Opening Match: First Round: Chris Hero, Masato Tanaka, and Roderick Strong vs. Ricochet, Rich Swann, and AR Fox
Hero, Tanaka, and Strong playfully tease roaring elbows before the opening bell. Hero gets the better of Ricochet in an early exchange and hits a senton. Strong enters the ring and Ricochet tags in Swann. Strong and Swann are FIP Tag Team Champions. They have a fast-paced exchange ending with Swann snapping off a hurricanrana. Fox connects with a dropkick on Tanaka, who immediately fires back with a charging forearm. No one really wants to enter the ring with Tanaka. Even Bryce Remsburg doesn’t want the tag. All six men battle over a suplex, with Tanaka’s team winning the exchange. Hero hits a senton on Fox but falls victim to some double teaming by the Inner City Machine Guns. Ricochet finds himself in the wrong corner and gets worked over. He connects with an enzuigiri on Hero and tags in Swann. Hero quickly boots Swann and now Swann is isolated. There’s a point where Strong and Tanaka just take turns chopping him. Swann hits a reverse hurricanrana on Strong and makes the tag. Fox hits a senton on Strong and lands a dive to the floor onto Hero and Tanaka. In the ring, Fox lands a springboard frog splash on Strong. Strong blocks Lo Mein Rain in the corner and hits a backbreaker. Now Fox is worked over. He plants Strong with an ace crusher but can’t make the tag. Fox then hits a double springboard ace crusher on Hero and Tanaka to make the tag. Ricochet hits a neckbreaker on Strong, causing him to DDT Hero. Ricochet ducks a roaring elbow and lands a standing shooting star press, but Hero catches him and hits a cravate suplex. Tanaka hits a DDT on Ricochet for a nearfall. Fox counters a backbreaker from Strong into a crucifix for a nearfall. Strong yanks him off the top rope and into a backbreaker. Fox responds with a twisting brainbuster for a two count. Hero hits a cravate suplex and a liger bomb on Swann. Hero and Tanaka lay out Swann with stereo roaring elbows for a nearfall. Everyone connects with a strike and all six men are down. Hero connects with a roaring mafia kick on Swann for a two count. Swann blocks a roaring elbow with a superkick and sneaks in a cradle for the win at 29:00. This easily could have been the main event. Due to wrestlers needing to be at other events, this match almost had to be the opener, but its placement on the card certainly didn’t diminish the uniqueness of the match as they went all-out for 29 minutes. The action was very good as you’d expect, even if they risked losing the crowd at some points down the stretch. I’m very pleased with the quality of this match but I wonder how the length and exhaustiveness of this match will affect the rest of the card. ***Â¾
Chuck Taylor comes out for an interview. The crowd chants â€œplease donâ€™t cryâ€ as heâ€™s clearly distraught about the Gentlemanâ€™s Club breaking up. Maxwell Chicago comes out and says that heâ€™s here to cheer Taylor up. He brings Taylor something from the crawfish festival next door. Chicago proposes a match, leading toâ€¦
Match #2: Chuck Taylor vs. Maxwell Chicago
Taylor is barely mobile from his sadness. Chicago irish whips him and he sluggishly runs the ropes. Taylor hugs Chicago instead of going under a leapfrog. Taylor knees him in the midsection and applies a figure four. Taylor immediately reverses the pressure. Taylor misses a moonsault and hurts his knee. He was actually just feigning the injury and tries a quick small package to no avail. Chicago calls for a frankensteiner but canâ€™t quite pull it off. He eventually gets Taylor over as the Premiere Athlete Brand attack for a no contest at 4:00. Mr. A hits a samoan drop on Chicago and splashes him as Taylor watches on from the entrance aisle. Su Yung tells Taylor to forfeit or fight the Premiere Athlete Brand by himself. Taylor accepts the challenge…
Match #3: First Round: Chuck Taylor vs. Anthony Nese, Trent Barreta, and Caleb Konley
