-Johnny Gargano (Open the Freedom Gate Champion) vs. Eita
Match in Five Words or Less: Someone Turn The Lights On
Match Highlights: This is the debut of Eita to Dragon Gate USA. Feeling out process. Similar to Shingo Takagi, Eita Kobayashi loses his last name when he crosses over onto American soil. Nice dropkick by Eita sends Gargano into the corner. Whip across. Gargano sends him up and over. Enziguri. Eita leaps up with a forearm to prevent a dive. Ridiculous chop. I’m talking the king of chops right there. He chops… the post. Yikes. Left hands by Gargano. Snapmare and dropkick to the back of the head. Bodyslam. Gargano sits back on the shoulder. Eita prevents a vertical suplex. Another hard chop from Eita. Choking along the middle rope. Gargano blocks a whip. Champion up and over. Kick from Eita. Another suplex blocked. Roll through and kick to the face by Gargano. Eita tossed to the floor. Dive misses. Spear back in the ring. Gargano whipped. Eita misses a dive. Knee to the face. Bulldog blocked by Eita. Sitdown powerbomb gets two. Eita heads outside. Tope suicida. Eita tossed back in the ring. Shoulder block by Gargano Slingshot DDT hits. 1-2-NO! EITA misses a dropkick. Running kick from Gargano. Eita tosses him. Boots out of the corner by Gargano. Whip across. Clothesline by EITA. Gargano up and over. Full nelson blocked. Chop from Eita. Superkick by Gargano. Creatively, Eita catches himself in the rope. Springboard dropkick. Moonsault to the floor. Double axehandle. Gargano comes back with elbows. Low dropkick to the left knee by Eita. Gargano meet between the middle and top rope. Hard chop followed by a leg drop. Cop Killa/Drake’s Landing. 1-2-NO! He rolls through and hits a springboard moonsault. A second is met with Gargano’s knees. Series of slaps and a punch to the eyes. Lawn Dart and low superkick. Hurts Doughnut blocked. EITA gets a roll-up. 1-2-NO! Hurts Doughnut. GargaNo Escape. Eita taps.
Match Analysis: I’ve done a woefully inadequate job keeping up with Dragon Gate Japan, so this is actually the first time I’ve seen Eita. I was impressed with both his innovation and his chopping ability. This was a great way to open the show as they had an entertaining match without doing too many movez and having too many nearfalls. I just wish the crowd was awake and someone would turn the lights on.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Johnny Gargano/11:43/***1/4
-Gargano knows there are a lot of first timers here, and this match is representative of what DG USA is all about. This isn’t about the money but because they love professional wrestling. Gargano puts over Eita over and says everyone wants to see him some more. Gargano talks about how honored he is to be the Open the Freedom Gate champion. This weekend is his one year anniversary and this has been a dream for him. He kneels down and says he’s grateful to be able to do what he loves. Jon Davis attacks with a clothesline as Gargano was about to discuss the big four way. Series of spinebusters drop Gargano right on his back.
-Arda Ocal kills some time by discussing the upcoming match between Ricochet and AR Fox. Not only does the loser have to shake the winner’s hand, but he also has to put him over as the better man.
-The Scene (Scott Reed and Caleb Konley w/Larry Dallas and Trina) vs. Arik Cannon and Pinkie Sanchez
Match in Five Words or Less: I Hate Everyone!
