Results from Dragon Gate USA: Enter The Dragon 2012
This was the Dragon Gate USA third anniversary show, and it took place in Chicago last night.
MASADA defeated Jake “The Manscout” Manning
The Scene defeated Zero Gravity
Samuray Del Sol defeated Shane Hollister
Super Smash Brothers defeated Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez
I Quit match: Johnny Gargano defeated Chuck Taylor
Jon Davis defeated YAMATO
Akira Tozawa defeated El Generico
Open The United Gate Championship: CIMA & AR Fox defeated Ricochet & Rich Swann
Thoughts: No Dragon Gate wrestlers at all in the first half of the DGUSA anniversary show. The previous editions of this show opened with YAMATO vs BxB Hulk, CIMA vs Gargano, Ricochet vs Yoshino, and now we get…MASADA vs the Manscout? Not cool. It’s like the first half was EVOLVE and the second was DGUSA. I understand the practicalities of lessening the imported talent and building the American guys, but that doesn’t work out if the American guys are a big step down.
If I buy a show with the Dragon Gate name on, I want Dragon Gate wrestlers and Dragon Gate style wrestling. Yeah, the top three matches appeal to me on this card, and I know that you can’t feasibly have a completely awesome card on every show, but us Dragon Gate fans aren’t going to keep forking out the money for shows that have a completely uninteresting first hour and a half. I’m not saying that was necessarily the case here, I haven’t seen the show and I’ve heard (well, read) good things about the I Quit match, but DGUSA seems to be going in a distinctly un Dragon Gate direction. The first three shows of the year were really good, and were loaded from top to bottom, hopefully the next DGUSA shows will be more in that vein.
Live coverage of Dragon Gate USA: Untouchable 2012
Lee here with live Dragon Gate USA coverage! The show will start in about ten minutes, keep refreshing this post and checking back for results (they will all be edited into this post).
Jake Manscout and Chuck Taylor opened the show by showing us how to make campfires. Rich Swann interrupted and brawled with Taylor the back, then Jon Davis came out to face Manning.
Match 1: Jon Davis vs Jake “Manscout” Manning
Winner: Jon Davis (5 Seconds Around The World - pinfall)
Thoughts: Good when Davis was on offence, but I’m not a Manscout fan.
Match 2: Rich Swann vs Chuck Taylor
Recap: They had a crazy brawl on the outside, throwing each other into a ladder and chairs etc. Taylor sent Swann face first into the post then DDT’d him on the concrete in a brutal sequence. It got really good when they went in the ring, very fast, plenty of cool moves, with both of them putting in energetic performances. Taylor countered a frankensteiner into a half crab, which he wouldn’t break when Swann reached the ropes, causing a DQ.
Winner: Rich Swann (via DQ)
Thoughts: Underwhelming finish to a hot match, but it made sense given that Taylor didn’t need the win, but has a big match tomorrow. I enjoyed this one.
Gargano made the save after the match, then Christina Von Eerie of Mad Blankey came out and told him Tozawa was going to beat him for the title etc.
Match 3: Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno & Player Dos) vs The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed)
- Smash Bros accidentally knocked over some part of the stage during their entrance, which was pretty funny. The Scene came out with Larry Dallas, but without their ladies.
Winners: Super Smash Bros (Fatality - pinfall)
Thoughts: This was pretty good. Player Dos is the most ordinary looking guy ever, but he’s got some moves. Their double team finish, the Fatality, is so cool. Good debut for SSB, and it shows that the Scene can have a good tag match when given the chance.
Match 4: Ricochet vs YAMATO
Winner: YAMATO (Spear - pinfall)
Thoughts: Damn that was good. So many cool exchanges and counter spots. The styles clash worked so well, with YAMATO just hitting Ricochet really hard and working the leg to keep him grounded, while Ricochet came back it him with his signature brand of high flying, fast kicking offence. It’s a similar dynamic to that which YAMATO and babyface BxB Hulk had. YAMATO’s spear finish is awesome as it’s sudden, exciting, and protects the opponent’s heat since it catches them off guard and rolls them up.
- After the match, Davis comes out to hype tomorrow’s match. YAMATO hit him with a kick to the groin, then choked him out. Lenny hyped it as if he turned heel, and I believe that may be the case. He entered with the makeup and the swagger of his old heel persona, and we saw flashes of it in his last DGUSA appearance. YAMATO playing heel in the US and face in Japan isn’t unusual, as that’s what he was doing during most of his original heel run in the US.
Thoughts: Good first half. Questionable opener, good matches with Swann/Taylor and SSB/Scene, then a really exciting match from the future ace of Dragon Gate and the top gaijin. Time to go get another beer!
