On the walk over to the Congress, I went over the matches and the back story to them with my wife. We'd been hyping this show all week by watching Dragon Gate shows including the last year's Kobe show where Doi wrestled CIMA. Dragon Gate USA would be her second live wrestling experience, her first being WWE Judgment Day last year. Of course Indy wrestling is a different beast altogether, and I was really interested in how she'd react to that kind of atmosphere. As we get closer to the venue she says: “We should Have gotten streamers.” Awesome.
We got to the Congress Theatre a little after six, in time to catch the bonus matches. There weren't any wrestlers signing before the show this time, but your usually gimmickry was abound. Including a local mask shop that had a huge array of Lucha masks. There was some pretty cool items including some nifty Rey Mysterio Jr. masks, like that jet black one or the one with the devil horns.
Inside the arena, I find out that they had changed the section names and that Section A is the one opposite the hard camera as opposed to the section to the left of the entrance way like last time.. Our seats were third row dead center of the ring. Pretty cool. Not long after we sat down the bonus matches began.
BONUS MATCH #1
6 Man Elimination:
KYLE O'REILLY, ARIK CANNON, JOHNNY GARGANO, LINCE DORADO, BRAD ALLEN, AND JOHNNY MOXLEY
Kyle O'Reilly seemed to have quite a few fans. I had no idea who he was. Actually the only guys I knew from this were Cannon, Gargano, and Lince. The minute Lince showed up, some guy near by yelled “I HATE YOU LINCE.” I didn't believe him. Johnny Moxley was eliminated first because Brian Kendrick ran into the ring and started beating up whoever Mox was fighting at the time. It was kind of weird, which will be the theme of anything Kendrick related throughout the night.
I honestly can't remember anything about Brad Allen other than his name is Brad Allen. It's unfortunate since his name is so generic that is sticks with you. I would have to say Arik Cannon was the best guy in this. Which I still can't believe how fun he is in the ring. I wasn't a big fan of Kyle O'Reilly “Kickin' Machine” act. I just wasn't into it. He had a couple of nifty spots like multi-rolling double underhook suplexes. Lince was flippin his ass off and was pretty damn solid. His spot of the night came when he went for a Lionsault and Gargano came in and drop kicked him in the stomach in mid-air. By the way, I need more Johnny Gargano in my life. No joke. I like that guy and think he could totally work in any company. Scrunchy and all.
The final two were O'Reilly and Cannon, and their stuff together was pretty cool and I'd like to see them go at it again in a singles. O'Reily picked up the win which disappointed me, but it was still a fun match.
BONUS MATCH #2
AAW HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
SILAS YOUNG © vs. HALLOWICKED
My wife liked Hallowicked's costume. That was about it for this match. Silas has some nifty offense, but I felt like this match could have in the middle of the last match and it would have mattered just the same. If that makes any sense. Though a highlight was my wife jumping in on a “Hall-o-wicked Clap Clap clapclapclap” chant.
It was also during this match that my wife and I really began to notice this guy sitting near us that had taken it upon himself to yell out the name of every damn move that every wrestler did. I'm not kidding. “Oh man, SIDE KICK.” “back drop SUPLEX.” “WHAT?! BRAINBUSTER?!” Everything. “Stomps to the gut”. "Oh a punch to the mush." Everything.
BONUS MATCH #3
JOHNNY MOXLEY VS. DARRIN CORBIN
This match started and there was no ref for about two minutes. There was a small “Where's the ref chant.” Bryce came out and looked about as confused as us. Why Johnny Moxley was wrestling another match after just losing in one earlier was never answered. Still, I thought he was kind of fun. Moxley biting Corbin in the face was pretty damn cool.
45 MINUTES OF WAITING.
So after that, we have 45 minutes to stand around. This is kind of the downside to Bonus Matches. You get to see them, but then you have to muck around for a while. Last time they had Dragon Gate guys signing stuff, but this time there wasn't anyone. I checked out the DG table though and they had some action figures. I was pretty close to buying the BxB Hulk action figure, but I couldn't justify $20 price tag. Satoshi Oji was behind the promo pics table and said that the DG guys would be out after the show.
