Dot Net DVD Review: DGUSA Bushido Code of the Warrior 2011: CIMA and Ricochet defend the Open the United Gate Titles against Sami Calihan and Arik Cannon, Sabu returns to the The Arena, Dragon Gate originals vs. New talent matches

Posted in: Other DVD Reviews, MUST-READ LISTING
Jul 8, 2012 - 11:47 AM

By Will Pruett

DGUSA Bushido Code of the Warrior - November 12, 2011
The Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This is the second show of a triple-shot weekend produced by DGUSA for iPPV and DVD release. For my review of part one of this weekend, click here!

This DVD had just about the same production values as Revolt did, but the actual show looked much better. The lighting in the ring was more balanced. The entrance was well lit. The whole package looked a little more major league.

The show kicked off with a promo from B.J. Whitmer, who is perfectly willing to fight Brodie Lee tonight, even though their match is scheduled for the next night. Whitmer was on this show quite a few times and he lacks the charisma to carry that heavy of a load.

Jon Davis spoke about being three for three against the D.U.F. He is not medically cleared to compete on this show due to the beating with a barricade he received the night before. Here again, DGUSA makes each triple shot tell a compelling story. Instead of just putting out great matches, they make each show a part of a larger trilogy or series. While each part of the series is valuable, this makes the set even more important.

The first half of this show featured a series of Dragon Gate talent from Japan vs. new talent from the U.S. matches. Each of these matches excited me on paper and the thought of seeing them all on one show intrigued me. Almost all of them could be main event caliber matches for DGUSA, so I wondered if they would all live up to that.

B.J. Whitmer was on commentary with Lenny Leonard for the first match.

1. A.R. Fox vs. Masato Yoshino. This is one heck of an opening match. Both of these guys are known for their speed and agility and they showed it here. At moments, it seemed like the crowd may lean one way or another, but they stated firmly in the middle. Both men were babyfaces for this one. It went a little bit shorter than I expected it to, but the high-flying action was well worth the time. The shortness would become a theme in these opening matches. After a back and forth battle, Yoshino managed to lock the Sol Naciente onto Fox for the submission win.

Masato Yoshino defeated A.R. Fox via submission.

The music of The Blood Warriors began to play and The Spiked Mohicans (CIMA and Ricochet) may their way to the ring. Ricochet began talking about Yoshino and CIMA's match the next night, but it was hard to make out what he was saying. The in-arena promos on this show were all actually pretty hard to understand, since the house mic was being picked up by camera mics, not being fed into the DVD directly.

Back to the action, CIMA and Ricochet attacked Yoshino, who was saved by PAC. CIMA and Ricochet fled the ring and introduced Brodie Lee, which lead to our second match.

2. PAC vs. Brodie Lee. Whitmer ditched commentary at this point to watch Brodie Lee. Surprisingly in this match, Lee was the first one to fly, not "The Man That Gravity Forgot." This match seemed like it would be a stylistic mis-match, but it flowed rather well. Lee was a great base for PAC to work with and PAC is a large enough high-flyer that he fit in with Lee. This crowd is far more excitable than the Massachusetts crowd was on the show before this. This was a solid match, but nothing to go out of your way to see. It was another match that came in just a little bit short, especially considering the talent involved. PAC won this match with a big twirling shooting star-esque splash.

PAC defeated Brodie Lee via pinfall.

Tozawa appeared and looked to be about to attack PAC when suddenly some beat-boxing came from the back. Rich Swann and Johnny Gargano hit the ring. Swann challenged Tozawa to another rap battle, but Tozawa declined and started singing. The crowd ate this up. As he sang, Swann kicked him, thus starting their match.

3. Akira Tozawa vs. Rich Swann. Swann might be the babyface according to the commentary, but Tozawa was the babyface according to the crowd. It isn't that they disliked Swann, but they loved Tozawa that much. Tozawa and Swann are great opponents for each other. They have great timing in the ring and they managed to put together some truly entertaining exchanges. At one point Swann hit a spring-board Ace Crusher, which would have been more impressive had Fox not done a similar move in the opener. The match was good, but once again short. Swann won the match with a cradle after a series of attempted pins from both men.

Rich Swann defeated Akira Tozawa via pinfall.

Now it was BxB Hulk's turn to run in for the attack. Johnny Gargano was there to stop him and you all know where this is going.

4. BxB Hulk vs. Johnny Gargano Brodie Lee is now on commentary with Leonard. His work is notable, as he tries to do his best to channel Jesse Ventura, turning a blind eye to all cheating from Hulk. The crowd was into both men and this was a really great match. Many times throughout the action, Leonard made sure to refer to BxB Hulk as the first DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion. This seemed like a little bit of foreshadowing for what would occur the next night. The match felt like big part of Gargano's journey to the championship. This was a great match and it went a little longer than the three that preceded it. Johnny Gargano came out with the win and the momentum with the Gargano Escape.

Johnny Gargano defeated BxB Hulk via submission.

This ended the "attempted attack, followed by a match" portion of the show. It was odd to have four of these matches in a row. It also felt odd to see these matches advertised as homegrown vs. established stars and then not have that built up during the match. I appreciated the attempt to break up the standard format, but it did more harm than good to this show.

