshino, due to forming a team with T-Hawk. Takagi and Yoshino were both parts of the same stable Monster Express. Yoshino and Takagi agreed to a match for the Open The Dream Gate Championship against Yoshino at Dangerous Gate. At Dangerous Gate, Yoshino lost the title to Takagi. After the match, Takagi finally turned heel, after turning on his Monster Express, Yoshino, and Shachihoko BOY. Takagi would then dominate Open The Dream Gate Championship title picture for almost a year, losing it once, but quickly regaining it in March. He would lose the title to YAMATO at 2016 Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival in July 2016. Meanwhile, Yoshino would spend most of his time in the mid-card defending the Open The Triangle Gate Championship, which he, T-Hawk and Akira Tozawa won defeating Takagi, Naruki Doi and YAMATO to win the vacant titles and later being sidelined for almost a year due to a back injury, which almost forced him to retire. Takagi and Yoshino would then be part of a losing disband match between VerserK led by Takagi and Monster Express led by Yoshino, which ended with VerserK forcing Monster Express to disband. VerserK kept feuding with Yoshino, Naruki Doi, and Kotoka, which led to the formation of MaxiMuM.
Yoshino and Takagi would cross path again in May 2018 during the King of Gate tournament, where Yoshino and Takagi were placed in block D. Takagi would end up defeating Yoshino for the second time in almost two years since their last match. Takagi would finish the tournament with a record of two wins, one double count out, and one loss against Susumu Yokosuka cost him a place in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Yoshino won his block with a record of two wins, one loss, and one draw, advancing both to the semifinals of the tournament. On June 1, Yoshino defeated Takagi's ANTIAS (formerly VerserK) stablemate Takashi Yoshida to advance to the finals of the tournament. On June 9, Yoshino defeated YAMATO in the finals to become the first wrestler to win the King of Gate for the second time. The following day, Yoshino defeated Masaaki Mochizuki to win the Open The Dream Gate Championship for the fourth time tying Takagi's record of most reigns as Open The Dream Gate Champion. Following the match, Takagi confronted Yoshino and called his win against Mochizuki and YAMATO a "fluke" and that his lost against him was the only decisive match he had was when he lost to Takagi. Takagi stated that he didn't accepted Yoshino as champion and that he should give him the title. This led to General Manager Takayuki Yagi making the match official for the main event of the Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival. On July 5, Takagi requested that if he defeated Yoshino for the title at the main event, he would declare himself President and would change Dragon Gate and close the door to the previous era and create one in his own image. Takagi was also upset at Kido after Yoshino was included to the Board of Directors and he was left off, following the Dragon Gate restructure.
On April 7, 2016, Eita invited Dragon Kid to join Over Generation, which he accepted. The two subsequently formed a team as part of Over Generation. On May 5, at Dead or Alive, Eita and Kid, unsuccessfully challenged Big R Shimizu and T-Hawk for the Open The Twin Gate Championship. In August, Eita and Kid took part in the Summer Adventure Tag League. They ended up winning the tournament defeating "brother" YASSHI and Naruki Doi in the finals of the tournament. This led to them receiving another match for the Open The Twin Gate Championship, this time losing to Jimmy Kagetora and Jimmy Susumu. During this time, Eita won the Open The Brave Gate Championship, but the title was declared vacated in March of the following year. On November 8, Eita turned on Kid and rejoined VerserK revealing he was their newest member. In May 2018, Eita and Kid took part in the King of Gate tournament. Kid would face Eita in his first tournament match. Eita would injury Kid on purpose, leading to him forfeiting the rest of his matches in the King of Gate. On May 21 at Dragon Gate NEX Sanctuary.165, Kid served as special ring announcer for the show, Eita would make an appearance at the show attacking Kid. During the tournament, Kid and Eita agreed to a losing disband match between Over Generation and ANTIAS (formerly VerserK) on July 5, due to Kid being injured. On June 10, ANTIAS defeated Over Generation, with Eita pinning Kid to gain the advantage in the Losing disband match on July 5. After the match, Eita stated that Kid was "devaluing the championship", leading to General Manager Takayuki Yagi to make the match official for the event. On June 30, Eita and Takagi defeated Kid and Yoshino to win the prelude match, with Eita pinning Kid for the win. However, on July 5, Over Generation would be disbanded after 4 falls with Eita pinning agin Kid for the win.
On July 5, ANTIAS forced Over Generation to disband after defeating them in a Naniwa Elimination Rules match, with Eita pinning Kid. Following the match, the leader of ANTIAS Shingo Takagi challenged Natural Vibes (Kzy, Genki Horiguchi and Susumu Yokosuka) to a match for the Open The Triangle Gate Championship. However, ANTIAS had only left two members which were Takashi Yoshida and Yasushi Kanda. Takagi announced that Masato Tanaka as the newest member of the stable, having now a third member to challenge for the titles, leading to General Manager Takayuki Yagi making the match official for the Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival. Early that night, Natural Vibes made their first successful title defense against Don Fujii, K-ness and Ryo Saito.
In the Open The Twin Gate Championship, Big Ben (Ben-K and Big R Shimizu) will make their second title defense against Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk and YAMATO). On June 16, YAMATO and Hulk teamed with their Tribe Vanguard stablemates Kagetora and Yosuke♡Santa Maria in a winning effort against Shimizu, Ben-K and their MaxiMuM stablemates Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino, with YAMATO pinning Shimizu after Doi an accidentally cost him the match. After the match, YAMATO and Hulk challenged Ben-K and Shimizu to a title match, since Ben-K and Shimizu had defeated their stablemates Kagetora and Maria before to make their first successful title defense, leading to General Manager Takayuki Yagi making the match official for the Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival.
|1P||Yuki Yoshioka defeated Kota Minoura||Singles match||5:01|
|2||U-T, Kaito Ishida, Shun Skywalker, Hyou Watanabe and Yuki Yoshioka defeated Gamma, K-ness, "brother" YASSHI, Mondai Ryu and Shachihoko BOY||Ten-man tag team match||6:35|
|3||Ryo Saito defeated "Hollywood" Stalker Ichikawa||Singles match||10:17|
|4||Natural Vibes (Kzy, Genki Horiguchi and Susumu Yokosuka) (c) defeated ANTIAS (Takashi Yoshida, Yasushi Kanda and Masato Tanaka)||Six-man tag team match for the Open The Triangle Gate Championship||15:09|
|5||Eita defeated Dragon Kid (c)||Singles match for the Open The Brave Gate Championship||17:36|
|6||Tribe Vanguard (Flamita, Kagetora and Yosuke♡Santa Maria) defeated MaxiMuM (Naruki Doi & Jason Lee) and Bandido||Six-man tag team match||15:56|
|7||Hiro Saito, Masaaki Mochizuki and Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Don Fujii, Punch Tominaga and Yoshiaki Fujiwara||Six-man tag team match||14:35|
|8||Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk and YAMATO) defeated MaxiMuM (Ben-K and Big R Shimizu) (c)||Tag team match for the Open The Twin Gate Championship||28:15|
|9||Masato Yoshino (c) defeated Shingo Takagi||Singles match for the Open The Dream Gate Championship||27:04|
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
P – indicates the match will take place on the pre-show