Monday, July 30, 2012

DRAGON GATE USA ENTER THE DRAGON 7/29/2012 LIVE EVENT REPORT

I'm going to warn you right now. I'm really distracted and my brain is alllllll over the place. So if things go off the rails during this, I'm sorry. I ran out of ginseng.


DARK MATCH ONE
DEREK RYZE & CHARADE CHAMPLOO vs. SEBASTIAN SUAVE & CECIL NIX
Some say this match was started by Dr. Keith Lipinski saying "Ding Ding" into a microphone, but I don't believe them. It sounded too much like a real bell. These fellas were apart of the tryouts from earlier in the day and earned themselves a tag match. Charade Champloo may be among the most ridiculous names I've ever heard, but hey, now I'll never forget it. Especially after reading this from his website bio:

A true Otaku at heart, Charade has been viewed as somewhat of a hardcore video game, anime, and Japanese culture addict.  He claims that he recieved extensive training among the best  in Japan, although most doubt the legitimacy of such training (and rightfully so!) Nevertheless, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that has seen Charade wrestle a match and still dares to call him out.
 Wacky. The work in this was okay, but the crowd was a little dead because they were just walking in and trying to find their seats. I honestly don't remember much about it other than a guy winning by kicking another dude in the face, a move I was going to see in nearly EVERY match for the rest of the night.


DARK MATCH  TWO
MR. 450 vs. "LONESOME" JAY BRADLEY
This was interesting because it showed me how little crowd overlap there was between DGUSA and Resistance Pro. These guys didn't get much reaction coming in, but I think they made a good impression. They certainly had a good lay out for a match, with 450 trying to out run the big bruiser. I love how Bradley works over a guy. Really liked it when he kept reverse whipping 450 back into the same corner over and over. It's just something you don't see, and I think that's what made Jay stand out more as the show went on, he didn't seem prototypical indy. The finish was really cool, with 450 going for the 450 splash and Bradley evading it. 450 landed on his feet and before he knew what happened, Lonesome Jay was taking his head off with his "Boomstick" Lariat. Fun match, I hope they get more out of it.


JAKE MANNING vs. MASADA
Chuck Taylor and Jake Manning came out to teach us how to make a camp fire, but before they could teach us the key lesson, Masada interrupted. This felt really stiff and nasty. Masada looked like he was in a mood to kill the "Man-Scout" and he did. Some nasty clothesline and a brutal cradle suplex and this one was over. Fun and brief, just like I like my sandwiches.

ZERO GRAVITY vs. THE SCENE
The Scene look like the douchiest douches to ever douche, and that works for me. Because wrestling need people who look like that. Zero Gravity are little flippy dudes, but they're fun little flippy dudes. This felt a little too choreographed and it ran just a tad long, but it had it's fun moments. But much like the earlier tryout's tag, I started to get the feeling that some of these moves they're pulling off aren't that special, because I saw the "new guys" doing it earlier. Scene won with a Convoluted DDT German Suplex thing-y. I'm sure that's what they call it.

SHANE HOLLISTER vs. SAMURAY DEL SOL
Samuray is obviously an athletic dude, and can do some fun stuff in the ring. His front flip rebound off the top and middle ropes was nuts. But for all his spots this match just didn't add up. For example, he went crazy kicking Hollister a dozen times on the ropes, and Hollister responded by no selling it and just pulling Del Sol to the mat by his mask. His kicks must suck, wouldn't you think? Then later he did the headstand on the top rope, and Hollister brutally kicked him in the face. It looked awesome, but Samuray just followed it up with a move. That kind of stuff drives me a little crazy. I'm all for fun and crazy spots, but they if you blow away the reality of a wrestling match to fit them in then you aren't doing it right.

SUPER SMASH BROS. vs. ARIK CANNON & PINKIE SANCHEZ
This was a lot of fun. Stupefied was selling his leg amazingly well, that I seriously believed he was hurt. And maybe he was, I don't know, but it was awesome all the same. These guys worked really well together and fit in some good sequences mixed in with some comedy, like Player Uno asking for a beer from Arik Cannon while Cannon has Stupefied locked up like a pretzel.

