Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising 2013 Review

Akira Tozawa & Shingo do battle in the Main Event!

Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising 2013
Secaucus, New Jersey 4/7/13

1.) Anthony Nese (with Mr. A) vs. Soldier Ant (with Fire Ant): **3/4

The show kicks off with a rare appearance by Soldier Ant (which was interesting, since he went AWOL at the CHIKARA show the day before) as he takes on Anthony Nese, who has a new bodyguard with him. This was a fine opening match. Pretty standard stuff here. In the end, Nese would pick up the win with a 450 Splash.

After the match, Nese says he’s building a support staff around himself, and introduces his new bodyguard as “Mr. A”, who is the director of imaging for The Premiere Athlete Brand. Nese then has Mr. A attack both Fire Ant & Soldier Ant.

2.) Caleb Konley vs. Scott Reed (with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels): **1/4

The Scene has finally broken up (to the delight of pretty much everyone), and here is their breakup match. Some of the action was fine, but of course, we got a ton of interference from Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels. Reed would use a chair during this madness, which led to him getting the victory over Konley. I’m just happy The Scene is done.

3.) The Super Smash Brothers vs. The D.U.F. (Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon): ***

Little did we know it, but this would be Sami Callihan’s last match in Dragon Gate USA, as he would soon be signed for WWE. That would also mean that this is the last appearance of The D.U.F. in Dragon Gate USA, as Arik Cannon would be gone as well. Here, they’re taking on The Super Smash Brothers. For the most part, this was a pretty standard tag team match. There were a few rough points, including the finish, as Player Uno was unable to hold Callihan up for FATALITY!, forcing Player Dos to pick up the win with a regular splash. Again, the match was fine, but not really memorable.

4.) Chuck Taylor (with The Gentleman’s Club) vs. Brian Kendrick: ***¼

So the story here is that Brian Kendrick is trying to get Chuck Taylor, who has been a goofy heel with The Gentleman’s Club for the last year, to start taking things seriously, so that he doesn’t make the same mistakes that Kendrick made. Taylor is accompanied by Orange Cassidy, The Swamp Monster & Colonel Angus (Drew Gulak was on commentary). I thought the match was pretty solid. Kendrick & Taylor seemed to have some chemistry, and the action in here was, for the most part, good. We, of course, got interference from The Gentleman’s Club, but Kendrick was able to overcome it, and eventually picked up the win.

5.) Ladders Are Legal High-Flyers FRAY! - Evolve Champion AR Fox vs. Samuray Del Sol vs. Open The United Gate Champion Matt Jackson vs. Christina Von Eerie vs. Open The United Gate Champion Nick Jackson vs. Uhaa Nation vs. Facade: ***1/2

So the way this match works is that two participants start, and then a new competitor enters the match every two minutes. Elimination can occur at any point via pinfall or submission. Once the last competitor has entered the match, Ladders will become legal. The order I have competitors listed above is how they entered the match. Christina Von Eerie was the only person eliminated before Ladders became legal, as she was taken out by The Young Bucks. AR Fox would eliminate both Samuray Del Sol & Facade. At one point, Ricochet came down, and attacked AR Fox, hitting him with a 630 Splash, leading to his elimination. It came down to The Young Bucks vs. Uhaa Nation, but in the end, Uhaa Nation was able to overcome the odds, eliminating both of The Young Bucks for the win. For the most part, this was a pretty entertaining match. It was pretty much a spotfest, but that’s what these matches always end up being, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. There were some rough points (Facade unintentionally destroyed one side of a Ladder while jumping on it), but it was a fun match on the whole.

6.) Jon Davis vs. Orange Cassidy (with The Gentleman’s Club): *

So this started with both Davis & Cassidy sitting in the corner for almost a full minute, unwilling to do anything. They eventually lock up, and we get some of the usual Orange Cassidy comedy for a bit before taking out the referee for no reason. He then pretty much destroys everyone in The Gentleman’s Club, from Chuck Taylor, to Drew Gulak, and even The Swamp Monster. This did start the feud between Jon Davis & The Gentleman’s Club, but other than that, this was pretty pointless. Going back over these Dragon Gate USA & Evolve cards really shows how far Jon Davis has fallen.

7.) The Six-Man Tradition Continues - Open The Dream Gate Champion CIMA, EITA, & Tomahawk T.T. vs. Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano & The Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann): ****¼

Here we have the traditional Dragon Gate Six-Man Tag, which has become a big part of these ‘Mania Weekend Shows. This time, however, there’s a special stipulation. Whoever scores the winning pinfall will earn a title shot at either The Open The Freedom Gate Title, The Open The United Gate Titles, or the Evolve Title. It should be noted as well that the title match must be announced in advance, and that it’s not a “Money In The Bank” type of title shot.