Match 5: Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez vs Some guys
Winners: Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez (Cannon’s Total Anarchy - pinfall)
Thoughts: I enjoyed that more than I expected. Usually I despise Pinkie Sanchez, but he is wearing tie dye shorts that make me think of Dude Love. Maybe Sanchez could be Cousin Peace. Anyway, one of the opponents threw some cool kicks, and the finishing sequence was sweet (Cannon lifted one of the other guys for a Sanchez double stomp, something else happened, then Total Anarchy).
Cannon introduced CZW’s Masada as the newest D.U.F. Masada declined the invitation and swore a lot. Cannon ordered Cousin Peace to stand up to Masada.
Match 6: Masada vs Pinkie Sanchez
Recap: Masada toyed with Pinkie then eventually won, basically.
Thoughts: I totally forgot to pay attention to that. Seemed fine for what it was though.
Winner: Masada (submission)
Match 7: CIMA & AR Fox vs El Generico & Samuray Del So
Winners: CIMA & AR Fox (Lo Mein Pain, Meteora - pinfall ((to Del Sol)))
Thoughts: They threw everything but the kitchen sink at each other there. Hot start, middle section interspersed with spots of insanity (like Fox’s inwards facing flip to outside), then a great finishing stretch.
- CIMA and Fox promo afterwards, hyping tomorrow’s tag title match.
Main event: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Akira Tozawa (Open The Freedom Gate Championship)
Winner: Johnny Gargano (Gargano Escape - submission)
Thoughts: Very good main event with some electrifying moments. Tozawa and Gargano have great chemistry. Akira failing to win the Dream and Freedom Gate titles in the same week makes me sad though.
Gargano cut a promo after the match, announced that he isn’t leaving DGUSA for WWE. Chuck Taylor’s crew attacked him afterwards. The Swamp Monster (Taylor) gave him the Awful Waffle. CIMA made the save.
Thanks for watching along with me tonight! I’ll have a full review up tomorrow or the day after. Feel free to discuss the show with me on Twitter @IWEnews.
Looking back at Dragon Gate USA Enter The Dragon 1, 2 and 3
Enter The Dragon, the Dragon Gate USA third anniversary show, will take place on Sunday (29th of July), so I thought it would be a good time to look back on the previous editions of the show:
(Philadelphia, July 26th 2009)
Don’t let the DVD cover fool you, the DGUSA debut show was originally called Enter The Dragon, but it was in the era when they apparently thought it was a good idea to give the DVD versions of the show different names to the pay per view versions. Confusing. Anyway, this was an excellent show, and ranks among the finest that DGUSA have ever had. Some would still cite it as the best.
The show opened with a thrilling match between two future pillars of the promotion; BxB Hulk and YAMATO. The language barrier and lack of promo time didn’t stop these two from displaying their big personalities, as Hulk made an elaborate entrance with his dance troupe, while YAMATO swaggered to the ring, clearly uninterested in theatrics and fan appreciation. YAMATO combated Hulk’s flashy kicks and flips with his unique brand of hard strikes and submission work, eventually dropping Hulk on his head with the deadly Galleria to secure the victory.
Next up was a match between Kenny “Dykstra” Doane and Too Cold Scorpio…which I haven’t seen as it was only included on the DVD, not the pay per view version which I saw. I’ve heard that this one didn’t live up to the standards of the rest of the card though. Following this was the much raved about CHIKARA eight man tag, which I didn’t love quite as much as the rest of the world. Watching guys I’d never heard of in ludicrous attire flipping around was fun, but it wasn’t the highlight of the show for me that it was for others. After the match, YAMATO came out to cause trouble, and Gran Akuma turned on his fellow CHIKARA wrestlers and sided with the Dragon Gate star, in what was the genesis of Kamikaze USA.
Next up was a good match that saw Dragon Kid defeat Masato Yoshino, starting a rivalry that would continue for almost a year. The real show stealer came after that, as the Young Bucks faced CIMA and Susumu Yokosuka. This was mind blowing stuff, and it took the show from “really good” to “oh my god you have to see this”. The Bucks ultimately secured a massive victory, as More Bang For Your Buck finished Yokosuka. Awesome stuff.
The final bout was a non title match between Open The Dream Gate champion Naruki Doi and Shingo Takagi. This was nicely hyped throughout the pay per view, with footage of each of them warming up in the back, and explanations about how they were big rivals in Japan. They delivered the goods in a great main event, which saw Shingo fall victim to the champion’s Muscular Bomb in the end.
