Miami, FL – 3.30.2012
Open The Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano
Open The United Gate Championship: Vacant
Rich Swann vs. AR Fox
Neither man gets control in the opening exchange. Swann flips over Fox and dropkicks him to the corner. Fox knees Swann in the stomach and gets two with a twisting brainbuster. Swann rolls to the floor. Fox follows with a kick flip moonsault. Swann evades it, Fox lands on his feet, then Swann moonsaults off of the apron onto him. In the ring Fox delivers an Ace Crusher. He strings a skin the cat dropkick and a shooting star cannonball senton together for two. He gets two again with a split-legged moonsault. Swann fights his way out of a side headlock. Fox keeps him frounded and splashes onto his back. He gets two with a Complete Shot. Swann enzuigiri’s Fox as he ascends the ropes and brings him down with the Leap of Faith. Swann delivers a scissor kick and the Rolling Thunder for a two count. Fox brings him out of the corner with a rolling Death Valley Driver. He gets two with a Swanton Bomb. Fox follows Swann to the floor with the Lo Mein Rain. He misses the Guillotine legdrop. This allows Swann to back handspring into an Ace Crusher back in the ring. Fox is able to kick out, so Swann frogsplashes onto him for another two count. After trading cradles, Swann superkicks Fox. Fox bicycle kicks Swann on the top rope. He brings him down with the Lo Mein Pain for the pin at 11:00. That was a fun, energetic sprint that got the show off on the right foot. These two have grown a lot since going to Japan and really have developed into great wrestlers. ***1/4
The current Open the United Gate champions, the Spiked Mohicans (CIMA & Ricochet) make their way out to the ring. They are scheduled to face Ronin (Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor) in the main event. CIMA informs us that his neck is too hurt from wrestling The Scene last night and thus cannot defend the titles. Taylor runs out celebrating with Gargano trailing him. Taylor says because CIMA cannot defend the belts, the Mohicans should forfeit the belts to them. Gargano does not want to be handed the belts – he wants to earn them. This prompts Masato Yoshino to make his way out. He says he will team with Ricochet tonight. This fits in well, because Yoshino and Ricochet are stable mates and Yoshino will get the chance to face Gargano a night before facing him for the Freedom Gate title. Ricochet agrees with the proposition and we have our main event. Yoshino turns down Gargano’s handshake.
A trailer for “Way of the Ronin 2011” is shown. You can read my review of the show here and purchase the DVD here.
Bobby Fish & Tommy Dreamer vs. The Scene (Scott Reed & Caleb Konley)
Larry Dallas, Amber O’Neal, Sassy Stephie, and Shelly Martinez are in the Scene’s corner. The Scene jump Konley and Dreamer as they enter the ring. They come back with double hip tosses. Dreamer throws Konley in a pump-handle slam and puts on a crossface. Fish kicks him right in the face. Reed takes the Demolition Decapitation for two. Fish hits a slingshot senton. He dropkicks Reed to the floor and forearms Konley off the apron. Dreamer jumps onto both of them. Konley crotches him onto the barricades. They throw the barricade on top of Dreamer as well. The Scene isolate Dreamer back in the ring until he sends Konley into the corner with a Complete Shot. Fish and Reed both tag in. Fish throws a bunch of kicks to take Reed down. Konley tries to attack but gets caught with a dragonscrew leg whip. Fish cartwheels into a back elbow to Reed in the corner. He puts him in the Fish Hook. Konley breaks the hold with a knee drop. Dreamer puts Konley in a cloverleaf. Dallas gets on the apron and distracts Dreamer. Stephie then jumps on his back. Dreamer shrugs her off when Shelly distracts the ref. Dreamer grabs Amber and makes out with both her and Stephie, reminiscent of the Beullah/Kimona days. He then gives Stephie a piledriver. Konley gives Dreamer a back creacker. Fish rolls him into the Fish Hook. Fish taps out at 8:50. The ECW crap is hackneyed shtick at this point. Now that there’s a whole promotion dedicated to it, I hope it can stop polluting other companies. Matches with this kind of garbage does no favors for Fish or The Scene. The little action we saw was fine but not good enough. After the match Dreamer gives Shelly kisses Dreamer and then gets spanked because whatever. *
PAC is backstage. He’s been waiting for this night tonight, when he finally gets to step in the ring with Low Ki. He has a lot of respect for Ki and can’t wait to tear the house down with him. He says he will see Ki in the ring later on tonight.
