Dragon Gate USA United: Philly 2011 iPPV
January 29th, 2011
The Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 29th, 2011
The Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Your hosts are CHIKARA-san and Lenny Leonard.
We open up in the famous Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the crowd is pumped up to start. This is the second night of a double-shot weekend of iPPV's aired on Go Fight Live for Dragon Gate USA. Tonight the big story is that we're continuing the tournament to crown the inaugural Open the United Gate Tag Team champions for Dragon Gate USA, so let's get right to it.
The show opens with YAMATO and Jon Moxley coming out to celebrate YAMATO's defeat of BxB Hulk the night before to win the Open the Freedom Gate championship. Moxley immediately starts talking trash about Homicide and some random fan, obviously a plant, jumps the guardrail and gets in Moxley's face briefly before security takes him out. This leads us right into the opening match of the night.
YAMATO vs. Brodie Lee
Strange that you'd have your World champion open the show in a non-title match, but here we are. Lee takes the quick upper hand and powers out of YAMATO's offense continuously. YAMATO flies outside with a cross-body block but Brodie catches him and drops him throat first onto the steel guardrail. They brawl into the crowd for a bit and YAMATO is really being tossed around by Lee with ease at this point. This is just flat-out bizarre booking as for all intents and purposes this looks like just another Brodie Lee squash match which we've seen for months. Big Michinoku driver from Lee gets a two count. YAMATO eats a big boot and a huge sidewalk slam for two, earningthe crowd's respect. He gets right back up and eats another HUGE boot for another near fall, and the crowd is rallying behind YAMATO now. That's kind of irksome when you consider YAMATO is a pure heel aligned with one of the biggest heels on the indy scene in Jon Moxley. The dynamics of this match are really screwed up. YAMATO hits a big German suplex and follows it with a brainbuster (impressive) and then he locks in the sleeper-choke, and only lifts Brodie's arm once before calling for the bell and awarding the match to YAMATO at 8:55. Good lord that was a strange match. You have your newly crowned world champion opening the card in a match that appears like he's being squashed for most of it, only to hit a few big moves and win with a sleeperhold but the ref botches the finish by only raising Brodie Lee's arm once before ending it. This was like a match out of Bizarro world. *
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Rich Swann
This is another match in Jimmy Jacobs self proclaimed "Road to the Title", and this time the exciting newcomer Rich Swann of the Ronin stable is his opponent. Jimmy immediately lays in chops and headbutts in the corner to start the match off but Swann rakes the eyes. Swann follows up with a nice leapfrop sequence and a dropkick, playing up to the crowd, clearly pleased with his own athleticism. Swann uses the apron to hit a 619-like kick to Jacobs on the outside. Jacobs catches Swann running and flapjacks him face first onto the ringside steps! Ouch. Back inside the ring Swann gets a lariat/Shellshock cover for a nearfall and locks in a chinlock briefly. Swann does a backspring into the corner but simply flicks Jacobs in the eye in humiliating fashion, a move Chuck Taylor on the outside proudly proclaims he taught to Swann. Oh god I love Chuckie T. Neckbreaker and a series of elbows for two on Swann. He looks for the Contra Code but settles for a guillotine choke, wrapping himself around Swann only to be thrown into the corner. Swann gives Jacobs a big hurricanrana from a standing position all the way to the top turnbuckle in an amazing display of agility and hits a standing SSP for a near fall the crowd totally buys into. Big ace crusher gets Jacobs a near fall of his own and these guys are wrestling at a great pace to a hot crowd at this point, nothing more you can ask for. Superplex by Swann is blocked but his sunset flip is countered for a VERY close two count. Swann springboards but misses Jacobs only to hit a spinning enziguri! 1-2---NOO! Jacobs grabs the bottom rope just in time. Jacobs turns Swann inside-out with a HUGE boot and hits the Contra Code out of nowhere, but Swann kicks out to everyone's surprise! Swann counters a wheelbarrow suplex with a stunner and follows it up with a pele kick. Swann tries for a standing 450 splash (yes you read that correctly) but Jacobs moves out of the way only to be met with a superkick-headscissors combo and Swann hits the standing 450 splash for the win at 9:19! Good little match here as both men were game for the fast pace and the crowd was definitely into it all the way through. Still, the booking here again is bizarre with Jacobs, a guy they're pushing for an eventual title match, loses cleanly in just under 10 minutes to a relative newcomer to Dragon Gate USA in Rich Swann. Good action, questionable booking, but probably worth a viewing. **¾
Backstage PAC tries to cut a promo but the mic isn't working so he has to get a new one. He talks about his partner, Masato Yoshino being the best all-around wrestler in the world and how he himself is the best high-flying wrestler in the world. They promise to win the inaugural Open the United Gate champions.
