November 2, 2012
This was my first Dragon Gate USA show ever, I’ve never seen one live before and I’ve never watched any of their DVDs or iPPVs so I was pretty hopeful that it would be a good experience.
First of all, it was raining when I arrived at the building and there were about 10 or 15 people waiting to get in. Gabe Sapolsky himself opened the door and let us into the lobby even though they weren’t ready to let us into the main building yet. That was a nice move and I really appreciated not having to wait out in the rain. They were having some issues with the power in the building as their spotlights kept going out and at one point during the show the entrance music quit and the colored lights on the entranceway went off, but it didn’t detract from the show very much if at all.
There were 2 pre-show matches but I didn’t catch any of the wrestler’s names except for Luscious Latasha who I’ve seen on NECW before.
The iPPV portion of the show started off with a bang as the Open The Freedom Gate Champion was the first one out!
Johnny Gargano vs EITA
An excellent match. EITA really gave Gargano a run for his money and since it was EITA’s first appearance with the company (I think) it was cool to see his “debut”. I even thought that EITA was going to win the match a few times, but Gargano finally came out on top.
winner: Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano made a nice speech after the match about how great it is to have fans that appreciate what they do, busting their asses every night in professional wrestling (not sports entertainment). He congratulated EITA on a hard fought match before…
…Jon Davis hit the ring and nailed Gargano with a clothesline. He proceeded to deliver 4 or 5 nasty looking spinebusters. Toward the end it really looked like Gargano didn’t want Davis to pick him up again because he was like dead weight and Davis kept dropping him not flat on his back but on his side a little. It took a while for the refs and officials to get Gargano out of the ring and to the back. I’m really not sure if he was hurt for real or if it was a work, but either way he took a brutal beating!
The Scene (Caleb Konley and Scott Reed) vs The DUFs (Arik Cannon and Pinkie Sanchez)
The Scene were accompanied by Larry Dallas and Trina. This was a wild brawl with lots of interference by Dallas and Trina. Pinkie Sanchez was just awesome in this match. He may be my new favorite wrestler! He had some great high-flying, high impact moves combined with great bits of comedy. He’s also so light and skinny that he can really get clobbered by the other guys and make it all look brutal. Cannon didn’t really do much to impress my even though he’s got a great look. He had a couple of cool spots, but he really didn’t stand out like Pinkie did. In the end it was Pinkie fooling around with Trina that allowed Larry Dallas to interfere and that set up Scott Reed to pin Pinkie.
winners: The Scene
Samuray Del Sol vs Sami Callihan
Sami Callihan is one of my favorite wrestlers right now and I was really looking forward to this match in particular. Sami slapped my hand when he came out so hard that my hand is still sore this morning!
This match had lots of dives outside the ring and some battling on the floor using the guard rails. I remember Callihan suplexing Del Sol onto the floor where I don’t thing there was any mats and it sounded like he hit really hard. A good back and forth match which I think could have gone either way but Sami finally got the pin after delivering a top rope brainbuster. I’ve seen Sami wrestle live twice before and this was probably the longest match I’ve seen him in so I got to see more of what he can do in the ring. It showed me that he’s not just a wild, brawling “Death Machine”. He can really wrestle and if the rumors of him going to WWE are true, I’m glad I got the chance to see him on the indy shows first, because I’m sure he won’t be the same Sami Callihan if/when he does get into WWE.
winner: Sami Callihan
Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak & Orange Cassidy vs. Rich Swann, CIMA & ACH
This was a “Captain’s Match” where the match can only be won by one of the captains defeating the other. For some reason Taylor’s team was accompanied by a swamp monster who stayed in their corner outside the ring. Swampy kept giving orange juice to Cassidy who was playing it up like he was drunk or high or something. I didn’t really understand that part of what was going on.
I have seen ACH wrestle for Chikara before and thought he was an awesome athletic performer and this match confirms that. He and Rich Swan are two of the most talented guys I’ve ever seen and I have no idea why WWE or at least TNA aren’t interested in them. They could base a whole ‘cruiserweight division’ or ‘X division’ around these guys.
There was so much action in this match that I can’t even remember one specific spot but it all ended when CIMA beat the crap out of Chuck Taylor and then allowed Rich Swann to make the pin.
