*** Dragon Gate USA DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
November 28, 2009 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE
(QUALIFYING MATCH) GENERATION NEW Matt Jackson vs. Nick Jackson vs. Gran Akuma vs. Hallowicked vs. Lince Dorado vs. Johnny Gargano: They dubbed this match “Generation Now,” an obvious play on the name given to the Young Bucks by TNA (Generation Me). There was lots of sensational talent involved in this match, which was fought fast and furious. The Jackson brothers were featured heavily. Lince Dorado looks like a Tiger Mask rip-off, but has some dynamite moves in the ring. Johnny Gargano impressed me, and should have a bigger spot on the DGUSA roster soon. Gran Akuma is already in the midst of a push, so he was put over in fine form, securing his place in the four-way finals!
(QUALIFYING MATCH) REDEMPTION BxB Hulk vs. Brian Kendrick: BxB Hulk is an American entertainer trapped in a Japanese wrestler’s body. Thank goodness for Dragon Gate USA or we in the western hemisphere would never get to experience the amazing skills of this great performer! He was coming off a disappointing loss to YAMATO on the first DGUSA DVD. His opponent was Brian Kendrick, who has previously lost to CIMA in a fantastic match from the second DGUSA DVD. So they appropriately named this match “REDEPTION,” as both were trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Dragon Gate community. After a great one-on-one match, it was BxB Hulk who earned his place in the Open the Freedom Gate finals! The crowd loves BxB Hulk!!
POST MATCH SEGMENT: After the match, Brian Kendrick cut a strange promo telling the fans that he wrestles for himself. Kendrick threatened the ring announcer when he tried to get him out of the ring, saying he had earned the right to take as long as he wants. Kendrick went on a long rant talking over the heads of most of the audience. The referee came out to ask Kendrick to leave, and Kendrick screamed “MAKE ME!” Kendrick continued to rant and roar at the top of his lungs as more people came out to try to reason with him. Eventually Jon Moxley came out and snatched the microphone out of Kendrick’s hand. Moxley spoke on Kendrick’s level with the same distain for the fans. Then suddenly both Kendrick & Moxley snapped and attacked the crew of DGUSA officials. Kendrick also attacked a fan while Moxley went berserk at ringside. Lots of people have compared Brian Kendrick to the late Brian Pillman, so I guess they’re going with the Loose Cannon gimmick.
(QUALIFYING MATCH) SALUTE TO SKAYDE Super Crazy vs. CIMA vs. Mike Quackenbush vs. Jorge “Skayde” Rivera: It was great to see Super Crazy again! Mike Quackenbush and CIMA were both trained by Jorge “Skayde” Rivera, so they were quite respectful towards their mentor. Super Crazy, on the other hand, was not as respectful, because Skayde just happens to be the man who took his mask in Mexico years ago. Skayde is known as the Grandfather of Dragon Gate and Dragon Gate USA. The finish saw CIMA pin Skayde’s shoulders to the mat for the three count (even though one shoulder was clearly off the mat) to advance to the finals! CIMA and Quackenbush paid tribute to Skayde after the match, but then started shoving each other. Quackenbush said he hoped CIMA won the title tonight just so he could take it away from him!
(QUALIFYING MATCH) NEXT LEVEL Davey Richards vs. YAMATO: This was predictably the hardest fought match of the opening round. It went on for quite some time and turned the fans into a frenzy. I really thought Richards was destined to win, and carry DGUSA on his shoulders, but it was Yamato who scored the victory in this epic contest to claim the final spot in the finals to crown the first ever Open the Freedom Gate champion!
SINGLES MATCH Jigsaw vs. Eddie Kingston: Eddie Kingston may not look like much, but this guy has the passion that turns a man into a great professional wrestler. Sure, he is partially known for doing the mindless garbage wrestling stuff, but he also excels in the technical realm and should be respected for it. These two are no stranger to each other, but I thought for sure Kingston would walk away with his arm raised. I was surprised to see Jigsaw walk away with the victory.
TAG TEAM CHALLENGE MATCH Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino vs. Shingo & Dragon Kid: This is a rivalry that was ignited in Dragon Gate rings of Japan, and has now made its way over to America to light the DGUSA ring on fire (not literally). This was an amazing match, and that is all I have to say about it. It was different than anything you have ever seen in WWE or TNA. It was beautiful!
