This past weekend was easily the biggest weekend for independent wrestling this summer. With a Ring of Honor triple-shot in the midwest, the fourth Evolve show, Dragon Gate USA's first year anniversary and a big CHIKARA show to round things out, it may have been the biggest indy weekend in recent memory.
Before getting into the recap, credit and thanks must go out to the fine folks on the ROH forums and PWInsider.com for providing results for all of the action over the weekend. Instead of going over everything, I'm just going to touch on some of the major happenings from these events.
ROH kicked things off on Thursday with their debut in Louisville, KY. "The Bluegrass Brawl" seemed like a fun show and featured The Briscoes defeating Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, The American Wolves, in the main event.
Other matches at "The Bluegrass Brawl" included ROH World Champion Tyler Black defeating Claudio Castagnoli in a non-title match.
In a bit of an upset, Colt Cabana beat Chris Hero in a "Pick Six" series match. Cabana now holds the number four spot in the rankings.
ROH hit the St. Louis area on Friday night with a show in Collinsvillve, IL headlined by a six person intergender tag team match. The Briscoes teamed with Amazing Kong to defeat the Kings of Wrestling and Sara Del Ray.
One of the most anticipated match-ups of the entire weekend featured El Generico and Kevin Steen in a rematch from "Death Before Dishonor VIII."
This time around, Generico was awarded the DQ win after Steen used a steel chair. The match ended but the fight continued. Colt Cabana attempted to help out his friend Generico but was attacked by Steen and his steel chain, which was also used to the choke out a referee.
This hate-fueled feud shows no signs of slowing down. All signs are pointing towards a "Fight Without Honor" between these two in the near future.
The Young Bucks, now known as Generation Me in TNA, made their ROH return in Collinsville. They took on The American Wolves, in what was called the match of the night by some fans.
The Wolves were victorious in Collinsville but the next night in Chicago would be a different story. They fell to the team of Cabana and El Generico in an Tag Wars 2010 opening round match.
Saturday night in Chicago saw the conclusion of the opening round of the Tag Wars tournament. Not only did Cabana and Generico advance, but The Briscoes moved on by defeating Josh Raymond and Christian Able, the House of Truth.
"Skullkrusher" Rasche Brown and Grizzly Redwood moved into the semi-finals by defeating The Embassy's team of Necro Butcher and Erick Stevens.
"The All Night Express" team of Rhett Titus and Kenny King also advanced in Tag Wars by picking up a win over Jerry Lynn and Delirious, thanks to a bit of help from Austin Aries.
Generation Me took on the ROH Tag Team Champions, the Kings of Wrestling, in Chicago on Saturday. The champs proved to be too much for GenMe. Their weekend return to ROH action resulted in consecutive losses, though both matches were said to be excellent.
Tyler Black successfully defended his ROH title against Kevin Steen in what was called a bloodbath. Black continues to cement his legacy as the ROH champion by putting on top notch performances against the best the company has to offer.
ROH wasn't the only promotion doing big things over the weekend. Evolve put on their fourth show on Friday night in New Jersey, headlined by Bryan Danielson making his debut appearance for the company.
Danielson hand-picked Bobby Fish as his opponent and it was said to be a hard-hitting contest. Fish is one of the top up-and-comers in the Evolve promotion but he could not defeat "The American Dragon" in the first event Danielson booked after being released from the WWE.
Jon Moxely battled to a DQ finish with Brodie Lee after both men decided to use steel chairs on each other, which is strongly discouraged in the Evolve promotion.
Other action at "Evolve 4" included Adam Cole defeating Johnny Gargano, Chuck Taylor defeating Jimmy Jacobs and Up In Smoke defeating The Osirian Portal in tag-team action. The match of the night was said to be Sami Callihan defeating Arik Cannon.
At the end of the night Bryan Danielson vs. Munenori Sawa was announced for the next Evolve show.
"The American Dragon" was also a major part of Dragon Gate USA's first anniversary show on Saturday night. The event was taped for PPV and took place at the Arena in Philadelphia.
In the main event, which will be released on the DVD, Danielson defeated Shingo in what was called a "must-see" match-of-the-year candidate. Not a surprise there, two of the best talents in all of wrestling right now put on a great show for the fans in Philly.
BxB Hulk successfully defended his Open The Freedom Gate title against Masaaki Mochizuki. Despite a mistake by the timekeeper at the end of the match, this one was also said to be awesome. Hulk continues to impress as the face of DGUSA.
The huge CHIKARA vs Kamikaze USA elimination tag team match ended with Mike Quackenbush and Masato Yoshino of the CHIKARA side as the survivors. They eliminated Yamato and Akira Tozawa simultaneously to pick up the win for their team.
The CHIKARA and DGUSA rivalry continued on into Sunday's "Chikarasaurus Rex" event at the Arena in Philly. The show was a huge success for the CHIKARA promotion, reportedly drawing the largest gate in the history of the company.
It is also already available for order on DVD at smartmarkvideo.com.
The biggest news coming out of this event has to be Team F.I.S.T. forcefully removing Gran Akuma from the faction after the team lost to DGUSA's team of CIMA, Mochizuki and Super Shenlong.
Johnny Gargano helped Chuck Taylor and Icarus beat down Akuma post-match and apparently Gargano, one of the hottest rising stars on the indy scene, will now be the third man in F.I.S.T. (which stands for Friends In Similar Tights).
Tommy Dreamer had a busy night in Philadelphia. He was inducted into the "Hardcore Hall of Fame" at the Arena during the CHIKARA show and then teamed up with Eddie Kingston to take on Claudio Castagnoli and Ares, the Campeonatos de Parejas (tag-team champions) of CHIKARA.
Castagnoli and Ares picked up the victory after Castagnoli hit the Ricola Bomb on Dreamer. Also, as a sidenote, Dreamer's torn MCL reportedly appeared to not be much of an issue.
The main event of the show saw Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Hallowicked pick up the win over Dragon Gate's BxB Hulk, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino. CHIKARA winds up coming out of the weekend looking pretty good, after getting two huge victories in consecutive nights at the Arena.
Well, that sure was a lot to take in.
It was a huge weekend of action for fans of independent wrestling and from all reports, the shows were all very good. It serves as another reminder that there is an alternative out there to the WWE and TNA for those fans who find themselves frustrated with what the major promotions offer.
Weekends like this are great examples of why fans of professional wrestling shouldn't simply have to accept what they see from the big two as the end-all, be-all. ROH, Evolve, DGUSA and CHIKARA have something to offer anyone who is curious enough to look.
Photo courtesy of Scott Finkelstein
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