Chicago, IL at the Haunted Congress Theater
The DGUSA Fearless PPV opened with the crowd applauding as the competitors for the opening bout made their way to the ring.
CIMA & SUPER CRAZY vs. JIGSAW & MIKE QUACKENBUSH
There was some good back and forth stuff early before CIMA and Crazy began working over Jigsaw. Crazy grabbed inflatable thundersticks from a fan and began beating the hell out of Jigsaw, which was funny. The ref took a shot and a bump from them. Now that was hilarious! Crazy was in full heel mode, messing with Quackenbush while Quack was on the apron unable to tag in. CIMA tagged in and spit at Quack to mess with him, then began using a leglock submission around Jigsaw's neck. He then rolled him into a pinfall combination. Jigsaw finally came back with a DDT and made the hot tag.
At this point, it was highspots central. The babyfaces came back with a double tope con hilo to the floor on Crazy and Quackenbush. Crazy came back with a sit-down powerbomb for a near fall. He and CIMA continued to work over Quack.to lock Quackenbush in a surfboard, at which point CIMA drilled him with a monster kick. It was so bad I cringed watching it and think of everything I've seen. CIMA and Crazy just kept destroying Team CHIKARA, but CIMA accidentally superkicked Crazy and Quack caught Crazy with a La Magistral cradle and scored the surprise win. I didn't expect that to be the finish at all.
Your winners, Jigsaw and Quackenbush!
Crazy and CIMA jumped the CHIKARA duo, who made their own comeback.
Really fun Lucha tag match. In the last year, DGUSA has done a good job establishing Quack and Jigsaw as the next generation of high flyers for the company, so seeing them working the more established Lucha names was fun. Crazy and CIMA were an interesting duo but due to international commitments, this was Crazy's last booking with DGUSA.
Davey Richards cut a promo promising to win the FIP championship. FIP is the Sal Hamoui promotion in Florida formerly affiliated with ROH. Richards admitted he had been knocked out and lost the belt in Japan. He talked about the history of the belt with names like Bryan Danielson and Homicide. Richards promised that tonight, "I am taking my belt back." Knowing the back story of everything that happened after this was taped, man was this strange and weird to watch. Solid promo.
TJP vs. GRAN AKUMA
They began slapping each other at the bell. Akuma ran him into the corner but TJP began using a lot of mat wrestling and pinfall attempts to get an early advantage. The announcers put over his international experience. Perkins used a series of kicks to the chest in the corner and then used a handstand in the corner into headscissors on Akuma. Akuma went to the floor to retreat but was hit with a dive. Akuma's facial expressions are hilarious.
Back inside, Akuma drilled him with a kick to the chest and worked over TJP. TJP went for a rolling Sharpshooter but Akuma got to the ropes. Several near falls for Akuma. Lots of near falls. TJP went for a move off the ropes on the outside but Akuma killed him on the floor with kicks to the back.
Back inside the ring, Akuma locked in an Indian Death Lock but Perkins tried to battle out. Akuma turned it around to increase the pressure but TJP made it to the ropes. Akuma used a cravate as a submission attempt but TJP breaks out. TJP bodypresses Akuma and they crash to the floor. They started beating the crap out of each other hard, to the point, it was ridiculously stiff with back and forth shots. Akuma worked TJP down with a series of kicks. TJP came back with a flying knee.
They go back and forth with near falls including a tombstone by Akuma that looked great. TJP fought back but started getting drilled with strikes. TJP comes back with a superkick but is caught by a lariat. They battle on the top rope,. Akuma is shoved off. Perkins whipped out an incredible finish, hitting a top rope sunset flip but after rolling through, locking on a Sharpshooter. I loved the hell out of that!
Your winner, TJP, TJ Perkins!
All good action from bell to bell with hard hitting strikes and unique moves. TJP sort of reminded me of a young Paul London with all the unique offense and Akuma really grows on me as a heel each PPV.
They showed Dragon Kid backstage preparing for his main event.
JIMMY JACOBS VS. BRIAN KENDRICK
Jacobs gets a nice reaction coming out. So does Kendrick. Kendrick cut a promo before the match, saying that they are similar and that wrestling is an art, so they are both artists. He said that just like Jacobs, he also wrestles on a psychological level and studying tapes, he found out about someone who knows all about Jacobs "psychologically" and introduced Jacob's old Ring of Honor girlfriend/valet Lacey. I don't know if it was the acoustics or the crowd but this didn't seem to get over as a huge shock to anyone live beyond the announcers.
