Lenny Leonard once again handled the commentary and ring announcing duties for the afternoon.
1 - ARIK CANNON vs. RICH SWANN
Cannon may or may not have been drunk. (Remember, he played beer-pong in last night's opening match.) Swann landed a huge standing backflip over Cannon and followed up with a perfect dropkick. He hit a diving elbow, but Cannon kicked out at one. Swann knocked Cannon to ringside and went for a huracanrana, but Cannon stopped it and threw Swann through the first three rows of chairs. Great-looking spot. Cannon got Swann back in the ring, but couldn’t put him away. Swann hit a beautiful back handspring into a headscissors, but got his clock cleaned with a Cannon right hand. They fought for momentum on the ring apron until Swann knocked him to ringside.
Swann followed up with an amazing Phoenix Splash off the second turnbuckle to the outside. Back in the ring, they traded punches. Swann hit a superkick, but Cannon came right back with a stiff lariat and Total Anarchy for a good nearfall. Swann got Cannon to the top rope and hit a standing Frankensteiner and fllowed with a handspring moonsault for two. Swann went for a handspring back-elbow, but Cannon caught him with a German suplex. Swann slowed things down for a moment with a guillotine choke, but Cannon overpowered him and turned it into a brainbuster. Cannon charged with a lariat, but Swann hit the Tornado Spinkick and finished Cannon off with the standing 450.
Post-match, Swann grabbed a microphone and said nothing against D.U.F. but DGUSA is the land of the high-flyers, and Cannon just can’t hang. He left and Larry Dallas made his way to the ring cocking off to Cannon. Dallas hid behind Trina Michaels and threw her into Cannon, who took full advantage of having an attractive woman in his arms. After Dallas and Michaels left, Cannon went to the arena bar and grabbed a Bud Light for the walk to the back. Funny...
Zim’s Zag: Good opener. This is the Arik Cannon I wish showed up Saturday night against Chuck Taylor. He doesn’t seem motivated all the time, but when he’s in there with a guy like Swann, he can work really well. Swann continues to impress.
2 - JON DAVIS vs. DRAKE YOUNGER
Davis jumped Younger as soon as he got through the ropes, clearly furious after his loss last night. He threw Younger to the outside, where Younger was able to take advantage by ramming Davis’s arm into the ringpost. He hit a big summersault plancha off the top rope and wiped Davis out. Back in the ring, Davis regained control with some brutal knees and kicks to the ribs. Younger tried to fight back, but Davis put a big boot in his face for his efforts. Davis set up the ring steps on the outside and bodyslammed Younger onto them twice. Davis went for a powerbomb in the ring, but Younger reversed and caught Davis with a Tornado DDT. He set up for Drakes Landing, but Davis floated over. Younger floated over as well and hit a German suplex for two.
Younger went to the outside and piled up five chairs. He threw a sixth into Davis’s face for good measure and tried suplexing Davis off the apron onto the chairs. Davis reversed and hit a stiff right forearm, which knocked Younger onto the pile of chairs. He got Drake back in the ring and hit a Rock Bottom through an open chair. He followed up with a Bucklebomb, but missed the lariat. Younger got Davis up and dropped him with the Drake n’ Bake for a two count. The two men fought back to their feet exchanging shots, but Davis caught Younger with a brutal knee strike to the face. Davis mounted and mauled Younger until the ref called for the TKO.
WINNER: Jon Davis via TKO.
After the match, Davis hit a bucklebomb on the referee and Lenny Leonard put him over as more dangerous now than he ever has been…
Zim’s Zag: Physical, stiff match. Good action throughout and Younger is a maniac for some of the bumps he’s willing to take. The finish came out of nowhere, but it looked really convincing and made Davis seem like even more of a beast. I like the story that Davis is using his loss last night to further fuel his anger and motivation, that’s logically how his character would progress and he is playing the part well.
3 - EITA vs. CHUCK TAYLOR
Both men chain-wrestled to a stand-off. Taylor ran the ropes and as EITA looked to reverse with a monkey flip, Taylor hit a low dropkick to take control. Taylor hit some chops in the corner, but a single chop by EITA took Taylor down. Taylor came back with a nice springboard armdrag into a headscissors and took the fight to ringside. Taylor sat EITA in a chair a chopped him so hard THAT the chair fell backwards.
