Dragon Gate USA Heat 2013
Huntington Park, California 1/27/13
1.) Rich Swann vs. Arik Cannon: **1/2
Here we have a contrast of styles as the high flyer takes on the brawler. This was a decent opener. It seemed like that different styles played a part in this not being as good as you would think it would be. Still, it was fine for what it was. I think Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels came out at some point during the match and watched from the stage
After the match, Swann, who won the match, cuts a promo about being the best high flyer and throws a verbal shot at Arik Cannon for not being one.
Then, Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels cut a promo, talking some trash. Nobody Cares. He gets chased around the ring by Arik Cannon, who ends up motor-boating Michaels' Breasts. I don't understand why this happened.
2.) Jon Davis vs. Drake Younger: ***
Essentially Davis is pissed about losing the No Rope Match the night before and wants to take everything out on Drake Younger. This was actually a pretty solid match. Younger took a lot of sick bumps on the ring stairs and a bunch of chairs, but got a fair amount of offense in himself, so it wasn't a total squash. Honestly, I think this whole push Jon Davis was a failure. His feud with Gargano was horribly handled with the No Rope Match really being it's only high point. Plus I think Davis has trouble portraying his emotions, which was another big issue. Coupled with quite possibly the lamest entrance in pro-wrestling, and you have the makings of a failure waiting to happen. Davis wins by Knockout. The fans don't seem to be pleased. He then buckle bombs a referee....because he's pissed.
3.) Chuck Taylor vs. EITA: ***1/4
The Kentucky Gentleman comes into this undefeated on the weekend at 3-0 (Two Wrestling Matches, One Game of Beer Pong). A pretty good match here. EITA has quickly established himself as one of the better mid-carders in Dragon Gate USA, even though he hasn't won a match yet. Taylor gets the win in a very solid outing for both guys.
4.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – Johnny Gargano vs. Brian Kendrick: ***1/2
This was originally going to be a non-title match for Gargano, but after the main event on the previous show, Kendrick convinced him to put his title on the line. A pretty good match here for it's position on the card (speaking of which, seeing the Open The Freedom Gate Title Match in the middle of the card is odd). Lots of technical exchanges with Kendrick using veteran tricks to try and win the match. Towards the end Kendrick tries to hit Gargano with the belt after the referee got knocked down, but Gargano turns the tables and uses the belt himself on Kendrick. He then locks in the GargaNo Escape to retain his title. Again, pretty good match.
Afterwords, Gargano cuts a promo saying that nobody should question his intelligence as champion. He talks about how he has beaten everyone and then issues an open challenge to anyone from Dragon Gate in Japan to come to WrestleCon and try to take his title from him.
5.) Samuray del Sol vs. Ryo Saito: **1/2
After two nights of teaming up, The Jimmy's are being split into singles matches. Here Ryo Saito is facing Samuray del Sol. This match was surprisingly average, especially when you consider it involves a Dragon Gate Veteran in Saito and one of Dragon Gate USA's most exciting performs in del Sol. Definitely the disappointment of the show. Samuray del Sol gets the win.
Following the match, del Sol is cutting a promo in the ring when Jon Davis runs out and viciously attacks him.
6.) Sami Callihan vs. Jimmy Susumu: ***1/4
Fortunately, I can happily say that Susumu put on a better performance than Saito. He had a pretty good match with Sami Callihan here. Though the match itself was good, I think there is an issue with Callihan's character, in that he really isn't very well defined. Is he a face or is he a heel? Based on commentary, you'd think he was a face, yet he does heelish things in the ring. Still, the match itself was, again, pretty good. Sami Callihan gets the win and The Jimmy's go 0-2 on the night.
7.) The Young Bucks vs. AR Fox & Akira Tozawa: ****1/4
Here we have a one time only dream team with Tozawa & Fox, who is one half of the Open The United Gate Tag Team Champions along with CIMA, who isn't on these shows. This was easily Match of the Night and jumps ahead of the No Rope Match for Match of the Weekend. All four of these guys are good, so you knew awesome things were going to happen when they faced off. Lots of great back & forth action. The Young Bucks really shine in this Dragon Gate atmosphere, both in the ring and as characters. Eventually Matt Jackson & AR Fox brawl to the back, leaving Tozawa & Nick Jackson in the ring. Tozawa eventually picks up the win and AR Fox returns to celebrate with him to close the show.
In terms of the three shows that took place over this weekend, I'd put this right in between REVOLT! & Open The Golden Gate. The show was honestly quite average, in terms of match quality, until the Main Event, which definitely delivered and made this show worth buying. If your a fan of AR Fox, Akira Tozawa, or The Young Bucks, you should definitely check out that match. The mid-card was fine, but again, nothing really stood out. On the whole, a relatively solid show with a great Main Event.