Ever since he began reporting on wrestling with the creation of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 1983, Dave Meltzer has been one of the most accurate and consistent reporters in pro wrestling. He is arguably the most respected of the wrestling journalists, and has received inside scoops from talents like Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and The Young Bucks, among many others over the years.
However, he is not always accurate in his reporting. Sometimes it involves him jumping to conclusions, looking too far into things and getting the wrong idea. Other times, plans simply change between his reporting and the shows going on air, showcasing the increasingly changing nature of the pro wrestling world – especially in the company where Vince McMahon changed his mind on the scripts minutes before the show went on air.
However, Dave Meltzer’s reporting on Dragon Gate has been shoddy at best, with his reporting on the promotion in 2022 coming under scrutiny for a litany of false information published about them. In the past, Dragon Gate has been criticized for its controversies (the Dragon Gate Animal Abuse Scandal springs to mind), but this time the onus was entirely on Meltzer’s shoddy reporting.
Dragon Gate Hoax
In late-2022, Dave Meltzer reported a number of times on Japanese promotion Dragon Gate. He reported that NOAH booker Nosawa Rongai was gaining more power backstage with Dragon Gate, getting more and more influence in booking of the offshoot of Ultimo Dragon’s promotion.
He also noted a lot of last minute changes were frustrating talent, due to the retirement of the previous books of the promotions. In a May edition of the Wrestling Observer, Dave Meltzer wrote:
There are stories out right now about a lot of discontent here regarding the booking, notably the influence of NOAH booker Nosawa Rongai. A story, which has been denied to us by two people affiliated with the group, is that a large number of wrestlers are upset because of booking changes over the last year. There is a lot of frustration because of a lot of last minute changes. Masato Yoshino and K-Ness, who were both previously involved with booking, have retired, and right now the key bookers are Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito. But with the NOAH/Dragon Gate storyline, Nosawa Rongai has gotten heavily involved, including in manners that don’t involve the storyline. Horiguchi and Saito have allowed Nosawa to change booking on things that don’t involve NOAH including decisions with the current King of Gate tournament. Another person in the company said that the entire story is not true and said Nosawa has nothing to do with Dragon Gate and the angle was just a reason for guys to show up in NOAH
However, this turned out to be completely false. This information came from an anonymous email into Meltzer, by somebody (or multiple people) who claimed to work in the back office in Dragon Gate. Without verifying his source, or finding somebody else to corroborate it, Meltzer reported on the news as if it were legitimate – something a respected journalist simply would not do.
Instead of Nosawa Rongai getting power in Dragon Gate, he was instead brought in to the company to help book the “Open The Triangle Gate” titles. These belts were being defended in both NOAH and Dragon Gate, so the company wanted some synergy between the two promotions in regard to the belts.
This was a huge oversight by Meltzer, and put doubt into any of his sources and reports over the years. With a lack of verification of these sources, there was no telling which of his stories were true and which were completely made up.
To Dave Meltzer’s credit, he did issue a frank and forthright apology soon after the fact. In the next edition of the Wrestling Observer, Melter apologized for his falling for the Dragon Gate hoax and claimed he would be more careful in the future.
“Over the past week, I was alerted that a lot of Dragon Gate information I had received and used last year came from one or two people doing a hoax.“
“During that period I received correspondence from someone who allegedly worked in the company office and from one of the company’s top wrestlers.“
“The hoaxter, who could have been one person or two, largely complained about alleged power gains by Nosawa Rongai in regard to taking more and more control of booking.“
“Nosawa actually was booking the Open the Triangle Gate titles for a time, because the belts were being defended in both Dragon Gate and his home promotion, Pro Wrestling NOAH.“
“There is a lot more I will probably say about this in the future, but it is my job not to fall for these things and I did, and am very unhappy about it.“
“In looking back, I probably should have figured it out and eventually was told information wasn’t real and stopped with it, but did not know it was a hoax as much as I thought it was people with an agenda against Nosawa perhaps embellishing stories.“
“But each corroborated other stories, and while at first, when I checked them out, others close to the company denied the stories. In time, if I would check it out, people didn’t respond and the stories did keep coming.“
“There was a lot of behind-the-curtain news that I didn’t print. What also made it believable is Kaito Ishida was the name of the wrestler, and the person masquerading as Ishida claimed he was unhappy and would be leaving the company.“
“Then Ishida did leave the company and is now wrestling for GLEAT. Then when it became public later he was leaving, the fake Ishida explained why.“
“It was noted to me that Ishida actually doesn’t know English, and I should have checked with people, but in doing so, that would violate me allowing people to know sources.“
“But the information regarding Nosawa and the booking of the company was not true and I apologize for that.“