Tuesday 8 March 2011
Review of DG Untouchable 2010 By Peter Chandler
OK, a confession. I've never actually watched a Dragon Gate show. Be it USA, Japan, UK or Dragon Gate Guatamala, it's just not a fed I've come across. Let's face it, there's no shortage of wrestling available, even in the UK. However, before I'm condemned as a Cena-shirt wearing WWE mark, I HAVE ventured further afield than just the home of Randy Orton and Doink the Clown. In fact, being a huge Chikara and Shimmer fan, I don't watch EVERY wrestling show expecting pyro and casket matches. And I have even seen some of the wrestlers on the Dragon Gate USA “Untouchable 2010” DVD (from Chikara) so I wasn't going in ENTIRELY 'blind'.
Before going into the matches, a few words about the presentation as a whole. The DVD looked decent enough, with reasonable picture quality and good commentary from Lenny Leonard and Mr. Chikarason. However, the sound quality really wasn't great, wit the entrance music sounding very tinny, and the commentary cut out on occasion. However, the worst part of the presentation was the lighting, or rather lack of it, around the ring, which meant as soon as any competitor went outside the ring they were plunged into darkness, which spoilt several of the matches and meant that any crazy dives and brawling was completely lost. Now, I'm aware DG USA can't afford the sorts of setups that WWE can, but could they not at least put lights on the cameras? At least we'd SEE what was going on!!!
Anyway, let's get onto the card itself. Given the speed of these matches I won't go into every move in every match, but hopefully give a taste of each one.
1. BxB Hulk (Open the Freedom Gate Champion) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Mike Quackenbush
First match on the card was a 3-way, but before things even kicked off, Tozawa's 'Kamikaze' stablemate John Moxley's 'girlfriend' Val hit a low blow on Hulk. This lead to to both Tozawa and Quack working on the legs of Hulk for most of the match, including a Figure 4 Leglock from Quack on Hulk, eliciting loud 'woos' from the crowd. There wasn't much 2 on one for a three-way match, which ended around the 11 minute mark with Hulk using his E.V.O finisher on Tozawa for the pin. Afterwards Hulk grabbed the mike and said (in subtitled English) “I will kill Kamikaze” and “... I will never lose this belt”.
All in all a decent enough opener to get the crowd going.
2. Da Soul Touchaz (Big Willie, Marshe Rockett, Acid Jaz) vs. Brodie Lee
Da Soul Touchaz manager C. Red is in the ring, and issues an 'open challenge' to anyone in the back to come out and take the Touchaz on. The music hits and “Big Rig” Brodie Lee comes out, and basically squashes all 3 members of the Touchaz, finishing with a Truck Stop (Black hole) Slam on Jaz in about 2 minutes! C. Red then took a boot to face after the bell just to put the exclamation point.
After the 'match' Lee grabbed the mic and said he was coming for 'a Japanese man'.
Basically, this match was purely here to build Brodie Lee as a monster heel, which it did. I've never liked Lee in Chikara, (but then I'm not a fan of 'big man' wrestling anyway) however he did what was needed and looked suitably bad-ass. As a match however, I could have done without it.
3. Shingo vs. Dragon Kid (with CIMA)
Now this is a bit more like it! Following a brief package explaining who was who, and who did what to who, and why we should care (ideal for me!) we got down to business. The crowd were super-hot for this one, with the 'heel' Shingo getting almost as much of a pop as the 'face' Kid.
Lots of fast-paced action which kicked off when Shingo interrupted Kid's pre-match dancing. Far too many moves to list here, but match highlights included a vicious looking slam into the apron for Kid after Shingo blocked a 619. Lots of back and forth until the second half of the match, where Dragon Kid took a heck of a lot of punishment, taking an Ace Crusher, Made in Japan and finally a Last Falconry for Shingo to get the pin around the 14 minute mark.
All in all a great match, with the pumped crowd helping to make it feel special.
4. Chicago Street Fight: Jon Moxley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Prior to this match, there was a promo from Jacobs explaining how he hated Moxley for being everything he used to be before kicking drink and drugs: cocky, insecure and generally an a**hole. Now he had cleaned up he was going to take care of Moxley.
I know I'm new to DG USA, but I really didn't buy into this as a storyline. Anyway. Onto the match.
Moxley was out first, sporting a heavy-looking chain, followed by Jacobs wearing his 'Barbaric Berserker' boots and trunks with Huss on the back. He then proceeded to go 'Huss' in finest Berserker style. Being Very Old I did get a minor kick out of this. I then remembered how bad The Berserker was in WWF...
I had a bit of trouble getting into this match. Partly because I didn't care about the feud, partly because I couldn't see what was going on, and also because I couldn't take Jacobs seriously.
