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DGUSA MERCURY RISING 2012 DVD REVIEW: THE DRAGON GATE SIX MAN TAG RETURNS, MASATO YOSHINO CHALLENGES FOR THE OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE TITLE, THE FINAL SHOWDOWN BETWEEN SAMI CALLIHAN AND SABU, AND MORE

By Stuart Carapola on 2013-01-30 11:45:54
Dragon Gate USA wraps up Wrestlemania Weekend 2012 with Mercury Rising, a show that not only features the return of the annual Dragon Gate six man main event, but also the final encounter in the violent feud between Sami Callihan and Sabu. Just to pack this card that much more, Johnny Gargano defends the Open The Freedom Gate Title for the first time since injuring his back at EVOLVE 10. He faces Masato Yoshino, the man who defeated Gargano and Chuck Taylor for the Open The United Gate Title only the night before, and also had a personal score to settle since he felt like Gargano disrespected him earlier in the tour. Lots of interesting stuff here, so let's get right into it.

Bobby Fish vs Jon Davis: This was the second try at a match that was originally planned to happen at EVOLVE 9 before Kevin Steen crashed the party and turned it into a three way bout. Davis came out on top after pinning Fish, but now Fish had the chance to settle matters in a one-on-one situation. Fish's strategy was to try and take Davis' legs out, but Davis used his size and power advantage to maintain control of Fish for most of the encounter. Davis unloaded with clubbing forearms, slams, and suplexes, but Fish finally caught Davis with a kneestrike to the head and knocked him silly. Fish quickly pounced on the opportunity and tried to put Davis away, but Davis drilled him with a Pounce out of nowhere, then powered out of a submission attempt by popping Fish up into a powerslam. Davis went to pick Fish up after that, but Fish caught him in a Fish Hook and Davis quickly tapped out. Good match and a nice win for Fish as he began to wind down his EVOLVE/DGUSA career. Fish cut a promo after the match putting Davis over for giving him a great fight, then says that when EVOLVE crowns their first champion like Low Ki was talking about, he wants in on the tournament.

PAC/Chuck Taylor promo: PAC comes out before the next match to thank Low Ki for the battle they had the night before because it was a pivotal point in his career that he'd love to do again, and do it before the weekend is done. Since CIMA still isn't at 100%, he wants to take his place against Low Ki and Mad Blankey in the main event. Chuck Taylor comes out to interrupt PAC, but PAC says he doesn't even want to be in the same ring as Taylor and leaves in disgust. Taylor is greeted by a round of disrespect from the crowd, so he says that since the PAC Invitational won't happen anymore, he's going to take PAC's place and turn it into the Chuck Taylor Invitational.

Arik Cannon vs AR Fox: With Sami Callihan taking on Sabu later in the show, Sabu's buddy AR Fox rides to war against Callihan's partner Arik Cannon. Colt Cabana joined Lenny Leonard on commentary for the match, sharing his insight and thoughts on DGUSA as Cannon slows Fox down by turning the match into a brawl. This was a back and forth match where neither man was able to build up a whole lot of momentum before the other caught them with a big move and turned the tide. Fox set Cannon up for the springboard Spanish Fly, but suddenly a chair flies at him out of nowhere and cracks him in the face. The camera pans down and we see that Sami Callihan is at ringside and was the one who threw the chair, so the referee disqualifies Cannon as Callihan proclaims that he's going to make sure that Sabu wrestles his last match ever tonight. Callihan calls Sabu out to fight him right now, so the lights go out, they come back up with Sabu in the ring, and we're off.

