Looking back at DGUSA: Open The Ultimate Gate 2011
This is the third part of my WrestleMania weekend 2011 retrospective. You can read part one (DGUSA: Open The Southern Gate) HERE, and part two (DGUSA: Mercury Rising) HERE. Today, I’ll be looking at Dragon Gate USA: Open The Ultimate Gate, which took place in Atlanta on April the 3rd, just hours before WrestleMania 27.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
This show was headlined by the third “match of the year” candidate of the weekend, as YAMATO and Akira Tozawa absolutely went to war. The match was originally supposed to be non-title, but Tozawa beat Jon Moxley in a no DQ brawl to earn the title shot. That impromptu match turned out to be Moxley’s last in DGUSA, as he was signed to WWE and rechristened “Dean Ambrose” soon after. After he lost to Tozawa, his pornstar valet Trina Michaels brawled with his rival Reby Sky. That was their last appearance in DGUSA too.
Anyway, YAMATO vs Tozawa kicked off immediately after the aforementioned Michaels/Sky brawl, and it totally ruled. YAMATO just couldn’t put his foe away, and they beat the hell out of each other for over twenty minutes, with it really looking like the most over babyface in the company was going to emerge the new champion at times. A thrilling closing sequence saw Tozawa shockingly kick out of YAMATO’s deadly Galleria at one, before YAMATO immediately dropped him on his head again for the three count.
This was awesome, and it helped solidify YAMATO as a top face, as he and his former Kamikaze buddy put their differences aside and hugged afterwards, before the champion gave his first show closing speech. This face turn turned out to be a very good move, as unfortunately for DGUSA, their top face Tozawa turned heel in Japan soon after (well, after the next set of DGUSA shows, but Akira was only on two of those three). Fortunately for DGUSA, Tozawa’s new badass heel persona was awesome too, and he continues to be the MVP of the promotion.
Prior to the Tozawa vs Kamikaze bouts, Austin Aries took on Jimmy Jacobs in what was billed as the last match of his (Aries) career, as a result of his loss to YAMATO in their career vs title match the previous night. Aries again came up short, as Jacobs pinned him with a surprise roll up about fifteen minutes in. This was a very entertaining match, and would have been a fine way for Aries to close his time in DGUSA, but that wasn’t what went down; Aries turned heel as he, with Blood Warriors, attacked Ronin, during his apparent retirement speech. Aries announced that he had put his career on the line because he had lost his purpose but now he had a new one; the destruction of Ronin, alongside the Blood Warriors.
Aries went on to have some great matches as a Blood Warrior at the Enter The Dragon weekend, before moving on to TNA (not before doing wonders for the career of Johnny Gargano though, but that’s a story for another day).
This may not have been Aries’s last DGUSA show as advertised, but it did turn out to be the last show for Moxley, Sky, Michaels, and most ironically of all, Aries’s opponent Jimmy Jacobs! Jacobs had been floundering in the mid card since his feud with Moxley in 2010, so his return to Ring Of Honor wasn’t much of a surprise.
The other big match on the show was PAC and Masato Yoshino’s first defence of the Open The United Gate titles, against CIMA and Naruki Doi. Doi was filling in for Ricochet, who was injured the previous evening. This was a great match full of rapid action, that continued to showcase the quality of the DGUSA tag team division. The champions were successful in their first defence, as Yoshino choked out Doi with the Sol Naciente.
Elsewhere on the card, Jimmy Rave (who was filling in for Naruki Doi) submitted to Johnny Gargano’s Gargano Escape in a solid opener, Brodie Lee destroyed Stalker Ichikawa in a comedy match, Brodie Lee then beat Chuck Taylor in a not-so-comedy but still not-that-serious bout, Rich Swann won a six way that I don’t remember too well, while Sami Callihan and Arik Cannon (who walked out of the six man and officially formed their tag team earlier in the night) defeated the Dark City Fight Club (Jon Davis & Kory Chavis), in a match that I don’t remember too clearly either.
Overall, this was a solid show with an excellent main event, gripping story developments and twists, a great tag title match, and some other strong matches, most notably Aries vs Jacobs and Gargano vs Rave. The Aries heel turn went a long way to set up the next set of shows, as did the YAMATO face turn.
And so ends my DGUSA WrestleMania weekend retrospective. I hope you’ve enjoyed looking back at this great weekend of wrestling with me, and I urge you to check out one or two of these shows if you get the chance. Mercury Rising was the overall best of the three, but you could argue that the main event of Ultimate Gate was the best match of the weekend, or even the year.
This series isn’t quite over though, as there was one other pay per view I ordered that weekend…the final article will be up in a couple of days, as I look back at WWE WrestleMania 27!
Want to discuss Open The Ultimate Gate, or anything else about WrestleMania weekend, or wrestling in general? Feel to talk to me on Twitter @IWEnews.
Thanks for reading!
Matches announced for next PWS show
The next Pro Wrestling Syndicate show will take place in Rahway, New Jersey the 2nd of May. The following matches have been announced:
Sami Callihan vs Jay Lethal
Matt Hardy vs Colt Cabana
Jerry Lynn vs Marty Jannetty
Demolition vs The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake)
Maria Kannelis and Brittney Savage vs Jillian Hall and Reby Sky
Adam Cole vs Brian XL vs Samura Del Sol vs Zema Ion
Bret Hart will be appearing.
Thanks to Rob Hawkins for passing that along.
Thoughts: Good stuff. I like how they provide a few legends, a bit of former TV talent, and some of the top indy guys. There’s something for everyone, and it exposes wrestlers to audiences that wouldn’t normally see them.