The internet’s second favourite Dragon Gate reviewer (Zombiehater‘s HellionLee) is here with live coverage of the last Dragon Gate USA show of 2013; Freedom Fight! This is Gabe Sapolsky’s Japanese offshoot fed’s Final Gate/Final Battle/Starrcade equivalent, a show so important that the main event was changed a few days in advance purely because some guy got fired by WWE. Will Chris Hero become the Open The Freedom Gate champion? Will Masaaki Mochizuki kick the Young Bucks into oblivion? Will Jerome fire me for being too drunk to review a pay per view? Find out all that and more in about twenty minutes when the show starts! Keep refreshing the page for updates over the next three hours.
By the way, you should totally order the show over at WWNLive.com, using this link so us good people at PWP make millions of dollars.
So in theory the show has started now. Doesn’t seem to be a stream. Good times.
Annnd we’re off mid match as Jon Davis wrestles some dude. Feed is dark and choppy. Good times.
Stuff is happening but the feed keeps stopping. Basically Davis is beating this dude up. I’m gonna eat some olives until the feed is consistent enough for me to consistently cover it.
Crowd got hot and Davis killed the man who Chris GST tells me is called Steven Walters with some germans and a lariat. Seemed like a good time live. Shame we didn’t see much of it. At least I have olives.
Match 2) Jervis Cottonbelly vs Mr Touchdown
So I guess these guys are from Chikara? Touchdown hits a bunch of tackles and a scoop slam to start. Chops and a dropkick continue the domination. The crowd chant something. I finish my olives. Someone gets a two count. Massive running spinebuster gets two for Touchdown. Running punch to the face then Touchdown sets up Jervis on the top rope. Dude tries to fight back but can’t get out of the superplex. Stream lag gives me time to write that sentence. “Time to go to the end zone”, apparently. I guess that’s Touchdown’s catchphrase. Shades of Batista with another spinebuster, then he pins Cottonbelly with pretty much the same cover that Edge used on Beulah at ECW One Night Stand 2.
Rating: LOL what?
Match 3) Chuck Taylor vs JIMMY SUSUMU?!Â
Chuck Taylor’s new entrance music rules and I TOTALLY FORGOT SUSUMU WAS ON THIS SHOW. Actual good times. Chucky T puts a fleece on to spare him from Susumu’s strikes. Smart man. Lenny tells us that Susumu unzipped him, not sure if he means metaphorically or literally. They go to the mat and Taylor goes for the tights. This is serious business folks. The crowd get hyped for Susumu putting on Taylor’s fleece. This match rules. “This is awesome” chant. “There’s no need for that” apparently but I keep missing what Lenny is talking about when I’m typing. Chucky T locks in a fleece assisted headlock. Susumu gets him in a toe hold then chokes with the fleece. The fleece gets elbow dropped. “Holy shit” chant makes me legit laugh. Wrestling happens now. Taylor gets a smooth two count then nails a dropkick. Lenny has apparently forgotten YAMATO exists when declaring that Chucky has the best dropkick in the business. I’m going to start a new paragraph.
Nice belly to belly gets Chucky another two count. He locks in some headscissors. Taylor continues to dominate and I miss what riled the crowd due to sending a text (edit: apparently the invisible grenade thing got dropped into Taylor’s tights). Now they be chopping each other. They trade back body drops and suplexes. Susumu eats Soul Food. I high five myself for making such a great pun. Susumu gets knee’d and ddt’d! Two count for Chucky T. Crowd are hyped for the Ronin alumni. They pretty much do a Kzy time fake out spot. Exploder superplex for Susumu gets two! Susumu lines up for the Jumbo No Kachi but gets dropped with s slam for two! Susumu blocks the Awful Waffle, Jumbo No Kachi! Running Jumbo No Kachi! One, two, Taylor kicks out! Gets nailed with Mugen! One, two, three!
Thoughts: Good comedy spots, good wrestling, good times. I dug this.
