*** Dragon Gate USA DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
July 24, 2010 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – ECW Arena
[ ENTER THE DRAGON – 1st ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ]
INTRODUCTION: The wonderful Dragon Gate USA promotion celebrated its ONE YEAR Anniversary at the most famous independent wrestling venue in America – ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After eight of the most entertaining and innovative wrestling events we have ever seen on this side of the world, the promotion is giving the fans the greatest gift they could hope for – an appearance by WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan, oops, I meant to say the BEST WRESTLER IN THE WORLD BRYAN FRICKIN’ DANIELSON!!
IN THE RING CIMA + Johnny Gargano: The previous event ended in chaos, with just about everyone on the roster getting their hands dirty in a big time brawl. CIMA started the celebration greeting the fans and thanking them for their support in his broken English (which isn’t that bad, truthfully speaking). He was soon interrupted by “free agent” Johnny Gargano, who has been campaigning to be recruited by one of the factions in DGUSA as its American representative. It seemed like CIMA had a better grasp on the English language that Gargano. CIMA wanted to know what Gargano was talking about, so Gargano slapped him across the face! CIMA said if Gargano wants a fight, then RING THE BELL!
SINGLES MATCH CIMA vs. Johnny Gargano: Despite what I said about Johnny Gargano in the previous paragraph, he is pretty good on the stick and even better in the ring. I would consider him a future star, and someone to keep an eye on in 2010-2011. Announcer Lenny Leonard said “playtime is over for Johnny Gargano” and I thought that was pretty funny because he is both a character and a competitor. This was a make-or-break situation for Gargano, because if you can’t pull off a good match with CIMA then you might as well quit and work at McDonalds. Gargano put on the match of his career with an enormous effort, but came up short to the Superstar CIMA. CIMA appreciated Gargano’s effort and offered to shake hands after the match, but pulled the invitation at the last second!
4-WAY MATCH Ricochet vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Adam Cole vs. Arik Cannon: The third match on the DVD was put out there as the official proving ground for these four indy stars looking to get a permanent spot on the DGUSA roster. I’m really looking to get to know Ricochet, who has been earning a reputation throughout 2010 and should break-out at some point in 2011. Arik Cannon is the veteran here, but I have never really appreciated him much. Chuck Taylor is currently undefeated in EVOLVE competition, so he’s looking to transfer that success into a new realm. Adam Cole, I’m sorry to say, I don’t know much about. Their job was to light the house on fire and pull out all the stop at all cost – in an attempt to impress the fans. It didn’t take long before the fans were wildly chanting “This Is Awesome!” The fans erupted when Chuck Taylor won the match and impressed everyone. Taylor is a big time heel, so I’m looking forward to watching him take a crap on all the fans some day!
SINGLES MATCH Naruki Doi vs. Drake Younger: Drake Younger looked to shed his “hardcore” reputation and establish himself as an Internationally respected professional wrestler. He put on one hell of a match with Dragon Gate mega-star Naruki Doi and earned the respect of everyone involved with the promotion. After Doi finished him off, Drake got up and offered his services to any faction who wanted to him as their American representative. Johnny Gargano felt like Drake was stealing his gimmick so he ran out and attacked him before engaging in a brief brawl.
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE TITLE MATCH BxB Hulk (c) vs. Nasaaki Mochizuki: BxB Hulk did his big entrance dance routine, which again was without the hot ladies, and therefor lacking the right sex-appeal. Seriously DGUSA, shell out the $20 and hire a couple strippers to dance with the champ! First thing I noticed was that Hulk was now hairless, due to losing a Hair vs. Hair match with Shingo a little more than a week before this event. This title defense was so good I literally zoned out and lost track of time. The crowd said it all when they started a “this is WRESTLING!” chant. When it was over and the dust cleared, the great BxB Hulk was still the Open the Freedom Gate champion! After the match, an unidentifiable psycho Goth chick in a wedding dress climbed into the ring and distracted Hulk, allowing Jon Moxley & Kamikaze USA to sneak in and assault the champ right after warning him that they were going to take his belt! Shingo looked to destroy Hulk but Bryan Danielson showed up to a huge pop, sending the heels scattering backstage.
SINGLES MATCH Rich Swann vs. Scott Reed: Scott Reed was accompanied to the ring by some girl named “Nicole” who had no business being in the wrestling business. I’m guessing it’s Reed’s real life girlfriend and he struck a deal with the promoter to give her a little spotlight. Rich Swann is a tiny black dude who, quite honestly, doesn’t look like much. It was a squash, but you wouldn’t guess by who. Little Rich Swann squashed poor Scott Reed, who probably was regretting the choice to beg the promoter to let his girl be at ringside to watch him get beat by a tiny cruiserweight. After the match, “Big Rig” Brodie Lee hit the ring and destroyed both men before “taking out” Nicole with a big boot to the face! I was going to give her a little credit until I rewound the tape and realize he barely grazed her face. Brodie once again challenged DGUSA to send him some competition!
ELIMINATION MATCH Kamikaze USA (Jon Moxley & YAMATO & Akira Tozawa & Gran Akuma) vs. Masato Yoshino & Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw & Hallowicked: Jon Moxley was particularly brutal during this match. This is an example of a guy who can be aggressive, but still manages maintain the all-important wrestling aspect. When the Chikara guys get the ring, the temperature tends to rise very quickly in whatever building they are in. Jon Moxley’s aggression got out of control and he was disqualified for using a chair. Moxley wouldn’t leave, so Jimmy Jacobs showed up and they brawled to the back. Jigsaw was eliminated and sent to the back. Hallowicked & Jigsaw were eliminated at some point. Gran Akuma was eliminated. The finish saw a double submission with Quack submitting YAMATO and Yoshino submitted Tozawa (really spectacular!)..
MAIN EVENT DREAM MATCH Bryan Danielson vs. SHINGO: The crowd welcomed Bryan Danielson back with the streamer treatment and by chanting “Best in the World!” upon his introduction. For those of you who are wondering; yes, they did introduce him as “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. The Philadelphia fans brought back the old “you’re gonna get your f*cking head kicked in” chant. Anybody lucky enough to see the event where that chant was created, knows its hilarious context. I zoned out for about 40 minutes while watching this match. The crowd was very rowdy and became unglued on several occasions. The finish saw American Dragon pull out a series of finishing holds in an attempt to put Shingo away until the dreaded (Crippler) Cross-face was the final nail in Shingo’s coffin! The crowd immediately erupted in glorious chants of “match of the year!” and “thank you, both!”
IN THE RING: The crowd chanted for a speech from Bryan Daniels, and begged him to SHOOT! Dragon took the microphone and proceeded to offer his services to BxB Hulk’s WORLD-1 faction. They shook on it!
CONCLUSION: Happy Anniversary to an amazing wrestling promotion!
If you would like to purchase this or any other DRAGON GATE USA DVD
please check out the Dragon Gate USA website at DGUSA.tv