Monday, September 13, 2010

ROH Glory by Honor IX Review

ROH Glory by Honor IX 2010

So I liked how my last review came out, so this may just become a regular thing. This is a big show for ROH as it features the debut of Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas taking on Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli in a dream tag team match, as well as featuring a big ROH World title match between Tyler Black and Roderick Strong. We've also got the (seemingly neverending) continuation of the El Generico-Kevin Steen feud with a double chain match involving Colt Cabana and Steve Corino, and Eddie Edwards is set to defend his TV title against Shawn Daivari. We're live and sold out at the Manhattan center and the crowd is right fired up as always. Keep in mind that there were some issues with the live stream of this internet-only PPV, so there may be a few moments here and there I may not be able to view, as reportedly there were stream problems during the end of the double chain match. I'll try to do my best to give you a taste of the show anyways.

We open with the ring announcer running down the card and announcing the officials, before holding a moment of silence in recognition of all those who perished on 9/11, which is a nice moment. The crowd even gets into it with a "USA!" chant, which is simply bizarre to hear from an ROH crowd.

Kenny King vs. Jay Briscoe
The Briscoes and the All-Night Express have been feuding on and off for awhile now, so tonight the teams are split up and facing each other in singles competition. Kenny King is a guy that you should keep an eye on as he has all the potential and talent to become a bonafide star in the wrestling business. Quick lockup to start and the usual exchange of feeling out moves for these two guys to get us started. Crowd is definitely behind Jay here, as at this point he's an ROH veteran. Some great, fast-paced action in the opening minutes gets the crowd fired up as any good opener should. Eventually Jay goes for the Jay Driller but King reverses it into a stiff enziguri before finishing him off with the Royal Flush at 7:40. Fast paced and fun stuff from these two in the opener, but too short to mean anything. **½

After the match Rhett Titus comes to the ring and they put the boots to Jay until Mark comes out for the save, which leads us right into our next match...

Rhett Titus vs. Mark Briscoe
And now onto Kenny King's much less interesting and talented partner, Rhett Titus. Give him credit though, he does have one of the best looks in wrestling. Mark comes out firing on all cylinders against Rhett in the early stages of the match before trying to wear him down with forearms and submissions which only seems to anger Rhett as he takes off his spiffy little bow tie and tosses it to the crowd. Rhett takes the advantage from here and doesn't let up an inch, coming back from every move Jay tries to give him and reversing them. This is actually starting to pick up now as Mark attempts a suplex to Titus off the apron but it's blocked, Rhett falls to the floor which gives Mark the chance to climb to the top rope and perform a beautiful somersault senton onto Titus on the outside, which the crowd loves. Back inside they jockey for position on the top rope but Mark grabs Rhett and gives him a nasty Ace Crusher from the top rope! They exchange forearms and various roll-ups here until Kenny King gets on the apron and tries to distract Mark to no avail as Rhett winds up on Mark's shoulders and becomes the victim of a BURNING HAMMER for the three count at 9:34. Thank goodness Titus didn't kick out of the burning hammer as I absolutely hate it when guys kick out of insane finishing moves like that. This was better than the first match as both guys were willing to bump around at a fast pace and the crowd ate it up, but again the match was a bit too short and too unorganized in it's execution to earn itself a higher rating **¾

Backstage we see Balls Mahoney who briefly puts over the company while dismissing what they're doing in Florida and Connecticut (AKA TNA and the WWE). Why again are you insulting a company you worked for only a month ago (TNA) Balls? They gave you a PPV spot, which is more than you deserve at this point. I have no idea why ROH would want to book Balls Mahoney on their show in the year 2010. Surely there are better wrestlers you could bring in.

Prince Nana says he didn't come to New York City for "balls"...which is just strange. He throws in another gay pun or two as I suppose this is our set-up for the awful match we're about to see.

