Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising 2013 Review

Akira Tozawa & Shingo do battle in the Main Event!

Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising 2013
Secaucus, New Jersey 4/7/13

1.) Anthony Nese (with Mr. A) vs. Soldier Ant (with Fire Ant): **3/4

The show kicks off with a rare appearance by Soldier Ant (which was interesting, since he went AWOL at the CHIKARA show the day before) as he takes on Anthony Nese, who has a new bodyguard with him. This was a fine opening match. Pretty standard stuff here. In the end, Nese would pick up the win with a 450 Splash.

After the match, Nese says he’s building a support staff around himself, and introduces his new bodyguard as “Mr. A”, who is the director of imaging for The Premiere Athlete Brand. Nese then has Mr. A attack both Fire Ant & Soldier Ant.

2.) Caleb Konley vs. Scott Reed (with Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels): **1/4

The Scene has finally broken up (to the delight of pretty much everyone), and here is their breakup match. Some of the action was fine, but of course, we got a ton of interference from Larry Dallas & Trina Michaels. Reed would use a chair during this madness, which led to him getting the victory over Konley. I’m just happy The Scene is done.

3.) The Super Smash Brothers vs. The D.U.F. (Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon): ***

Little did we know it, but this would be Sami Callihan’s last match in Dragon Gate USA, as he would soon be signed for WWE. That would also mean that this is the last appearance of The D.U.F. in Dragon Gate USA, as Arik Cannon would be gone as well. Here, they’re taking on The Super Smash Brothers. For the most part, this was a pretty standard tag team match. There were a few rough points, including the finish, as Player Uno was unable to hold Callihan up for FATALITY!, forcing Player Dos to pick up the win with a regular splash. Again, the match was fine, but not really memorable.

4.) Chuck Taylor (with The Gentleman’s Club) vs. Brian Kendrick: ***¼

So the story here is that Brian Kendrick is trying to get Chuck Taylor, who has been a goofy heel with The Gentleman’s Club for the last year, to start taking things seriously, so that he doesn’t make the same mistakes that Kendrick made. Taylor is accompanied by Orange Cassidy, The Swamp Monster & Colonel Angus (Drew Gulak was on commentary). I thought the match was pretty solid. Kendrick & Taylor seemed to have some chemistry, and the action in here was, for the most part, good. We, of course, got interference from The Gentleman’s Club, but Kendrick was able to overcome it, and eventually picked up the win.

5.) Ladders Are Legal High-Flyers FRAY! - Evolve Champion AR Fox vs. Samuray Del Sol vs. Open The United Gate Champion Matt Jackson vs. Christina Von Eerie vs. Open The United Gate Champion Nick Jackson vs. Uhaa Nation vs. Facade: ***1/2

So the way this match works is that two participants start, and then a new competitor enters the match every two minutes. Elimination can occur at any point via pinfall or submission. Once the last competitor has entered the match, Ladders will become legal. The order I have competitors listed above is how they entered the match. Christina Von Eerie was the only person eliminated before Ladders became legal, as she was taken out by The Young Bucks. AR Fox would eliminate both Samuray Del Sol & Facade. At one point, Ricochet came down, and attacked AR Fox, hitting him with a 630 Splash, leading to his elimination. It came down to The Young Bucks vs. Uhaa Nation, but in the end, Uhaa Nation was able to overcome the odds, eliminating both of The Young Bucks for the win. For the most part, this was a pretty entertaining match. It was pretty much a spotfest, but that’s what these matches always end up being, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. There were some rough points (Facade unintentionally destroyed one side of a Ladder while jumping on it), but it was a fun match on the whole.

6.) Jon Davis vs. Orange Cassidy (with The Gentleman’s Club): *

So this started with both Davis & Cassidy sitting in the corner for almost a full minute, unwilling to do anything. They eventually lock up, and we get some of the usual Orange Cassidy comedy for a bit before taking out the referee for no reason. He then pretty much destroys everyone in The Gentleman’s Club, from Chuck Taylor, to Drew Gulak, and even The Swamp Monster. This did start the feud between Jon Davis & The Gentleman’s Club, but other than that, this was pretty pointless. Going back over these Dragon Gate USA & Evolve cards really shows how far Jon Davis has fallen.

7.) The Six-Man Tradition Continues - Open The Dream Gate Champion CIMA, EITA, & Tomahawk T.T. vs. Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano & The Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann): ****¼

Here we have the traditional Dragon Gate Six-Man Tag, which has become a big part of these ‘Mania Weekend Shows. This time, however, there’s a special stipulation. Whoever scores the winning pinfall will earn a title shot at either The Open The Freedom Gate Title, The Open The United Gate Titles, or the Evolve Title. It should be noted as well that the title match must be announced in advance, and that it’s not a “Money In The Bank” type of title shot.

For this match, CIMA is teaming with Dragon Gate youngsters EITA & Tomahawk T.T. to take on a team led by Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano (who’s coming off retaining his title against Shingo via questionable means), which also includes Ricochet & Rich Swann. While this didn’t quite live up to the level of previous Dragon Gate Six-Man Tags, this was still a pretty fantastic match, filled with all of the fast paced action & ariel insanity that you would expect from these matches. Lots of great action from all six guys in this one. Eventually, Ricochet was able to hit the 630 Splash on EITA to not only score the win for his team, but earn a title shot against any champion of his choosing.

After the match, Ricochet makes it clear that he wants a shot at the Open The Freedom Gate Title before leaving. Gargano then calls CIMA back to the ring, and says that he was a mentor to him and was honored to face him tonight. Gargano wanted to prove that he was on CIMA’s level, and that his Open The Freedom Gate Title was on the same level as CIMA’s Open The Dream Gate Title. CIMA’s response was great. “Same Level? Holy Sh*t….”. CIMA suggests a champion vs. champion match the next time he’s in the US. Jon Davis comes out, and shoves Gargano into CIMA. Gargano, who had just finished a long feud with Davis, stands up to him, and forces him to back down. Then Gargano turns around kicks CIMA in the nuts, and beats up Rich Swann!! Gargano then found a strap and choked CIMA, proclaiming that he loved us all as he did so. This pretty much cements Gargano’s heel turn, which would dominate storyline in Dragon Gate USA & Evolve for the next year.

8.) Shino vs. Akira Tozawa: ****½

The Main Event is a matchup between two Dragon Gate regulars. As you would expect, this was an amazing match. These two are just so good that it’s next to impossible for them to had a bad match in any scenario. Lots of great back & forth action between both guys. There really isn’t much else to say about this match other than it was fantastic. In the end, after a series of very hard-hitting moves, Shingo would get the win over Tozawa to close the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

For awhile, this show wasn’t looking that good. There were definitely some positives, such as the Ladders Are Legal High-Flyers FRAY! and Anthony Nese starting to establish himself as a player in the WWNLive Universe. At the same time, there were some glaring negatives, such as the blowoff of The Scene, a rough tag team match between The Super Smash Brothers & The D.U.F., and whatever the heck they’re doing with Jon Davis. The show really turned around with the last two matches. The Dragon Gate Six-Man Tag was great (and after the fact featured Johnny Gargano fully turning heel, which was a pivotal point in the history of Dragon Gate USA), and the Shingo/Akira Tozawa Main Event was even better. If you’re thinking about getting this show, get it for those last two matches.

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