For this match, CIMA is teaming with Dragon Gate youngsters EITA & Tomahawk T.T. to take on a team led by Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano (who’s coming off retaining his title against Shingo via questionable means), which also includes Ricochet & Rich Swann. While this didn’t quite live up to the level of previous Dragon Gate Six-Man Tags, this was still a pretty fantastic match, filled with all of the fast paced action & ariel insanity that you would expect from these matches. Lots of great action from all six guys in this one. Eventually, Ricochet was able to hit the 630 Splash on EITA to not only score the win for his team, but earn a title shot against any champion of his choosing.

After the match, Ricochet makes it clear that he wants a shot at the Open The Freedom Gate Title before leaving. Gargano then calls CIMA back to the ring, and says that he was a mentor to him and was honored to face him tonight. Gargano wanted to prove that he was on CIMA’s level, and that his Open The Freedom Gate Title was on the same level as CIMA’s Open The Dream Gate Title. CIMA’s response was great. “Same Level? Holy Sh*t….”. CIMA suggests a champion vs. champion match the next time he’s in the US. Jon Davis comes out, and shoves Gargano into CIMA. Gargano, who had just finished a long feud with Davis, stands up to him, and forces him to back down. Then Gargano turns around kicks CIMA in the nuts, and beats up Rich Swann!! Gargano then found a strap and choked CIMA, proclaiming that he loved us all as he did so. This pretty much cements Gargano’s heel turn, which would dominate storyline in Dragon Gate USA & Evolve for the next year.

8.) Shino vs. Akira Tozawa: ****½

The Main Event is a matchup between two Dragon Gate regulars. As you would expect, this was an amazing match. These two are just so good that it’s next to impossible for them to had a bad match in any scenario. Lots of great back & forth action between both guys. There really isn’t much else to say about this match other than it was fantastic. In the end, after a series of very hard-hitting moves, Shingo would get the win over Tozawa to close the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

For awhile, this show wasn’t looking that good. There were definitely some positives, such as the Ladders Are Legal High-Flyers FRAY! and Anthony Nese starting to establish himself as a player in the WWNLive Universe. At the same time, there were some glaring negatives, such as the blowoff of The Scene, a rough tag team match between The Super Smash Brothers & The D.U.F., and whatever the heck they’re doing with Jon Davis. The show really turned around with the last two matches. The Dragon Gate Six-Man Tag was great (and after the fact featured Johnny Gargano fully turning heel, which was a pivotal point in the history of Dragon Gate USA), and the Shingo/Akira Tozawa Main Event was even better. If you’re thinking about getting this show, get it for those last two matches.

Evolve 14 Review

El Generico faces Samuray Del Sol for the first time ever while the 2012 Style Battle Tournament begins!

Evolve 14
Ybor City, Florida 6/28/12

Before I begin with the review, I should note that this was the first time that Evolve ran a show in The Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida. As we all know, this venue has now become a regular stop for Evolve, and is also the home of SHINE.

1.) Jake Manning (with The Gentleman’s Club) vs. John Silver: **½

The show kicks off with Jake Manning, who is accompanied by Chuck Taylor & The Swamp Monster, taking on John Silver. This was a fine opening match. These two seemed to work well together, and did a good job at getting the fans into the show. Silver would end up getting the win with an innovative version of a backcracker.

Before John Silver could be interviewed by Lenny Leonard, Chuck Taylor interrupts things. He says that he will defeat Johnny Gargano for the Open The Freedom Gate Title the next night at Evolve 15, and his first title defense will be against The Swamp Monster. This brings out Colt Cabana, leading to our next match.

2.) Chuck Taylor (with The Gentleman’s Club) vs. Colt Cabana: ***

As you may have expected, there was a lot of comedy in this one. Even with the comedy, the match itself was still pretty solid for what it was. If you’ve seen both guys enough, this is pretty much exactly what you would expect. It’s a little weird that Taylor would have this type of match the night before he would challenge Johnny Gargano for the Open The Freedom Gate Title, but again, it was still a solid match. Taylor would eventually pick up the win over Cabana.

