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The Arena – Philadelphia, PA – July 25, 2009
Lenny Leonard and Chikarason are on commentary. Dawn Marie is the host.
MATCH #1: BxB Hulk vs. YAMATO
This is a good choice for an opener and the crowd is juiced. Hulk and YAMATO chain wrestle and exchange holds on the mat. Hulk takes control with a variety of kicks. YAMATO responds with a heel hook and Hulk gets to the ropes. Hulk avoids a charge in the corner but YAMATO is able to dropkick his knee and send him to the floor. YAMATO goes to work on the knee and keeps Hulk on the mat. Hulk tries to fight back with kicks but YAMATO cuts him right off. YAMATO uses a sleeper and then turns it into a leg submission. Once again Hulk is able to reach the ropes. YAMATO continues the assault until Hulk cartwheels out of an Irish whip and then hits a springboard missile dropkick. His knee doesn’t seem to be bothering him too much now. They trade strikes and YAMATO wins that battle with a running forearm smash. YAMATO follows with a Spear for two and then locks on a Cloverleaf. He turns it into a Crossface and Hulk reaches the ropes. YAMATO tries Galleria but Hulk counters his way out of it. Hulk runs into a boot in the corner. YAMATO goes to the second rope but Hulk kicks him in the head and then hits a super moonsault slam. Hulk unleashes a series of kicks, culminating with a hard kick to the jaw. He hits the First Flash and then hits EVO for a two-count. Hulk goes up top for a Phoenix Splash but YAMATO moves out of the way. YAMATO hits a running charge in the corner and a brainbuster for too. He goes for Galleria again but Hulk squirms out of it and kicks YAMATO in the head. YAMATO comes back with the Choke Sleeper into a suplex for two. He then hits Galleria to get the win at 15:22. That was a solid opener and a good showing for both guys. Hulk kind of decided to no longer sell the knee and that’s annoying, but for DGUSA’s first-ever match they wanted to ensure the crowd would stay buzzed throughout the night. In that respect the match was successful.
MATCH #2: Too Cold Scorpio vs. Kenn Doane
Scorpio offers a handshake but Doane slaps it away. They start off slowly and try to get in each other’s heads. Doane goes to work on the arm but Scorpio slips out and Doane bails to the apron. Back in the ring Doane works a headlock but Scorpio quickly escapes it and sends Doane back to the floor. Doane gets back inside and they continue to trade moves with little rhyme or reason. Scorpio does a lot of punches in between Doane executing various maneuvers on him. Doane hits a nice bridging German Suplex for a two-count. He uses a sleeper and Scorpio escapes out of it and backdrops Doane to the apron and then back in the ring. Scorpio unleashes a flurry of offense and hits a bodyslam and a springboard Arabian Press for two. Doane comes back with a spinebuster. He goes up top and misses the Guillotine Legdrop. Scorpio kicks him in the face and tries the moonsault but Doane gets his knees up. Doane covers and gets two. He misses a charge in the corner and Scorpio hits a back suplex. Scorpio goes up top and Drops the Bomb to get the win at 16:35. That took forever to get going and I’m not much a fan of either guy to begin with. Putting the two of them against each other seems contrary to the entire spirit of DGUSA anyway.
Backstage – Naruki Doi and Shingo are in separate locker rooms preparing for the main event. Voiceover narration gives more information about both men in tonight’s main event, which is a nice little feature.
