DATE: July 25, 2009 (PPV Airdate: September 4, 2009)
VENUE: The Arena (Philadelphia, PA)
COMMENTATORS: Lenny Leonard & Leonard Chikarason
Although I’ve been a wrestling fan for almost thirty (!!!) years I’ve never truly caught the indie bug except for when it comes to Dragon Gate USA. Just something about it hooked me in and I’ve been dying to go back and revisit it all to see if it holds up and to catch all the shows I missed (which is a lot because I didn’t jump on board until 2013). I’m starting right from the top with Open the Historic Gate, Dragon Gate USA’s inaugural show which aired on PPV under the title Enter The Dragon. I am PSYCHED. Let’s get to it.
- BxB Hulk vs. YAMATO (****)
- Too Cold Scorpio vs. Kenn Doane (***)
- Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw, & The Colony vs. Amasis, Hallowicked, and F.I.S.T. (***3/4)
- Dragon Kid vs. Masato Yoshino [w/ Naruki Doi] (***1/2)
- The Young Bucks vs. CIMA & Susumu Yokosuka (****1/4)
- Shingo vs. Naruki Doi (****1/2)
–Dawn Marie, a former ECW staple, is our guest host for the evening which makes sense given the location. Marie says Dragon Gate is all about excitement so we’re getting right into it. This crowd is MOLTEN HOT so I’m excited already.
BxB Hulk vs. YAMATO
Hulk makes his entrance with a pair of female dancers and almost wipes one of them out with a moonsault. Oh boy now THAT would have been a way to start a show. YAMATO is not nearly as fun, just vaguely creepy. Lots of tongue stuff.
Hulk and YAMATO start it off with counters and nearfalls, Hulk tries to escape a wristlock but YAMATO rolls through to keep it applied. Hulk finally escapes with a cartwheel and counters, transitioning into a side headlock takeover. YAMATO quickly counters into a headscissors, Hulk quickly escapes and they reset. YAMATO bowls Hulk over with a shoulderblock, Hulk kips right up and connects with a hip toss and dropkick. Hulk connects with a second dropkick off an Irish whip and works YAMATO over with rapid-fire kicks. YAMATO stops the momentum with a kneebar out of nowhere, Hulk forces a rope break and they go to opposite corners. Hulk dodges him in the corner, YAMATO catches a kick and dropkicks him in the knee, sending Hulk to the floor. YAMATO continues the focus on Hulk’s right knee, sending it into the guardrail and stomping on it, moving into a toehold. Hulk tries to break it with a chop, YAMATO absorbs it and kicks him right in the face. Hulk fires back with a kick of his own, YAMATO immediately targets the knee to stop the momentum and continuing to weaken it. YAMATO catches Hulk in a sleeper, switching into leglock that turns Hulk into a pretzel. Hulk gets to the ropes but it doesn’t stop the onslaught, a pair of chops sending sweat flying. Hulk’s knee buckles during a whip attempt, making YAMATO laugh, but immediately after Hulk cartwheels out of his grasp and comes out of nowhere with a springboard missile dropkick. YAMATO escapes a slam, Hulk kick flips out his grasp and drills him with a lariat. Hulk sweeps the legs and hits a standing moonsault for the 1…2…YAMATO kicks out.
Hulk and YAMATO trade forearms, Hulk catches him with a kick and YAMATO responds with a rolling elbow and flying forearm for the 1…2…Hulk kicks out. Hulk and YAMATO both charge the ropes, the latter hits the former with a spear for the 1…2…Hulk kicks out and YAMATO immediately transitions into a Cloverleaf but Hulk makes it to the ropes. YAMATO pulls him back to the center and applies a deep crossface, Hulk once again makes it to the ropes. YAMATO picks Hulk up, Hulk counters with a spinning armdrag, YAMATO catches him charging with a boot and climbs the buckles, Hulk dazes him with a spinning heel kick. Hulk follows up with a goddamn backflip slam (I’m sure there’s an elegant name for it but I don’t know it) and both men are down. Hulk gets to his feet first and wrecks YAMATO with a series of rapid-fire kicks and a punt right to the jaw. Hulk superkicks YAMATO and kicks him in the back of the head and hits the E.V.O. (pumphandle sitout side slam) for the 1…2…YAMATO gets his foot on the rope. YAMATO dodges a Phoenix Splash and connects with a running corner forearm followed by a brainbuster for the 1…2…HULK KICKS OUT. YAMATO signals for the finish, Hulk escapes, standing switch but Hulk escapes and connects with an overhead kick. YAMATO grabs a sleeperhold and turns it into a suplex, Hulk landing on his head, for the 1…2…Hulk kicks out again and YAMATO immediately connects with the Gallaria for the 1…2…3!