Anything Goes Streetfight - Sabu vs Sami Callihan: This is the final encounter between Sabu and Callihan, who had become so obsessed with destroying Sabu that he even resorted to attacking Sabu after he defeated Justin Credible in the final match ever at the ECW Arena earlier in the year, ruining the final moments of professional wrestling in that legendary building. These two spent as much time on the floor as they did in the ring, but Callihan dished out just a little more punishment, busting Sabu open and systematically taking him apart. Callihan wedged Sabu's hand under the ring bell and hit it with the hammer before delivering a one man Conchairto to Sabu's hand. All this abuse actually busted Sabu's hand open as well, so Callihan turned his attention to Sabu's leg and smashed that up with a chair as well. Callihan then turned his attention to Sabu's ribs, putting a chair across them before smashing a second chair onto the first to deliver a double impact to Sabu's midsection. Sabu finally turns the tide and gets Callihan in the Camel Clutch, but then Jon Davis, AR Fox, and the rest of the DUFs come brawling out of the back. The commotion finally died down as they fought their way back out of the arena, leaving Callihan alone to repeatedly Pillmanize Sabu's leg with a chair. Callihan put Sabu's injured leg in the stretch muffler, but Sabu got ahold of a chair and bashed Sami in the head to break it up. Sami spit beer in Sabu's bloody face, but Fox ran back out and attacked Callihan, hitting the springboard Spanish Fly and allowing Sabu to drill Callihan with a chair and put him through a table to win the feud. This was an absolutely insane brawl, and a hell of a way to end the feud. Sami was irate after the loss and started trashing the debris that was left in the ring before destroying Johnny Vandal when he came into the ring and tried to calm Callihan down.

Lince Dorado vs Samuray Del Sol: Chuck Taylor runs out and attacks both men before they even get started, and announces that the Chuck Taylor Invitational will start right now. CIMA and Rich Swann run out to make the save, and Taylor escapes the ring and gets a microphone to tell CIMA he hates him, tell Swann he's sick of carrying him around, and finish by saying how much he hates luchadores. This prompts El Generico, fresh off the brutal La Revancha match with Kevin Steen in ROH the day before, to come out of the back and toss Taylor back in the ring. Well, we've got six men in the ring, so it looks like we're ready for...

Chuck Taylor Invitational - Chuck Taylor vs CIMA vs Rich Swann vs El Generico vs Lince Dorado vs Samuray Del Sol: I guess CIMA's recovered enough by this point that he can do a match like this since it wouldn't require him to be in there the whole time going all out. Boy, did Del Sol have a huge debut weekend, or what? Sticking him in there with these guys on top of the win over Yoshino really turned him into a major player in just one weekend. As Lenny Leonard said on commantary, a lot of this match was Chuck Taylor vs the world, but it broke down into the usual blitzkrieg toward the end as everyone started throwing it all out there in rapid succession until Generico hit the top rope brainbuster on Dorado for the win. I don't usually like these kinds of matches, but this was a lot of fun and Generico's debut was a great surprise.

CIMA/DJ Hyde Announcement: We come back from intermission with a joint announcement from Dragon Gate USA and CZW: next year (meaning 2013), during Wrestlemania weekend in New Jersey, DGUSA, CZW, and CHIKARA will be holding a joint presentation of events for the enjoyment of all the wrestling fans in the area for Wrestlemania. I think this is a great idea, I've talked in the past about how I think these joint efforts have a special feeling to the fans and are something I'd like to see more of.

The Scene vs Los Ben Dejos: The Scene do their usual vile entrance with the broads (Amber O'Neal again becomes the star of the show), and then they have your typical "coming back from intermission" match. Not much to say about this one, Los Ben Dejos looked solid enough, but the Scene got the win with the usual.