Sami Callihan vs. BxB Hulk
Callihan jumps Hulk before the bell and slams him into the corner. He does some damage to Hulk’s left leg, including throwing it into the ring post. Callihan chops him against the ropes. Hulk cartwheels out an Irish whip. He axe kicks Callihan to the mat. Hulk then chokes him in the corner. Hulk gets two with a fallaway slam moonsault. Christina Von Eerie is now looking on from the aisle way. Hulk throws some boots to Callihan’s face which fires Callihan up. Hulk sends him to the corner with an enzuigiri. Callihan hits one of his own. He drops Hulk with a Death Valley Driver. The Boing Splash is only good enough for two. He clotheslines Hulk to the floor and suicide dives after him. Hulk kicks Callihan from the crowd. In the ring he hits a springboard spinwheel kick. Callihan fights him on the ropes. He goes for a sunset bomb. Hulk fights out but then gets his knee kicked out. Callihan blows Von Eerie a kiss before locking on a half crab. Hulk grabs the ropes. He comes back with Mouse and a standing twisting senton for two. Hulk’s leg is too hurt to successfully slingshot off the ropes again. Callihan splashes the leg and puts on the Stretch Muffler. Hulk counters with a cradle for two. Callihan blocks the First Flash and superkicks Hulk’s knee. Callihan notices Von Eerie getting onto the apron. He walks towards her and gets Hulk’s wine spit in his face! Hulk throws Callihan in the Burn Out. He hits First Flash for the pin at 11:25. Hulk’s leg selling came and went, but he was able to sell when it mattered most and made for a nice ending stretch. Obviously with a clean finish it would have been better, but even with that this was still good stuff overall. ***
Callihan says he doesn’t care about what happened with Von Eerie because all of his thoughts are consumed by Sabu. He says he will be able to put his thoughts to rest tomorrow when he ends Sabu’s career. This causes the lights to go out. Sabu is in the ring when they come back on. Sabu kicks out Sami’s leg and puts on the Camel Clutch. Arik Cannon and Pinkie Sanchez attack. Jon Davis and AR Fox come out to even the score. Fox and Callihan brawl to the back, leading us into…
Sabu & Jon Davis vs. D.U.F. (Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez)
Sabu hits a slingshot leg drop on Cannon. He applies a Camel Clutch while Davis is beating up Sanchez ringside. Cannon ducks a clothesline and drops Sabu with a neckbreaker. Davis press slams Sanchez onto the ring apron. Cannon gets whipped into the barricades. Avis chokes Sanchez with his shirt and throws him onto his stomach for two. Sanchez kicks out Davis’ legs and kicks him in the face. Davis comes back with a leg lariat. Sabu jabs Cannon with a spike repeatedly. He jumps off a chair and legdrops Cannon in the corner. He goes for it again. Cannon catches Sabu and hits Total Anarchy. Davis breaks the cover. He gives Cannon a spinebsuter. A running knee strike is only good for two thanks to Sanchez breaking the cover. He rams his posterior into Davis’ face. Both he and Cannon senton onto Davis. Sabu breaks that pin. Cannon throws Davis’ face into Sanchez’s behind. Davis gets angry and shoves Sanchez into the barricades on the floor. He lariats Cannon. Sabu has set up a table. Davis pounces Sanchez as he comes back into the ring. Sabu puts Cannon through the table with a legdrop. Davis gives Sanchez 3 Seconds Around the World for the pin at 7:15. This was very tame when compared to their New York street fight. There was really no need for this match and I hope this feud is put to rest after this weekend. Sabu also fits in the category of “ECW rehashing polluting companies that should be above that” category. ¾*
Callihan attacks Sabu after the match. He says he’s not going to kill Sabu tonight. He wants Sabu to spend all night drinking and thinking about how tomorrow will be his last match.
We cut to Low Ki, who also says he’s looking forward to being in the ring with PAC. He recognizes the skill PAC has and knows he’s been honing his craft around the world. He also wants to tear the house down and hopes the whole world is paying attention.
Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Akira Tozawa
This is a rematch from “Uprising.” Christina Von Eerie and BxB Hulk are in Tozawa’s corner. Tozawa gets in cheap shot. Mochizuki responds with a kick to the chest. Tozawa delivers a dropkick. Mochizuki kicks Tozawa off the ring apron. CIMA is now ringside to support his Veteran Army teammate. Mochizuki works over Tozawa’s left leg. Mochizuki drives his arm into the mat. He now focuses his attack on Tozawa’s left arm. Tozawa gets the ropes to break a Fujiwara armbar. They go to the floor where Mochizuki is thrown face first into the ring post. Tozawa tries for a German suplex on the apron. Mochizuki fights him off and drives his arm down onto the edge of the ring. Tozawa comes back with a Saito suplex back in the ring. He suicide dives onto Mochizuki. He goes for a second but eats a kick to the face. Tozawa bicycle kicks Mochizuki back to the floor and hits that second suicide dive. Back in the ring he gets a two count with a senton. Mochizuki catches Tozawa coming off the ropes. He looks for a tombstone, but Tozawa reverses in and gets another two count. Mochizuki makes it to the ropes to break a chinlock. Mochizuki wins a chest kick battle, as you would expect. Tozawa lights up Mochizuki with chops in the corner. He throws a nice right hand, and Mochizuki throws one back to knock Tozawa down. Tozawa bicycle kicks Mochizuki in the corner. Mochizuki responds with a yakuza kick. He puts Tozawa in a tree of woe and kicks him in the side of the head. He follows that up with the Ikkakugeri and a running chest kick for two. Tozawa fights off Twister. He huracanrana’s Mochizuki into a Shining Wizard. Mochizuki sweeps out Tozawa’s legs. He throws a few kicks at his head. Tozawa throws some forearms. He blocks an oncoming Sankakugeri and German suplexes Mochizuki off the top rope! He bicycle kicks Mochizuki in the back of the head. Another German suplex gets him two. Mochizuki puts on a cross armbreaker right after. Tozawa escapes and deadlifts Mochizuki into a German suplex. He kicks out. After throwing some strikes Tozawa goes for a German. Mochizuki blocks it, hits the Illusion, the Shin Saikyou High Kick, and a Sankakugeri for the pin at 19:48. This was great, competitive, hard hitting, and worked very smartly. Mochizuki wearing down Tozawa’s arm and leg made his offense less effective and paid off in the end. This was a big step up from their initial DGUSA encounter but not quite as good as their Dream Gate match in Japan. Christina Von Eerie baits Mochizuki into a low blow after the fact. Mad Blankey bails before he can retaliate. ***3/4
Samuray Del Sol vs. Johnny Vandal
Ricochet joins Leonard on commentary for this match. Sol sends Vandal across the ring with a twisting armdrag. He dropkicks Vandal to the floor and follows with a twisting Fosbury Flop. Sol gets two with a slingshot shooting star press. Vandal catches him with a spinebuster out of the corner. He splashes Sol’s back against the ropes and gives him a facewash kick for two. Sol kicks him in the gut. Vandal blocks a standing Shiranui. He drops him with a TKO. He comes off the top rope with double knees to Sol’s chest for two. Sol springboards off the ropes, right into a reverse huracanrana on Vandal for the pin at 3:29. That finish was amazing. I’m surprised and slightly puzzled that Vandal got in so much offense. It didn’t matter in the end, because DAMN did that finish make Sol look killer. **
We see Uhaa Nation on crutches with a leg brace. Nation says everything was going great for him and now his progress has been stunted by a torn tendon in his leg. He says he’s going to be back in DGUSA ready to go. Then, he will show us why he’s the next big thing in wrestling.
PAC vs. Low Ki
Arik Cannon is now on commentary with Leonard. Both guys vie for control. PAC bridges up when Ki brings him to the mat in a double knuckle lock. Ki’s chest kicks won’t bring him down. Ki Northern lights suplexes him for two while keeping the knuckles locked. PAC goes after Ki’s leg and gets rolled up for two. PAC evades a kick to the head. PAC uses the ropes to break a wristlock and hip tosses Ki. Ki kicks PAC against the ropes. He slams PAC and drops a power elbow for two. PAC rams his shoulder into Ki’s mid-section. A high impact fireman’s carry keeps Ki grounded. PAC applies a figure four headscissors until Ki rolls to the ropes. Ki throws some chops. PAC throws him to the ropes, but Ki comes back with a back handspring crossbody and then puts on a figure four headscissors of his own. Ki then snapmares him into a basement dropkick. He sends PAC to the ring apron and tries to suplex him back in. PAC resists. Ki knee strikes him in the head. PAC ducks a chest kick and slingshots in with a huracanrana that sends Ki to the floor. Ki trips PAC on the ring apron. PAC kicks him back first into the barricades. He then comes off the top with corkscrew moonsault. Ki beats the twenty count and PAC’s pin attempt. PAC throws some hard back elbows. Ki kicks him in the face. PAC pops him up causing Ki to crash down onto his chest and stomach. PAC puts on a waistlock. Ki throws PAC face first into the corner to break free. He then hits the Tidal Wave for two. After some more strikes in the corner, Ki gives PAC a backbreaker. He misses a Phoenix Splash. PAC shows him up by hitting a Phoenix Splash off of the second rope while Ki recovers. Ki kicks out. Ki ducks a springboard attack and hits Black Magic. He drags PAC to the corner. PAC crotches him to block the Warrior’s Way. He huracanrana’s Ki down and heads up to the top rope. He misses the 360 shooting star press. Ki sees the opening and hits the Warrior’s Way for the pin at 23:43. That was a lot less flashy and way more psychological than I expected. Don’t get me wrong; that’s a compliment. Both guys put on a hell of an effort and lived up to the hype this match garnered while giving the fans something completely different altogether. I’d love a rematch, though that seems unlikely now. ****
Ki puts over PAC and also says he’d like to do that again. He says that he feels like he and PAC had a championship quality bout, and believes EVOLVE should cultivate their own title. He would like to go after that title were it to come to fruition. You know, I could complain about that makes the Freedom Gate Championship title look bad, but I’m sure I’d just be echoing everybody else’s sentiments at this point.