Six Man Freestyle Match
Jigsaw vs. Frightmare vs. Sami Callihan vs. A.R. Fox vs. Rexx Reed vs. Cheech Hernandez
This is a "freestyle" match which basically might as well just be called the spotfest match, but it's only one pinfall. Gabe used to book these all the time in ROH as "scramble" matches so they'd have something to do with Special K and Dunn & Marcos. Frightmare and Sami Callihan start it out inside the ring as the rest of the guys stand on the apron for the possible tags. Frightmare and Callihan hit a succession of huge lucha moves on eachother. Cheech tags in and takes the fight to Frightmare, hitting a beautiful senton thatsends Cheech out and sends Jigsaw into the ring. So we have lucha tag rules here which means if you're thrown outside, another person can enter the ring legally. Big tope from Jigsaw wipes Cheech out on the outside while AR Fox, a CZW regular, battles with Rexx Reed who resembles a slightly thinner ECW-era Roadkill. Cheech tags in next but soon enough tags stop mattering and everyone is just fighting in and out of the ring with no real discernible focus or story to this match. Big ace crusher from AR Fox but he can't take advantage and eats a neckbreaker from Frightmare for a near fall that Reed breaks up. They do the usual one person tries to one up the other with a high flying move to all of them on the outside spot you'd expect from a match like this. Callihan and Reed do battle for a bit until Frightmare tags in, but Callihan dominates him as well and yanks him out of the corner directly into a stiff piledriver that probably would have been a 3 count if AR Fox hadn't broken the pinfall attempt up. Moments later Callihan hits Fox with a shoulderblock for the anti-climactic win at 9:17. This match was really chaotic, but that's what you expect from these types of match-ups. No story or reason to the madness, and rather disposable but it certainly wasn't boring. **½
Backstage Ricochet and Naruki Doi promise THEY will be the first United
Gate champions. These two make a really fun tag team.
Austin Aries vs. Akira Tozawa
This should be good. Aries is just coming off of leaving ROH and has wrestled on the last few DGUSA shows and Tozawa has been building steam all over the US indy scene with his wild antics and acclaimed match of the year candidate against Chris Hero at the PWG Battle of Los Angeles in September. Aries is accompanied by Reby Sky (who I mistakenly referred to as "Remy Sky" in my last review), a cheerleader for the New York Giants that got into it with Jon Moxley the previous night. Tozawa slaps off the extended hand from Aries and we're under way. Feeling out process to start as they exchange waist and head-locks in the middle of the ring. Tozawa misses a trio of diving headbutts and Aries takes a breather outside with Reby Sky. Back inside they trade counters again until Tozawa hits the outside for a breather of his own with Moxley. German suplex attempt is blocked and Aries rolls him up for a two count. Big bulldog out of the corner gets him another two, so he locks in a modified stump-puller submission. That just looks painful. Aries misses an axe handle to the floor and Tozawa follows it up with two quick topes to the floor. Tozawa high-fives the cameraman like a goof and rolls Aries back into the ring. That's something I love about Tozawa, his fun antics and personality---it really helps him stand out among the Dragon Gate guys. They trade big forearms for a bit which Tozawa gets the best of. Senton gets two. Big DDT and a discus elbow gets Aries a two count as we have dueling chants for both men in the crowd. Tozawa tumbles outside and is met with the heat-seeking missile (tope) from Aries. Back in the ring Aries locks in the Last Chancery and Tozawa is in a world of pain, on the verge of tapping out before he just barely gets the ropebreak. Tozawa blocks a belly-to-back suplex but eats a boot. Aries tries a cross-body off the top but Tozawa gets the knees up and follows with a big Saito suplex for a two count. Big Yakuza kick into the corner by Tozawa but Aries matches him with a big dropkick and a brainbuster! 1-2---NOOO! Not quite enough to put him away. Aries attempts the 450 but Moxley takes him out before he can hit it, leaving Tozawa to take advantage. Reby Sky however distracts Tozawa with a kiss, but Tozawa kicks out of the rollup. BIG German suplex on Aries followed by an arm-locked German Suplex gets Tozawa the upset win at 14:27! Very good match here as both men looked good and more importantly Tozawa got a big rub from pinning a star like Aries clean in the center of the ring. Fast-paced and exciting match-up, best of the night thus far. ***
Backstage Jimmy Jacobs cuts a promo, saying he's still on the road to the title despite being 0-2 in his last two matches.