YAMATO defeated BxB Hulk via pinfall (15:22)
- Now THAT’S how you open a f*cking PPV, goddamn. We got some theatrics to start with BxB Hulk’s entrance and once the bell rang the action was fast and frantic, Hulk trying to outpace YAMATO while YAMATO tried to break him down with various submission holds. Great mix of styles here and some real exciting near-falls. The work on Hulk’s knee ended up not mattering halfway through but to be honest I didn’t really give a sh*t because they didn’t give me time to even think about it. Excellent match, excellent opener, BONESAW IS READY FOR MORE. (****)
Too Cold Scorpio vs. Kenn Doane
Doane is best known worldwide as “Kenny” from The Spirit Squad, one of the weirdest heel groups to ever come out of WWE. I still sometimes have a hard time believing that actually happened. Too Cold Scorpio is one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time and a major player in the history of ECW so like Dawn Marie it makes sense for him to be on this show. Also it’s TOO COLD F*CKING SCORPIO, why wouldn’t you book him?
Scorpio offers a handshake, Doane slaps it away. Chikarason mentions that Scorpio has been wrestling longer than Doane has even been alive, which is INSANE. Time is weird. “WHERE’S YOUR POM POMS” and “WE WANT ZIGGLER” chants from the crowd, even getting Doane to smile. Scorpio grabs a waistlock, Doane counters into a hammerlock, Scorpio counters back into a wristlock, Doanne kips out into a fireman’s carry slam into an armbar. NOW THAT’S SOME RASSLIN’. Scorpio escapes the armbar by rolling around, Doane leaves the ring to stop the momentum and rethink things. Scorpio counters a top wristlock with an armdrag and mocks Doane’s warm-up stretching. Doane grabs a side headlock and holds on through a pair of back suplexes. Scorpio whips Doane off and connects with a dropkick followed by a leg drag and a superkick. Doane bails to the floor to regroup once again. Doane connects with a pair of rights, Scorpio responds with a backfist but runs right into a dropkick. Scorpio hits a dropkick of his own, Doane drives him into the corner. Scorpio follows Doane around the ring, lighting him up with chops that Doane comically sells begging for a time-out. Scorpio tries a crossbody, Doane catches him on the way down with a pair of knees for a two-count. Doane dropkicks Scorpio in the corner and rolls him up for another two-count, “PULL YOUR PANTS UP” chant from the crowd as Scorpio’s thong is showing. HA. Scorpio dazes Doane with rights and hits the ropes, Doane follows him and trips him up, following with a slingshot forearm to the back of the head for the 1…2…Scorpio kicks out. Doane drops an elbow, arrogantly covers for the 1…2…Scorpio gets a shoulder up. Scorpio absorbs right hands and jabs back, Doane catches him running with a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex for the 1…2…not yet.
Doane ducks a kick and connects with a bridging German suplex for the 1…2…Scorpio kicks out, Doane immediately grabs a chinlock. Scorpio tries to drag his way out, Doane hangs on and wrenches back. Scorpio finally escapes with a jawbreaker, Doane latches back on with a sleeperhold that the crowd HATES. Scorpio fights out, sends Doane to the apron and brings him back in with a backdrop. Forearm exchange turns into a kick exchange, both men getting woozier and woozier, Scorpio drops Doane with a kick to the face and following up with a corner clothesline and slam. Scorpio goes running, connects with a springboard Arabian Moonsault for the 1…2…Doane kicks out. Doane counters a whip with a spinebuster and heads to the top, Scorpio dodges a guillotine legdrop and kicks him in the back of the head. Doane counters a moonsault with a pair of knees for the 1…2…Scorpio kicks out! Doane misses a corner seated splash, Scorpio hits him with a rolling kick followed by a belly-to-back suplex and a MOONSAULT LEGDROP (Drop the Bomb) for the 1…2…3.
