DATE: November 28, 2009 (PPV Airdate: January 22, 2010 as Freedom Fight)
VENUE: The Arena (Philadelphia, PA)
COMMENTATORS: Lenny Leonard & Chikarason (& Mike Quackenbush)
DGUSA crowns its first Open the Freedom Gate Champion in a one night tournament of sorts, Jigsaw takes on Eddie Kingston, and much more!
- DGUSA OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE CHAMPION: Vacant
- OTFG QUALIFIER: Matt Jackson vs. Nick Jackson vs. Gran Akuma vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Hallowicked vs. Lince Dorado (***)
- OTFG QUALIFIER: BxB Hulk vs. Brian Kendrick (***1/4)
- OTFG QUALIFIER: CIMA vs. Mike Quackenbush vs. Super Crazy vs. Jorge Rivera (**1/2)
- OTFG QUALIFIER: Davey Richards vs. YAMATO (****1/4)
- Jigsaw vs. Eddie Kingston (**3/4)
- Dragon Kid & Shingo vs. Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino (****1/2)
- FOUR WAY ELIMINATION MATCH FOR THE DGUSA OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE CHAMPIONSHIP (***3/4)
-PREVIOUSLY ON DGUSA: Masato Yoshino still won’t show Dragon Kid respect, Davey Richards vows to Open the Freedom Gate, and the CHIKARA/Dragon Gate war continues.
-Show begins with all SIX MEN in the ring for the opening contest. Kevin Harvey welcomes the crowd and announces the one-night tournament to crown the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. Winners of each qualifying match will battle in a four-way elimination match to crown the champion.
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE QUALIFIER (GENERATION NEW)
Matt Jackson vs. Nick Jackson vs. Gran Akuma vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Hallowicked vs. Lince Dorado
Akuma kicks Hallowicked and the chaos begins. Hallowicked takes Akuma down with a hurricanrana, sends Gargano to the floor with a corner kick to the face. Akuma is sent out next, Hallowicked wipes them out with a tope suicida. Matt Jackson and Dorado get the in-ring spotlight next, Dorado kickflipping off Matt’s chest but getting dropped with a superkick. Dorado sends Matt to the floor with a headscissors and fakes flying out, Nick Jackson knocks him out with a kick, Gargano spears Nick then escapes a backslide and counters with Ace Crusher. Young Bucks double team Gargano with dropkicks, clear Akuma and Dorado out with a pop-up double dropkick. Hallowicked is their next victim, Bucks tease taking flight but Gargano and Akuma attack them from behind and clear them from the ring. Matt Jackson pulls Akuma out, Nick Jackson pulls Gargano out from the other side, Bucks roll back in to square off but it’s stopped by Hallowicked and Dorado. Dorado rolls Hallowicked up with a rana but only gets two (despite the mat being hit three times but whatever). Hallowicked hits Go 2 Sleepy Hollow followed by a sitout slam for the 1…2…Dorado kicks out. Dorado knocks Hallowicked off the buckles, follows up with a shooting star press, Akuma breaks the pinfall with a release German attempt; Dorado lands on his feet but Akuma gets the last laugh with double knees for the 1…2…Nick breaks it up and hits a slingshot X-Factor followed by a moonsault to Dorado on the outside. Gargano belts Akuma with a superkick followed by an inside out suplex for the 1…2…Matt breaks it up. Matt spears Gargano, Bucks with a moonsault/splash combo for the 1…2…Hallowicked breaks it up. Matt catches Go 2 Sleepy Hollow, Nick superkicks him, Bucks follow with a double Superkick and MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. Matt covers for the 1…2…Nick breaks it up, remembering they’re not teaming in this one. The brothers trade forearms, Nick connects with a corner knee strike and back elbow, Matt backflips under a clothesline and hits a wheelbarrow bomb for the 1…2…Akuma breaks it up. Gargano catches Dorado mid-moonsault with a dropkick, Hallowicked drops Gargano. Dorado splashes Hallowicked on the floor, taking the guardrail with him in the process. Akuma drills Gargano with a half-nelson suplex, Gargano connects with a Lawn Dart and heads to the top, Akuma crotches him and connects with a kick. Akuma hits a Spider Exploder followed by a picture-perfect moonsault for the 1…2…3!