Taylor locks in a half crab on Nese and connects with a missile dropkick on Konley. Taylor overhead suplexes Konley into Nese. Barreta stares down Taylor. Taylor offers a hug but Barreta is conflicted. Just when it looks like Barreta is about to hug him, Nese and Konley attack from behind. The Premiere Athlete Brand work over Taylor until Biff Busick appears to support Taylor. Busick uppercuts Barreta and hits a german suplex. He hits a blockbuster on Nese, causing him to DDT Konley. Busick is screaming…a lot. Taylor and Busick hit a doomsday lariat on Konley. Larry Dallas interrupts with Teddy Hart. Hart fights off the Premiere Athlete Brand because why not. Hart then attacks Taylor and Busick and gives them both Project Ciampa. Nese covers Taylor for the victory at 10:00. Hart looked great. Taylor, Busick, Nese, Barreta, and Konley looked absolutely terrible. I haven’t seen booking this bad from DGUSA in awhile. DUD
Match #4: First Round: Fire Ant, Green Ant, and Lince Dorado vs. Harlem Bravado, Lance Bravado, and Moose
The Bravados attack before the opening bell but the Colony fight them off with stereo dropkicks. Moose cuts off the faces with his power offense. Harlem hits a back suplex on Dorado and the Bravados isolate him. Green Ant tags in with a springboard DDT on Harlem. Fire Ant follows with a suplex but Moose cuts him off. Moose lands a corner charge on Fire Ant and the Bravados work him over. Fire Ant takes advantage of some miscommunication and makes the tag. Dorado lands a moonsault onto Lance and connects with a double back handspring elbow. The Colony land stereo dives to the floor. Moose catches Dorado on a plancha attempt but the Colony take him out with dives. Dorado then follows with an asai moonsault onto everyone. In the ring, Dorado lands a flying crossbody onto Harlem. Moose hits a rydeen bomb on Dorado for a nearfall. Dorado runs the ropes and hits a DDT on Harlem. Green Ant lands a frog splash for a two count. Lance saves his brother from the Chikara Special. Dorado hits a reverse hurricanrana on Lance. Moose spears Dorado but the Colony pepper him with strikes. They send Moose to the floor. Green Ant hits a michinoku driver on Lance and applies the Chikara Special for the win at 11:00. This show might be able to be called “How Teddy Hart killed a crowd.” The crowd just seemed to be detracted from the action. The booking was thankfully not a problem. Since Moose was in the match he couldn’t actually interfere. Let’s hope that Dorado and the Colony have a breakout performance in the main event. **Â½
After the match, Green Ant says the Colony should receive a title shot at the Bravados. The Bravados give them a title shot at the next set of shows. Harlem challenges Christopher Daniels and Kazarian later.
Match #5: SHINE Title: Ivelisse Â© vs. Mercedes Martinez
Ivelisse had a very good match against Kimber Lee on SHIMMER 62 earlier today. They battle over a wristlock and Ivelisse snaps off an armdrag. Martinez kicks her in the face to escape an armbar. Martinez answers with a few armdrags of her own and connects with a dropkick. Ivelisse lands a flying crossbody but runs into a boot. Martinez hits a delayed vertical suplex and takes control. Ivelisse fights back by grounding Martinez and transitions between various stretches. Martinez blocks a wheelbarrow maneuver by slamming Ivelisse into the canvas. Ivelisse dodges a corner yakuza kick and connects with a series of her own kicks. She reverses a fisherman buster into a DDT. Martinez catches her up top and hits a rope-assisted neckbreaker. Martinez kind of hits a jig n’ tonic for a nearfall. Ivelisse hits a crucifix bomb to retain her title at 13:00. I just don’t know what it is about these SHINE showcase matches on EVOLVE and DGUSA shows. I enjoyed SHIMMER immensely this afternoon, but the action was just sloppy here and the crowd acted like they had no reason to care (because they didn’t). Martinez needed to be helped to her feet after the match but she appears to be okay. **
Match #6: Johnny Gargano vs. Low Ki