Necro Butcher/Erick Stevens vs. Ballz Mahoney/Grizzly Redwood
Oh dear lord kill me now. Redwood is a guy that's mediocre on his best day and is another very questionable use of a roster spot, throw him in there with Mahoney and Necro and we're going to have a clusterfuck of awfulness before us. This quickly breaks down as all four men brawl outside of the ring and "ECW!" chants begin ringing out. Come on guys, just let ECW rest in peace will you? This match can't be taken seriously really as Ballz begins smashing cups of beer into Erick Stevens' face and working his trademark spots. They actually get back into the ring though and attempt to wrestle. Grizzly leaps from the top for a cross body block but Stevens just grabs him and calmly tosses him all the way outside of the ring onto the concrete floor! Pretty nasty bump there. Necro for some strange reason is wearing a Tampa Bay Devil Rays jersey (#3, Evan Longoria specifically) and looks simply bizarre, but I suppose that's normal for Necro. Back inside they continue to double team Grizzly until he gets the hot tag to Ballz who cleans house and goes for the three with the frog splash, but Necro kicks out. They semi-botch a pin attempt as the ref definitely counted to three, but Stevens rolls back in and delivers a variation of a German suplex for the win at 7:36. Not as bad as it could have been and they kept it short and had Stevens pin Ballz clean, so I really can't complain about the booking either.

Double Chain Match: Kevin Steen/Steve Corino vs. El Generico/Colt Cabana
This is chapter 50 or something of the neverending Steen/Generico feud, which some have gotten mighty sick of, but I still enjoy for the pure hate and intensity all four men bring to this feud and angle. These men have had many absolute wars over the year 2010 so far, and I expect this to be no less brutal. Coin flip to start to see who gets to pick who they're chained to, which Generico & Cabana win. This is going to be interesting as I don't think I've ever seen a double chain match in any promotion, nor can I recall one. They quickly take this to the outside and the brawling begins. I think this might actually FINALLY be the blow-off match here, but then again we could see these teams meet again a month from now. Steen blades on the outside while Cabana dominates Corino inside the ring, which leads to Corino blading as we're less than five minutes into the match and the blood is already flowing which is either a good or bad thing depending on your taste for hardcore wrestling and brawling The chains begin to come in use as Cabana gets lacerated on one side of the ring while Generico has his chain wrapped around his neck by Steen, almost like a dog collar. I'm pretty sure even Generico is bleeding at this point, though you obviously couldn't tell. Steen and Generico settle down into an actual solid wrestling match inside the ring while Corino and Cabana brawl outside, eventually Generico is able to deliver an exploder suplex to Steen into the corner! Nice to see some actual wrestling holds with all of the blood and brawling thus far. Steen slides out and Generico meets him with a somersault plancha outside of the ring while Cabana simultaneously dropkicks a chair into Corino's face. Very cool looking spot there, but it only gets two. Cabana and Generico really want to end this though, so they grab a table from under the ring and set it up outside. Generico goes to the top but Steen YANKS him off the top and through the table by pulling on the chain! Cabana starts pummeling away on Corino until Corino's 14 year old son Colby comes out and breaks the chain connecting Steen and the out-of-it Generico, allowing Steen to come in and take advantage of Cabana. Steen and Corino end up tying up Cabana in the ring----and the stream dies. Jeez you'd think a professional company like GoFightLive would be able to stream these shows without error for their PAYING customers, but I guess not. What a total letdown to miss the rest of this match, as it was certainly bordering on the ***+ range. Guess we'll have to wait for the DVD to see the finish of that match. N/A

When we return Jim Cornette is in the ring and informs the crowd that Davey Richards has decided to resign with ROH after his current contract finishes up at the end of the year, which the crowd loves. Cornette says that the main event of Final Battle will be whoever holds the ROH World title at that time defending against Davey Richards! If I was a betting man I'd put quite the hefty sum on Davey winning the ROH title at Final Battle. On with the second half of the show.

ROH Television Title Match
Eddie Edwards vs. Shawn Daivari
Before the match Nana cuts a promo talking about his "mahogany balls", which is thankfully cut short by Eddie Edwards entrance. Daivari actually worked a few ROH shows before he was signed by the WWE so it wouldn't be right to label him as a reject of sorts, but I still don't think he deserves the push he's received thus far in ROH. Typical lock up to start as they exchange wristlocks and other holds, testing out the waters. Edwards gains the upper hand pulling out some of his usual maneuvers before missing a spear and flying into the steel ring post. Outside Daivari begins smashing Edwards hand into the steel barrier as well as the announcer's table, working on both the hand and arm, which Edwards has a history of injury with. This doesn't stop Edwards from hitting a beautiful superplex on Daivari however. These two actually have pretty good chemistry together, and their execution has been crisp and sharp. Eventually Edwards begins busting out moves from his offensive arsenal on Daivari including a sick Shining Wizard, but still Daivari fights back and turns Eddie inside-out with the lariat. Eddie grabs the leg however and throws on the single leg crab for the submission victory at 7:02. Exciting exhibition for Edwards here, but nothing particularly memorable. **½

