Friday, January 17, 2014

PWG Matt Rushmore Review

Future Shock Explodes!!

PWG Matt Rushmore
Reseda, California 10/19/13

The show kicks off with Excalibur in the ring, but he is interrupted by Mount Rushmore. They litter the ring with empty beer cans and say that "Global Warming is a work", among other things. Excalibur calls them out for disrespecting Kyle O'Reilly, Joey Ryan, and recycling. He makes the Bucks' match against Joey Ryan & Candice LaRae for the titles with Rick Knox as referee. The Bucks threaten to superkick Excalibur but are stopped by Steen who says he'll have their back on commentary. Adam Cole bashed Kyle O'Reilly before they leave. So weird to see an in-ring promo open a PWG Show.

1.) “Pretty” Peter Avalon & Ray Rosas vs. B-Boy & Willie Mack: ***

Pretty much exactly the kind of opener you would expect from PWG. It features a lot of high flying and a lot of Avalon (now more well known as Norv Fernum in TNA) & Rosas getting thrown around. The match really picked out down the stretch and definitely had it's moments.

2.) Kevin Steen vs. ACH: ***1/4

Steen was wearing tassels in tribute to The Young Bucks. These two just had a match in ROH a few weeks prior at Charm City Challenge. I honestly think their ROH match was better. ACH got some offense in, but this was definitely a Steen dominated match, which one might expect. I just feel like it was missing something.

Steen gives ACH a few more Package Piledrivers after the match. Just brutal.

3.) AR Fox & Rich Swann vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?): ***1/2

A very interesting pairing of Dragon Gate USA/Evolve guys here. This was actually a pretty good tag match. Fox & Swann were their usual high flying selves and the Best Friends pairing of Taylor & Trent? was actually quite entertaining to watch. The only thing going against it was that it was a little long (almost 20 minutes). Best Friends get the win.

4.) Fatal Four-Way – Brian Cage vs. “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Anthony Nese vs. Drake Younger: ***1/2

They shoot right out of the get from the get go and things get really crazy. At one point Younger did a Moonsault off the top rope to the floor and actually hit one of the hanging ceiling lights, taking it out! Just a wild, crazy and out of control four-way that didn't overstay it's welcome (it was only 12 minutes which actually working in it's favor). Drake Younger would pick up the win here.

5.) Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong: ****

I believe this is a first time match-up. Another dream match by PWG (Thank You!). This was really great, but I was kinda surprised that this wasn't any better. The fact that it, to a degree, underwhelmed but was still a **** match showed just how good Gargano & Strong are. Gargano would get the victory.

6.) PWG World Tag Team Titles – The Young Bucks vs. Joey Ryan & Candice LaRae: ****1/4

At the start of the show, this was changed to a match with the titles on the line. This was pretty short for a PWG Tag Title Match, but it was definitely the Match of the Night. The people in Reseda LOVE Candice LaRae, and she & Joey Ryan put up really good fight against The Young Bucks. Just a ton of great action here, though in the end, The Young Bucks would retain.

7.) PWG World Title – Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****

O'Reilly got this title shot as a result of winning the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles. A really good World Title Match here. I feel like O'Reilly & Cole have this weird chemistry when they're opponents. Their matches are generally good, sometimes (like here and at ROH Best in the World 2012) great, but are never really amazing. Still, this was a great main event, though the ending featured a ton of interference from the rest of Mount Rushmore, leading to Cole retaining the title.

After the match, Mount Rushmore beats down O'Reilly until the rest of the roster comes out and send Mount Rushmore packing. Johnny Gargano takes the mic. He puts over the PWG crowd and demands that he get a title shot at Cole on the next show. Kyle O'Reilly, in turns, says that after Gargano "takes out that pussy", he wants the first title shot, which Gargano agrees to.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was probably one of the more lackluster showings from PWG in 2013, but one again, the fact that this show was still pretty good just further shows how great of a promotion PWG is. Gargano/Strong and the two title matches were definitely the highlights of this one, and the undercard was very solid as well. On the whole, it wasn't PWG's best showing of 2013, but it was definitely very consistent and still very good.

WWE SummerSlam 2013 Review

Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena headlines WWE's annual summer spectacular!

WWE SummerSlam 2013
Los Angeles, California 8/18/13


1.) WWE United States Title - Dean Ambrose (with Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) vs. Rob Van Dam (with The Big Show & Mark Henry): **3/4

This is actually a really unique matchup. One of the positives to RVD's recent return to WWE. The match was fine for what it was. It filled it's roll fine with RVD getting to hit his signature offense and Ambrose being the great heel that he was. The match ends in a DQ when Roman Reigns spears RVD and a brawl erupts between the Six-Man.

Main Show

The Miz, who is the host of SummerSlam, comes out to start things. He runs down the card but Fandango & Summer Rae interrupt to do some dancing, and Miz tells the "monkeys in the truck" to roll the opening video

I believe JoJo from Total Divas does the National Anthem as well.

