St. Petersburg, FL – 6.29.2012
Open The Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano
Open The United Gate Championship: World-1 International (Ricochet & Masato Yoshino)
Commentary is provided by Lenny Leonard.
Tony Nese (1-3) vs. Mike Cruz (0-2)
Nese uses his legs to put pressure on Cruz’s neck and back. Cruz rolls up. Nese shoulder blocks him back down. Cruz snaps off an armdrag. Some back and forth leads to Cruz hitting a dropkick. Nese bails to the floor and Cruz suicide dives after him. In the ring Cruz comes off the second rope with a crossbody. He tries a hip attack but Nese gets his knees up. Nese follows up with a backbreaker for two. He slams Cruz for another two count. Same goes for a slingshot quebrada. Nese slams Cruz onto his stomach before delivering a German suplex for two. Cruz sneaks in a victory roll to no avail. He takes Nese down with a series of kicks. Cruz gets in a few more strikes before hitting an enzuigiri. With one arm, Nese powerbombs Cruz into the corner! He drives his knee into Cruz’s face. Cruz comes off the second rope with a kick to the face. When he goes up top Nese trips him and crotches him on the top rope. Nese brings him down with a spider German suplex. He then sits up and hits the 450 splash for the pin at 7:49. They went a little too crazy on the nearfalls but otherwise this was solid. It’s a shame Cruz seems to be the WWN punching bag because he’s really solid. However, Nese gaining momentum pleases me. **
Nese tells Lenny Leonard that he proved two nights in a row that he’s the Premier Athlete. He sat around for a year waiting for an opportunity. Since it didn’t come, he’s now here to take that opportunity. He’s pissed Gargano didn’t answer his challenge last night and demands to hear one tonight.
A trailer for “EVOLVE 14: Generico vs. Del Sol” is shown. You can read my review of the show here and pick up the DVD here.
Style Battle Tournament Match
Bobby Fish (4-4) vs. Tommy Taylor (0-1)
Both guys are careful in their approach early on. Taylor gets on a Japanese strangle hold. He then Finlay Rolls Fish into a hammerlock. He reapplies the strangle hold. Fish flips Taylor over and snapmares him into a headscissors. Taylor maneuvers himself into a neck-tie headscissors which throws Fish over. Fish goes for the Fish Hook but Taylor bails to the floor quickly. Taylor comes back in and some quick pin attempts are exchanged. Taylor shoulder blocks Fish down twice. Fish catches him with a glancing dropkick. He throws some chest kicks in the corner. He lands a slingshot senton for two. Taylor slaps Fish from the mat. After a couple more strikes he drops Fish in a swinging DDT. Taylor strings a rolling Ace Crusher and neck breaker together. Fish throws a few kicks in response. He misses a diving headbutt. Taylor dropkicks Fish to the corner. A modified TKO gets him a two count. Fish can’t get Taylor up for a slam. Fish rolls him into the Fish Hook. Taylor taps at 9:48. Like Jon Davis vs. Taylor last night, this was technically sound but didn’t have much of a reaction from the crowd. There was also a few moments of sloppiness but they managed to recover from those flubs quickly. **¾
Lenny Leonard tells Fish is guaranteed to be in the finals of the Style Battle tournament. Fish decides not to share his thoughts on that fact.
Backstage Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver are chatting. Reynolds says they are walking the line between partners and opponents. They’re against each other in a six man tonight. They agree that the better man will win that match and that they can reconcile in time for their tag match tomorrow night.