I asked my wife what she thought of the show so far and she said it needed more Japanese guys, too many Americans. I love it when my wife acts like she's more Japanese than I am.
THE PPV...ALMOST.... BEGINS
We thought the show was about to start but out came. Brian Kendrick and Johnny Moxley again. The idea here was that Moxley wanted to fight Tommy Dreamer. Kendrick said that it wasn't worth it because Dreamer sold his soul ten years ago when he became office. Then they left. It was kind of weird because we thought the show had started so we thought that meant Tommy would respond, but he didn't. Then the announcer says we have another Dark Match and then the show would begin.
TJP vs. GRAN AKUMA
This was pretty good. I had no idea who TJP was at all. He was okay, by Akuma was bringing some goods. Akuma is kind of like Cannon in that I don't see him as a star, but I'd love to have them on my roster because they do so well with pretty much anyone. TJP won with this leg hold that I know is on Fire Pro Wrestling Returns......Ahhh Fire Pro calls it the Herando Lock III. So if you have the game, go to Moveset editor and look up that move name - it's at the legs when your opponent is face up. Even the commentator we has sitting next to us didn't know what to call it. “Awwww man....a Texas Clover Leaf Variation?!?!?” Anyway, he put this move on twice, I think,and it's cool how he locks it on, but it looks like poop when fully applied. It's more of a cool mid-match surprise but not as a match-ender. I was disappointed when Akuma tapped to it.
AAAAAANNNNNNNDDDDD THE SHOW STARTS.
PPV MATCH 1:
CIMA and SUPER CRAZY vs. “LIGHTNING” MIKE QUACKENBUSH AND JIGSAW.
Before the match I made the decision that I was only going to root for one team. I was going to try and stick to this throughout the night. Cheer one person, not both. So I picked CIMA and Super Crazy.
I'm really glad I did too, because Super Crazy was freaking awesome. He couldn't be stopped, my friends. He'd maybe gained some weight over the years and was wrestling with a shirt on, but that didn't stop him from being damn awesome. He was playing with the crowd and just having a a good old time. I remember that some folks in our section were chanting for Quack and he wagged his fingers at them and told them to chant for him instead. They of course did, right quick. This may be the most fun anyone had all night. My personally highlight was Super Crazy taking a pair of Thunderstix from a fan and deciding to beat down Jigsaw with them. Bryce tried to get involved and Crazy went Crazy on him.
It wasn't all fun and games. The in ring action was pretty tight. CIMA went coast-to-coast and had a nasty double stomp on Jigsaw who was locked up Crazy's Surfboard hold. Jigsaw, may go down as an unsung hero in this match. That guy was working tough for both guys and was just an all-star trooper in
JIMMY JACOBS VS. BRIAN KENDRICK
Kendrick came out again before the match and had a talk with Jacobs. He said that they were similar people in that they both look at wrestling as an art and themselves as artists. That they both wrestle emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But Kendrick is different because he also wrestles psychologically. So he made a phone call and learned everything about Jimmy Jacobs. And the person he called was here tonight: LACEY.
This of course was pretty shocking, and it was also kind of better than the match. I was pretty disinterested, and the match seemed kind of off. Like a random top-rope suplex in the middle of it. I don't know, maybe it was just me, but top-rope suplexes seem like a big deal and this one kind of just showed up about half-way though a short match. If anything I'd say I was kind of dsappointed with Jimmy Jacobs in all this. He didn't seem that interesting, but maybe he was trying to sell the fact that Lacey was in his head....or something. Anyway. Lacey popped in the ring and made out with Jimmy which lead to Kendrick picking up the win.