1.) Ring of Fire Match - Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (with Luke Harper & Erick Rowan): **

Basically WWE kind of PG'd this match where it's no longer about setting someone on fire to win, and its pinfall and submissions only. The Ring of Fire is being used, in theory, like a Cage Match, meant to keep the rest of The Wyatt Family interfering. The match itself was ok. Not much else to say about it. Harper & Rowan try several times to get through the flames until they finally used a fire proof sheet of some kind to enter the ring and beat up Kane, leading to a Bray Wyatt victory.

After the match, Harper & Rowan smashes Kane's head in the steel steps (which looked really bad) at the feet of Wyatt. They then take Kane with them as they depart.

2.) Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow: ***

Team Rhodes Scholars split up after Sandow "stole" the Money in the Bank from Cody Rhodes in the closing moments of their Money in the Bank Ladder Match at the last PPV. After Rhodes threw Sandow's original briefcase in the Gulf of Mexico, Sandow now has a new & improved bronze looking briefcase that he handcuffs to the turnbuckle. This was actually a good match. Cody Rhodes has always been a talented wrestler and I feel Sandow is overlooked sometimes but he's actually quite good in the ring. Rhodes gets the win and they play up that Cody has a future title shot since Sandow, being Mr. Money in the Bank, is the "de facto" #1 Contender.

3.) World Heavyweight Title - Alberto del Rio vs. Christian: ***1/2

Both of these two are very good wrestlers so it was no surprise that this was a really good World Title Match. I know a lot of people don't like ADR but you can't take away that he can pull out great performances. Very good back and forth match that sees ADR get the win with the Cross Armbreaker to retain his title.

4.) Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella & Eva Marie) vs. Natalya (The Funkadactyls): *3/4

This is a battle of Total Divas! Not much to say here. Pretty fine for a Divas Match. Natalya always puts on good matches. Things break down on the outside and this leads to Natalya making Brie tap out to the Sharpshooter.

5.) No DQ Match - Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. CM Punk: ****1/2

Heyman screwed Punk out of winning Money in the Bank, which led to their separation and this match with another Paul Heyman guy in Brock Lesnar. This was definitely one of the best matches of 2013 not just in WWE, but in all of pro-wrestling. Definitely Brock Lesnar's best match since his return and quite possibly the best match in his entire wrestling career. That just shows how great CM Punk really is. The story of the match (Punk fighting as the underdog against Lesnar while trying to get his hands on Heyman) worked really well, and even played into the finish of the match. Probably one of the best examples of a big man vs. little match fight that WWE has ever put on. Just awesome, awesome stuff.

6.) Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee: **1/2

This match came about after Ziggler broke up with his (storyline) girlfriend in AJ Lee and also served as the continuation of the Kaitlyn/AJ feud (which I actually really enjoyed). A fine match here. Nothing really spectacular, but I think it was perfect for where it was placed in the card (between the two main matches). It provided a breather but still proved to be entertaining. Ziggler & Kaitlyn pick up the win.

7.) WWE Championship - Special Referee: Triple H - John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan: ****1/2

Cena was given the opportunity to pick his opponent, and he chose Daniel Bryan. Vince McMahon had been trying to mold Bryan into a more "corporate" image while Cena and Bryan were sparring back & forth as "Entertainer" vs. "Pro-Wrestler". Cena has his left arm heavily wrapped up due to a bicep injury. This was a fantastic match. I felt like Cena and Bryan worked really well together and the match just had that great atmosphere that put it over the top. Lots of really cool stuff in this match. Bryan ended up hitting Cena with a running kick (similar to the kick his longtime foe KENTA would use) to beat Cena and win the WWE Title. Definitely one of the best matches of 2013!!

Afterwords, all looks well for Daniel Bryan. Cena shakes his hand, he gets a shower of confetti, the crowd is chanting "YES!"....until Randy Orton comes out. He teases that he's going to cash in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, but slowly walks back up the entrance way. Bryan starts another "YES!" chant, perhaps as to say that he'll defend it now, but Triple H turns him around and hits him with the Pedigree!! Orton comes to the ring, cashes in the briefcase, and pins Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Title. Orton & Triple H celebrate with the title as the show comes to an end.

Overall: 8.75/10

This was a really great show from WWE, and definitely one of the best SummerSlam shows in recent memory. Lesnar/Punk and Cena/Bryan were definitely the two best matches on the show, and definitely were two of the best wrestling matches in all of 2013. Bryan winning the title and the ending segment is probably one of the biggest moments of 2013 as well. We also had a few undercard matches that were pretty solid (ADR/Christian, Rhodes/Sandow) and it overall made for a pretty awesome event.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ROH Bryan Danielson: The Final Countdown Review

It's The Final Countdown!

