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By Mike Johnson on 2009-09-03 09:18:12

Dragon Gate's Enter the Dragon opened with former WWE Diva Dawn Marie in the ring to welcoming everyone to the PPV before a hot crowd in PPV.  She said Dragon Gate was all about action so they were going to get right to it


Hulk was accompanied by dancing girls, who were Daizee Haze and Kelly Dempsey (ROH star Bobby's sister and no, I'm not kidding).    They went right to the mat with YAMATO taking the early advantage.    Hulk was caught in a wristlock and chopped his way out before reversing it.  They faced off and the crowd applauded.  YAMATO shoulderblocked hulk down, but he kipped up.  Hulk came back with a series of dropkicks to take YAMATO out.  The crowd chanted for Hulk.  He followed up with another dropkick for a near fall.  Hulk nailed a reverse crescent kick but was caught in a legbar.  Hulk got to the ropes as the crowd rallied both.

YAMATO missed a charge in the corner but Hulk's leg got caught when he went for a kick.  YAMATO charged and kicked him off the apron to the floor, the followed.  He slammed Hulk's leg into the guard rail on the floor and continued to work on it as when they returned to the ring, using kicks to the knee.   He torqued the leg but Hulk tried to fight out.  Hulk finally used a spinkick to break YAMATO's momentum, but was taken down with another leglock.  YAMATO locked on a sleeper, then went for a unique leg submission from a crab position while on his back.  The crowd chanted for Hulk.  YAMATO worked Hulk in the corner with chops.  He whipped Hulk out of the corner but his knee gave out and he collapsed in the middle.

The crowd continued to rally Hulk, who cartwheeled out of another takedown attempt then hit a beautiful dropkick off the middle rope.  He flipped over YAMATO and nailed a clothesline.  He went for a Mafia kick,  It was reversed and he reversed it.  Hulk hit a standing moonsault press for a two count.  They exchanged strikes in the center of the ring with Hulk getting the better of the exchange,  YAMATO nailed a forearm off the ropes for a two count.  YAMATO speared Hulk for a two count, then rolled him over into a Sharpshooter.  The crowd chanted for Hulk not to tap.  He made his way to the ropes but was pulled away and locked away in a crossface.  He finally got to the ropes again.

YAMATO went for an over the shoulder slam but Hulk reversed it into a Lucha takedown.  He nailed a running kick to YAMATO who was in the ropes, then hit a Spanish Fly off the top on YAMATO.  Hulk began beating down YAMATO with kicking combinations to the face.  He picked him up for a pumphandle into a Michinoku Driver for a two count but YAMATO got his legs on the ropes.   Hulk slammed him and went for a twisting moonsault press but missed.  Hulk grabbed at his knee.

YAMATO made his way to his feet, smiling at Hulk.  He charged with a forearm smash and a big head dropping suplex but Hulk kicked out again.   YAMATO hit an overhead kick but Hulk battled his way to his feet.  YAMATO locked on a sleeper then suplexed Hulk over.  Hulk again kicked out.    YAMATO finally hit a Michinoku Package Driver for the pin.

Your winner, YAMATO!

Great, great opening match.  The crowd absolutely loved it.  It was cool to see them do a variation on BXB Hulk's dance entrance here to bring some of the pageantry over from Japan.  This was off the charts and one hell of a way to throw out there what the promotion is going to be about.

After the bout, they aired a highlight reel of spots, then went backstage for a look at DG Open the Brave champion Naruki Doi and challenger Shingo, who will be wrestling in the main event.  This was something of a throwback to the old Jim Crockett Promotions, of all things, as they would routinely show guys warming up in the locker room and give fans an "insight" into their demeanor before bouts.  A narrator explained that Doi was the "Ace" for the company (as in an Ace in a deck of cards) but that Shingo hoped to take that status.

CHIKARA 8 MAN TAG: Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw & Fire Ant & Solider Ant vs. Hallowicked & Amasis & Gran Akuma & Icarus

Given the amount of talent here, it's going to be impossible to do a traditional play by play, so we'll just do some highlights and honestly, you should be ordering the PPV if you want a spot by spot run down.  Announced Leonard Chikarason and Lenny Leonard pointed out that Hallowicked isn't usually on the side of his team but won a random drawing to be inserted into the match.  Works for me.  The crowd was into everyone here and the fact this show was in Philadelphia really took the entire scene to the next level for these guys.