Too Cold Scorpio defeated Kenn Doane via pinfall (16:35)
- I was feeling the time stretch a bit by the end there but for the most part I dug this one, and it was nice to see Kenn Doane get a chance to seriously wrestle instead of, you know, the cheerleader stuff he did in WWE. Dude is good, it’s a shame that the Spirit Squad thing ended up being an albatross. Scorpio is ageless, moving around just as well as he did when I first saw him in WCW back in the early-90s, everything coming off like second nature to him. A strange match to have on a show like this but a nice surprise. (***)
Scorpio helps Doane up as a sign of respect, the crowd giving them both a round of applause. Doane removes his wrist tape, they jaw inaudibly and shake hands and fist bump. THE RESPECT IS THICC. Doane leaves the ring, Scorpio gives the crowd a bow and a little dance, singing along to his entrance theme. Effortless cool, Too Cold Scorpio is the best.
-SPECIAL FEATURE: Naruki Doi, member of the World-1 faction and current Open the Dream Gate Champion, is shown backstage taping his wrists up. Doi has been undefeated all year. Cut to his opponent for tonight’s main event, Shingo, lacing up his boots. We get a history lesson on his past few years, including his membership in the Kamikaze stable and being the first man to graduate from the Dragon Gate dojo.
“Lightning” Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw, & The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant) vs. Amasis, Hallowicked, & F.I.S.T. (Icarus & Gran Akuma)
CHIKARA, at the time anyway, was one of the premier indies in the United States (specifically in Philly), so they’re getting a big ol’ showcase match on this event. I don’t know much about these outside of what I’ve seen on other DGUSA shows as I was never much for CHIKARA. You’d think as someone who likes a little goofy nonsense in my pro wrestling that it would have been 100% my sh*t but it just never clicked with me. Something about it was off, despite the incredible talent on their roster. The crowd here tonight are VERY into all eight of these guys though so I guess I missed out.
Fire Ant tries to lock up, Amasis dances away from him. Fire Ant connects with a springboard armdrag followed by a fireman’s carry slam and rollup for a two-count. Amasis sends Fire Ant to the floor with a wheelbarrow armdrag. Quackenbush enters the ring (lucha rules so once someone on a team is on the floor, another may enter) and clears Amasis, Icarus enters the ring and gets trapped in an armdrag. Icarus rolls Quack with a crucifix, Quack escapes and goes back to work on the arm. Icarus escapes with an armdrag out of the corner then charges, Quack connects with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Icarus leaves, Hallowicked tags in and they trade holds. Quack dives over Hallowicked and rolls him up with a backslide for a two-count. Quack goes for a headscissors, counters himself into a monkey flip. Hallowicked pushes Quack away, connects with a headscissors. Quack flots over Hallowicked, Jigsaw connects with a flying crossbody and sends him to the floor with a headscissors. Akuma runs in, Jigsaw runs into a mule kick and another kick that sends him to the floor. Soldier Ant runs in, spinning headscissors WHILE SALUTING sends Akuma to the floor. Hallowicked back in, Soldier Ant misses a corner kick and gets drilled with a sitout spinebuster for a two-count. Akuma lays into Soldier Ant with a pair of kicks and a rolling snapmare into a Cheetah Swipe for a two-count. Icarus tags in, double kick from F.I.S.T. Crowd does NOT like Icarus, must be the back tattoo. Icarus hangs on through a fallaway slam and applies a half-crab. Hallowicked tags in, slams Icarus on top of Soldier Ant and covers for the 1…2…not yet.