Bryan Danielson: The Final Countdown

Disk 1

Death Before Dishonor V: Night 1 (8/10/07) – Bryan Danielson vs. Matt Sydal: ***

Take No Prisoners 2008 (3/16/08) – Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries: ****1/4

Respect Is Earned II (6/7/08) – ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black) vs. Bryan Danielson & Austin Aries: ****

New Horizons (7/26/08) – Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black: ****1/2

Fueling The Fire (8/1/08) – Bryan Danielson & Austin Aries vs. The Motor City Machine Guns: ****

Bound By Hate (11/8/08) – Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black vs. Kenny Omega: ***3/4

Southern Hostility (12/6/08) – No DQ Match – Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli: ****1/4

All-Star Extravaganza IV (12/26/08) – Bryan Danielson vs. Jerry Lynn: ****

Disk 2

Steel City Clash (3/20/09) – Bryan Danielson vs. Mike Quackenbush: ***1/2

ROH on HD-Net Episode 23 – Bryan Danielson & Roderick Strong vs. The American Wolves: ***3/4

ROH on HD-Net Episode 24 – Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong: ****

The Final Countdown Tour: Dayton (9/18/09) – Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Hero: ****1/4

The Final Countdown Tour: Chicago (9/19/09) – ROH World Title – Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson: ****1/4

The Final Countdown Tour: Boston (9/25/09) – Bryan Danielson vs. Davey Richards: ****1/2

Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown (9/26/09) – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness: ****1/2

Overall: 9.5/10

Ring of Honor has put out several Bryan Danielson compilations, each detailing different parts of his ROH career. This one mostly details the last year and a half of his ROH run (2008-9), with one outlier match from mid-2007. I gotta say the compilation is pretty fantastic. The first disk has several matches from a lot of 2008 shows (For me, it's all of the matches on the first disk except the matches from Take No Prisoners 2008 & Respect Is Earned II) that are now out of print, which I was actually very looking forward to seeing. It has a really good mix of matches against a variety of opponents. I was actually extremely surprised that Danielson's Fight Without Honor against Takeshi Morishima from Final Battle 2008 didn't make the cut, but I have that show plus it's on the Danielson vs. The World compilation so it's not really that big of a deal. I did already have about half the matches on the second disk, but it was cool to see some of the matches I did not have (The HD-Net Matches, The World Title Match vs. Aries). The inclusion of all the Final Countdown Tour Matches is sweet as well, since all four of those matches are fantastic. Other than that, what else can I say? It's a Bryan Danielson compilation. We all know how good he is, and this DVD set further shows that. I'd say it's definitely worth going out of your way to get.

Dragon Gate USA Bushido: Code of the Warrior 2013 Review

The Gate To Heaven Match makes its debut!

Dragon Gate USA Bushido: Code of the Warrior 2013
Queens, New York 7/27/13

The show starts out with Rich Swann, who sings as he comes out. He says that he wants his match with Johnny Gargano right now! A referee comes out and said that Gargano told him to tell Swann that he was not "properly stretched and prepared" to compete, so Swann would have to wait.

1.) Jigsaw vs. Uhaa Nation: **3/4

I've honestly not seen a lot of Uhaa Nation, but I have heard of him. This opening match was pretty entertaining for what it was. A short opener, but it did a good job of getting the crowd into the show, which is exactly what an opening match should do. Uhaa Nation wins the Uhaa Combination.

2.) Six-Way Freestyle – Derek Ryze vs. Shane Strickland vs. Drew Gulak vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Scott Reed (with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels) vs. Caleb Konley: ***1/2

I'm familiar with everyone in here except Derek Ryze. The only real story in this match is Caleb Konley trying to get his hands on his former partner Scott Reed. This was actually a lot of fun to watch.  The match was given a good deal of time and the crowd was really. Some might call this a spotfest, but if it was, it was a pretty darn entertaining one. Everyone got their chance to shine which is great to see. Reed would end up getting the win after low blowing Konley.

After the match, Drew Gulak and Orange Cassidy were about to head to the back when Jon Davis came out and attacked them. This brought out Chuck Taylor and the Bunkhouse Match is underway!

3.) Bunkhouse Match – Jon Davis vs. Chuck Taylor: ***1/2

A Bunkhouse Match is basically a Street Fight. Both Taylor & Davis wrestled in typical Street Fight attire. This was a pretty fun match that saw a good bit of plunder get involved, even a plunger, which I thought was funny. Taylor gets the big win over Jon Davis.

4.) Non-Title Grudge Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Rich Swann: ***3/4

The Open The Freedom Gate Title is not on the line in this one. I don't think you'll ever get a bad match out of these two. This one was very good, exactly the kind of action you would expect from athletes of this caliber. Gargano ended getting the win via nefarious means.

5.) EITA vs. Trent Baretta: ***1/4

Both men have been very impressive over the past few months. A solid match here. EITA was once again impressive and Baretta showed a lot of charisma along with his wrestling talent. Makes you wonder why WWE released him. Baretta gets the win in a good contest.

6.) Akira Tozawa (with Christina Von Eerie) vs. Anthony Nese (with Mr. A): ***3/4

Nese had been on a winning streak ever since forming the Premiere Athlete Brand, but Tozawa is possibly his toughest challenge yet. This was a great match. Towaza was awesome as usual while Nese keeps getting better and better. Nese eventually gets the win in a great back & forth match.

Afterwords, Christina Von Eerie has some words with Nese until Su Yung attacks her from behind, and this sets up the big Mr. A hitting Von Eerie with a massive splash off the top rope. Nese reveals Su Yung to be the new secretary of the Premiere Athlete Brand.

