JIMMY JACOBS INTRODUCES HIS TAG TEAM PARTNER FOR TONIGHT - Very interesting. On the previous show, Brian Kendrick used Lacey, someone from Jimmy Jacobs’ past, to get in his head… so, tonight, Jimmy is going to bring in someone from Brian Kendrick’s past: PAUL LONDON.
That wasn’t the interesting part. The interesting part was that London says he accepted this match not just because he and Jimmy have known each for a long time, but because he has known Brian Kendrick for even longer, and he knows that Kendrick is good enough to give him the competition to make him push himself to get to the top. It’s very rare that you see someone get brought into a blood feud while remaining focused on pure competition, so the contrast between them was quite start, and you could tell that Jimmy was annoyed that the man he brought in to f*ck with Kendrick’s head was standing there putting Kendrick over.
He also said a lot of stuff- especially after Jimmy left- that clearly foreshadowed his turn later tonight. But if you don’t know the turn is coming, it probably comes off as London just being weird. He wasn’t really even being too cryptic when hinting about wanting to team with Kendrick- although everything could still be written off as making sense in the context of London’s earlier comments about Kendrick being someone who could push him the way needed to as an opponent. Or it could all be dismissed as the ramblings of a madman because… well… he also talked about the pros and cons of drinking human blood.
GENKI HORIGUCHI & SUSUMU YOKOSUKA vs. CHIKARA SEKIGUN (Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw) - 8/10
This was an awesome opener. Jigsaw played the babyface in peril and got his knee worked over, and they did such a fantastic job of building up to the hot tag and Quack running wild and you knew the babyfaces had to get the win… but then they didn’t.
This was Quacken-Saw’s first loss in DGUSA, which was part of the reason I was so sure they were going to win because they’ve been engaged in a war of words with CIMA, who has been insistent that CHIKARA is not on Dragon Gate’s level. Despite using some questionable tactics during the match, the Dragon Gate contingent here showed Quacken-Saw respect after the match, and CHIKARA Sekigun returned that respect. From here I presume we’ll see some issues between CIMA and Horiguchi & Yokosuka, either with the former upset with the latter showing CHIKARA respect, or with the latter upset with the former for denigrating these worthy and respectable opponents.
TJP vs. YAMATO - 6.75/10
Lenny Leonard notes that TJP earned his spot on this card by beating Gran Akuma at the previous show, making the point that wins and losses are so important in DGUSA that even though two shows ago Gran Akuma was in the finals of the tournament to crown the first-ever (and, so far, only) DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion, he didn’t get booked here tonight because he didn’t win at the previous show. I’m all for wins and losses mattering, but that seems a little extreme to me that a mere two losses in a row will prevent an established name from being booked on the next show.
The match felt like they did way too much for its spot on the card. Yamato did not feel like a world champion, which the Open the Dream Gate Champion needs to. He shouldn’t be needing to cheat to beat TJP.
BRIAN KENDRICK & JON MOXLEY vs. JIMMY JACOBS & PAUL LONDON - 6.75/10
They did some stuff with London trying to deescalate things between Jacobs and Kendrick but no one else in the match was having it. They spent a while teasing and building up to London and Kendrick facing off, but when it was just them and clearly time for them to face off, Kendrick wouldn’t get in the ring. London then started wrestling an invisible fan for a good minute or so before grabbing the mic and chiding Kendrick for putting up less of a fight than someone who doesn’t exist. That was a GREAT spot… and one that pretty much only Paul London could make work.
He eventually got Kendrick to get in the ring by telling Kendrick he thought that Kendrick was better than him so Kendrick ought to get in the ring and “stop being a slit.” They started to wrestle and it was angry but still clean… until Moxley distracted the referee and Kendrick freed himself from a disadvantageous position by hitting London in the nuts three times, which makes SIX low blows in the past match and a half.
Jacobs eventually got the hot tag and things heated up. All things considered, they did a great job of keeping Jimmy from getting his hands on Kendrick as much as possible. Kendrick managed to roll Jimmy up for the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Interesting. Moxley attacked Jimmy form behind but London made the save. The brawling continued, with Jacobs getting Moxley set up on a table telling London to go to the top rope. Kendrick pulled London down and cut a promo trying to convince him that the fans don’t actually care about him but that his best friend Brian Kendrick does, and that “it’s not worth it” to do this big dive to put Moxley through a table “just for a few cheers.”
Meanwhile, Jacobs and Moxley brawled around the ringside area. Also, Teddy Hardy wandered out to ringside. They had a graphic for him so I assume he was supposed to be there, but you never know with Teddy Hart.
Teddy said that London and Kendrick had forgotten the importance of the fans while he, Teddy, puts his life on the line for the fans every night. He then proved this by doing a springboard moonsault to the outside onto the brawling Jacobs and Moxley, even though he had no involvement in this feud in any way. That feels 100% like something Teddy Hart would do. Speaking of things that Teddy Hart would do, he then got into the ring and did a backflip off the top turnbuckle to celebrate. London said “we’re all fans, man” and told him to do one more, and when Teddy landed the second one, London lariated him from behind and he and Kendrick beat the sh*t out of Teddy, as the crowd, who had just been cheering for Teddy moments ago, chanted “F*CK HIM UP!”… and yet I will admit that I had the same reaction because… well… he’s Teddy Hart, and getting involved in someone else’s fight just so you can do a flip, and then celebrating with more flips while other people are in the ring trying to have a conversation is exactly the sort of douchebag thing that Teddy Hart is known for and why people don’t like him.