Jacobs lost it and attacked Kendrick. Kendrick powdered out, so Jacobs turned to Lacey, where Kendrick pounced on him. They went right to the floor where Jacobs was whipped into the railing. They were telling the story that Jacobs was finally past Lacey and now she's reemerged. Jacobs bled early as Kendrick just ravaged him, biting him face before locking in a camel clutch.
Jacobs pulled to his feet and slammed Kendrick backwards into the corner. Kendrick smothered Jacobs' throat with his boot and went back to the Camel Clutch. Kendrick looked really good as the aggressive heel early. Kendrick locked in a sleeper while scissoring Jacobs with his legs but Jacobs fought back. Jacobs' comeback was really good as he really had to fight to get out of the sleeper as opposed to two elbows to the gut and home free.
Jacobs missed a plancha over the top and crashed on the floor, so Kendrick continued working him over. Jacobs avoided the Sliced Bread #2 and cinched in a guillotine choke. Kendrick was close to being out, which led to Lacey getting in the ring and distracting Jacobs by teasing a reconcilitation. Kendrick used the distraction to hit Sliced Bread #2 and score the win.
Your winner, Brian Kendrick!
Solid match and Kendrick's best showing in DGUSA to date, Jon Moxley, Kendrick's cohort, came to the ring to join in the celebration. Jacobs, still on the mat, took the mic and told Kendrick that he might have gotten Lacey, but he knows Kendrick's "pretty little wife Taylor is at home...she might not have been Tough Enough, but she's good enough for me." Kendrick is married to Taylor Matheny from Tough Enough season one. Kendrick told Jacobs he could kill him right now. He teased kissing Taylor but instead Moxley destroyed her with a clothesline, so the idea wasn't that Kendrick could have what Jacobs wanted the most, but discarded it like trash. I loved that. Great heel moment.
They showed BxB Hulk preparing for his main event.
FULL IMPACT PRO CHAMPION MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI VS. DAVEY RICHARDS
Holy crap was this awesome. These guys just beat the hell out of each other. They beat each other down with a bunch of hard kicks back and forth and treated this like it was a MMA bout the way they faced off and battled. Richards finally got the advantage. He nailed several kicks while they were outside on the apron, but Mochizuki avoided one and Richards drilled the ring post and began selling his leg.
Richards made a comeback and locked in his Kimura submission but Mochizuki made it to the ropes. He began focusing on Richards' bad leg. Richards tried to battle back and go for an enziguiri to the back of the head, but Mochizuki stopped it and cinched in an anklelock. I bet Kurt Angle steals that the next time he works AJ Styles. They plugged the DGUSA Phoenix weekend. Davey looked like he was going to submit but made it to the ropes.
They went back and forth with Yakuka Kicks and boots. Mochizuki got the better of the exchanged and suplexed him. Richards came back and caught Mochizuki with an INSANE dive to the floor where he landed somewhere in general admission he went so far into the crowd. I was seriously worried for not just Richards but anyone he caught during his flight. It was just the most awesome ridiculous dive ever.
Sadly, Richards overshot Mochizuki, which meant a lot of the effect was lost. Mochizuki brought Richards back to the ring and began killing him but Richards made a comeback with another Kimura. Lots of crazy shots to the head and kicks. Richards jumped onto the ropes and dumped Mochizuki with an insane German suplex. Richards nailed a shooting star press and as Mochizuki kicked out, Richards went for the Kimura. Mochizuki fought back and they went back and forth before Richards finally got the submission.
Your winner and new FIP champion, Davey Richards!
This was awesome. Richards, whether he planned to or not, departed with a final great match for DGUSA to use as a selling point for this PPV. I give DGUSA credit for not going back and burying him on the commentary or in how they used the match, since they were left in a bad position by his departure from a storyline standpoint. This one is worth the price tag alone.
Backstage, Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw were talking. Quack said people are saying they are the best American tag team in DGUSA. Jigsaw said they were going to find out they were just "The Best."
YOUNG BUCKS VS. MASATO YOSHINO & NARUKI DOI VS. SHINGO & YAMATO
This was all over the place insanity and let me just say, I am really going to miss the Bucks on these PPVs. They really provided a great domestic team for the Japanese talents to work all their insane spots and Lucha magic on. This one would be impossible to recap while doing this justice and like a lot of the intricate Lucha style matches DGUSA puts on, is better seen than described.
Some of the highlights included five workers all having headscissors on each other. Shingo then grabbed someone in a Sharpshooter and the ENTIRE crew turned around with it. Talk about a genius way to get him over as a powerhouse. That was awesome.