7.) Gate To Heaven Match – Ricochet & The Young Bucks vs. CIMA, Evolve Champion AR Fox & Tomahawk TT: ****1/4

So here are the rules (bear with me): This is a three fall match. The first fall is a six-man tag team match with tags strictly enforced. The second fall will be held under Dragon Gate Rules (i.e. no tags are needed/rolling out the ring constitutes as such). The third & final fall is basically a TLC Match with pinfalls and submissions (like The Shield vs. Team Hell No & Ryback from WWE TLC 2012). Unlike a two out of three falls match, all three falls will be contested. If one team wins all three falls, they get to book whatever matches they want. Ricochet & The Young Bucks take the first fall. CIMA, AR Fox, & Tomahawk TT take the second fall, and Ricochet & The Young Bucks take the third & final fall, winning the match. Despite the convoluted format of the match, I though it was a super fun contest. Their were some rough spots here and there which were noticeable, but the match itself was quite entertaining. I actually liked how well Ricochet worked with The Young Bucks here. CIMA, AR Fox, and TT all had their moments also. When you get six guys like this in a match, there's no way it won't be good.

Ricochet is cutting a promo after the match until The Young Bucks superkicked him, because Ricochet is challenging for the Open The United Gate Titles the next night. Rich Swann comes out to defend his partner and says that tomorrow night, he & Ricochet will be bringing the Open The United Gate Titles home.

Overall: 8.75/10

This was a really fun show from show Dragon Gate USA. A lot of it had to do with its consistency. Every match on here is at the least good, and at the most, fantastic. I found it really enjoyable to sit though and watch. The venue looked pretty good to and it looks like they'll be running it more frequently which is always a good sign. Definitely one of Dragon Gate USA's best shows of 2013.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wrestling is Cool: Best Served Cold Review

The Colony and The Devastation Corporation once again go to war!

Wrestling is Cool: Best Served Cold
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12/8/13

I should mention that this show took place in the middle of a massive snowstorm, so very fitting if you ask me.

1.) Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. The Estonian TunderFrog: ***

Before this match, Gavin Loudspeaker announces that apparently JFDC was not at the show because of the weather, but JFDC did indeed come out and said he came in on his private jet. This was a very solid opener here. These two are definitely highlights of the "Wrestling is..." Promotions for sure. The ThunderFrog would get the win over the Ecuadorian Export.

2.) Eddie Kingston vs. Jolly Roger: DUD

Kingston becomes very annoyed with the various people in the audience wearing "I Am CHIKARA" T-Shirt, asking people to take them off several times. He basically kills Jolly Roger in short order but gets counted out because he's too focused on the people in the crowd. He even goes after a fan who was the same person who was kidnapped by Condor Security at an "I Am CHIKARA" rally in November. The owner of Wrestling is Cool comes out and tells Kingston to leave. More of a segment than a match.

3.) Missile Assault Ant vs. The Lithuanian Snow Troll: **1/2

The Snow Troll brings out some snow balls which is very appropriate. A fun match that sees the Lithuanian Snow Troll getting the win on this snowy night. Good for him!

4.) Jaka vs. Jervis Cottonbelly: ***

These two had a good match in Wrestling is Art before interference by Sidney Bakabella caused a DQ finish. They were able to have a proper match with a proper finish and it was pretty entertaining. A good match that sees Jaka get the win.

5.) Drew Gulak vs. “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti: ***1/2

This was a match that I think a lot people were looking forward to. It lived up to expectations and was MOTN for sure. It was definitely different to see Mr. Touchdown in a mat-based clinic with Drew Gulak. If you're into technical spectacles this was definitely it. Gulak would get the win and Touchdown shook hands with Gulak after the match.

6.) Frank O’Rourke vs. Frightmare: ***1/4

Here we had another first time matchup that I was looking forward to. Another pretty good match here. Frightmare got his offense in but O'Rourke just brutalized him at some parts as one would expect. These kind of matches really entertain me to be honest. O'Rourke gets the win.

7.) Chuck Taylor vs. Eric Corvis: **3/4

These two had a match at Beyond Wrestling, I believe. Taylor did his usual comedy stuff and Corvis dishes out his unique offensive and defensive maneuvers, and eventually picked up the win. Corvis celebrated and Taylor sulked. This was an entertaining match. I really hope Corvis gets more attention because I really like his gimmick (and his attire) along with his unique moves.

8.) The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive & Flex Rumblecrunch) vs. The Colony (Fire Ant & Green Ant): ***

Yet another match in the Colony/Devastation Corporation feud, but with a new twist, as I think this is the first time McMassive & Rumblecrunch teamed up in 2-on-2 competition. Much like all of their other matches, this was a pretty entertaining match and a very solid main event. The Devastation Corporation has come a really long way and The Colony have always proven to put on quality matches. In this encounter, The Colony gets the win.

After the match, the owner of Wrestling is Cool comes out. He gives a little speech before laying out Gavin Loudspeaker!!! He then speaks in German and does the BDK Salute. The camera then pans to two large masked figures clad in white (presumably Ares & Tursas) who the owner comes to and salutes with before leaving. Wrestling is Cool is apparently over.

Overall: 7.25/10

Another one bites the dust, apparently. This is the fourth "Wrestling is..." Promotion to be closed down by a villainous rudo group. The show itself was a pretty good one. No real bad matches to speak of and every match is at least enjoyable in one way or another. Of course the big story here is what happened at the end of the show, and it looks to be another chapter in the larger CHIKARA/"Wrestling is..." story.

