Other PPVs RADICAN'S DGUSA "Freedom Fight" iPPV coverage 11/13 -YAMATO vs. Gargano, PAC vs. Ricochet
Nov 13, 2011 - 10:43:31 PM
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RADICAN’S DGUSA “FREEDOM FIGHT” iPPV COVERAGE
NOVEMBER 13, 2011
AIRED LIVE ON GFL.TV
Lenny Leonard kicked off the show with a hot crowd chanting Dragon Gate. Leonard ran down the card and mentioned Gargano challenging YAMATO for the Open the Freedom Gate title. Gargano’s name got a big pop. B.J. Whitmer and got in the ring and said it was great to be back in NYC. He said he wanted Brodie Lee right now.
The Blood Warriors music played and Lee came down to the ring with Ricochet.
1 - - BRODIE LEE (w/Ricochet) vs. B.J. WHITMER
Whitmer nailed Lee with a big boot as he made his way into the ring and nailed him with a big flip dive over the top rope. They brawled on the outside of the ring with Whitmer holding the upper hand. Ricochet attacked Whitmer from behind, which gave Lee enough time to nail him with a big dive through the ropes. Lee went after Whitmer on the outside and nailed him with several big strikes. Whitmer fired back and nailed Lee with an exploder as Leonard said Whitmer had recently returned to the ring after taking several years off. Both men finally got back into the ring with Whitmer working over Lee with big strikes. Lee fired back with a superkick and then a suplex for a 1 count.
Lee tossed Whitmer outside where Ricochet put the boots to him. Whitmer no-sold the attack and tried to get his hands on him, but Lee cut him off and suplexed him back into the ring. Both men exchanged punches, but Lee poked Whitmer in the eye to maintain the advantage. Lee hit a big chop in the corner, but Whitmer fired back with a series of big strikes until Lee raked his eyes and nailed him with a big uppercut. Lee walked over Whitmer’s chest just like Big Show. Whitmer fired up with some big forearms, but Lee wouldn’t go down. Whitmer finally hit a big running forearm to take Lee down. Whitmer then hit a running kick for a 2 count. Whitmer hit a modified flat liner and locked in the Peruvian necktie. Lee rolled back forcing Whitmer to release the whole because his shoulders were down.
Both men went back and forth. Lee hit the truck stop and a big Liger bomb for the pin.
Winner: Brodie Lee
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was a solid opening match with both men hitting some impressive maneuvers. Whitmer has looked good this weekend for DGUSA.
Uhaa Nation got a big match coming out for his match against Konley & Reed. He’s teaming with John Silver tonight, who has appeared in EVOLVE.
2 - - CALEB KONLEY & SCOTT REED vs. UHAA NATION & JOHN SILVER
Leonard introduced Lee into the booth and apologized to Lee for announcing Whitmer as the winner in the previous match. Konley worked over Silver, but Silver caught him with an uppercut and nailed him with a couple of springboards for a 2 count. Konley fired back and tagged in Reed, who went to work on Silver. Silver quickly cut off Reed and went on the attack. Reed fired right back and took him down with a shoulder tackle. Reed caught Silver going for a leap frog, but Silver countered and caught him with an arm drag. Nation tagged into the match and Reed ran away from him. Konley then attacked Nation from behind. Nation cut off Reed and Konley on the outside with a double clothesline. Silver then took out both of his opponents with a flip dive over the top to the outside. Nation went to work on Reed, but he fired back and caught him with a kick. Nation ducked a charge in the corner moments later and slammed Reed head-first into the turnbuckles over and over. Konley ran in, but Nation nailed him with a big dropkick. Nation then nailed Reed with a German suplex off the turnbuckles for a 2 count.
Silver tagged back in and continued to work over Reed. Silver got distracted by Konley and took a dropkick from Reed. Reed suplexed Silver back into the ring for a 2 count. The crowd tried to rally behind Silver as he took a series of double team moves from Konley and Reed. Silver continued to try to mount a comeback. He finally cut off Reed and nailed him with a double knee strike. Nation got the hot tag moments later and ran wild on Konley. Nation hit a standing SSP on Konley and the crowd went nuts and chanted his name. Nation then hit a huge suplex on Reed. Silver and Nation hit a superkick/German combo on Konley. They then nailed Konley with a tandem superkick, but Reed broke it up.
Nation went for a bicycle kick on Konley, but he got out of the way and Nation spilled to the floor. Konley and Reed ended up finishing off Silver with a DDT/German combination as Larry Dallas celebrated on the outside.