Everything on this show (perhaps barring the Doane/Scorpio match) ranged from good to awesome, it’s a show I would recommend to any wrestling fan. An excellent debut for Dragon Gate USA.
(Philadelphia, July 25th 2010)
Another favourite of DGUSA fans, Enter The Dragon 2010 was a worthy successor to the original, which took place a year before, almost to the day. The cocky young heel Johnny Gargano opened the show as he faced the Dragon Gate icon CIMA. I miss heel Gargano sometimes, he was better on the mic in that role. It was a good opener, but only a shadow of the match they would have the in 2011 when their face/heel roles had been reversed. Next up was the freestyle between Ricochet, Chuck Taylor, Adam Cole and Arik Cannon. Though Taylor came out with the victory, the debuting Ricochet was the star of the show, with his insane moves highlighting this wild, spot heavy extravaganza. This was the first time DGUSA fans witnessed a double moonsault, though Chuck Taylor evaded it, so Ricochet didn’t land one until the next show, which is the only time he has done it in DGUSA if my memory serves me correctly. This was such an important match, as Ricochet was soon snapped up by the Japan office, and went on to win his first title over there only a few months later, which was pretty much unheard of for a gaijin.
Naruki Doi and Dragon Kid were scheduled to have a match on this show, but unfortunately Dragon Kid was injured, so Drake Younger stepped in as his replacement. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t match what I’m sure would have been a great bout between Doi and DK, but it was a nice change of pace, and I appreciate that they didn’t try to make Younger look more epic than he was, as Doi finished him with the Bakatare Sliding Kick in what turned out to be the shortest match on the card.
Next, BxB Hulk made his fifth defence of the Open The Freedom Gate against the wrestling god that is Masaaki Mochizuki. They had a really good match, in which Hulk came out victorious via the First Flash. I always enjoy watching these two kick each other. It’s worth noting that Hulk and Mochi have traded wins in two further matches in Japan since, and both of those matches were superior to this one. Their main event match at Kobe World Hall in 2011 was probably my number two or three match of that year.
The Kamikaze USA/CHIKARA war that began on the first show reached it’s conclusion next. The CHIKARA team was a man short, so Open The Dream Gate champion Masato Yoshino, who had captured the belt from YAMATO about a week earlier in Japan, offered his services to Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Hallowicked, as they took on YAMATO, Akira Tozawa, Gran Akuma and Jon Moxley. This was wild, and I liked it a lot more than the CHIKARA match on the previous year’s show due to the story and the inclusion of Dragon Gate wrestlers. I wasn’t crazy about CHIKARA winning, as they all pretty much left DGUSA while Kamikaze continued to be the top heel stable. That said, the finish came when Yoshino choked out YAMATO and Quack submitted Tozawa (the latter of which wasn’t a big deal at the time, since it was before Tozawa truly became a star), so I couldn’t complain too much that they’d fed Kamikaze to outsiders.
Then it was time for the main event, the match often revered as the greatest in the short history of this promotion; Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson vs Shingo Takagi. This was the summer where Bryan was fired from WWE, then returned for a heroic run on the indy scene before McMahon and co rehired him. This was excellent, and any fans who have only seen Bryan’s WWE stuff should definitely go out of their way to see this. I will say though, I don’t consider it the best DGUSA match ever as many do, but it would probably be in my top ten.
(New York, June 5th 2011)
DGUSA’s second anniversary kicked off with an exciting match between Junction Three’s Masato Yoshino and Ricochet of Blood Warriors, which ended when the former Dream Gate champion choked the young heel out with Sol Naciente. This was followed by a bizarre match in which AR Fox displayed his stylish offence against Pinkie Sanchez, a wannabe D.U.F who endured Fox’s assault, pulled his pants down and just generally acted weird. Eventually Fox ended it with the spectacular Lo Mein Pain.
A FRAY! took place next, Jon Davis won, and that’s all I remember of it. I like Jon Davis, so I was pleased he won. Sami Callihan and Arik Cannon of D.U.F took on Susumu Yokosuka and Junction Three leader, Open The Dream Gate champion, the greatest wrestler in the world; Masaaki Mochizuki. A good, hard hitting match this was. Mochi was awesome as always, but this was before I became a Sami Callihan fan, so I wasn’t pleased by the D.U.F victory.
The massive elimination match blowoff to the Ronin/Blood Warriors feud came next. Masato “I will fill in for your missing stable member” Yoshino filled in for the injured Chuck Taylor, as he, Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann took on the heel Blood Warriors CIMA, Austin Aries and Brodie Lee. Chaotic at first, with Brodie Lee leaving early after suffering an injury, this really got good when Gargano was left alone with CIMA and Aries. This was the match that elevated Gargano from “promising mid carder” to “championship contender”, as he singled handedly made both CIMA and Aries tap out. The staredown between he and Aries when they were the last remaining wrestlers was a hell of a moment. Really great stuff, with Aries putting Gargano over huge on the way out (this was Aries last match, and he turned up in TNA very soon after).