Austin Aries vs. Christopher Daniels
Now THIS is more like it, this should be good. Daniels has looked excellent in his return to ROH and has been picking up steam and victories en route to this match with Aries tonight. Aries gets on the mic and talks about how Daniels gave him his nickname of Double A based on his initials, and proposes that the crowd refer to Daniels by his initials, C.D., because just like the compact disc Daniels too is becoming obsolete. That's got to burn! Quick rollups and wristlocks exchange to start us off, with Aries taking the early advantage in the match over the veteran Daniels while the crowd has dueling "Austin Aries!" and "Fallen Angel!" chants which just seem to get louder and louder as the match progresses, until it eventually morphs into a "Fuck TNA!" chant. Gotta love those insufferable smarks. Daniels goes for the Angel's Wings early, but Aries counters out of it only to be met with a Blue Thunder Driver from Daniels. Daniels shoots Aries outside and goes for his trademark Arabian Press moonsault but Aries slides back into the ring letting Daniels crash to the floor until Aries turns right around and delivers a tope in a very cool looking spot. Back inside these two exchange holds until Daniels puts Aries in the Koji Clutch, but Aries is able to get to the ropes. Some dipshit fan chants "UFC!"Um, no, try PRIDE. Aries hits the crucifix driver and a brainbuster followed with the 450 Splash but none of this can put Daniels away. Eventually Daniels is able to take the advantage as the two battle on the top rope until Daniels hits a SUPER Angel's Wings from the top rope for the win at 13:23. Just a thoroughly enjoyable contest from start to finish with Aries doubting Daniels abilities and paying for it in spades (or Angel's Wings, in this case). Certainly the best wrestling match of the night thus far. ***½

ROH World Tag Team Title Match
Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas
This would be the reason most people are watching this show for, myself included as this has been one of the biggest hyped matches for ROH all summer long. Shelton and Charlie come out to AC/DC's "T.N.T." and a great reaction from the crowd who welcomes them with open arms basically. World's Greatest Tag Team is a pretty long name to chant, so it sounds a bit strange when the ROH fans chant just that. Shelton and Claudio start it off, as this is just an intense lock-up if I've ever seen one. Shelton hits a quick snap suplex, almost shocking Claudio with his strength. Hero and Haas both tag in as we get a standoff of some stiff chops. Shelton shows off his trademark agility by leaping straight to the top rope with a springboard. Shelton and Claudio exchange monkey flips, which Shelton undoubtedly wins as Claudio lands badly on his neck. Things start to break dwon here as WGTT goes for one of their trademark double team moves, but Hero saves Claudio before they can deliver the maneuver, pissing the crowd off big time. See kids, that's how you work a crowd. Back inside Claudio gets a nasty T-Bone suplex from Haas while Shelton and Hero go at it outside. Claudio continues to try and outwrestle the two former amateur wrestling champions, and somewhat succeeds with an elevated gut-wrench suplex. Shelton begins to get taken advantage of by the KOW and their double team maneuvers, but Shelton hits them with a double suplex! Charlie is DYING for the tag in the corner, in classic tag team fashion, finally, HOT TAG to Charlie and a tilt-a-whirl headscissors to Claudio. Haas shows us his House of Fire and starts tossing Claudio around with several different kinds of suplexes before throwing him onto Shelton's shoulders in midair for a death valley driver! Beautiful double team execution there, but it's not enough for three. The Kings of Wrestling decide to one up them in double team maneuvers by having Claudio slingshot Benjamin into a NASTY burning elbow from Hero, as if to say "anything you can do I can do better" to the World's Greatest Tag Team. Haas and Shelton will have none of this however and again attempt to hit the same trademark double-team move they missed earlier, but this time they hit the move on the Kings of Wrestling, trumping them at their own game of one-upsmanship. Haas tries to straddle Claudio on the turnbuckle but is met with a forearm, which gives Shelton the chance to sprint and then LEAP from the mat to the top rope to perform a belly-to-belly overhead suplex on Claudio, which the crowd goes absolutely INSANE for! Haas puts Claudio into the Liontamer (or the "Haas of Pain" as he's calling it) but Shane Hagadorn comes out and distracts the ref who misses Claudio tapping out and gives Hero the chance to put on the loaded elbow pad which he drives right into Haas' throat and drapes Claudio's arm over Charlie for the tainted victory at 20:40. The ending here might anger some people because of how frequently the Kings have used this finish, but it was again the right decision to make here as you still make the World's Greatest Tag Team look like a million bucks in a loss while the Kings of Wrestling retain their titles. The match itself lived up to the hefty dream match expectations many of us had bestowed upon it, with the Kings trying to beat Shelton and Charlie at their own game (wrestling) and not being able to, and thus having to resort to their cheating tactics to pick up the win. Shelton and Haas both looked absolutely phenomenal in this match while Hero and Claudio gain even more heat for cheating the fans out of another clean finish. I'd call this match a rousing success on all fronts. ****