Match 4) Elimination non title tag team match: Open The United Gate champions the Bravado Brothers vs Caleb Konley & Andrew Everett vs Jigsaw & Fire Ant
Bravado Brothers entering to the Beverley Hills Cop theme is kind of awesome. Caleb Konley beats manager Larry Dallas up. I guess they aren’t homies anymore. Or maybe they haven’t been for a while. I doubt even Gabe is keeping up with DGUSA stories at this point. Jigsaw and Everett do wrestling to start the actual match. Jigsaw with a surfboard. Lenny tells us that the main from last night is worth going out of our way to see, probably not realising quite how far out of our way we’d have to go to see it at this point, like we’d pretty much have to rob them of the footage since it isn’t on VOD yet. Fast stuff happens. Some dude is in there with Caleb now. Lancelot, apparently. Fire Ant comes in and botches a springboard completely, falling flat on his face. He’s fighting Harlem Bravado. Double team Ace Crusher gets the Bravados two. Crazy three man stuff happens. Caleb drops a guy with a knee. Stunner from Fire Ant before eating a lariat. Jigsaw kicks a dude in the face, Caleb kicks him in the face. More enzuiguri’s follow, Caleb gets two. That was pretty cool.
Konley/Everett double team a Bravado. Fire Ant does Doi’s rapid chop thing. Jigsaw drops Konley, gets hurricanrana’d. Springboard moonsault to the outside from Everett and the people love it! Konley has Fire Ant on the top rope, Death Valley Bomb! Everett nails a diving move that I miss then Jigsaw rolls him up for three; Caleverett are eliminated! The Bravados and the Chikaras fight. Superkicks, germans, cross bodies and stuff. Super dive time now. The dives happen then the Chikaras hit a double team Implant (Fire Ant added a double stomp!) but the other Bravado saves his partner! Fire Ant kicks out of a Michinoku Driver or something at one! Fire Ant kicks out of a lariat. Takes a double team finish and it’s over! The Bravados win! The crowd aren’t pleased!
Thoughts:Â Random as hell, but they worked hard and the crowd liked it. Can’t fault that.
Jigsaw turns heel and drops Fire Ant with a superkick?! Woah I didn’t see that one coming. He cuts a promo but his mic isn’t on, or at least he’s really quiet. Says Fire Ant was dead weight or something. Well I guess that was a thing.
Match 4) Ricochet vs Anthony Nese
Awesome, haven’t seen Ricochet since he beat Yosuke so bad he ended up cross dressing back in september. This should be cool. Nese recently went to Japan to hang out with Monster Express and put over Horiguchi. Maybe he has a bright future there, or maybe it was just the traditional “it’s october so lets fly over someone other than Ricochet” thing. They wrestle and flip and stuff. Crowd are eating it up. Nese does some matrix dodging. Flying hurricanrana and dropkicks and this could end up in PAC/Ricochet territory! Rico does his handspring flip fake out thing. This is great. Slows down a bit as Ricochet dominates. Nese is the recipient of the repeated turnbuckle spot.
Triangle apron kick is followed by Nese’s crew cheating to take Ricochet out of it, baffling this fan of the Japanese product since they’re babyface stablemates over there. Nese takes over. Ricochet attempts a comeback. Gets kicked in the head before a float over splash for two. Another failed comeback leads to a Nese submission so convoluted that he could join the Milennials. A surprise Ricochet roll up gets two. Nese gets cocky and Ricochet lights him up with kicks! Elbows, lariats and a zig zag before Nese gets back in it. Springboard diving lariat, standing moonsault gets Ricochet a two count! Strikes and german gets two for Nese! Running boot, spinning heel kick from Nese, Meteora from Ricochet, standing moonsault then a Regalplex and they’re both down!
Chop battle. Kicks and Ricochet is taking down. Blocks a springboard moonsault! Roll up then a deadlift powerbomb into the turnbuckle! Nese hits a knee strike for two. Ricochet headscissors out of another powerbomb, float over double northern lights suplex for two! Ricochet eats another knee strike in the corner. Pumphandle powerbomb gets a two count for Nese. Top rope confrontation, Nese hits a low blow then the 450! One, two, three, Nese wins!
Thoughts:Â Well, they did movez and apparently heel Nese has no love for his Monster Express stablemate. Good match which the crowd ate up.