The main event saw YAMATO defend the Open The Freedom Gate against PAC, in a match which I loved. It was great all the way through, but the finishing stretch in particular springs to mind, as a desperate YAMATO threw everything he had at PAC, with a dropkick, two brainbusters and Galleria eventually finishing the Englishman.
And so ends my look back at DGUSA’s flagship show. Will Enter The Dragon 4 live up the standard set by its predecessors? You can watch it on live IPPV tomorrow night over at WWNLive.com. You can also watch tonight’s Untouchable there, which I plan to cover live right here! Well, I hope to cover it live, but if not I’ll have a review up very soon.
Thanks for reading! If you want to talk about any of these shows or DGUSA in general, you can reach me at email@example.com, or on Twitter @IWEnews.
Preview for Dragon Gate USA: Enter The Dragon 2012
The show will take place on Sunday night in Chicago.
Open The United Gate Championship: CIMA & AR Fox vs Ricochet & Rich Swann
Thoughts: Ricochet and Swann are in the World-1 stable, while this weekend is the first featuring the team of CIMA and his apparent new protege AR Fox. Ricochet and Swann have already proven that they make a good team (to those of us who watch the Japanese TV show), and they definitely seem like the most natural pairing, so I see them taking the vacant belts here.
If you read my preview for Saturday’s show, you’ll know that I predict CIMA and Fox will lose then too. Fox would obviously be the fall guy in both of these scenarios, as no way is CIMA being pinned in DGUSA while he holds the Dream Gate title. That doesn’t sound like a promising start to the new CIMA/Fox team…so I will go further and predict that CIMA will call Fox out on this after their loss in the title match, which will trigger a Fox heel turn.
Prediction: Ricochet & Swann win
Akira Tozawa vs El Generico
Thoughts: Dream match! Again, if you read my article yesterday, you’ll know that I fully expect Tozawa to be the Open The Freedom Gate champion by Sunday…so I think this will end up being a title match. Which will be awesome.
Prediction: Tozawa wins
I Quit match: Johnny Gargano vs Chuck Taylor
Thoughts: I guess this will be the blow off to this feud. It’s been hyped as a violent grudge match, but I can’t quite imagine it turning out too bloody, with the easy going Gargano and the goofy Taylor. I’m definitely intrigued by this one. I’ve got to go with the face triumphing in this final encounter.
Prediction: Gargano wins
YAMATO vs Jon Davis
Thoughts: Any match with YAMATO is usually good, and I’m really interested to see how he works with the powerhouse that is Jon Davis. Davis doesn’t get enough wins in DGUSA, and this would be massive for him, but YAMATO is apparently going back after the title. Will Davis be a bigger roadblock than he seems, can he pull a major upset against one of Dragon Gate’s top stars on the DGUSA anniversary show? I’m going to say…no. I just can’t see YAMATO losing this weekend.
Super Smash Brothers vs Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez
Thoughts: I imagine lot of indy fans will be into this, but it looks like filler to us Dragon Gate fans, especially since it’s on the anniversary show. Hopefully they will prove us wrong! I expect Super Smash Bros to win both of their matches this weekend, then go after the United Gate.
Prediction: Super Smash Bros win
The Scene vs Zero Gravity
Thoughts: If the last match looks like filler, this looks like the “wake the crowd up after intermission” match. Zero Gravity’s name is familiar, but I can’t remember if I’ve seen them before. I guess the Scene win here.
Prediction: The Scene win
Samuray Del Sol vs Shane Hollister
Thoughts: Should I know who Shane Hollister is? It doesn’t really matter that I don’t, since I’m interested in anything Samuray Del Sol does. The luchador will take this one.
Prediction: Del Sol wins
Masada vs Jake Manning
Thoughts: CZW fans, is Masada good? DGUSA fans will find out on Sunday. I assume he’ll win his debut, as I can’t see the Manscout being pushed anytime soon.
Prediction: Masada wins
Overall thoughts: Two big draws, two other potentially great matches, Samuray Del Sol, and three other matches I couldn’t care less about. Again, the missing wrestlers, both Japanese and American, leave a significant void in this card. That said, if the four big matches really deliver, this could still be a really good show.
Watch along with me on Sunday night at WWNLive.com. Check back tomorrow for a look back at previous DGUSA anniversary weekends!