Gran Akuma defeated Johnny Gargano, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Hallowicked, & Lince Dorado via pinfall (9:29)
- Interesting mix of talent here, though Gran Akuma being considered part of Generation New is a bit of a stretch. As with most multi-man matches it was a lot of spots with little time to really let them sink in but the crowd ate it up and it was fun. Awesome to see Akuma get the win, smart way to let the Bucks still do their double-team stuff while also technically wrestling each other. (***)
Young Bucks shake hands and hug to show everyone there’s no hard feelings.
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE QUALIFIER (REDEMPTION)
BxB Hulk vs. Brian Kendrick
Hulk and Kendrick both lost in their DGUSA debuts, so they’re both looking to redeem themselves and find their way into the Open the Freedom Gate Championship match. I like that these qualifying matches have a theme to them. Hulk doesn’t have his dancers this time which is disappointing. His theme song still rips though.
Hulk counters a Fujiwara Armbar with a front chancery, Kendrick counters back and goes back to the arm. Hulk breaks his grasp with a pair of knees and grabs an armbar, Kendrick rolls into the ropes to force a break. Kendrick is apparently coming into this one offended that people think he even NEEDS redemption, and is bitter about his match with CIMA from the last show being edited down for PPV (glad I’m watching the DVD versions of these shows). Feeling out process continues, Kendrick bails to the floor to get his head straight. Kendrick sends Hulk to the mat with a shoulderblock, Hulk nips up and connects with an armdrag out of a cartwheel followed by a dropkick, Kendrick bails into the corner to once again get his bearings. Hulk belts Kendrick with a series of knees, then brings him to the mat with a rear-chinlock, driving his knee into the spine. Kendrick sends Hulk to the floor and into the post. Hulk kicks out of a lateral press, Kendrick rains down forearms in a full mount and applies a camel clutch, bending him back into a modified Dragon Sleeper of sorts. Hulk slips out, Kendrick covers for a two-count. Hulk fights back with a series of kicks, Kendrick rakes the eyes and drops him back to the canvas. Dueling chants, but the Hulk contingent is much more lively. Kendrick stops Hulk from getting to the ropes, applying a rear-naked choke but Hulk uses his height to his advantage and gets his leg on the bottom rope. Hulk connects with a missile dropkick followed by a legsweep and a corkscrew legdrop for the 1…2…Kendrick kicks out. Kendrick escapes a slam, Hulk drops him with a high-kick followed by a flipping slam for the 1…2…Kendrick gets the shoulder up.
Hulk charges in, Kendrick connects with a spinning heel kick, Hulk counters Sliced Bread #2 by throwing him to the floor. Hulk wants to fly, Kendrick falls into the crowd to avoid it. Kendrick crotches Hulk and hits a brainbuster into a small package for the 1…2…Hulk kicks out, Kendrick connects with an enzuigiri for the 1…2…Hulk kicks out again. Kendrick with a camel/cobra clutch, Hulk elbows out and hits Mouse followed by a lariat. Hulk connects with a boot to the midsection, kick to the face, and E.V.O. for the 1…2…KENDRICK KICKS OUT. Hulk picks Kendrick for another, Kendrick counters with a rollup for the 1…2…Hulk kicks out, superkicks Kendrick and rolls him up for the 1…2…3!
