Nick and I were at LAX International Airport on route to Tokyo, Japan when I received an email on my BlackBerry (which I'm typing on currently) from Dragon Gate's American booker OJI, who works out of Houston, Texas. He told us the plans to run a company that will hold events every two months in the states, and wanted to see if we would be interested. He already had a date and building, July 25th at the famous building originally known as the ECW Arena in Philadelphia. Of course we were thrilled.
A few days later, Dragon Gate announced this new company known as Dragon Gate USA to the public. Nick and I nearly walked into the press conference that was taking place that day at the Korakuen Hall. We were coming from downstairs where the locker room is located and noticed how quiet the area where the ring is. We loudly made our way towards this area and then saw Cima, Yoshino, Doi and most of the Dragon Gate office sitting at a long table. Several members of the media stood in front of the boys with flashing cameras. Without hesitation, Nick and I hurried back downstairs because we didn't want to interrupt. We soon realized that this new company might be a big deal when DGUSA was all over the next weekly wrestling magazine. Eventually Gabe Sapolsky who was appointed Vice President, sent us an e-mail saying he was excited to work with us and came across as a very genuine human being. Nick and I had always dreamt of one day working with Gabe, as we are long time ROH followers. The debut show was scheduled, but was over three months away. Nick and I were SO anxious to say the least. We didn't want to wait THAT long!
July 25th would finally come. Most of the crew hung in the back right before showtime. I stood by one of my true best friends in this business, Doi, my brother Nick and the awesome heel, Yamato. We all looked up at the big screen and watched along with the fans (little did they know), as a countdown occured. As the number got lower, the roars got louder and the anticipation grew stronger amongst the fans in attendance, along with all of the boys in the back. The number would eventually reach 3, than 2 and finally 1... Then the place erupted! I don't think I've ever heard anything like it. Excitedly, Doi grabbed me by my shoulders and started to shake me. He looked at me with big eyes, a smile from ear to ear and said, "Matt! You hear!?" I responded, "Hei! Crazy crowd!" I looked around, and the rest of the boys were sharing the same enthusiasm.
In 2001, I was a 16 year old kid who wanted to be a professional wrestler one day. I was so very disappointed that very year when Extreme Championship Wrestling had just closed down. I used to watch and be mesmerized by how loud, excited and passionate ECW's fans were. These people truly loved professional wrestling and knew what good wrestling was. I was bummed because I knew my chance of working in front of a crowd like that, in an environment like that, were pretty slim - either way, it wouldn't be ECW.
Working for Paul Heyman's assistant in the very building they ran, in front of many of the same fans: It doesn't get much closer. Although DGUSA is much different that ECW in many ways, it's also very similar. DGUSA had an ECW-like crowd. A crowd that knows what they like. A crowd that knows what they want: Good wrestling. And I believe Gabe when he states that DGUSA is "your wrestling haven." Dragon Gate has produced what I believe to be the greatest wrestlers in the world. Bringing Dragon Gate up close and personal to America along with a mixture of the top independent wrestlers in this country is ground breaking. The Young Buck's are fully behind this new company.
All in all the experience was tremendous. The show was awesome, the fans were hot, and the boys had a wonderful time. It was so great to see the Dragon Gate guys and to grab dinner afterward. Cima is an absolute animal, ordering more food than anyone. "Everytime I come to America, 5 extra pounds!" Lol.
Oh and one more thing. People have to realize that the boys are the biggest fans of them all. We ACTUALLY liked wrestling so much, we decided to get into the business! The only difference between us and you is, we watch the show from the back while we stand in our tights.
Nick said that our match against Susumu and Cima was our best of the year. We were both very proud of our performance and will be holding a DGUSA ppv party on September 4th when its released on demand! Lol. Speaking of Nick, today is his birthday so wish him a happy one! www.myspace.com/hrwslick
Dana (who I fall in love with a little more every day) and I will be heading up the hill to celebrate his 20th birthday with him and the family later tonight. In my opinion Nick is the best 20 year old wrestler on the planet. It's just crazy to think of all that he has accomplished at such a young age.
We will return to Philadelphia at The Arena on August 14th and 15th for ROH on HDNet television tapings that we are very excited for. Working for ROH has been incredible so far and we are only 6 matches deep thus far! Other then those August dates that I just talked about, we'll also be appearing for ROH on September 18th in Ohio, September 19th in Illinois, September 25th in Boston and September 26th in New York City. Check www.rohwrestling.com for more info!
We'll also be appearing in Chicago for AAW on September 5th and then DGUSA "Open The Untouchable Gate" will be held the following day in Chicago as well. Please check www.dgusa.tv for more info!
And tweet me @mattjackson13 !