Lee here with live coverage of Dragon Gate USA’s fourth anniversary show! I’ll also be tweeting about it over on Twitter @HellionLee, and there’ll probably be results over on the @pwponderings Twitter if Chris or whoever is running that. Keep refreshing this page for updates. Show starts at 1pm EST, which is 6pm for us English folk. Go order it over at WWNlive.com
Annnd we’ve started. Well, we’ve had a couple of frozen frames. This could be an ode to the total darkness that was 2/3rds of the second anniversary show stream.
Next jump informs us that we’re mid match, as Drew Gulak takes on Jon Davis. Spoiler alert: doesn’t look like we’re gonna see much of this. They’s a day left of Dragon Gate World being available on Ustream, maybe you should go watch that instead (EDIT: It may only be available for a few more hours so maybe you shouldn’t). Might as well go read my review of that show too.
A split second of the stream working seemed to indicate that Jon Davis won.
And we have consistent sound and graphics! Business is picking up folks. Hopefully we’ll actually get to see match 2. Yeah, it’s working. Good times.
Match 2: Shane Strickland vs Caleb Konley
This was supposed to be a triple threat but Scott Reed couldn’t make it to the show. Typical opening mat and counter stuff. I’ve just realised Strickland is the guy I liked on the last Evolve show. Strickland dominates briefly before Konley comes back with a knee and a springboard moonsault. Nice Dave Lee Roth split jump over Konley. Strickland can move for sure. More flippy stuff then Konley put him in a submission, Larry Dallas distracted him saying he needed him back, Strickland gets a flashy roll up for the three count!
Winner: Shane Strickland
Thoughts: Fun little opener (well, the opener for those watching on IPPV). They kept it short which I appreciate. Strickland definitely seems to have more potential than Konley.
Larry Dallas apparently “fired” Scott Reed, kayfabe explaining his absence (he couldn’t make it due to “personal obligations”).
Match 3: Anthony Nese vs Uhaa Nation
Uhaa doesn’t use his Japan music in DGUSA? Not cool. Anyway, people are getting into Nese this year and he went over Tozawa yesterday, let’s see what he can do.
They do flashy stuff then Uhaa dominates. Nese comes back with a suplex. He show his movez, with an Uhaa-dodging cartwheel across the apron and a diving flippy thing. Nice. Nese tries to dominate but takes a bunch of suplexes, of the belly-to-belly and german variety. They trade kicks, ending in wild Uhaa lariat. Nese gets gorilla pressed, then standing moonsaulted, but he escapes the second half of the Uhaa Combination! Nese gets a roll up for 2. Nation counters a powerbomb attempt into an armbar. Uhaa dodges a 450.Nese matrix dodges a running boot, hits a shotgun dropkick. Uhaa takes a knee in the corner. Nese hits the 450 for the three count!
Winner: Anthony Nese
Thoughts: A few hot exchanges but the finish was way flat. Nese has the movez but I’m still not sold on him. Â Watching Uhaa is always a good time though.
Match 4 – CHIKARA 8 man tag: Chuck Taylor, Jigsaw & The Batiri vs Fire Ant, Frightmare, Ophidian and Amasis
Jigsaw swapped sides or something at the beginning. Much talk about tecnicos and rudos and trades and undisclosed amounts of money and I’m confused.
Apologies for the lack of play by play, my takeaway arrived at the start of this match and lasted the duration. Jigsaw scored the fall with the Jig And Tonic after a botched finish that Ophidian forgot to kick out of or something.
Winners: Team Jigsaw
Thoughts: I guess that was cool for Chikara fans. Wasn’t quite the jaw dropping spotfest I expected, but I guess it provided some nostalgia for the promotion that came to a close…a month ago.
Business is picking up now, number one contender’s match time!
Match 5 – winner challenges for the title in the main event: Eita vs Tomahawk T.T vs Akira Tozawa vs CIMA
Tomahawk T.T actually changed his name to T-hawk recently. Tozawa is the most over guy of the night, as usual. My money is on Tomahawk to take this, which given my terribly misfired Kobe World predictions, means he probably won’t. The heel-in-denial champion Gargano joins Lenny on commentary.
Everyone locks up then chops each other. Tozawa gets lit up then avoids a triple team, fights Tomahawk but is taking down by Eita and CIMA. They go at and it’s awesome. Tozawa wipes Eita out with a boot. Tozawa does his million chop thing on Eita in the corner. Tozawa drops Eitahawk with closed fists. I’ve just realised I have no idea if this is elimination or not. Quadruple sleeper spot. CIMA puts Tozawa in a leg lock and I’m trying to remember if it’s the one he learned to use on him at Dead Or Alive. Eitahawk go to work on Tozawa. He takes a double dropkick. CIMA stretches Eita, Tozawa slides in trying to pin CIMA! Tomahawk gets double teamed. Christina Von Eerie joins in, they triple suplex the Milennials! Tozawa and CIMA are back to fighting, stretch muffler with a grapevine is broken up by Tomahawk. I guess this must be one fall.