Back in the ring, Taylor maintained control and hit a nice dropkick for two before settling into a figure-four necklock. EITA got the rope break, but Taylor kept the momentum. EITA did a unique whip reversal and followed up with a springboard dropkick to send Taylor to the outside. EITA got to the top turnbuckle and hit a moonsault on Taylor at ringside.
Taylor tried to run away back into the ring, but EITA got a missile dropkick for two. Taylor hit Sole Food, but EITA and took control with a big boot. He hit a big standing uranage and followed up with a stiff kick to the chest for a two count. Taylor got hung up in the ropes and EITA caught him with a diving guillotine leg drop. Taylor regained control with a rope hung snapmare driver and backed EITA into the corner with chops. He charged, but EITA got a boot up and hit a summersault dropkick for a near fall. EITA hit a moonsault, but missed a second. Chuck Taylor caught him with the Awful Waffle seconds later and got the pinfall.
WINNER: Chuck Taylor.
Post-match, Taylor grabbed a microphone and said he went three-for-three in his matches this weekend. At WrestleCon, he said he’s solidified that he’s deserving of the number one seed in the Evolve Title tournament beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Zim’s Zag: Good match. Again, I was slightly disappointed with Taylor on Saturday, but this match was much more up to standard. He is a great performer and always entertaining to watch. EITA also continues to impress. His moonsault may be the best looking in all of wrestling, and at just 21-years-old he looks very comfortable in the ring.
4 - DGUSA champion JOHNNY GARGANO vs. BRIAN KENDRICK - Open the Freedom Gate Title match
Kendrick was in “The” Brian Kendrick mode and had lots of heat during his entrance, which set up a nice pop for the champion. Gargano’s ribs were taped up after his fight with Jon Davis on Saturday night. Kendrick targeted the ribs from the onset and Gargano was visibly concerned about Kendrick’s attack plan. They chain-wrestled for the opening few and Kendrick proved he hasn’t lost a step. Gargano went for an O’Connor roll, but Kendrick proved to be one up on Gargano by rolling through into a quick, close nearfall. Gargano did a good job of showing concern and caution with the experience of Kendrick.
Gargano hit a big elbow strike in the corner and followed up with a running neckbreaker to take control. He worked Kendrick's arm, weakening him for the Garga-No Escape. Kendrick reversed a suplex attempt into a small package for two, but Gargano stayed in control with a bodyslam and shoulder thrusts in the corner. He finished with a big running forearm that rocked Kendrick. Gargano climbed the top turnbuckle, but Kendrick caught him with a Death Valley Driver and a hit big single leg dropkick that knocked the champion to the outside. Gargano came back with a big chop, but ate another boot and Kendrick locked in a half-crab in the middle of the ring, continuing to work the back and ribs.
Kendrick allowed Gargano to get to his knees before putting him down again with a running dropkick to the ribs. Kendrick locked in an armbar and was throwing shots at the ribs the whole time. Kendrick charged at Gargano, but he dropped the top rope and Kendrick fell to the outside. When Kendrick got back in, he was met with a slingshot spear. Gargano caught Kendrick with an enziguri and followed up with a suicide dive to the outside. He got Kendrick back in the ring and hit a slingshot DDT for a two count. They traded roll-up exchanges until Gargano caught Kendrick with an Alabama Slam and went right to the Garga-NO Escape, but Kendrick made the ropes.
Gargano went for a schoolboy but rolled Kendrick through and caught him with a kick on the top of the head. Very cool move. Kendrick came right back and hit a Burning Hammer and locked in a Camel Clutch/Dragon Sleeper combination. Gargano fought out and caught Kendrick with a superkick. He went for the Lawn Dart, but Kendrick reversed and went for Sliced Bread. Gargano caught him in the air and launched him into the second turnbuckle with the Lawn Dart. He followed up with a superkick to a kneeling Kendrick for a convincing nearfall. They traded blows mid-ring, which ended with a Gargano discus lariat, but both men were down. Johnny went to the top rope, but Kendrick shoved the ref into the ropes and followed up with Sliced Bread on Gargano for a near-three count of his own.
Kendrick shoved the ref into Gargano and went to hit Sliced Bread again, but Gargano reversed with the Hurts Donut. He had the visual pin but the ref was bumped. Kendrick snuck the belt into the ring, tossed it to Gargano, and superkicked it. As he tried to wake the ref, Gargano struck him with the belt, followed up with the Hurts Donut, and locked in the Garga-No Escape, forcing Kendrick to tap.
WINNER: Gargano via submission to retain the DGUSA Title.
