Dragon Gate USA United 2011
January 28th, 2011
B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill, Manhattan, New York
January 28th, 2011
B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill, Manhattan, New York
Your hosts are CHIKARA-san and Lenny Leonard
This is the first of two live i-PPVs that Dragon Gate USA aired over the weekend of January 28-29th 2011 and there are some great matches booked. Tonight we have BxB Hulk defending the Open the Freedom Gate title against YAMATO as well as a series of matches ine round-robin tournament to crown inaugural tag champs for the company.
Akira Tozawa vs. Sami Callihan
Crowd pops nicely for Callihan who's a CZW regular. Tozawa had a great 2010, making a name for himself in the US with DGUSA and PWG. Match starts out evenly with both men trading forearms and chops. Tozawa misses a diving headbutt, Callihan tries the same thing but misses as well. They counter a few holds and Tozawa gets a two count after a senton. Callihan grabs Tozawa's and tosses him out of the ring, flying into the steel barricade. Out on the floor Callihan removes the plastic protective mat on the hardwood floor and hits an exploder suplex on the floor! Back in the ring Sami gets a two count for his efforts. Callihan starts laying in chops on Akira in the corner but Sami climbs to the top only to be met by a vicious running boot that sends him flying out to the floor. Tozawa gives him not one, but two topes and the crowd appreciates his efforts. Tozawa would really be much better suited as a babyface and matches like this kind of prove it. Back in the ring Callihan eats a dropkick in the corner and they exchange headbutts. Callihan gets the upper hand and hits a big missle dropkick that lays both men out for a 5 count. Tozawa shrugs off Callihan's chops and gives him a spinning enziguri, taunting him all the while. They trade not one, but TWO pairs of Saito suplexes with eachother but neither man will back down an inch as the match breaks down to brawling here. Callihan lifts Tozawa all the way off the mat with yet another Saito suplex, but Tozawa totally no-sells it (why?) and gives Callihan a big release German suplex. Both men are out and it seems like only about half of the crowd is really into the match right now, despite both men's workrate here. THey trade big boots and this match has basically broken down to a duel of who can one-up the other. Running powerbomb is reversed by Tozawa with a frankensteiner which he follows up with a shining wizard and a big German suplex for the 3 count at 12:00. Solid opener here with two evenly matched opponents trying to one-up the other. There were some very nice spots worked in and the crowd was into it for the most part, this was a great opener apart from one brief moment of no selling on Tozawa's part. ***
After the match Jon Moxley celebrates with Tozawa and then gets on the mic and starts to take cheap shots at New York sports teams and Brooklyn native Homicide. Remy Sky, a cheerleader for the New York Giants, comes into the ring and grabs the mic, going into some strange tough New Jersey housewife routine. Moxley is great on the mic, he doesn't need a quasi-celebrity. Sky slaps Moxley a few times. Moxley demands Tozawa beat up Sky but he refuses. This prompts CHIKARA mainstay Jigsaw to hit the ring and attack Moxley, leading us right into the next match...
Jon Moxley vs. Jigsaw
Jigsaw immediately takes advantage, laying in shots on Moxley and taking him to the outside with a hurricanrana which he then follows with a HUGE suicide dive! Crowd digs this and we get a few Jigsaw chants. Moxley gives Jigsaw an irish whip but Jigsaw simply leaps onto the steel barricade and a cannonball tope on Moxley on the outisde! Great pace tostart the match. Back in the ring Moxley gives Jigsaw a forearm that knocks him right back out of the ring once again. Moxley gives him a russian leg sweep into the barricade and flings him back into the ring. Moxley starts going to work on the elbow of Jigsaw, perhaps to set up the crossface chickenwing later. Big elbow gets him a two count. Release vertical suplex gets another near fall and Moxley goes back to working on the arm with a Chimora. Jigsaw blocks the superplex attempt and hits a vicious double-stomp to the back of Moxley's head! Moxley ries a rollup but only gets two and is then met with an enziguri and a brainbuster for a two count of his own. Big lariat from Moxley turns Jigsaw inside-out. Victory roll gets another two and Moxley hits a superkick-Double stomp combination for another close two count. Ace crusher out of nowhere gets Moxley a two of his own and he locks in the crossface chickenwing briefly. Jigsaw gets tripped up by YAMATO on the outside and thrown into the barricade while Moxley distracts the ref, and then Moxley finishes with the crossface chickenwing at 6:32. Really fast-paced and hot match here, but it felt rushed and the ending hurt it. **¾
After the match Moxley and YAMATO taunt the crowd a bit before BxB Hulk hits the ring to shut them up, which again leads us right into their match...