An awesome match with lots of athletic, acrobatic moves by Swann and ACH, hard hitting moves by CIMA, and the always awesome Chuck Taylor. As far as Gulak and Cassidy, I’m not sure they really added anything to this match at all. And I have no idea what the swamp monster thing was all about.
winners: Rich Swann, CIMA & ACH
We then had an intermission that was about 15 minutes and I managed to get Sami Callihan to autograph an 8×10. Oddly enough it was an 8×10 from House of Hardcore where I bought a t-shirt from Sami but not a photo!
Jon Davis vs Akira Tozawa
Davis took forever to get to the ring as he kept stopping and staring at people in the crowd. I get it, he’s intense, but it felt like at least 5 minutes of him staring at people. It was a little boring.
As soon as Tozawa came out, the energy in the place got kicked back up as the crowd was really into him.
I don’t remember any specifics about this match but Tozawa delivered a lot of offense but just couldn’t overcome the sheer power of Jon Davis. Davis ended it with a big clothesline that nearly took Tozawa’s head off.
winner: Jon Davis
Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito vs. Super Smash Brothers
This match was to determine the #1 contenders to the Open The United Gate Titles in one of the other shows this weekend. I wan’t really sure if either of these teams were heels because the fans were cheering for both of them. The most memorable spot came when Saito had Player Dos on the ropes and he held some kind of stretchy fabric around his neck. Horiguchi took the other end of the fabric and walked all the way through the crowd (the section that I was in) and then let go of it. It snapped back like a rubber band and smacked Dos in the face. Of course, they tried it a second time and it backfired on them!
I also remember a spot where Saito kept criss crossing the ring and each time he would step on the side of the head of Player Dos, literally walking all over him. There were other fun spots too, but too many to remember!
winners: Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito
So Saito and Hirguchi earned a title shot at the show Saturday night in New Jersey.
AR Fox vs Ricochet
This was billed as a “Respect Match” where the loser would have to shake the winner’s hand and admit that he was the better man.
It started off fast and furious as AR Fox dropkicked Ricochet off the ring apron as soon as he got in the ring. Then he hit a dive and a couple of other high flying moves. I seem to remember two dives outside but I could be wrong. But then on the third (second?) dive outside, Fox went a little too far and landed on his feet without any help from Ricochet and Fox went down. The action stopped right there as the refs and finally Gabe Sapolsky came out to tend to Fox. This was all happening on the other side of the ring so I couldn’t see what was going on.
They slowly walked Fox to the back as the ref was counting him out but just as they got to the curtain he pushed them off and hobbled back into the ring right before the ref counted to 20. The match was then a story of Ricochet working on Fox’s hurt leg while Fox would have short bursts of offense while trying to protect his leg. I’m still not sure if the injury was legit or not. If it wasn’t then Fox really sold it well and put on a hell of a show. If he really was hurt then he really put on a hell of a show for different reasons!
So we all went from thinking that the main event had been cut short before it even started to getting a really awesome match that told a good story. It actually seemed a little too short but that may have been the plan all along. The show seemed to end almost right at 11:00 so I’m wondering it it was just an issue of timing for the iPPV? Either way, it was a great main event and AR Fox came out looking like a million bucks.
winner: AR Fox
Ricochet wasn’t going to shake Fox’s hand but CIMA came out and convinced him that he had to. He did the quickest hand shake I have ever seen and muttered something into the mic that I couldn’t make out as he walked off.
This was my first Dragon Gate USA show and I didn’t really know what to expect. The only guys I had seen before are Sami Callihan, Chuck Taylor, ACH and AR Fox. But I really think this was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen! And now I have a whole new list of favorite wrestlers and guys that I will keep an eye out for, as they all put on great matches. The only thing I wish had been done differently is the way the merchandise table was set up made it difficult to get access to the wrestlers who were available for autographs and pictures. I managed to get an 8×10 autographed by Sami Callihan and I bought a DGUSA t-shirt, but I was hoping for a chance to meet Johnny Gargano, ACH and Rich Swann. I think Gargano might have really been hurt in the opening match though.
This was an iPPV and I understand that you can order replays of it so if you are looking for a good introduction to what Dragon Gate USA has to offer I can highly recommend checking out this show. You can click on the image below to check it out on WWN Live!