Basically, lots of round the ring brawling, with a few chair shots. Things improved when they got in ring (mainly because I could actually SEE what was happening) with Jacobs taking out 2 'railway spikes' from his boot which he plunged into Moxley's head, before hanging him over the top rope by a chain round his neck.. After a 2-count on Moxley with the Sliced Bread, Jacobs puts Moxley in a guillotine choke with the chain. At that point, Moxley's 'Kamikaze; team mate Yamato runs in to make the save. Brodie Lee then charges out to deal with Yamato (looks like he found his 'Japanese man') however a recovered Moxley delivers a Glam Slam to Jacobs, followed by a chair shot to the mid section. Following a 2-count, Moxley grabs Jacobs' coat, shoves it over his head and wraps the chain round so Jacobs can't see and then pummels him with a series of chair shots to finally get the pin at around the 13 minute mark.
After initially being indifferent, I found myself enjoying the match on the whole, with a level of viciousness rarely seen on tv. Even with TNA's constant blading.
5. 4 Way Freestyle Match: Chuck Taylor vs. Drake Younger vs. Rich Swann vs. Johnny Gargano
This for me was the most Chikara-like of the matches so far (esp. with Taylor and Gargano being Chikara regulars) with the fast pace and acrobatics typical of Chikara matches, along with the 'roll under the ropes' tags.
It was every man for himself at the opening, with Gargano making himself scarce to avoid Younger, only to go after him once his back was turned following an Exploder from Younger onto Rich Swann. More mayhem ensued, with Younger being launched like a javelin into the guard rail by Gargano, which looked suitably painful. Gargano and Taylor then teamed up to work over Swann, whilst Younger bled on the outside. Swann managed to counter when he came off the ropes, using Taylor as a springboard into a rana on Gargano, sending him to the floor. Wow! There followed such an AMAZING series of moves I had to run them down here. Gargano broke up a Taylor pin on Swann, who hit a swinging DDT on Gargano then hit a running shooting star off Gargano onto Taylor. Swann hit a series of mad twisting moves including a 360 into a double stomp, which was quite mind-boggling. Younger finally got back in the ring and drilled Taylor into the corner. He nailed a running death valley driver on Swann into Taylor, then hits Drake's Landing and a spinebuster on Gargano. Taylor broke it up but all he got was a Half Nelson Suplex for his troubles.
Swann nailed Gargano with a spinning kick. Younger nailed Swann with Drake's Landing but Gargano broke it up. He kicked Younger in the face several times but Younger made his way back to his feet. He then muscled Gargano to the ropes and tried for Drake's Landing off the ropes, but Taylor interfered and nailed Younger with a running Spiked Piledriver to score the pin at around the 10 minute mark. All in all a fantastic match, with all 4 guys giving everything they had.
6. CIMA and Ricochet (Warriors) vs. Speed Muscle- Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino
Having heard Jeremy Graves on DKR extolling the virtues of Doi, CIMA and the Open the Dream Gate Champion Yoshino recently, I had high hopes for this tag match. Also, being a fan of tag wrestling in general (unlike WWE it seems...) I was keen to see what would happen here. Incidentally, this was the Main Event on the PPV, due to the contractual issues regarding one of the participants in the 'final' match. More later...
Much mention was made by the announcers of Ricochet's relative lack of experience, and how he was personally chosen for this match by CIMA.
Once again the crowd were fairly evenly split, with loud chants for Doi in particular.
The real story of this match, however, was Ricochet, who seemed to come from nowhere to propel himself to the next level.