Winners: Caleb Konley & Scott Reed
Star rating: (**3/4) – This was a solid tag match with Konley and Reed taking advantage of Silver with Uhaa Nation out of the picture in the end. They limited Nation to a small amount of spots, but he’s got the crowd in the palms of his hands and looks to be a future star once he gets more experience under his belt.
Rich Swann began rapping the Ronin theme and made his way down to the ring with Chuck Taylor. Swann got a nice pop when he finished his rap. Gargano also came into the ring later. He got on the mic and addressed Taylor. Gargano told Taylor he has to give the belt back. Gargano said everyone saw YAMATO’s foot was on the ropes last night. He apologized to Taylor and said when Ronin started it was about showing the world nobody could touch them. Gargano chastised Taylor for stealing the belt. Taylor got the mic and said he would give the belt back later tonight. Swann got on the mic and said they were Ronin. Swann told Gargano not to worry because he’s waited two years to get into this position. Swann told Gargano to bring the belt home to Ronin. Swann then told Taylor after everything Blood Warriors had put them through they had a shot to get revenge tonight. Swann asked the crowd if they wanted to see the Blood Warriors get beat tonight and the crowd applauded.
3 - - RONIN (Rich Swann & Chuck Taylor w/Johnny Gargano) vs. Blood Warriors (BxB Hulk & Akira Tozawa)
Swann and Tozawa kicked things off with some fast-paced exchanges. Swann hit a dropkick that sent Tozawa to the outside and tagged in Taylor. Hulk also tagged into the match and Taylor mocked Hulk’s kicking ability. Hulk to Taylor down with a dropkick and put the boots to him against the ropes. Taylor fired back and locked in a modified abdominal stretch on Hulk. Swann tagged in and continued to work over Hulk. Swann continued to dominate Hulk before tagging in Taylor, who raked Hulk’s back. Lee protested the ref not getting the illegal man out of the ring. Tozawa ran into the ring and everyone exchanged back rakes. Even the ref got a back rake from Taylor. Tozawa grounded Taylor and took him down to the mat.
Tozawa spit win in Taylor’s face before nailing Swann with a bicycle kick that sent him flying into the barrier. Taylor fired back on Tozawa and tagged in Swann. Ronin hit Tozawa with a series of double team elbows in the corner and the crowd applauded as Lee complained about the ref. Tozawa fired back and nailed Swann with a big punch in the corner. He tagged in Hulk, who put the boots to Swann. Hulk then nailed Swann with a big kick to the back that popped the crowd. Hulk locked in a nasty submission on Swann. Tozawa ran into the ring and nailed Swann with a dropkick while Hulk held onto the submission. Tozawa and Hulk then took turns nailing Swann with tandem kicks as Lee bragged about them on commentary. Tozawa raked Swann’s back again and nailed him with a senton moments later.
The crowd rallied behind Swann, but Hulk nailed him with several kicks in the corner. Hulk nailed Swann with kicks as he worked over his arm. Hulk then locked in a nasty arm submission in the middle of the ring while nailing him with elbow shots to the back. Hulk then stood Swann up and nailed him with a kick to the head. Taylor made the save, but Tozawa took him out right away. Hulk locked in a leg submission using Tozawa for some leverage, but eventually he let it go. Tozawa then tagged in and went to work on Swann. Tozawa locked in a camel clutch and Hulk nailed him with an axe kick to the top of the head. Gargano ran into the ring at the last second to break up the pin. That was a nasty looking kick from Hulk.
Swann fired back and eventually nailed Hulk with a spin kick. Swann made the hot tag to Taylor, who ran wild on Hulk. Tozawa ran into the ring and Taylor took care of him as well. Taylor then hit a dropkick on Hulk though the ropes and the crowd applauded. Swann and Tozawa went at it in the ring. Tozawa eventually caught Swann with a running kick to the head for a 2 count. Swann cut Tozawa and hit a super hurricanrana, but Hulk made the save. Taylor ran in and went at it with Hulk. Hulk lit up Taylor with kicks and nailed him with a standing flip moonsault for a 2 count. Hulk hit several kicks to Gargano’s head and went for a superkick, but Swann cut him off. Tozawa cut off Swann, who took a series of kicks from Tozawa and Hulk. Hulk then spiked Swann with a DDT for a nearfall. Swann fired back and took out Hulk and Tozawa. Taylor then went at it with Hulk and caught him with sole food. Hulk fired back with a kick, but Taylor caught him with a sky high powerbomb. The crowd clapped as Ronin went to work on Tozawa with a series of maneuvers. Swann hit a SSP on Tozawa, but Hulk broke up the pin.