Intermission thoughts: Pretty pedestrian show so far. Ricochet vs Nese was the best match, but for someone who regularly watches a product where even the jobbers do Canadian Destroyers it’s hard to be engaged by movez alone. Are you enjoying the show? Let me know on Twitter @HellionLee
And we’re back!
Match 5) Rich Swann vs Trent Baretta
Swann wearing his Ronin era tights since Doi turned heel and blew up World-1. The crowd chant for All Night Long. Lionel Richie is the most over guy on this show. Lenny tells us about the Swann/Baretta FIP world title match of the year candidate and I realise that FIP still exists? I remember when Mochizuki and Davey Richards feuded over that belt. Good times. Swann and Baretta wrestle. Hey, how come the other Dudebuster is never on these shows? Caylen Croft or something, wasn’t it? Anyway, roll ups happen. Mat wrestling time. Swann comes out on top of a handspringy leapfrog sequence. Baretta gets kicked and everyone sings All Night Long. Swann dances. Awesome. Punches in the corner then Swann does the Terry Funk spinning toe hold that used to really annoy me on Smackdown vs Raw 2008 because you couldn’t finish anyone with it, even if you set it up with the leg work. Baretta dropkicks a crossbody. Back body drop to Swann.
Baretta domination. I wonder if this was the same mat used at the original Freedom Fight, where Hulk won the title that Dragon Kid was somehow already number one contender to. I loved that show. Swann dodges a cross body and it’s a level playing field. Leaping enzuguiri/hurricanrana combo! Swann with a rolling seated dive thing over the top rope! He nails a diving crossbody inside the ring. He charges at Trent only to get stomped. Superkick to Trent! Powerbomb to Swann for two!
Counter sequence ends in a Swann Ace Crusher for two! Swann is taking to the outside and Baretta nails him with a dive! Back in the ring, a tornado DDT gets two for Trent. Swann hits a reverse rana for two! Apron fight now (like, on the ring apron, not involving aprons). They trade shots. Swann wins the exchange then goes for a weird submission only to get half nelson suplexed onto-the-apron?! Holy shit. Swann survives the count out because indy wrestling. Trent lights Swann up. Belly to belly superplex! One, two, Swann kicks out! Swann counters a roll up for two! 360 enzuguri! Swann hits a frog splash for two and I’m pleased Lenny called it because I was busy trying to type enzuigiri! Standing 450! One, two, Trent kicks out! Running knee, one, two Swann kicks out! Goes for the implant, backslide, kick to the face, Swann goes up top, Phoenix Splash, one, two, three, Swann wins!
Thoughts: This was really good, especially down the stretch. It didn’t have any more reason than the previous matches, but Swann’s charisma took it to the next level. Finishing stretch was great, crowd were going wild.
Match 6) Masaaki Mochizuki & AR Fox vs The Young BucksÂ
Masaaki “Best wrestler in the world and if you disagree you’re wrong unless you say YAMATO” Mochizuki is here. All is well. Fox and a Buck start off. Lenny explains Evolve stuff. Fox does a dance and he has an afro now??? Awesome. Mocchy is here now and kicks the Bucks. Sankaku is followed up by a Fox kickflip! Fox back in the ring now. He gets beat up by Bucks. They do their handspring back rake thing. I’m hyped for the inevitable “Mocchy comes in and annihilates them” section. Fox does comeback flippy stuff then goes back to selling. Oh wrestling. Mocchy gets tagged in and kills the Bucks. He kicks and he kicks and he ankle locks! A Buck gets dumped to the outside the Fox and Mocchy double team. Dive over the top from Fox! Swanton Bomb to the Buck in the ring! Mocchy gets double teamed by the Bucks and if they pin him I’ll stop watching wrestling forever. They get kicked. Ikkakugeri followed by a Fox dive! Flippy kicky Fox/Buck sequences now! This is good times. Shades of Chris Jericho as Matt Jackson hits a double powerbomb, then a powerbomb/corner kick combo! Fox gets german suplexed out of Lo Mein Pain! Springboard spiked tombstone and Mocchy shows back up to make the save! He eats stereo superkicks! More Bang For Your Buck on Fox gets three, the Bucks win!
Thoughts: Mochizuki kicked the Young Bucks a lot. Fox did flips. The actual tag team won. Crowd were hot. I dug.