Open the Freedom Gate Title Match
BxB Hulk (C) vs. YAMATO
This is basically Dragon Gate USA's version of the World Title. YAMATO takes the immediate advantage, gouging Hulk's eyes and whipping him with his own jacket. Hulk gets beatdown for awhile until Julius Smokes, a longtime friend and manager of Homicide jumps the guardrail and attacks Jon Moxley outside the ring! They brawl up the seats in the building while Hulk starts to wake up in the ring with rapid-fire kicks to the shin and they trade headlocks. Hulk kips up and cartwheels around a bit with an armdrag only to miss a dropkick. Another armdrag and dropkick from Hulk and the crowd starts a moderately large "BxB Hulk" chant. Hulk goes back to the chinlock for a bit and lays in some elbows. Standing shooting star press gets a two for Hulk but YAMATO starts to psych himself up. Hulk gets dropkicked outside the ring while Julius Smokes comes to the broadcast booth and begins citing lines from New Jack City. Yes, you did read that correctly. They brawl kind of half-heartedly outside the ring while Smokes continues to yell random obscenities and threats and then finishes, and I shit you not, with the line "WE'LL STEAL YO COUCH!". That cracked me up. Back in the ring YAMATO starts working on Hulk's leg, locking in a figure four leglock and laying back with his head laying on his hand like he's relaxing at a nice day in the park. This is why YAMATO is such a wonderfully devious heel. Back on his feet YAMATO grabs a foot and cranks away at a half Boston crab, really wrenching back Hulk's leg in grotesque fashion. Hulk comes back with a few kicks and then springboards in with a dropkick. Crowd starts to rally behind Hulk who hits a spinkick and a standing moonsault but plays up for the crowd instead of going for the pin. Another spinkick gets a two count. YAMATO counters a pumphandle slam and then locks in the single leg crab again, wrenching back on Hulk similar to how Chris Jericho would originally apply the Liontamer. Spinning heel kick dazes YAMATO on the top rope allowing Hulk to climb up and deliver a huge powerslam/exploder combo off the top! Crowd loves that. Running boot into the corner and a scissors kick for two, Hulk is in firm control here now. He gets caught up on the top rope though and eats a running dropkick followed by a perfect superplex for yet another near fall. The match breaks down to brawling briefly followed by big boots and lariats for both men. Pumphandle slam for Hulk gets a 2 count that looks like it may have been botched. Another pumphandle slam attempt is reversed but Hulk counters out of that and nails YAMATO with another big kick. Hulk hits a phoenix splash but appears to injure his leg on the way down in the process. YAMATO gives him a sleeper suplex and a brainbuster for another close near fall and YAMATO seems to be signalling for the Galleria, but he doesn't so much hit the move (which is similar to a Michinoku driver) as he does casually sit down with Hulk in a move that's clearly been botched, but the ref makes the 3 count anyways to end the match at 21:37 to crown a NEW Freedom Gate champion in YAMATO! This was a strange match as the work was pretty good throughout but it felt like it was missing something. A moderately quiet crowd and a botched finish hurt the match a good bit, but overall this was still a well-worked title match. ***
After the match JimmyJacobs hits the ring and congratulates YAMATO before calling out Brodie Lee, yet again leading us directly into our next match...