The crowd applauded as the pace picked up. Tozawa hit a flip German on Swann. Tozawa went for an avalanche German on Swann, but he fought out. Taylor hit the awful waffle and Swann hit the standing 450 on Tozawa for the win.
Winners: Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good tag match with some good heat segments on Swann leading into a frantic finish. The last five minutes of the match were excellent and the crowd was hot.
The Blood Warriors hit the ring after the match and took out Ronin. Tozawa nailed Swann with a big German and the Blood Warriors in the ring. Gargano and Yoshino ran down to the ring to even the odds. This went into CIMA vs. Yoshino.
4 - - CIMA vs. MASATO YOSHINO
CIMA got the upper hand during the early going and flipped off the crowd. Yoshino fired back with an insane display of speed and took down CIMA, who bailed to the outside. CIMA stalled on the outside before getting back into the ring, but Yoshino greeted him with a dropkick to the arm. Yoshino went on the attacked and kicked away at CIMA’s arm. Lee threatened to put Leonard through the table if he messed up another Blood Warrior name. Yoshino continued to target CIMA’s arm with a series of kicks in the corner. The crowd popped as Yoshino wrenched CIMA’s arm in a painful looking manner. CIMA screamed in pain before Yoshino slammed him arm-first into the mat. The crowd chanted for Yoshino as Lee called the action in dismay.
CIMA fired back with an eye rake and a dropkick before taking the time to check on his arm. CIME nailed Yoshino with a big kick and he retreated to the ropes. CIMA continued to favor his arm, but ended up chocking Yoshino against the mat using the ropes for leverage. CIMA took Yoshino to the outside and dropped him face-first onto the apron. CIMA put the boots to Yoshino and leered at the crowd. Tozawa went to work on Yoshino on the outside while CIMA distracted the ref. CIMA hit a suplex back inside the ring and shook his arm while glaring at the crowd after getting a 2 count. Lee said he had a lot of driving coming up because of Christmas time. He said he liked to take his time off to beat up people on the weekends.
CIMA tied up Yoshino in the ropes and nailed him with a series of big kicks. CIMA then went after Yoshino’s leg and he screamed in pain. The crowd booed as CIMA stalked around the ring before locking in a leg submission on Yoshino. Yoshino struggled and the Blood Warriors held the rope back so he couldn’t reach it, but he finally got it. CIMA continued to work over Yoshino’s leg until the ref forced him to break the hold. CIMA nailed Yoshino with a big slap in the corner and gave an evil smile to the fans at ringside. Yoshino countered a charge into the corner and locked CIMA in the tarantula, but he had to break it due to the ref’s count. Yoshino went after CIMA’s arm again before trying to shake the feeling back into his leg.
Yoshino countered CIMA with some great speed and took him down with an insane looking clothesline for a 2 count. Yoshino favored his knee slightly before going back on the attack. CIMA fired back and took Yoshino down. CIMA went for a dive, but Yoshino ran back into the ring like a blur and caught him in the from jungle submission and the crowd applauded. Yoshino tried to turn it into a pinning combination, but only got a 2 count. The crowd applauded as Yoshino set up a charge in the corner. Yoshino missed and went for a dive off the top, but CIMA caught him with a dropkick. CIMA then hung him upside down in the corner and went for the coast to coast, but Yoshino got out of the way. Yoshino then missed a missile dropkick and CIMA hit a double stomp and both men were down. The crowd applauded as both men tried to get to their feet. CIMA was up first and he looked angry. CIMA stalked Yoshino, but Yoshino countered a suplex attempt. Yoshino got caught with the double knees in the corner, but Yoshino blocked a back stabber attempt in the corner. Yoshino then hit a variation of a DDT in the corner for a 2 count. Yoshino favored his leg and was slow to get up.
Yoshino went for the lighting spiral, but CIMA countered him. CIMA then hit Yoshino with a kick low and he went down in pain. CIMA looked surprised as Yoshino continued to scream in pain. CIMA smiled and pointed at Yoshino. The announcers said CIMA’s kicks were much more effective because of his increased training lately. Yoshino gagged against the apron and the ref checked him, but he didn’t want to give it up. CIMA nailed Yoshino with a series of knees as Yoshino screamed in pain. Yoshino countered CIMA and took him down with a flipping arm bar. CIMA countered sol naciente and hit shwine, but Yoshino kicked out at the last second and the crowd roared.