Style Battle Tournament Match
Jon Davis (2-3) vs. AR Fox (4-2)
Davis wastes no time pounding on Fox. He goes to slam Fox on the apron. Fox lands on his feet. He kicks Davis and comes at him with a kickflip moonsault. He dropkicks Davis on his way into the ring. Fox hits the Alabama Jam. He hits it a second time onto the back of Davis’ head. Fox gets two with a small package. Davis forcefully drops him with a chokeslam! He uppercuts Fox for two. Fox snaps his neck on the top rope. He misses a clothesline but hits an Ace Crusher. He tries for a second but Davis suplexes him to counter. Davis repeatedly slams Fox and pummels him in the corner. Fox kicks him away. He tries an armdrag and a huracanrana. Davis blocks both and powerbombs him into the corner. He Sick Kicks Fox for two. Davis whips Fox to the corner. Fox comes out with Thugbait. Davis misses a corner splash. Fox missile dropkicks him to the corner. Air Fox follows. He skins the cat into a dropkick. He sets up Davis on the top rope. Davis shoves him down. Fox of course tries Lo Mein Pain. Davis stops him so Fox lands an enzuigiri. Davis gives him a haymaker. He lifts Fox in from the apron and powerslams him from the second rope! Fox kicks out! Fox gives him a Codebreaker. He lands a Swanton Bomb. Davis kicks out at one. It takes two dropkicks for Fox to get Davis out to the floor. Fox comes out with Lo Mein Rain. In the ring he hits a springboard 450 splash. Somehow Davis kicks out. Davis powerbombs Fox to the corner. Fox ducks a kick and a tries a sunset flip. When that fails he Pele kicks Davis. He tries a quesadora. Davis lifts him up for 3 Seconds Around the World, getting the pinfall victory at 13:42. I never would have suspected these two to work well together but they managed to have a heck of a battle. Fox really made you believe that he had the chance to beat the larger Davis which I feel he gets a lot of credit for. In a tournament labeled “Style Battle”, the emphasis in each guys’ arsenal played right into the styles they portrayed; power and high flying. This match got no buzz but I hope more eyes will see it now. ***½
Lenny Leonard says these past two nights, Davis has put everything together and advanced into the Style Battle Finals against Bobby Fish. Right on cue Fish hit the ring. He tells Davis tomorrow isn’t about handshakes and mutual respect. He knows Davis needs the win but Fish says he has to have that win. Davis reminds Fish that he’s in this to feed his family. He tells Fish to bring all the tough talk he wants; he’s not going home empty handed.
Alex Reynolds (3-1) vs. John Silver (2-1) vs. vs. Caleb Konley (2-1) vs. Jake Manning (1-2) vs. Lince Dorado (0-1) vs. Scott Reed (0-1)
Dorado and Silver go back and forth until reaching a stalemate. When they go to tag in the members of the Scene they jump off the apron. This leaves Reynolds and Manning to tag. Reynolds knocks Manning down with a back elbow. He dropkicks him to the ropes and takes him down with a running knee strike. Konley tags in. Reynolds blind tags Reed in. Nobody else will tag in. They have a sequence will involves minimal touching. Konley tries the finger poke of doom but the other four participants won’t allow it. They toss The Scene to the floor as well as Manning. Manning tirps Dorado to the floor and drives him back first into the ring post. Silver and Reynolds suicide dive onto the Scene. Dorado takes out Manning. He then dives onto everybody on the floor. He drops Reed with a seated senton back in the ring. Konley comes back in. Dorado flies onto him with a corkscrew press. He takes down Reed with a springboard headlock. The Scene pop him up for a tandem slam and then a wheelbarrow suplex. Manning tries partnering with the Scene but gets a double elbow drop for his troubles. Reynolds and Silver German suplex the Scene. Manning sends Reynolds out. He powerbombs Silver onto his knee. Dorado breaks the pin. The Scene double hip toss Dorado into Manning in the corner. Reynolds jumps in and gives Reed a stunner. Silver and Reynolds double team Konley. Reynolds superkicks Silver. Manning breaks Reynolds’ cover, then strings a backbreaker and Complete Shot together. Dorado throws some chops Manning’s way. He traps him in a huracanrana for two. He gets in a tornado DDT. Dorado gets the pin with a shooting star press at 10:40. This had consistent action with a little bit of humor and story amongst the players. Dorado could stand to use a victory like this if he’s to be taken seriously so I have no issues with that decision. It was mostly a six man move fest but it was a good one if nothing else. ***
Colt Cabana (0-1) vs. Cheech Hernandez (1-1)
Cheech puts on a wristlock. Cabana kicks his legs apart to escape. Cabana helps him up but then trips Cheech onto his face. Cabana lifts him up by his feet and drops him down into a bodyscissors. He rolls him over into a pin and gets a two count. Cabana maneuvers him into a Gedo Clutch for two. Cabana evades a few moves until succumbing to a flapjack for two. He headbutts Cabana in the stomach twice. He tries sitting down on his chest but Cabana moves. Cheech headbutts Cabana in the stomach in the corner. He slingshots in with a senton for two. Cheech comes off the top rope. Cabana gets his feet up and into Cheech’s face. Cabana pulls off the Flip, Flop, and Fly. The Flying Asshole follows. He kicks the turnbuckle into Cheech’s face. Cheech looks to take Cabana off the top rope. Cabana however drops him with the Chicago Skyline for the pin at 5:35. Cheech looked like a goof here which is a total shame since he had some potential after defeating Cloudy at EVOLVE 10. Not sure what losing to Cabana in 5 minutes will do for him, or what it will do for Cabana either. *