Teddy slipped free, and then the crowd started cheering for him again and Teddy got his babyface fire on, and it makes me really sorry that this phenomenally talented wrestler turned out to be such a headcase, because the business lost something special. Teddy paced on the outside and got distracted by Kendrick, allowing London to nail him with a dive. Londrick continued to beat on Teddy by the reversed a move, sent them off of the big circular platform the ring is on (the table Moxley was laid out on was about even in height with this platform if that helps you visualize it), and then did a HUGE dive all the way down to the floor.
This probably went longer than it needed to and had some darn strange twists and turns, but it darn sure has me curious to see where it all goes.
MASATO YOSHINO vs. SHINGO TAKAGI - 8.25/10
Lenny Leonard tells us that these two have had “some sort of a confrontation on every event” since the first one, so this match is a darn big deal.
Yoshino worked over Shingo’s arm. They had a nice clean wrestling match with a polite handshake afterwards. While this was awesome in a vacuum, I was shocked at it because Shingo did a big, dramatic heel turn at the end of the previous show. Maybe I hallucinated it, as there has been no follow-up on ANYTHING from that big segment so far on this show.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Odd. After the handshake, Jon Moxley came out to walk Shingo to the back.
THE YOUNG BUCKS INTRODUCE THEIR TAG TEAM PARTNER FOR LATER TONIGHT - Fine. It’s Jack Evans. The promos certainly weren’t bad, but they weren’t particularly good, either.
DGUSA OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE TITLE MATCH:
BxB Hulk(c) vs. Naruki Doi - 7.75/10
JACK EVANS PROMO - Very good. He challenges London & Kendrick to match tomorrow, either a tag team match with Teddy or handicap match by himself if Teddy isn’t cleared due to the collarbone injury he is currently on the way to the hospital with. Either with his friend or without him, Jack is looking for revenge!
JACK EVANS & THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. WARRIORS (CIMA, GAMMA, & Dragon Kid) - 8/10
Slightly disappointing, considering the talent involved and the hype put behind the idea of “the return of the WrestleMania weekend Dragon Gate six-man tag,” but still quite the entertaining and exciting watch.
CIMA PROMO - It was a good effort, but as he himself noted hallway through when he realized the crowd was having trouble understanding him “sorry; my English (is) sh*t.” He went on to promise on behalf of himself and his buddies that tomorrow would be an awesome show and that his English would be better. That was funny, and his self-deprecation saved the promo.
JON MOXLEY TRIES TO RECRUIT SHINGO VIA SHAMING HIM FOR LOSING - Good, but then weird. Shingo finally fired up after being called “lazy” and slapped Moxley… who then took a randomly passing-by Christina Von Eerie hostage to make his escape (and creepily telling her that she smelled good).
** BONUS MATERIAL **
FRAY!: The Prophet vs. Chimaera vs. Dustin Cutler vs. Brandon Cutler vs. Brad Allen vs. Dave Crist vs. Malachai Jackson vs. Jake Crist- (from 3/26/2010) - 6/10
In this eight-person match we have not one but TWO sets of brothers, as well as Young Bucks’ younger brother. The story of this match was first the Cutlers and then the Crists dominating with their tag team work, and finally Brad Allen overcoming the odds to beat both Crists and win the match. The storytelling was good, and the work was solid as well, aside from Dave Crist coming into the match and blowing several spots in a row.
L.A. PARK & EL HIJO DEL REY MISTERIO vs. TEAM ELITE (Derrick Neikirk & G.Q. Gallo) (from 3/26/2010) - DUD!
This took a LONG time to get going, and when it finally did, it just felt like a bunch of spots and guys trying to have a “heated brawl” when there wasn’t any reason for there be much heat between them. What we learned from this match is that hitting someone with your weight belt is completely legal in EVOLVE. Then again, maybe this referee just sucks at his job, because there is almost no way that he didn’t see La Parka use that chair, and he didn’t call for a DQ then, either (EDIT: After seeing the finish, I can, indeed confirm that the referee just sucks at his job).
90% of this match was boring. Half of the crowd even started to turn on it, responding to a “LUCHA LIBRE!” chant with an even louder chant of “LUCHA SUCKS!” And passed on L.A. Park’s performance here, I don’t really blame them. Park wasn’t the only one who was painfully slow at times, but he was the worst of them. Gallo had some tremendously lazy kick-outs where he didn’t really even get his shoulder up. Hijo was the only one here who looked like he was worth EVOLVE bringing back.
This thing dragged on for ALMOST TWENTY-THREE MINUTES, including crap like Gallo’s pants getting pulled down and an embarrassing ref bump before the heels finally won after a low blow… but no! Despite GOING DOWN AND MAKING THE COUNT FOR THE PINFALL, the referee then raised the luchadors’ hands and declared them the winners via DQ. Well if you saw the low blow (or maybe he’s DQing Gallo for bumping into him), then why the f*ck did you go down and count an entire three-count before calling for the DQ?
RODERICK STRONG vs. MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI (from Toryumon Wrestle JAM 2006: Day 3) - 7/10
Roddy worked the legs, Mochizuki worked the arm… and then the match ended just when it felt like it was starting to get really good.
OPEN THE DREAM GATE TITLE MATCH:
Naruki Doi(c) vs. Masato Yoshino (from Dragon Gate Gate of Maximum 2009) - 8.5/10
Doi worked the knee while Yoshino worked the arm. The nearfalls and pacing were great, but Yoshino definitely could have sold better. Still an awesome match though. I really love Naruki Doi. That guy doesn’t get anywhere near enough credit.
This was a fine show from DGUSA. There was nothing really worth going out of your way to see (although the opener and Yoshino vs. Shingo come close), but the storylines are definitely starting to grip me. The bonus material was neither a positive nor a negative to this show.