MATCH #3: Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw, Soldier Ant & Fire Ant vs. Gran Akuma, Icarus, Amasis & Hallowicked
Ophidian was supposed to be on the team with his partner Amasis but he got injured. Everyone in CHIKARA wanted in DGUSA so they did a random drawing and Hallowicked was the lucky winner. This match is going to be really hard to keep up with. Amasis and Fire start the match. As predicted this one gets fast pretty quickly and everyone gets a chance to show off their moves in the early going. Team Akuma isolates on Soldier for a little while until Quackenbush gets the hot tag. When jigsaw tags in Team Akuma is able to cut him off from his partners and work him over. Jigsaw comes back and sends Akuma, Icarus and Amasis to the floor, and then wipes out Team F.I.S.T. with a dive. Back in the ring Fire and Hallowicked take it to each other. The Colony executes some double-team moves as the action is getting really hard to call. Akuma this Jigsaw with the super exploder in the moonsault but it only gets two. He goes for the Rubix Cube but Jigsaw fights out of it and hits a Rack Bomb for two. Icarus tries to take off Jigsaw’s mask but the Ants come to the rescue. Everyone starts hitting dives and we’re left with Jigsaw and Icarus in the ring. Jigsaw hits the Jig N’ Tonic for the pin at 17:26. I know I didn’t call much of the match but it was really hard to keep up with. That was a great showcase for CHIKARA and a ridiculously fun eight-man tag match. Everyone was on.
Quackenbush gets on the mic to put over the match, as well as his trainer Jorge Rivera. A lot of the guys on the show tonight were trained in part by him, so they show a Rivera highlight video. It’s about 15 seconds long. Quack then issues an open challenge to any Dragon Gate wrestler, which is answered by YAMATO. Thankfully they translate the promo, as YAMATO says he doesn’t know who Quackenbush or Rivera is, and that Quack has no right being in the ring. YAMATO then delivers a low blow. Jigsaw comes out for the save, and then Gran Akuma runs out and sides with YAMATO! That’s a surprise. Other guys from CHIKARA come out to run YAMATO and Akuma off.
MATCH #4: Dragon Kid vs. Masato Yoshino
Kid is accompanied by Shingo and Yoshino is accompanied by Naruki Doi. They go back and forth to start and Kid sends Yoshino to the floor. Back in the ring Yoshino catches Kid and slams him chest-first on the mat. Yoshino goes to work on Kid’s arm, isolating it and dissecting it. After a few minutes Kid comes back with the Déjà vu. Kid follows up with the Bermuda Triangle to the floor. He hits a springboard missile dropkick back in the ring for a two-count. Yoshino comes back with Sling Blade for two. He goes up top and Kid knocks him down. Yoshino tries a sunset bomb but Kid counters with a rana and the 619. He tries another rana but Yoshino catches him with a powerbomb. Kid locks on Christo but Yoshino powers out of it. He then goes for the Jesus but Yoshino gets his knees up. Yoshino goes up top and hits the shotgun dropkick for two. He goes for Lightning Spiral but Kid avoids it and hits a DDT. They fight to the top rope and Kid hits a super hurricanrana for a two-count. Yoshino comes back with Another Space and Torbellino. He locks on Sol Naciente. Kid rolls it into a cradle for two and then hits a Stunner. He follows with the Ultra Hurricanrana to pick up the win at 13:26. The finish seemed a little anti-climactic, but this was a tremendous back-and-forth contest between two guys who know each other very well. Both of these guys have come a long way since I first saw them in 2006.
Things get heated after the match as Shingo and Doi face off. For some reason Scorpio comes out and toots his own horn, and suggests a rematch between Yoshino and Kid for the next show.
