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My Take On 12.11.12: Looking at DGUSA & EVOLVE on iPPV in 2012

December 11, 2012 | Posted by Larry Csonka

Welcome back to the latest edition of My Take On. It is that time of year when I use the column to take a look back at the year that was. A new thing I will be doing this year is looking back on PPV and iPPV I have watched during the year. I will give the listing of PPVs by the score, the top matches from the company’s PPV and then look at some sub-categories before looking at an overall verdict for the year. I hope that this is something you will enjoy. I will be doing columns on the following companies and their PPV…

* Ring of Honor


* DGUSA Open Freedom Fight 2012 iPPV – 8.4
* DGUSA Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 iPPV – 8.2
* DGUSA Mercury Rising 2012 iPPV – 8.1
* EVOLVE 13 iPPV – 8.0
* DGUSA Enter the Dragon Gate 2012 iPPV – 7.8
* DGUSA Fearless 2012 iPPV – 7.7
* DGUSA Untouchable 2012 iPPV – 7.6
* EVOLVE 12 iPPV – 7.3
* EVOLVE 18 iPPV – 7.2
* EVOLVE 16 iPPV – 7.1
* EVOLVE 17 iPPV – 7.0
* EVOLVE 14 iPPV – 7.0
* EVOLVE 11 iPPV – 7.0
* DGUSA Uprising 2012 iPPV – 7.0
* EVOLVE 10 iPPV – 5.0

What the numbers mean…

0 – 0.9: Torture
1 – 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
2 – 2.9: Very Bad
3 – 3.9: Bad
4 – 4.9: Poor
5 – 5.9: Not So Good
6 – 6.9: Average
7 – 7.9: Good
8 – 8.9: Very Good
9 – 9.9: Amazing
10: Virtually Perfect

As a reminder, this is not a basic “how good was the show” number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.

* From DGUSA’s Freedom Fight 2012 – Open the Freedom Gate Title Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet vs. Akira Tozawa vs. AR Fox [****½]
* From DGUSA’s Untouchable 2012 – CIMA and AR Fox vs. El Generico and Samuray Del Sol [****½]

* From DGUSA’s Enter the Dragon Gate 2012 iPPV – I QUIT Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor [****¼]
* From DGUSA’s Mercury Rising 2012 – Low Ki, BxB Hulk and Akira Tozawa vs. Ricochet, PAC and Mazaaki Mochizuki [****¼]
* From EVOLVE 11 iPPV – Fit Finlay vs. Sami Calihan [****¼]

* From DGUSA’s Freedom Fight 2012 – Samuray Del Sol & El Generico vs. Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito [****]
* From DGUSA’s Enter the Dragon Gate 2012 iPPV – Open the United Gate Tag Team Title Match: AR Fox and CIMA vs. Rich Swann and Ricochet [****]
* From EVOLVE 11 iPPV – Low Ki vs. El Generico [****]
* From EVOLVE 13 iPPV – El Generico vs. Sami Calihan [****]
* From DGUSA’s Untouchable 2012 – Open the Freedom Gate Title Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Akira Tozowa [****]
* From DGUSA’s Mercury Rising 2012 – Open the Freedom Gate Title Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Masato Yoshino [****]
* From DGUSA’s Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 – Open the United Gate Tag Title Match: Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet and Masato Yoshino [****]
* From DGUSA’s Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 – Akira Tozowa vs. Masaaki Mochizuki [****]
* From EVOLVE 17 iPPV – Samuray Del Sol vs. El Generico [****]
* From EVOLVE 15 iPPV – Samuray Del Sol vs. El Generico [****]
* From EVOLVE 14 iPPV – Samuray Del Sol vs. El Generico [****]
* From EVOLVE 18 iPPV – Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano vs. Sami Callihan [****]

* From DGUSA’s Mercury Rising 2012 – El Generico vs. Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann vs. Cima vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Samurai Del Sol [***¾]
* From EVOLVE 12 iPPV – Fit Finlay vs. Jon Davis [***¾]
* From EVOLVE 12 iPPV – AR Fox vs. Sami Calihan [***¾]
* From EVOLVE 13 iPPV – Low Ki vs. Jon Davis [***¾]
* From EVOLVE 13 iPPV – DGUSA Open the Dream Gate Title Match: Johnny Gargano vs. AR Fox [***¾]
* From DGUSA’s Fearless 2012 – Jon Davis vs. Akira Tozawa [***¾]
* From DGUSA’s Fearless 2012 – Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi vs. The Super Smash Bros [***¾]
* From DGUSA’s Fearless 2012 – AR Fox vs. Riccochet [***¾]
* From DGUSA’s Freedom Fight 2012 – Cima vs. Sami Callihan [***¾]
* From DGUSA’s Uprising 2012 – Akira Tozowa vs. Samuray Del Sol [***¾]
* From EVOLVE 10 iPPV – Ronin (Taylor and Swann) vs. The Super Smash Brothers [***¾]
* From EVOLVE 18 iPPV – El Generico & Samuray Del Sol vs. The Super Smash Bros [***¾]


While Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE on the surface delivered quality iPPV in 2012, the promotion did have issues that need to be addressed. First of all are the crowds for the show. Their crowd numbers haven’t been spectacular, and along with that, the crowd reactions have not been where they needed to be. Crowd reaction is a big part of match and show enjoyment, but a lot of times for both promotions; the crowd has actively taken away from the matches and shows as a whole. In defense of both companies, which are essentially one and that is why they are being covered together, part of that is not having a strong home base of operations to run out of. With BB Kings no longer wanting to run wrestling and the Arena in Philadelphia no longer hosting wrestling, these things have hurt the promotion. They have wanted to establish a strong base of operations in the North East, but they haven’t been able to do so. But that being said, I also think that another part of the problem is that, in my opinion, Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE do not have an identity. Dragon Gate USA isn’t the “US version” of the Japan Company, and while they have worked to have some strong stories and have had good matches, they come off as simply a “wrestling company.” Now while I appreciate good wrestling, there needs to be something else to pull people in. EVOLVE comes off as “DGUSA Lite,” which also isn’t a good thing. If someone asks me to describe the promotions, all I can ever find myself saying is that, “they give me good wrestling.” Again, not a bad thing, but I think that there needs to be more. There are angles and stories, but nothing that grabs me on a big level. But they are still young and growing.