El Generico (2-2) vs. Samuray Del Sol (0-3)
Generico snaps off an armdrag. Sol responds to show him he’s just as good as Generico is. Out of respect he helps Generico to his feet. They throw simultaneous dropkicks and stare at one another. Generico takes him down with a leg lariat. He gets two with a backbreaker. He applies a chinlock. In a Lucha exchange Sol headstands out of a roll and headscissors Generico. He then rolls Generico into an Indian Death Lock. When Generico gets the ropes, Sol strings a rolling Death Valley Driver into a basement dropkick. Fired up, Generico stands and delivers a Michinoku Driver. Sol flips to the apron when Generico tries coming in. He catches him with a kick but Generico yakuza kicks him off of the apron and to the floor. Generico misses another yakuza kick when Sol comes back in causing Generico to tumble to the floor. Sol follows with a step-up twisting senton. Sol gets two with a Yoshi Tonic. He looks for a reverse huracanrana. When that doesn’t work, the conventional version ends up doing the trick. Generico however is able to kick out. Sol misses a cannonball senton. Generico tries a yakuza which Sol blocks. Generico however monkey flips Sol as he comes out of the corner for a two count. He gets two with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Sol tries the Rising Sun. That doesn’t work, but Sol does pull off a tornado DDT. Sol begins to ascend the ropes. Generico heads up with him. Sol shoves him off and comes down. Generico avoids a moonsault press. Sol however is able to deliver the Rising Sun. Generico kicks out! They head back to the ropes. Sol tries a 450 splash but Generico gets his knees up. He nails the yakuza kick. He goes for the top rope brainbuster. Sol fights it off and delivers the Rising Sun from the second rope! That gets Sol the win at 16:30. That was a great way to capitalize of their match from their night before. You could see a lot of growth in Sol in just one night and he showed in the finish that he learned a lot from their first encounter. Sol looked really strong in his win and it set the stage for the inevitable rubber match. Good times. ***¾
A video airs highlighting the history of Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor in Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE. They have gone from partners to enemies and they will finally meet in an Open the Freedom Gate title match tonight.
Open the Freedom Gate Championship
Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor
EVOLVE records do not count in this match. The Gentleman’s Club (Jake Manning and The Swamp Monster) are in Taylor’s corner. Gargano dropkicks Taylor the moment the bell rings. He lawn darts him into the corner, clotheslines him to the floor, and follows with a pescado. He positions the ring steps for a lawn dart. Taylor blocks it and brings Gargano back into the ring. Gargano lands a flying forearm. He back elbows Taylor for two. On the floor Taylor takes control. He sets up a pile of chairs on the floor. Gargano ends up backdropping Taylor onto them. He sends Taylor into the ring post. He misses a superkick which hits the timekeeper! Gargano and the official check on him. That distraction aloows Taylor to give Gargano a spinebuster onto the steel steps. Taylor continues to do damage to Gargano’s back in the ring. Gargano tries a slingshot spear. Taylor catches him and turns it into a backbreaker. Gargano rolls him into a basement enzuigiri. Gargano manages to pull off the slingshot spear. They each get in some shots until Gargano catches Taylor with a powerbomb for two. He tries the Garga-No Escape but his back is too hurt. Gargano tries a slingshot DDT. Taylor catches him and suplexes him into the corner. He hits the Brodie Knee and a uranage. He quebrada’s onto Gargano for two. Gargano kicks Taylor away. They block each other’s offense. Gargano lands an enzuigiri and Taylor a superkick. Gargano takes him down with a discuss clothesline.They exchange forearms upon recovery. Taylor counters the Garga-No Escape with the Kentucky Crawdad. Gargano makes it to the ropes. Gargano goes for a corner dropkick. Taylor pulls the referee in the way. Taylor kicks Gargano in the groin and goes for a pin. Manning hands Taylor the Freedom Gate title belt. Taylor tries hitting Gargano with it. Gargano ducks and hits the Hurts Donut. A new referee comes to make the count but Manning pulls him out of the ring! Gargano dives onto both of them! Taylor kicks the middle rope into Gargano’s groin as he comes back in. Taylor hits the Awful Waffle. The first referee comes to and counts. Gargano kicks out! The Swamp Monster comes onto the apron to hold Gargano. Taylor accidentally hits the Swamp Monster with the belt. Gargano superkicks Taylor and follows with the Hurts Donut for two. The Garga-No Escape is applied. Taylor taps out at 21:01. I thought the work Taylor did on Gargano’s back was really solid. Even with that, not many people really bought into him winning the title, which is a shame because the backstory was really good. The interference was unnecessary and didn’t add much. Gargano winning the match in spite of all the back work was slightly irritating, as he seemed to forget all about it in the closing moments. As a self-contained bout it was really good but a mildly disappointing chapter in the overall story. ***½
Gargano waves goodbye to Chuck Taylor. He acknowledges Tony Nese’s challenge and gives him credit for winning the four way freestyle match from last night. He accepts the match. He turns his attention to Akira Tozawa who he will face in Taylor, MI next month with his title on the line. He’s excited for that match. He sends the fans home with a thank you.
