(No news post today.)
For the people who went to Sunday’s Dragon Gate USA show in Milwaukee, it’ll always be remembered as the show where they had to scramble to find a ring. Those who watch it on DVD, weeks or months from now, will only see it as one of the best shows shows of the year. I don’t see many indy DVDs, so I’ll leave it to someone else to decide where this ranks with the Battle of LA and the strongest from ROH, CHIKARA, and other shows of note. All I know is that if anything was better than this, it must’ve been extraordinarily good. That’s the bar this show set.
I made it up to Milwaukee before 1pm. Before I even got all the way down the block to the Miramar Theatre, guys the walking the other way were loudly explaining that there was no ring, and no show until at least 2pm. Fifty to seventy five people were hanging around the entrance still, and I scooted by them to go in to at least buy a ticket. The Ticket people were busy and unavailable – everyone but the guy at the Highspots table was busy trying to sort things out. Many of the US talent walked out the front door to go get a replacement ring, and the Japanese walked out after to shake hands and take photos with the people waiting around (and then came back inside to pick thru the Highspots masks.) As the DGUSA guys came back in, Gabe told the (calm) crowd that the soonest anything would happen is 2pm, and the show wouldn’t start until 2:45pm at the earliest.
Some of the crowd took off. Some of the crowd appeared to just hang out on the sidewalk in front of the theater the whole delay. I ended up in the bar/restaurant a couple doors down – Black Rose – which had good food and nice wait service, but it wasn’t like the bar filled up with people from the show, so I suppose everyone just went their own way. After watching Adrian Peterson kill my main fantasy team with a long TD, I figured it was a good time to get some air and left – just in time to see the ring ruck pull up (and cut off some cars in traffic.) This was just after 2. I hung out in my car, sitting next to a park, listening to the NFL games and enjoying the nice weather.
I think that’s what worked in DGUSA’s favor, the weather. This was not a night show, where an hour or two later meant an hour or two deader, and this wasn’t one of those days where it horrible heat or horrible cold. This was an afternoon show on a beautiful midwest autumn afternoon, one of those days you’d kill to get back come December. Maybe it wasn’t as nice for everyone, or if you were just standing around for two hours, but the good day had to have helped a lot of people be very forgiving. The fans didn’t seem to hold something as basic and major as not having a ring against the promotion, and that’s as unique as a nice fall day.
Three extranous paragraphs later, the show started around 3:15, about 2 hours after the pre-show had been advertised. This was my first time in this building, and it’s really small. They couldn’t have fit more than 200 people in it, and they may have sold about 80% of the tickets; when I finally got mine, there were still some 2nd rows, a bunch of 4th rows, and an unknown amount of GA. It felt pretty full. There wasn’t much room left between the fixed seats and the ring on any side, which probably prevented a lot of diving on the show. There was some, but there just wasn’t room for a lot.
I took no notes on the matches, let’s see if I can remember those as well.
1) Aeroform vs. Zero Gravity
Ways I failed:
1) saw CIMA after both shows, failed to ask him when he’s giving Dr. Cebrero his title shot
2) didn’t start PR FLYERS chant
This was a good short lots of flipping match. Aeroform made more of an impact the other team, but I’m struggling to remember a lot of this match now. It was not on the level of the other matches on this show, but it was still a good match. Flip got the pin.
This was followed by a 10 minute intermission, which seemed absurd at the time. It was a lot more acceptable later, when this was the only break on the show, and they were rushing one match out after another. None of the matches felt shorted on time, but they were not taking breaks between them. Crowd was hot the whole way – both audibly and temperature wise.
1) CIMA vs. Chuck Taylor
CIMA told everyone who might have not been in Chicago about Ricochet joining Warriors. (Did seem like there were people who just went to this one, but couldn’t hazard a guess on percentage.) CIMA suggested Chuck Taylor could join if he impressed here. Fans were split on this.
Best match ever where the first few minutes were based around biting boots? Yes. Seriously, I have no idea how Chuck’s asides and jokes and Chuck T-ness which makes him very fun live (and especially live for this one) work on DVD, if everything gets picked up or if just gets lost in the noise. It was a **** match live, because CIMA was the perfect guy to play off of him. CIMA won – with the Schwein, if I’m remembering this right – but Chuck hung with him the whole way and looked great in defeat.
As CIMA is giving Chuck credit for his win – and everyone is behind him now, despite being the heel in the match – he never quite gets to deciding on Taylor before Johnny Gargiano interrupts. (Taylor hugs Gargiano from his knees, then collapses. He is great.) Gargiano talked about showing respect again, though CIMA was more interesting in playing to the camera then dealing with this guy. Crowd felt close to the same way, so luckily Drake Younger came out to attack Gargiano to go right into their match.
2) Johnny Gargiano vs Drake Younger
A lot of Drake Younger beating Gargiano around the ring early, getting revenge for the cut on his head Gargiano put there yesterday by sending him headfirst into the railing. Gargiano looked more impressive in these two days then the last time around. Lot of big finisher kicking out (no, really), and it was the second full nelson/reverse STO by Gargiano that finally got the win for him. This might have been the least match on the main show, but it was still pretty enjoyable.
Now I’m not even sure of the match order. My mind is going to be gone soon.