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Brodie Lee
Brodie is a big guy Gabe seems keen on pushing in both DGUSA and EVOLVE, as is Jimmy Jacobs, so we can expect alot more from both in this company in the immediate future. Jacobs tries a splash outside but Brodie catches him and slams hm into the turnbuckle. Back in the ring Lee elevates Jacobs for a hesitation suplex but only gets two. Lee continues to beat down Jacobs but Jimmy won't give up, returning rapid chops only to eat a big superkick from Lee! Don't often see that move from a man Lee's size. Back outside the ring Lee picks up Jacobs like he's a child and just launches him over the barricade into the broadcast area with a huge powerbomb! Back inside it's only a two count though. Jimmy starts to comeback with a springboard ace crusher and a senton for a near fall of his own. Back on his feet Jimmy eats a boot from Lee and then gets finished with a sit-out powerbomb at 6:14. Well that's just strange that they would have Lee dispose of Jacobs so quickly after building Jacobs up as a title contender before and throughout the match only to lose in a little over 5 minutes. Still, they worked some nice little spots in. **
After the match Ronin (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, and Rich Swann) hit
the ring and Swann does some weird southern baptist preacher thing on the mic which is actually pretty amusing. Chuck grabs the mic and demands Naruki Doi and Ricochet come out to have their match in the round-robin tag team tournament. Winning team earns 2 points, draw earns you each 1.
Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano vs. Naruki Doi/Ricochet
Gargano and Ricochet start things off with a feeling out process, exchanging chinlocks. Ricochet uses his speed to his advantage though and spears Taylor into his corner, tagging in Doi. who hits a dropkick for a quick two count and then goes back to isolating Taylor in his corner. Crowd seems really dead here which is strange. Ricochet rolls up Gargano for a two but it gets broken up by Taylor. Snap suplex gets him another near fall. Taylor tags in and gives Doi a nice butterfly suplex but only for a one count. Gargano tags back in and gets a shining wizard followed by a Russian legsweep and a modified armbar submission briefly. It's broken and Ricochet gets kicked in midair while attempting one of his renowned flips. Ronin try to doubleteam Ricochet but he hits Gargano with a pele kick and then tags Doi back in. They hit a few double-team moves on him but can't get the three. Blockbuster out of the corner and then Ricochet flys back into the ring with a spinning head scissors on Chuck Taylor who then serves him up for Gargano to give him an ace crusher for 2. Double knee to the chest from the top gets Ricochet another near fall and all four men are fighting in/around the ring. Ricochet sees Taylor and Gargano trying to recoup outside and gives them the old flying space tiger driver! Ronin then launches off the broadcast platform with the DOOMSDAY DEVICE outsie the ring, sending Ricochet's head smashing against the hardwood floor in sickening fashion. Big-time ouch there. Back in the ring Taylor eats a reverse hurricanrana and an F5 followed by a sliding kick for only a two as Gargano breaks up the pin. Doi holds Gargano on the ropes and Doi/Ricochet hit a moonsault combination that only gets two surprisingly. Thunder power bomb by Doi but he misses a phoenix splash and eats a superkick while Gargano flies to the outside. Taylor sneaks in and hits the AWFUL WAFFLE on Ricochet to finish the match at 16:09. Very good tag match here as Ronin gets the win and advances in the tournament while Ricochet still looked great. Best match of the night thus far, and a good start to the round-robin tournament. ***¼
After the match Swann calls out Austin Aries, and yep, we're segueing right into the next match again...
