Dragon Gate USA: Freedom Fight 2011

New York, NY – 11.13.2011

Commentary is provided by Lenny Leonard, Brodie Lee, Caleb Konley, Scott Reed, and Gabe Sapolsky.

The Blood Warriors are hanging out in their dressing room. They basically all say they’re going to win their matches. Johnny Gargano knows everybody saw what happened with him and Chuck Taylor last night, but tonight is not about that. He says tonight he goes from a boy with a dream to becoming the Open the Freedom Gate champion.

Lenny Leonard does some talking until BJ Whitmer comes out. He’s happy to be back in New York City. He doesn’t wait to wait for his match with Brodie Lee and calls him out right now. The match is on.

BJ Whitmer vs. Brodie Lee

Ricochet is in Lee’s corner. Whitmer boots Lee off the apron and dives onto him. Whitmer lays in chops around ringside. Ricochet’s punch fails, but does distract him long enough for Lee to suicide dive onto him. Lee and Whitmer trade shots until Whitmer suplexes Lee on the floor. In the ring Lee superkicks Whitmer and gives him a Saito suplex for two. Lee tosses him back to the floor so Ricochet can attack. Lee pulls Whitmer to the apron and suplexes him back into the ring. Whitmer and Lee chop each other in the corner. Lee legdrops him. Whitmer fights back with a flurry of forearms. Whitmer knee strikes him in the side of the head for two. Whitmer catches him with a Complete Shot and puts on the Peruvian Necktie. Lee leans back for a pin to break it. Whitmer ducks a big boot and hits a Sick Kick of his own for two. Lee gives Whitmer a powerbomb for barely a one count. The Big Boot, Truck Stop and another powerbomb get Lee the win at 7:40. I was expecting something a bit more hard hitting between the two to pay off the weekend long angle, but given that it was an opening match this was just fine. **

YAMATO is backstage. He will get his hands on Chuck Taylor for stealing his Freedom Gate title. He plans to win tonight and bring the belt back to Japan.

Uhaa Nation & Jon Silver vs. The Scene (Scott Reed & Caleb Konley)

Konley and Silver look for control on the mat. Konley gets the ropes when Silver goes for his leg. Larry Dallas is watching the match from the stage. They exchange forearms. Silver uppercuts Konley and snapmares him into a slingshot crossbody. A twisting senton gets him two. Konley knees Silver and tags Reed in. Silver nails a dropkick. Reed shoulder blocks him. Silver armdrags Reed to avoid a slam. He trips Reed and tags in Nation. Konley knee strikes Nation to the floor when Nation grabs Reed’s leg. The Scene try double teaming him on the floor and end up being double clotheslined. Silver tope con hilo’s onto them. In the ring Reed knee strikes Nation in the face. He accidentally crotches himself in the corner. Nation toys with him and dropkicks Konley. Nation German suplexes Reed out of the corner for two. With Konley’s help, Reed takes control of Silver. They beat down Silver in their corner. Silver is able to trip Reed and drop his knees on his chest. He tags in Nation who powerslams Konley. He gets two with a standing moonsault. He overhead suplexes Reed. Silver superkicks Konley into Nation’s German suplex. They give Konley tandem kicks as well. Nation misses a bicycle kick on Konley, sending him to the floor. The Scene polish Silver off with the Ob-Scene at 9:04. This was not the best way to display Nation’s raw talent since he was barely in this match. I think The Scene are a perfectly okay mid-card act, but if they want to really get over they need some charisma. They’re so plain it hurts my feelings. Silver is also good and I hope he gets more opportunities. **1/2

A trailer for “Enter The Dragon 2011” is shown. You can check out my review of that show here.

Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann come out for their match. Johnny Gargano comes out and insists Taylor return the Freedom Gate title. Gargano feels bad about the spot he was in during Taylor and YAMATO’s match yesterday and apologizes for making the call he did (even though it was honest). Gargano feels Taylor has forgot what Ronin was supposed to be about. Taylor promises he will give the belt back later tonight. Gargano doesn’t like that answer, but Swann convinces Gargano that needs to concentrate on YAMATO for the time being.

