DRAGON GATE USA “UPRISING” Pay Per View Taping
May 8th, International Centre
Mississauga, Ontario (Toronto Area)
I’ve attended many Pay Per Views before including Wrestlemania 18, Wrestlemania 20, ECW Massacre On 34th Street, Unforgiven 2006, and Bragging Rights. Despite the competition, tonight’s Dragon Gate USA PPV may have been the most fun I’ve ever had attending a show, as well as been one of the best.
The attendance was anywhere from 400-500 people, it was big enough that extra chairs had to be pulled from the back as every seat originally put out was full. There was an energetic buzz in the air that can be felt when attending many good Toronto wrestling shows.
Before the actual pay per view was a bonus card for those with tickets in rows 1-3.
BONUS MATCH #1: Kris Chambers and Michael Elgin vs. ??????? and ??????
Before the arena filled up, many local wrestlers were given the opportunity for a seminar/tryout with Dragon Gate, the top four prospects were given the opportunity to wrestle in this bonus tag match. Sorry for the two wrestlers names I didn’t memorize.
This was a short but surprisingly well executed match that relied more on the basics of tag wrestling than anything else. There was only one move that came off poorly, everything else was completely fair. Kris Chambers looked particularly solid delivering an elbow drop all the way across the ring as well as executing a running somersault plancha over the top rope which caused the guardrail to come down. Chambers and Elgin came out of this as the victors. Not bad at all **1/4.
BONUS MATCH #2: Fray Match: Phil Atlas vs. Brodie Lee vs. Cheech vs. Cloudy vs. Xtremo vs. Brent B vs. Anthony Fiasco.
This match started with two competitors, than every two minutes a new man entered. This was elimination rules with the last man standing being declared the winner.
First thing to mention about this was that there was a large amount of noticeable talent for a free bonus match. In reality this thing was crazy enough to have been on the main card. It contained fast paced action, very impressive dives to the outside, and completed the task of getting everyone pumped for the pay per view. Xtremo received a decent sized cut on his side following a crash into the guardrail. Brodie Lee won the match after beating Cheech and Cloudy back to back. Very fun **3/4.
Once this bonus card completed, the general admission fans came in and the actual Pay Per View begun soon after.
MATCH #1: Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Akira Tozawa
And the crowd goes wild. Seriously it took just 2 minutes into the Pay Per View for the crowd to start going crazy. This match was a great back and fourth encounter that had some of the hardest kicks I’ve ever seen in my life. Mochizuki was the obvious favorite, but Tozawa did an excellent job as the crazy heel. Masaaki won following a knockout kick to the head. Awesome ***1/2.
MATCH #2: Tyson Dux vs. Gran Akuma
This was probably the least anticipated match on the main card so it went on at the right time. There was nothing wrong with this match, but at the same time it was terribly average. The end of the match had a huge amount of back and fourth pin attempts, than to the surprise of everyone, Gran Akuma actually got a victory when during his last pin he pulled the tights. It was fair but forgettable **.
MATCH #3: No DQ -Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jon Moxley
This grudge match turned into a brawl quickly. They beat the hell out of each other with garbage cans, chairs, and even fought in the crowd at one point. Moxley’s manager did a really great job at taking cheap shots (and bites), however she ended up getting speared for her troubles. Unfortunately once Jimmy Jacobs started getting the upper hand in the match, Shingo and Yamato interfered and took Jacobs lights out. Seeing as this was a No DQ match the referee couldn’t do anything and thus counted to three for Moxley. A fun brawl **3/4.
--- Post match Jacobs continued to get beat down but BxB Hulk made the save. BxB offered Jacobs a World 1 t-shirt however Jacobs denied it and left the ring. ---
MATCH #4: Naruki Doi & PAC vs. Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw
This was Dragon Gate vs. Chikara, and as most fans know that is like a combination of peanut butter and jelly (And this match was indeed delicious). You ever see a top rope springboard 360 corkscrew moonsault to the outside in person? It is nuts. I’ve never seen a wrestler pull off so many complex aerial moves with such ease that Pac completed them with. The end of the match had Pac nail a shooting star press knee drop onto his standing opponent, which gave Doi room to hit a couple kicks and a Doi Five for the victory. Great match ***3/4 (possibly ****).