As you can imagine, a ton of Lucha style stuff with fast tags in and out, counters, etc.  Team Jigsaw worked on Solider Ant for some time.  Amasis hit a spinebuster.  Soldier Ant finally came back with headscissors on Gran Akuma but was jumped by Icarus.  He ducked under an Icarus charge and tagged Quackenbush, who cleaned house and tagged in Jigsaw.  Jigsaw hit an enziguiri and rolled him up in a small package for a near fall.  Jigsaw used a Lucha armdrag to toss Hallowicked out of the ring.  He went for a dive but was kicked and cut off.  Icarus hit a spear.  Jigsaw tried to cradle him for a two count.  He ate a kick to the head.  The heels continued to work over Jigsaw while tagging in and out.

Amasis used a series of strikes and a clothesline for a two on Jigsaw.  Icarus tagged in and was powerbombed atop of Jigsaw for a two count by his regular partner Gran Akuma.  Akuma continued to use kicks to the chest, then rammed Jigsaw into the corner.    Jigsaw hit a dive over the top on Akuma and Icarus.  Fire Ant and Hallowicked went back and forth.  Amasis ducked a double kick from the Ants but then got nailed on the rebound off the ropes. 

It settled down to Icarus and Fire Ant.  He picked up Ant and ran him into the corner.  Soldier Ant kicked him out of the ring.  Hallowicked nailed a press into a gutbuster.  he and Solider Ant battled in the corner.  Quack hit the ring and hit a top rope frankensteiner.  Soldier Ant came off the ropes for the pin but Amasis broke it up.  Amasis hit a face first driver on Ant.  Quack hit a lariat and Amasis took a 360 bump.  Quack nailed a side slam.  Fire Ant went to the top but was suplexed off by Akuma, who then hit a moonsault for a two count.  This is a great match.

There was an amazing flurry of Lucha dives, leaving Jigsaw with Icarus.  He hit a sitdown Michinoku Driver and scored the pin.

Your winners, Team Quackenbush!

Great, fun Lucha bout.  The crowd chanted CHIKARA after the bout.  There was no way to keep up with this match, that's how insane it was.

Mike Quackenbush took the mic after the bout.  He said that if the home office in Japan hasn't figured it out yet, "Doesn't Dragon Gate and CHIKARA make a splendid combination?"  He said that they were all part of the same extended family, having been trained by an often underappreciated Luchadore, Jorge Rivera.  He asked everyone to watch a video on Rivera, which was a collection of his highspots from CHIKARA events.  Quack said it feels like there's a bit of sibling rivalry in the back and issued a challenge to see how any CHIKARA talent fares against any talent from Dragon Gate.  YAMATO came to the ring.  YAMATO cut a quick promo, then kicked Quack low.  Jigsaw hit the ring and attacked YAMATO, stomping him.  Gran Akuma came to the ring to check on Quack, but then attacked Jigsaw.  Akuma and YAMATO worked over Quack and Jigsaw.  Several CHIKARA wrestlers hit the ring but were laid out.   The other CHIKARA babyfaces finally cleared the ring to check on Quackenbush.  The rivalry has begun!  Good, simple angle based on respect and honor.

Dragon Kid (with Shingo) vs. Masato Yoshino (with Naruki Doi)

The announcers did a great job explaining the back-story of their rivalry.  The announcing on the show is absolutely done in a way to introduce everyone new to the product without glossing over exposition.  Yoshino and Kid had some awesomely fast back and forth counter wrestling early.  Kid used a head scissors takedown to shoot Yoshino to the floor.  He went for a dive but when Yoshino got out of dodge, faked it with a slide around the ropes.  Yoshino walked around the floor and returned, getting cut off by Kid.  Yoshino ducked under Kid and caught him and slammed him down.  He measured and came down with a splash across Kid's arm.  He continued to work over Kid's arm, wrapping it around the ropes as the referee warned him to break.  Yoshino used his leg to twist the arm and slam Kid to the mat, then pretzeled him with a leg submission around the neck and torso.

Yoshino broke when Kid got to the ropes, but continued assaulting Kid.  Kid faked a rebound off the ropes and kicked him in the face.  Kid went for a springboard and was shoved down onto the apron.  Yoshino charged in the corner but was kicked away.  Kid did several rotation spins around Yoshino's neck before sending him to the floor.  Kid hit a standing moonsault to the floor on Yoshino.

Kid tossed Yoshino back in and hit a springboard missile dropkick for a two count.  Kid psyched himself up and charged.  Yoshino evaded and came off the ropes, slammed Kid down neckfirst.  Yoshino went to the top rope but was caught by Kid, who followed.  Kid went for a superplex but Yoshino fought back. Yoshino went for a sunset bomb but Kid turned it into a rana and hit a 619 in the ropes.  Yoshino caught Kid with a powerbomb to cut off his momentum, but was locked in an Octopus submission.    Yoshino caught Kid with a boot.  He charged Kid, who was on the apron but Kid kicked him in the legs.  Yoshino went down and Kid went for a springboard moonsault but Yoshino got his knees up.  Yoshino hit a monster missile dropkick for a two count and the fans chanted his name.