Ronin (Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann) vs. Blood Warriors (Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk)

Tozawa and Swann go back and forth. Tozawa evades the initial dropkick, but couldn’t block the second. Taylor and Hulk tag in. Hulk knees him in the stomach and kicks him in the side of the head. Taylor rolls Hulk into a modified Octopus. Swann throws some punches and a chop in the corner. Everybody backrakes everybody (even the referee got involved!) Hulk spits wine in Taylor’s face as Tozawa chokes him on the middle rope. Tozawa bicycle kicks Swann off the apron. Taylor backs Tozawa to the corner and stomps him silly. Taylor and Swann attack Tozawa in the corner. Swann shrugs off Tozawa’s chops, so Tozawa punches him in the face. Tozawa falls victim to the Blood Warriors onslaught in their half of the ring. Tozawa keeps Taylor at bay since he keeps trying to interfere. Swann makes a comeback by hitting Hulk in the shoulder with a tornado kick. In comes Taylor with strikes on Hulk. He overhead suplexes him and kips up. Taylor knees Tozawa, kicks out his legs and dropkicks him in the side of the head. He gives Hulk a sliding kick. Swann enzuigiri’s Tozawa. Tozawa huracanrana’s him into a running knee strike for two. Swann gamengiri’s Tozawa on the top rope and gives him the Leap of Faith. Hulk breaks the cover. Hulk gives Taylor Mouse and an axe kick. Hulk sweeps his legs, kicks his chest, and gets two with a twisting senton. Swann stops Hulk from going for First Flash. Tozawa bicycle kicks Swann. Swann eats kicks from both Blood Warriors before Hulk gives him a Complete Shot for two. Swann superkick Hulk and gives Tozawa a back handspring Ace Crusher. Taylor gives Hulk Sole Food. Hulk kicks him down. Taylor delivers a Rydeen Bomb. Swann and Taylor gang up on Tozawa in the corner. Hulk breaks the cover after Swann’s standing shooting star press. Tozawa bicycle kicks him into an inside out German suplex. Swann fights out of the High Tension Suplex. Taylor gives Tozawa the Awful Waffle. Swann then hits FIREBIRD for the pin at 15:49. That was a really fun sprint that made Taylor and Swann look awesome. Hulk and Tozawa always do as well, but they really made Ronin seem like they were at their level. The crowd also ate it up which helped keep the energy high. ***1/4

Immediately after the match, CIMA and Brodie Lee run in to attack Ronin. Johnny Gargano and Masato Yoshino run out, sending everybody but CIMA bailing. With Yoshino and CIMA in the ring, their scheduled match is now underway.

CIMA vs. Masato Yoshino

CIMA rakes his forearm across Yoshino’s face. They go to the mat. CIMA armdrags his way out of a hammerlock, but Yoshino crucifixes him to bring things to a stalemate. CIMA shoulder blocks Yoshino and kicks him in the chest. Yoshino’s speed allows him to send CIMA out with a headscissors. Yoshino dropkicks CIMA as he comes back in the ring. Yoshino splashes his arm. Yoshino throws him arm first into the corner. Yoshino twists up his arm something fierce. CIMA rakes his eyes and nails an enzuigiri. CIMA drops Yoshino face first on the ring apron. Tozawa and Hulk get in a few shots on the floor. CIMA gets two with a suplex and kicks Yoshino’s chest. CIMA works on his leg. Yoshino evades Venus and puts on the Coumori. Yoshino gets two with Sling Blade. CIMA kicks Yoshino in the chest and back and then drops an elbow. Yoshino comes back with From Jungle. CIMA kicks out of a sunset flip. CIMA catches Yoshino coming at him with a springboard. He baseball slides Yoshino in a tree of woe, then misses Tokarev. Yoshino hits a shotgun dropkick. CIMA hops up for a double stomp and falls back to the mat. CIMA misses Superdrol. He goes for the Perfect Driver, but Yoshino drives his head into the mat for a two count. CIMA counters the Lightning Spiral. CIMA gives him double knees in the corner. Yoshino drops him with the Ude Yoshino. CIMA counters the Sol Naciente with the Schwein. He’s surprised it only gets him two. CIMA decides to give Yoshino the Crossfire, and again Yoshino manages to kick out. Yoshino blocks a second Crossfire with a roll-up. CIMA goes for Schwein after a superkick. Yoshino crucifix pins him for two. He hits the Lightning Spiral for two. Two Torbellino’s leads to Sol Naciente. CIMA tries to kick free, so Yoshino turns it into Sol Naciente Kai. CIMA submits at 21:38. This did a good job re-establishing Yoshino as a strong singles competitor after spending the better part of the last year as a tag wrestler. It did take a bit of time for this to kick in, but it was smooth sailing once they did. Not as good as some their Japanese encounters, but still very good. ***1/2