3.) The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed) vs. Mike Cruz & Cheech Hernandez: ***

Here we have tag team action featuring The Scene, who are thankfully not accompanied by Larry Dallas tonight. They’re taking on the team of Mike Cruz & Cheech Hernandez (the latter is known most for his team with Cloudy called Up In Smoke, who were very successful in Evolve’s early years). This was pretty solid tag team contest. Cruz & Cheech looked really good for a makeshift tag team, but in the end, The Scene would pick up the victory.

4.) 2012 Style Battle Tournament - Jon Davis vs. Tommy Taylor: ***

This is the first match in 2012 Style Battle Tournament, which takes place over the course of this triple shot in Florida. Everyone in the tournament will face each other once. Two Points are awarded for wins, you lose a point for a loss. In particular, Jon Davis had declared that he would retire if he lost any of his matches. Here, he’s taking on Tommy Taylor, who had spent time in WWE developmental. This was a solid match, and a good start to the tournament. The pace was a little slow at times (and that may have affected how the crowd reacted to it), but it was still a pretty solid match. Davis would get the win, scoring two points.

5.) 2012 Style Battle Tournament - AR Fox vs. Bobby Fish: ***3/4

Now this is a styles clash if there other was one. You have the high flying, daredevil style of AR Fox going against the puroresu style of Bobby Fish. This was a really good match. The first true standout match of the night. Great action from both guys, and the crowd was very much into it. They certain didn’t hold anything back. In the end, Bobby Fish would get the submission victory over Fox, scoring two points.

After the match, Fish is interviewed by Lenny Leonard, who brings up that Fish has finally reached a .500 record in Evolve, now sitting at 4-4. He puts over Evolve being about wins & losses, and says he’s going to use the Style Battle Tournament to finally get above a .500 record.

6.) Sara Del Rey vs. Santana Garrett: *3/4

Up next we have a showcase match for SHINE, which is making its debut next month. This was basically an extended squash. Santana got some offense in, but it was mostly Sara Del Rey in control, and she easily gets the win.

Sara Del Rey takes the mic after the match, questioning if this was the best competition available. She wants only the best, and calls out former WWE Women’s Champion Jazz.

7.) Four-Way Freestyle - Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano vs. Alex Reynolds vs. Lince Dorado vs. Tony Nese: ***¾

Now this is a pretty random four-way, in terms of who was involved. This actually ended up being a really entertaining match. It was a fun contest where everyone had a chance to showcase themselves. It was also nice to see the Open The Freedom Gate Champion mix it up with some up-and-comers. Lots of crazy multi-man action throughout this one. In the end, Tony Nese would get the win after a 450 Splash on ALex Reynolds.

After the match, Nese is interviewed with Lenny Leonard, and he brings up Johnny Gargano’s open contract for Evolve 16. He accepts his challenge, so it looks like Gargano vs. Nese is set for that show.

8.) El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol: ****

This would be the first match in the El Generico/Samuray Del Sol Trilogy. This match had a lot of great action, as you would expect. Both guys took it to the limit, and the crowd loved what they were seeing. Lots of really cool offense from both competitors. Eventually, El Generico was finally able to connect with his Top Rope Brainbuster for the victory!!

Afterwords, El Generico puts over Samuray Del Sol, and calls out Low Ki. Christina Von Eerie and her massive mohawk interrupt him. She says that he can’t just walk into Dragon Gate USA, because it belongs to her stable, Mad Blankey. She slaps him a couple of times, but El Generico doesn’t retaliate. She continues to taunt him, but he finally spans, hitting her with a Yakuza Kick in the corner!! He looks dismayed as the show comes to a close.

Overall: 8.0/10

I thought this was a pretty solid effort from Evolve. The undercard, for the most part, was around average to good, with everything around the range of ***. The show finally picked up with the 2nd Style Battle Tournament Match of the show in AR Fox vs. Bobby Fish. It finished on a high note with an really entertaining four-way match, and the exciting first match in the El Generico/Samuray Del Sol Trilogy. A good night of wrestling is all you can really ask for, and this show certainly was that.

Evolve 9: Gargano vs. Taylor Review

Kevin Steen invades Evolve!!

Evolve 9: Gargano vs. Taylor
Manhattan, New York 7/26/11

1.) Bobby Beverly vs. Eric Ryan: N/A

The shows kicks off with two guys who you might recognize from their work in AIW. They’re having a nice little back & forth match for a few minutes, when Kevin Steen shows up and takes them both out. For those of you who don’t know, this was during the year that Kevin Steen was “exiled” from Ring of Honor following his loss to El Generico in their brutal Fight Without Honor at Final Battle 2010. This was actually shortly after his appearance at Best In The World 2011, where he came back just to say “F*ck Ring of Honor”. He was given an open mic for this show, but it looks like he’s here to do more than that.