Awkward moment of the night goes to Pinkie Sanchez telling the referee to "Get up outta my face, nigga!" while the ref was trying separate him from his opponent in the corner. Arik Cannon was shaking his head saying, "You're gonna catch some shit for that one Pinkie."

Made me think of this comedy bit from Donald Glover:


Watch it. What? You came here to read about DGUSA? Fine. Jeez.

The finishing stretch in this match was pretty fun with lots of fun believable near falls. This was maybe the first match that had me fired up and ready to get involved.

POST MATCH STUFF
After the match, Player Uno got on the mic and challenged whoever would win the tag titles in the main event. Then the Scene came out and almost said something, but Arik Cannon took the mic away and called them all kinds of unmentionable names. Words like "hand" and "job" and "blow" and "job" again were uttered. The kid behind me couldn't stop laughing.

Then Ricochet came out and told every one "No".

Then he left.

Then Chuck Taylor came out with a Swamp Monster

Then everyone else not named "Chuck Taylor" or "Swamp Monster" left.

Then the Swamp Monster transformed in Johnny Gargano.

I QUIT MATCH
JOHNNY GARGANO vs. CHUCK TAYLOR
Wowzers did they do some crazy stuff. Some of it was just straight brutal. I usually only like Chuck Taylor in CHIKARA, where his act fits in better. He doesn't really work for me in more serious match-ups because he often seems too jokey and it kind of makes things feel extra phoney. That stuff works when you've got Player Uno and Arik Cannon mucking around in a match, but this match didn't feel like it was supposed to have that same kind of vibe. And while he did do some of that in this match, I have to give him props for doing some pretty wild shit. Including maybe the best use of thumbtacks ever. Gargano, having pretty much snapped, stuffed a handful of tacks into Chuck's mouth and then basically kicked them out of his face. It looked nuts.

Chuck also reminded me how fucking gross the fans can be when he got a face pop for accidentally kicking a ring girl in the face. It gave me another contrast to Resistance Pro shows, where there's a lot more women in the audience, and not as many dudes who may or may not date rape you.

JUST KIDDING.

They'd only stare at you from across the room and mumble about how you're only ** 1/2 because you don't have big enough bazooms and don't do enough moovez on the dance floor? Same criticism I gave my wife before she punched me in the nuggets. Happily married ever since....Where was I?

Gargano was also really good in this match. He just looked angry and incredibly focused, the way a guy in a blood feud match like this should probably carry himself. He also fit in another spot I'd never seen before. They bridged a guardrail section between the crowd's guardrail and the ring apron. Eventually Gargano got back dropped from the ring on to it, but the bars gave away and Johnny went THROUGH it. Way cooler than breaking a steel wooden ladder in a Money in the Bank match, you know?

The finish saw Gargano basically strangling Chuck with barbed wire until he said "I Quit." Really fun match, but even with all the amazing spots and brutality, I just couldn't warm up to it like others did.

JON DAVIS vs. YAMATO
I really liked this match, but the crowd was kind of mixed. I loved the early stuff with Davis over-powering Yamato and I liked Yamato's arm work in the middle portion of the match. Yamato is just the best smarmy creep and he was a fun contrast to the hard hitting no-nonsense Davis. This went the right length, did go into overkill, and told a clean simple story. It felt much more up my alley than anything else on the show up until this point. After a fun finishing stretch Davis finally overpowered Yamato and crushed him with crazy torture rack powerbomb thing-y.

After the match Davis got on the mic and said, that while he respected Gargano, he didn't want Gargano's title, he wanted EVOLVE to create a title for him to fight for.

This is one of those problems with DGUSA/EVOLVE combo. Davis saying he doesn't care about Garagno's belt, he wants one that doesn't exist for a "different" company either makes Gargano's belt seem less, or it makes this new made up belt seem less. This relationship between the two companies just seems incredibly muddied. Is it like a Smackdown/RAW brand deal? Do wins in DGUSA convert to wins in EVOLVE? I don't know. It's just not clear to me, but maybe that's because I don't follow the two very well.