PAC vs. Ricochet

Ricochet bails to the apron when PAC takes him to the mat. He’s very happy about his stepping on PAC’s hand. PAC responds in kind. PAC shoulder blocks Ricochet to the mat. Back and forth they go, ending with a backflip dropkick from Ricochet. PAC hip tosses him out of the corner. PAC suplexes him for two. Ricochet rolls to the ropes to break a headscissors submission. Ricochet throws PAC neck first on the second rope to turn the tide. Ricochet rolls him into a seated Octopus stretch, chopping a PAC’s side at the same time. He misses a standing moonsault. PAC shows him up by hitting a standing shooting star press. PAC clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a twisting tope. PAC chops Ricochet and Ricochet bails to the rail by the restaurant booths. Ricochet runs off the rail and onto PAC for a huracanrana! PAC makes his way ringside, and Ricochet dives from the bar area onto Ricochet with a tope con hilo! PAC somehow kicks out back in the ring. Ricochet rolls him into a basement dropkick for two. PAC fires up as Ricochet messes with him. Ricochet sole butts PAC to end a forearm exchange. PAC pops him up for an Ace Crusher. PAC enzuigri’s him into a Northern Lights suplex and a two count. Ricochet flips out of a German suplex. He strings the Rick Rack and a running shooting star press together for two. Ricochet huracanrana’s PAC and himself to the floor. Ricochet goes up to the stage. He flips off as PAC jumps to the stage. PAC ends up giving him a reverse huracanrana on the mats! Ricochet makes it back in the ring just before the twenty count. PAC German suplexes him immediately for a two count. A few leapfrogs lead to Ricochet hitting his own reverse huracanrana. PAC ducks a crossbody. He misses a Phoenix Splash. Ricochet hits it himself for two. PAC climbs to the top rope. Ricochet catches him with a Spanish Fly! PAC kicks out. PAC gets his knees up to block a shooting star press. Tozawa distracts the referee so Ricochet can deliver a low blow. That still doesn’t give him a two count. PAC’s powerbomb doesn’t get it done either. Ricochet enzuigiri’s PAC as he comes off the ropes. Ricochet uses PAC’s own rebound German suplex to get a two count. The Backslide Driver and a Snapmare Driver only get Ricochet two. The Regalplex and a swift kick to the head get him the pin at 22:35. Holy crap was that an impressive exhibition. This had both sizzle and steak, with both opponents showing that they have grown and become more familiar with each other from their previous encounters. This was the best possible way they could end their feud in DGUSA. ****

The D.U.F. are hanging out backstage. Callihan blames Jon Davis for them losing the United Gate tag titles last night. Cannon said they had a bad night last night because they were on good behavior. That will not be the case tonight. Sanchez says he will kill Sabu. Callihan says he will make Fox a dirty ugly f*ck tonight. He dares their opponents to step up to them.

A great Johnny Gargano video package chronicling his journey to this match is shown.

Open the Freedom Gate Championship
YAMATO (Champion) vs. Johnny Gargano

Rich Swann is in Gargano’s corner, but Taylor is not. Both guys cleanly break separate lock-ups against the ropes. Neither guy gets a hold on the other when they go to the mat. YAMATO does some damage to his arm. He gets one with a shoulder block. YAMATO ducks a low kick and goes for the crossface. Gargano grabs the ropes quickly. Gargano does some damage to YAMATO’s arm as payback and to weaken it for later on. YAMATO turns around an overhead wristlock and stomps on his arm. He chops Gargano off of his feet. Gargano rolls him into a chest kick for two. A neckbreaker follows. Gargano throws multiple kicks to YAMATO’s head and puts on a Cloverleaf. YAMATO gets the ropes. Gargano sole butts him to the corner. YAMATO ducks a dropkick and puts on a crossface. YAMATO holds it as long as he can when Gargano grabs the ropes. YAMATO slams him for two. YAMATO chops up Gargano in the corner for another two count. YAMATO goes for the brainbuster. Gargano blocks it and a rolls YAMATO into a low enzuigiri. He clotheslines YAMATO to the floor and crossbody’s after him. He hits the slingshot spear. Gargano puts him in a modified Tarantula. YAMATO dropkicks Gargano on the top rope. Gargano manages a sunset bomb. YAMATO rolls to the floor. Gargano suicide dives after him, then comes off the ring apron with a somersault senton. He does one off the stage too. A slingshot DDT gets him a two count. YAMATO hits two enzuigiri’s and a brainbuster. When he kicks out, YAMATO immediately puts on the Crossbone Vanguard. Gargano grabs the ropes to escape. Gargano sends him into the second turnbuckle with a Complete Shot. Gargano goes for a dropkick and accidentally hits the referee. YAMATO dropkicks Gargano into the referee. Gargano counters the Galleria with the Hurts Donut, but of course the referee can’t make a cover. YAMATO low blows Gargano. Chuck Taylor comes out with the belt. He goes to hit YAMATO, but he ducks and Gargano takes the blow! YAMATO covers. The referee counts but it’s only good for two. On wobbly legs both guys throw forearms. YAMATO hits Galleria. Gargano kicks out! He goes for a second Galleria. Gargano blocks and hits the Hurts Donut for two. YAMATO kicks out so he puts on the Garga-No Escape. YAMATO taps out at 26:49 and Johnny Gargano is the NEW Open the Freedom Gate Champion. I actually didn’t mind the belt shot and the referee’s bump, just because DGUSA seldomly does stuff like this. The crowd seemed to be in the same mindset as I, as those occurrences got the crowd molten hot and totally in favor of Gargano winning. This had some great back and forth wrestling, smart work, and the time flew by. Gargano came out of this looking like he was worthy of being the company’s champion. Looking back, I’d say YAMATO was a heck of a champion and deserves credit for helping make this change seem like such a big deal. ****