After the match WGTT clear the ring and the fans chant "Please Come Back!" while Hagadorn finds himself all alone between Charlie and Shelton. They totally beat down and humiliate him to the crowd's absolute delight. They grab the ROH tag titles, perhaps foreshadowing? They're certainly planting the seeds for a tag title run for these two with this finish.

And here you'd think that would be the end of the show, but alas, no, we still have the main event. Terry Funk comes out to the ring as he's going to be our special guest enforcer for the following no disqualification ROH World Heavyweight title match. Jim Cornette has also joined the commentary team, much to my delight.

No DQ ROH World Heavyweight Title Match
Tyler Black vs. Roderick Strong
Tyler comes out to a chorus of boos, though that's not surprising, as he's been bragging about his recent WWE contract signing and teasing the fans with the possibility of taking the ROH World title with him to the WWE. Although the outcome of this match could not be more obvious, it should be a solid contest as these two had a **** match earlier in the year at Supercard of Honor, throw in the drama, the stipulation, and Terry Funk and we've got ourselves a recipe for a good main event here. Crowd chants "NXT!" at Tyler Black, but the jokes on them because NXT will be likely off the air by the time Black reports to the WWE. Fast paced action to start off with lock-ups and several roll-up attempts. Tyler has really excelled now that ROH is letting him turn heel as he leaves the company, as he plays up to the crowd and mocks Roderick Strong. These two aren't wasting any time as they exchange chops and boots. Tyler plays up his heel role, poking Roderick in the eye and giving the New York crowd the middle finger several times. These fans have been dying to hate Tyler and now that they have the excuse to, they're really giving him heat. They exchange strikes again until Roddy accidentally takes out the referee with a nasty Shining Wizard! Terry Funk gets into the ring and tosses the ref out of the ring, peeling off his own T-shirt to reveal a referee shirt! Yep, this Terry Funk fan just marked the fuck out. Tyler hits Roddy with the ROH title belt and hits God's Last Gift! 1-2-NO! Somehow Roderick Strong kicks out. Tyler ties Roderick up in the tree of woe and goes for the double stomp but Roddy moves out of the way and puts Tyler into the Strong-Hold! Tyler counters into a pinning combination for two however. This is getting wild now as the House of Truth hits the ring, where Terry meets them with some stiff forearms to my wild amusement. Tyler dishes out a pair of buckle-bombs and superkicks to Roderick and goes for the phoenix splash but misses, letting Roderick Strong hit some of his custom-made backbreakers on Tyler Black before finishing with a sick kick for the win and his first ROH World Heavyweight title at 15:14! Even though everyone knew that Tyler was dropping the belt here, these two still delivered an entertaining match even if it wasn't on par with their earlier encounter in the year. Roderick getting the win is something alot of people may not have seen coming and it's risen almost our of circumstance, but he's busted his ass for years in the company, he's a great worker and he'll be a damn fine champion for ROH. Very good way to cap off the show. ***½

After the match Roderick Strong celebrates his first ROH world title win. Cary Silkin quickly shakes his hand and shuffles away. Surprisingly the fans give Tyler a "Thank You Tyler!" chant, and just when you think he's going to shake Roddy's hand for his farewell...he gives him the finger.

The lights flicker out. Kevin Kelly (accurately) reminds everyone that they've been having technical difficulties all night so this isn't exactly shocking. Suddenly the opening notes of Homicide's music plays and the crowd EXPLODES! Homicide comes out looking like a Havana street thug of old and makes his way to the ring where he and Roderick Strong stand off as the PPV fades to black.

