Sunday, 10 October 2010

Looking Back: Dragon Gate USA - The First Six PPV's By Shaun Nichols

For sheer match quality I don't think there is any other wrestling company who can compete with DGUSA that does not have the benefit of weekly TV to aid their PPV product. Much like when ROH used to do the PPV the shows are taped and shown on a two month delay, now like ROH they are dipping into the iPPV market also with Go Fight Live on October 29th. Like the ROH internet shows it's priced at $14.99 (approx £10) and I would recommend anyone to order the show especially if you can connect your computer/laptop upto your TV otherwise it is a hard watch. The show stays on the GFL website for quite a while if you can't watch it live.
Now lets have a quick look at the first few shows which took the group from July 2009 upto the Wrestlemania weekend.
Open the Historic Gate - Without TV it is obviously impossible to build up feuds, however what Gabe was able to do was take advantage of the fact that a lot of ROH fans were pretty annoyed that after three consecutive years, ROH did not book Dragon Gate wrestlers for their Wrestlemania double shot. So fans were aware of Shingo, CIMA, Yoshino, Doi and Dragon Kid etc. Every match is at least ***stars and the main event which saw Naruki Doi (who was Dragon Gate's main man last year) defeat the already well known and appreciated Shingo in a ****1/2. To complement the main, the Young Bucks were made into a key players by going over CIMA & Yokusuka in a **** match, Dragon Kid bested Yoshino in a fine example of one the longest running DG feuds and the fine wrestlers from Chikara utilised every move known to man in an attempt to steal the show. In short a great debut. Rating 8.5/10
Open the Untouchable Gate - Or in Friends speak: The one with Brian Danielson. This card is easily labelled as a two match card with Doi solidifying his position beating Danielson in a ****3/4 classic, and Davey Richards also putting in a great performance against Shingo in a match I would give ****1/2. There is also the start of Chikara vs. Kamikaze USA although it would take time to be fully aware of it. Jimmy Jacobs debuting in a quickly forgotten angle where he tries to recruit the Young Bucks. The second chapter of Yoshino vs. Dragon Kid also features. The PPV succeeds because both dream matches exceed all expectations. Rating 9/10
Open the Freedom Gate - This is the title tournament to crown the DGUSA champion, surprisingly absent from the tournament were Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, Shingo and Dragon Kid as they were put into a tag match. The four qualifying matches all had different themes which I wasn't really buying. The tag match is the best match of the show and mirrors what was happening in Japan as we begin to see Yoshino get pushed deservedly. The title came down to BXB Hulk and YAMATO who met in the first match of the first show. This time Hulk gets his revenge and becomes the first DGUSA champion. A decent tournament hindered by the fact that four of the biggest stars were not entered in it without a decent explanation. Rating 8/10.
Fearless - The first show that really seemed to concentrate on pacing the show and beginning to push storylines that would run for the next few shows. Shingo makes the move from face to heel on this show after the main event. We see the start of the Brian Kendrick vs Jimmy Jacobs feud which runs until the sixth PPV. Speed Muscle (Doi & Yoshino) confirm that they are the top tag team when they convincingly beat both the Bucks and Shingo/YAMATO. Again its Yoshino who really does come out of this show as the big star. Before this show there had been some major changes in Dragon Gate relating to which wrestler is in each faction which the commentators somewhat try to explain. Hulk makes his first US title defence against Dragon Kid in the main. No blow away matches on this show but the show probably flows better than the first three and as I have said before I don't think the crowd helped especially in the main event. Rating 8/10.
Open the Ultimate Gate - New wrestlers arrive, Jon Moxley makes his in-ring debut for the group as does Paul London in the second stage of Kendrick vs Jacobs. Jimmy Jacobs is now a clear babyface. Paul London is completely wacky which means that he is entertaining but don't expect great wrestling from him. After the match we get Teddy Hart trying to kill himself sadly he fails. Among the highlights are the Warriors (including GAMMA) beating the Bucks (on their way out) & Jack Evans, Hulk picking up a major victory in his career against fellow World-1 member Naruki Doi which wasn't as good as I hoped. Yoshino is still rising like a phoenix when he picks his third straight victory by forcing Shingo to tap in a very good mach. The weakest show so far but certainly not a bad one. Rating 7/10
Mercury Rising - The second DGUSA show of Wrestlemania weekend and our boys bounce back. The main event of Warriors vs World-1 is one of the best matches anyone can see in 2010 and is exactly what you would hope for in a classic DG six man tag. We send the end of the Kendrick-Jacobs feud when one of them loses the pinfall in a loser must leave DGUSA match. The Bucks putting over QuackSaw on their final night. More annoyance from Teddy Hart, Tommy Dreamer wrestling which wasn't as bad you may have thought. Shingo getting his first win in DGUSA and YAMATO defending his Open the Dream Gate title against Yokosuka in a great match that the live fans didn't really react to. DGUSA definitely produced a stronger second WM weekend show and was the best show since OTUG PPV. Rating 8.5/10.
I would also recommend catching the Dragon Gate PPV's from Japan where you can see DG's finest do battle in front of 8000-10000 fans in really entertaining shows that typically run for approx 4 hours. Especially the World Kobe show from July which as one of the most great hair vs hair matches between Shingo vs Hulk.


  1. Great writing Shaun, I'm not a massive fan of DGUK or any other but only because I've never really had time or a way to watch it, but I love keeping up to date on the forums and POWEWRSLAM and FSM, thanks mate it was a good read thx (and I've seen Jack Evans three times he is awesome, did you know I went to Martin Stone's wedding reception??? He intro'd me to Evans once. The guy is nuts lol

  2. You should try and check these promotions out, I'm not saying turn your back on WWE or TNA etc but if you have give it a go it could take you to a different stage as a wrestling fan. The more choice you have the better you'll find it.