Yoshino grabbed his stomach and writhed in pain on the mat. CIMA walked up to Yoshino and hit a big cross-arm powerbomb, but Yoshino kicked out. CIMA looked stunned as the crowd chanted for Yoshino. CIMA went for another cross-arm powerbomb and made faces at the crowd, but Yoshino rolled him up for a nearfall. CIMA hit a superkick, but Yoshino caught him with a crucifix for nearfall. Yoshino caught CIMA out of nowhere with the lightning spiral moments later for a great nearfall. Yoshino locked in sol naciente moments later and the crowd chanted for CIMA to tap. CIMA started to fade, but sat up and managed to fight free. Yoshino then transitioned the hold and applied it again and CIMA tapped out.
Winner: Masato Yoshino
Star rating: (****) – This was a fantastic match with both men working parts of the body before going to a big finish. The crowd was behind Yoshino throughout the match with CIMA doing some really good heel work here. The facials and selling from both men were well done. This felt like a really big deal given the stature of both men in Japan and the heel vs. face dynamic.
The show went to intermission.
Leonard introduced Uhaa Nation to start the second half of the show. Leonard said he wanted to say a few words. Nation said it was great to be in NYC for the first time and the fans applauded. Nation said he had an opportunity to go to Japan. He said he was going to continue his success there and thanked the fans for their support. Nation said he’s the future of professional wrestling and 2012 is the year of the one man nation. The crowd chanted his name as he posed on the turnbuckles. This was a good promo from Nation. It wasn’t great, but for a first timer he was poised and confident in his words. He’s really talented and with time he should get even better.
Ricochet came out with Tozawa to some boos from the crowd. Ricochet got a mixed response when he was introduced. PAC then came out to a good pop. Leonard was joined on commentary by Konley & Reed. Leonard said he was glad Dallas into the booth, but Leonard said he was all set.
5 - - RICOCHET (w/Akira Tozawa) vs. PAC
The crowd chanted for PAC after the bell rang. PAC lifted Ricochet and slammed him to the mat, but Ricochet ran to the corner and ducked through the ropes. It was hard to hear Konley and Reed on commentary. Ricochet took down PAC and posed for the crowd, which drew some boos. PAC took Ricochet down and stomped on his hand. The crowd chanted for PAC as Ricochet bailed to the corner. Leonard said he’d rather have Lee back in the booth on commentary. Ricochet grabbed a chinlock, but PAC countered and got an arm bar. Ricochet hit a nice counter and locked up PAC’s arm before nailing it with a kick. PAC fired right back and went after Ricochet’s arm again before grounding him with a chinlock. The pace picked up and Ricochet evaded a leg sweep and hit a dropkick. The crowd applauded, but Ricochet gave them the FU sign. Ricochet chopped PAC several times in the corner. PAC fired up, but Ricochet nailed him with a blow. PAC ducked a charge in the corner and nailed Ricochet with a big hip toss.
PAC went to work on Ricochet in the corner with some chops. PAC hit a big suplex, but only got a 2 count. He then grabbed a head scissors neck submission on the mat, but Ricochet rolled to the ropes to break it up. Ricochet drove PAC into the turnbuckles and choked him with his boots in the corner. Ricochet put the boots to PAC in the corner and locked him in a modified abdominal stretch with a leg trap on the mat. Ricochet tried to roll him up, but only got a one count. Ricochet hit a slam and went for a standing moonsault, but PAC got out of the way and hit a standing SSP. The fans chanted for PAC, who was slow to get to his feet. PAC told Ricochet to bring it, but he sent Ricochet to the mat with a big chop. Ricochet fired back and nailed him with a big strike. Ricochet ran the ropes, but PAC nailed him with a huge clothesline and hit a dive to the outside and the crowd roared. PAC went to work on Ricochet on the floor with a series of big chops. Ricochet crawled into the crowd and tried to get away. Ricochet then ran across the bar and took down PAC with a hurricanrana, which got a big ovation.
PAC and Ricochet brawled near the bar. Ricochet got a running start and hit a flip dive over the audience and onto PAC that drew a big pop from the crowd. That was insane. The fans chanted “Dragon Gate” as Ricochet tossed PAC back into the ring. Ricochet locked a submission on the mat and kicked away at the back of his head. He tried rolling him up, but only got a 2 count. Ricochet jawed with the fans as they chanted for PAC. Some fans tried to start a Ricochet chant, but they were drowned out. Ricochet taunted PAC with some light kicks to the head. PAC fired up and both men began exchanging big strikes. Ricochet hit a kick to PAC’s stomach and sat on him as the crowd booed, but PAC caught him coming off the ropes, tossed him high, and brought him down with an ace crusher.