Before the match, Gargano pretends like he retained his title last night, still delusional. He also reminds Low Ki that he lost to Trent Barreta last night. Gargano puts the Open the Freedom Gate Title on the line in this match. The crowd chants “save the show” at the opening bell. Gargano retreats to the floor after suffering a chop. They exchange control on the mat and Gargano comes close to locking in the Gargano Escape. Gargano rolls Low Ki into a basement enzuigiri. Low Ki catches him in the ropes with a kick and dropkicks him out of the corner. Gargano hits a lawn dart into the turnbuckles and takes over. Low Ki comes back with a mule kick to the back of the head. He follows with more kicks but Gargano catches him with a superkick. The crowd continues to chant for Gargano. Low Ki connects with a double stomp for a nearfall. Gargano dodges a second one and hits a slingshot DDT. He synchs in the Gargano Escape. Low Ki is able to reach the bottom rope. Low Ki connects with a springboard enzuigiri and hits the Ki Krusher for the victory at 18:00. I did not like this match nearly as much as I thought I would and I had pretty modest expectations. They traded control for the first fourteen minutes but you never got the sense that the action was building to anything. The finish was your typical Low Ki-win-out-of-nowhere type of ending that doesn’t make Gargano look particularly strong. Also, Gargano pretending to still be champion feels and comes off as lame. Not much to see here in a match that needed to deliver. **Â½
Match #7: Finals: Elimination: Ricochet, AR Fox, and Rich Swann vs. Anthony Nese, Trent Barreta, and Caleb Konley vs. Fire Ant, Green Ant, and Lince Dorado
The winners will each receive any match that they request. The Premiere Athlete Brand attack before the opening bell. Dorado and Ricochet lay in a series of chops on Barreta. Fox and Swann take out Dorado with stereo basement dropkicks. The Colony double team Swann and Konley. Konley hip tosses Fire Ant into Green Ant in the corner. They do a nine-way submission spot. Nese breaks it up but eats an enzuigiri from Ricochet. Everyone takes turns hitting moves. Nese powerbombs Swann to the floor onto a group. Dorado lands a shooting star press onto Ricochet. Dorado and Green Ant land stereo dives to the floor after everyone catches Fire Ant on a dive attempt. In the ring, The Colony superkick Barreta and Fire Ant hits a beach break. Green Ant applies the Chikara Special but Konley breaks it up. Dorado hits a reverse hurricanrana on Konley, who answers with a middle-rope michinoku driver to eliminate the Colony and Dorado at 9:00.
The Premiere Athlete Brand immediately isolate Swann. He’s able to hurricanrana Barreta off the middle rope and make the tag. Ricochet cleans house with a series of clotheslines. Fox lands Lo Mein Rain to the floor. Back in, Nese hits a pumphandle powerbomb on Ricochet. Fox hits a springboard ace crusher on Nese. Barreta hits a tornado DDT on Fox. Swann hits a handspring ace crusher on Barreta. Konley hits a rydeen bomb on Swann. Ricochet hits rolling suplexes on Konley. Barreta superkicks Ricochet but the Dudebuster is countered into a code red. Ricochet hits the Benadryller on Nese. Fox lands a 450 splash on Nese for a nearfall. Fox hits Lo Mein Pain on Konley. Baretta connects with a running knee strike on Fox and the Premiere Athlete Brand pick up the win at 16:00. This has to be the weakest Dragon Gate six man in history. The crowd chants “fire Russo” after the match. I cannot tell you how much Teddy Hart absolutely killed this crowd. Everyone was working hard but the right atmosphere was not established for this match to work as well as they wanted. I also thought the elimination stipulation hurt the match, as while the Colony and Dorado got in a lot of offense, they were ultimately eliminated in nine minutes and felt like an afterthought. This show needed a special main event and for some ungodly reason, this was not it. ***Â¼
Overall: The Teddy Hart angle absolutely killed the crowd and rightfully so. That was some of the worst booking I’ve seen in a long time. The double main event under-delivered in a huge way. The crowd chanted “Fire Russo” and “Save this show” multiple times throughout the course of the card. Stay far away from this show.