BxB Hulk defeated Brian Kendrick via pinfall (12:33)
- I dug this match a lot, both for Hulk’s CRAZY speed and Kendrick’s underhanded tactics. I appreciate the way Kendrick has wrestled on these past couple of DGUSA shows, his matches feel a lot different from the others on the card and for me that’s a good thing. Breaks up the SPOT SPOT SPOT nature of a lot of these. (***1/4)
Kendrick chases Kevin Harvey off so he can have some unscheduled mic time. He says he wrestles for himself not for YOU PEOPLE and rambles on and on about something or another. Either my hearing is going bad or the audio on this is not good. I wanna pretend it’s the former because I don’t want to confront my mortality. Bryce Remsburg comes out to try and make Kendrick shut up so they can continue the show, Kendrick says to make him. Oh hey Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly are out here giving Remsburg back up. Jon Moxley casually strolls to the ring and snatches the mic from Kendrick. He says he hears a lot of talk but doesn’t see a lot of action. Moxley finishes Kendrick’s though for him and a big ol’ brawl breaks out between Cole, O’Reilly, Kendrick, & Moxley. More chaos as Moxley throws a chair in the ring and Kendrick attacks a random fan.
- So I guess Moxley wanted to create chaos by turning Kendrick’s words into actions or something? This was weird but kinda cool at the end, Kendrick attacking a fan was a nice touch.
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE QUALIFIER (SALUTE TO SKAYDE)
CIMA vs. “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush vs. Super Crazy vs. Jorge “Skayde” Rivera
Quackenbush gushed about the influence of Rivera on the very first DGUSA show, and now here he is mixing it up with the folks he’s apparently inspired over his career. DGUSA gave him a f*cking death metal growl entrance theme which is HILARIOUS. Their music director must have gone to high school with me.
Unlike the opening match this multi-man match is going to have tags and whatnot, so this’ll hopefully be less chaotic. Quack and CIMA do some rasslin’ to start, customary for a rasslin’ match, countering and showing off various holds as they jockey for position. Quack connects with an armdrag, CIMA rolls out and Super Crazy comes in. Quack bails from the ring, Rivera runs in…and gets dropped with a clothesline. Rivera responds with a headscissors followed by an armdrag. CIMA runs in and rolls RIvera up, Quack rolls CIMA up, Crazy rolls Quack up, all four attempt dropkicks and we got ourselves a stalemate. Rivera dodges a senton from Quack and connects with a springboard armdrag, CIMA plants Rivera and hits a double stomp for the 1…2…Rivera bridges up. Quack hits Super Crazy with a flying crossbody and a kick to CIMA, who relinquishes a submission on Rivera. Lots of lucha things happen (I’m not going to recap all of it, my poor wrists deal with enough), Rivera breaks up a sunset flip from CIMA to Quack with a dropkick. Crazy takes Rivera’s knee out with a dropkick, connects with a standing a moonsault. CIMA runs in, shoving Crazy away to check on his mentor, Crazy throws him out then drops Quack from the apron with a springboard dropkick. Rivera surprises Crazy with a sorta rana followed by an armdrag and a…something that didn’t really happen. Awkward. Rivera traps Quack in a submission, CIMA breaks it up with an enzuigiri. Rivera dodges a dropkick and applies a leg submission, CIMA teases tapping but Crazy breaks it up with a dropkick. Quack flattens Crazy on the floor with a tope atomico, Rivera wants to join in but eats a superkick from CIMA instead. CIMA drops Quack from the apron and rolls Rivera up for the 1…2…3.
CIMA defeated Mike Quackenbush, Super Crazy, & Jorge Rivera via pinfall (9:19)
- Nice of CIMA and Quackenbush to pay respects to their mentor by having Rivera as part of the match, and props to the dude for still being able to hit some moves at his age. This was very lucha-like and that style of wrestling doesn’t land with me very much so I didn’t get the mileage out of it I’m sure others would but I liked it well enough. (**1/2)
CIMA and Quackenbush continue showing Rivera loads of respect and admiration…then suddenly Quack shoves CIMA and tells him to win the title tonight so he can take it from him. Right on.