They exchanged chops.  Kid nailed a twisting DDT.  Kid set up Yoshino in the corner but was pushed off.  Kid landed on the apron and fired away with chops.  He got to the middle rope as Yoshino went to the top.  Yoshino went for Splash Kid but Kid turned it into a rana in mid-air, which the Arena popped for huge.  Yoshino caught Kid and slammed him down with a tornado.  He locked in a submission but Kid rolled him upside down for a two count.  Kid nailed a Stone Cold Stunner.  Kid came off the ropes with a springboard into a rollup for the pin.

Your winner, Dragon Kid!

Lots of replays afterwards.  Yoshino shoved down Kid after and Shingo got in his face.  Doi got in Shingo's face. 

A really good bout, but as good as this was, they can do ever better based on tapes I've seen.  I was surprised it was as short as it was, but given the angle afterwards, it was probably by design to build the rivalry here in the United States for a new audience.  There was definitely a lot of nods to old school Rey in Kid's performance here (which was the booking plan, to make Kid the modern day equivalent of Rey Jr.).

They aired a commercial utilizing footage of a lot of names that have worked for DG overseas in the past, including Matt Sydal.

CIMA & Susumu Yokosuka vs. The Young Bucks

The Bucks are from California and have worked for PWG, ROH and the NWA.    Both teams got big reactions from the crowd and shook hands before the bout. 

Yokosuka shoulderblocked Matt Jackson several times until Jackson got the better of him.  CIMA and Nick Jackson tagged in.  Nick nailed a good rana.  The Bucks did a double backflip followed by stereo dropkicks.  Yokosuka tagged in and dragged Nick into the corner.  CIMA and Yokosuka continued to work over Nick.  Nick struggled to make a tag but was held back.  He finally muscled Yokosuka into the corner and tagged his brother.  Yokosuka and CIMA regained control and stomped Nick Jackson's face.

Jackson was propelled into the air by his brother and dropkicked CIMA.  CIMA came back with kicks and punches to the chest.  Yokosuka tagged in and rode Jackson to the mat, riding him with a side chinlock.  Jackson was caught with a knee to the gut, bumping over.  Yokosuka locked in leg scissors as CIMA interfered to help.  Nick Jackson struggled to get into the ring to help but the referee held him back.  Yokosuka grabbed Jackson in a wheel barrow position and CIMA drilled him down into his knees.  They took Jackson outside to the floor.  Yokosuka held held across the ring barrier and CIMA came off of them with a double stomp.

Back in the ring, CIMA began beating Jackson with drilling kicks to the chest and head.  They whipped Matt Jackson into the corner then  nailed lariats in succession.   Jackson came back with a quick flurry of offense and made the hot tag to Nick.  Nick clotheslined Yokosuka and took down CIMA with a Mexican armdrag.   Nick did a twisting dive over the ropes onto CIMA and Yokosuka on the floor.  The Arena chanted for the Bucks.

Nick came off the ropes with a double stomp on CIMA's arm.  The Bucks hit stereo dive splashes onto CIMA for a two count.  CIMA and Yokosuka made a comeback in a major way.  Yokosuka caught an Exploder suplerplex on Matt Jackson for a two count.  Jackson caught him with a big boot and hit a Blockbuster for a two count.  He went to the top but CIMA caught him and hit a forward flip slam off the top. CIMA went to the top for a splash but Matt got his knees up.  The Bucks caught Yokosuka with a double team move for a two count.  Matt was left with Yokosuka and put him on his shoulders.  Outside, CIMA kicked Nick in the face.

Yokosuka caught Matt with a lariat.  CIMA went for a forward roll and got a two count.  Nick got on the apron but was kicked off.  They tied up Matt in the corner.  CIMA hit a Van Terminator dropkick to the back of the head.  They slammed Matt down for a pinfall but Nick broke up the pin.  The fans chanted for Dragon Gate.  Yokosuka went for a powerbomb but matt escaped.  CIMA superkicked Yokosuka by accident.  Nate kicked him in the head.  Matt nailed a rolling forward splash.  Nate hit a swanton and Matt scored the pin in  a major upset.

Your winners, The Young Bucks!

Excellent match all around.  Two stars are born and trust me, that isn't an understatement in the least.  Unbelievably great tag match.

After the bell, everyone shook hands and the fans chanted for each of them before giving the bout a standing ovation.

They showed the main event competitors preparing to head to the ring.