After the match Moxley came down to celebrate. Jimmy Jacobs grabbed the mic and said that Kendrick may have Lacey, but Kendrick's wife was good enough for him last night. Good stuff. Kendrick came and yelled “I could kill you RIGHT NOW!” Which was funny. He then grabbed Lacey and was going to plant one on her, but Moxley clotheslined her. This apparently made a lot of people happy as they started chanting “That Was Awesome”. Lame. For two guys that were doing great heel work, they kind of threw it away by beating up on some one that apparently the fans hated more, which was also apparently a woman. Not a big fan of wrestlers getting cheered for beating up a woman. Especially if they're supposed to be bad guys.
TOMMY DREAMER IS HERE
Thankfully, a guy who's gotten cheers for the same stuff came in: TOMMY DREAMER. I Was pretty excited since I love me some Tommy Dreamer. At least 10 years ago I loved me some Tommy Dreamer. Moxley took him down early and started biting his face. He stood up and yelled “Tastes like loser!” this Moxley guy is growing on me as some one I could hate. Tommy came back and proceeded to beat his ass threw the crowd. One fan helf up his chair and Tommy threw Mox into it. Good times.
The segment ended with dreamer hitting a big DDT and doing the ECW pose. Several “ECW” chants and “Thank you Dreamer” chants. Dreamer is still fun to watch.
FIP WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI © vs. DAVEY RICHARDS
I decided to cheer Mochizuki for this one. Lots of pro-Davey chants so I felt kind of alone. But I stayed diligent. I liked this match okay, but some of it felt like a rehash of his match with Shingo last time they were in town. The only difference was Mochizuki's offense. His kicks were sick nasty. Davey got beat-up for a lot of this with Mochi working the leg. This was spurred on by Davey missing a kick on the apron and hitting the ring post instead. I thought Mochi's work on the leg was pretty good, and set up his ankle lock quite nicely. Richards did his ridiculous flip from the ring over the barrier into the crowd. Luckily I was prepared for it because I had seen the last match he had at the Congress. He almost took out the guy in front of me though. It was pretty insane to see Davey Richards flying through the air and flipping right at you. For a second there I didn't think he was going toget up because he laid there pretty still.
The finishing stretch wasn't that hot. Davey kept doing that Kimura after every kick out and Mochizuki kept making it to the ropes. It just lost it's shock value after the 4th time. Thankfully he switched it up and went for the arm bar, and when that didn't work he licked on a triangle choke for the tap out.
The match felt a little, like a Davey crazy formula match, but Mochizuki made it a little fresher.
Pizza is SIX DOLLARS at the Congress. A can of soda is THREE DOLLARS at the Congress. I wanted to tell people to just walk out and grab a cheaper slice from Luck Vito's next door, but, who would listen?
THREE WAY ELIMINATION TAG MATCH
SPEED MUSCLE VS. THE YOUNG BUCKS VS. YAMATO AND SHINGO
This was tons of fun. There was some cat behind us who had some solid vitriol for The Bucks. I still don't know which one was which. And it was made even more confusing by this guy yelling “Max” and “Jeremy”. This guy was also kind of dumb. He'd yell “Which one's Matt and Which one's Jeff?” but then follow it up with “Well, I guess the blonde one is Jeff...” Like he just argued himself. If you're going to make a comment like that, don't debate yourself out loud. What's the point? He was so annoying that I couldn't boo them like I wanted to. I didn't want to be associated with him.
There was a “Doi” chant and a “Yoshino” chant and Yamato turned around, looked the guy in the eyes, put his fingers to his lips and said “Shut Up.” three times. Great. They did a couple of fun Dragon Gate comedy spots, like the multi-man suplex. Another one was A giant chain of guys wrapping their legs around eachother's head. The last guys to join in were Yamato and Shingo. So Yamato locked on and Shingo was confused because he didn't want to apply the hold to his parnter. So he got the idea to go to the other end and lock on a Scorpion Deathlock, which turned over the five other guys. It was a pretty impressive sight.
I also want to say, that I hadn't seen Shingo's look leading up to the show but that guy is starting to look like Toshiro Mifune with wooly hair. Which is kind of badass to me. Toshiro Mifune as a wrestler is a dream for me.....ahhhhhh.
