11/6 Dragon Gate USA "Untouchable" PPV: A detailed report on the show that debuts tonight on pay-per-view with Bryan Danielson, Brian Kendrick, Dragon Kid, The Young Bucks, Naruki Doi, and more
Dragon Gate USA "Untouchable" PPV
Taped September 6 in Chicago, Ill.
Debuted on pay-per-view on September 4
The show opened with a cheering crowd as announcer Lenny Leonard hyped that there would bee three singles matches with the best of Japan taking on the best of the United States. They showed various shots of wrestlers backstage... Leonard and Phil Colvin introduced themselves on commentary, but were not shown on camera...
Powell's POV: The audio mix is much better. The announcer volume is solid and stands above the ring mic in the mix The building looks very dark once again, as only the first row or two can be seen. That said, the fans are loud, so it has like an old school vibe. There was way too much talk about "opening the Untouchable gate." I watched the first pay-per-view and I still have no idea what that Trekkie-like lingo means. It would also be nice to get a look at the announcers for a change. By the way, did Phil Colvin play for Def Leppard back in the day? Seriously, who is he and why should viewers who don't know him from his other indy work care about him? Those are basic questions that should have been answered.
1. Dragon Kid beat Masato Yoshino in 14:00. Kid took the early advantage, but Yoshino came back and targeted Kid's back. The live crowd politely clapped for the offense of both wrestlers. Kid spun around Yoshino with the deja vu, which is amazing every time you see it.
Kid scored a nearfall and Leonard said he came close to opening the victory gate. Later, Kid spun around Yoshino several times before using the crucifix for the win. After the match, Kid went for a handshake, but Yoshino blew him off.
Powell's POV: A strong opening match with good action. A nice followup to their match from the last pay-per-view.
A recap aired from the last pay-per-view of the Mike Quackenbush angle. They used subtitles to show what the wrestlers were saying...
Powell's POV: I love the subtitles. Great touch given that some of the Japanese wrestlers speak broken English.
2. Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw defeated YAMATO and Gran Akuma in 14:00. We got a better view of the other side of the building when the wrestlers came out and the rows of chairs went much deeper on that side of the building. The heels jumped Quackenbush and Jigsaw to start the match. The heels took turns working over Jigsaw during the first few minutes.
There was an awkward spot late in the match when Akuma had Quack on the ropes and left him there to perform a moonsault on Jigsaw, who moved. It led to a cool spot with Jigsaw putting Akuma on his shoulders and then Quick followed up by jumping off the top and ramming both knees into Akuma.
A short time later, Quackenbush hit a spike tombstone piledriver and scored the clean pin. Afterward, YAMATO attacked Quackenbush from behind with a choke. Hallowicked ran out for the save. The announcers said the feud between Chikara and the team of Akuma and YAMATO is far from over...
Powell's POV: There were some decent spots, but a forgettable match on a show that will inevitably be loaded with good action. The story is easy enough to follow, but they haven't done enough to make this viewer care about Chikara. You either like Chikara going in or you're left wondering what they're about.
A graphic noted that the next live event will take place in Philadelphia, and would crown the first Dragon Gate USA Champion...
3. Naruki Doi defeated Bryan Danielson in a non-title match in 22:30. The ring announcer stated that the first entrant needed no introduction. The lights went out and when they came back on Danielson was in the ring. The fans applauded and threw streamers into the ring.
There was a nice spot early where Doi caught Danielson going for a kick. Danielson jumped up and kneed Doi, who came back seconds later with a dropkick to Danielson's knee. Doi continued to target the knee with various moves. Meanwhile, Danielson went after Doi's left arm with various holds and stretches that the live crowd bought into in a big way. Leonard did a nice job of selling the holds as if Doi could be forced to tap.
Later, they traded some stiff forearms and slaps. Doi appeared to win the battle, but Danielson nailed him with a roaring elbow. At 17:45, Doi went to the top rope, but Danielson caught him. Doi elbowed Danielson off, but he jumped up and cut off Doi beforehe could hit the move. Danielson followed up with a belly-to-back superplex for a near fall.
Danielson landed a series of elbow strikes on Doi (an MMA referee would have stepped in and stopped the fight for whatever it's worth). Danielson went for a cover and Doi kicked out at two. The back and forth action continued until Doi got on a roll late. Danielson kicked out of a few good near falls, but Doi hit the Muscular Bomb and scored the clean pin.
Powell's POV: This was a gem. It's nice to watch two guys work holds and tell a story in the ring while using a minimal amount of high spots. They didn't take a bunch of unnecessary risks and the crowd reacted favorably to all the submission attempts. They built nicely to the superplex spot. It was just a great mix submission style with a big move or two mixed in.
Another brief video aired for the next show in Philadelphia... Ring introductions for the next match took place. Brian Kendrick wore a white jacket and was in his WWE character mode. They cut backstage where Yoshino and Dragon Kid had a brief fight. The announcers advised viewers to check the Dragon Gate website for more details...
