Dragon Gate USA: Enter The Dragon 2010
The show name has a dual meaning, as it is the first anniversary show, and Bryan Danielson is headlining after being fired from WWE 2 months before. Oh, and it's from the ECW Arena. In the event that you're not familiar with DGUSA, it was the American spin off of Dragon Gate (duh) booked by ROH's original booker, Gabe Sapolsky. About a year after DGUSA started, Gabe started EVOLVE as something of a spin off from the spin off, and eventually EVOLVE and DGUSA more or less were unified as EVOLVE, and DGUSA was put on hiatus. Or something like that. EVOLVE was basically DGUSA without the Dragon Gate people. Or money.
CIMA vs Johnny Gargano
Cima opens the show with a promo thanking the fans for their support over the last year. ARE YOU READY?!?! ARE YOU READY?!?! ARE YOU READY?!?! Johnny Gargano hits the ring. He wants to be the American representative for Warriors International. He challenges CIMA to prove his worth. The match is on. God, Gargano's hair is so bad. Good call cutting that. The scrunchy hair tie make it look even worse. We got us a dive about 30 seconds in. Very hard chops in this. Johnny slows things down to work the neck, which CIMA has had a few injuries to by this point. CIMA's double stomps are fucking rude. Right on the god damn collar bones. CIMA targets the leg, so it's nice that they both have some strategy here. Not sure why he keeps spanking Johnny, though. Johnny is just not believable at all as a heel. He's way too slight of a man to be a heel. CIMA's lung blower is also pretty gnarly. Interesting to see that Johnny is basically exactly the same dude 6 years later, but with better hair. Well. Slightly better hair. At this point, he had the hair of a man who was going bald and thought if he grew it out long enough and pulled it back, no one would notice. But we did. We all did. It's okay. Happens to the best of us. CIMA hits a combo of like 8 video game finishers in a row, ending with a seated meteora for the win. Decent enough little match. Nothing mind blowing, but certainly not offensive. CIMA offers Johnny a hand shake, then pulls away last second. SWERVE!
TO THE BACK. Lenny Leonard and Chikarason are backstage to talk about the night and the year. Elsewhere, Drake Younger, future WWE NXT referee, cuts a promo that was abruptly cut to show footage from the last show where Yamato would challenge Mike Quackenbush before kicking him in the dick.
Adam Cole vs Arik Cannon vs Chuck Taylor vs Ricochet
Oh wow, Adam Cole was actually in shape once? I mean, skinny, but clear muscle definition. Wonder what happened. Speaking of skinny, Ricochet pre-Dragon Gate water had to weigh no more than 145 pounds. This is a tag style 4 way. Cannon and Ricochet begin. It's also lucha rules. Loooooool at Chuck hitting a big tope and accidentally kicking one of the guys at ringside (Lice Dorado?) in the balls. Ricochet does a Flying Space Tiger with like a 4 rotation corkscrew. What the fuck? How is that even possible? That shit don't make no sense. As you'd imagine, this is just spot after spot. Typical 4 way stuff. Ricochet's flippy shit is very impressive. Chuck pins him with the Awful Waffle, a reverse powerslam into a piledriver. I thought Adam Cole was bland as fuck in 2016, but 2010 Adam Cole might as well be an actual CAW.
TO THE BACK. Kamikaze USA, led by Jon Moxley, talk about the war against CHIKARA. God, talk about skinny. Lmao at how skinny Dean Ambrose is. Can you believe this fucking geek would be WWE Champion a few years later?
Drake Younger vs Naruki Doi
Drake Younger is fascinating to me. Here, he was 26 and looked every bit of 42. After this, he'd get super shredded and super tan, which made him look like a really in shape 55 year old by the time he was 30. He's only in this match because Dragon Kid got injured in Japan. Now, Drake made his "name" doing crazy death match shit, and the first big spot of this match has him missing a cannon ball off the apron, smashing his leg as the rest of him splattered on the floor. The story of the match is Doi tearing the leg apart, and Drake showing how tough he is by not giving up. Then Drake just flat out dumps Doi on his fucking head. Drake was doing a good job of selling, but then his fire up has him doing multiple running, jumping forearms and shoulder blocks. On his bad leg. Doi wins with a running kick. Drake cuts a promo after the match. Johnny Gargano comes out and attacks him. Drake uses this opportunity to blade like a mother fucker, because of course he'd think he'd need to bleed.
TO THE BACK. Chikara Sekigun respond to Dean's group.
