Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dragon Gate USA Enter The Dragon 2010: First Anniversary Celebration Review

Bryan Danielson & Shingo tear the house down in the Main Event!!

Dragon Gate USA Enter The Dragon 2010: First Anniversary Celebration
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 7/24/10

The shows kicks off with CIMA coming to the ring (I should note that Lenny Leonard & Leonard F. Chikarason are the commentary team, which is pretty awesome). CIMA is hyping up the crowd, but then Johnny Gargano comes out. He lobbies to be part of CIMA’s faction in Dragon Gate, Warriors International, and wants to prove himself by facing CIMA right now. CIMA cuts a funny promo in response, but Gargano slaps him in the face! CIMA accepts the match and here we go!

1.) CIMA vs. Johnny Gargano: ***½

I thought this was a pretty solid opener. This was in the earlier stages of Gargano’s rise in Dragon Gate USA, and he showed a lot here against a true Dragon Gate veteran in CIMA. Lots of really solid action throughout this match. Even though Gargano eventually lost to CIMA, he looked good in defeat.

After the match, Gargano wants to shake CIMA’s hand, but CIMA fakes him out, leaving Gargano upset.

2.) Four-Way Freestyle - Adam Cole vs. Arik Cannon vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Ricochet: ****

Like I mentioned in my Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish Review, it’s so weird looking back and seeing a very young Adam Cole. We also have a young Ricochet in here as well. As far as the match goes, it was insane! It had balls-to-the-walls action right from the opening bell. This match was a lot of fun, and everyone got a chance to shine. In the end, Chuck Taylor would pick up the win.

3.) Naruki Doi vs. Drake Younger: **1/2

In another trip into the past, we see a relatively larger Drake Younger (compared to his recent PWG run). Here, he’s taking on Naruki Doi. Apparently Dragon Kid was going to face Doi, but he was injured, so Younger is stepping up to the plate. The match was fine. Obviously, I think Naruki Doi vs. Dragon Kid would have been the better match, but for what this was, it was solid. Doi would end up scoring the win.

After the match, Younger cuts a promo where he tries to lobby to the Dragon Gate stables for a possible position as an American Representative. Johnny Gargano then comes out and attacks Younger! He says that he’s not going to lose his potential spot in a Dragon Gate stable to Younger.

4.) Open The Freedom Gate Title - BxB Hulk vs. Masaaki Mochizuki: ***1/2

I find it a bit odd that this match is in the middle of the show. BxB Hulk is the first ever Open The Freedom Gate Champion, becoming the inaugural champion several months prior. Here, he’s defending against Masaaki Mochizuki. This match was pretty good, but it wasn’t great….and honestly….I feel like that’s a trend when it comes to BxB Hulk, especially when he’s in title matches. As usual, there were questions regarding BxB Hulk’s selling, and some limb work early on didn’t mean much in the second half. The match still had really good action, but it wasn’t the great match I was hoping for. BxB Hulk would end up retaining his Open The Freedom Gate Title.

After the match, as BxB Hulk is celebrating, one of his former dancer girls comes out, which proves to only be a distraction, as YAMATO & Shingo come out and attack him. Jon Moxley then comes out, and says that they’ve taken away his hair & his dancers, and now they will take his title. They beat up BxB Hulk some more until Bryan Danielson comes out for the save! Both YAMATO & Shingo get in Danielson’s face, but Moxley has them back off, calling Danielson a pussy and says they won’t face him until they can make some money off of it. Danielson then hands the Open The Freedom Gate Title to BxB Hulk.

5.) Rich Swann vs. Scott Reed: *3/4

Scott Reed is being accompanied to ringside by Nicole Matthews. This was a really short match that was basically a showcase for Rich Swann, who gets the win with his Standing 450 Splash.

Afterwords, Brodie Lee comes out and takes out everyone, including the referee & Nicole Matthews. He says that he wants to face a Japanese wrestler at the next Dragon Gate USA show.

6.) Eight-Man Elimination Match - KAMIKAZE USA (Arika Tozawa, Gran Akuma, Jon Moxley & YAMATO) vs. Open The Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino & CHIKARA Sekigun (Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Hallowicked): ***¾

This is a feud that’s really been building for almost a year, as Gran Akuma turned on Mike Quackenbush & the rest of CHIKARA Sekigun to join up with KAMIKAZE USA. This is an elimination match, and the then Open The Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino was called upon by Quackenbush to assist him in his struggle (I believe Yoshino had won the Open The Dream Gate Title from YAMATO a few weeks earlier, so Yoshino’s involvement makes more sense in that regard).

Hallowicked would be eliminated first by YAMATO. Jon Moxley would then get eliminated via disqualification when he attacked Jigsaw & Quackenbush with a chair. This led to Jimmy Jacobs running out and he fights with Moxley to the back. YAMATO would then eliminate Jigsaw, giving KAMIKAZE USA a 3-on-2 advantage. Akuma would then be eliminated by Quackenbush. The match then ended with Yoshino & Mike Quackenbush putting YAMATO & Tozawa in their respective submission holds (Sol Naciente & The CHIKARA Special), causing both YAMATO & Tozawa to tap out simultaneously!! This was a really entertaining elimination match. There was a lot of action throughout, and everyone got the chance to shine. The match itself was nearly 19 Minutes, but it felt like the time just flew by. A good conclusion to this feud.

7.) Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo: ****¾

I had heard a lot of great things about this match going into it (and it was the main reason why I got this show on DVD). Of course, this was right after Danielson had been released from WWE following the events of the angle involving The Nexus on RAW. To say this match was great would be a massive understatement. It was absolutely tremendous!! Danielson is without a doubt one of the best wrestlers in the world, but I think Shingo deserves a lot of credit here as well. He’s also a really good wrestler. Awesome action from both guys in this match. We saw some amazing back & forth stuff, and the crowd was insanely into it by the end. Danielson would eventually get Shingo to tap out to the LaBell Lock.

After the match, YAMATO comes out, and it looks like Danielson is going to be double-teamed, until BxB Hulk comes out to even the odds. YAMATO & Shingo back down. Danielson then cuts a promo, talking about how BxB Hulk is looking for an American Representative for his World-1 stable, and offers his services. BxB Hulk shakes his hand, seemingly accepting the offer of Danielson to close the show.

Overall: 8.75/10

It’s really interesting to look back on shows from the first year of Dragon Gate USA’s existence. I though this was a great show. Of course, the main draw is the Main Event of Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo, which might be one of Danielson’s best matches on the independents (and that’s saying a lot, as he has had A TON of those kinds of matches on the independent scene). You also had several other really good matches on here as well. The Elimination Match & The Four-Way Match come to mind, as those two matches very much delivered. There was also a really solid opening match with CIMA vs. Gargano, and an Open The Freedom Gate Title Match that was pretty good, but a little disappointing considering what could have been. A great show on the whole from Dragon Gate USA.

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