Open the United Gate Championship
World-1 International (Ricochet & Masato Yoshino) vs. Ronin (Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor)
Rich Swann comes out with Ronin, which is interesting because he is also a member of World-1 International. CIMA is in the World-1 corner to support his former partner. Yoshino and Gargano trade chops. Yoshino dropkicks Gargano to the corner. He stomps on Yoshino’s back and drops him with a neckbreaker. Ricochet comes in with a springboard dropkick. Taylor armdrags him. After some back and forth, Taylor catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Ronin stomp down Ricochet in their corner. He comes back with the Rickrack and tags in Yoshino. He and Ricochet take turns wearing Gargano down. Gargano manages to catch Ricochet with a slingshot spear. He then suicide dives onto Yoshino while Taylor comes in with a quebrada to Ricochet. Taylor stomps Ricochet down in the corner. Gargano ties up Ricochet’s legs and neck. Taylor ties up his legs too. Ricochet rolls Gargano into a standing moonsault, but Gargano gets his feet up to block it. Taylor misses a moonsault. Ricochet enzuigiri’s him in the corner, then hits a springboard clothesline. Yoshino tags in and drops Gargano with the Sling Blade. He tries a crossbody on Taylor. When Taylor catches him, he swings out into a tornado DDT for two. Taylor drops Yoshino with a uranage and puts on the Half Crab. Yoshino gets to the ropes. He puts on From Jungle. Gargano helps him escape. Ricochet catches Gargano with an Ace Crusher. He hits a standing moonsault senton for two. Gargano blocks the Backslide Driver and lawn darts Ricochet into the corner. A superkick and Diced Bread get him a two count thanks to Yoshino breaking the cover. Yoshino helps Ricochet out with a Pele Kick. World 1 mauls Gargano with a series of offense. Taylor has no choice but to break up the pin when Ricochet hits a shooting star press off of Yoshino’s back. Ricochet goes for a Tiger Walk into a tornado DDT. Taylor tosses him into an Ace Crusher from Gargano instead. Yoshino and Ricochet hit a tandem elbow strike/619 in the corner. Yoshino missile dropkicks Taylor, falling into a senton on Gargano. Yoshino puts him in the Garga-No Escape! Taylor breaks the hold. He gives Yoshino Sole Food. He DDT’s Yoshino into Gargano’s Hurts Donut. Taylor pulls Gargano off because he wants the cover, and it costs the team a potential three count. Taylor gives Yoshino Sole Food. He DDT’s Yoshino into Gargano’s Hurts Donut. Taylor pulls Gargano off because he wants the cover, and it costs the team a potential three count. Taylor shoves Swann away when he goes for the Freedom Gate title to cheat with. Gargano grabs the belt. Yoshino drops him with Ude Yoshino. Ricochet hits a 630 splash and Gargano makes the save. Ricochet and Gargano trade strikes while their partners recover. Gargano wins the battle with a discuss clothesline. Ricochet kicks him to the floor. He follows with a twisting tope con hilo. Yoshino drops Taylor with Torbellino. He locks in Sol Naciente. Taylor submits at 19:41, making World-1 International the new United Gate champs. The action here was consistent while also managing to mix in story threads like Taylor being in it for himself the whole time. World-1 International looked awesome together and were definitely the right team to win. This was a great way to cap off the show. ***3/4
CIMA comes into the ring. He says that Ronin has earned his respect, which is what Ronin was looking for all along. He shakes Gargano’s hand. Taylor attacks CIMA from behind and superkicks Gargano! Swann and World-1 International look confused. Taylor is smiling as he heads backstage by himself. A couple of “Book It Cam” videos released the next day on YouTube would reveal that Ronin is done. Yoshino then grabs the microphone. He first asks if Gargano is okay, then says that he will be win the Freedom Gate championship tomorrow. He thanks the fans and says that he and Ricochet love Miami.