BxB Hulk vs Masaaki Mochizuki Open The Freedom Gate Championship
You'd think a guy named "Hulk" would be a big dude instead of a pretty boy pop star type. About a week before this, he lost his hair to Shingo. This starts with an overly scripted exchange, then goes into a strike battle. Lots of kicks. Lots and lots of kicks. Kicks to the chest. Kicks to the leg. Kicks to the back. Kicks to the ring post. Kicks everywhere. And goofy looking submissions. It's apparently 100 some degrees in the building, and Hulk in particular is POURING sweat. Alight, I've had my fill of this kick and submission shit. I'm not into this at all. Hulk kind of sucks, and this match is structured in a most unentertaining way. This also feels like a half hour match. Hulk finally ends my misery with a kick to the side of the head. Title retained. Post match sees...a woman dressed like a Victorian ghost enter the ring. Just then Yamato, Shingo, and Jon Moxley hit the ring and attack Hulk. Bryan Danielson comes out to put an end to this shit. "We already know this guy's a pussy, so let's wait until we can make some money off of it." Interesting way to put it when 2 years later, Bryan and Dean would be having matches on WWE TV.
Scott Reed vs Rich Swann
I don't know who Scott Reed is, but I can tell I don't want to see him. WTF happened to Rich Swan over the next few years? Dude got fat. And stoned. Why the fuck is he screaming so much? Anyway, he wins in a very short match with the standing 450. The highlight of the match being his standing moonsault which saw him knee this dude right in the fucking head. After the match, Brodie Lee, aka Luke Harper, shows up and beats both guys, and the ref, up. And the girl who was out there. GIMME A FUCKIN' MIC. The next time he comes to DGUSA, he's coming for a Japanese man.
Kamikaze USA vs CHIKARA Sekigun
Dean Ambrose was even more annoying on the indies than he is in WWE. Fucking Mike Quackenbush. Fucking Akuma. You can't get me to fuck with a Quackenbush match. Hate that dude. And all of his Chikara bullshit. Just throw the DG guys in there and get rid of the Americans. God, Akuma is terrible. Guy looks like he has no idea that he's on camera. Oh...this is an elimination match? Shit. That means it will probably be 40 minutes long. You know what I'd rather see? Tozawa and Yoshino race each other. Quack kicks Dean full force in the face, then Jigsaw hits a pretty dangerous looking brainbuster right after. Show some respect, that's a future WWE Champion you're being super reckless with. Why is Jigsaw, a gangly white man trained in bootleg comedy lucha, doing fighting spirit spots? Dean gets himself DQ'd by blasting people with a chair. Then Jimmy Jacobs shows up to brawl with Dean around the arena and outside as the match continues. This has so many finisher and death move kick outs, even though there were 8 guys to break up pins. The match ends with Quack and Yoshino winning with their respective submissions at the same time.
TO THE BACK. Jon Moxley is being a weirdo out back, ranting about Jimmy Jacobs. Can't believe this is what passed for good promos on the indies.
Shingo vs Bryan Danielson
I think it's pretty clear that Bryan enjoyed the indies more than being in WWE. At least at this point in his career. This starts with the kind of now traditional mini strike battle and finisher teases. Bryan focuses on the arms of Shingo. I would say you could describe this match as "Bryan doing Bryan things". Kind of like he was trying to go through his greatest hits for the brief time he was back on the indies. Which makes sense. I'm sure WWE told him they were going to rehire him after a month or two and to not get too stupid in the meantime. Shingo kind of just stops bothering with selling the arms to do tons of strikes and squeezes. Whatever the excitement was in the air seems to have gone out of the building once Shingo gets on offense and doesn't really do much. He's trying to work Bryan's...cardio. It's also hot as fuck in the ECW Arena and it's been probably a 3 hour show for them at this point. I wouldn't say this is a spot fest, but I would say it's just a bunch of mostly random seeming spots. The stories they set up in the first 1/3rd of the match were dropped completely and have meant nothing except to fill time in the opening part of the match. You want some awkward shit? Seeing Bryan get into a headbutt battle. Bryan kicks out of every one of Shingo's big moves, including avalanche versions. I mean. Shingo gets out of all of his shit, too. Bryan eventually wins with the LeBell Lock. After the match, Yamato and Dean come out. And BxB Hulk. Bryan offers his services to Hulk to be the next member of World 1.
I would say this show was a pleasant surprise until the mid way point, which is where the show lost me and never got me back. What's really interesting here is not that there is a random big indie company that had a bunch of people go to WWE, but how many on this specific show would be in WWE.
- Daniel Bryan
- Dean Ambrose
- Luke Harper
- Rich Swann
- Johnny Gargano
- Akira Tozawa
- Lice Dorado
- Jimmy Jacobs (writer)
- Mike Quackenbush (trainer)
- Drake Younger (referee)
That's a pretty crazy track record for one specific show.