No Disqualification Match
Jon Moxley vs. BxB Hulk
Hulk lost the title to YAMATO the night before, in part due to Moxley, so this is Hulk's chance at revenge. No dancing for Hulk tonight as he just runs out to the ring and we're off immediately. The match quickly falls to the outside where Hulk begins striking Moxley with various kicks. Back in the ring Moxley gains control, raking Hulk's face against the ropes and biting him, getting a big DDT for a two count. A HUGE back body drop only gets Moxley two as the crowd comically chants "You killed BxB!" Springboard dropkick by BxB back inside and he goes back to laying in various kicks. Big sweep kick followed by a senton gets two. Moxley takes him down by the arm though and locks in a crossface, wrenching back on him until Hulk gets his foot on the ropes. Moxley eats a few lariats and a dropkick and then takes a stiff kick to the back of the head for another two count. Hulk goes for the moonsault but Tozawa jumps up on the apron and knocks him off, and there's nothing the ref can do because of the No DQ stipulation. Superplex by Moxley brings Hulk back into the ring. They tradeforarms for a bit back on their feet and then Hulk hits a pumphandle slam for another two. Superkick misses and Moxley hits an ace crusher for only two. He applies the crossface chickenwing for a bit but Hulk powers out and gets another pumphandle slam for a near fall. Tozawa breaks into the ring but gets tossed right out. Big time superkick gives Hulk the win at 7:56. Well that was certainly anti-climactic. No real point to the No DQ stipulation here and this was far too short to be considered a real grudge match. Pretty disappointing all things considered. **
Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano vs. CIMA/Dragon Kid
This is another match-up in the round robin tournament to crown the company's first tag champions. Taylor and Dragon Kid start us off and the crowd is firmly behind CIMA and the Kid. Lockup to start followed by lots of counters. Kid springboards in with a hurricanrana and fakes out Ronin. Gargano and CIMA both tag in now. Gargano gets tossed around for a bit, so Chuckie T tags back in, prompting Dragon Kid in as well. Dragon Kid hits a few knees while CIMA grabs a steel chair and goes after Rich Swann on the outside, trying to put an end to his trash talking. Kid starts getting double-teamed and Taylor & Gargano do a little jig in-between laying kicks onto Dragon Kid. Ronin is such an awesome stable, but they might be TOO charismatic and funny to really get legit heel heat. Could be a problem in the future. CIMA and Dragon Kid return the favor with a codebreaker to Gargano and a little jig of their own. Sarcastic "That was awesome!" chants start up. I wish they'd save that chant for only the most special fingerpoke-of-doom scenarios and not dance-offs. CIMA throws Gargano and Taylor into the corner and begin spanking (yes, spanking) Chuck Taylor for his wicked ways. CIMA follows it up with a DEVASTATING dropkick to Taylor's gluteus maximus! Kid and Gargano are legal now somehow and Kid delivers a big hesitation dropkick to Johnny in the corner. Dragon Kid locks in the Muta lock on him in the center of the ring. CIMA and Kid try a double team move, but Gargano gives them a double-shellshock and tags in Chuck Taylor as the crowd starts rallying behind Ronin. See what I meant about the heat thing? THen again they haven't been booked COMPLETELY as heels. The match breaks down at this point with all four men in the ring going at it. Taylor hits a big dropkick to CIMA sending him outside and Gargano follows it up with a somersault plancha. Taylor starts taking control of Kid back in the ring with a big death valley driver-suplex combo for two. Headscissors by Kid who locks his legs in a grapevine around Taylor in a submission only to be countered into a backbreaker. CIMA springboards in but eats a dropkick. He counters with a codebreaker and a double-stomp. 1-2---NOOO! Kickout from Gargano, just barely. CIMA gets launched into the turnbuckle like a lawn dart and then eats a superkick for another near fall as this match is really picking up the pace and everyone is on their game here. Big DDT from Taylor but Dragon Kid rolls up Gargano for another close two count. Taylor launches Kid in the air and Gargano hits him in mid-air with an ace crusher! But only for two. Crowd chants "Dragon Gate!" in appreciation. The finish sees Gargano lock a nasty new modified crossface finisher on CIMA for the submission victory at 19:05. Another great match in the tournament to crown tag champs as all four men were on their A-Game and the only thing dragging this down in any way is a bad spot and a bit too much comedy, otherwise this was an excellent match. ***½