The crowd chanted for PAC as he struggled to get to his feet. PAC caught Ricochet with a big forearm coming off the ropes. PAC nailed Ricochet with a series of moves capped by a northern lights suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. That was a nice exchange. Ricochet flipped out of a German and hit a neckbreaker followed by a standing SSP for a nearfall. The crowd clapped with both men slow to get to their feet. Ricochet caught PAC with a springboard hurricanrana that took PAC over the top to the outside. Ricochet climbed up to the stage, but PAC leapt over him. PAC eventually caught Ricochet with an inverted hurricanrana and the crowd popped again.
PAC made his way into the ring and was down on the mat. Tozawa checked on Ricochet and gave him some water on the outside. The ref got to 19 and Ricochet got into the ring only to take a big German suplex for a nearfall. Ricochet blocked a charge with an elbow and another with a boot. Both men exchanged counters until Ricochet finally spiked PAC with an inverted hurricanrana that left both men down on the mat. Ricochet tried to lift PAC, but he grabbed a headlock. PAC flipped out of a suplex attempt and ducked a springboard attempt. PAC went for a phoenix splash off the second rope, but Ricochet got out of the way and nailed him with a phoenix splash of his own for a nearfall. The crowd clapped as both men tried to get to their feet.
PAC ducked a charge in the corner and went up top, but Ricochet caught him with a Spanish fly for a nearfall. The crowd applauded with both men down on the mat. That was impressive. Ricochet went up top again and checked the ceiling. PAC cut him off, but Ricochet sent him down to the mat. Ricochet went for a SSP, but PAC got to his feet. Tozawa distracted the ref and Ricochet hit a low blow and rolled up PAC for a nearfall. PAC caught Ricochet with a powerbomb moments later for a 2 count and both men were down. Both men went back and forth. Ricochet hit a German, but PAC kicked out. Ricochet hit a backslide driver and a snap mare driver, but PAC kicked out again and the crowd went nuts. Ricochet hit another suplex and a kick to the head for the win.
Star rating: (***3/4) – The match was slow in spot and had a few too many nearfalls, but this match featured some spectacular action at times, especially the spots they did around the bar and restaurant area. If they had ended the match sooner with fewer nearfalls, the finish would have really drawn a huge ovation, but this was still darn good.
Ricochet flipped off the crowd after the match before going to the back. PAC then got a nice round of applause.
I can’t believe the YAMATO-Gargano match isn’t on last. Gargano came out to a good reaction from the crowd. YAMATO then came out to a polite applause from the fans. He took off the black towel that was on his head and fired it at Gargano. YAMATO did not have the belt with him. Lenny Leonard did the formal introductions. Gargano got a nice ovation. YAMATO was then introduced to a nice ovation as well.
6 – Open the Freedom Gate Champion YAMATO vs. JOHNNY GARGANO (w/Rich Swann)
Gargano drove YAMATO into the ropes and gave him a clean break. YAMATO then drove YAMATO into the ropes and patted Gargano’s face before offering a clean break. Gargano and YAMATO exchanged holds on the mat, but neither man could get the upper hand and came to a stalemate. Gargano grabbed an arm bar, but YAMATO countered and took him down with a headlock. YAMATO began to work on Gargano’s arm, but Gargano countered and grabbed an arm submission on the mat. The crowd chanted for both men and seemed split in who they favored. The pace picked up and both men countered each other until YAMATO locked in a crossface variation. Gargano was right near the ropes and was able to break the hold quickly.
YAMATO grounded Gargano and grabbed a chin lock. The crowd clapped as Gargano struggled to escape. Gargano finally countered and went back to work on YAMATO’s arm. Gargano slammed YAMATO’s arm over his shoulder several times while twisting it. YAMATO went down and Gargano grabbed an arm submission. YAMATO struggled to the ropes, but Gargano dragged him back to the middle of the ring. YAMATO finally got the bottom rope with his foot forcing Gargano to break the hold. Gargano went back to work on YAMATO’s arm with a high-angle hammerlock. That looks nasty. YAMATO countered and grabbed an arm submission of his own before driving Gargano back down to the mat. YAMATO stomped on Gargano’s arm and the crowd chanted his name. Another faction of the fans began chanting for Gargano to drown out the YAMATO chant. YAMATO hit a big chop in the corner and followed up with another one as Gargano crumpled to the mat. YAMATO hit another big chop in the corner and the crowd groaned.