Match Highlights: I’d give my thoughts on Trina Michaels, but that would lower me to certain announcers within this promotion. Thankfully, Arda Ocal has some class and avoids this garbage like the plague. Of all the wrestlers in this match, Pinkie Sanchez is the one I dislike least right now. I think that tells you everything you need to know. Cannon and Sanchez attack right away. Sanchez spears Reed out of the ring as Cannon chops Konley. Brawl continues around ringside. By the way, in my card from hell, this is one of the undercard matches. If you’ve followed my reviews this whole year, you can piece it together. Ocal talks about Marti Belle showing up to deal with Dallas’s disrespect toward women. Cannon and Sanchez corner Dallas in the corner. Scene take advantage. Reed with a right hand on Cannon. Choke along the middle rope. Konley with a kick to the head. Continued double teams. Elbow by Reed. Stomps on Cannon. Cannon pulled down by the Mohawk. Elbow drops miss. Sanchez with back elbows. Clotheslines for everyone. Package DDT on Konley. Cheap shot by Reed. Elbow. Sanchez rolls through. Up and over out of the corner. Reed places him on the top rope and hits a chop. Running boot by Konley into a the corner. Cravat. Chops from Sanchez. Knee to the back by Reed. Vertical suplex by Reed. Sanchez spits in Dallas’s face. I’d say he may have gotten a disease, but who are we kidding? Chops from Reed lead to the vertical suplex by Konley. Choking by Reed. Sanchez with a series of punches. Reed with another cheap shot. Knee by Reed. Boot to the gut. Knee by Konley and a cover. Running kick by Sanchez followed by a dragon screw leg whip. Shining wizard on Konley. Cannon comes in and clears house. Running clotheslines for both men. Bulldog and clothesline combo. Boot on Reed. Total Anarchy. Konley breaks the count. Boot by Konley. Cannon ducks and tags. Sanchez dropkicks both men. Dives to both members of the Scene. Sanchez gets some help from the crowd. Trina slaps him. Sanchez spooks her. Trina heads into the ring. Sanchez rubs his balls. Cannon punches Konley. Konley sends Cannon…nearly into Trina. Chop by Sanchez to the back. Sanchez simulates anal sex with Trina. Dallas kicks the middle rope on Sanchez. Reed with a roll of the dice and a win.
Match Analysis: The best about the Scene and D.U.F being in the same match is they’re out of the way. The bad part is they had a blah match with a borderline offensive ending. It’s not that I have something against porn stars in wrestling, but I do have a problem with DG USA struggling financially bringing in someone like Trina Michaels who adds NOTHING to the product. If she could talk or could wrestle… fine. But she has not shown an aptitude for either. Let’s move away quickly.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: The Scene /9:29/**
-Samuray Del Sol vs. Sami Callihan
Match in Five Words or Less: A Breath Of Fresh Air
Match Highlights: Callihan charges but gets hit with a dragon screw legwhip. Callihan takes him in the corner. Both men head outside in an ugly situation. Not sure what that was. Chop by Callihan. Del Sol sent to the barricade. Del Sol sent over. Kick by Del Sol. Callihan catches a leaping Del Sol with a bicycle kick. Chop by Callihan. Pair of ranas as Del Sol uses the rail and apron to his advantage. Dive but Callihan catches him. Exploder on the floor. Scoop slam for two. Stomp to the leg. Callihan applies a standing figure four before turning it into a modified trailer hitch. Chop. Callihan ties the leg and applies a standing crossface. Shots and an uppercut by Del Sol. Bicycle kick and death valley driver by Callihan. Slingshot splash gets two. Bodyslam into the ropes on Del Sol. Del Sol whipped upside down into the corner. Kiss and another upside down whip. Del Sol breaks the whip attempt and hits a dropkick. Charge misses. Enziguri by Callihan. Trio of face washes. Del Sol kicks up and hits a spin kick. Reverse rana. Del Sol hits a tope con helo. Callihan tossed in the ring. Del Sol ducks a charging Callihan. Springboard Canadian Destroyer. Callihan takes him up and over. Chop by Callihan. Del Sol catches him with a superkick. Springboard plant DDT. 1-2-NO! Standing sliced bread turned into a shoulderbreaker by Callihan. 1-2-NO! Running clothesline. Del Sol flip ducks a clothesline. Enziguri. Clothesline by Callihan. 1-1-2-NO! Callihan misses a splash off the top rope. Standing sliced bread. Exchange of headbutts while kneeling. Forearms. Back and forth with strikes. Del Sol with slaps. Callihan flips him off. Spin kick by Del Sol. Callihan hits a superkick to the right knee as Del Sol tries springboarding. Sitdown powerbomb. Stretch Muffler. Roll-up by Del Sol gets two. Callihan hits a running boot to the face. Top rope brainbuster gets three. Wow.