Post-match, Gargano took a mic and said that should teach everyone to never question his intelligence. He’s beaten them all, he said. “Big or small, rookie or veteran, I have beaten them all.” He said now it’s time to look forward to WrestleCon, where he will look to further cement his legacy. He said that he’s sending two open contracts to any Dragon Gate Japan wrestlers who want to challenge him for his title on April 6 and 7.
Zim’s Zag: Very good match. It didn’t kick into a crazy gear, but after Kendrick worked the ribs all match, there were some very convincing nearfalls that made it really exciting. Ref bumps aren’t great, but they’re infrequent in DGUSA so it’s not anything to harp on. Gargano shows great heart in every outing and after thinking his size may hold him back in the future, he appeared to have a slight weight advantage on Kendrick. There goes that concern. Good defense for the champ and I hope to see more from Kendrick over WrestleCon weekend.
5 - SAMURAY DEL SOL vs. RYO SAITO
Both men targeted the legs in the opening minutes. Del Sol hit some incredibly innovative reversals and they traded armdrags to end in a stalemate. Del Sol extended his hand, but Saito kicked him in the gut and took control. Saito slammed Del Sol and came off the top with a big diving double stomp for a two count. Del Sol reversed a whip with a flip over the ropes and hit a springboard huracanrana. He followed up with a rolling Death Valley driver and a kick to the face. Del Sol nailed a slingshot 450 and got a two count. He ran the roped but Saito came back with a belly-to-belly toss and followed up with a momentum powerbomb for two.
Saito locked in a half-crab and slowed down the pace. Del Sol came back with a sitout shiranui and got a near fall. He springboarded off the ropes but Saito caught him with a wheelbarrow suplex. Both men fought back to their feet exchanging shots. Del Sol leapt up for a huracanrana, but Saito dropped down with a powerbomb for a two count. He placed Del Sol on the top rope, but Del Sol hit a reverse huracanrana off the second rope, picking up the win.
WINNER: Del Sol.
Post-match, Del Sol spoke in Spanish and the mask made it hard to understand him. Jon Davis snuck into the ring and jumped him from behind. Davis hit a Bucklebomb and a big boot to the face before delivering 3 Seconds Around the World. He left the ring while referees tended to Del Sol…
Zim’s Zag: I would’ve liked that match to go a bit longer, but it looked like the match had taken its toll on both men. Good, fast-paced action that featured great athleticism and showed both men’s abilities.
6 - SAMI CALLIHAN vs. JIMMY SUSUMU
Sami backed Jimmy into the corner and they exchanged chops. They brought it back to the middle of the ring and traded lariats, which gave Sami the upper hand and knocked Jimmy to ringside. Back in the ring, Sami wore Jimmy down with a bodyslam and stomps. He went for a suplex, but Susumu reversed with a suplex of his own. Sami came back a short time later and worked Susumu over on the mat. He locked in an Indian Deathlock, but released the hold and hit a lariat to the back of the head. “You’ve got a dirty face!” Sami yelled before hitting two running face washes in the corner. He went for a third, but Jimmy reversed and both men were down.
Jimmy went for an exploder and got it on the second attempt, but Sami kept a grip on Jimmy and hit the deadlift Saito suplex to even things up. They traded reversals and fought to the top rope, where Susumu hit an exploder off the top for a nearfall. Jimmy ran for a lariat, but Sami scooped him up and planted him with a Death Valley Bomb for a nearfall of his own. He went for the Stretch Muffler, but Jimmy made the ropes. Callihan continued to work the leg but Susumu used some unique offense and damaged the legs of Callihan. Susumu got two nearfalls on roll-ups and both men were back to their feet, face-to-face mid-ring.
Sami hit a bicycle kick and followed up with a lariat, but Jimmy kicked out at one. Jimmy hit a lariat of his own, but Sami kicked out at one as well. Jimmy hit the Mugen, but again Sami kicked out at one. Susumu lost his elbow pad and hit the lariat a second time, but it was only good for a two count. Sami caught Susumu with a kick to the leg and a lariat for a two count. He followed up with a sit-out powerbomb and transitioned right into the Stretch Muffler, forcing Susumu to tap…
WINNER: Callihan via submission.
Zim’s Zag: Singles match of the night tonight without question in my mind. This one was right up there with Callihan’s match with Tozawa yesterday. Callihan isn’t pretty to watch, but he is a logical and talented wrestler. His matches make sense and follow story arcs that essentially define good wrestling matches. I wasn’t very familiar with Susumu, but he was very physical and impressive as well.