Johnny Gargano vs Masato Yoshino: This match is a good example of how DGUSA will build storylines over the course of a three day tour and pay them off on the final night. Yoshino felt disrespected when Gargano tried to tell him his loss to Samuray Del Sol wasn't anything to worry about on the first night, then Yoshino and Ricochet beat Gargano and Chuck Taylor for the Open The United Gate Title on the second night, and now Yoshino has the chance to beat Gargano for two titles in two nights on the final event of the weekend. Gargano had been dealing with a back injury for most of the year up to this point, but showed no signs of it as he kept up with Yoshino and even took him out with a somersault dive to the floor early on. Yoshino may not have been able to use his speed to wrestle circles around Gargano like he could with other opponents, but Yoshino took the advantage by turning the match into a brawl. Gargano turned the tide back his way with a spear through the ropes before planting Yoshino into the mat with an Alabama Slam. The pace picked up as each man tried to beat the other with their own holds, and Yoshino caught Gargano in the Gargano Escape right in the middle of the ring. Gargano got out of that, but Yoshino didn't miss a beat and went right into Sol Naciente. Gargano became the first person in DGUSA history to escape Sol Naciente and reversed to the Gargano Escape. Yoshino refused to give it up and fought his way to the ropes, then they traded superkicks until Gargano laid Yoshino out with a discus lariat. Yoshino got 2.99999 by countering Hertz Donut to a rollup, but Gargano hit Hertz Donut on a second try and got 2. Gargano hit Hertz Donut a second time and put Yoshino back in the Gargano Escape, finally forcing Yoshino to tap out. Awesome, awesome match and a great way for Gargano to get back on track after what happened at the ECW Arena. Yoshino was gracious in defeat and finally showed Gargano respect by shaking his hand. Chuck Taylor ran in after Yoshino left and sneak attacked Gargano, bringing him out to the floor and ramming him into the ringpost. Rich Swann chased Taylor off, but the damage had been done and Gargano needed to be helped to the back.

Low Ki, BxB Hulk & Akira Tozawa vs PAC, Masaaki Mochizuki & Ricochet: And now we come to the match this entire weekend revolves around, the Dragon Gate six man. Dragon Gate first made their name in the United States with the six man tag they had in ROH on Wrestlemania Weekend 2006, and it has since become an annual tradition both in ROH and later in DGUSA. Mad Blankey got the jump on Mochizuki as he entered the ring, but Mochizuki quickly got to safety and tagged in Low Ki to go at it with PAC again. They picked up right where they left off with a fast paced exchange before Mochizuki tagged in for a big time kick exchange with Low Ki. This match featured an interesting dynamic as the virtuous warrior Low Ki teamed with the unscrupulous pair from Mad Blankey, so you saw two different strategies from the team depending on who was in the ring at the time. They caught Ricochet in the ring and worked him over pretty viciously for several minutes with hard shots to the chest and ribs, but Hulk made the mistake of whipping Ricochet into his own corner and inadvertently allowed him to tag Mochizuki in. Mochizuki cleaned house, then Low Ki and PAC went at it again, and they did this insane spot where PAC hit a top rope Frankensteiner, Low Ki reversed to a sunset flip, PAC kicked out, and Low Ki leapt into the air and double stomped his chest in. The action started to pick up the pace at this point as Mad Blankey double teamed Ricochet, but Ricochet's partners cleared Hulk out and turned it into a 3-on-1 on Tozawa. Hulk and Mochizuki had a kick exchange that looked like it was straight out of a Bruce Lee movie, then Tozawa and Hulk elevated PAC so Low Ki could drill him with a springboard enziguiri. Tozawa and Mochizuki renewed their brawl for the night before with another insane strike exchange,and this time Tozawa managed to put Mochizuki away with the straitjacket suplex. Hey, it may have been a tag match, but Tozawa beat him to add another impressive notch to his belt. This was a hell of a match, things really picked up at the end and put you on the edge of your seat over who was going to finally get the pinfall in this one.

* * *

I enjoyed this show a lot. I felt like the first two nights of the tour did a great job of setting up the issue between Gargano and Yoshino, and they had a terrific match where Gargano proved that he was truly back after the injury. Incidentally, the bonus features included a video I really liked of Gargano talking about how he never wanted to do anything but wrestle, and how the injury at EVOLVE 10 affected him when he thought it was all coming to an end, and how it changed his perspective on his career going forward. I wasn't happy with the winner of the Callihan/Sabu feud, but they had a suitably violent finish, and the Dragon Gate six man actually delivered better than some of the last few years, which is really saying something.

Highly recommended show, and you can find ordering informationfor the DVD at www.dgusa.tv or the iPPV at www.wwnlive.com.