Austin Aries vs. Rich Swann
Aries kicks it off with a missile dropkick as the bell rings and Austin Aries chants start almost immediately. He quickly locks on the last-chancery but Gargano is still at ringside and breaks the hold for his stablemate. Back inside Swann counters out of a few moves and then delivers a big disrespectful slap in Aries' face! Snapmare and kick to the lower back gets a quick two and Aries avoids a few lockup and then returns the favor with a slap of his own to Swann. Aries teters on the top rope and misses a cross-body block. He tries for a tope when Swann slides out of the ring for a breather but gets met with a stiff knee instead to the face. They begin brawling outside now and they have a great sequence of moves involving a powerbomb and hurricanrana off a podium. Tope from Aries hits this time, taking both Swann and Gargano out. Back inside Aries slingshots his fist across Swann's chest and then hits a senton for only two. Powerdrive elbow gets him another near fall and he's starting to get frustrated and locks Swann into a bizarre submission move Aries apparently invented months ago that resembles a headlock with his legs while cranking back on one leg. Swann comes back with a lariat in the corner for a two count of his own and then follows it up with RVD's rolling thunder splash. Finlay roll from Aries who then leaps to the top but misses a frog splash. Cannonball senton gives Swann another near fall as Aries kicks out again. They trade forearms for a bit but Swann takes advantage with a spin heelkick but misses a charge. Swann tries to cover up in the corner like an MMA fighter as Aries begins laying in shots. He waits too long to take advantage though and eats an enziguri and a bizarre submission that I can't even begin to describe. Swann calls for the brainbuster but Aries shrugs him off before eating a spinning enziguri. Another two count for Swann as the crowd is pretty much dead here. Aries misses a Japanese armdrag and bails to the outside. Back in the ring Swann gets tossed into the corner and then gets back suplexed. Dropkick into the corner nets him a two count. Another last chancery attempt from Aries but his shoulder is hurt and he can't hold onto the submission. Suplex off the top but Swann is too close to the ropes. 450 attempt by Aries misses and he gets a headscissors and a brainbuster from Swann for another close two count. Crowd is not buying into these falls at all, yet the action has been solid. Brainbuster the top from Aries followed by the Last Chancery and Swann taps immediately to end the match at 16:49. Good match here that started off a bit shakily but got better as time went on and had a hot finish, even if the crowd was dead for the first half. ***
After the match Aries drinks a beer while CIMA and Dragon Kid hit the ring, and---you guessed it---we segue direectly into the main event...
CIMA/Dragon Kid vs. Masato Yoshino/PAC
Dragon Kid and PAC start us off with a feeling out process, going through wristlocks and waistlocks countered frequently. Headscissors to PAC but he cartwheels out of it and hits a standing SSP for a quick two count. CIMA and Yoshino tag in now and start a feeling-out process of their own, avoiding moves and trading headscissors in a rapid speed. Corkscrew moonsault from PAC off his partner's back! He makes it look so easy. Yoshino wraps his leg around CIMA's throat in a vicegrip shortly but CIMA reverses and tags in Dragon Kid. PAC tags back in and Kid is getting beatdown in the wrong corner. CIMA tags back in and slaps an abdominal stretch on PAC. Rollup gets two, but it's close. Double dropkicks from Yoshino and PAC. Two sentons get CIMA a two count on Pac. CIMA catapults PAC throat-first into a wooden chair on the ring apron while the ref is distracted in just a strange spot. CIMA stalls a bit, toying with PAC eventually but PAC starts fighting back with an enziguri. Yoshino tags in and starts bumping around at lightning speed, living up to his reputation as the "Fastest Man in Wrestling". Dragon Kid fakes a springboard but then hits two big stunners only for a two. Yoshino gets dragged out of the ring and Dragon Kid goes to fly but gets tripped up by PAC. Back in the ring PAC and CIMA exchange rollups. Big palm strike in the corner and a slam only gets him another two. Ace crusher from PAC gives him some time to recover and hits a springboard dropkick. No cover as Yoshino and PAC just want to double-team a wounded CIMA. Slam/doublestomp combo misses both CIMA and Kid hit heel kicks in the corner. CIMA dives off the top with a double bulldog and his team follows it up wth a big pair of missile dropkicks. Frankensteiner attempt misses and Kid eats a dropkick upside down. On the top we get the SUPER-Hurricanrana and a Michinoku driver from CIMA for a near fall that FINALLY the crowd buys into. Superkick/crucifix combo on Kid gets broken up just barely by PAC as all four men are back in the ring now. Big tornado DDT for another two count on PAC. Yoshino turns his attention to Dragon Kid and powerbombs him, which PAC then follows up with a 450 splash and a rolling German suplex for the 3 count at 20:20. Another solid match, but it felt like they were all holding back throughout most of the match. Still a solid exhibition by both teams though and a nice main event to send the fans home happy. ***
Bottom Line: Like many of Dragon Gate USA's shows, this is a show that it consistently good in the wrestling department but also like many DGUSA shows it tends to drag a bit at times with matches blending together and no real big angles or storylines being made or advanced to get us invested in the matches past their sheer athleticism. At the end of the day though most of the matches hit the *** mark, and that's enough for me give the show a mild Thumbs Up.