Evolve 18: Gargano vs. Callihan Review

An Open The Freedom Gate Title Match highlights the last show of 2012!

Evolve 18: Gargano vs. Callihan
Voorhees, New Jersey 12/8/12

1.) Four-Way Freestyle Qualifier – AR Fox vs. Tony Nese: ***1/4

In preparation for the Evolve Title Tournament, we're having a kind of mini-tourney where people have the chance to advance their records. Their would be four qualifying singles match and a four-way later in the night, with one man potentially getting two wins. Fox vs. Nese is the first of those matches. It was a pretty solid opener. Lots of fun an innovative action. Of course it's interesting to look at this match now, as these two would go from the opening match to the main event for the Evolve Title the next year. AR Fox wins and advances.

2.) Four-Way Freestyle Qualifier – MASADA vs. Papadon: **

This is the second qualifying match. It was just ok. Probably the worst of the four qualifiers. I don't know what it was, but it just wasn't that interesting. MASADA wins and advances.

After the match, Larry Dallas comes out and wants to sign Papadon to a contract with The Scene. He apparently signs and Dallas calls out Marti Belle. They then have a handicap match (which I'm not even going to list here) where Belle gets beat up by Papadon and Dallas covers her in a suggestive manner. What was the point of this? Just a garbage segment.

3.) Four-Way Freestyle Qualifier – Rich Swann vs. Jigsaw: ***1/4

The third qualifier of the night. This was another pretty good match, and a unique on as well (first time ever, I believe?). I'd say it's about on-par with the opening match. Just really enjoyable. Rich Swann wins and advances.

4.) Four-Way Freestyle Qualifier – Chuck Taylor (with The Swamp Monster) vs. Jon Davis: **1/4

Little did we know it but this would be the start of a long feud that would run well into 2013. The entrance of Jon Davis has to be one of the worst in wrestling. The match itself was ok. Taylor did his comedy stuff though it was weird since they were both heels. Jon Davis wins and advances. 

After the match, Johnny Gargano comes out, and cuts a promo basically running down Jon Davis, saying he's mediocre and a bully.

Arda Ocal is in the ring and announces that John Morrison & The Young Bucks are coming to Dragon Gate USA. Some girl comes out and is apparently a big fan of John Morrison and wants to be his manager. Christina Von Eerie then comes out who goes over here whole "Dragon Gate USA belongs to Mad Blankey" stuff before laying her out. Another nothing segment.

5.) The Super Smash Brothers vs. El Generico & Samuray del Sol: ***3/4

After having a pretty incredible three match series, El Generico & Samuray del Sol have since been teaming. Here they're taking on The Super Smash Brothers. This was a really entertaining match. I enjoy all four guys so it was easy for me to get into it. Once again, however, the crowd in Voorhees does hamper it a bit. In front of a better crowd, the rating could have been a little higher. Still, the match was a lot of fun. Generico & del Sol pick up the win.

6.) Four-Way Freestyle – AR Fox vs. MASADA vs. Rich Swann vs. Jon Davis: ***

Whoever wins this will walk away with two wins added to their record. This match was pretty short for a four way (around six minutes or so) but it packed a lot of action into that short time. All four guys seemed to get in all of their stuff and it made for a really entertaining match. Rich Swann would pick up the victory.

7.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – Johnny Gargano vs. Sami Callihan: ****1/4

Jon Davis comes out immediately and tries to attack Gargano but Callihan fights him off because he wants to beat Gargano in a fair fight. This was an incredible main event. I have to say this has to be Callihan's best match of 2012. No matter what problems Dragon Gate USA/Evolve have, when the chips are down, they always seem to put on fantastic Open The Freedom Gate Title matches, and this was no exception. These guys really put on a great match and it proved to be a great way to end 2012.

Overall: 7.5/10

Once again, this is a very mixed bag from Evolve. Their were definitely some really good matches on here, like the Main Event Title Match and the big tag match. At the same time, their were some not so good stuff. A few of the match were just ok and their were two segments that had no business being on here whatsoever. The Four-Way Freestyle Tourney had its positives and overall the show was a solid one for Evolve.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2012 Review

An insane four-way highlights the third night of this big weekend!

Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2012
Deer Park, New York 11/4/12

1.) Jon Davis vs. EITA: **1/2

EITA comes out to a pretty good reaction. Davis gets next to nothing, and his entrance still sucks ass. The match was fine. EITA gets some offense in but in the end Davis establishes dominance and wins.

2.) The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels) vs. Tony Nese & Papadon: **3/4

Nese and Papadon have made a few appearance previously, if I remember correctly. This was another fine match. One of the better matches from The Scene, but they still don't do anything from me.

The Scene continues to attack Nese & Papadon until Marti Belle comes out, but she gets beat up by The Scene. Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon make the same and Callihan takes Belle to the back. Since Cannon is already in the ring, he ask for his match now.

3.) Arik Cannon vs. ACH: ***

Another match that was relatively solid. It was fun for what it was. Why ACH is losing here, I have no idea. Sad that Dragon Gate USA and Evolve didn't take him before ROH did.