MATCH #5: CIMA & Susumu Yokosuka vs. The Young Bucks
Matt Jackson and Yokosuka start the match. Mike Quackenbush joins Lenny Leonard on commentary. Yokosuka and Matt chain wrestle a bit to start and Yokosuka gets the better of it. Matt comes back with a headscissors and mocks the Warriors. Tags are made and now it’s CIMA battling Nick Jackson. The Bucks take over on offense and use some fast-paced double-team moves on both of their opponents. CIMA cuts Nick off and now he and Yokosuka go to work. Control continues to shift back and forth as neither team has been able to dominate for an extended period of time. Pretty much right as I type that Yokosuka and CIMA seem to have Matt isolated for a while, frustrating Nick on the apron. The match breaks down s they take the fight to the floor. Yokosuka holds Matt up and CIMA hits a lungblower. Nick tries to come in to help his brother but he gets dumped to the floor. Yokosuka holds Nick on the guardrail and CIMA jumps off the other guardrail with a double stomp. Back in the ring after several more minutes of abuse Matt is able to make the comeback and then the hot tag. Nick and Matt are both houses afire as they send Yokosuka and CIMA to the floor and Nick wipes them out with a Skytwister Press. Back in the ring the Bucks focus on CIMA but can’t put him away. CIMA comes back by rolling through a sunset flip and hitting a double stomp. He is able to position both Bucks in the corner and hits Superdrol. The action is getting crazy here. Yokosuka and Matt fight to the top rope and Yokosuka hits a super exploder for two. Matt comes back with Diamond Dust for two. CIMA comes back in and hits Matt with Venus and the Iconoclasm. He goes up top for the Mad Splash and hits nothing but knees. I literally can’t type as fast as these four are moving right now. The Bucks hit Yokosuka with the Worst Case Scenario for two. Yokosuka comes back with Jumbo No Kachi on Matt, and CIMA hits the Perfect Driver but it only gets two! CIMA hits a coast-to-coast dropkick and then he and Yokosuka hit a double-team face-plant move I’m having trouble describing and Nick has to break up the cover! The crowd is going nuts. CIMA accidentally superkicks Yokosuka and then Nick sends CIMA to the floor. The Bucks take the opportunity to hit More Bang For Your Buck to get the huge upset win at 17:30. CIMA is kind of the top dog in Dragon Gate, so to see him go under in his first DGUSA match is a big surprise, and it must have meant big things were in store for the Bucks. It wasn’t a cheap win either – Nick and Matt totally earned it and the match was phenomenal. Everything was clicking on all cylinders and looking good and the crowd was hot through the whole thing. This easily could have been the main event.
Matt cuts a promo after the match, putting over CIMA and Yokosuka. He says the Bucks are not the tag team of the future anymore, but the tag team of the present. He issues an open challenge to any team in DGUSA who wants to face them.
Before the entrances we take another quick look at both men preparing for the match. This was a nice touch to make the main event seem even more important.
MATCH #6: Shingo vs. Naruki Doi
Doi is the Open the Dream Gate and Open the Brave Gate Champion but neither title is not on the line here. They start off slowly and cautiously, as Leonard explains that these two know each other very well from their encounters in Japan. Shingo uses his power to take first control, as he hits a big TKO. He goes for a double knee off the second rope but Doi moves out of the way. Doi focuses on the knee now, which is wise when facing a bigger, stronger opponent. He even uses a figure-four leglock and Shingo is able to get to the bottom rope. Doi stomps Shingo down in the corner and goes for Dai Bosou but Shingo catches him and brings him out with a powerbomb! That was absurdly awesome. Shingo continues to use his power, including a very delayed vertical suplex. He tries to suplex Doi to the floor but Doi blocks it and traps Shingo in the ropes. Doi drills Shingo with a back elbow and a hard dropkick. He goes up top and hits the flipping senton to the back. He tries a charge in the corner but Shingo catches him and hits an exploder suplex. Shingo goes back to the second rope and this time hits the knee drop but hurts himself in the process. Even so he gets a two-count. After a series of reversals Shingo hits the Complete Shot and then the Blood Fall for two. Doi comes back with a Rydeen Bomb for a near-fall. They fight up top and Doi drills Shingo with a slap to the face. That sounded painful. Doi puts Shingo in the Tree of Woe and hits Dai Bosou. He then lands a super back suplex but it only gets two. Doi goes for the Muscular Bomb but they trade counters and Shingo lands the Death Valley Driver and the Pumping Bomber for a near-fall. Shingo hits a couple of sick forearm strikes and then hits Made in Japan for two! Doi comes back with Doi 555 and the Bakatare Sliding Kick but Shingo gets his foot on the bottom rope! Once again Doi goes for the Muscular Bomb but Shingo counters it and hits another Made in Japan. Both men rise and exchange strikes. Doi wins that battle and hits a Bakatare Sliding Kick and a Tiger Suplex for two! He hits another Bakatare Sliding Kick and then another but Shingo kicks out! Doi finally hits the Muscular Bomb and that’s finally enough to get the pin at 20:48. The tag match was a tough act to follow but I should have known these two were up for the challenge. They told a good story, hit the crap out of each other, and had the crowd with them the entire time. This was a worthy first main event for DGUSA.