Matt Jackson made a comeback after Nick was awhile. It turned into the Titanic, where everyone was diving overboard with one crazy spot after another. The Bucks were first out after a Shingo suplex. Makes sense, given they are off playing Generation Me.
Doi showed his fighting spirit and began drilling Takagi with a bunch of elbows to the face and head. He locked a submission on Shingo but was lifted up off the mat to his shoulders, or at least that was the plan. Shingo tried and couldn't get him. He kept trying but finally failed. Shingo finally tapped.
Your winners, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino!
If you are looking for an old school type of bout here, look elsewhere. If you are looking for all sorts of futuristic insanity and aerial moves, you found your match. Watching this, I almost wish it was 1995 as Sabu would have been awesome in this environment. It was just great. Doi, Shingo, YAMATO and Yoshino all shined. I love a good awe-inspiring cluster in the right place and this was it.
They plugged the www.dgusa.tv website.
DGUSA OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE CHAMP BxB HULK VS. DRAGON KID
The dancing girls were back for Hulk's entrance. They should ALWAYS be there. It adds something to his entrance, especially for an audience where the entrance is part of the show. That said, these girls were nowhere near the level of the first girls Hulk had in Philly in July, so bring them back. Kid was with CIMA and the announcers noted his change in affiliation in Japan.
Hulk controlled a lot of the match early with Kid doing hope spots to make a comeback, only to be cut off. There was some great back and forth matwork as well. Kid finally got over on Hulk and nailed a moonsault off the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Hulk cut off Kid again and they went back and forth with a lot of near fall.
Kid came back again with a Tornado DDT and nearly scored the pin. Hulk caught him with a uranage. Kid hit a springboard into a rana but Hulk kicked out. This was actually a fun David vs. Goliath type of bout. They took it into high gear and at that point, good luck to anyone keeping up. I shook my head for the poor announcers at this point.
Hulk finally caught Kid with a superkick to the face and his finisher, the Evop for the pin.
Your winner and still DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate champion, BxB Hulk!
Fans threw streamers in the ring after the finish. This was great but following the Richards match, they weren't able to hit that level. Akuma and Richards hit the ring and began beating both men. CIMA went to aid Kid but YAMATO cut him off. Shingo hit the ring and tried to stop everyone but instead turned on his pal Kid and laid him out. CIMA pulled Kid out of there and headed to the back. All the heels stomped on Hulk. Security hit the ring and were beaten down, as were several low level wrestlers. Arik Cannon got some offense in but was tossed. The "CHIKARA Locker room" hit the ring and began brawling with the heels. YAMATO and Quack brawled on the floor. Shingo finally arrived with a broom and was out for blood with it clearing the ring, so we closed with an old school TV angle to build to the future. Fun close!
In terms of in-ring wrestling, you've got an awesome match with Davey Richards vs. Masaaki Mochizuki for the FIP championship and the DGUSA title bout with Dragon Kid challenging BxB Hulk. Like every other offering from the company, it's a solid to great ride in each match and this is going to be an interesting show to look back on from a historical standpoint as it was Richards' unplanned exit, Crazy's last appearance (for now) and one of the last appearances of the Young Bucks. For the $20 pricetag you more than get your money's worth again, especially in the aforementioned matches.
If anything, DGUSA's reputation will be that no matter what the show is, you are going to find at least one thing you'll love on the show. Much like the ECW Arena shows of yore, there's always that one great moment of match - and on this show, it's Richards vs., Mochizuki. Beyond that, there is nothing bad on the show. Brian Kendrick finally got to have a good showing. Jimmy Jacobs looked good. The three way was a ton of fun. Kid vs. Hulk delivered. There was a fun, wild scene to close the show. You can't say this is anything but a thumbs up show.
Was it perfect on the level of the early PPVs? No, but that's an impossible bar to top, especially when you consider the first show. If there's one thing DGUSA has to improve, it's the level of the audio on the ring mic. It was hard to ear the mic work and when that's a big part of setting up the stage for a segment, like Kendrick vs. Jacobs, it's imperative they make that work. You don't want to look second rate on any level when fans are paying you money, no matter what. I'd rather see them cut promos backstage and splice them into the PPV since its more important that the viewing audience know what's going on than the live crowd. Still, when that's the only real complaint, you have a damn fine PPV.
If this PPV doesn't convince fans new to the promotion to sample the Wrestlemania weekend events, I don't know what would, short of putting a gun to their heads and forcing them there. You can get information on those events at www.dgusa.tv.