Match Analysis: I’d argue these are two of the most improved wrestlers of 2012. Del Sol still has some sloppy tendencies, but Callihan is becoming a better and better all around performer. The story was pretty simple, heel slows down high-flying babyface, but they executed quite well. Very good match.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Sami Callihan/14:15/***1/4
-Captain’s Match: The Gentlemen’s Club (Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak, and Orange Cassidy (w/Swamp Monster) vs. CIMA, ACH, and Rich Swann
Match in Five Words or Less: Swann Earns The Right
Match Highlights: Very similar to a match that took place in Indianapolis a year or so prior as the two captains are the only ones who can get pinfalls. In this case, Swann and Taylor. Cassidy and Gylak attack ACH while Swann works over Taylor in the ring. Cassidy and Gulak make the save. CIMA shoulder block and kick on Cassidy. Cassidy sunset flip. CIMA double stomp. Another running kick and a dropkick. Taylor tosses CIMA out. Swann misses. Roll-up for two. Taylor rolls outside. Boot by Gulak. Swann flips out and dropkicks. Headscissors. Another roll-up for Taylor. Double chops. ACH comes in with strikes. Running clothesline. Cross body on Taylor. Kick from Cassidy. Bodyslam. Laziest splash ever. ACH with strikes. Dropkick connects. Applied headscissors. Dropkick by Swann. Cassidy jawbreaker. Gulak with a headbutt to the back. Bodyslam. Elbow to the back. Gentlemen’s club continues working Swann over. Swamp Monster actually gets in on the action with a handspring elbow. Casssidy’s lack of in-ring fire costs him as Swann manages a jumping rana. CIMA dropkicks Cassidy. Series of stomps. Headbutts by Gulak. Double clothesline ducked. Drop toe hold on Gulak. Suplex on Cassidy. ACH running splash. Double knees by ACH. Step-up kick on Cassidy. Running clothesline by Gulak on CIMA. Clothesline to the back. ACH takes him up and over. Forearm by Gulak. Shoulder block misses. Scissors kick hits. Slide and a leaping kick. Acecrusher caught by Gulak. Triple powerbomb. Taylor cannot pin ACH though. Swann ducks Gulak and Cassidy before hitting an acecrusher. Taylor takes control and applies a single leg crab. Gulak applies a hold on CIMA, Cassidy on ACH. CIMA sends Gulak outside. Taylor and Swann left in the ring. Elbows out of the Omega driver. Swann hits a Lethal Injection. ACH with an acecrusher of his own. Shoving between the men. Swann holds the ropes open as ACH hits a dive. Swann with one of his own. CIMA up and over on Taylor. 2K1 bomb. Swann big splash. Gentlemen’s Club breaks it up. Split legged moonsault by ACH on Gulak. Taylor hits an Omega Driver. 1-2-NO! CIMA breaks the count up. Elbow by Taylor. Superkick by CIMA. Schwein! Meteora! Swann bridges over to get the win.
-By virtue of this victory, Swann gets a one-on-one match against Taylor on the Sunday show.
Match Analysis: Not nearly as good as the first Captain’s Match but still solid. This was just good enough to hit the three star mark. I’m not sure what the Gentlemen’s Club can do in DG USA besides shenanigans, but it was good to see ACH showcase himself with two other DG USA stalwarts. Hopefully someone was listening in the back to all the chants for ACH. He should absolutely be brought in from this point forward.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Rich Swann, CIMA, and ACH/13:23/***
-Jon Davis vs. Akira Tozawa
Match in Five Words or Less: Tozawa Wakes Everyone Up
Match Highlights: Crowd finally wakes up when they see Tozawa. These two men have met before in singles action. They met at Way of the Ronin 2011 and Tozawa won that particular bout. Davis with an immediate bodyslam. Headbutt on Tozawa. Clubbering blow to the back. Stomp. Forearms. Choking along the bottom turnbuckle. Clubbering blow and a series of stomps. Tozawa rolls outside. Forearm by Davis. Press slam but Tozawa manages a kick. Forearm misses. Forearm his for Davis. Tozawa hits Davis with a chair. And he’s the babyface. Stomps on the outside. Davis rammed into the table. Back in the ring. Davis sent in head first. Stomps in the corner. Choking and one more stomp. Davis whipped. Running forearm. Snapmare. Standing senton. Davis hits a forearm. Running knees by Tozawa. Tope attempt but Davis catches him and hits a spinebuster on the side of the ring. Tozawa rammed back first into the ring even more. Davis working the back? Hmmm. Headbutt by Davis. Forearm. Tozawa begins to no sell. Stalling vertical suplex. Whip blocked. Chop by Davis. Bicycle kick ducked. Low dropkick and a running knee to the side of the head. Trio of topes. Davis sent back in the ring. Davis with elbows. Tozawa hits a back drop driver. German suplex blocked. Clotheslines blocked. Forearm connects for Davis. Vicious spinebuster. 1-2-NO! Davis lifts Tozawa. Tozawa gets the sleeper. Davis rams him in the corner. Another sleeper by Tozawa. Back elbow. Bicycle kicks. Release German suplex. Sick kick by Davis hits and both men are down. Chop exchange in the corner. Tozawa tells Davis to stop and punches him in the face. Forearms and a shining wizard. German suplex blocked with elbows. Spin kick by Tozawa. Another one misses. German suplex gets two. Tozawa tries setting Davis’s arms. Leaping knee strike by Davis. Rana blocked. Davis hits a Dominator. 1-2-NO! Short clothesline. LARIAT! This is good enough for a Davis victory to SILENCE. Not a single lick of heat for Davis.