The Bottom Line: Overall a solid show, though the first half definitely dragged a bit. Not quite as good as a few of their last iPPV offerings, but nevertheless a memorable and great show featuring the debut of Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas in a dream tag match that delivered, as well as a solid world title match and midcard. I'd certainly be able to rate this higher if technical issues hadn't prevented me from being able to watch the finish to the Double Chain match, but as it stands this was a good show and well worth the $15 they charge for the iPPV.

Score: 7.5/10

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dragon Gate USA: Enter the Dragon 2010 Review

So here we go, this is the first time I've ever sat down to write out one of these reviews in several years, and my reviews were pretty shitty in hindsight, not exactly my best work to say the least. As some of you may or may not know, I've become obsessed with rating pro wrestling matches similar to Dave Meltzer, JD Dunn, Scott Keith, Bryan Alvarez and others I'm forgetting who do great work reviewing shows from the perspective of a longtime fan. KB is of course our resident review maestro here on WrestleZone, but he's always been a WWE and mainstream American wrestling guy, and while I too watch and rate all the major American promotions, I'm also a huge fan of independent as well as international wrestling. KB has reviewed a few indy shows like the first Dragon Gate USA PPV (one of these days I'll have to have a discussion with you about why the opener was a great match), but for the most part finding reviews of independent promotions can be very difficult to find online, so why not throw another person's perspective into the mix?

Well, let's get to it then.

JULY 24TH 2010

Your hosts are Chikara-san and Lenny Leonard

The show starts off with CIMA coming out to a great reaction from the Philly crowd and cutting a promo in (remarkably) coherent English to basically pump the crowd up, asking them repeatedly "Are you ready?" like the long-lost Japanese member of DX. Johnny Gargano, who recently inked a multi-year deal with Dragon Gate USA, comes out and asks CIMA if he can be the newest member of the Warriors-5 stable, which CIMA is the leader of. Eager to prove himself, he slaps CIMA and challenges him to a match right there on the spot.

CIMA vs. Johnny Gargano
Gargano is a guy that seems in line to get a big push in Dragon Gate USA from the looks of his recent contract signing, but he's a guy I'm not very familiar with outside of a few appearances, which haven't particularly impressed me. They start off hot and heavy with some stiff chops before taking the match out to the floor, where Gargano says "How do you do?" with a beautiful tope . We're about 20 seconds into the match and Gargano has already impressed me more than he has in his last 4 or 5. These two have nice chemistry together, with the basic story of the match being Gargano trying to prove his worth to CIMA to impress him, trying to step his game up more and more with each maneuver, but eventually the veteran and Dragon Gate legend CIMA is simply too much for Gargano to handle, as CIMA busts out some of his trademark maneuvers including the Perfect Driver, Egoist Shwein and finally the Meteora (a diving double kneedrop) to finish Gargano at 11:47. Great opening contest here as Gargano looked great even in the loss and CIMA cements his place as one of the elite wrestlers of Dragon Gate. Lots of fast-paced, hard-hitting action that got the crowd right fired up just like any good opener should. ***

After the match CIMA offers Gargano his hand seemingly in a sign of respect, before pulling his hand away at the last minute and doing his trademark "HOO!" chant which was downright hilarious.

Chuck Taylor vs. Ricochet vs. Arik Cannon vs. Adam Cole
This would be the Dragon Gate USA debut for all four men, which has the crowd eager in anticipation. Taylor gets a huge reaction, as does Ricochet. As many may or may not know I'm a huge fan of Chuck Taylor as he simply can work a crowd better than just about anyone I've seen on the entire independent scene, if not the business. Nobody puts more into their efforts to make the crowd like and/or dislike him like Taylor does. Ricochet also wrestles in Chikara as Helios, and is a damn fine performer in his own right and a crazy high flyer as his name would suggest. This match quickly breaks down as all four man just start going at it, trying to gauge what each other wrestler is thinking and with each man trying to use some of their signature stuff without anyone gaining a real advantage, leading to each man giving us some great spots as these guys kind of just threw logic out the window and began hitting one crazy spot after another, and while that can be a valid complaint sometimes, in these Cruiserweight-esque four ways you've just got to go with the flow and enjoy yourself, as all four men deliver just nonstop action from bell to bell here before Ricochet misses a 630 splash which gives Taylor the chance to give him his trademark Awful Waffle (a leg-hook belly to back suplex turned into a piledriver) for the win at 9:41. Really just a flat-out fun match here as all four guys delivered some creative and painful spots at a great pace for the entire match. This was mainly to showcase Taylor and Ricochet, and in that effort the match was a rousing success as the crowd ate up everything they did. All around fun stuff. ***

Backstage Kamikaze-USA (Jon Moxley, YAMATO, Gran Akuma, and Shingo) cut a promo on Mike Quackenbush and Chikara in general. YAMATO, as always, looks fucking insane like he's been on a 20 day speed binge without sleep. He probably has, awesome bastard.