Steen then takes the mic. He says if he watches the show back and hears the commentators say anything bad about him, he will “rape their mouths”. He talks about a lot of things, including the last time he was in NYC, what he would do to Jim Cornette, and reminds everyone that Richards dropped Evolve after the first show. He said he has issues with Evolve as well, since it was Evolve Staff (probably referring to Gabe Sapolsky), that made him team up with El Generico in 2007. For that, he says he’s going to destroy Evolve.

This brings out Bobby Fish, and tells Steen that a lot of people have busted their asses to make Evolve relevant. He basically says that Steen needs to find a way to go along with the Evolve rules tonight, or he will straighten him out. Interesting enough, Steen has a seemingly subdued response, as he heads backstage.

2.) The Super Smash Brothers vs. Facade & Jason Gory: **3/4

So of course we all know about The Super Smash Brothers. I know a little bit about Facade, but I’ve never seen Jason Gory before. The team of Facade & Gory seem to have an intriguing gimmick as Facade creates graffiti art for a fan during his entrance. This was a solid tag team match. It was a sprint, and both teams got to showcase themselves in the time they were given. In the end, The Super Smash Brothers get the win. They’re interviewed by Lenny Leonard after the match, and Player Uno says they won’t stop until they have a million wins!

3.) Silas Young vs. Sugar Dunkerton: ***¼

Now this is an interesting styles clash, as you have the no-nonsense Silas Young up against CHIKARA’s resident baller Sugar Dunkerton. This was a pretty good match. Young was acting like a jerk to Dunkerton, calling him a joke, but that caused Dunkerton to fight back hard to prove that he wasn’t. Good action from these two. Young would eventually pick up the victory over Sugar Dunkerton.

During his post match interview with Lenny Leonard, Young says he may have overlooked Dunkerton a bit, but he still won. He says he’s closer to getting his hands on Johnny Gargano. This brings out Gargano, who takes responsibility for Young becoming an alcoholic again, but had no idea of Young’s past drinking problems at the time. Gargano apologizes and offers his hands, but Young just ignores him and walks off.

4.) Lince Dorado vs. Pinkie Sanchez: ***

Here we have a matchup between two guys who have done a lot of work in CHIKARA around this time. This was another pretty solid match. Solid action in this one. Both guys got to show what they had, but it was Pinkie Sanchez who would gain the advantage, and eventually, got the win.

In his post-match interview, Sanchez says he’s here in Evolve to wrestle. Pretty straight-forward.

Up next, Lenny Leonard introduces Larry Dallas, who purchased interview time on the show. He’s accompanied to the ring by Ahtu. He says the scheduled Main Event of Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor is not happening, before he introduces his newest tag team: The Scene of Caleb Konley & Scott Reed.

5.) Up In Smoke (Cheech & Cloudy) vs. The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed): ***1/4

Hard to believe that this was the debut match for The Scene. They certainly have an uphill battle, as Up In Smoke are undefeated in Evolve in tag team competition. This was a pretty good tag team match. Cheech & Cloudy have always been a solid tag team, but Konley & Reed showed a lot in here as well. Really nice back & forth action from both teams. In the end, The Scene would score what many would say is an upset win, giving Up In Smoke their first loss in Evolve.

After the match, Lenny Leonards tries to interview Up In Smoke on their loss. Instead of saying anything, Cheech attacks Cloudy! I guess Up In Smoke is no more.

6.) Bobby Fish vs. John Davis: N/A

Up next, we were supposed to have a singles match between Bobby Fish & Jon Davis, but Kevin Steen attacks them both less than a minute into the match, causing it to be thrown out. Fish wants to fight Steen, and Davis wants to fight them both, so they all agree to a Triple Threat Match right now!

7.) Three-Way Unsanctioned Street Fight - Kevin Steen vs. Bobby Fish vs. Jon Davis: ***¼

This wasn’t a very long match (it went just under 8 Minutes), but they packed in a lot of stuff in that time frame. Everyone got a chance to shine & showcase themselves in this one. Good action from everyone involved. In the end, Jon Davis would take out Steen, before pinning Bobby Fish for the victory.

After the match, Kevin Steen & Jon Davis continue to brawl, before Steen is finally carried away by security.