Anyways, lot of fun spot and The Bucks went out first, which is fine by me. They got in just about all their moves that they needed to do before finally getting pinned.
Once they were gone it almost felt like the DG guys kicked up a notch and moved even faster. Everybody was tight here. I'd say a big highlight was Doi elbowing the ever lovin' piss out of Shingo. There were a lot of forearm strike through out the night and some of them looked weak as hell (see: Kyle O'Reilly), but these guys laid it in pretty damn good.
The finish was a little bit of a shocker as I didn't think it would end that way.
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE TITLE MATCH
BxB HULK © VS. DRAGON KID
Kid came out with CIMA for some support. BxB Hulk came out with some dancers and did his dance routine. It was amazing. I can't explain my love BxB Hulk, and I don't feel the need to. But I will say that any man who comes to an American Indy show and does his Dance Routine with a straight face and doesn't wrestle like a pretty boy heel, should be applauded for his bravery. My wife loved it too, but said they needed to loose the girls. They had no clue what they were doing.
This match was pretty damn good. Apparently, according to CIMA's MySpace page, this is the very first singles match ever, between the two. They worked pretty well together, I should say. They worked some good holds early on, and there were many pro-Hulk chants. Just a good crisp junior style match. Hulk's kicks were surprisingly sick. DK's spring board hurricanrana is still nasty to watch. BxB Hulk almost pulled a Yoshino spiked his head off of it. The absolute nastiest blow of the match and possible the night came right before the end when Hulk kicked a kneeling Dragon Kid in the head. Lots of guys had been pulling that kind of move all night. But this one looked like Hulk forced his foot through DK's head and pushed him back with it. It was nasty as hell. Great match and a good way to end the show.
Davey Richards, Gran Akuma, and Yamato, stormed the ring and beat up the two competitors, much to everyone's chagrin. I love that Davey Richards has had two DGUSA shows in Chicago where everyone starts off cheering him and ends with people booing him. Shingo came out and feigned like he was not okay with this kind of stuff, but instead leveled Kid with a clothesline. Then Quack and Arik Cannon and probably some other people came down to even things out. Quack went straight for Yamato and beat the crap out of him. Then CIMA came down WITH A BROOM and cleared the joint hitting pretty much every person around him. It was amazing. I defy anyone who doesn't like CIMA to watch him live and not love him. That man has converted me to the Church of CIMA. I can't explain it. He's just so genuine and nice. Once he cleared the ring he spoke to everyone about how he's going to Arizona for the big Wrestlemania weekend and he's bringing his “Best Partner” GAMMA. Big Gamma chant here. And he said, I just have one question to ask, “CAN WE COME BACK TO CHICAGO?” and he did it over and over. A lot of his speech he had to read from a paper. His English was a little rough at first, but once people quieted down it became easier to understand. Just a real fun time.
So everyone but DK and BxB Hulk came out for autographs, which is understandable. Unfortunately for me, I want theres the most since I didn't get them last time around. I did grab CIMA's though. Funny story: this fan handed him a SHINGO promo picture. CIMA signed it and said “I'm CIMA, This: SHINGO. But hey, it's okay this time.” Great stuff. Another fan said he needed tobring all the Warrior 5 over to Arizona. CIMA said....”Don Fuji?....maybe....Stalker Ichikawa?” It was pretty funny stuff. My wife actually went down the line with her ticket and got everyone to sign it. So that's pretty awesome.
Pretty good show. It didn't have that same electricity that Bryan Danielson's farewell tour had, but that's too be expected. I think there were several fans that were new to Dragon's Gate and weren't like the other Internet Fans who keep up with the company. I think those fans walked away very happy, and enjoyed the new experience. I certainly loved the show, and while some of it was a little weak, I'd say that anytime any of the Dragon's Gate guys were in there, you were getting your money's worth. The DG guys are an awesome classy bunch, and they can have my money anytime.