As for the short matches, at the end of the fourth match, just an hour of the show had passed and that includes all of the promo segments and entrances. Once again, the format shake up was appreciated, but it wasn't creatively successful.

A WWNLive commercial was shown.

We saw another B.J. Whitmer promo where he basically said the same thing he said before. Whitmer is not an exciting talent.

A DGUSA Uprising commercial was shown.

5. Pinkie Sanchez vs. Sabu in a South Philly Street Fight. Sabu's entrance was his standard dark affair. The Arena went absolutely crazy for him. This was pretty much the loudest they got all night. Brodie Lee did a really nice job with Lenny Leonard highlighting Sabu's history in the building throughout the match. This one was all Sabu in his classic style. Tables, chairs, and guardrails were all used. Pinkie Sanchez played a spoiler heel for a fair portion of the match, but never had the offensive flurries needed to make him seem legitimate. Sabu ended up winning with the Camel Clutch, which followed an Arabian Facebuster.

Sabu defeated Pinkie Sanchez via submission.

The rest of the D.U.F., Sami Calihan and Arik Cannon, attacked Sabu. A.R. Fox made the save. It was a three on two beat down when Jon Davis ran out. David took out Calihan and Cannon, then thre Pinkie Sanchez from the ring to about halfway down the entrance ramp. That was impressive.

Chuck Taylor had a promo walking through Occupy Philadelphia shown.

Rich Swann joined Lenny Leonard on commentary for the rest of the show.

6. Yamato vs. Chuck Taylor (w/ Johnny Gargano) for the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. Taylor was funny during this match, but he wasn't as intense as necessary. DGUSA isn't a comedy product, especially not around the Championship, so this felt dissonant.

The match kicked off slow, and I wondered if that was because of the intense and hard hitting match Yamato went through the night before. It wouldn't surprise me if he was very sore going into this match. Of course, this match did pick up and become quite a fun affair. Taylor can bring intensity when he needs to. Yamato was great here as the seasoned and serious veteran.

An interesting angle took place in the middle of the match with Taylor scoring a pin on Yamato with Yamato's foot on the ropes. The referee didn't see it (they never do) and asked Johnny Gargano about it. Gargano decided that he could not tell a lie and he confirmed that Yamato's foot was on the ropes, thus costing Taylor the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.

This angle was really well done. With everything happening on this show, this was a nice bit of both short-term and long-term storytelling. It was creative and unique.

Yamato would go on to win the match with a crossface.

Yamato defeated Chuck Taylor via submission to retain the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.

After the match, Chuck Taylor left with Yamato's Championship.

7. The Spiked Mohicans (CIMA and Ricochet, w/ Brodie Lee) vs. The D.U.F. (Sami Calihan and Arik Cannon) for the Open the United Gate Championships. The challenge in this match was to establish who the actual heels would be. The D.U.F. had beat down Sabu earlier in the night, but The Spiked Mohicans are the wrestlers DGUSA was truly trying to get over as lead heels.

CIMA and Ricochet attempted to walk away, but Sami Calihan picked up a microphone and said that people are here to see the D.U.F. win the tag titles. The Spiked Mohicans returned to the ring and then out of nowhere Brodie Lee was kicking Calihan in the face. B.J. Whitmer ran out and the two brawled out of the arena. Finally, the match began.

This was an exceptional display of the independent tag team formula that we see quite often. Calihan played the babyface in peril for the first part of the show, with CIMA and Ricochet cutting him off multiple times. Ricochet seems so polished in the ring. Watch him in this match and you'll see that he is one of the best young talents in wrestling today.

The commentary in this match became a big issue at one point. Rich Swann started doing a screechy Joey Styles impression that ruined parts of the match for me (luckily, DGUSA DVDs offer the option to turn commentary off!).

After the match broke down, as these affairs often do, into a tornado-style tag, the ending came. CIMA hit a White Noise-esque move on Cannon and Ricochet followed with a 630 splash (which he did not get all of) for the pin.

The Spiked Mohicans defeated the D.U.F. via pinfall to retain the Open the United Gate Championships.

After the match, Ricochet cut a hard to hear promo where it sounded like he was calling out his and CIMA's opponents for the next show. It wasn't pretty. Why is the post-match promo used so often in independent wrestling? It normally feels unnecessary at best and at its worst it can end up like this.

Overall, this show was pretty good, but not great. It felt like a step down from the night before, especially with all of the shorter matches to kick off the night. Still, it provided some rather spectacular action, especially in the second half of Yamato vs. Taylor and in the main event. Sabu vs. Sanchez was unique and Gargano vs. Hulk was definitely a must-see. Basically, this show is worth watching.

I'd give it a B- with just a few flaws. There was not a whole lot to complain about on this show. The best part, to me, is how it feels like a part of a larger story, while still having some great action. For a promotion that does not run all that often, DGUSA finds a way to pursue consistency instead of just throwing great matches out there without stories.

The DVD is available in the store section of DGUSA's website.

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