Chuck Taylor looks like he’s about to go back on his offer of surrendering the title. Gargano tells Taylor that he was the one in Ronin who lost his way, not himself and Swann. Gargano tells Taylor that they did what Ronin set out to do; break through DG’s class system. He also reminds Taylor that BB Kings is where they were popularized (during the United Gate tag tournament). Gargano believes they have reached the same playing field as everyone else. He brings up the fact that Taylor and Swann defeated Hulk and Tozawa earlier and claims they should be gunning for the United Gate titles. Better yet, that would give Taylor a chance to get back at CIMA, who Taylor feels is responsible for holding him down, and his perennial rival Ricochet. Taylor ends up giving Gargano the title and hugs both he and Swann. He fakes a superkick just for funsies. Taylor puts over how much Gargano has grown. He agrees that he and Swann make a heck of a team and claims soon that Ronin will control all of the gold in Dragon Gate USA.

Before the next match, we see a video package highlighting the D.U.F. and them attacking AR Fox the last time DGUSA was in Manhattan. That bleeds into another video of AR Fox and Sabu taking on the D.U.F. in the Midwest.

Extreme Warfare
AR Fox, Jon Davis & Sabu vs. D.U.F. (Sami Callihan, Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez)

Fox tells us Sabu was jumped in the back before the match, but he and Davis can still win two-on-three. Fox tries to dive on the D.U.F. as they come out but ends up hitting the stage. The D.U.F. go to attack Davis three on one, but out comes Sabu to fight Callihan and Cannon the floor. Sanchez also comes out and Fox dives onto the entire D.U.F. Davis press slams Fox onto them as well. Sabu and Davis each dive onto them. Sabu’s slingshot legdrop gets two on Cannon. Fox splashes on Callihan on the floor when Cannon suplexes Sabu. Sabu stabs him in the head with a spike. Callihan chokes Davis with a fans belt. Sanchez saves Cannon from Sabu. A guardrail gets placed between the ring and the other guardrails. Fox and Canon are fighting on the floor. Davis is overpowering Sanchez in the ring. Sabu buts Callihan open with his spike. Callihan helps Sanchez take over Davis. Callihan catches Fox coming in the ring with a bicycle kick. He hits the Boing Splash. Callihan uses his own spike on Fox. Sabu is carving up Cannon. Fox spinwheel kicks Callihan and skins the cat into a dropkick. Callihan kicks Fox neck first into the corner. Cannon brings a table into the ring and gives Sabu a brainbuster. Callihan suplexes Fox onto the previously set-up guardrail! Sabu places Cannon on the table in the ring and comes off the top with a legdrop. Davis clotheslines Cannon, but Callihan hits him with a broken piece of table. Fox hits Thugbait on Callihan, as well as the Lo Mein Pain for two. Fox’s 450 splash is broken up by Cannon. Callihan gets his knees up to block the second 450 splash. Callihan powerbombs Fox onto the guardrail! When Fox comes back in, he gets stabbed with a fork.Off screen Davis powerbombs Sanchez on the stage. Callihan breaks a beer bottle over Fox’s head for the pin at 14:01. That was totally crazy in all the right ways. The D.U.F. lived up to their namesake, Fox looked like a real tough guy and it leaves the feud open ended. The finish was deflating after so much dangerous looking stuff, and neither Davis or Sabu really added much, but this was certainly better than what I expected. ***1/2

Sami Callihan says 2011 will be known as the year of the D.U.F.’s origin, but 2012 will be the year they take over DGUSA. He encourages all the fans that are like them to buy them a victory beer at the bar. Cannon reiterates that NYC will be picking up their tab. While they go off drinking, Davis and Sabu help Fox to the back.

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