Eita and Tomahawk finally go at it! They trade chops and I mark out at the shades of the original King Of Chop tournament. They trade moves and pinfall attempts. CIMA tries to pin Eita with a Gory Special variation. Eita rolls him up, CIMA counters, Tozawa with the shining wizard! Tozawa opens fire on CIMA. Brainbuster gets a two count! Tomahawk saves CIMA from a german and fights Tozawa. Tomahawk catches Tozawa mid german and slams him! Nice. Eita does a wild flying hurricarana to Tomahawk on the ropes. He does a flippy rope thing and dropkicks him to the floor. Tope Con Hilo! Tozawa and CIMA back at it! Ganki gets the three count for Tozawa and the crowd explodes!!!
Winner: Akira Tozawa (will face Gargano for the title in the main event)
Thoughts: That was really good. As a Dragon Gate fan, it’s really fresh seeing anyone fight Tomahawk and Eita. Everyone worked well together and the finish was awesome. The recently-brought-back Ganki is a great flash pin finish, which I’m sure Tozawa will use plenty when he turns face over in Japan (he’s already in that role in the US).
Gargano cuts a condescending promo on CIMA after the match. He wants to capitalise on Tozawa’s exhaustion and the match is happening now!
Match 6 – Open The Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Akira Tozawa
The bell rings and Jon Davis lariats Tozawa out of nowhere. CIMA makes the save and goes at it with Davis. Gargano chokes out Tozawa with tape then puts in the Gargano Escape. Tozawa is out.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Thoughts: Crowd chant “bullshit”. I agree. I assume they announce a rematch for the main event later.
First half thoughts: We didn’t see the opener, then there were a few decent matches, then a very entertaining four way before an angle to get Gargano over as a heel that just wasn’t a good time for anyone. Even if they do the obvious rematch announcement, the angle still seemed kind of pointless.
Judging by this half time video, I guess they’re doing an angle where Davis is Gargano’s hitman (he attacked CIMA at the last show). I don’t think even Gargano can make heel Davis work.
Twitter is not loving the end to the first half. Check out #DGUSAinNYC. If they’d just left it on the high note of Tozawa winning the four way, everyone would be full of love right now.
And we’re back!
Match 7: AR Fox vs Trent BarettaÂ
I was just racking my brains trying to remember who Fox was wrestling. Typical opening exchanges start things off. Fox takes control with a nifty japanese arm drag into a hold. Trent escapes, Fox flips and armdrags his way into another armbar. Trent takes control with some chops. Trent rolls Fox up for three! I assume Fox offers to put the Evolve title on the line now.
Winner: Trent Barretta
Trent gets on the mic and asks for his title shot. Fox walks out, looking cowardly. I assume he’s getting the belt. I was right! Fox offers him the shot.
Match 7b – Evolve Championship: AR Fox (c) vs Trent Barretta
Fox dominates. He does the avalanche Undertaker legdrop on the apron. Trent dodges a kickflip and lariats Fox! Trent throws him around on the outside. Trent hits a belly to back suplex for two. He does a slingshot stomp thing, then chops Fox out of the ring. Basement dropkick sends Fox into the stage. Trent continues to dominate. Fox makes a comeback. Fox does a dance version of Undertaker’s old school into a bulldog. This guy loves Undertaker. Fox goes for Lo Mein Pain but Trent hangs in there. Trent hits a suplex for two. Crowd are starting to get into it. Fox hits something for a two count. Diving lariat and a dropkick set up a Fox senton, which is avoided. DVD on the ring apron from Trent! Crowd have quietened down again. Tornado DDT gets Trent two. “Roll him up!” chants start. Fox rolls through a top rope hurricanrana into a sunset flip for the three count!
Winner: AR Fox
Thoughts: Had its moments, but felt long and a bit flat for the most part. Didn’t live up to the standard set by the awesome AR Fox/Lince Dorado title match at Evolve 22.
Stream is frozen. Good times.
Feed comes back after a few minutes. A lady comes out telling Fox that Tony Nese has a contract for an Evolve title match. She and some huge dude beat him up. I swear a babyface champion has won a match then got beat up on every Gabeiverse show ever. Fox grants him the shot after recovering.