Preview for Dragon Gate USA: Untouchable 2012
The show will take place in Taylor, Michigan, this Saturday.
Open The Freedom Gate championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Akira Tozawa
Thoughts: Gargano and Tozawa tore the house down at Untouchable 2011, and I expect the rematch to be even more awesome since the Freedom Gate is now in play. I reckon it’s time to pull the trigger on Tozawa and give him the belt, he’s been the star of DGUSA since January last year, and Gargano losing the belt to Japan would allow for the creation of the EVOLVE title that Low Ki and Bobby Fish have asked for. Hey, whatever happened to Low Ki?
Prediction: Tozawa wins. New champion!
CIMA & AR Fox vs El Generico & Samuray Del Sol
Thoughts: CIMA and Fox already have a title shot booked for the next night, so at first glance, it looks like they’re going over here. However, a victory for the luchador dream team would set them up for a shot at the next show. Either way, this should be really good.
Prediction: Generico & Del Sol win
YAMATO vs Ricochet
Thoughts: YAMATO is back! Ricochet is his first potential victim on his road back to the Freedom Gate. I’d be surprised to see YAMATO, who is arguably the all round MVP of DGUSA, lose in his return match, especially since the recent video on him tells us that he’s going back after the belt. I’m really looking forward to the styles clash here, as we’ll see YAMATO pit his stiff strikes, suplexes and submissions against Ricochet’s explosive aerial offence.
Prediction: YAMATO wins
Rich Swann vs Chuck Taylor
Thoughts: This is a grudge match, with Swann wanting revenge on Taylor for turning on Ronin in January. Taylor is as big as he’s going to get in this company, while Swann could use some more solo credibility, so the World-1 man should win.
Prediction: Swann wins
Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno & Player Dos) vs The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed)
Thoughts: I’ve heard complaints about Super Smash Brothers making their debuts in such low profile matches this weekend, but if they were pitted against the likes of World-1 and the luchadors straight away, who would they face at the next shows? The Scene? Makes way more sense to have them start at the bottom. No offence Scene! I’ve always liked Scott Reed, but the team has never really clicked with me. Anyway, this should be a decent opener, assuming it’s in that position.
Prediction: Super Smash Bros win
Dgusa.tv tells me that more is to be signed with Jon Davis, Arik Cannon, Pinkie Sanchez and Jake Manning. Do we really have to see Pinkie Sanchez and the Manscout? I’d rather see Drew Gulak representing Chuck Taylor’s crew. Davis and Cannon could have a good match, hopefully that will get booked.
Overall thoughts: My first thought when the roster was announced for this show was “YAMATO! Yeah!”. My second thought was “Wait, where is everyone else?”. Only three Japanese guys has to be a record minimum for a DGUSA weekend, and it’s especially surprising since Sunday is the anniversary show. That said, Ricochet and Rich Swann have been regulars in Japan for a long time now, so they round off the “genuine Dragon Gate wrestler” quota to five. However, there are also two big American absences; Low Ki and Sami Callihan. Low Ki arrived, devoured everyone, went full time in New Japan and probably won’t come back, while Callihan is “suspended” (kayfabe for “booked elsewhere”).
All that said, I still think this looks like a good show on paper. The main event is a massive draw for me, one that I’ve been anticipating pretty much since the first Gargano/Tozawa match ended. I’m intrigued by YAMATO vs Ricochet, and the big tag match should be a lot of fun, I think Generico and Del Sol will make a great team. The rest of the card could do with some fattening, and that’s where the absences of the likes of BxB Hulk, PAC and Callihan really show.
Watch this show along with me on Saturday night at WWNLive.com. Check back tomorrow for my preview of Sunday’s Anniversary show!
EVOLVE 12 and 13 details
Matches have been announced for the upcoming EVOLVE shows in North Carolina. These shows will see the debut of some new IPPV price plans too.
Evolution’s End: Sami Callihan vs AR Fox (No DQ outside the ring)
Johnny Gargano & Samuray Del Sol vs Chuck Taylor & Silas Young
Open The Freedom Gate championship: Johnny Gargano vs Winner of the triple threat
Number one contender’s match: AR Fox vs Jigsaw vs Samuray Del Sol
Sami Callihan vs Chuck Taylor
Both shows will be broadcast on live IPPV at WWNLive.com, with three different price plans:
$9.99 for the live stream only
$14.99 for the live stream _ on demand
$24.99 for the live stream, on demand and the DVD
Thoughts: The price deal is good. It will be interesting to see a new guy in the main event mix, and I’m pleased that the Callihan/Fox feud will FINALLY come to an end. I like both guys, but this has dragged on forever.
