Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dragon Gate USA Wrestlemania Weekend Previews!

Dragon Gate USA returns to action this weekend, WrestleMania weekend, the weekend that back in 2006 Dragon Gate first made it’s mark on the weekend and has now become an anticipated and annual tradition!  Read on as Jim and Tom preview the three big events, two of which you can order on iPPV through right here:
“Heat” March 29, 2012

Three Way Elimination Match
Ronin of Johnny Gargano, Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann
D.U.F. of Sami Callihan, Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez
Blood Warriors of Akira Tozawa, BxB Hulk & Uhaa Nation

TOM: This is a really interesting bout on paper.  It brings the dominant stables of the last year to all face off in one, possibly final, match to prove who is the leader of the pack in DG USA.  I think that D.U.F. come out on top, with Sami or Cannon pinning Swann to win it all and put more tension on the relationship within Ronin.

JIM:  This should be a crazy good match provided they don’t get in each other’s way too much.  I imagine it’s going to be a spot fest of massive proportions, but that’s not a bad thing here either by any means.  I agree that D.U.F. get the win here, and Swann seems as likely as anyone to take the pinfall.  I wish this show was on iPPV, because this should be a sight to see!

High Flyer Challenge Match
PAC vs. AR Fox

TOM: This match is bound to be awesome.  PAC’s been on a little stretch of a losing streak, but with his recent alignment and the creation of World-1 International, I think PAC takes the win home.  Fox should do very well here too, but I think his on-going feud with D.U.F. will play part in the outcome.

JIM:  I’m a HUGE fan of PAC, and for me the jury is still a bit out on Fox (not that I don’t like him, I do, just am slower coming around on him as a top level guy), so I’m hoping that when I get a chance to see this match down the road, my attitude may change and I’ll see it.  A match with PAC, who is a hell of a flyer, but also can work on the ground, will only help a young guy like Fox.  I agree, Fox will look good, but lose to PAC here.  Cheap plug, to see what Fox has to say about this match, as well as his other matches this weekend, click HERE to see our interview from earlier this week with him. 

Strong Style Challenge Match
Low Ki vs. Bobby Fish

TOM: This is one of, if not the match I am most looking forward to.  I expect this to be hard-hitting and very much a fight.  This is Fish’s DG USA debut after being quite possibly the most over wrestler in EVOLVE to date, but with Low Ki’s debut in January I feel like there are very big things planned for him and he gets the win here.

JIM:  I’m probably not as high on Bobby Fish as Tom, but that doesn’t mean this match won’t still be really good, it will be.  I do think Fish has a lot to offer DGUSA, and hope that this weekend is the start of more regular bookings in the company for him, and not just on Evolve.  Low Ki is obviously being positioned as one of the top guys in DGUSA, and his eventual Open the Freedom Gate shot should be huge (you know he’s getting one!).  Ki gets the win here. 

Tag Team Challenge Match
CIMA & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. The Scene of Caleb Konley & Scott Reed w/ Larry Dallas

TOM: This will be a good tag.  CIMA & Mochi are together in the unity as part of “The Veteran Army.”  The Scene has quite possibly the most potential of any young team in wrestling today.  There are likely very big things in their future, but I just don’t see them getting the win over the Vets.

JIM:  I am excited about this match as well, mainly because this is how you get young guys like The Scene over.  They’ve shown that they have a lot of potential as a team in the ring and as an act, and are so different than most of what we see in DGUSA.  By putting them in with two Dragon Gate legends (who are still awesome in the ring), and letting them be competitive, it will absolutely help elevate The Scene.  Will Larry Dallas get his head kicked off by Mochizuki?  I think so!  CIMA and Mochizuki get the win, but the Scene get elevated.

Challenge Match #1
Ricochet vs. Mike Cruz

TOM: I am a huge Ricochet fan and know nothing of Cruz, but he has been praised as being one of Florida’s best.  Ricochet might be one of the best to give him a great debut match.  I will be interested to see this when released on DVD and see Ricochet getting the win.

JIM:  I echo Tom’s sentiments.  I have not knowledge of Cruz, but most of the time when Gabe brings an unknown guy in and puts him against a top level guy in the company, it works out pretty well.  Will be interested to see if Cruz lives up to what sounds like a decent amount of hype.  Ricochet wins though, but the story is how does Cruz look?