8.) Tony Nese vs. John SIlver: ***½

Here we have another interesting match, as it was before these two became the stars on the independent scene that they are today. This was actually a really good match. I wasn’t expecting much coming into this, but both guys really impressed. Lots of really nice action from both guys. Eventually, Silver would pick up the big victory over Tony Nese.

After the match, in his interview with Lenny Leonard, Silver says he’s here to say.

9.) Sami Callihan vs. David “Fit” Finlay: ****1/4

Obviously one of the big selling points of this show was the Evolve debut of the legendary Fit Finlay, as he’s taking on Sami Callihan. This was a great match. You had a lot of hard hitting action (as you would expect), as well as a good story, with the veteran Finlay just getting the better of Callihan at every turn, forcing Callihan to fight from underneath. Callihan fought back hard, and at times just would not stay down, but in the end, Finlay would score the victory.

After the match, Finlay is interviewed by Lenny Leonard, and thanks Evolve and the fans for inviting him to wrestle here in Manhattan. He says that Callihan is one of the toughest guys he’s ever been in the ring with, which is a huge compliment. Finlay then hugs Callihan as he exits.

10.) Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor: ****

Now it’s time for the Main Event! Larry Dallas tries to stop the match from happening, but it’s no use. Gargano then makes it known that he doesn’t need Larry Dallas. These guys know each other very well, and it certainly showed in this match. This was a great Main Event! Lots of great back & forth action between these two. Eventually, after a hard-fought match, Taylor would put Gargano away with the Awful Waffle for the victory.

After the match, Taylor & Gargano make amends, closing the show out on a high note.

Overall: 8.5/10

This was a really good effort from Evolve. I think the main draw for a lot of people is the only Evolve appearance of Kevin Steen, who certainly left his mark on this show. You also had two great Main Event Matches in Finlay vs. Callihan & Gargano vs. Taylor, which are definitely worth checking out. The undercard, for the most part, was pretty solid, with a surprising highlight being Tony Nese vs. John Silver. I feel as though some might forget about this show, but it’s certainly a show that’s worthy checking out.

Dragon Gate USA Enter The Dragon 2010: First Anniversary Celebration Review

Bryan Danielson & Shingo tear the house down in the Main Event!!

Dragon Gate USA Enter The Dragon 2010: First Anniversary Celebration
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 7/24/10

The shows kicks off with CIMA coming to the ring (I should note that Lenny Leonard & Leonard F. Chikarason are the commentary team, which is pretty awesome). CIMA is hyping up the crowd, but then Johnny Gargano comes out. He lobbies to be part of CIMA’s faction in Dragon Gate, Warriors International, and wants to prove himself by facing CIMA right now. CIMA cuts a funny promo in response, but Gargano slaps him in the face! CIMA accepts the match and here we go!

1.) CIMA vs. Johnny Gargano: ***½

I thought this was a pretty solid opener. This was in the earlier stages of Gargano’s rise in Dragon Gate USA, and he showed a lot here against a true Dragon Gate veteran in CIMA. Lots of really solid action throughout this match. Even though Gargano eventually lost to CIMA, he looked good in defeat.

After the match, Gargano wants to shake CIMA’s hand, but CIMA fakes him out, leaving Gargano upset.

2.) Four-Way Freestyle - Adam Cole vs. Arik Cannon vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Ricochet: ****

Like I mentioned in my Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish Review, it’s so weird looking back and seeing a very young Adam Cole. We also have a young Ricochet in here as well. As far as the match goes, it was insane! It had balls-to-the-walls action right from the opening bell. This match was a lot of fun, and everyone got a chance to shine. In the end, Chuck Taylor would pick up the win.

3.) Naruki Doi vs. Drake Younger: **1/2

In another trip into the past, we see a relatively larger Drake Younger (compared to his recent PWG run). Here, he’s taking on Naruki Doi. Apparently Dragon Kid was going to face Doi, but he was injured, so Younger is stepping up to the plate. The match was fine. Obviously, I think Naruki Doi vs. Dragon Kid would have been the better match, but for what this was, it was solid. Doi would end up scoring the win.

After the match, Younger cuts a promo where he tries to lobby to the Dragon Gate stables for a possible position as an American Representative. Johnny Gargano then comes out and attacks Younger! He says that he’s not going to lose his potential spot in a Dragon Gate stable to Younger.