4.) CHIKARA Sekigun (Jigsaw & Fire Ant) vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***1/2

All four of these men are veterans of CHIKARA so this should be fun. We got a really good match here. All four guys are really entertaining so it was easy for me to get into this. SSB pick up their 2nd win of the weekend. I actually kind of wish Jigsaw & Fire Ant got pushed more as a team.

5.) No DQ Match – Chuck Taylor vs. Rich Swann: ***1/4

Swann got this by winning the Captain's Match at Fearless. The match was a pretty good for a No DQ Match, but I was slightly disappointed. I honestly thought it will be a little bit better, because the Taylor/Gargano blowoff from earlier in the year was so good. Perhaps my expectations were a little high for it. Still, as a match, it was a very solid match. It had a lot of different spots, including Taylor getting to indeed whip Swann, but in the end, Swann wins and gets his revenge on Taylor.

6.) CIMA vs. Sami Callihan: ***1/2

I think this is the first match ever between these two. It was very good. Even though Sami lost, he still looked pretty good against one of Dragon Gate's biggest stars. The direction of his character is still very confusing at this point.

Ricochet comes out after the match and reminds CIMA to stay out of his business.

7.) El Generico & Samuray del Sol vs. The Jimmyz (Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito): ***1/2

This is actually my first time seeing El Generico & Samuray del Sol team up so I'm pretty excited for this. The match was really good. The two luchadores are freaking awesome as a tag team. The Jimmyz also looked good here as well. They didn't have any blow away matches, but they were consistently solid. El Generico & Samuray del Sol win the match.

8.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Ricochet vs. AR Fox: ****1/2

The idea here is that Gargano is defending his title against three of his top challengers from 2012. Jon Davis attacks Gargano as he comes out for the match, and seems to have re-injured his back...again. The match starts out with just the three challengers for a little bit before Gargano gets back in the ring and joins the match, and then that's when things get crazy. It just off the wall action that is incredibly awesome!! AR Fox would go out first, then Ricochet, and finally Tozawa. Gargano retains his title of his awesome main event!

Overall: 8.25/10

Definitely the best show of the weekend. Although the undercard was kind of lackluster (especially compared to the rest of the card), the second half of the show contains relatively good matches and a main event that was one of the the best matches of 2012 in Dragon Gate USA and Evolve. Overall, it was a very good show and I would say the insanity that was the main event is worth the price of the DVD alone.

Dragon Gate USA Uprising 2012 Review

The Open The United Gate Tag Team Titles headline the second night of this three show weekend!

Dragon Gate USA Uprising 2012
Voorhees, New Jersey 11/3/12

DVD Bonus Match

1.) ACH vs. Eita: ***1/4

This was a pre-show matches taped exclusively for the DVD. It was a very good match. Both guys got a fair deal of time and put on a really competitive match where they both looked good. ACH would get the win. Two things: Firstly, why wasn't this match on the iPPV? It was certainly good enough to be. Second, Dragon Gate USA really missed a big opportunity in not signing ACH. Now he's in Ring of Honor.

Main Show

1.) The D.U.F. (Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez) vs. CHIKARA Sekigun (Jigsaw & Fire Ant): ***1/4

Bryce Remsburg, who was on commentary, notes that Jigsaw & Fire Ant's tag team is also known as the Electric Cherry Starship Project, which is actually a cool yet weird name. This was a very good opening match. It's exactly the kind of match that should open a show. Their was a lot of really good action and was a lot of fun. Fire Ant & Jigsaw get the victory.

Afterwords, The Scene attacks The D.U.F., taking out Pinkie Sanchez, but Marti Belle saves them from a further beating.

2.) Akira Tozawa vs. Samuray del Sol: ***3/4

This was another match that I was really looking forward to on this weekend of shows. I thought it was pretty great! Tozawa is mad over and seemingly never fails to have a great match. Samuray del Sol looks pretty awesome here as well. Definitely one of the best matches of the weekend. Tozawa picks up the win.

Jon Davis comes out, and talks about how he took out Gargano at Fearless and that he should vacant his title. Johnny Gargano's music hits and the champ comes out with a ref. He wants their match and we get it!

3.) Non-Title Anything Goes Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Jon Davis: DUD

Davis hits Gargano with a few lariats and defeats the champ in short order. What the hell was that? Why did they have to do that segment the night before and have what was essentially a squash match here? They could have easily just had Davis defeat Gargano cleanly in a competitive anything goes match.

After the match, Davis sets up a table on the outside but Gargano is rushed to the back by referees. As Davis heads to the back, Gargano dives off a ladder through the entrance curtain onto Davis. They brawl for a little bit before Gargano puts Davis through a table, which doesn't break. Again, why couldn't we have just had a regular match?

4.) Ricochet & Rich Swann vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***3/4

SSB got this match as kind of a consolation prize after losing the #1 Contender's Match at Fearless. This was a really good match that was honestly a lot of fun to watch. The poor crowd reactions actually hurt it a little bit. If this had taken place on a PWG Show, it would probably be well above four stars. The Super Smash Brothers get a huge victory.