Challenge Match #2
Masato Yoshino vs. A Mystery Luchador

TOM: This has high intrigue to me.  DG USA has made it a point to put over the newly signed luchador over the last week, but at the same time have acknowledged that he is very likely someone who very few know of.  Yoshino will give him someone who can interact with the lucha style well.  I will pick Yoshino and hope that the luchador impresses, as it would give another fresh talent for DG USA/EVOLVE.

JIM:  I still wonder if the luchador is going to be someone already in the company under a hood, or if it will be someone we do know, but under a hood.  No clue, but I am very interested to learn the identity of this luchador and if it truly is just an up and coming wrestler, then I am very interested to see this person and see if the hype and intrigue is worth it!  Yoshino wins here.

CZW Death Match
Drake Younger vs. DJ Hyde

CZW Death Match
Danny Havoc vs. Lucky tHURTteen

TOM: I am really unfamiliar with the CZW Death Matches and most of the wrestlers, so I really cannot offer too much commentary or prediction on what will go down here.  I do expect violence and blood.

JIM:  Younger is basically a legend in CZW, and Hyde is the current owner, and a heel.  I expect Younger to get the duke there.  Havoc and Lucky tHURTeen are in the same group I believe.  Havoc is a big death match guy for CZW, so I expect he wins that one.  I’m sure they’ll be crazy brawls, and will give something different to this show for sure!  Interesting idea!

“Open The Ultimate Gate 2012” March 30, 2012 on iPPV

Open The United Gate Title Match
CIMA & Ricochet (C) vs. Ronin of Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano

TOM: This match is long-anticipated for me.  I think that the Blood Warriors (of which CIMA & Ricochet were part of)-Ronin feud has been pretty awesome and has carried on very well for almost 22 months.  I expect it to come to an end here.  Taylor has been super dominant against Ricochet and Gargano owns wins over both Ricochet & CIMA.  The “X-Factor” is the disharmony in Ronin and if that will play into this match, allowing the champs to retain.  It really could go either way and I am torn on my pick to win.  I will go with CIMA & Ricochet.

JIM:  If the plan is to keep the Open the Freedom Gate title on Gargano after this weekend (and I believe it is), then to me, it’s gotta be CIMA & Ricochet that get the win here.  I don’t think a double champion is a good idea in a company that runs as infrequently as DGUSA/Evolve.  It could really spread out the title defenses even more, and that wouldn’t be a good thing necessarily.  I think Swann will come out and try to help Ronin, but it backfires and Taylor gets pinned, leading to more friction between Ronin. 

First Time Ever
Low Ki vs. PAC

TOM: Most anticipated, non-WrestleMania match all weekend long. Hands down.  My hopes are SO high for this match and I cannot wait to see what these two have in store.  I cannot wait to see back and watch what they craft in the ring.  Low Ki will pick up another win in an epic match.

JIM:  When Low Ki came back, I stated that when they booked this match I would get on a plane to wherever it was booked and make sure I was sitting front row for it.  Unfortunately, personal obligations this weekend made it so I am unable to do that, but this will be the one iPPV that I catch live as it happens (I’ll watch the other ones Sunday/Monday so we can get some thoughts up here at Two Spot Monkeys next week for them!), and easily this is the match I am most waiting for!  I agree it’s epic, it’s going to be great, and also, Ki gets the win (though I’d LOVE to be wrong on that pick). 

Mad Blankey vs. Veteran Army
Akira Tozawa vs. Masaaki Mochizuki

TOM: This is one of the first times that this feud comes to DG USA rings and they should tear it up!  Both squared off just under 2 years ago in DG USA and I expect this match to top that contest.  Tozawa should get the win.

JIM:  Tozawa seems to be continuing his ascension up the ladder in both Dragon Gate over in Japan, and here in DGUSA.  Mochizuki is a top level guy and has been for a long time.  This match could main event a Dragon Gate show in Japan without question, and seriously, it’s on an iPPV that is $1.99, and also has all this other craziness on it?  Are you kidding me?  This should be a hell of a good match, and Tozawa gets the win to continue his run back to another shot at the Open the Freedom Gate title. 