Gargano fired back with a clothesline in the corner and a big kick to the chest for a 2 count. The crowd started to chant for Gargano with a small amount of fans chanting for Gargano. Gargano hit a knee strike and a neckbreaker and the crowd chanted his name. Gargano lit up YAMATO with a big chop in the corner. He followed up with another big chop and the crowd groaned at the sound. Gargano kicked YAMATO in the head several times before nailing him with a dropkick. Gargano tied up YAMATO’s legs and locked him in a variation of the Texas cloverleaf. YAMATO struggled, but eventually got the ropes. Gargano hit a series of knee strikes and a big kick to YAMATO’s stomach that sent him down to the mat. Gargano drove YAMATO into the corner and worked him over with a series of shoulder tackles to the gut. Gargano charged at YAMATO, but he got his boot up. YAMATO took Gargano down and locked in a crossface variation, but Gargano got right to the ropes.
YAMATO put the boots to YAMATO and pointed at him while looking at the crowd. YAMATO hit a chin breaker and then a neck breaker, but Gargano kicked out at 2. YAMATO stood on Gargano’s head. Gargano tried to lift it up, but YAMATO drove his head right back into the mat. YAMATO choked Gargano against the ropes before slamming him down to the mat. Gargano tried to kick him away from his back, but YAMATO taunted him with some light kicks before stepping on his head again. YAMATO asked Gargano if that was all he has. The crowd began chanting for Gargano. YAMATO spit in Gargano’s face and more fans got behind YAMATO. YAMATO lit up Gargano with some brutal strikes in the corner before covering him for a 2 count. The crowd chanted for Gargano as YAMATO glared at the crowd. Gargano continued to ground Gargano with a big kick that sent Gargano slumped against the turnbuckles. The crowd continued to rally behind Gargano with YAMATO signaling for the end.
Gargano countered YAMATO’s suplex attempt. Gargano hit a rolling kick to YAMATO’s head that staggered him. Gargano then clotheslined YAMATO to the floor. Gargano was slow to get to his feet as the crowd applauded. Gargano hit a cross body off the apron and tossed YAMATO in the ring. YAMATO charged at Gargano, but got caught with a spear. The crowd chanted for both men as Gargano locked in a submission on YAMATO using the ropes for leverage. Gargano was faced to break the hold and went up top. YAMATO caught him with a dropkick and both men battled up top. Gargano went for a sunset bomb and finally connected. YAMATO rolled to the outside and Gargano connected with a big dive through the ropes. Gargano then hit a senton off the apron. Gargano followed up with a senton off the stage and the crowd applauded.
Gargano tossed YAMATO into the ring and connected with a springboard DDT for a nearfall. Gargano went for the hurts don’t it, but YAMATO slipped out. YAMATO eventually hit a kick to the back of Gargano’s head and followed up with a brainbuster for a 2 count. YAMATO immediately locked in the crossface variation. The crowd was split in their support of both men as Gargano’s teased tapping in the middle of the ring. The crowd chanted for Gargano not to tap. Gargano crawled towards the ropes and eventually grabbed the bottom rope. A big chant for Gargano broke out as he struggled to get to his feet. YAMATO charged at Gargano in the corner, but got caught and driven into the turnbuckles. Gargano then went for a running dropkick, but he accidentally hit the ref and the crowd popped. YAMATO then dropkicked Gargano into the ref. Gargano countered YAMATO and hit the hurts don’t it as the crowd counted to 10 with Gargano covering YAMATO.
Gargano tried to revive the ref, but YAMATO nailed him with a low blow. Taylor ran into the ring and accidentally hit Gargano with the belt. Another ref came in and counted and Gargano kicked out at the very last second. That was a good nearfall. The fans were still split in their support, but the Gargano fans seemed to drown out the YAMATO chants. Both men exchanged big strikes in the center of the ring. Gargano hit several strikes in a row, but YAMATO caught him with a big boot. Both men exchanged big kicks, but neither would go down. YAMATO ducked a superkick and hit galleria, but Gargano kicked out and the crowd went nuts chanting for Gargano. That was a great nearfall.
YAMATO lifted Gargano to his feet and went for another Galleria. Gargano fought out, but YAMATO hit a kick to the head. Gargano slipped out of the brainbuster and hit hurts don’t it. Gargano locked in the Gargano escape as the crowd went nuts and YAMATO tapped. Wow.
