Monday, March 8, 2010

3/5/10 Freedom Fight

(taped 1/23/10; aired 3/5/10)

Jigsaw & Mike Quackenbush vs. CIMA & Super Crazy:
This was an extremely solid opening contest. The chain wrestling was top-notch and the end was very solid. I tend to boost the rating a bit more when moves such as planchas, suicide dives, and somersaults over the top to the floor are used at the end because the wrestlers, by that point, are way more fatigued than at the start. Thus, only conditioning can really allow the flashier spots at the end to take place. ***1/4

T.J. Perkins vs. Gran Akuma: This was a decent match with your typical nice spots. It was very well worked, with a few near-falls, but nothing really stood out at me to give it that extra boost in the rating. **1/2

Brian Kendrick vs. Jimmy Jacobs: Now that Jimmy Jacobs has shaved his facial hair, doesn't he look a lot like Jeff Hardy? This match had a good amount of action in it for such a short match -- at least by Dragon Gate standards. However, the feel of the match was just not clicking for me. It was good, but not great by any means.

To be fair, having Lacey interfere on Kendrick's behalf told a good story because Lacey has had relations with Jacobs in the past. For those unaware, Lacey and Jacobs were an on-screen item in ROH starting in January 2006, teaming together in a few matches. Eventually, Lacey was written out of storylines in 2008; by this time, Jacobs was in his Age of the Fall stable with the likes of Tyler Black. **

Davey Richards vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (FIP World Title): Holy crap. I've never heard of Masaki Mochizuki prior to this, but these two had an outstanding match. For you WWE fans, just think of having a match between Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, and then toss in the hard-hitting kicks Tajiri possesses. You basically have this match, and then some. Richards sold his leg injury extremely well, and he showcased his wrestling IQ by going back to the left arm of Mochizuki over and over again. The two do have history with one another. Mochizuki had beaten Richards for the FIP World Title, and now it's Richards going over Mochizuki to reclaim the gold. Call me a sucker for submissions, counters, and hard-hitting action, but that's me. Definitely a match-of-the-year candidate in my book. ****

Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi vs. Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson vs. Shingo & Yamato (Elimination): The chain of wrestling head scissors resulting in the world's longest sharpshooter was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Everyone played a significant role in the match, although I'm on the fence with having Yoshino score both falls for his team. I must admit that I was sad when the Bucks got eliminated first. Regardless, we saw extremely fast-paced action and a lot of fun spots. The crowd really liked this match as well. I just wish it went longer and had more false finishes. Seeing so many complex spots and the effortlessness all six guys showed is beyond comprehension to me. While some people might put this match above Richards/Mochizuki, I really cannot decide. ****

BxB Hulk vs. Dragon Kid (Open the Freedom Gate Title): And of course, Dragon Gate USA must close the PPV with another excellent match. A lot of impact-filled moves in an above-average paced match. While the crowd again loved this match, it just was not as good in my book as the previous two matches. Main events should be just that: the match that everyone pays to see. The main event should get the largest favorable crowd reaction and the most time to let the participants go all out. While the match was main-event caliber, compared with the undercard, it was just average. ***3/4

MVPs: Richards and Mochizuki deliver a match of the year candidate, and the world's longest Sharpshooter must have mention here.

Overall Rating: Overall, we had four of six matches scoring at least ***1/4, and three matches scored at least ***3/4. So one can see it was a successful show. However, the crowd was not into the PPV as much as previous PPVs. That should not totally take away from the great pure wrestling action one gets in Dragon Gate USA, but I place greater weight on crowd reaction than any other factor. Therefore, the rating must reflect that. ***1/2

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