Open The Owarai Gate Championship History
The Open The Owarai Gate Championship is a comedy title in Dragon Gate. The championship is both unique and very unusual. The title is not necessarily defended by traditional methods of simply beating the champion by pinfalls or submission. While such a situation can still happen, the title also has a stipulation regarding audience approval during the match. This means that while the champion could still technically lose the match, he could retain the belt simply by having earning more applause and/or laughter from the audience. The championship was first conceived during Stalker Ichikawa’s first United States tour, joining fellow Dragon Gate wrestlers CIMA, Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and Don Fujii during the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla two-night event Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament on May 19 and May 20, 2007 in Burbank, California. In addition to changing his name to Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa, he also gave birth to the Open the Owarai Gate Championship which he wore during the second night of the event against Top Gun Talwar. The name change and the introduction of the belt was made official on May 25. The championship was defended for the first time on June 10 at Hakata Star Lanes in Fukuoka. In addition, Ichikawa also began by having ten “Free Defense” tickets that would ensure he would always retain the title regardless. However, before his defense against Kikutaro on September 22 at the Ota-ku Gymnasium in Tokyo, the tickets were destroyed and he was forced to defend the belt on his own merit. He was able to successfully retain due to unusual circumstances since, such as his Mother appealing to the crowd and later his opponent feeling sorry. The title is assumed to have been inactive from June 2009 through March 2011 due to no title matches or defenses.
To this datethere have been 15 Open The Owarai Gate Champions. They are listed below in order of reign along with which reign it was (some won it multiple times), length of reign and number of successful defenses. All records are based on the official records from Dragon Gate’s title history pages on their official website, http://www.gaora.co.jp/dragongate.
1-Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa. 1st reign. Length: 5/25/2007-10/8/2007. Successful defenses: 7.
2-CIMA. 1st reign. Length: 10/8/2007-10/17/2007. Successful defenses: None.
3-Jackson Florida. 1st reign. Length: 10/17/2007-1/19/2008. Successful defenses: 1.
4-Masaaki Mochizuki. 1st reign. Length: 1/19/2008-2/2/2008. Successful defenses: None.
5-Jackson Florida. 2nd reign. Length: 2/2/2008-7/11/2008. Successful defenses: 5.
6-Johnson Florida. 1st reign. Length: 7/11/2008-7/21/2008. Successful defenses: None.
7-ICHIKAWA (Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa). 1st reign. Length: 7/21/2008-8/16/2008. Successful defenses: None. ICHIKAWA stole title belt from Johnson Florida after beating him in a 3-way match with K-Ness. Repeated attempts to contact the title belt commissioner were met with only his voicemail, so ICHIKAWA was just named the 7th champion.
8-Jackson Florida. 3rd reign. Length: 8/16/2008-3/16/2009. Successful defenses: 3.
9-Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa. 3rd reign. Length: 3/16/2009-3/20/2009. Successful defenses: None.
10-Kinta Tamaoka. 1st reign. Length: 3/20/2009. Successful defenses: None. As referee of title match between Ichikawa & Masaaki Mochizuki, awarded title because he received the most fan support. Vacated title immediately.
11-Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa. 4th reign. Length: 3/29/2009-4/4/2009. Successful defenses: None.
12-Anthony W. Mori. 1st reign. Length: 4/4/2009-5/15/2009. Successful defenses: 1.
13-Kikutaro. 1st reign. Length: 5/15/2009-4/14/2011. Successful defenses: 3.
14-Don Fujii. 1st reign. Length: 4/14/2011-8/21/2011. Successful defenses: 1. As special referee of title match between Kikutaro, Ryo Saito & Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa, awarded title by audience decision even though then-champion Kikutaro won match.
15-Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa. 5th reign. Length: 8/21/2011-Present (Current Champion). Successful defenses: None. Next defense: TBA.