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE QUALIFIER (NEXT LEVEL)
Davey Richards vs. YAMATO
Richards seemingly turned heel at the last DGUSA show, attacking Bryan Danielson after Danielson gave him his seal of approval, but you wouldn’t know it from the way the Arena fawns over him during his entrance. YAMATO and his creep tongue is 1-1 in DGUSA, beating BxB Hulk in the first match ever for the company and coming up short in a tag team match against Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw (but not taking the pin). Which one will rise to the NEXT LEVEL? Let’s find out.
Richards and YAMATO exchange wristlocks, Richards counters out by bridging and kicking YAMATO off of him. Richards grapevines the leg, YAMATO counters into a rear-chinlock; Richards counters into a hammerlock, transitioning into a side headlock. YAMATO goads Richards into running into him, neither man budging, so Richards changes it up and delivers a series of kicks. YAMATO catches one of the kicks, Richards brings him to the mat for a Cross Armbreaker but he’s too close to the ropes. Richards zeroes in on the left arm, first with an overhead armbar then by manipulating the digits and stomping the elbow. YAMATO kicks out of a pinfall attempt, Richards immediately goes for the Kimura Lock but YAMATO blocks it so he changes gears and sends him to the floor. Richards sends YAMATO into the guardrail, knocking some fans over in the process, and follows up with a running kick. Richards counters a leap frog with a spinning heel kick that sends YAMATO to the floor; YAMATO crawls under the ring and dropkicks the leg from behind, immediately locking in a half-Crab in the center of the ring. Richards gets the rope break, but YAMATO is now on the offensive, a knife-edged chop in the corner sending the sweat fly. YAMATO continues attacking the leg, applying a standing toehold. YAMATO grabs an Ankle Lock, standing on the other leg for extra punishment, but Richards once again makes it to the ropes.
YAMATO connects with a series of chops, Richards tries to kick back but uses his bad leg and crumples to the canvas. Richards catches a kick, pulls YAMATO off the buckle and into a kick of his own. Richards connects with a boot to the gut followed by a series of forearms, YAMATO fires back but runs into a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Richards sends YAMATO to the floor and immediately follows up with a senton that sends BOTH men into the crowd. Hot damn. Richards connects with a front-facing missile dropkick, his leg totally fine now as he lays in a series of rapid-fire kicks to the chest. YAMATO reverses a whip, Richards catches him with a back handspring kick for the 1…2…not yet. YAMATO blocks a German and turns right into a Northern Lights Suplex for the 1…2…YAMATO kicks out, Richards goes right into the Kimura Lock! YAMATO struggles and gets to the bottom rope, Richards releases the hold and gives him an angry stomp. YAMATO blocks another German and applies another Ankle Lock, Richards misses the enzuigiri counter and YAMATO reapplies the hold, Richards gets to the ropes. Richards revs up, trades strikes with YAMATO; YAMATO with rapid forearms, Richards with rapid kicks. Richards connects with an enzuigiri, YAMATO hits a belly-to-back suplex, Richards POPS RIGHT BACK up and levels YAMATO with a lariat, both men struggle to regain their bearings as the crowd chants “DRAGON GATE”. YAMATO heads to the top, Richards stuns him with a kick and connects with a top-rope superplex but YAMATO GETS RIGHT BACK UP. Richards hits the Alarm Clock followed by a lariat and a bridging German suplex for the 1…2…YAMATO KICKS OUT AND RICHARDS CAN’T BELIEVE IT. YAMATO meets Richards on the buckles, Richards sends him crashing down, YAMATO counters a Shooting Star Press with a pair of knees and locks in a Choke Sleeper. Richards escapes and connects with a flurry of strikes, YAMATO ducks a lariat and reapplies the Choke Sleeper; Richards almost gets to the ropes and YAMATO turns it into a Sleeper Suplex followed by a Knockout Kick for the 1…2…RICHARDS KICKS OUT and YAMATO hits a Brainbuster for the 1…2…RICHARDS KICKS OUT AGAIN. YAMATO picks Richards up and connects with the Galleria for the 1…2…3!