4.) Open The Freedom Gate Title - BxB Hulk vs. Masaaki Mochizuki: ***1/2

I find it a bit odd that this match is in the middle of the show. BxB Hulk is the first ever Open The Freedom Gate Champion, becoming the inaugural champion several months prior. Here, he’s defending against Masaaki Mochizuki. This match was pretty good, but it wasn’t great….and honestly….I feel like that’s a trend when it comes to BxB Hulk, especially when he’s in title matches. As usual, there were questions regarding BxB Hulk’s selling, and some limb work early on didn’t mean much in the second half. The match still had really good action, but it wasn’t the great match I was hoping for. BxB Hulk would end up retaining his Open The Freedom Gate Title.

After the match, as BxB Hulk is celebrating, one of his former dancer girls comes out, which proves to only be a distraction, as YAMATO & Shingo come out and attack him. Jon Moxley then comes out, and says that they’ve taken away his hair & his dancers, and now they will take his title. They beat up BxB Hulk some more until Bryan Danielson comes out for the save! Both YAMATO & Shingo get in Danielson’s face, but Moxley has them back off, calling Danielson a pussy and says they won’t face him until they can make some money off of it. Danielson then hands the Open The Freedom Gate Title to BxB Hulk.

5.) Rich Swann vs. Scott Reed: *3/4

Scott Reed is being accompanied to ringside by Nicole Matthews. This was a really short match that was basically a showcase for Rich Swann, who gets the win with his Standing 450 Splash.

Afterwords, Brodie Lee comes out and takes out everyone, including the referee & Nicole Matthews. He says that he wants to face a Japanese wrestler at the next Dragon Gate USA show.

6.) Eight-Man Elimination Match - KAMIKAZE USA (Arika Tozawa, Gran Akuma, Jon Moxley & YAMATO) vs. Open The Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino & CHIKARA Sekigun (Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Hallowicked): ***¾

This is a feud that’s really been building for almost a year, as Gran Akuma turned on Mike Quackenbush & the rest of CHIKARA Sekigun to join up with KAMIKAZE USA. This is an elimination match, and the then Open The Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino was called upon by Quackenbush to assist him in his struggle (I believe Yoshino had won the Open The Dream Gate Title from YAMATO a few weeks earlier, so Yoshino’s involvement makes more sense in that regard).

Hallowicked would be eliminated first by YAMATO. Jon Moxley would then get eliminated via disqualification when he attacked Jigsaw & Quackenbush with a chair. This led to Jimmy Jacobs running out and he fights with Moxley to the back. YAMATO would then eliminate Jigsaw, giving KAMIKAZE USA a 3-on-2 advantage. Akuma would then be eliminated by Quackenbush. The match then ended with Yoshino & Mike Quackenbush putting YAMATO & Tozawa in their respective submission holds (Sol Naciente & The CHIKARA Special), causing both YAMATO & Tozawa to tap out simultaneously!! This was a really entertaining elimination match. There was a lot of action throughout, and everyone got the chance to shine. The match itself was nearly 19 Minutes, but it felt like the time just flew by. A good conclusion to this feud.

7.) Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo: ****¾

I had heard a lot of great things about this match going into it (and it was the main reason why I got this show on DVD). Of course, this was right after Danielson had been released from WWE following the events of the angle involving The Nexus on RAW. To say this match was great would be a massive understatement. It was absolutely tremendous!! Danielson is without a doubt one of the best wrestlers in the world, but I think Shingo deserves a lot of credit here as well. He’s also a really good wrestler. Awesome action from both guys in this match. We saw some amazing back & forth stuff, and the crowd was insanely into it by the end. Danielson would eventually get Shingo to tap out to the LaBell Lock.

After the match, YAMATO comes out, and it looks like Danielson is going to be double-teamed, until BxB Hulk comes out to even the odds. YAMATO & Shingo back down. Danielson then cuts a promo, talking about how BxB Hulk is looking for an American Representative for his World-1 stable, and offers his services. BxB Hulk shakes his hand, seemingly accepting the offer of Danielson to close the show.

Overall: 8.75/10

It’s really interesting to look back on shows from the first year of Dragon Gate USA’s existence. I though this was a great show. Of course, the main draw is the Main Event of Bryan Danielson vs. Shingo, which might be one of Danielson’s best matches on the independents (and that’s saying a lot, as he has had A TON of those kinds of matches on the independent scene). You also had several other really good matches on here as well. The Elimination Match & The Four-Way Match come to mind, as those two matches very much delivered. There was also a really solid opening match with CIMA vs. Gargano, and an Open The Freedom Gate Title Match that was pretty good, but a little disappointing considering what could have been. A great show on the whole from Dragon Gate USA.