Rich Swann vs. Masato Yoshino

TOM: This should be cool.  I think both of these guys should match up very well and stylistically bring out great things in the other.  Both are now aligned with World-1 International, so that adds another element here.  Will both treat each other with the proper competitive spirit or tensions rise within their faction?  I pick Yoshino to get the win, as this is the night before his Open The Freedom Gate title shot.

JIM:  This should be a heck of a fast paced, blink and you might miss something really cool type match.  Swann has grown a lot in the last year, so I’m excited to see him in this situation here with a top DG guy to see how he holds up in a singles match.   I think he’s going to look really good here, and expect that we’ll see it as a very respectful match, and that Yoshino gets the submission victory in the end. 

Stable Shootout Match #1 - Street Fight
Sabu & Jon Davis vs. Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez

TOM: The Stable Shootout is a unique concept that DG USA came up with one year ago and ties in to the idea of “Pick Your Poison” as two opposing factions square off through a series of matches.  Last year it was Ronin-Blood Warriors, this year it is D.U.F. and AR Fox’s crew which includes ECW and Hardcore Legend Sabu and the powerful and dominant Jon Davis!  This match will likely be a war of a tag contest.  I predict Sabu & Davis to get the win.

JIM:  I’m not a huge fan of the D.U.F., but Davis is someone I’m very high on, and Sabu has done well in his role here as well, so this should be a fun brawl with plenty of plunder!  In the end, I think Sabu and Davis may pull out the win….though man, I could easily see Cannon and Sanchez too, so it’s anyone’s match here in my mind! 

Stable Shootout Match #2 - Fox Picks Callihan's Opponent
Sami Callihan vs. BxB Hulk

TOM: This match was originally scheduled for January but was re-shuffled due to Johnny Gargano’s injury.  This should be the story of Sami’s strikes vs. Hulk’s kicks and other quick strike offense.  Sami should get the win here.

JIM:  Callihan is someone who has never clicked for me, that being said, I am really looking forward to this match.  I love everything BxB Hulk does, and honestly, I expect this match to kick ass.  It just may be the match that brings me around on Callihan as well.  I definitely think Callihan gets the win, but he’s going to to through a war to get there. 

Stable Shootout Match #3 - Callihan Picks Fox's Opponent
AR Fox vs. Uhaa Nation

TOM: This is a match where both opponents know each other well, with them having faced each other outside of DG USA.  I think they will have a lot to showcase in their first bout together for the DG USA audience/fanbase and I also believe that Fox represents Nation’s best opportunity to break out to date in DG USA.  I see Fox getting a big win here.

JIM:  This is one of those weird matches where I’m not sure who should win it, since I kind of feel like neither should lose it.  I have been really impressed with Uhaa Nation so far, and as I said before, I like Fox, just am having a tough time seeing him as a top level guy yet, so this is a great place for him in my mind.  They do have a past as Tom mentioned, so I expect that familiarity to lead to a hell of a fun match together.  Fox is certainly a guy Gabe seems to be getting behind in a big way, so I expect him to get the win here, but Nation won’t come out any worse for the wear either. 

“Mercury Rising 2012” March 31, 2012 on iPPV

Open The Freedom Gate Title Match
Johnny Garano (C) vs. Masato Yoshino

TOM: This is Gargano’s first singles match and first title defense since January at EVOLVE 10.  It  was at that time and the well documented injury he was nursing and road to recovery that followed, which has me (and likely many others) really interested in this match.  Is Gargano back to 100%?  I have to believe he is or he would not put himself on such a high-profile stage.  This should be a match as well, with Gargano and Yoshino meshing well.  I think Gargano gets to have the match he was hoping to have in January, something Match of the Year-worthy and set a strong tone for his title reign.  Gargano gets the win.

JIM:  No chance Yoshino wins it here, as Gargano needs a decent title reign to really cement his place at the top of DGUSA (where I think he belongs).  Unless his injury is such that he will be out for a long time (and it doesn’t seem to be anymore), Gargano has to win here, and has to have a good performance along the way.  I fully expect both, this should be a hell of a match! 

