Dragon Gate Challenge 2 Live Report: 03/28/08
This is only my second live ROH show (third overall if you include the live TNA taping) and I absolutely loved it. All match ratings will be out of 5 and I rated the matches on how much I enjoyed it. The show will be rated out of 10.
Match 1: Nigel McGuinness vs. Delirious
Nigel was despised by over 90% of the crowd, with most of the UK fans cheering him, myself included. Nigel, wearing the ROH title back to front, cut a good heel promo on how he hated all the fans and helped get the crowd riled up. Delirious was over but nowhere near as popular as he was 2 years ago. Delirious managed to win the crowd over by calling McGuinness â€œMickey Mouseâ€ and he even ended up stealing McGuinnessâ€™ entrance mid match. This was a good match with a good heel face dynamic, with McGuinness targeting the arm and Delirious trying to fight back with his normal offense. Nigel would often take shortcuts and he eventually picked up the win with the London Dungeon.
Nigel was a very effective heel and Delirious was a good opponent to help cement Nigel as a heel, although Delirious really needs to add some new moves to his offense. Nigel openly mocked Bryan Danielson by calling himself the Best in the World and using the â€œI have till 5â€ line.
Nigel McGuinness beat Delirious by London Dungeon, 3 out of 5
Match 2: The YRR of Kenny King and Sal Rinauro (with Chasyn Rance and random girl) vs. The Vulture Squad of Ruckus and Jigsaw
The YRR came out to little reaction but the Vulture Squad got a decent pop, even without Julius Smokes. The match was simple in that the YRR eventually isolated Ruckus before Jigsaw made the hot tag. This eventually led to the Vulture Squad picking up the win with the Double Stomp Jig-n-Tonic combo.
This was a quick tag match that didn’t go to long and ended at the right time. Kenny King impressed with his offense and Rinuaro worked well as a heel. Ruckus did fairly well as a face in peril before he made the hot tag to Jigsaw. Both sides hit nice double teams and both teams had good chemistry. This match made me want to see more of Kenny King and made me think that the Vulture Squad tag could have a great series of short, high tempo tag matches.
Jigsaw win with the Double Stomp Jig-n-Tonic combo, 2.75 out of 5
Match 3: Dragon Gate Challenge match 1 â€“ Genki Horiguchi vs. Austin Aries
Horiguchi came out to a decent reaction but the reaction for Aries was massive. This was a decently wrestled match but it was probably my least favourite match in that these two put on a good match but they didnâ€™t click that well in the ring. Aries offense got over and I liked Horiguchi repeatedly yelling when Aries trod on his hair. Aries eventually won with a kick to the head, Brainbuster, Horns of Aries combination. ROH were one match up in the Dragon Gate Challenge.
Aries beat Horiguchi with the Horns of Aries, 2.5 out of 5
After the match, Jimmy Jacobs spoke to Aries from one of the lighting towers and asked him about the offer he made to Aries about joining the Age of The Fall. As Aries went to leave, Lacey headed him off and brought him back into the ring. The AOTF kept asking for Aries answer until Sunny came out. Sunny mentioned the fact that she had offered her managerial services to Aries but she made a mistake by insinuating that Aries was mediocre. Aries left after saying that he would make the decision that best suited him. After Aries left Lacey attacked Sunny with a DDT and the refs had to carry Sunny out.
This was a decent segment but it did go on a little too long. Lacey and Sunny had some decent exchanges and Jimmy was shorter on the mike then he has been in recent months.
Match 4: Dragon Gate Challenge match 2 – Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi
Steen and Generico were amazingly over and Ole by the Bouncing Souls is such a good song for those two. Doi and Yoshino came out and I was expecting something good from these guys. The match was a fast-paced match under Dragon Gate rules. This was full of loads of double teams and great spots with an amazingly close near fall at the end. Yoshino took a massive amount of punishment but the Package Piledriver, Brainbuster combo was too much for him. This match took ROH to 2-0 in the Dragon Gate Challenge.
This was an awesome, awesome match, with all four wrestlers on form. Doi and Yoshino have so many good moves and have brilliant chemistry with each other. Steen really stood out with his interactions such as blowing his nose on his hands before his pre-match handshake, yelling at Generico to do something and yelling at the ref after he couldnâ€™t understand Dragon Gate rules. Steen and Generico proved to be very good sellers and this was the match of the night, with all four guys thanking each other after the match.
El Generico beat Yoshino by Brainbuster, 4.25 out of 5
Intermission followed this match and I used the opportunity to catch up with some of the guys I was staying with, many of whom had travelled from England as I had. There were even fans from Malta, Sweden and the Bahamas in attendance, with it being announced that 40 states and 20 countries were being represented.