YAMATO defeated Davey Richards via pinfall (21:25)
- Hell of a match here, Richards and YAMATO beat the hell out of each other and the last few minutes had me on the edge of my seat as I bought into nearly every nearfall leading to the finish. Richards really was on another level back in ‘09, huh? Shame I missed it when it was happening. My only real quibble with this is the fact that Richards lost; given how much he was put over at the last show (beating Shingo, attacking Bryan Danielson) I would have expected him to at least make the Open the Freedom Gate Title match proper. Seemed weird that he didn’t, but I get it; the Dragon Gate guys are the ones you want to push at the top of the card. But hey at least we got a killer match out of it. (****1/4)
YAMATO celebrates his win, stumbling and falling in the canvas between buckle poses to sell the battle he just experienced. Awesome.
-VIDEO: CIMA, Gran Akuma, and BxB Hulk are shown warming up for the main event by kicking at the air/walls while YAMATO is sprawled across the floor. YAMATO is me after I do anything productive.
Jigsaw vs. Eddie Kingston
First non-tournament match of the evening. Jigsaw has been on the past couple of shows in tag matches, so this is his first singles match in DGUSA while Kingston is making his debut with the company, at least on the main show proper. I haven’t been watching the dark matches in the special features or anything that would be too smart of me. Mike Quackenbush joins Lenny Leonard on commentary, unfortunately.
Jigsaw brings Kingston to the mat with a headscissors, Kingston escapes and slaps him in the back of the head to throw some shade. Jigsaw catches a kick, back heel trip, and connects with a double stomp; Kingston reverses an Irish whip and connects with an armdrag followed by a dropkick for a two-count. Jigsaw takes Kingston to the mat with a casadora followed by a dropkick, Kingston catches him mid-flight and connects with an overhead suplex. Kingston tries to remove the mask, a big no no I guess in the mythos of Chikara as the people FREAK OUT. Kingston levels Jigsaw with a shoulder tackle, covers for a two-count, and goes right into a chinlock. Kingston gets sent to the floor, Jigsaw flattens him with a tope con hilo. Back in the ring Jigsaw connects with a flying crossbody and a dropkick into the corner. Kingston kicks out of a lateral press, Jigsaw ducks the Backfist and hits an enzuigiri, Kingston brushes it off and connects with a German suplex for the 1…2…Jigsaw kicks out. Jigsaw connects with a series of kicks, covers for the 1…2…Kingston rolls the shoulder up. Kingston blocks a rana, counters with a buckle bomb followed by a Yakuza Kick and LARIAT for the 1…2…Jigsaw kicks out! Jigsaw connects with a series of forearms, Kingston finally connects with the BACKFIST for the 1…2…Jigsaw kicks out! Jigsaw connects with a superkick followed by a flying double stomp for the 1…2…3!
Jigsaw defeated Eddie Kingston via pinfall (7:49)
- Eddie Kingston being a Chikara trainee will never not be weird to me. A good match, didn’t overstay its welcome. Jigsaw f*cking RULES and I was happy to see him pick up the win. Kingston had some good moments too but he gets WAY better once he’s past all the Chikara stuff. (**3/4)
Shingo & Dragon Kid vs. Speed Muscle (Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino)
A video plays before the entrances to set this up: Kid beat Yoshino at Open the Untouchable Gate, going 2-0 against his rival in DGUSA, and once again offered a handshake to his foe but Yoshino rebuffed him. Later backstage Kid confronted Yoshino, then Shingo & Doi stepped up for their respective faction members and a brawl nearly broke out before a few wrestlers came in to separate them. Yoshino then challenged Kid & Shingo to a tag team match at this event.