4. CIMA defeated Brian Kendrick in 2:55. The match started (or had already started) when they cut away from the backstage skirmish. The finish saw CIMA hit a double knee drop onto the prone Kendrick and then score the quick pin...
Powell's POV: Wow, that was short and unexpected. I don't mind mixing in a couple short matches and I'm all for unexpected finishes that make it seem like matches can end at any time, but this just felt like they were short on time and decided to cut the match. I was hoping to see more from Kendrick in his first non-WWE pay-per-view appearance. I'd much rather see more from these two and less from the Chikara tag match. I guess that's not the story they wanted to tell. Clearly, the match was edited for the pay-per-view broadcast. It just felt cheap in that they figured Kendrick's name would sell some pay-per-views, yet they delivered a ridiculously short match for the fans who paid to see him.
5. Davey Richards defeated Shingo in 26:30. Richards came out first, stood on the second rope, and glared down at Shingo during the introductions. Cool look and very intimidating. There was a brief "Where's your mullet" chant at Shingo, who was sporting a crewcut.
Shingo hit an early Dragon screw legwhip that sent Richards to the floor. He told the knee injury nicely by limping around as Shingo went after him and continued to work over the knee.
Richards did a nice job of playing to the crowd at one point by calling for their applause before he punished his opponent. Shingo popped the crowd by crying out for more at one point when Richards was kicking his chest. Shingo hit lariats that popped the crowd with "This is awesome" chants.
At 14:15, Richards went for a Suicide dive and landed a few rows deep in the crowd. The fans went nuts over that one. The camera pulled back for a nice view of the ringside area and it looked great on television. Back inside the ring, Richards hit a series of kicks on Shingo. Richards hit a knockout kick for another good nearfall at 17:00.
Richards slammed Shingo and went up top. Shingo stood up and cut him off with a chop. Shingo went for a superplex, but Richards blocked it with elbows to Shingo's arm. Richards went down to the mat and took a couple of boots to the head. He hit a top rope huracanrana.
Later, Richards caught Shingo in a cross-arm breaker, but Shingo powered up and placed Richards on his back and hit the death valley driver off the second rope for a near fall. At 22:45, Richards hit his finisher, but Shingo kicked out. Shingo came back with Made in Japan, but Richards kicked out and the place popped huge.
At 26:00, Richards hit a beautiful Shooting Star Press for another near fall. He applied a kimura and got the win via submission...
Powell's POV: An excellent match with plenty of crowd-pleasing moments. The live crowd popped for this match more than anything else on the show so far, and that's saying a lot. No complaints about the match, but I didn't care for the way they cut away to an ad for the Dragon Gate website afterward. They didn't even give viewers a chance to really enjoy the win with Richards.
6. Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi defeated The Young Bucks in a non-title match in 17:15 The announcers laid out for the introductions and they probably shouldn't have since neither team got an overwhelming reaction. The crowd felt a little burned out by the time this match started.
Late in the match, the Bucks hit the awesome More Bang For Your Buck series of moves on Saito and had the pin, but the referee was distracted. Horiguchi blew mist into the eyes of Matt Jackson, and hit double cross. Nick Jackson tried unsuccessfully to break up the pin. "The Young Bucks were just seconds away from what would have been the defining victory of their career," Leonard said. He added that they were robbed. Nice setup for a future match.
Leonard thanked viewers for watching the show and said they would be opening the freedom gate in Philadelphia. I'm about to open the Mich Golden Light gate after hearing all this geeky gate talk...
Powell's POV: A good match, but I was as burned out as the crowd was by this time in the show. The big difference is that they sat through way more than I did. They cut the Kendrick match for PPV purposes, so why not change the match order to put the best match on last and close on a high note?
Final Thoughts: This show was all about the in-ring action. There were no promos or major angles. That's not to say stories weren't progressed from the last show, but clearly the focus was on the in-ring product. I like more of a mix, but the in-ring action was excellent and overall this was a good, no nonsense show.
The flaw is that they cram too much into the two-hour pay-per-view events. It's not Vince Russo-esque in that there are too many angles and promos crammed in. Rather, there's actually too much wrestling. Yes, too much wrestling. They just move too quickly from one match to the next and never let the viewer take a breath and appreciate what just happened, nor do the announcers get a chance to make it seem truly special or meaningful.
I appreciate that Dragon Gate booker Gabe Sapolsky wants to give his pay-per-view buyers the most bang for their buck (no pun intended) by having two hours of nonstop great wrestling, but I'd rather see a better paced show that gives viewers a chance to take it all in.
Don't get me wrong, though. This was a strong wrestling show with some excellent in-ring work that more than justifies the pay-per-view cost if you're a fan of a no-frills, in-ring product. That said, it is hard to justify ordering the pay-per-view if you intend to buy the DVD when it's released. After all, it will contain the entire show for only a few dollars more.
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