Amasis tags in, plants Soldier Ant with a spinebuster but misses an elbowdrop after taking too long to showboat it. Icarus connects with a monkey flip on Soldier Ant into Akuma, Ant turns it into a headscissors to clear Akuma from the ring. Quack gets the tag, sweeps the legs and connects with a splash for the 1…2…Icarus kicks out. Jigsaw hits an enzuigiri, Quack with a small package for the 1…2…Hallowicked makes the save. Jigsaw sends Hallowicked to the floor with an armdrag, Akuma stops him taking flight with a kick, Icarus runs in with a spear for the 1…2…Jigsaw kicks out. Akuma tags in and applies an Octopus of sorts into a rollup for a two-count. Hallowicked tags in, sitout spinebuster for the 1…2…Jigsaw gets the shoulder up. Amasis tags in, trades strikes with Jigsaw and hits a diving clothesline for the 1…2…not yet. F.I.S.T hit a powerslam/powerbomb combo but Jigsaw kicks out once again. Jigsaw clears Akuma from the ring and hits both members of F.I.S.T. with a corkscrew splash. Fire Ant dropkicks Hallowicked into the corner, Hallowicked seats him on the top buckle, Fire Ant comes out with a spinning headscissors followed by a stunner for the 1…2…Akuma pulls him off, Fire Ant counters a powerslam attempt with a DDT, Colony hit Hallowicked with a double dropkick in the corner. Amasis does a little Hammer dance, Colony drop him and hit a neckbreaker/powerbomb combo for the 1…2…Icarus breaks it up. Icarus catches Fire Ant, sends him into the corner with a Death Valley Driver. Soldier Ant sends Icarus to the floor, Hallowicked belts Soldier Ant with a Yakuza Kick and Go 2 Sleepy Hollow for the 1…2…not yet. Quack takes Hallowicked off the buckles with a rana, Soldier Ant hits a saluting flying headbutt for the 1…2…Amasis breaks it up and clears Soldier Ant. Quack wrecks Amasis with a lariat and hits a QD3, Akuma crotches Jigsaw on the top and hits an enzuigiri followed by an Exploder; Akuma hangs on in the corner and follows up with a moonsault for the 1…2…Jigsaw kicks out!
Jigsaw fights out of the Rubix Cube and hits a Torture Rack Slam for the 1…2…Hallowicked makes the save and drives Jigsaw into the corner. Icarus goes after Jigsaw’s mask, The Colony stop it with a double throw off the top. Quack follows with a senton, BODIES FLY EVERYWHERE MASS HYSTERIA, Jigsaw hits the Jig & Tonic on Icarus for the 1…2…3.
Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw, & The Colony defeated Amasis, Hallowicked, & F.I.S.T. via pinfall (17:26)
- That was…a lot. Like…A LOT. I’m f*cking exhausted but that being said this kicked ass bell to bell. There was NO chill from anyone, bodies flying everywhere all the time, people hitting big move after big move, everyone getting their sh*t in and making the most of the moment. If the goal was to get more eyes on CHIKARA this was a helluva way to do it and I would’ve probably tuned into one of their shows had I watched this event on PPV. But also…that was A LOT, y’all. I think I need a nap. (***3/4)
Quack gets on the mic and asks if Dragon Gate and Chikara make a splendid combination; crowd obviously cheers. Quack says they’re in the same extended family thanks to the training they received from underappreciated luchador Jorge Rivera. Cut to the big screen, which features a video highlight reel of Rivera, aka Skayde. Back to Quack who lays out an open challenge to Dragon Gate to take on anyone they want from Chikara. YAMATO and his goofy tongue is out here, not to answer the challenge but to kick Quack in the nuts. Jigsaw runs back out and stomps a mudhole in YAMATO. Gran Akuma teases helping Jigsaw and Quack, but kicks Jigsaw in the family jewels and beat on both of them, Cheech & Cloudy try to help but get tossed to the floor. The Colony finally put a stop to it for real, Akuma and YAMATO leaving as a team.
- Unexpected angle building, that’s cool. Didn’t expect that on the inaugural show to be honest.
Dragon Kid [w/ Shingo] vs. Masato Yoshino [w/ Naruki Doi]
Just because Shingo & Doi are doing battle in the main event tonight doesn’t mean they can’t come out and support their stablemates (faction mates?). . Apparently Kid & Yoshino have a heated rivalry in regular Dragon Gate, those matches probably slap.