Dragon Gate Six Man Tag Match
CIMA, Ricochet & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Akira Tozawa, BxB Hulk & Low Ki

TOM: This is the annual WrestleMania weekend tradition – The Six Man Tag.  This match was been one of the highlights of the weekend each year it has occurred and I expect this year to be no different.  Both teams are unique.  One on side, you’ve got CIMA teaming with Ricochet, his United Gate Tag Champion partner and Mochizuki, his cohort as part of Veteran Army.  It is almost the merging of his past and present in one team.  On the other side, you’ve got the Mad Blankey-led group with Akira Tozawa and BxB Hulk, former Blood Warriors members and Low Ki, who chose their side because of his desire to face CIMA and Mochi being stronger than any other in his current landscape.  There are possibilities abundant in this match.  I feel like Low Ki is being positioned to be very, very dominant in DG USA and built up well.  I think he allows his team to get the win in a very competitive contest and will get that win over Mochi or CIMA.

JIM:  Every year they put together at least one six man tag, and every year, it kicks major ass.  I’m very interested in Ki being on the Mad Blankey side of things, but the matchups in this one are just insanely cool, and I can’t wait to see this one play out.  Ki should get the win over one of the Japan DG guys to set up a future one on one match against them at another Dragon Gate USA show, which will be great.  This could steal the show, and maybe even the weekend.  Great stuff forthcoming! 

No Rules Fight
Sami Callihan vs. Sabu

TOM: This should serve as the end of the issue between Sami and Sabu.  Sabu has been very quiet, as he often has been in his career and will let his talking (in the form of violence) get done in the ring.  Callihan, after closing down the ECW Arena at EVOLVE 10, has targeted Sabu as his most prevalent target, including a series of videos from around Callihan’s world travels detailing what he plans to do.  I really think Sami should get the win here, but Sabu winning with the help of AR Fox, would add heat to the Callihan-Fox feud (which Fox discussed in our interview with him from earlier this week) and give Sabu a big win as a career capstone.

JIM:  I agree, this should end the Sami/Sabu thing, but be a springboard to furthering the Sami/Fox issue, and like Tom, I could see it going either way.  I think Callihan gets the win here, but then when he tries to “end Sabu” after the match, Fox will come and make the save, continuing their issue.  Should be a fun brawl. 

The PAC Invitational Aerial Elimination Match
PAC vs. Rich Swann vs. Mystery Luchador vs. Lince Dorado

TOM: This will be fun, fast paced and high-flying.  With the elimination rules, there are many possible outcomes.  A wild-card as well could be Pinkie Sanchez, as he posted on-line last weekend that he also wants in this match.  PAC, Swann or the Mystery Luchador could all take the win here.  I will choose Swann, as it will keep him strong in his likely transition from Ronin to World-1 International.

JIM:  Dorado doesn’t have a shot at winning this, and I doubt the Mystery Luchador will either depending on who that turns out to be.  I thing Swann may have a shot, but really, I see PAC winning his own match, but it coming down to him and Swann, and Swann coming “THIS CLOSE” to getting the win before PAC bests him.  This should be a lot of crazy fun and flying!

Grudge Match
AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon

TOM: Another continuance of the Fox-D.U.F. feud.  Cannon is one of the more underrated guys in all of wrestling and I think this will be another chance for him to gain more people on his bandwagon.  Fox will also look to continue to keep his momentum, while knocking off each member of D.U.F. headed into his culminating battle with Sami Callihan. Fox is the pick here.

JIM:  A match that makes a ton of sense given the feud.  I go back and forth on Cannon as a singles guy, but he and Fox should be able to put together a great little match here, and Fox will get a big win to work his way closer to that match he wants with Sami Callihan! 

Challenge Match
Bobby Fish vs. Jon Davis

TOM: This match was originally signed for EVOLVE 9, but was disrupted by Kevin Steen!  Both men are very hard-hitters and I expect this one to be back and forth.  Jon Davis has called out Fit Finlay and I could see him looking past Fish because of his desire for that match.  Fish is hungry and wants to keep his winning momentum going.  I will take Fish.

JIM:  Good lord these guys are going to beat the hell out of each other!  This will be a great battle and neither guy is going to forget this one for a while!  While I could see Fish winning, I think Davis gets a big singles win here as he continues to be built up! 

Well, there you have it, our opus looking at the three DGUSA shows this weekend!  We will be back on Thursday with out preview of the Ring of Honor shows this weekend, and then back on Friday with Head 2 Head – Wrestlemania Edition!  Busy week here at Two Spot Monkeys!  Stay with us! 

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