Naruki Doi vs. Drake Younger
Drake is one of the few deathmatch wrestlers who can actually wrestle inside a ring, and he's a damn good wrestler too as he's proven before and as he tries to prove here against the ace of Dragon Gate, Naruki Doi. Match starts off with each man feeling each other out with basic holds and chain wrestling before taking the match to the outside where Drake misses with a nasty senton. Outside Doi begins working on Drake's leg, smashing it into the guardrail and against the ring. Back inside Drake hits Doi with a nasty hesitation german suplex and Doi lands right on his neck. Drake goes for a double-underhook piledriver but his leg gives out (psychology!) which gives Doi the chance to reverse the move into a reverse pedigree. Doi hands out some (weak) slaps before finishing with the Bakatare sliding kick at 9:35. Another fast paced match here, but a bit too one-sided and short for my taste. Both men looked good though. **½

Scott Reed vs. Rich Swann
No clue who either of these two are, apparently they were the two standouts from a wrestling seminar/tryout earlier so I suppose I can give this a chance, it could be decent. Lock up to start off as Reed is much larger than Swann and begins reversing Reed's high risk moves into powerslams and other power moves. Nasty release german suplex from Reed only gets two. Swann quickly takes the advantage back though and hits Reed with a standing 420 splash for the win at 2:04. Just a quick squash here for Swann as he was clearly the standout of these two. Mildly entertaining squash match I suppose. *

After the match Brodie Lee comes out and destroys both Reed and Swann before grabbing the mic and threatening every man, woman, and child in the building and promising that next time he's in DGUSA, he's coming after a Japanese man. Well that's a bit racist, now don't you think Brodie? Why so hateful man?

Backstage Jimmy Jacobs talks about how he has the night off, but that he's still coming after Moxley.

Jon Moxley/YAMATO/Akira Tozawa/Gran Akuma vs. Masato Yoshino/Mike Quackenbush/Hallowicked/Jigsaw (Elimination)
This is the battle of the stables Kamikaze-USA (Moxley & company) and Chikara Sekigun (Quackenbush & company).Masato Yoshino's first match in the US with his recently won Enter the Dream Gate title, which is just a badass belt design. This is under elimination rules, so you can expect pretty much non-stop chaos with this 8 men from start to finish. And as soona sI type that, they do exactly that with everyone wildly brawling to the outside while YAMATO and Quackenbush exchange forearms inside. It continues to break down as Quack hits an absolutely picture perfect moonsault from the top to the outside. The match regains a semblance of order with all men taking their positions on the apron and the real match begins. Everyone gangs up on Hallowicked and YAMATO finishes him with a version of the Michinoku driver at 8:56. From there Moxley hits a nasty chickenwing suplex on Jigsaw, but he can't get the three so he gives him a nasty lariat, but again Jigsaw kicks out, which only frustrates Moxley so he goes to the outside and grabs a chair and begins laying out Quack and Jigsaw, which gets him DQed at 10:33. Jimmy Jacobs jumps into the ring though out of nowhere and hits Moxley with a spear and then brawls with him all the way to the back. All the while YAMATO hits the galleria on Jigsaw at 11:07. Quackenbush sneaks up for the rollup, but only gets 2 before being taken to the outside by Tozawa. Back in the ring Tozawa and Yoshino go at it until they simply slide out of the ring as Akuma and Quack enter the ring. Didn't realize this match was following lucha tag rules, they probably should have mentioned that. Akuma and Quack work perfectly together, which they should considering Quack trained Akuma. Because of this Quack takes the advantage and eliminates Akuma with an Alabama Slam turned into a sitout powerbomb at 13:20. IIt's down to Quack and Yoshino versus YAMATO and Tozawa. Yoshino and YAMATO go at it, quickly showing their amazing chemistry together from their many battles in the original Dragon Gate, in fact Yoshino defeated YAMATO for that very Dream Gate belt he came out with only a few weeks before at the big annual Kobe Wrestling festival in Japan. Tozawa and YAMATO deal out stiff suplexes to Quack but Yoshino again breaks the count up. YAMATO hits the galleria on Yoshino but again he kicks out! Both Quack and Yoshino put painful and creative submissions that I couldn't begin to decipher on their opponents, and both men give up at 19:35. Solid 8 man encounter here, but it was a bit too unorganized and chaotic at times. Still a solid contest however and worth a look. ***