Winner: Johnny Gargano to become the Open the Freedom Gate Champion
Star rating: (****1/4) – It started slow and dragged in spots, but then this match got really good with some excellent submission work. They threw in some great nearfalls with Chuck Taylor running in and hitting Gargano by accident. Another great nearfall was Gargano kicking out of galleria. The finish was tremendous with great back and forth action leading into Gargano submitting YAMATO.
After the match, Taylor walked to the back with the belt. Taylor then came back out holding the Open the Freedom Gate title. Gargano got on the mic and said he had been saying that he and Swann forgot what Ronin was all about. Gargano said Taylor had forgotten what Ronin was all about. Gargano said they had stuck together since day 1 to become one of the hottest acts in DGUSA. Taylor stood near the entrance and looked at the title. Taylor said these fans had shown them appreciation and respect. Gargano said they had started low on the card and climbed to the top. Gargano said he was proud of what he had just done in this ring. Gargano said it didn’t matter who was the champion. It only mattered that the title was with Ronin. Gargano said they were all on the same playing field. Gargano said he watched Taylor & Swann beat Hulk & Tozawa clean in the ring earlier tonight. Gargano said that made them #1 contenders to the tag titles. Garagano said Taylor said CIMA had been holding him down since day one. Gargano said CIMA held one half of the tag titles. Taylor came to ringside and got in the ring. Taylor told him to prove he could beat CIMA and Ricochet and prove they are better than them. Gargano told Taylor to bring the titles home to Ronin. Gargano gave Taylor the mic.
Taylor put the mic down. He looked down at the title and offered it to Gargano. Taylor then hugged Gargano and the crowd applauded. All three men hugged and Taylor teased a superkick, but didn’t do it. The fans chanted for Ronin. Taylor got on the mic and said he and Gargano had tagged all over the world. Taylor told Gargano he was the best wrestler in the world right now. Taylor then said he and Swann were coming for the tag titles so Ronin would have all the tag titles. A big “Ronin baby” chant broke out and Gargano posed with the title.
Gargano got a huge response before leaving the ring with the title.
Radican’s thoughts: Nice job holding off the Taylor heel turn here on Gargano, which everyone was expecting. I thought Gargano’s post-match promo was excellent and the Ronin act still has a lot that they can do in DUGSA before they split up.
A.R. Fox got on the mic and came out with John Davis. He said they would take on D.U.F. 2 vs. 3. Sabu went for a dive, but missed. Sabu then came out to even the odds.
7 - - JOHN DAVIS & A.R. FOX & SABU vs. D.U.F. (Sami Callihan & Pinkie Sanchez & Arik Cannon) – Extreme Warfare matchh
Gabe Sapolsky came into the commentary booth as mayhem was going down. Davis tossed Sanchez onto Cannon and Callihan on the outside. Sabu told Davis he wanted to do the dive and hit his signature dive off the chair and off the top rope to the outside onto D.U.F. Davis went for a dive, but Callihan stopped him. Davis punched him to the outside and took out D.U.F. with a flip dive. Cannon hit a neckbreaker on Sabu in the ring while everyone else battled on the outside. Cannon went up to the second rope, but Sabu caught him with a shot to the throat. Sabu got a spike and drove it into Cannon’s head. Sabu hit Cannon with the spike about 1,000 times. Cannon came up bleeding as everyone else continued to battle outside. Sanchez finally made the save by taking out Sabu.
Sanchez got a spoon and drove it into Davis’s head. Davis drove Sanchez into the corner and Sabu joined him in the attack. I haven’t seen much of anything that’s happening on the outside. Davis went to work on Sanchez in the ring with a series of kicks. Sabu and Callihan were shown brawling at ringside. Callihan ran in and broke up Davis’s suplex attempt on Sanchez. Fox came off the top, but ate a boot from Callihan. Callihan then hit his snap splash off the ropes on Fox. Sabu was shown on the outside whipping Cannon into the ringpost. Callihan got a fork and went to work on Fox. Sabu went to work on Cannon with a fork on the floor. Callihan was shown inside the ring nailing Fox with several shots with the fork. Fox fired back and nailed Callihan with a kick. He then skinned the cat and nailed Callihan with a dropkick. Cannon ran into the ring, but Fox shrugged him off, as Callihan was shown bleeding. Callihan launched Fox into the corner and he landed head-first on the turnbuckles. Sabu brought a table inside the ring, but Cannon cut him off. Cannon hit a brainbuster on Sabu, but only got a 2 count. Callihan suplexed Fox off the stage and onto a guardrail set up on the outside. Damn. Sabu set up cannon on a table and nailed him with a legdrop for through the table. The crowd chanted “ECW” and then “Dragon Gate.”