Kid and Yoshino try to outwrestle each other to start and end in a stalemate, Leonard doing a great job getting everyone watching at home up to speed on their rivalry. Yoshino has won the last three matches against Kid, so he’s got the advantage going in. Kid connects with a wheelbarrow armdrag followed by a headscissors, Yoshino rolls to the floor and dodges a 619 attempt. Yoshino goes on the offensive, trying to put Kid through the canvas with a scoop slam and working over the left arm. Yoshino twists the arm three times and drives it down to the mat with a legdrop, signaling that he’s going to break it if he has anything to say about it. Kid catches Yoshino with a kick, Yoshino shoves him off the top rope when he tries a springboard something or another. Kid takes Yoshino to the floor with a headscissors and follows up with the Bermuda Triangle (moonsault from the middle buckle strut). Back in the ring Kid connects with a missile dropkick but can’t get the pin. Yoshino dodges Kid in the corner, catches him with a sling blade for the 1…2…Kid kicks out. Yoshino heads to the top, Kid cuts him off, Yoshino blocks a superplex attempt, Kid blocks the sunset bomb and sends Yoshino into the ropes with a rana followed by a 619. Kid goes for another rana, Yoshino counters with a powerbomb and both men struggle to get back in the game. Kid ducks a chop and locks in the Christo, Yoshino throws him off and connects with a boot. Kid gets sent to the apron, Yoshino charges in but gets his legs kicked out from under him, Kid tries the Jesus Walks (split-legged moonsault) but Yoshino gets his knees up and follows with a BEAUTIFUL missile dropkick for the 1…2…Kid kicks out!
Kid counters a sidewalk slam with a tilt-a-whirl DDT, Yoshino bails to the corner and Kid sits him on the top buckle. Kid gets sent to the apron and they trade blows, Kid straddles the ropes as Yoshino stands up on the top buckle, SUPER RANA BY DRAGON KID for the 1…2…YOSHINO KICKS OUT WHAT THE F*CK. Yoshino connects with a sitout slam followed by a tilt-a-whirl armbreaker (Lenny Leonard is yelling the actual moves name out but I have no idea what the f*ck he’s saying), Kid ties Yoshino up for the 1…2…kickout. Yoshino goes for a suplex, Kid counters with a stunner and connects with a springboard hurricanrana for the 1…2…3!
Dragon Kid defeated Masato Yoshino via pinfall (13:26)
- Helluva match, both men so quick I struggled not to blink so I wouldn’t miss whatever crazy move happened next. Props to Lenny Leonard too for naming all the moves despite my inability to jot them down and for filling in the blanks on their rivalry for us peasants who’ve never watched Dragon Gate before. (***1/2)
Yoshino disrespects Kid, Shingo & Doi come nose to nose, Too Cold Scorpio comes out and gets on the mic. He says he was in the building when Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko had their classic matches, and when Rey Mysterio Jr. & Psicosis did battle (cue the “EC’DUB” chants). Scorpio brings up his past battles with Sabu (SAW-BOO), and puts Kid & Yoshino over as the new version of all that. Scorpio says instead of letting things get crazy they should have a rematch, which both he and the fans would like to see. Kid & Yoshino agree to it, latter leaves and the former throws in some backflips for the fans while his music plays.
- Too Cold Scorpio is a better locker room leader than The Undertaker.
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. CIMA & Susumu Yokosuka
Both teams shake hands before the bell as a sign of respect, crowd is amped up, Mike Quackenbush joins Lenny Leonard on commentary.
Yokosuka outsmarts Matt Jackson, stomping the hand and taking him down with a shoulderblock. Matt pops up, connects with a back handspring headscissors followed by a dropkick. Nick and CIMA tag in, fresh men on both sides. CIMA drops Nick with a shoulderblock, Nick connects with a kick and a step-up hurricanrana. Matt tags back in, Young Bucks connect with a double hip toss andd dropkick, gutbuster/neckbreaker combo on Yokosuka for a two-count. CIMA tags in, kicks Nick full force in the sternum and follows with a slingshot senton for a two-count. Nick backs Yokosuka in the corner, Matt tags in and brings him to his knees with a series of shoulderblocks. Young Bucks take turns working the left arm of Yokosuka. CIMA tags in, Matt pops Nick up for a dropkick then covers for a two-count. CIMA fights back with a couple of jabs and a stiff kick to the chest. Yokosuka tags in, slows things down with a bodyscissors, CIMA raking the eyes behind the ref’s back. CIMA & Yokosuka connect with a wheelbarrow into a lungblower, Nick breaks the count and a brawl breaks out amongst both teams. CIMA hops into the front row, Yokosuka hangs Nick on the barricade and CIMA comes off the guardrail with a double stomp. DAMN.