6 - YOUNG BUCKS (NICK & MATT JACKSON) vs. AKIRA TOZAWA & DGUSA tag champion A.R. FOX
Missing from the tour is the other tag champion, CIMA. Tozawa was certainly a welcomed replacement partner for Fox, though. The four men brawled at ringside to start before getting settled into the match. Tozawa hit an early backdrop driver that shook Matt. Both men tag their partners and Fox got the upper-hand on Nick with a beautiful dropkick. He followed up with a split-legged moonsault for two and tagged Tozawa back in. Nick hit a knee to the gut and tagged in Matt, allowing the Bucks to get the upper hand. Tozawa forced his way back to the corner and tagged in Fox, who took a jawbreaker from Nick before Matt got back in the match.
Fox hit a suplex and tagged in Tozawa, who worked over Matt. Tozawa went for a Bicycle Kick on Nick to knock him off the apron, but he got caught in the ropes, allowing the Bucks to take advantage. Frequent tags from the Bucks with impressive double-team offense. Matt tried trading chops with Tozawa, which ended with Tozawa landing a big right hand to the face. Both men tagged their partners and Fox got the upper hand on both Bucks with a skin the cat dropkick and Ace Crusher combo. The Bucks regrouped on the outside, then Matt hit his handspring back-rake and followed up with some air guitar. Funny stuff. “I’m on fire baby!” Matt shrieked.
Matt tagged in Nick, who worked Fox over with right forearms and a hard whip into the corner before tagging Matt back in. Fox fought back by reversing Nick’s slingshot X-Factor into an atomic drop and hitting a springboard Ace Crusher on Matt. He went to make the tag, but Nick pulled Tozawa off the apron. Matt hit an impressive repeating powerbomb on Fox for two. Fox came back with rapid-fire offense and finished with a springboard dropkick before tagging in Tozawa. Tozawa got both Bucks at ringside and hit two suicide dives as the crowd chanted “Tozawa!” Back in the ring, he dropped Matt with a brainbuster, but only got a two count. He hit a Saito suplex on Matt and then he and Fox hit a double senton on Nick.
Fox went air-borne, wiping out Matt at ringside. Matt and Fox then exchanged shots, but Fox ate a superkick. Tozawa hit a Buck with a big boot and then ate a superkick from the other. Fox finished with an enziguri and all the men were down. Fox set up Matt for Lo Mein Pain, but Nick held onto his brother. They hit their Bucklebomb/enziguiri combination, but Fox reversed More Bang for Your Buck and hit Lo Mein Pain on Nick. He went for the cover, but Matt pulled the ref out of the ring.
Tozawa and Nick then traded blows while their partners fought back through the curtain. Nick went for a knee strike in the corner, but Tozawa reversed with a German suplex and connected with a Shining Wizard for a good nearfall. Nick hit an enziguri, but Tozawa no-sold and hit another German for a nearfall. He looked to the fans and trapped the arms of Nick before dumping him backwards on his head with the straight-jacket German for the win.
WINNERS: Tozawa & Fox.
Post-match, Tozawa got on the mic and called the Bucks bulls---. He called Fox back out to the ring and hugged Fox before closing the show with the traditional Dragon Gate mid-ring sign off.
Zim’s Zag: DGUSA tag team action at its finest. Great match with rapid-fire offense. The kind that makes covering it a nightmare, but watching it a pure joy. It was nice to see Tozawa step in for Fox’s partner, CIMA, and embrace the fans who absolutely love Tozawa regardless of his affiliation. I didn't like the logic behind this match-up, though, especially the Bucks taking the loss to a team with only half of the Tag Team champions competing. In my mind, why do the Bucks deserve a United Gate Title shot when they couldn’t beat one-half of the champions and a substitute partner? Tozawa stands out as the most charismatic and most over wrestler on the roster. He should be put over and spotlighted, just not with a win over a hot contender tag team. Great match, overall.
Overall Thoughts: Two great nights of live wrestling from DGUSA. Sunday’s matches felt randomly booked, but Dragon Gate features more of a competition style than storyline-driven, so that didn’t hurt enjoyment. Kendrick looked as good as ever and I would hope he’ll be back for more in the future. There wasn’t a disappointing match on the card. Everything was as good as you would expect and this is another show that I can recommend. It wasn’t mind-blowing or show of the year quality, but it certainly was worth its money.
The iPPV replay is available through WWNLive.com.
Throw any comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @zzimm22.
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