Kid and Yoshino damn near set the mat on fire at the start with lightning-quick counters and pin attempts. Shingo and Doi tag in, locking up for the first time since they main-evented Open the Historic Gate. Shingo bowls Doi over with a shoulderblock and knocks Yoshino off the apron. Kid comes in with a flying forearm to the back and follows up with a string of kneedrops for a two-count. Shingo tags in, connects with a fistdrop. Shingo and Doi trade shots, Shingo literally knocks him on his ass with a right hand. Kid tags in, connects with a dropkick in the corner followed by a delayed basement dropkick. Doi outmuscles Kid and connects with a slam, Yoshino connects with a flying double stomp to Kid’s exposed left elbow. Doi and Yoshino connect with stereo back elbows, Doi with a drop toehold and Yoshino follows up with a baseball slide dropkick to the side of the head. Yoshino grabs a cool-looking double arm submission, Doi plays defense and tosses Shingo to the floor but Kid gets to the ropes to finally force a break. Doi and Yoshino hit a sorta 3D, Yoshino connects with knee strikes to Shingo but Yoshino can’t get the pin on Kid to take advantage. Doi plants Kid with a spinebuster followed by an abdominal stretch, Yoshino guarding him by keeping Shingo at bay. Doi gives up on the hold, covers for the 1…2…Kid kicks out. Kid ducks a clothesline, connects with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors.
Shingo gets the tag, bowling over Doi and leveling Yoshino with rapid-fire strikes and a Mongolian Chop. Doi charges Shingo in the corner, Shingo CATCHES HIM and connects with an overhead throw. Kid gets elevated to the apron, connecting with a Bermuda Triangle to the floor on Doi. Shingo connects with a pair of lariats and a kneedrop on Yoshino for the 1…2…kickout. Shingo blocks a sunset flip and drills Yoshino with a brainbuster. Yoshino catches Shingo with a back elbow, both duck clotheslines and Yoshino connects with a sling blade but the lateral press only gets a one-count. Yoshino locks Shingo in the Octopus, Kid applies the Christo on Doi. Both holds broken, Doi dodges a 619 and connects with a shotgun dropkick against the ropes for the 1…2…Kid kicks out. Kid connects with a forearm from the apron followed by a flipping stunner for the 1…2…Yoshino breaks it up, Shingo sends him to the floor. Shingo buckets Doi, Kid connects with a flying double stomp. Kid counters a suplex with a stunner, Shingo connects with BLOODFALL for the 1…2…DOI KICKS OUT. Yoshino drills Shingo with a sitout slam after a couple of blocks, he and Doi hit running corner elbows, Doi puts Kid in position and Yoshino hits a SENTON/MISSILE DROPKICK COMBO ON THE DUO for the 1…2…SHINGO KICKS OUT. Shingo climbs the buckles with Yoshino on his shoulders, Yoshino fights out as Kid & Doi fight on the apron. Shingo puts Yoshino on his shoulders, Kid connects with a SUPER RANA for the 1…2…Doi barely makes the save. Shingo blocks a submission, Yoshino counters back into a sunset flip for the 1…2…not yet. Shingo hits a Death Valley Driver, Kid follows up with a hurricanrana for the 1…2…YOSHINO KICKS OUT. Yoshino drills Kid with a powerbomb, Shingo throws Yoshino the mat with reckless abandon. Doi peppers Shingo with open-hand strikes, Shingo hits a right, Doi hits an elbow and charges, Shingo connects with a LARIAT, Kid goes for the Ultra Rana, Doi counters into the Doi 555 and everybody is out of it. Yoshino hangs Kid over the middle rope, Doi hits a top rope senton. Shingo gets sent to the floor, Yoshino hits a flying sling blade as Doi hits the powerbomb for the 1…2…KID KICKS OUT. Goddamn. Kid connects with Bible for the 1…2…Yoshino kicks out. Doi hits the sliding kick on Kid for the 1…2…Shingo breaks it up. LOTS MORE CRAZY SH*T HAPPENS, Yoshino locks in a Sol Naciente and after a struggle Kid gives up!