CIMA lays into Matt with more kicks, who tries to power through but eventually gets dropped. Yokosuka tags in, CIMA hits a corner double knees to the chest and Yokosuka follows up with a lariat. Matt fights back, running up CIMA as he hits a Sliced Bread #2 on Yokosuka. Nick gets the tag, clothesline to CIMA and springboard dropkick to Yokosuka. Matt with a double baseball slide to CIMA & Yokosuka on the floor, then skins the cat and Nick takes flight through his legs with a corkscrew. Beautiful. Matt drives CIMA into the corner, Nick connects with a running knee strike, spear by Matt, moonsault/splash combo by The Young Bucks for the 1…2…Yokosuka breaks it up. CIMA rolls through a sunset flip, flattens Nick with a double stomp. Everybody runs at everybody, CIMA & Yokosuka hit double lariats in the corner to both Bucks. Nick sent to the floor, CIMA and Yokosuka hit elbows and a powerbomb/double stomp, CIMA immediately takes Matt out with a tope on the floor. Matt deadweights Yokosuka and connects with a backdrop, heads to the top but Yokosuka meets him there and hits a super Exploder for the 1…2…Matt kicks out. Matt catches Yokosuka with a kick in the corner followed by a springboard stunner for the 1…2…not yet. Matt heads to the top, CIMA dazes him and connects with an Iconoclasm, Matt counters his splash with a pair of knees, Nick connects with a stunner. Young Bucks with a wheelbarrow X-Factor (Worst Case Scenario) on Yokosuka for the 1…2…NOT YET. CIMA sends Nick into the post, Yokosuka runs into a forearm from Matt, Matt gets turned inside out with a lariat followed by a Perfect Driver for the 1…2..MATT KICKS OUT. CIMA kicks Nick off the apron, Yokosuka hangs on Matt in the corner, CIMA connects with a Coast to Coast Dropkick. SPIKE DOUBLE UNDERHOOK PILEDRIVER for the 1…2…NICK JACKSON MAKES THE SAVE. Goddamn. CIMA accidentally superkicks Yokosuka, Nick superkicks him in the back of the head, More Bang for Your Buck for the 1…2…3!!!
The Young Bucks defeated CIMA & Susumu Yokosuka via pinfall (17:30)
- There is absolutely no way I did that match justice with the PBP , by the time I had one move down they were already five moves and a high spot ahead. Breakneck pace, awesome double team moves from both sides, this f*cking ruled and it felt like the Bucks really earned that win at the end. This show has NO CHILL and I love it. (****1/4)
Young Bucks get the chanting/streamer treatment from the Philly crowd. They definitely earned that adulation, what a f*cking match that was. CIMA & Yokosuka get some chants as well and both teams embrace once more. Matt Jackson gets on the mic and puts CIMA & Yokosuka over as two of the best wrestlers in the world. Matt goes on to say that they disagree with the idea they’re the tag team of the future; tonight they have earned the right to be called the tag team of the present. Matt says Dragon Gate USA is their turf and if there’s a team that wants to step up to the plate, then STEP RIGHT UP BAYBAY.
- I think these Young Bucks have a bright future ahead of them. I mean they aren’t going to help start a brand new top-tier pro wrestling company or anything and bring wrestling back to the Turner networks but they’ll do something.
Shingo vs. Naruki Doi
Two of the top dogs in Dragon Gate out here to prove who is the top player in Dragon Gate USA. I’m not sure how they’re going to top what has already been one of the best events I have ever watched but I’m ready to see them try. LET’S F*CKING GOOOOO.