Match Analysis: I like Jon Davis, but he’s not getting over with DG USA crowds as a heel or babyface. Period. Guys like Michael Elgin and Brian Cage make it tough on Davis because of they can mix in athleticism and some freaky power stuff. Davis is a solid wrestler, and I like both him and as a wrestler and a person. People keep complaining about how awful DG USA and Evolve crowds are, yet they sure were alive for Tozawa. I wonder why that’s the case. Maybe he has personality? Interestingly enough, Tozawa was a heel on the last set of shows but was treated like a babyface here. Neither Christina Von Eerie or his relationship to Mad Blankey were even referenced during the match.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Jon Davis/14:04/***
-The Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno and Player Dos) vs. Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi
Match in Five Words or Less: Hopes Smashed
Match Highlights: Winner of this earns a United Gate title match the next night.Feeling out process between Dos and Saito. Snap rana sends Saito outside. Uno and Horiguchi enter in next. Shoulder blocks by Horiguchi go nowhere. Stomp on the foot. Shoulder tackle by Uno. He uses the referee for an assisted neckbreaker. Fist drop. Snapmare and tag. Stupefied hits a springboard splash. Big right hand by Uno. Back suplex. Bodyslam by Uno… and we pose. Headbutts and a knee strike by Dos. Horiguchi hits a dropkick and knocks Uno off the apron. Uno sent out of the ring. Saito in. Uno sent head first into the table. Elbows by Saito back in the ring. Back elbow. Horiguchi with a double axehandle. Dos laid prone in the corner. Running dropkick by Horiguchi. Half figure four leglock. Knee by Saito. Uno tossed outside. Snapmare by Horiguchi. Double stomp by Saito. Bodyslam by Saito. Saito runs across the ring and steps on Dos’s face. Figure four leglock. Continued double team by Saito and Horiguchi. Horiguchi takes some fabric and walks all the way to the entrance. He lets go of the fabric, and it snaps in Dos’s face. Wow. Choking along the middle rope. Horiguchi does it again but nails his own partner again. Reverse DDT by Dos. Tag to Uno. Clothesline and back elbow on Saito. Chop. Boot from Saito. Uno catches him in a flatliner. Clothesline by Uno. Powerslam into the buckles. Powerslam/clothesline combination. Uno chops Horiguchi in the corner. Boot from Horiguchi. Uno tosses him down. Running rana. Bodyslam blocked. Uno collapses on him for two. Right hand. Superkick. Alabama slam into the backcracker executed by SSB. Uno applies a sharpshooter. Dos hits a tope con helo. Uno still maintains the hold. Horiguchi grabs the bottom rope. Whip across. Boot by Horiguchi. Tornado DDT. Dos sent off the apron. Suplex blocked at first. He gets it, and Saito hits a big splash. Uno catches himself. Pele kicks by Dos. Uno splash. forearm by Dos. Leaping knee strike on Horiguchi. Overhead throw sends Horiguchi to his partner. 450 hits! 1-2-NO! Dos send flailing off the top rope. Backslide by Horiguchi gets two. Saito takes him down. Dos comes back in. Horiguchi sunset flips Saito and Dos into Uno. Dos whipped. He ducks a charge. German suplex by Saito. Straightjacket piledriver gets three for Saito. He and Horiguchi are the number one contenders.