Speed Muscle defeated Shingo & Dragon Kid via pinfall (19:57)
- Absolutely no chill from anyone, lightning-quick action, some truly kickass double team spots, I f*cking loved this one so much. DGUSA tag team matches have been CRAZY and we’re only three shows in. I also appreciate that Dragon Gate has been protecting their top champion, making sure he wins every time out even when the title is on the line, because champions don’t lose that’s why they’re champions. I like that. But also for real WATCH THIS ONE. Goddamn. (****1/2)
Yoshino mockingly asks Kid for a handshake, Shingo shoves him away and they almost come to blows but that’s for another day. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) come out and congratulate Speed Muscle, asking the crowd to give them a round of applause. Nick Jackson says Speed Muscle might be the #1 tag team in the whole world, Matt Jackson corrects him by saying they’re ONE OF the best; Matt says the best is THE YOUNG BUCKS (a shocking turn of events). Bucks says DGUSA is their turf and put out an open challenge to Doi & Yoshino anytime and any place.
- That’s going to be impossible to sensibly recap and I can’t f*cking wait to experience it.
-INTRODUCING…JON MOXLEY: Jon Moxley is outside the arena; he says he doesn’t do tricks and no one pulls him by puppet strings. He says he has gifts that people only dream of and when you’re this good you don’t have to listen to anyone. Moxley says he knows who he is and where he is; wrestlers like him are extinct. Moxley says he doesn’t want to hurt anybody, he just wants what’s his.
- Just realized that they didn’t say Moxley’s name in his thing earlier in the show and I just assumed they did. Must have confused folks watching the PPV. Great promo here but you already know that. Mox is one of the greatest talkers of the last twenty years, easy.
FOUR WAY ELIMINATION MATCH
Gran Akuma vs. BxB Hulk vs. CIMA vs. YAMATO for the OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Forgot how much I love the look of the OTFG Championship until I saw it in the ref’s hands at the beginning of this one. Looks like a belt worth fighting for. Y’all have gotten this far in the recap so you know how everyone qualified, this one is under elimination rules so the last man standing gets the title. CIMA brings out a broom and signals that it’s going to be a clean sweep for him. YAMATO is still selling the beating he took from Davey Richards earlier, what a pro.
YAMATO and Akuma decide to team up, CIMA chops Hulk and tries to join them but gets attacked from behind. HA. YAMATO and Akuma drive CIMA with a double sitout slam then hit a double back elbow on Hulk. Hulk fights back with a series of kicks, and a waistlock slam to YAMATO. CIMA runs in, he and Hulk connect with a double dropkick on Akuma, CIMA then cracks Hulk with a lung blower. Akuma dazes CIMA with a leaping kick and connects with a Spider Exploder followed by a moonsault for the 1…2…CIMA kicks out. CIMA wedges Akuma’s head and neck in the middle buckle and connects with a dropkick to the spine, compressing the neck. CIMA rolls through a sunset flip, connects with a double stomp for the 1…2…Akuma kicks out. CIMA heads to the top, YAMATO shoves him out to the floor. Hulk and YAMATO duck clotheslines, YAMATO connects with an overhead suplex for a two-count. Hulk sweeps the legs, YAMATO counters a standing moonsault with a pair of knees. CIMA counters Galleria with a series of kicks, Akuma trips him up and YAMATO connects with a baseball slide. YAMATO rids the ring of Hulk with a flapjack, Akuma hits CIMA with a low-blow as YAMATO distracts the ref, then YAMATO rolls him up for the 1…2..3! CIMA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