CIMA and Doi kicked things off with some nice back and forth. They locked up again and ended up in the corner with Doi faking a clean break and then putting the boots to CIMA. CIMA came back with some of his own and charged but Doi dropkicked him. Both men made tags to their respective partners, and Yoshina then nailed Ricochet with a dropkick, who came back with a lucha-style armdrag, glancing kick and a standing moonsault for a two count. Doi and Yoshino then began working over Ricochet in their corner. Doi slammed him. Ricochet came back with several shoulderblocks and tagged CIMA. CIMA locked Doi in a cravate, then hit a senton and a kick. He continued working over Doi's neck and head with a crank. CIMA nailed a neckbreaker for another near fall. More back and forth, including a double stomp off the top rope from Yoshino onto CIMA’s elbow, who then rolled CIMA into a leg submission. CIMA managed to reverse the hold to make the tag to Ricochet. After some offense from Ricochet, Yoshino managed to get him into his corner, made the tag to Doi and the pair began working on Ricochet, which included a double dropkick to the head resulting in CIMA breaking up a pin attempt. Yoshino then locked on a Tarantula, allowing Doi to dropkick Ricochet in the chest. They continue to work over Ricochet, focusing on his leg, including a double stomp across the knee. Doi went for a kneebar, but Ricochet got to the ropes. They draped Ricochet over the ropes, allowing Doi to come off with a senton, followed by a pin attempt that CIMA broke up. Doi began kicking at Ricochet, who started to mount a comeback. He finally nailed an enziguiri on Doi, stunning him enough to make the hot tag to CIMA. CIMA and Richochet made a come back, with Ricochet hitting an insane twisting dive off the top to the floor on everyone. CIMA rolled out of a Yoshino sunset flip attempt and dropkicked him in the face. Yoshino nailed slingblade for a two count, then locks on an Octopus submission, which Ricochet broke up but was caught with a Stun Gun, then drilled with a dropkick. Ricochet escaped a Fireman's Carry and drove Doi down to the apron. Doi then missed a clothesline and hit a running bomb. CIMA began rallying from the outside. Ricochet nailed a standing shooting star press for a two count. He nailed a backslide driver for a two count. Speed Muscle cut him off and nailed a flapjack on CIMA. Yoshino missed a double stomp. They nailed a slingblade powerbomb on CIMA. CIMA came back with a dropkick and a perfectdriver on Doi. Ricochet tagged in and nailed a sitdown driver but Yoshino kicked up. Ricochet went to the top but was caught and dumped on his head for a two count. Doi drilled him with a series of strikes, then set up for the sliding kick but CIMA made the save. CIMA was caught with a jackknife rollup for a two count but Ricochet made the save. Yoshino began drilling him with right hands, then killed Ricochet with the Lightning Spiral for a two count. CIMA is double-teamed with a missile dropkick/senton combination. Ricochet grabbed the ropes to break it up. Doi went for the Muscular Bomb but CIMA superkicked him for a two count. Ricochet catches Doi with a reverse cradle suplex, then went to the top for a double rotation moonsault and scored the pin, at around the 20 minute mark.
I’ve gone in-depth with this match as I watched and re-watched it. The finish in particular deserves mention as the double rotation moonsault was damn awesome, and made the likes of Justin Gabriel’s 450 look like an armbar!
The next match on the DVD was different to what was on the PPV, (Silas Young vs. Gran Akuma vs. Samuray Del Sol, Young winning) which was:
6. Yamato vs. Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson
Due to his WWE non-complete clause, this had to be left off the PPV but was included in the DVD release, and I’m glad it was! For those of us used to 5-10 minute Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase WWE matches, it was nice to see Danielson let off the leash to see what he could REALLY do, with opposition of the calibre of Yamato.
Danielson seemed to be the only wrestler of the evening to do the traditional slapping-of-hands on his way to the ring, which the crowd seemed to appreciate. The crowd were also pumped for this match, and had a surprising amount of energy given what they’d already seen. A good contrast to the previous match, this had a lot more grappling than before (natural given Danielson’s background) and whilst being less flashy was by no means less entertaining. Some highlights include: Big Boots! Elbows! A fine looking Cattle Mutilation from Danielson (one of Matt Stryker’s faves)! And some comedy from Yamato as he crawled under the ring and out the other side in record time. He got away with it once, but then tasted some boot the second time.
A couple of vicious kicks to the head from Danielson scored a 2 count, which he followed up with the LeBell Lock for a tap-out win by Danielson, at around the 23 minute mark.
All in all a good, solid match. Nothing earth-shattering, but the lively crowd enjoyed it – bolstered by the fact it was one of the last appearances in Dragon Gate for Danielson – and it was a solid end to the DVD.
BONUS MATCH: Arik Cannon vs. Kyle O’Reilly
A reasonably good match, with some good selling from Cannon who always struck me as average in Chikara. Maybe a bit harsh, but there you go. Usual stuff, with O’Reilly mainly working on Cannon’s legs, before Cannon makes a comeback with an exploder suplex for a 2 count. Cannon then misses a Glimmering Warlock, before succumbing to a half crab. After the rope break and a boot from O’Reilly, Cannon comes back with a big punch and a Total Anarchy, before finishing O’Reilly off with another (connecting) Glimmering Warlock for the pin at just under 11 minutes.
Jimmy Jacobs Revealed
This mini documentary (around 15 minutes) is split up into 3 parts (for no reason I can discern) and takes the form of an interview with Jimmy Jacobs whilst he shows us around his small apartment. Which doesn’t seem to have any furniture in it. Very Feng Shui.
He talks quite candidly about his battle with drink and drugs, and how Gabe Sapolski saved him with his offer to work in DG USA. It then unfortunately goes kayfabe whilst he talks about Moxley and the ‘upcoming’ fight at Untouchable.
An interesting insight into Jacobs, and good to see he seems on top of the problems he had. Hopefully he can keep healthy.
All in all a good DVD, with a cracking tag match and only one stinker with Da Soul Touchaz. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but may well check out more DG USA in the future.
Overall, a solid 7 and a bit out of 10.