Fox hit a second rope ace crusher on Fox. Fox then hit the springboard Spanish fly on Callihan, but Sanchez broke it up. Fox went up top and hit a 450 on Callihan, but Cannon broke it up. Fox went for another 450, but Callihan got his knees up. Sami then lifted up Fox and powerbombed him onto the guardrail, which drew a big pop. Sapolsky threatened to stop the match. Callihan rolled Fox back into the ring, but he kicked out and the crowd chanted for Fox. Fox told Callihan to bring it and got stabbed in the head with a fork shot. Callihan hit another fork shot as the crowd went nuts. Cannon handed Callihan a bottle and he broke it over Fox’s head for the win.
Winners: Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez
Star rating: (***) – It was hard to see a lot of what was going on, but both teams pulled off a lot of spectacular spots and did enough without being foolish in terms of the risks to long-term health. The one thing this match did was establish a different side of Fox, who delivered a really strong performance. I’m hoping they can get a better edit of this match when it goes up on VOD because not a lot was shown on the outside.
Callihan got on the mic and said D.U.F. were legends in DGUSA. He said Sabu wasn’t a legend. Callihan said they would dominate in 2012. Callihan grabbed a fan with a D.U.F. shirt on and said he was one of them. Callihan said he was heading to the bar. Cannon said they were going to the bar to drink, but NYC was going to pick up the tab. D.U.F. posed for the fans as Leonard closed the show.
They went to Sabu in the ring with Fox and Davis. Fox got a huge ovation as he got to his feet. Leonard said this wasn’t the last we’ve seen of them. Leonard said they would kick off 2012 on Jan. 27 in Los Angeles. Leonard then signed off and thanked the fans for 2011. Leonard said the era of Gargano and the era of Ronin had begun.
Overall thoughts: (8.5) – This was DGUSA’s strongest offering of the weekend. The show was well-paced and featured some big storyline developments as the company heads into 2012. Coming out of the show DGUSA booker Gabe Sapolsky put a lot of steam behind the Ronin stable of Gargano, Swann, and Taylor. Tension was built up during the course of the weekend between Taylor and Gargano, but Taylor didn’t turn heel, which sets up a nice long-term build to when he eventually does turn on Gargano.
This was a huge weekend for Johnny Gargano. He has now defeated Doi, Hulk, and YAMATO in consecutive singles matches and his win over YAMATO in an excellent match is a huge notch on his belt. It’s nice to see DGUSA getting behind an act and really building them up and Ronin certainly was the focus of the show and Leonard did a good job on commentary driving that point home.
The undercard started slowly, but finished strong with a strong tag match that saw Taylor & Swann beat Tozawa & Hulk. Swann appears to be getting a strong push heading into 2012 with his pin on Tozawa last night in a singles match and again tonight in a tag match.
PAC-Ricochet delivered a really good match after intermission that was a little slow in spots, but the crowd really got into it and Ricochet won the feud between both men in the blow off match. If you like high-flying action with a good heel vs. face dynamic, you’ll enjoy this match.
The Gargano-YAMATO match started slow, but got really good with both men showcasing some nice submission work and it looked like YAMATO was going to win as his aggressive side took over and he pummeled Gargano. The tease with Taylor accidentally running in and hitting Gargano with the title was well-done. All sorts of road blocks, including a ref bump, were thrown in Gargano’s way before he finally submitted YAMATO. The post-match mic work from Gargano and establishing Ronin’s mission while Taylor stared at the Open the Freedom Gate title was the best angle DGUSA has done to date. Gargano is firmly established as a top-flight star in DGUSA after this win.
The main event was a style of match I don’t normally enjoy, but they managed to mix in some big spots and hardcore action without taking unnecessary risks to the health of the wrestlers. Fox came across like a star with his gutsy performance during the match and Callihan shined as well. I just didn’t think this show should have ended with this match. If they had ended with the Gargano win and the post-match Taylor heel turn tease, it would have come across better.
This was DGUSA’s best show of the weekend. The crowd was hot for most of the night and there were a lot of angles and feuds blown off. The stream was clean all night with no interruptions and there were some good promo segments, but I’d like to see the company do more next year in-terms of mixing in highlight packages and backstage segments during the course of their iPPVs to bring more diversity to the table. This show gets a thumbs up and is recommended for purchase.
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