3) Dragon Kid vs. Arik Cannon
I remember Dragon Kid and CIMA were out watching Ricochet, so that had to be later, and they weren’t back to back. And this was listed as Quack and turned out to be Cannon and I assume that’s because of injury or something? Even though this looked like it’d be the Dragon Kid showcase, Arik Cannon was good here. Just, sadly, the story was he wasn’t good enough – Dragon Kid got the win with a flying crucifix rollup. Decent amount of crowd interaction; people had been getting on Arik for being an anarchist for the last two days (and probably since the beginning of time) – when someone yelled after a kickout that Anarchists don’t know how to count to three (??), Arik yelled back that he’s not the referee. Point.
3) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Mike Quackenbush vs. Brodie Lee vs. Rich Swann vs. Silas Young vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Despite Jimmy getting an assist from Brodie last night, they weren’t on good terms. Swann was still made at Brodie from getting his head kicked off previously. Crowd was in love with Quack before he even did anything and would’ve had his babies if asked. This was six way chaos the whole way, with the only time someone tried to actually work together immediately falling apart. Kept going and going and going, but never felt like it over stayed it’s welcome. Kyle O’Reilly double underhook spinning thing is actually cooler than any of the kicks, funny how that works. Swann was really good on both shows. Jacobs wasn’t doing the Bezerker gimmick, but still got Huss chants. Silas was good, I just have nothing to say about him or Brodie (though the part where he took out everywhere felt a lot better than the one Saturday.) After everyone hit the next person with a big move, Brodie kicked Swann’s head off again and got the win. Brodie didn’t feel like the man of the match, but he didn’t steal the finish either – he hit his move and everyone else was dead.
4) Gran Akuma vs. Ricochet
This guys worked together ok. I’m thinking Ricochet must consult with Helios about the best ways to handle CHIKARA guys – I mean, those two guys work alike so much, it’s clear they must actually be secret training partners. I think one of the big ideas of the weekend was to make Ricochet, and it had some mixed results. He had enough crazy great stuff that he definitely felt like he belonged as a US regular on these shows, but he had enough botches and things that just didn’t go right that he didn’t become an attraction on his own. I think I’m harder than most on high flying success rate, because I’m exposed to so much of it on CMLL and AAA to the point where the stuff that doesn’t work stick out more to me than the stuff that does, but I don’t think I’m the only who probably thought this could’ve gone better. (Dragon Kid also seemed to have a bit of trouble, usually when fighting on the ropes with someone else who was fighting on the ropes, but it was a lot fewer and not as in a highlight spot.) Still a good match, with Ricochet winning via double moonsault.
6) Bryan Danielson vs. Jon Moxley
Another project here was to get Moxley some credit as a wrestler by the end of the weekend. People like his personality, but this was about proving how far he can go in the ring, and they seemed to accomplish it with this match. Danielson made very good on his promise to “kick his [????] head in” by the end of the match, no doubt, and won the match clean with the Lebell Lock in the end, but the story of the match was Moxley hanging with Danielson and giving as hard as he was giving and Danielson had to go to the limit to beat him. Danielson bled, did the biggest dive of the night (a tope into the third row) and exchanged suplexes on the ramp to win this match. It’s a really good match, and it’s not saying much to have a really good indy match with Bryan Danielson in 2010, but it was a really good match. It’s probably the fourth best match on the show, but that’s more a testament to how good the other matches were.
Akuma ran out and helped beat down Danielson after. Heels went to break Danielson’s wrist, but Jimmy Jacobs ran him off. (Jimmy was there by the end. I want to say there was some point where BxB Hulk ran someone off, and I can’t remember now. Oh well.) Akuma got beat up a bit, Moxley and his girl ran out the front door never to be seen again. Jacobs brought a chair in and went to take a chair for Danielson’s speech of the night, but the chair immediately broke. Danielson: “That pretty much sums up your career, Jimmy.” Danielson put over Jimmy for the next few minutes (saying he calls him for advice, giving him credit for going to help with the ring while Bryan just sat in a chair and watched) and then the crowd for being so hot. They didn’t play any music for Bryan before the match, but did play Final Countdown one more time after.
7) BxB Hulk, Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi vs Shingo, YAMATO & Akira Tozawa
I don’t even know where to start with this one. I was there for the big Chicago Ridge six man which seems like it started this, and it’s tough to compare anything with that – that was like a bomb being dropped on you, you could hear the payload whistling thru the air before it landed, but you couldn’t be prepared for the explosive power. Everyone watching this match knew what they were getting, were stoked for what they were getting, and it still surprised them and exceeded their expectations. Things I can pick out is a long stretch of Tozawa yelling at the guy who kept starting the NAUKUI (DOI) chant, Tozawa being worked over by the World 1 team for an extended period with his partners yelling for him to make the tag before he finally was able to, Shingo later making what seemed like the first physical tag in about six minutes and giving himself credit for it, and just a tidal wave of moves and moves. It didn’t go past it’s peak, it kept building and building until the end – Shingo top rope Death Valley Driver on BxB Hulk. Crowd was thrilled with this match, and I might have to reluctantly grant that it was better than Volador/Sombra (and I actually care about those guys.)
Shingo made it very clear that the next big match here was Shingo getting a title match after BxB Hulk, taking the belt for a moment after the match before another scrum broke out. Rudos ended up bailing, and Doi thanked the crowd for sticking it out.
Show ended a bit after six? I think that’s about right. They saved the autograph signing until after the show, but I cut out to get back on I-94 for the next show…