5.) The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak & Orange Cassidy with The Swamp Monster & Doctor Colonel Nolan Angus) vs. The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed) & Cheech Hernandez (with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels): **1/2

This is kind of an odd match as its two heel trios going at it. Cheech Hernandez (formerly of Cheech & Cloudy) is getting a "tryout" with The Scene here. Not the best match in the world, but it was fun for what it was. It had it's moments for sure. The Gentleman's Club get the win here.

6.) 2/3 Falls Match – El Generico vs. Sami Callihan: ***1/4

These two had a match back at Evolve 13 where Callihan snapped afterwords and got suspended for his actions, so this match came about as a result of that. Callihan got the first fall pretty quickly. El Generico would later pick up the second fall, but Callihan got the third fall to finally win the match. It was a good match, but it also seemed a bit underwhelming. Given the guys involved, you would have expected it to be a little better. I think the various questions about Callihan's creative direction at the time had a bit to do with it.

7.) Open The United Gate Tag Team Titles – CIMA & AR Fox vs. The Jimmy’s (Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito): ***1/2

The Jimmyz defeated the Super Smash Brothers at Fearless to earn this title shot. It was a pretty good match on the whole. All four guys worked really hard, but once again, the weak crowd prevented this from being any better. It had good action and it really picked up as the match progressed. CIMA & AR Fox would get the win and retain their titles.

After the match, CIMA says AR Fox will become the Open The Freedom Gate Champion the next night at Freedom Fight, but Sami Callihan comes out, and says CIMA should be worrying about his match with the Callihan Death Machine.

Overall: 7.75/10

On the whole, Uprising was definitely a step up from Fearless. You have two really great matches in Tozawa/del Sol and SSB/Ricochet & Swann plus some solid undercard matches and a good main event title match. The live crowds continue to be an issue. It sucks that they're having weak crowds, because when they put on really good shows, it hurts. The weird booking of the Davis/Gargano feud also puts a bit of a damper on things. Despite this, the show does have a pretty good set of matches and I'd say it's worth checking out.

Dragon Gate USA Fearless 2012 Review

A Battle for Respect headlines Dragon Gate USA's return to Massachusetts!

Dragon Gate USA Fearless 2012
Everett, Massachusetts 11/2/12

1.) Non-Title Match – Johnny Gargano vs. EITA: ***1/4

This is the Dragon Gate USA debut for EITA as he faces the Open The Freedom Gate Champion. Really solid opener here. Don't need to repeat myself about how great Gargano is, but EITA was very impressive here in his debut. Exciting opener for sure.

Gargano proceeds to give a post-match speech, but is attacked by Jon Davis! He slams him several times, re-aggravating his well noted back injury. The crowd really didn't seem to care that much. 

2.) The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels) vs. The D.U.F. (Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez): **1/4

These two teams really do not live each other, and have been having issues as of late. The match itself was ok. Nothing really special. The Scene as a group is just not entertaining at all. I feel like I'm repeating myself every time I do a Dragon Gate USA/Evolve review from this time.

3.) Sami Callihan vs. Samuray del Sol: ***1/4

Here we have a very unique matchup that I was actually very looking forward to. It didn't disappoint, as it was a pretty good match. It had a lot of enjoyable moments. Callihan wins via the Top Rope Brainbuster, obviously sending a message to El Generico ahead of their 2/3 Falls Match the next.

4.) Captain’s Match – The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak & Orange Cassidy with The Swamp Monster) vs. Rich Swann, CIMA & ACH: ***1/4

Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann are the captains for their respective teams, and the only way to win was for one to pin/submit the other. If Taylor wins, he'll get to whip Swann at Freedom Fight, but if Rich Swann wins, he'll get a singles match with Taylor at Freedom Fight. The match itself was very solid. Though the trios match from Evolve 17 was probably better, this still had a fair amount of action and entertaining spots. Everyone did their stuff and looked good. Swann would pin Taylor and earn a singles match with Taylor at Freedom Fight.

5.) Akira Tozawa vs. Jon Davis: ***1/2

Davis has a freaking long entrance where he stares at separative individuals in the crowd for a good minute....each. It's sleep inducing. Tozawa comes out and the crowd wakes up, reacting to him big time. This was a really good match. Both men looked good, but unfortunately the crowd could give two shits about Davis and were very much behind Tozawa. Davis gets the win and the crowd is silent.

6.) #1 Contender’s Match – The Jimmyz (Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito) vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***1/2

The winner of this match gets a Open The United Gate Tag Team Title shot at Uprising. This was a pretty good match. These two teams did a lot of entertaining spots, including the "Rubber Band Attack"  which is something that needs to be seen (and it got over with the crowd pretty well). The match goes back and forth until The Jimmyz pick up the win and the Open The United Gate Tag Team Title Shot.

7.) Respect Match – Ricochet vs. AR Fox: ***1/2

The loser of this match must shake the winner's hand and admit that he's the better man. CIMA is also at ringside. This match was completely different than what you might expect. Fox started off with several dives, but on the third dive he tweaks his ankle and goes down. They tease him not being able to continue, but he makes it back in and continues. Most of the match focuses on Ricochet working on AR Fox's leg. It was a very interesting change of pace, and it actually made for a good match, about on par with their Evolve 17 encounter. Against all odds, Fox is somehow able to fight back and pull out a huge victory.