Review - EVOLVE 11
The show took place on Friday the 13th of April in Toronto. You can read the full results HERE.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Sami Callihan vs Finlay 2
These two had a very good, painfully stiff fight. I never cease to be amazed at how brutal Finlay’s bodyslams look, that move looks so normal when anyone else does it! Sami looked like a warrior for surviving so much of the Irishman’s offence, including multiple Celtic Crosses and a tombstone, before he tapped to the cross armbreaker.
Finlay winning was a shocker, I was certain that this story would conclude with Sami avenging his EVOLVE 9 loss. After the match, Finlay told Sami that he basically needs to drop his shenanigans and focus on his wrestling if he wants to improve, but Sami just shot him down and stormed off. With Sami’s losses to Sabu and Finlay, I think they may be going for an angle where he has hit rock bottom, perhaps leading to a babyface turn. If not, his loss to Finlay is a puzzling decision.
I’d say that their original match (at EVOLVE 9) was better than this one. Perhaps I’d think differently if I watched them both again though.
Low Ki vs El Generico
This was very good, but as seems to be becoming tradition with Low Ki matches, it finished just before it reached greatness. Just like his match with PAC, it built perfectly, then when it was almost time to kick it into high gear, he ended it with the Warrior’s Way. Mind you, it was a particularly sick double stomp, onto Generico’s back while he was huddled over himself.
Heel Low Ki?
Following Low Ki’s match, he took to the mic and declared “You aren’t as good as you think.” to Generico. The crowd boo’d as you would expect. I’m all for Low Ki turning heel, his “quest to make wrestling serious” or whatever he’s doing would make much more sense with a heel persona. I thought he was a heel when he debuted in EVOLVE, but then he was babyface in DGUSA (they share the same continuity now).
It’s time for Low Ki to move from the dream matches into proper feuds, and there are many more babyfaces than heels for him to feud with in DGUSA right now, so him turning to the dark side makes sense.
Johnny Gargano vs Chuck Taylor vs Samuray Del Sol
Del Sol was impressive in the early going, then we were left with the Gargano/Taylor grudge match after his elimination. This didn’t reach the heights of their great Evolve 9 match, but it was good. I didn’t like the finish, as the Open The Freedom Gate champion Gargano passed out in Taylor’s half boston crab. It didn’t come off like Austin/Hart at WrestleMania 13, I thought it just made the champion look weak, especially since Taylor has never been booked like a top guy in DGUSA (though I suppose he has in EVOLVE…this merger can be confusing). I guess they didn’t want Taylor to lose so soon after his heel turn, but then why put Gargano in the match at all? He could have faced Caleb Konley or someone.
Josh Alexander vs MK McKinnan
These two had a good little match. I felt sorry for McKinnan when he botched some moves in the early going (most notably a springboard moonsault), but he made up for it with an impressive dive and some other cool moves later on. Alexander displayed some good power.
Arda Ocal did a good job on colour commentary in the first half. I’d like to see him become a permanent fixture, but I’m not sure how likely that is since he’s based in Canada.
In EVOLVE, wrestlers all enter to generic ambient music, with no differentiation between opponents. It’s really bad. Take Samuray Del Sol for example. At the DGUSA shows in Miami, his entrance, with the “Lu-cha! Lu-cha!” song and his fist pumping immediately got him over. Here he couldn’t do it. Then El Generico’s “Ole!” song was also absent, so the energy that his entrances usually bring was non existent. People even tried to do the “Ole!” chant over the EVOLVE music.
It didn’t help matters lower down the card either, as the guys who nobody had heard of didn’t get the chance to get their personalities over with their entrances.
Low Ki was the only guy who got to come out to his actual music, and he came across as a much bigger star because of it.
Bobby Fish, AR Fox, Scott Reed, couldn’t make it into Canada, so Gargano vs Fox and the Fish match were cancelled. This did have quite an impact on the card, as no real replacement was made for the Fox match (Gargano was just added to Taylor vs Del Sol), and a solid Bobby Fish match could have improved the forgettable undercard a lot.
The opening tag match (Super Smash Brothers vs Drew Gulak and “The Manscout” Jake Manning) was forgettable aside from a few cool spots near the end, and the other matches (that I didn’t list in “The good” section) were even more lacklustre. They were mostly random indy guys who most of the IPPV customers and the live crowd didn’t know, and few of them did anything memorable. I wouldn’t say their matches were bad, but they weren’t up to the standard that the audiences for Gabe Sapolsky’s promotions demand.