Match 5: Dragon Gate Challenge match 3 â€“ Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black vs. BxB Hulk and Shingo
I am a big Shingo fan so I was looking forward to this. This was also my first look at Black so I was hoping for something good. The AOTF came out with screams to begin with, although it transitioned into actual music. BxB did not come out with any dancers, but I didnâ€™t mind since he brought Shingo. This match was under normal tag rules and meant that the AOTF managed to dominate BxB Hulk before he made his way to Shingo. Shingoâ€™s power was the difference maker in this match and he eventually put Black away after a spirited showing using the Last Falconry. This brought the Dragon Gate Challenge back to 2-1 and meant that Dragon Gate had a chance to draw the series.
This was another great match as Shingo proved just how awesome he is in tag matches. He has amazing facials and is a great seller, helping to draw you in even when heâ€™s being attacked. Black was great as he pulled out some awesome spots and sold well while Jacobs did well and BxB impressed with some nice flips and some good selling. The match took a little while to get going but when they picked up the pace, it was great.
Shingo wins by Last Falconry, 3.5 out of 5
Match 6: Dragon Gate Challenge match – Mark and Jay Briscoe vs. Dragon Kid and Ryo Saito
The Briscoeâ€™s got a great pop and fans were pleased to see the Dragon Gate duo. The match started with Jay challenging Dragon Kid to a test of strength but Kid was too short. This brought Saito in to put Kid on his shoulders and the test of strength began. This was a nice comedy start into a match where the Briscoeâ€™s completely destroyed Dragon Kid, throwing him about 7-8 feet in the air at one point. Dragon Kid kept using his aerial moves to fight back and Saito proved to be a good match for the Briscoes. Eventually the Briscoes were too tough and they finished off Saito with the Springboard Doomsday Device. ROH won the Dragon Gate Challenge 3-1.
This was a good match that just seemed a little strange since the Briscoes spent so much time dominating Dragon Kid. The match had a good pace, Dragon Kid had well timed hope spots and there was an awesome assisted German Suplex spot. A good match but not one of the Briscoes best in the last year.
The Briscoes pinned Ryo Saito by Springboard Doomsday Device, 3 out of 5
Match 7: Roderick Strong, Rocky Romero and Davey Richards vs. Erick Stevens, Go Shiosaki and CIMA
Before the match, Larry Sweeney came out with Shane Hagadorn and he offered to help the No Remorse Corps get more money and privileges in return for them dropping the No Remorse Corps name and joining Sweet & Sour Inc. Strong said no but Davey took a business card behind his teammates backs, hinting at Davey leaving the group.
This was a very stiff match with the No Remorse Corps eventually dominating Erick Stevens before he made the hot tag to CIMA. This was a great match, second best on the card, with some great interactions and some great spots. CIMA won the match for his team by pinning Strong with the Crossfire. After the match, the crowd started with ROH chants before CIMA got a NOAH chant going before the crowd started a Dragon Gate chant.
This was the most Brutal match I have seen live and there were no chairs or weapons involved. Shiosaki, Strong and Stevens were all fighting over who could make the sickest sounding chops and by the end of the match, almost everyone was bruised from the chops, with Shiosaki and Strong taking the worst of it. Stevens worked really well as face in peril and had some great explosive offense while Shiosaki had a good match with some wicked chops and an amazing Moonsault Press. Seriously, someone his size should not get that much height on a Moonsault. CIMA had a good showing, bringing out his usual spots, and he looked like he really enjoyed himself. All of the NRC did well, heeling it up with the fans and were good in the ring. Richards and Romero both botched a spot but other than that, they did really well. I enjoy Richards as a heel and him busting out the Azucar dance was gold. The only thing that wasnâ€™t great was the finish that was kind of anti climactic; even though it was CIMAâ€™s usual put someone over finish.
CIMA pinned Roderick Strong with the Crossfire, 4 out of 5
This was an awesome show, as good as my first live show (Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool). The show started with a decent match, it slowed down a little with the second and third matches before Steen, Generico, Doi and Yoshino stole the show. It took a little while before the show regained momentum after intermission, but the AOTF tag match was another great match that helped to build to an awesome atmosphere for the main event. The show was 3 hours 10 minutes including intermission so it didnâ€™t drag and was a very well paced show. If you want a show that has great, fast-paced sprint style tag matches and an awesomely brutal blood free main event, buy this show. I would give the show an 8 out of 10.
On a related note, I would like to thank everyone who helped me make the trip to Orlando to see these shows. Every ROH fan that I met has been friendly and absolutely great company. To anyone who is nervous about taking the plunge and going to an ROH show, just go. I have met so many great guys this week already and you just cannot beat the atmosphere at an ROH live event.