The Bucks want a rematch for the tag belts they lost last night right now. Bravados go all heelish and beat them up, completing the necessary double turn (from what I’ve gathered, the face Bravados got boo’d to hell after beating the heel Bucks for the tag belts last night).
Johnny Gargano presents: The Johnny Gargano roast
“WTF is this?”, you ask? I’ve no idea either. I like how Gargano’s music has been heel-remixed though. So Gargano has invited folks to roast him. Some guy vents anger at him being champion. Another dude thinks he’s too good looking to be champ. Yet another dude says he looks like his mom cuts his hair, but apparently his mom is a licensed beautician who knows what she’s doing so it’s ok. Some other guy says stuff. Gargano invites folks from the locker room out. Chuck Taylor joins him. He mutters something about being embarrassed to team up with him. Ricochet shows up. He tells Gargano he’s a coward, and complains about not getting the title shot which he earned about a hundred years ago. He wanders off. Swann comes out. Hopefully he raps. Oh he brought his guitar! Maybe he’ll sing Mocchy’s theme music again like he did at Korakuen that time. Ok, he’s singing a different song. It isn’t very complimentary towards Gargano. He moves on to literally sing the praises of Chris Hero. Swann attacks some dude. Ok. Well that was something. I guess they’ll have a match now.
Main event) Open The Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Chris Hero
Swearing happens. A boot, a suplex, a powerbomb all get two! A submission gets locked in but Gargano makes the ropes! Hot start. Kinda wish they ended it there because I’m SO TIRED. It’s after 3am here folks. Hero continues beating the champion up on the outside. A senton gets him two in the ring. Hero goes up top, only to be dumped to the outside. Gargano maintains control in the ring. “I’m gonna bury you like my name is Triple H!”. Ouch. All the talk of previous Freedom Fights makes me realise that I’ve watched it live for the past two years. Wow. Hero tries to make a comeback with some chops. It sort of happens but then he gets booted. They fancily dodge each other. Hero handspring backflip-fakes-out then nails a diving boot through the ropes. Nice. Roll ups are exchanged. Gargano EATS Hero’s right hand. Takes a twisting neckbreaker for two.
Counter stuff happens and Hero gets Gargano in an STF variation! Dude almost gets pinned. Gargano takes another right! He survives and nails a DDT for two. Corner dropkick from Gargano. Sets Hero up top, he escapes the lawn dart, Hero’s Welcome! One, two Gargano kicks out! Running forearm from Hero, enzugiri, discuss elbow, two count! Another exchange ends in a Gargano kick, he takes a backfist, dodges another forearm into the Gargano Escape! Roll up exchange time. Kicks, spinning boot from Hero gets two! Another strike gets another two count! Moonsault and Hero lands on his face. Gargano hit’s Hurt’s Don’t It for two. Shades of Eita Kobayashi as Gargano does a crotch chop. He’s going for the Pedigree! He nails it! One, Hero kicks out! New York goes crazy! Hero is way fired up! Gargano unloads, but Hero is pissed. Boot from Hero, superkick, Hurt’s Don’t It, Hero kicks out! Gargano escape! Annnd it’s over. Gargano retains.
Thoughts: Really heated title match, so much so that it’s a shame they didn’t have Hero win and make it really memorable. Lord knows DGUSA could do with a memorable moment at least once every two years. Result aside, this was great, they really had me believing Hero was going over after the Triple H stuff. Well worth checking it out if you’re a Chris Hero fan.
Hero cuts a promo. He swears excitedly. He’ll be back, apparently. Hopefully he sticks to that a bit more than the last indy superstar-turned WWE fire-ee did.
AR Fox comes out and offers Hero an Evolve title shot whenever he wants. He’s into it. I just noticed he’s bleeding from the face. Hero tells us he needs a shower before finishing his promo. Would have been amazing if the feed had cut out there.
Closing thoughts: Pretty good show. Second half was solid, main event especially, definitely check that one out if Hero and Gargano are your guys. Thanks for following along tonight folks, hope you enjoyed the coverage and the show! Obligatory twitter and music video plugs. I need to sleep now. Goodnight!