Wins and losses
I always liked the wins and losses system in EVOLVE, but it’s really jumped the shark. The Style Battle didn’t factor into it, triple threats don’t factor into it and now apparently Open The Freedom Gate title matches don’t factor into it? Gargano became the clear wins leader when he retained his title against Ricochet at EVOLVE 10, but apparently that didn’t count for some reason, so now Taylor is the wins leader, despite their match being a triple threat and despite him having no more wins than Gargano? It’s so complicated, and doesn’t even make sense.
If EVOLVE was set up like a league with seasons, certain matches being non-league, with the results not factoring into the wrestler’s records, would make sense. But it isn’t, the wins and losses are just an eternal statistic, like in MMA, so it makes no sense to have matches off the record.
The top guy?
So Johnny Gargano is the DGUSA champion, while Chuck Taylor is the undisputed official EVOLVE wins leader, somehow. Did either of them look like the company’s top guy on this show? No, Low Ki was the man who seemed to be the face of EVOLVE. Let’s compare his presentation to that of Gargano:
* Low Ki was on the poster and the graphics (in between the matches), and he was in one of the main events. Gargano was not.
* Low Ki was the only guy on the show who got his real entrance music, allowing him to do his proper entrance. Gargano randomly wandered to ringside to randomly join a match.
* Low Ki said one line that made him sound like a bad dude while also furthering a story with his potential heel turn. Gargano talked at some length about the impact Taylor’s betrayal had had on him. That was necessary, but Low Ki’s one line was delivered better.
* Low Ki pinned one of the most popular indy wrestlers in the world after crushing him with a brutal double stomp. Gargano passed out in Chuck Taylor’s half boston crab.
The situation is very similar to the current CM Punk/John Cena dynamic; Punk holds the WWE championship, but Cena is still clearly “the man” in that company. This is the only show I’ve made this judgement on so far, we’ll see how it pans out in the future.
Low Ki and Bobby Fish both mentioned their desire for the creation of an EVOLVE championship at the last DGUSA shows, which kind of made the DGUSA title look like an afterthought. It wouldn’t have been as bad if it was mentioned at the EVOLVE show, but no one uttered a word about it.
The two main events were good, but they didn’t quite reach my admittedly high expectations. This was my least favourite show out of the four I’ve watched from DGUSA/EVOLVE this year (that’s all but EVOLVE 10). I preferred the Finlay vs Callihan and Gargano vs Taylor matches at EVOLVE 9 to their matches on this card. It wasn’t a bad show, but it’s not one that I would strongly recommend. If you really want to see the main events or the triple threat, or if you’re just an EVOLVE die hard, you can order it on demand over at WWNLive.com
Agree? Disagree? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @IWEnews
Uhaa Nation injury update
According to PWinsider, Dragon Gate USA wrestler Uhaa Nation will be out for six to nine months due to the knee injury he sustained last week (at DGUSA/CZW: Heat). The CZW Facebook page stated that he would be out for nearly a year. Uhaa himself is yet to publicly disclose the amount of time he will be out, as far as I know.
Thoughts: Uhaa is one of the best wrestlers out there today, and a really nice guy, so this continues to make me sad. I hope you heal swiftly Uhaa!
Review - Dragon Gate USA: Mercury Rising 2012
Dragon Gate USA: Mercury Rising 2012 took place in Miami on Saturday night (March the 31st).
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Match of the night: The main event (Low Ki, Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk defeated PAC, Ricochet & Mochizuki)
This was awesome. Did you expect anything else? It was the match of the weekend for me, these guys put on a hell of a show. Tozawa and Hulk continued to show off their ever-increasing fluidity as a team, Low Ki and PAC continued to produce greatness, I got to see Mochi and Low Ki lock up (well, I say lock up, I mean kick each other very hard), Ricochet was impressive as always, everything about it simply ruled.
I liked how it wasn’t just random teams in an exhibition, PAC and Low Ki played off their friendly rivalry throughout, while Tozawa and Mochi played off their considerably less than friendly rivalry too, which led to Tozawa avenging his solo loss to him the previous night with the straight jacket german suplex and the pinfall. Of course, there’s also the bigger picture of Tozawa and Hulk being bitter enemies to all since they’re in Mad Blankey.
These were two dream teams for me, and their match more than lived up to my high expectations.
Open The Freedom Gate title match (Johnny Gargano retained against Masato Yoshino)
A thrilling second title defence for Gargano. These two have great chemistry, which they showcased with dazzling exchanges throughout. This was the best solo performance I’ve seen from Yoshino in quite some time, while Gargano continues to excel.