Open the Freedom Gate Championship
BxB Hulk vs. Masaaki Mochizuki

Hulk is like a modern day Magnum Tokyo with his elaborate entrances involving choreographed dance moves and his own troupe of dancers while shiny Japanese electro-pop plays as his theme. Definitely one of the best entrances in wrestling today. Mochizuki is a grizzled veteran at this point and has been slowly working his way up the midcard in DGUSA with good matches against Davey Richards and Tozawa earlier in the year. Here he gets a shot at Hulk's Open the Freedom Gate title, which is the main title in Dragon Gate USA for those wondering. Hulk's head is shaved clean as the result of a great Hair vs. Hair match that he lost to Shingo back in Japan a few weeks prior, which just looks strange. This again quickly goes to the outside where Mochizuki's leg just gets smashed into the turnbuckle in a sickening fashion. Back in the ring Hulk works on the same knee, twisting and contorting his leg in some disgusting looking angles before Mochizuki is able to get to the ropes. Both men go for a springboard but Mochizuki takes him out with a great kick. Hulk looks like a Japanese lesbian with his new haircut, it's kind of creepy. Back in the ring Mochizuki works a figure four on Hulk which gives the crowd a chance to rally behind Hulk as Mochizuki just tightens the figure four. Finally Hulk gets to the ropes. Strangely enough Mochizuki begins working Hulk's leg now, seemingly switching the legwork Hulk had on Masaaki earlier in the match. Hulk goes for an enziguri but Mochizuki puts on a great-looking ankle lock! He falls to the mat and grapevines the leg Kurt Angle-style, as things are looking very dire for the champion here. The crowd continues to rally behind Hulk, seemingly giving him the energy to get to the ropes for another break. Things are starting to pick up here, but Hulk is running and jumping around too much for my taste considering all the work on his leg Mochizuki just put in. Hulk hits a moonsault to the floor on Mochizuki, which looks great. Back inside both men go all out and begin throwing everything they have at each other, with incredibly stiff kicks and various hard-hitting suplexes. Mochizuki hits an absolutely SICKENING looking kick to Hulk's head which puts him out. That looked really, really painful. Mochizuki continues to bring the fire to Hulk and this only further gets the crowd behind Hulk, chanting his name again to try and help him rally, which he eventually does. The Arena crowd starts up the old "This is Wrestling!" chant, which I've never liked. Of course it's wrestling, we have eyes, we can see this. Both men exchange sick boots until Hulk takes Mochizuki off the top rope with the EVO (variation of a sidewalk slam), but it only gets two. Hulk can't believe this and goes to the top and delivers a phoenix splash but he STILL won't stay down for three! Finally Hulk gets some steam behind a wicked boot to the face on an already wounded Mochizuki which is finally enough for Hulk to get the 3 count and retain his title at 21:50. Very good match here between these two as Hulk underestimated the veteran Mochizuki and because of this he took alot of punishment. This was probably Hulk's toughest challenge to date for his title, as it took every move out of Hulk's arsenal to finally put away Mochizuki. Borderline-great stuff here from these two and Mochizuki came off looking great even in the loss. ***¾

The Bottom Line: Dragon Gate USA delivers another great show as almost every single match up on this PPV hit the three star mark and there wasn't a wasted moment in the entire two hour broadcast (well aside from a few highlights packages). While nothing here was a match of the year candidate or anything, nearly every match was worth watching and the main event was a very good match, much better than Hulk's defense against Yoshino at the last PPV. This is another great 2 hours of wrestling action from Dragon Gate USA for only $20 bucks on-demand, which makes it likely the best deal in wrestling today. Thumbs up from me yet again for the Dragon Gate guys.

Score: 7.5/10