Open the Dream Gate & Brave Gate champion Naruki Doi vs. Shingo

The crowd chanted for Shingo at the bell.  Shingo muscled Doi into the ropes but broke clean.  They went into a test of strength, which Shingo easily won.    Doi was able to reverse the knucklelock and went into a standing wristlock.  Doi rolled him over with a leg takedown and tied up Shingo's legs.  Shingo escaped and went for headscissors on Doi.  Doi escaped and they faced off.

Doi tried to run through Shingo but was shoulderblocked down.  Shingo caught him with a Fireman's Carry into a Stunner.  Shingo slammed Doi and rubbed his boot across Doi's face.  Doi nailed a Dragon Screw legwhip.  Doi began focusing on Shingo's legs, stomping on his knee.  The Arena began dueling chants.  Doi grapevined Shingo's leg.  That was a set up for the figure four leglock.  Shingo reversed it but Doi rolled it back over to the original submission position.  Shingo grabbed the ropes to break the hold.  Doi went for a cannonball in the corner but Shingo caught him and powerbombed him down.  Awesome.  He hit a kneedrop to the back of the head.

Doi made a comeback but was hit with a lariat.  Shingo went for a standing vertical suplex and held Doi up there for a count of 30 before snapping him back.  He chopped Doi in the corner, shushed the crowd and did it again.  He whipped Doi into the corner but was kicked in the face during a charge.  Shingo caught him with a powerslam for a two count.  Shingo worked over Doi on the mat. 

Shingo went for a suplex but Doi escaped and kicked him in the legs.  He tied up Shingo in the ropes and dropkicked his legs several times.  Shingo hung through the ropes, where Shingo hit a diving knee drop off the ropes.  Doi ducked a charge and nailed a strike to the chin.  The crowd rallied both men.  Shingo began unloading with jabs but Doi dropkicked him in thje knee.  Doi charged Shingo in the corner but was caught in the goozle and suplexed him over.  Shingo nailed a kneedrop off the ropes for a two count.

Shingo grabbed Doi in a Fireman's Carry but Doi escaped.  He went for a kick but Shingo evaded it and caught him with an STO.  Shingo hit several lariats but Doi nailed a sidewalk slam.  Doi tied up Shingo upside down and hit a cannonball splash.  Doi nailed a back superplex for a two count.  Doi caught them with a Fireman's Carry into a death valley driver.  Shingo begasn punching the back of Doi's head as Doi wobbled on unsteady legs.    Shingo hit an exploder into a Michinoku Driver for a two count.

Shingo hit as running clothesline in the corner but Doi came back with a sprinting leg lariat.  Doi grabbed him in a wheel barrow position but Shingo broke free, then drove Doi headfirst into the mat.    Doi and Shingo exchanged forearms and slaps in the center of the ring.  Doi nailed several kicks and lariats before nailing a back suplex with a bridge for a two count.  Doi hits a sliding kick and rolls up Shingo for a two count.

Doi hits a Package Driver for the three count.

Your winner and still Open the Dream Gate & Brave Gate champion Naruki Doi!

A great main event.  Tons of stiff work here with a style that was completely different from everything that came before it, so it stood out. 

Final Thoughts

I'll say this, if you love professional wrestling and don't bother to drop $20 on this show, you are out of your freaking mind.  Dragon Gate took what was a great show love and made it even better on PPV by excising the one bout that was a slower pace, so this was all balls to the wall, athletic, innovative wrestling. 

Stars are made in the Young Bucks with one of the best back and forth tag team matches this year, anywhere. 

CHIKARA launches their own revolution, battling to show the mainstream wrestling world what makes their unique brand so much fun.  Doi vs. Shingo is a tremendous finesse vs. power bout mixed in with some insanely stiff beatings. 

Kid vs. Yoshino was designed to be the kickoff of a series of great matches and while it was entertaining, it was nowhere near the level these guys can go. 

YAMATO vs. Hulk may have been the best opening match on any PPV, live or taped, in history with the exception of the Smackdown Hell in A Cell earlier this year or Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at Wrestlemania X - and think about the company I am putting this in. 

In all seriousness folks, everyone loves to clamor for something different and everyone loves to complain that "pro wrestling" doesn't exist the way they want it to.  I don't know if I agree with that as there are a lot of really good promotions but unfortunately, most fans won't go out of their way to get DVDs or travel long distances to shows or change cable companies if they don't receive something like an HDNet.  Well, unless you have DirecTV (which passed on carrying the show), Dragon Gate USA is right there for you to watch and there is no way you can order this show and not be blown away, much less entertained.  Honestly, if you don't order it, you're only missing out on what will be one of the top PPVs of the year.  When the only criticism is that it was taped in July, you know you have a pretty damn perfect PPV outing.

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