”Enter the Historic Gate” Highlight Package
This is about six minutes of awesome highlights from an awesome show.
”Enter the Dragon” PPV Preview & Promo Spot
This is just over 12 minutes, and is hosted by Lenny Leonard and Mike Quackenbush. They show some clips, put over the matches, and show some Dragon Gate history.
BONUS MATCH #1: FIP vs. Dragon Gate – BxB Hulk, Jack Evans & YAMATO vs. Delirious, Jigsaw & Hallowicked, FIP Cage of Pain II, 9.29.07
Delirious and Hulk start the match. They go back and forth very quickly and then make tags to YAMATO and Jigsaw, who follow suit. Jigsaw gets the better of it so once again tags are made and it’s Evans versus Hallowicked now. Evans shows off his dance moves. Hallowicked responds in kind, with a little help from Jigsaw. They start wrestling and Evans looks a little off tonight, as a lot of his stuff isn’t hitting right on. The Dragon Gate team is able to isolate on Jigsaw and they work him over in their half of the ring for a while. Finally Jigsaw hits Evans with an enziguiri and he’s able to make the hot tag to Delirious. The Lizard Man is all over the Dragon Gate boys, throwing clotheslines at everything. The referee loses control and bodies are flying all over the place. Delirious hits Hulk with the Panic Attack and hits Evans with the Here It Is Driver for two. YAMATO gets dumped to the floor and Hallowicked wipes him out with a dive. Hulk knocks Delirious to the floor and then wipes out everyone with a moonsault off the second rope. Jigsaw then follows with another dive and that leaves only one. Evans hits a ridiculous dive to wipe everyone out including his partners. Back in the ring the action is “too fast and furious,” as Dave Prazak notes on commentary. Evans and YAMATO hit Ode to the Bulldogs on Jigsaw and Hulk follows with the BxB Star Press for two. YAMATO hits Delirious with a Death Valley Driver onto Jigsaw and again it only gets a two-count. Hallowicked gets rid of Evans and Hulk, and then holds YAMATO for Jigsaw to hit a double stomp off the top rope. He then hits Go 2 Sleepy Hollow and Delirious follows with Shadows over Hell and YAMATO kicks out! YAMATO hits Delirious with Galleria and Jigsaw breaks up the pin. Evans and Hallowicked battle on the top rope and Evans knocks him down. Hulk grabs Hallowicked and holds him for a Decapitation 630 Legdrop for the pin at 18:20. That was awesome action from start to finish and as good as some of the six-man tags in ROH, though not as good as the best ones, if that makes sense. I love watching old YAMATO and thinking about how good he’s become.