--- Lenny Leonard got into the ring to call INTERMISSION, during this announcement the crowd started chanting “Please Come Back!, “Please Come Back!”. Lenny said that he’s sure that the people in the back will have heard these pleads.
Intermission gave me time to grab some Pizza and check out the merchandise table. There was a lot of great Dragon Gate, Evolve, and ROH DVD’s available including GASP! ROH: Dragon Gate Challenge (great show btw). Everyone seemed in positive spirits and was ready for the second half of the show. ---
BONUS MATCH #3: Rip Impact vs. ??????
Lenny Leonard announced that they were going to give two more try-out talents that made an impression a bonus match on the pay per view. Before this one could get started Brodie Lee ran down the aisle and BAM! crashed right into the ring apron lol, that’s not getting onto the DVD. Anyway Brodie Lee than composed himself and dismantled the two local talents to make an impression in DGUSA (and in the side of the ring). This match ended a no-contest.
MATCH #5: CIMA & Dragon Kid vs. YAMATO & Shingo
This was the first time Dragon Kid and Shingo have been in the ring together since Shingo turned on him at Fearless. Crowd was definitely excited for this one. Huge ovations for CIMA, he was probably the most over guy of the night.
This started slower than one might think, however it all built toward a terrific explosion of perfectly controlled chaos that just kept going and going. This was the type of match that you can only see in Dragon Gate, imitators don’t come close. Match ended with Shingo delivering a death-valley-driver like maneuver off the second rope on Dragon Kid. Exhilarating ****1/4.
MATCH #6: Open The Freedom Gate Title Match: BxB Hulk defends vs. Masato Yoshino
These guys had a tough act to follow, but luckily BxB has got enough charisma to intrigue the audience anyway. I was actually surprised at how well these two were able to hook back the exhausted audience and continue to make them cheer in excitement.
Moment of the match came when Masato Yoshino hit a top rope drop kick so hard that it caused BxB to land on his head. I’m not sure how many people believed Yoshino would win, but there was a fair amount of convincing false finishes nonetheless. Eventually it took three of BxB Hulks finishers (the sitdown side slam?) to end what was a better than expected match-up. Very, very good ***3/4 (maybe ****)
---During the post show Jon Moxley came down to tell BxB that by being champion he’s made himself a target for Kamikaze USA. Moxley told Doi that at any one point, and he won’t know when, he is going to get attacked out of nowhere. Unfortunately for BxB that attack happened immediately as Yamato and Shingo knocked him out from behind.
As more and more members of Kamikaze USA assaulted anyone and everyone in the ring, it was Jimmy Jacobs who ended up coming down to even the odds and make the save. It looks like Jimmy Jacobs will be forming an alliance next show. ---
Best news of the night came when CIMA grabbed a microphone and told everyone that “Dragon Gate USA will guarantee Toronto come back very soon”. The audience understood the translation, Dragon Gate USA is coming back to Toronto!
This whole Uprising show was great. There were three matches that were around 4 stars and nothing truly sucked. On top of everything there were a bunch of story advancements that are going to lead to wars within the promotion. All this leads me to believe that Dragon Gate USA is only going to get better. Seeing as the company has already won the wrestling observers 2009 promotion of the year award, that is a very positive thought.
For the future DGUSA will need to improve their production values, most noticeably the entrance way and the lack of BxB Hulk dancers. But I really feel if this company can use their momentum to continue growing, than a lot of positive things are going to happen.
Whether you came into this show looking for crazy highflying action, great technical wrestling, or a brutal brawl, this show had it. What was most surprising to me was the fact that the wrestlers themselves actually showed a great deal of personality and were very charismatic. It wasn’t even just about the matches themselves, but the whole experience was awesome. If you wanted you could talk to the stars and get autographs before and after the show, plus the whole atmosphere was very positive, containing a lively group of people who really wanted to be there. When leaving the show I didn’t see a single disappointed face, everyone was pleased.
Awesome job Dragon Gate USA, I will gladly be front row when you come back.