ATLANTA – Austin Aries said all the right things for several minutes on Sunday at Dragon Gate USA’s Open the Ultimate Gate 2011. The next few minutes after that were the ones that came as a surprise.
Aries had just lost what was billed as his farewell match to Jimmy Jacobs, a situation that he found himself in after unsuccessfully putting his career on the line the previous day in an effort to get a title shot at Open the Freedom Gate Champion Yamato. The match itself was a good one, as Aries and Jacobs know each other well from their Ring of Honor days.
After getting some love from both Jacobs and Jimmy Rave, Aries took the microphone to explain that he was simply living up to his claim that he would move on if he no longer found the right challenges in wrestling. He thanked the fans for their support, though he lashed out at the haters that he said often hide behind the anonymity of the internet, safe behind their keyboards.
Aries said that one thing he always hated was when veteran wrestlers refused to pass the torch, so he was going to do it officially. He called the Ronin trio of Rich Swann, Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor to the ring, explaining that they were the future of the business.
Praising each one individually – Swann for his move in and out of the ring, Taylor for his connection with the fans and Gargano for his versatility – Aries even stuck up for them when the Blood Warriors came to ringside. Or at least he seemed to, inviting the heel faction to get in the ring to earn the respect that they usually demand to simply be given to them.
CIMA and company refused, but Aries announced that he had found his purpose and turned to attack Ronin. The Blood Warriors rushed in as well, and several minutes later, Swann, Taylor and Gargano were all beaten down and one fan near the ring was shouting, “I’m so confused!”
The issues between Ronin and Blood Warriors started earlier in the nine-match card when the two groups had a confrontation after Blood Warriors’ enforcer Brodie Lee finished off popular comedy wrestler “Hollywood” Stalker Ichikawa. That led to a match between Lee and Taylor, which Lee won by pinfall.
Blood Warriors co-leaders CIMA and Naruki Doi had less success in the best match of the show, a title match for the Open the United Gate Championships against Masato Yoshino and PAC. A thrilling back-and-forth affair saw the champions retain when Yoshino forced Doi to tap out.
Another alliance was formed when Sami Callihan and Arik Cannon, who walked out on a six-way freestyle match earlier in the show, teamed up to take on the debuting Dark City Fight Club. Callihan and Cannon took the win, then encouraged the fans to use the name “Dirty Ugly Fucks” for their new partnership.
An Open the Freedom Gate title match closed out the show, with YAMATO retaining his belt against Akira Tozawa. YAMATO showed his challenger respect after the bout and thanked the fans for coming out.
Open the Ultimate Gate 2011 – Full Results
Johnny Gargano def. Jimmy Rave by submission Rich Swann won a Six-Way Freestyle Match by pinfall Brodie Lee def. “Hollywood” Stalker Ichikawa by pinfall Brodie Lee def. Chuck Taylor by pinfall Masato Yoshino and PAC def. CIMA and Naruki Doi by submission to retain the Open the United Gate titles Sami Callihan and Arik Cannon def. The Dark City Fight Club by pinfall Jimmy Jacobs def. Austin Aries by pinfall Akira Tozawa def. Jon Moxley by pinfall YAMATO def. Akira Tozawa by pinfall to retain the Open the Freedom Gate title
Nick Tylwalk had his eye on several Dragon Gate DVDs at the show but couldn’t figure out a way to expense them to SLAM! Wrestling. Follow his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk.