We kick the show off with CIMA of Blood Warriors taking on Rich Swann of Ronin in the latest chapter of the Blood Warriors-Ronin rivaly. Both men came with backup, with Johnny Gargano in Swann's corner and Austin Aries in CIMA’s, but it wasn’t exceptionally competitive as Swann got the occasional hope spot in, but mostly taking massive punishment from CIMA. Swann had a moment where he could have hit the triple jump 450 splash, but a distraction from Austin Aries (who was in CIMA’s corner) allowed CIMA to hit a series of big moves and finish Swann with a top rope double kneedrop for the win. It was fine for what it was since CIMA is way up the ladder from where Swann is, but this seemed mostly designed to steer us toward another CIMA-Gargano match than really focus on Swann.
The second match picks up the pace as we go into a Six Way Freestyle that included Brodie Lee, Tony Nese, Alex Colon, Scott Reed, AR Fox, and Arik Cannon. There were a few spots where some people’s timing was off, but for the most part this was the fast paced blitzkreig we’re used to from these kinds of matches. Brodie Lee was the requisite big monster who came in and mowed through everyone, and he even teased a dive to the floor at one point before being cut off. Another fun part of the match came when Brodie and Cannon went toe to toe in the middle of the ring, and in the end this was Cannon’s match as he hit a big brainbuster for the win. No dead spots at all in this one, with most of the focus on Fox’s high flying and Brodie and Cannon destroying people.
The next match slowed things down a bit as Susumu Yokosuka took on Ricochet, and I liked the first half of the match a lot because it had good psychology with Yokosuka destroying Ricochet's knees with a barrage of high impact moves and a figure four. It made sense because attacking the knees would take away Ricochet's ability to do high flying moves and would put him at a disadvantage. I wasn’t as much of a fan of the second half because Ricochet proceeded to gain control of the match and start flying around like a radio controlled airplane as if Yokosuka had never touched his knees. Then Yokosuka drilled Ricochet with like three or four lariats (his big move) and Ricochet kept kicking out until Yokosuka finally hit him with a sort of high angle Pedigree to finally put Ricochet down for three. I’ve said numerous times how much improvement I’ve seen in Ricochet since the first time I saw him, but this match goes to show that he badly needs to work on his selling because it was ridiculous for him to take that much punishment and pop right back up the way he did.
Speaking of punishment, we move on to Sami Callihan of the DUFs taking on Open The Dream Gate Champion Masaaki Mochizuki. This was the match I was most looking forward to just to see how badly they'd beat each other up, and oh boy did they. These two laid in a truly sadistic beating on one another, with Sami dishing out a slew of forearm strikes and hard chops while Mochizuki responded with his trademark barrage of kicks. After several minutes of excruciating beatings, Mochizuki unloaded with a flurry of kicks to the head until Sami simply collapsed and Mochizuki pinned him. Mochizuki tried to show Callihan respect after the match by shaking his hand, but he wound up on the receiving end of a beating from Callihan and Cannon until Susumu Yokosuka ran in to make the save, leading to a pull apart brawl that the locker room poured out to break up.
The next segment was one of the most entertaining of the night, as Jon Davis came out to the ring to call out the DUFs, but when Callihan and Cannon came out, they were interrupted by Pinkie Sanchez, who wanted to join the DUFs. Callihan responded by blowing snot at Pinkie (which Pinkie then ate) and then he and Cannon took a seat at ringside to let Pinkie face Davis and "prove" himself. This match told a great story where Pinkie took a seemingly endless beating from Davis, but continued getting up and coming back at the big man. Cannon and Callihan didn't seem impressed by Pinkie, and at one point Pinkie wound up on the floor and crawled toward them, presumably for moral support, but Callihan took a mouthful of PBR and spit it in Pinkie's face. Pinkie got in a few hope spots, including one cool vertical splash onto Davis while he was caught in the Tree of Woe, but otherwise this was all Davis. They kind of blew the finish when Davis hit a Jackhammer and the ref counted three even though Pinkie got his shoulder up at 2, but they ended up restarting the match and Davis continued destroying Pinkie and hit Three Seconds Around The World to win the match for real. Callihan and Cannon got in the ring afterward and seemed like they were going to help Pinkie up, but instead beat the crap out of him and walked off.
I really enjoyed this segment, Davis physically dominating Pinkie was the right way to present the match, Callihan and Cannon treating Pinkie like a joke fit perfectly with their characters, as did their "get outta here, kid" postmatch beating. As for Davis, he was pissed off and came out there for satisfaction, and he got it. Beautiful stuff.
Next up was Johnny Gargano taking on Austin Aries in a pretty important match for Gargano’s career in DGUSA. Gargano had broken out in a big way over the course of 2011 and was on course to challenge for the Open The Freedom Gate Title later in the year, but was still in the process of breaking out as the star of Ronin and a bonafide singles star. Aries had turned heel on the last DGUSA tour and joined up with Blood Warriors, who had by this point had a fairly long running issue with Ronin. Aries brought Brodie Lee out with him, and cut a good prematch promo telling Gargano that he and the rest of Ronin aren't on his level and they don't belong in the same ring with Blood Warriors, then to put the dot on the exclamation point, he sent Brodie to the back because he was that confident he could easily handle Gargano on his own.
This was another very good match where Aries started out acting cocky and taking Gargano lightly, only to discover that Gargano had scouted him and had counters ready for everything Aries tried. Gargano even pulled out the Aries headscissor escape with the dropkick and, I gotta say, did it better than Aries. Aries got pissed off and bailed to the floor, leading to an awesome sequence where they brawled onto this elevated platform next to the ringside area that had a metal railing they used for various spots, including Aries suplexing Gargano over the railing and onto the seats in the front row. They headed back inside where they went back and forth trying to catch one another in their submission finishes. Aries got the Last Chancery and Gargano again had a great and simple escape by just kicking Aries' legs out to break the bridge. In the end, experience prevailed as Aries hit two kicks to the head and a pair of brainbusters to put Gargano away.
Excellent match that did a great job building to the finish, and it both reestablished Aries as a threat in DGUSA after a fairly substantial series of losses, and also made Gargano look like Aries' equal by presenting the match like it could have gone either way. I feel like Gargano gained by losing here, and this was probably Aries' best match so far in DGUSA with the possible exception of the YAMATO match from the previous tour.
This brings us to the main event as Open The United Gate Champions PAC & Masato Yoshino defend against Akira Tozawa and Open The Freedom Gate Champion YAMATO. It's unique to have all the champions in DGUSA in one match, and Tozawa deserved to be in the mix too since he's improved so much over the course of 2011. We've got plenty of dignitaries at ringside, as Rich Swann and Susumu Yokosuka are in PAC and Yoshino's corner, while Masaaki Mochizuki is out to second the challengers. An added element was that PAC would be challenging YAMATO for the Open The Freedom Gate Title later in the weekend, so the two of them could potentially trade places on the championship roster before the tour concluded.
This was like most Dragon Gate tag main events in that it was very fast paced and competitive with a ton of near falls, but this one for some reason seemed to be a bit stiffer than usual and everyone seemed to be laying it in there just a little bit more than normal. There were a couple of points where PAC and Tozawa went at it and I swear, I could watch those two wrestle each other all day. I loved their match Wrestlemania weekend, I loved the rematch on the last tour of 2011, and I hope they both get the chance eventually to main event a DGUSA show against each other. As it happens, PAC won the match for his team after hitting Tozawa with a Spiral Tap, then took the microphone and told YAMATO that he's coming for the Open The Freedom Gate Title. Solid main event to top off a great show.
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I really enjoyed Fearless 2011, my favorite segment was Gargano vs Aries, but I also liked the ongoing story of the DUFs and the added element of Pinkie trying to get in, and the main event was very good too. Nothing bad on this show, and this leads right into Uprising, which I’ll cover in my next review and featured a three way, high flying main event between PAC, Ricochet, and Rich Swann. As for Fearless, everything on here was good to awesome so it’s an easy thumbs up from me.
For more information on Dragon Gate USA, head over to their website here.