Match Analysis: It does make sense to bring in one of the best tag teams in Dragon Gate history and have them challenge for the United Gate titles. This wasn’t either team’s best effort though as they couldn’t quite figure out the face/heel dynamic. SSB for whatever reason have not had that star making performance in this promotion like they have in PWG.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: /16:13/***
-Ricochet vs. AR Fox (Open the United Gate Champion)
Match in Five Words or Less: Honor In Dragon Gate
Match Highlights: Dropkick and pescado hit immediately for Fox. Fake dive. He kicks off the middle turnbuckle and moonsaults Ricochet. Well, that’s a start. 450 to the floor. Not exactly a slow pace set in this one. Another 450 misses. Fox appears to hurt his knee. A bit of stalling as the referee checks on him. Referee begins counting Fox out. Officials help carry Fox to the back. Fox shoves them away as Ricochet poses like the Rock. Fox rolls in the ring. Ricochet goes after Fox’s left knee. Ricochet kicks him out of the ring. He sends Fox’s leg into the barricade. Kick on the prone leg. Fox sent back in the ring. Ricochet drives the knee in the ground before simply punching it. Standing moonsault on the knee. Some breaking dance next. Series of kicks. Ricochet rams Fox’s leg into the steel post. Elbow and a chop across the upper body. Running kick. Cloverleaf by Ricochet. Series of kicks by Ricochet. He stands Fox up and leg kicks him. He holds Fox upside down and sends his knee into two of the corners before dropping him knee first. Fox sent knee first into the mat. Fox slowly comes back. Taunting slaps by Ricochet. Big boot by Fox. He tries a knip up but actually sells the knee and collapses. Twisting vertical suplex by Fox. Fox meets Ricochet with an elbow. Diving acecrusher. Fox low bridges Ricochet. Ricochet shoves Fox in the ring. Springboard Meteora gets two. Phoenix splash misses. Enziguri and jumping Russian legsweep. Standing shooting star press. Fox holds onto his leg. Backslide blocked. Fox collapses. Back scratch by Ricochet. Series of kicks by Fox. Rolling DVD. Fox heads to the top rope. Swanton misses. Backslide driver. 1-2-NO! Ricochet goes for the shooting star press but is met with knees. Fox grabs the injured left one. Both men rise up in corners. Fox places Ricochet in the corner. Enziguri. Lo Mein Pain! Fox is in pain. He covers. 1-2-NO! Ricochet knees him away and kicks him. Back suplex sends Fox knee first into the middle turnbuckle. Phoenix splash. 1-2-NO! Leg kicks from Ricochet. Fox elbows but gets placed on the top rope. Boot on Ricochet. Slap by Ricochet. Superplex blocked. Fox shoves him off. Lungblower hits. Cannonball in the corner. Lo Mein Pain and Fox gets the victory.
Match Analysis: Part of me questions whether putting two high flyers in the ring and having them do this type of match. I’ll give them and the promotion for going a completely direction and leaving room for a third match down the road.The other part of me gives Fox a lot of credit for selling the knee throughout. Great main event, maybe not quite four stars but still an excellent way to end the show.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: AR Fox/18:47/***1/2
-Ricochet teases walking out, but CIMA orders him to shake Fox’s hand. Ricochet grazes his hand and mumbles into the microphone before exiting.
-Horiguchi says he and Saito will take the tag team titles the next night.
The Verdict: The first night of these DG USA tripleshots tend to be the weakest, and my hunch is this will be no exception. This was still a good night of action with a lot of unique matches, including an unexpected main event with some psychology. A minor thumbs up for this show.
For more information on Dragon Gate USA, please check out their website. To purchase this show and so many other shows from DG USA, Evolve, CZW, etc. on-demand, check out WWN’s website.
Jerome Cusson has been a professional wrestling fan since late 1994. Having started out as a fan of WWF, he eventually expanded his horizons into WCW and ECW. After the unfortunate deaths of these two companies, Jerome's interest in wrestling nearly came to an end before he discovered independent wrestling. Let the love/hate relationship with wrestling continue.
We are a collection of fans who just decided to start a website. We all have our favorite INDY promotion, but we also want to bring more attention to those indies you may not have heard of and may enjoy.