Chuck Taylor Invitational (Chuck Taylor vs El Generico vs CIMA vs Rich Swann vs Samuray Del Sol vs Lince Dorado - Generico won)
This was an unexpected gem. El Generico’s shock arrival was executed perfectly (his music hit right after Taylor declared “I hate luchadores!”), it lit the already hot crowd on fire, I totally marked out, and the match was an absolute blast to watch. Swann and CIMA delivered as always, the returning Dorado showed off some very impressive moves, as did Del Sol, who also displayed a surprising amount of charisma (as soon as he pumped his fists the “Lu-cha! Lu-cha!” chants erupted). Generico was as great as ever, and the barefoot Taylor showed that he is a natural heel, with a ton of heat after turning the previous night.
Super fast paced with crazy flips, dives and all the other action you’d expect from these guys, this was a lot of fun.
Arik Cannon vs AR Fox (Fox won via DQ)
Fox has some spectacular offence, and Cannon worked well as a base for him to show it off, while also providing some good action himself. I loved the finish, with a flying chair coming out of nowhere and wiping out Fox as he attempted his Lo Mein Pain finisher from the top rope.
Bobby Fish vs Jon Davis (Fish won)
A very enjoyable opener. Fish tried, and ultimately succeeded, to counter his opponent’s power with his grappling skills. The styles clash worked very well here. I look forward to seeing more of Fish in DGUSA.
Sami Callihan vs Sabu (Sabu won)
This was more a hardcore match than an unpleasantly violent deathmatch, which works for me. It was good for what it was, with Sami losing nothing in defeat, since it took Fox’s Lo Mein Pain (he interfered to get vengeance on Sami for interrupting that very move with the flying chair in his match with Cannon) and Sabu’s Arabian Facebuster through a table to put him away.
The Scene vs Los Ben Dejos (The Scene won)
The Scene showed a couple of cool double team moves, and the debuting Ben Dejos did well, so this was fine as the post-intermission match.
Again, this hot crowd added a lot to the show.
Lenny Leonard cut out the swearing and the other crudeness, which was a significant improvement over the previous night. Colt Cabana joining him on colour commentary was a nice surprise, but Arik Cannon again showed the most potential in that role. He (Cannon) toned down his swearing and joking too. Did they read my review of Ultimate Gate or something?
I ordered both DGUSA shows and WrestleMania this weekend, and this was my favourite of the three. Aside from the Chuck Taylor invitational, Ultimate Gate arguably had a stronger undercard, but this show just seemed to flow better to me.
Three fantastic matches, backed up by some other pretty good bouts, this was very entertaining from start to finish. I’ve read some other reviews that mentioned how DGUSA feels so much fresher and exciting than its immediate competition ROH right now, and I have to agree. I’d certainly recommend ordering it on demand over at WWNLive.com.
I can’t think of anything that was bad. That may have been different if Dreamer was booked again, but fortunately he was nowhere to be seen.
Low Ki closing promo
It sufficed as a show closing speech, but I was hoping we were going to get some more development with Low Ki. His reason for aligning with the heels was never really addressed, so I was hoping we’d see him either turn heel, or show he was still babyface by stopping a Mad Blankey post match attack or something. Saying that, it is nice to see a main event end with no post match shenanigans.
Taylor attacks Gargano
Chuck Taylor attacked his new nemesis Gargano after the champion’s successful defence. It made sense, but it didn’t come off that well to me for some reason. I guess I would have rather seen Taylor attack him verbally, so Gargano could leave looking strong rather than being carried out.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know at email@example.com, or on Twitter @IWEnews
Dragon Gate USA “Mercury Rising” results
Now here’s the results from last night’s DGUSA IPPV, “Mercury Rising 2012”, courtesy of http://iheartdg.com. Lee is watching the show when it becomes available on demand, and will have a full review up in the coming days.
Bobby Fish defeated Jon Davis
AR Fox defeated Arik Cannon by disqualification after Sami Callihan threw a chair at Fox
No Rules: Sabu defeated Sami Callihan with lots of interference
El Generico defeated Lince Dorado, CIMA, Rich Swann, Samuray Del Sol and Chuck Taylor
Scott Reed and Caleb Konley defeated Los Ben Dejos (Cruz and Rios)
Open the Freedom Gate Title: Johnny Gargano defeated Masato Yoshino. Post-match, Chuck Taylor attacked Gargano.
Akira Tozawa, BxB Hulk and Low Ki defeated PAC, Ricochet and Masaaki Mochizuki
Thoughts: I haven’t been keeping up to date with DGUSA recently, but from a purely wrestling standpoint this sounds like a solid show. I’m sure Lee will be able to tell you a lot more in his review.