While I do hate to dwell on the negative, we have to discuss it. With all due respect, the worst performers of the year for the promotions have to go to The Scene (Caleb Conely, Scott Reed and Larry Dallas). It seems like every time that The Scene appears on iPPV, I type something like, “The match was acceptable or average, and the Scene continue to not impress in any way.” And I have been typing that for the past year as I have been covering the iPPVs. I am not saying that Caleb Conely and Scott Reed are bad professional wrestlers, quite the contrary, I have seen their work from other places, and I think they are talented. But as “The Scene,” with Larry Dallas, they make me not want to watch the product. Over the last year they have done the same thing on the same spot on the card, having the same average to acceptable matches, and getting the same lack of reaction. On top of that, I simply feel that they don’t belong. In my opinion, they add nothing to the promotion, and while I am glad they are getting work, I cannot say that they have ever entertained me. And I do not want to hear that, “I am not supposed to like them, they are heels.” No, they don’t have heel heat; they simply have go away heat. I hate to put it this way, but if I didn’t have to watch them on iPPV in 2013, I wouldn’t shed any tears.


This may sound a bit silly but for better or for worse, you know exactly what you are getting with EVOLVE and DGUSA on iPPV. While they do have some solid stories right now (Gargano’s title reign, Davis’ resurgence and run for the title), on the surface there isn’t a lot to sink you teeth into in that regard. And while that will turn people off who love story driven shows, what you do get with the promotion is good pro wrestling. I like when I spend my money in a product and come away seeing good wrestling show after show. Also, I love the fact that the companies are outlets for me to watch guys like Gargano, Taylor, Del Sol, Generico, and other US Independent talents that I really enjoy. On top of that, I also get to see guys like CIMA, Mazaaki Mochizuki, BxB Hulk and Akira Tozawa, Masato Yoshino and other Dragon Gate standouts. I do not have the time and funds to watch all of the wrestling I want (Lucha, PWG, most of Japan) so when I get to see these guys on iPPV, I am very happy. Wrestling should be fun, it should make me happy (even when reviewing it), and for the most part the promotions have done that. Also, they are RELIABLE as an iPPV company. By the companies taking iPPV in house with the creation of WWNLIVE, they made a smart financial decision, and have become reliable as far as delivering shows with only the rare buffering from time to time, but that’s just my experience with the show. As someone that was not a huge fan of iPPV, WWNLIVE has done a lot to prove that they deserve my money, as far as the technology goes. As mentioned above, they have some issues, but they are providing an overall good product. I truly hope that they can find a solid base of operation in the North East, and that they can get the live crowds more into the shows and also increase their iPPV buys. As an iPPV company, they are delivering in the ring, now they just have to do that other stuff. To close this out, I want to repeat, they are putting on a consistently good wrestling product, which is their strength, and you get quality wrestling on these shows.


While I will name some gentlemen below that have had an impact on the product in 2012, and some of them could have been easily added to this category, in my opinion there have been two men that have defined the iPPV product for EVOLVE and DGUSA for me as a viewer. They are El Generico and Samuray Del Sol. I have been a huge fan of Generico for a long time, and also feel that he is one of the very best out there that isn’t under a contract to someone. How that is possible is unknown to me, maybe Generico likes it that way, but for him to not have a contract somewhere just seems so wrong. And then there is Samuray Del Sol, a guy I didn’t think much of, who I thought would be just another masked goof that everyone thought too much of. But together, whether in a one on one battle or in a tag team match as partners, these guys have brought the goods. Not only that, but when I hear that these guys are on the card, the shows have become must see for me. Now I know I cannot speak for anyone else, but the simple facts are that these guys have some tremendous chemistry, and when told to go out and deliver, they have, no questions asked. And on top of all of that, Generico continues to show how great he is, and Samuray Del Sol is also getting big time attention. In the middle of November, while working AAA in Mexico, his mentor Octagon anointed Del Sol as “Octagon Jr,” which in the lucha world is a HUGE deal. These are great men that have been awesome on iPPV in 2012, and I am glad my money goes into their pockets in a small way.


AVERAGE PPV SCORE: 7.36 {For 15 iPPV Events} – According to the 411 scale, which is what I use for grading the PPVs, that means for the year that the 7.36 gives DGUSA-EVOLVE a little over the “good” rating for the year. I have really enjoyed the shows this year, and hope that they continue to deliver in 2013, and also improve in the areas that they need to get better in, which were mentioned above. As I have said, I do not mind spending my money on GOOD wrestling, and that is what I have been getting from EVOLVE and DGUSA. Overall Verdict: Worth the money on iPPV (especially when compared to TNA and or WWE), and especially when Generico, Del Sol and Gargano are featured.

BEST PERFORMERS: While I did name my overall best performers, I do want to make mention of the overall best performers for the promotion. These men are the ones that have consistently delivered when appearing on iPPV. Besides El Generico and Samuray Del Sol, I would also like to mention the following…

* Johnny Gargano
* AR Fox
* Sami Callihan
* Chuck Taylor
* Ricochet
* Akira Tozowa

And there is my look at EVOLVE and DGUSA on iPPV in the year 2012. I hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading!

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Larry Csonka

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