YAMATO and Akuma attack Hulk, standing on his head and choking him on the ropes as they mess with the crowd. Hulk fights back with forearms to YAMATO, Akuma attacks him from behind and the DAMNED NUMBERS GAME takes over again. YAMATO grabs a half-Crab, Akuma applies a chinlock, and Hulk is in all sorts of hurt. Akuma lets go and connects with a legdrop, YAMATO floats into a CBV. Hulk gets to the ropes, but Akuma ties them up so the ref doesn’t call for a break. YAMATO gives up on the hold as Hulk is refusing to give up and the 2-on-1 continues as they pepper Hulk with kicks. Hulk dodges Akuma, who accidentally hits YAMATO, and follows up with a spinning heel kick on Akuma for the 1…2..not yet. Hulk cartwheels under a clothesline and hits another spinning heel kick, YAMATO pulls him off the corner, Hulk dropkicks him as he hits a moonsault on Akuma. Hulk sends YAMATO to the floor with a kick, he and Akuma trade hamstring kicks. Akuma goes for the Rubix Cube, Hulk counters with a poison rana and hits a Phoenix Splash for the 1…2…YAMATO breaks it up, Hulk throws him back to the floor and drills Akuma with an EVO for the 1…2…3! GRAN AKUMA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
YAMATO dodges a jumping enzuigiri and grabs a waistlock. Hulk escapes with elbows and they trade forearms. Hulk charges, YAMATO catches him with a powerslam and both struggle to regain composure. YAMATO takes too much time gloating to the crowd, Hulk hops to his feet and connects with a spinwheel kick followed an avalanche flipping slam, hurting his own knee in the process for the 1…2…YAMATO gets the shoulder up. Both men trade forearms as they get to their feet, Hulk lights YAMATO up with rapid strikes, YAMATO comes back with stiff forearms to the sides of the head. YAMATO charges, Hulk connects with Mouse followed by a lariat and hits the EVO for the 1…2…YAMATO KICKS OUT. Hulk hypes himself up and connects with a penalty kick followed by a superkick for the 1…2…YAMATO gets the shoulder up again, Hulk drills him with a tombstone driver for the 1…2…3!
BxB Hulk defeated Gran Akuma, CIMA, & YAMATO via pinfall to win the DGUSA OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE CHAMPIONSHIP (15:53)
- Honestly didn’t expect BxB Hulk to be the one to get the nod as DGUSA’s first champion but goddamn did he earn it. Since this was an elimination match, the usual gunk of a multi-man clusterf*ck wasn’t as prevalent and I appreciated the stories of YAMATO & Akuma working together and CIMA trying to work all the angles to sneak out the victory only to be the first one eliminated. Hulk and YAMATO set the tone for DGUSA by having the company’s first ever PPV match and they once again killed it when it was down to them at the end. Great match, cool choice for a champion, hell yeah. (***3/4)
Well speak of the devil because out comes Davey Richards to interrupt Hulk’s celebration WITH A SNEAK ATTACK. YAMATO joins in, Dragon Kid makes the save and hands Hulk his newly-won championship. Lenny Leonard announces that Kid will be Hulk’s first challenger at the next show.
- I was wondering why Davey Richards didn’t get the spot in the main event but I guess I know why now. Seems like they’re going to slow-build Hulk/Richards as a big title match. I hope it ends up happening, I really don’t know if Richards ends up sticking around long enough or not for it to happen. I don’t want to look ahead.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Open The Freedom Gate is a damn good show with two certified BANGERS (Richards/YAMATO and Speed Muscle/Shingo & Kid) and the crowning of their first champion. I appreciate each qualifier having a theme to it as well, but I can’t help being a little disappointed in all the multi-man matches that led to it as well as the main event. Maybe I’m just a dork who appreciates a good ol’ one-on-one match over like five and six-ways, but it’s a hill I’m comfortable on. Seems to be a Dragon Gate thing to shuffle a whole lot of folks into one match so I’ll get used to it as time goes, I just hope the title defenses aren’t always like that. ANYWAY good show overall, we got ourselves a champion, and we got TWO more matches to add to the “DGUSA Must Watch” list.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Shingo & Dragon Kid vs. Speed Muscle
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: YAMATO being damn-near incapacitated during the montage of all four men getting ready for the main event. That was the best.