EL GENERICO vs. AKIRA TOZAWA w/ CHRISTINA VON EERIE
This match was probably the best match, but holy hell did this ref drive me up the wall. I was enraged. Von Eerie kept interfering and the ref wouldn't throw her out. At one point she headbutted Generico in front of the ref's face. The poor officiating was kind of a theme throughout the whole night. People around me were complaining about it all night. Hell at one point Von Eerie interrupted the match with a chair and the ref just wagged his finger at her. BULLSHIT



MARK IT ZERO.

Anyway, regardless of that, Generico and Tozawa put together a really cool match, that had a good build and some awesome nearfalls. The crowd being consistently hot for it, also kicked it up a few notches. Generico is one of my favorite wrestlers in the world right now. He's just operating on some next level shit. He's a brilliant face and understands how to gain sympathy and work up a crowd. If you're an wrestler and you're going to be a face, you should be studying Generico matches. I'm not saying copy his schtick. I'm saying look at the motivations behind the stuff he does and when he does it. He's the indy Ricky Steamboat.

There was some wonky no-selling near the end that took it down a notch, but overall I'd say this was my favorite match of the night and you should probably go check it out, pronto. DO IT.

OPEN THE UNITED GATE TITLE MATCH
RICH SWAN & RICOCHET vs. AR FOXX & CIMA
This one blew the crowd up by the time it was over. One complaint I have with the style, is that by the time Ricochet is busting out flips and spins in the main event, I'm kind of unimpressed. Not to say that what he does isn't amazing. But on a show where Zero Gravity, Samuray Del Sol and the guys in the tryout match are busting out standing SSP's and the like, by the time it's Ricochet's turn, I'm just going, "Ohhh more of that stuff from before."

Still for a spotfest, I had a lot of fun seeing what they'd think of next. AR Foxx's Springboard Inverted Front Flip to the outside is so simple on paper, but so crazy to see live. And the finishing stretch was like the last action sequence in a Michael Bay film come to life.


I think AR Foxx is one of the best guys on the indies right now. He was great at selling a beat down while Rich and Rico were in control. CIMA was great at making the match more about them than himself, which I totally respect. It felt like he was really trying to help get AR Foxx over as a big deal, and I think by the night's end it worked.

The finish came off a crazy version of the C4, where Fox doesn't stand on the top rope, he runs and catches the guy off the top and rebounds backwards kind of like RVD's split legged moonsault, but with a guy attached to him. If that makes any sense. It looked awesome and actually looked like it made more sense than a regular C4 where they're both standing.

After the match CIMA proclaimed Foxx the new best high flyer, a kind of call back to that one time in Chicago where CIMA said the same thing about his then partner Ricochet.. Ricochet didn't like this and told Foxx he'd never be better than him, so Foxx challenged him at EVOLVE to prove it. That should be fun.

OVERALL SHOW
I really enjoyed myself. I'm kind of nitpicky about too many wrestlers doing too many of the same moves on the same show, so that turned me off, but it's kind of to be expected for these types of shows. When you let guys do whatever they want but they all kind of want to do the same thing, it makes some of the action less special. And by the end, I was kind of burnt out on kicks to face when a guy is on his knees, or corkscrew whirrly-doos.

Also, I'm a sucker for heel/face interactions, and I find that a lot of fans at this show didn't really care about any of that. I think it kind of hurt the Jon Davis/Yamato match, where Yamato was working heel, but the more vocal fans cheered him. They can boo/cheer whoever they want, but it kind of messes with how the match works, you know?

Best match was probably Generico/Tozawa. I think Yamato/John Davis was a personal favorite, but the crowd being so into the main event made it a little more enjoyable. Definetly try and scope out the last four matches though. You'll like at least one of them I'm sure.

AND ONE MORE THING
A friend of mine was brutally attacked in her home. He nearly beat her to death with a hammer and left her for dead. Thankfully she survived and is now on the hard road to recovery. She's an incredible artist, a great chef, and an all around kick ass person. Sadly she's not rich and a fundraiser is underway to help get her money to pay off the debt she will incur during her rehabilitation. Please, if you've got a couple of bucks go here

http://www.gofundme.com/AshleyPruneau

and throw some good will her way. Thanks.

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