Doi is the current Open the Dream Gate & Open The Brave Gate Champion but this one is non-title. Who did Doi beat for the former? SHINGO, OF COURSE. Shingo brings Doi to his knees with a knuckelock, Doi rolls through and reverses the pressure to get the advantage, transitioning into a standing wristlock. Shingo counters into a hammerlock, Doi brings him to the mat with a side headlock and applies a leglock, Shingo powers out and grabs a front facelock. Doi escapes a side headlock with a headscissors, Shingo quickly escapes and they reset. Shingo catches Doi mid-leapfrog and connects with a fireman’s carry into an ace crusher. Shingo steps on Doi’s head, Doi dodges a flying double kneedrop and makes it worse with a Dragon Screw legwhip. Doi goes to work on the left leg of Shingo, kicking at the hamstring and scissoring in a leglock as he drives an elbow into the knee. Shingo forces a rope break, Doi doesn’t relent, wrapping the knee over the middle rope and connecting with a dropkick followed by a shinbreaker right into a Figure Four Leglock in the center of the ring. Doi goes for a cannonball, SHINGO CATCHES HIM and deadlifts him into a powerbomb out of the corner. Shingo follows up with a kneedrop but lands on his bad knee as well, setting him back a precious few seconds. Shingo and Doi exchange chops, the former winning the shootout with some of the loudest strikes I’ve ever heard in a pro wrestling match. Damn dude. Doi kicks Shingo and charges, Shingo drops him with a lariat and hits a delayed vertical suplex after holding him in place for THIRTY SECONDS but can’t get the pin yet.
Shingo sends the sweat flying with a series of STIFF chops, Doi kicks back but runs right into a powerslam and Shingo covers for the 1…2…Doi kicks out, Shingo immediately transitions into an Anaconda Vice-looking submission but Doi makes it to the ropes before it can be fully executed. Doi blocks a suplex and sends Shingo into the ropes; he wedges him between the ropes and connects with a dropkick followed by a senton to the back as he hangs over. GODDAMN. Shingo catches Doi in a urinage position and turns it into an overhead suplex, once again hurting his knee further. Shingo connects with a flying kneedrop for the 1…2…Doi kicks out. Shingo dodges a basement dropkick and connects with a Flatliner followed by an inverted sitout fireman’s carry slam for the 1…2…Doi kicks out. They exchange stiff shots, Doi connects with a sitout bomb for the 1…2…Shingo kicks out. Doi escapes Shingo’s grasp in the corner and slaps the motherf*cking taste out of his mouth followed by a cannonball in the corner. Doi gets Shingo in position on the buckles, AVALANCHE BELLY-TO-BACK SUPERPLEX for the 1…2…SHINGO KICKS OUT. Doi charges, Shingo connects with a pop-up Death Valley Driver followed by a lariat for the 1…2…DOI GETS THE SHOULDER UP.
Shingo rocks Doi with a series of strikes, Doi tries for a lariat but Shingo ducks and connects with a Michinoku-like Driver for the 1…2…DOI KICKS OUT AGAIN. Man I need to learn the name of some of these moves before the neckbeards come for my head. Shingo hits a corner lariat, Doi hits the Doi 555 followed by the Bakatare Sliding Kick for the 1…2…SHINGO GETS HIS FOOT ON THE ROPE. Shingo and Doi trade forearms, Doi switches it up with a whole lot of slaps (or “palm strikes” if you’re insecure about it). Doi connects with a Bakatare Sliding Kick followed by a Tiger Suplex for the 1…2…SHINGO KICKS OUT AGAIN. Doi hits another sliding kick, a series of slaps, and ANOTHER sliding kick for the 1…2…SHINGO KICKS THE F*CK OUT. Doi goes for the kill, connecting with the Muscular Bomb for the 1…2…3!
Naruki Doi defeated Shingo via pinfall (20:48)
- DGUSA caps off an amazing show with a f*cking KILLER of a main event. These two beat the hell out of each other and had me on the edge of my seat for every nearfall by the end there. I can’t even really put it into words, man. This was a WAR and I loved every second of it. (****1/2)
Doi celebrates his victory, barely surviving that slaughter, as Leonard signs off on behalf of the broadcast team.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Dragon Gate USA comes out swinging with one of the best wrestling events I have ever watched in my life. Every match delivered in one form or another, with not a down moment to be found. This had everything you could want; striff brawling, INSANE sprints, and TOO COLD BY GAWD SCORPIO. I am in awe. This is the first time I’ve ever watched this show in full but it definitely won’t be the last. God I love you, Dragon Gate USA. I can’t wait to keep watching more of you.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Shingo vs. Naruki Doi
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Honestly I can’t pick one, everything on this show ruled.