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4/1 DGUSA in Burlington, N.C.: Live report on CIMA vs. Gargano standout match, PAC & Ricochet vs. Taylor & Tozawa, Helms, Fairplay, Rave

Apr 2, 2011 - 2:30:09 PM
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Dragon Gate USA live report
April 1, 2011
Burlington, N.C.
Report by Charles McNeill of Fayetteville, N.C., Torch reader


I attended the DGUSA show Friday night and it was a good show highlighted by two excellent main events. The venue was very small and intimate. There was no barricade PWG style, so sitting on the front row felt like being a lumberjack. I would guess the crowd was about 100-150 people. 200 would be pushing it, but for that building, 150 is pretty full. There were some empty seats facing the hard camera, so I was surprised they didn't shift the crowd to fill in the gaps.

I won't spend a lot of time on the CWF Mid-Atlantic card only because they were mostly local talent that I'm not familiar with and DGUSA didn't offer a program with the wrestlers's names. I will say that the wrestling was okay to solid during their card. I did get a kick out of heckling Shane Helms with "HBK" chants. He was a good sport about it. After the match, he shook my hand and complimented Shawn's in-ring skill.

The main show started out with Blood Warriors coming out to heel it up with the crowd. Ricochet is a riot as a cocky arrogant heel. Brodie Lee made a open challenge to anyone in the back who wanted a fight and out came Jon Davis.

(1) Brodie Lee beat Jon Davis. They had an okay, quick big-man match with Lee getting the win after some outside interference.

(2) Jimmy Rave beat Lince Dorado, Kyle Matthews, and Sugar Dunkerton in the first Breakout Challenge match. Rave had a slightly revamped look since his last ROH run. There have been better four-ways in DGUSA, but it was okay. Rave won with a running knee. The match served more as an angle with Jonny Fairplay coming out to put over Rave as the next breakout star. Rave didn't accept Fairplay's endorsement and left the ring.

(3) Sami Callihan beat Rich Swann via submission in a Stable Shootout match. I wasn't the biggest Swann fan coming into this show, but he won me over over the course of the evening. He showed a lot of personality all night and I'm looking forward to seeing him develop as both a wrestler & character. Working with the super-talented Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano can only help. As for the match, solid stuff. Callihan has improved a great deal since I first saw him. Swann sold a lot, but looked good on offense. Swann tapped to Callihan's Stretch Muffler.

(4) Arik Cannon beat Facade, Shiima Xion, and A.R. Fox in a Breakout Challenge match. They pulled off a better match than the first BC match. All four men got in a lot of good offense and Fox pulled the first "Dragon Gate" chant out of the crowd with an impressive dive to the outside. Cannon got the win with Total Anarchy on Facade.

Next, Jon Moxley came out, only to be jumped on the ramp by Naruki Doi and Brodie Lee before the bell.

(5) Naruki Doi beat Jon Moxley. Once the match got started, Doi really worked over Moxley's knee. Moxley played the spirited babyface (only not) in this one. It reminded me a lot of Steve Austin before his full babyface turn, but I don't think Mox is going that route just yet. Every time he'd start to mount a comeback, Doi would somehow cut him off. A memorable spot in the match came when Doi was giving Moxley his trademark slaps and Moxley defiantly shot back a double bird. Doi eventually finished Moxley with the sliding kick. Moxley refused assistance to the back and proudly limped to the back. Pretty good stuff.

After intermission, Reby Sky came out to get the crowd hyped (unsuccessfully) and Moxley came out to heel on Sky (so much for the babyface turn). While Moxley distracted Sky, another female wrestler, Trina Michaels, jumped Sky from behind. Sky got the upper hand and DDT'ed Trina.

CIMA_130_2.jpg
(6) CIMA beat Johnny Gargano. This was the first epic match of the night. Ronin was on fire as babyfaces with Chucky T and Swann coming out to neutralize Blood Warriors. Swann kept me laughing selling his earlier match. He talked trash to Lee and Doi, then ran screaming whenever they'd advance, literally hiding behind Taylor. And, even as a babyface, Taylor couldn't resist the urge to terrorize a young fan walking past him. The match was an awesome back-and-forth contest. The nearfalls were convincing and not overdone. CIMA was really cooking and Gargano rose to a new level. The crowd came alive for this one. There was an awesome sequence with CIMA and Gargano reversing each other's finishers about four or five times until CIMA finally got the advantage. But, couldn't keep Johnny down with his Schwein finisher. Johnny with the Meteora was enough to put Johnny away after about 20 minutes of outstanding action.

Rave and Cannon came back out for their Breakout Challenge final match after their respective wins.

(7) Arik Cannon beat Jimmy Rave. Cannon played a little bit more of the a heel role in this one. Mat-based early on, but they started unloading on each other near the end. Cannon won with the Glimmering Warlock. Good match, but CIMA-Gargano was a hard act to follow.

Afterward, Fairplay returned to badmouth Cannon. It looked like he was going to switch sides and jump on Cannon's bandwagon, but, instead he badmouthed Cannon until he was on the receiving end of Total Anarchy. The crowd popped.

Now, it was time for the main event. Rich Swann rapped Ronin's theme song for Taylor and Akira Tozawa's entrance. It's the second best entrance in DGUSA only behind BxB Hulk. PAC and Ricochet were out next and there was plenty of tension between the teams.

(8) Ricochet & PAC beat Chuck Taylor & Akira Tozawa. The odd couple dynamic between the two teams was a lot of fun. Taylor & Tozawa struggled with the language barrier and PAC & Ricochet couldn't get on the same page. Just an ultra-athletic Dragon Gate-style match. PAC and Tozawa had a lot of stiff exchanges. PAC was busted open half-way through the match and became incensed. These two really went after each other with stiff strikes. The finish saw Tozawa take a Ricochet 630 splash followed by PAC's Shooting Star Press.

Standing ovation from the crowd after the finish. Once Tozawa recovered, he had another intense stare down with PAC. Interesting to see where that goes. PAC then thanked the fans for coming out and having a good time. He said his first trip to North Carolina was a lot of fun and put over DGUSA. Chants of "PAC," "Please Come Back," and "Dragon Gate" rang out.

Overall, very enjoyable live experience. I hope it translates to the DVD, which will be worth picking up to see CIMA vs. Gargano and the main event tag match.

[Torch art credit Marco D'Alfonso (c) PWTorch.com]


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