POST MATCH SEGMENT: After the match, the Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) came out and showed their respect to the winners. The Bucks told the winners that they might be one of the best tag teams in the world, but they are not THE best, because THEY are the BEST! The Bucks issued a challenge to a tag team match any time any place to find out who the BEST really was.
PROMO: They introduced Jon Moxley to the audience. This guy has one of the most unique gimmicks on the independent scene. Moxley is kind of a intelligent dirtbag; like a villain from a Stephen King book. I can’t even compare it to anyone in the real world. He’s like the Joker from the trailer park. He’s definitely going somewhere!
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE TITLE TOURNAMENT FINALS (4-WAY) Gran Akuma vs. BxB Hulk vs. CIMA vs. YAMATO: Gran Akuma has this perpetual scowl on his face which is quite priceless. BxB Hulk was greeted with colorful streamers thrown across the ring. CIMA brought a broom out to the ring, which I’m sure symbolizes something but I did not understand right away. YAMATO came out kind of dazed, selling the beating that he took during his match with Davey Richards. It was time to crown the first ever Open the Freedom Gate champion! The crowd began chanting for CIMA after the opening bell. YAMATO and Akuma returned to the alliance they formed at the very first DGUSA show. A few minutes into the match, CIMA became the first elimination. The fans booed for several moments before chanting for BxB Hulk. YAMATO and Akuma then turned their attention to Hulk. BxB took a brief beating, but miraculously managed to eliminate Akuma! It came down to BxB vs. YAMATO for the grand prize! A few minutes later, BxB Hulk sealed the deal by pinning YAMATO and was crowned the first ever Open the Freedom Gate champion!
POST MATCH SEGMENT: After the match, Davey Richards showed up to send a message to the new champion. Richards said he could make a challenge, or…. then Richards kicked the crap out of BxB Hulk and was joined by YAMATO. Dragon Kid hit the ring to help BxB Hulk and presented him with the championship belt!
BONUS DISC: They showed a highlight video from “Open the Freedom Gate” as well as a “Freedom Fight” PPV preview
BONUS MATCH Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole: Neither of these guys are very special, but it’s always nice to check out young talent from the independent circuit.
BONUS MATCH B-Boy vs. Jon Moxley: I always thought B-Boy deserved more than being stuck in the Ultra-violent land of CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling). He really should have branched out and made a name for himself elsewhere. Maybe DGUSA is the place for B-Boy to finally break out. I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Jon Moxley. Like I said earlier in this review, he has a very unique gimmick for a pro-wrestler – and it’s so hard to come up with something new these days. He is big, but not built, and has a lot of character.. so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him inside a WWE ring some day. As much as I wanted to see B-Boy get a push, I was thrilled to see Moxley gain the victory. Moxley should get a huge push starting RIGHT NOW!
BONUS MATCH TAG TEAM MATCH – FIP THIRD ANNIVERSARY SHOW (09.28.07) Roderick Strong & Jay Briscoe vs. BxB Hulk & YAMATO: Even before Dragon Gate opened its USA division, they made frequent trips to the United States to appear in promotions like Ring of Honor and Full Impact Pro. So when BxB Hulk & YAMATO came to FIP it was a real treat for the fans. When you’re facing Roderick Strong and any Briscoe brother you know you’re in for a great fight! It was a long and excellent match.
BONUS MATCH (JAPAN) OPEN THE TRIANGLE GATE TITLE MATCH (08.16.09) BxB Hulk & PAC & Masato Yoshino vs. Akebono & Don Fujii & Masaaki Mochizuki: It’s very interesting to see the Japanes wrestling culture. There are times when you could hear a pin drop in the arena. You might remember Akebono from this embarrassing match with the Big Show at WrestleMania a few years back. He is a real GIANT!
BONUS MATCH FRAY – 2009 JEFF PETERSON MEMORIAL CUP (11.21.09) Drake Younger vs. Scotty Vortekz vs. Brad Allen vs. Arik Cannon vs. Flip Kendrick vs. Dave Cole vs. Chris Jones vs. Marion Fontaine:
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