After the match, it looks like Ricochet is not going to follow the match's stipulation, but after being talks to by CIMA, he does so half-heartedly. The Jimmyz of Horiguchi & Saito come out and say they'll be the next champions, and CIMA says Saito looks like Gonzo.

Overall: 7.5/10

This show was a solid show, but ultimately not much else. Their isn't really anything wrong with the matches themselves. Most of them are pretty good, with only one match being subpar, but the matches weren't really anything better than good. You'll definitely get a good selection of solid matches, but the lack of anything really great and the lack of reactions from the crowd makes for a show that's pretty average.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Evolve 17: Generico vs. Del Sol III Review

El Generico and Samuray del Sol have the final match of their three match series!

Evolve 17: Generico vs. Del Sol III
Voorhees, New Jersey 9/8/12

Jon Davis comes out to start the show, interrupting Lenny Leonard. He demands an Evolve Title, and asks the fans to stand up if they want one. Davis calls out any wrestlers in the back who want and Evolve Title, and his calls are answered by Jigsaw, Lince Dorado, Rich Swann, and AR Fox. Ricochet comes out and says he's better than everyone in the ring, and AR Fox gets in his face before he leaves. Then Johnny Gargano comes out, and says they already have a title, the Open The Freedom Gate Title, which he holds. He says he's a champion of the people, and not only wants his match with Davis to be for the Evolve Title, but wants it right now (since both are in their gear). The fans want it and that's what we get.

1.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – Johnny Gargano vs. Jon Davis: **3/4

The career of Jon Davis is apparently still on the line here. The match itself is fine. It wasn't anything spectacular, and it was very weird to see the Open The Freedom Gate Title defended in the opening match of an Evolve Show. They're capable of having a much better match, and they only just scratched the surface here. The match ended in Davis getting counted out, which really was not a satisfying ending.

Gargano takes the mic and says he doesn't want to win on a count out and says he doesn't want Davis to retire. He then gets promptly killed by a Jon Davis Lariat. He then Powerbomb's Gargano over the top rope and through a table on the floor. The match was ok. The after match segment was great.

2.) Jigsaw vs. Lince Dorado: ***

I really liked this one. It was a really enjoyable undercard match with lots of cool stuff. Dorado picks up the win.

3.) Shine Showcase – Christina Von Eerie vs. Marti Belle: *

Really not much to this much. Just a squash for Christina Von Eerie.

Larry Dallas comes out after the match, and basically runs down Belle verbally. The Scene comes out and it looks like they're going to beat her up until Pinkie Sanchez & Sami Callihan come out for the save while Sunny brings Belle to the back. 

4.) The D.U.F. (Sami Callihan & Pinkie Sanchez) vs. The Scene (Scott Reed & Caleb Konley with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels): **1/4

We have an impromptu match on our hands! The match itself was ok. Fine for what it was, but not much else. The crowd loves them some Sami Callihan.

After the match, Sami demands that his match with MASADA right now, and we get just that.

5.) Sami Callihan vs. MASADA: *

This was very.....weird. It seems like a rather quick squash of on of the bigger stars in the WWNLive Universe, but it looked like Sami had some type of injury and the match was shortened because of it. Whatever. Pretty much a nothing match.

6.) Rich Swann & The Super Smash Brothers vs. The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak & Orange Cassidy with Jake Manning, The Swamp Monster, and Doctor Colonel Nolan Angus): ***1/2

The Gentleman's Club is in full force at the Flyers Skate Zone. I think this might be one of the only times they appeared all together at a wrestling show....ever. They're facing Rich Swann and the Super Smash Brothers. A really entertaining trios match. The crowd didn't react to it that much, but it was very fun to watch. I like all six guys and it was a really enjoyable match for me. Swann & SSB get the win. 

7.) AR Fox vs. Ricochet: ***1/2

This match came about as a result of what happened at the end of Enter The Dragon. The match was very good and a lot of fun to watch. Both are incredibly talented athletes so it's hard for it not to be good. The crowd was once action lacking of any big reactions, and that took away from it a bit, but it was still a very good match.

Afterwords, Ricochet takes the mic and verbally runs down AR Fox once again.

8.) El Generico vs. Samuray del Sol: ***3/4

These luchadores are tied 1-1 in singles matches. Their first two matches were held at Evolve 14 & Evolve 15 in Florida, with El Generico winning the first match and Samuray del Sol winning the second match, respectively. This is the rubber match, and it was pretty great! Both guys are just amazing wrestlers and are so entertaining to watch. Awesome stuff from both guys in a very strong main event. El Generico picks up the victory and wins the series 2-1.

Overall: 7.25/10

This is a show that was fine on the whole. The card's top three matches were very good, a lot of fun, and definitely delivered in my eyes. The opening segment and match continued the road to the Evolve Title and set up Johnny Gargano's next big feud. The middle part of the card really dragged this show down for me, and the crowd not being as active as they probably wanted hurt things as well. Still, I feel like the positives outweigh the negatives here, and make for a solid show.