BONUS MATCH #2: BxB Hulk, Jushin Liger, Jack Evans & Matt Sydal vs. Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, Magnitude Kishiwada & Kevin Steen, Crown Gate, 11.23.06
The match immediately spills to the floor and the combatants are fighting throughout the arena. Doi and Hulk are the first two in the ring as the match is still fast but a little saner. Evans and Steen tag in. Steen quickly dumps Evans to the floor and then Sydal and Yoshino tag in and things get absurdly fast. Kishiwada and Liger are the next to tag in. Team Doi is able to isolate Liger for a few minutes, and Doi even tries to take his mask off. Hulk and Evans take offense to that and storm the ring. Yoshino comes in as well but gets double-teamed. Unfortunately for Hulk, Yoshino sneaks in a low blow and Team Doi is back in control. Hulk gets dominated for several minutes before he’s able to hit Doi with missile dropkick and make the tag to Liger, who is a house afire. Liger also calls Evans and Sydal into the ring, but Evans isn’t there long. Evans wipes out Steen with a dive, and Sydal follows with a dive to take out Steen and Yoshino. Liger signals for a dive but the referee stops him (shady), and that allows Doi to take control. Doi goes to work but Liger cuts him off quickly and hits a palm strike and a frog splash for two. The referee loses control and everyone is coming in the ring regardless of tags. Evans goes up top but someone (not sure which guy) throws a chair at him to knock him down. Hulk and Kishiwada do battle in the ring now and Hulk almost gets the pin with a sunset flip. Kishiwada hits a Superfly Splash for a near-fall. Doi comes in and hits Hulk with the Bakatare Sliding Kick for two. Team Liger comes back on Doi and unleashes a flurry of offense on him, including the Liger Bomb but it only gets two. Kishiwada accidentally clotheslines Doi and Evans follows with the 630 but Doi kicks out. Steen hits Evans with a moonsault for two and then nails the Package Piledriver. Sydal breaks up the cover. Yoshino hits Sydal with Torbellino and then tries Sol Naciente but Sydal counters to a cradle and they reverse each other a couple of times. Doi tries the Protein Attack but accidentally hits Yoshino! Liger hits Yoshino with the Brainbuster and Sydal follows with the Shooting Star Press to get the win at 17:57. That was ridiculous and hard to follow and a great example of the Dragon Gate style.
BONUS MATCH #3: FRAY! Featuring Cheech, Cloudy, Johnny Gargano, Louis Lyndon, Lince Dorado, Andy Harner, Aaron Arbo, and Chris Jones
First up is Aaron Arbo, and Andy Harner is number two. These two are the definition of Indy Wrestler. They do some choreographed looking stuff that involves a lot of armdrags. Next out is Johnny Gargano. Dawn Marie’s introductions are just terrible, by the way. Gargano steals the first pin with a rollup on Harner at 4:23. He then hits Arbo with the Hurts Donut to eliminate him at 4:36. Gargano gets a little break before Louis Lyndon comes out. The match has gotten ten times better without Arbo and Harner in it. Gargano and Lyndon go back and forth a bit and then former FIP Florida Heritage Champion Chris Jones is the fifth man out. Gargano bides his time and lets Lyndon and Jones do battle. The sixth man out is Cheech. The crowd is into him. Cheech responds by taking it to everyone in the ring. Gargano is able to trap Lyndon in the Hurts Donut and scores his third elimination at 15:05. Lince Dorado is the seventh man out. The last man in the match is Cheech’s tag team partner Cloudy. Up In Smoke immediately starts working together on everyone and they have quite a bit of success. They knock everyone to the floor and follow them out with stereo dives. Back in the ring they hit Jones with Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Cheech and then their own version of the Doomsday Device to eliminate him at 20:31. Dorado traps Cloudy in a sunset flip and Cloudy is done at 21:02. Gargano hits Cheech with Hurts Donut and both members of Up in Smoke are done at 21:19. We’re down to Dorado versus Gargano now. They go back and forth a bit and badly blow a Tiger Suplex. That was no one’s fault, just a thing that happens. Dorado instead hits a release German Suplex and then goes up top for a beautiful shooting star press to get the win at 23:40. That was much too long for a FRAY to be but they worked some good stuff in there once the first two goofs were gone. Gargano was obviously someone to keep an eye on from the beginning.
The Pulse: This is a hell of a DVD release, with three four star matches in the main show and two more on the bonus disc. Everyone was motivated to put on the best show possible and the crowd responded in kind, making for a really memorable evening. This was a great way to kick off the promotion and still probably one of the best shows they’ve ever done. You can pick it up at the DGUSA Store.