Masato Yoshino/PAC vs. Naruki Doi/Ricochet
This should be another excellent match-up as these are four of the best guys in the company, and in the case of Ricochet and PAC have a more accessable moveset than most in the promotion. Doi and Yoshino start us off and it's typically excellent stuff reminiscent of an old WCW Cruiserweight match. PAC and Ricochet tag in and the pace is even faster somehow, with both men bumping and flying around the ring with textbook lucha stuff. Dropkick to PAC outside and Ricochet follows it with the Flying Space Tiger driver to the outside! That spot never gets old. Back in the ring Yoshino tags back in and lays in some elbows on Ricochet. Doi tags back in and they trade near falls quickly. They trade holds briefly and PAC tags back in, prompting in Ricochet again. Sunset flip on Yoshino gets two and he follows it up with a modified Chimora submission. Doi tags back in and hits a slingblade but doesn't go for the cover. PAC tags/springboards in with a dropkick and then springboards back off the rope with a twisting corkscrew moonsault to take out Ricochet! Lenny Leonard puts it best by saying "There are no words!" Amazing athleticism by PAC. Doi ties him up in the ropes on his way back in the ring and hits a dropkick/senton combo. Standing SSP and a northern lights suplex gets PAC a two and both men bail outside, prompting Ricochet and Yoshino into the ring. Another bizarre standing moonsault with an extra roation gets Ricochet a two. Yoshino wraps himself around Ricochet with a grapevined abdominal stretch, but it's broken quickly. All four men are in the ring again and Doi eats a superkick to the back of the skull followed by a phoenix splash that sends the crowd wild for PAC. I don't blame them either, the guy is incredible. Dropkick/senton combo gets Yoshino two. Ricochet and Doi each deliver a cannonabll into the corner on PAC and Ricochet hits the 750 splash! 1-2---NOOO! It's broken up and the fans start up with the "This is awesome!" chants. Nice to see the crowd really into it. Ricochet goes for the double moonsault but instead receives a German suplex off the top rope from PAC! Crazy spot. PAC follows it up with the a twisting shooting star press! 1-2---NOO!, Doi breaks it up at the last possible second. Doi evades a lightning spiral and slaps the everloving shit out of Yoshino with some of the corniest chops ever, but this crowd is too into it and so am I to care. Doi bounces off the ropes and gets the lightning spiral while PAC hits ANOTHER 750 splash on Ricochet, and then delivers a plancha to Doi outside! Good lord Ricochet is a wild beast. Back inside Yoshino locks his arms around Doi's arm and grapevines the leg for the submission victory at 19:51. Holy shit, now THAT was a main event. That was the best match that Dragon Gate USA has had since the six-man tag at Mercury Rising last March. PAC and Ricochet put on a superhuman performance here with some of the craziest high-flying moves you'll ever see and there wasn't a moment of awkwardness or hesitation to be found. Fantastic match that you owe it to yourself to see if you enjoy a high-octane cruiserweight styled match-up. ****¼
After the match Yoshino asks the fans if they liked the show in broken English and gets a resounding yes. I agree with them.
Bottom Line:Damn good show here that started off a bit slow before gradually getting better and better with each match, culminating in one of the best main events Dragon Gate USA has put on in some time. Definitely the better of the two iPPVs from this past weekend, this show is well worth your time if you're a fan of this promotion or style of wrestling. Easy thumbs up.