Match 8 – Open The United Gate Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs Ricochet & Rich Swann
This could be the main event, if a Gargano/Tozawa rematch isn’t booked. The Inner City Machineguns enter to the Lionel Richie song All Night Long. Everyone sings. Amazing. The Bucks don’t have such memorable entrance music, but they do have some stunning attire. Swann and a Buck start things off. They do fast stuff then Swann does his handspring backflip showoff thing. Ricochet and Matt Jackson in now. Ricochet springboard moonsaults over him then does Ricochet stuff. He’s the best. Nick gets double teamed by World-1. Ricochet steals a Buck bandana then does the turnbuckle head-hitting move. Swann dropkicks him out of the hold. Bucks get fancily worked over some more. Swann gets superkicked and the champs are in control! I keep stealing lines from Lenny. Bucks work over Swann for a while. Quite a while, actually. Swann makes a comeback with an enzuiguiri and a handspring DDT. Hot tag to Ricochet!
Ricochet busts out the suplexes. The Bucks get flipped on and stuff. A spear from a Buck takes out Ricochet after a 630 attempt! Assisted Sliced Bread, Shining Wizard for two on Swann! It breaks down and everyone drops everyone with superkicks. Crowd are appreciative but not losing their minds. Shooting Star Press gets two for Ricochet. Swann rallies the crowd. Standing 450 is countered! A small package from Matt almost wins it. Swann survives a super kick party attempt. Standing 450 for a two count! Ricochet up top…630! Â One, two, Matt makes the save! Rallying chants happen. Ricochet opens up on the Bucks.He gets superkicked, but returns it, double superkick from the Bucks! Springboard assisted tombstone gets two for the Bucks! Double superkicks to both of the challengers! Setting up for More Bang For Your Buck on Swann! They hit it! They get the three count.
Winners: The Young Bucks
Thoughts: The heat just wasn’t there. The false finish with World-1 almost winning got no real reaction, nor did the More Bang For Your Buck on Swann. I really think the finish of the first half just killed the crowd for the rest of the show, they were way hot before that. This doesn’t hold up at all against the universe-altering tag title match that Ricochet won in Japan last week.
Ricochet apparently has a title shot of his choice because of the stip of a match back at Mania weekend. He calls Gargano out. The champion comes out and calls Ricochet by his real name, Trevor. It just got real folks! Gargano tells him to go challenge Fox instead. Ricochet goes for Gargano so he calls security. They escort him away. Gargano tries to deliver the show closing speech. He asks the fans if they enjoyed the show. “I’m indifferent!” is the best response. Tozawa’s music hits!!! Oh they have to have him win the title here. The bell rings and the previously dead crowd are losing their minds!
Match 9 – Open The Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Akira TozawaÂ
Gargano tries to escape but Swann stops it. Tozawa hits a boot! Gargano gets beat up on the outside. Brainbuster on the inside. Tozawa absorbs the Generico homage “Ole!” chants. Opens up with chops on Gargano. He punches him in the face. Gargano counters a brainbuster attempt into a suplex. Gargano in control kills the crowd. They rally behind Akira. He makes a comeback and they trade strikes, bicycle kick wipes Gargano out! Tozawa counters the through-the-ropes spear with his knee strike in an awesome spot. Hurricanrana to Gargano is countered, Tozawa ends up in the Gargano escape! He makes it to the ropes. They trade forearms. Enzuiguiri, bicycle kick, superkick, lariat, saito suplex, a bunch of stuff culminating in the shining wizard. Awesome sequence. Tozawa forearms are ended with a superkick. Lawn dart sends Tozawa to the floor?! That was nuts and I couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not. Another lawn dart into the turnbuckle gets a two count. Another awesome counter sequence lead to a deadlift german getting Tozawa a two count! Ref gets knocked out. Gargano low blow. Gets the chain out. Ugh. Gargano Escape with the rope. I thought it was a chain. Ref comes round, makes him ditch the rope. German suplex! Two count for Tozawa! Crowd way hot for Tozawa. He’s going for the straight jacket. Gargano gets out, massive counter stretch leads to Hurt’s Don’t it! Tozawa kicks out at one! People losing their minds. Tozawa flurry ends in Gargano Escape. Tozawa is out.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Thoughts: Great main event. I guess the first half ending angle paid off in that it made Gargano hated and got the people behind Tozawa more, but I still think it killed the crowd for the Evolve and United Gate title matches. Those two came off pretty flat, so while the undercard was fine, I feel like the four way and the Freedom Gate match are the only ones worth seeing. I guess I can only really recommend this show to Akira Tozawa or Johnny Gargano completists on those grounds. If you want Dragon Gate, I’d recommend ordering the Ustream VOD of last week’s killer Kobe World Hall show…at least, I’d recommend it if it was available for longer, I think it’s only up there for another few hours (the DG Ustream shows only stay up on demand for a week). On the American indy Gabe Sapolsky side of things, I haven’t seen last night’s DGUSA show so I can’t compare it to that, but I did catch Evolve 22 which was much better than this.
Thanks for following along with me tonight folks. Well, this afternoon if you’re in America. If you want to talk about the show, feel free to contact me on Twitter @HellionLee