Backstage Tony Nese says he’s happy that Gargano accepted the challenge. He re-iterates his point from earlier in the night.
2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup Quarter-Finals
Arik Cannon vs. Craig Classic
“2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, Night 2” – Crystal River, FL – 12.4.2010
In the first round, Cannon defeated Brad Allen and Classic defeated Lince Dorado. Classic takes Cannon down in a wristlock and drops his knee across the arm. Cannon comes back with an armdrag. He keylocks Classic’s legs and digs his knee into his back. Classic escapes. He throws Cannon to the corner and comes off the top with a dropkick for two. He digs his fingers into Cannon’s face which Cannon says tastes like an ashtray. Classic throws some strikes until Cannon gives him some chops. Classic then forcefully whips Cannon to the corner. He gets two with a boot to the face. Cannon drops him with a twisting neckbreaker. Classic’s rolling elbow gets him a two count. Same goes for a clothesline. After a suplex he heads to the top rope. He misses a splash. Cannon lays in some elbows and a clothesline before serving up an exploder suplex. Classic kicks out. He German suplexes Cannon twice. On the third try Cannon elbows his way free. Classic blocks a lariat and rolls him up in a Ranhei for two. The third German suplex comes and is only good for two. Cannon nails him with a haymaker and low superkick. The brainbuster gets him the win at 11:24. That was a pretty good back and forth match. Each guy had a low key approach in terms of personality so while the wrestling was good there wasn’t much more than that to get behind. **¾
2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup Quarter-Finals
Jigsaw vs. Rich Swann
“2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, Night 2” – Crystal River, FL – 12.4.2010
In the first round, Jigsaw defeated Christopher Gray and Rich Swann defeated Grizzly Redwood. Jigsaw kicks Swann in the buttocks at the request of the fans. Swann is upset. He does the “Ronin” call on the second rope. Jigsaw dropkicks him in the buttocks which sends him to the floor. They exchange wristlocks when Swann comes back in. Jigsaw stretches him in a Gory Special. Swann uses the ropes to turn Jigsaw’s hip toss into his own armdrag. When he tries it again, Jigsaw lets go of his arm and dropkicks him in the face. Swann takes a break on the floor. He comes in trying a quesadora. Jigsaw shows him how it’s done, sending him back out with an armdrag and following with a suicide dive. When Jigsaw goes to the top rope, Swann dropkicks his leg out. Swann puts on a figure four and uses the ropes for extra leverage. He continues focusing his attack on Jigsaw’s leg. Jigsaw kicks him in the posterior to stop the attack. After delivering ten punches in the corner he gets two with a Michinoku Driver. Swann trips him into a leg vine. Jigsaw rolls him up to escape. Swann kicks out and nails a tornado kick. Jigsaw flapjacks Swann and German suplexes him. His hurt leg doesn’t make for an effective bridge, so Swann is able to kick out. Jigsaw drops him with a brainbuster for another two count. They trade forearms and slaps to the face. Swann kicks Jigsaw’s bad leg and spikes him on his head in a headscissors. Jigsaw kicks out before a one count can be made. Swann gives him a Sick Kick for two. He tries for Swann on Fire but Jigsaw gets his knees up. Jigsaw nails an enzuigiri and a superkick. When he tries the Jig N’ Tonic, Swann rolls through and grabs the tights to get the pinfall victory at 10:37. This was a lot of fun. Both Jigsaw and Swann were over with the crowd and got them to be receptive. Swann’s work of Jigsaw’s knee was well done and it played a significant role throughout the course of the match. Easily the best of the first round bouts. ***