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My Take On 12.21.13: Looking at EVOLVE-DGUSA on PPV in 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 12.21.2013





WELCOME!
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. Much like last year, I will be looking back on PPV and iPPV I have watched during the year 2013. I will give the listing of PPVs/iPPVs by the score, the top matches from the company's PPV/iPPV, a quick look at the shows and the best wrestlers on the shows before looking at an overall verdict for the year. I hope that this is something you will enjoy. This year the breakdown columns will include…

  • Ring of Honor
  • EVOLVE/DGUSA
  • TNA
  • WWE
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Top 15 PPV Performers of 2013
  • 2013 PPV Overview

    AND NOW….
    Photobucket
    LOOKING at EVOLVE-DGUSA on PPV in 2013

    THE PPV SCORES
  • Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV - 8.5
  • EVOLVE 22 iPPV - 8.4
  • EVOLVE 21 iPPV - 8.2
  • EVOLVE 24 iPPV8.0
  • Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising iPPV 7.7
  • EVOLVE 20 iPPV - 7.6
  • Dragon Gate USA Enter The Dragon 2013 - 7.5
  • Dragon Gate USA Revolt iPPV - 7.5
  • Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2013 iPPV - 7.4
  • Dragon Gate USA Open the Golden Gate iPPV - 7.0
  • Dragon Gate USA Bushido: Code of The Warrior 2013 iPPV - 7.0
  • Dragon Gate USA Fearless iPPV - 7.0
  • EVOLVE 237.0
  • Dragon Gate USA Heat iPPV - 6.9
  • EVOLVE 19 iPPV - 5.0

    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.

    THE BEST MATCHES
  • From EVOLVE 24: Drew Gulak vs. Biff Busick [****½]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV – Akira Tozowa vs. Riccochet [****½]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV – Johnny Gargano vs. Shingo [****½]

  • From EVOLVE 21 iPPV: No DQ Match: Jon Davis vs. Chuck Taylor [****¼]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising iPPV –Shingo vs. Akira Tozawa [****¼ ]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising iPPV – CIMA, EITA & Tomahawk TT vs. Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann & Ricochet [****¼]
  • From EVOLVE 22: Open the Freedom Gate Title Match: Johnny Gargano © vs. Samuray Del Sol [****¼]
  • From DGUSA's Enter The Dragon 2013 iPPV – Johnny Gargano vs. Akira Tozawa [****¼]
  • From DGUSA's Bushido: Code of The Warrior iPPV: The Gate To Heaven Match: Young Bucks & Ricochet vs. CIMA, AR Fox and Tomahawk TT [****¼]
  • From DGUSA's Fearless 2013 iPPV: Ricochet defeated Rich Swann [****¼]

  • From EVOLVE 23: Rich Swann & Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano & Trent Baretta [****]
  • From EVOLVE 24: AR Fox vs. Ricochet [****]
  • From EVOLVE 20: EITA vs. Tomahawk T.T. [****]
  • From EVOLVE 22: EVOLVE Title Match: AR Fox vs. Lince Dorado [****]
  • From EVOLVE 22: Open the United Gate Titles: Matt and Nick Jackson © vs. EITA and Tomahawk T.T. [****]
  • From DGUSA's Enter The Dragon 2013 iPPV – Young Bucks vs. Ricochet & Rich Swann [****]
  • From DGUSA's Revolt iPPV - AR Fox vs. Samuray del Sol [****]
  • From DGUSA's Revolt iPPV - Akira Tozawa vs. Sami Calihan [****]
  • From DGUSA's Heat iPPV - AR Fox and Akira Tozowa vs. The Young Bucks [****]
  • From DGUSA's Freedom Fight 2013 iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Chris Hero via submission [****]

  • From EVOLVE 24: The Bravados vs. Los Ben Dejos vs. Taylor and Cassidy vs. Jigsaw and The Shard [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 20: Samuray Del Sol vs. Anthony Nese [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 20: Andrew Everett vs. Caleb Konley vs. Jon Davis vs. Lince Dorado vs. Shane Strickland vs. Tommy Taylor [***¾]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV – The Young Bucks vs. AR Fox and CIMA [***¾]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV - Super Smash Brothers vs. EITA & Tomahawk TT [***¾]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV - Chuck Taylor vs. Arik Cannon vs. Jigsaw vs. Tony Nese vs. Fire Ant vs. Shane Strickland [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Revolt iPPV - Open the Freedom Gate No Ropes-No DQ Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Jon Davis [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 19 iPPV: EVOLVE Title Tournament Semifinal Match: Ricochet vs. AR Fox [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 21 iPPV: Anthony Nese & Brian Cage vs. The Young Bucks [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 21 iPPV: Samuray Del Sol vs. Shane Strickland [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 21 iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Tomahawk T.T. [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Bushido: Code of The Warrior iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Rich Swann [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Bushido: Code of The Warrior iPPV: Anthony Nese vs. Akira Tozowa [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Freedom Fight 2013 iPPV: Rich Swann vs. Trent Baretta [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Freedom Fight 2013 iPPV: The Young Bucks vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & AR Fox [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Fearless 2013 iPPV: The Bravado Brothers vs. The Young Bucks [***¾]





     photo book_zps26e6c219.jpg

    OVERVIEW OF THEIR iPPVS

    When I think about EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA iPPVs, I think of three things; and we'll talk about that below. Before I get into that, since it is a popular question from people that find their way to these companies, I will explain the difference between EVOVLE and DGUSA, and why they have to run separate shows. Dragon Gate USA shows feature a few talents from Dragon Gate proper in Japan, and have the support of the senior promotion. EVOLVE shows are also put on by WWNLive (they run them both), but do not feature the Dragon Gate proper talent. WWNLive has people under contract; they want to runs shows and theoretically make money, which is why they still run EVOLVE events.

    The first thing I think about with EVOLVE and DGUSA is the iPPV issues. Last year I praised the promotions for their reliability on iPPV, in fact, I felt that they were the most reliable company in iPPV overall. I rarely had an issue with them, and when I did their customer service was great. Unfortunately, that did not continue in 2013. The biggest example of this was during the EVOLVE 19 event during WrestleMania weekend. EVOLVE 19 was supposed to be an unforgettable evening for the WWNlive family, they were crowning their first ever EVOLVE champion and on the biggest weekend in wrestling for the US wrestling fan. Unfortunately the show was plagued with technical issues, which made the show nearly impossible to watch the night it ran live. From there it seemed that every set of shows (both EVOLVE and DGUSA) had some form of issue, and I was forced to watch events during the week because the live technology wasn't up to snuff. They were smart enough to offer events from locations with questionable Internet connections as VOD only, but it seems as if that should have happened more often. This left me very frustrated with the product.

    The second thing I think about with the promotions is the booking. Overall I feel that the booking of both promotions have not been good. The booking of the EVOLVE Title Tournament was poor, including the final night. Top seeds bowing out with little fight, Sami Callihan hurting himself entering the ring as a way to generate sympathy, but instead I felt he looked like an idiot who couldn't enter the ring. That's just an example. Another is "goofy fun" Chuck Taylor vows to change himself and to become more serious so that he can get to the top only to end up back as goofy Chuck Taylor. Heels and faces generally do not matter because they are at the mercy of the small live audience, and have to go with the flow and how they react, if they actually react at all. As an iPPV customer it is hard to tell due to poor lighting and audio, which was also another issue this year. I didn't really feel like I was being told a story or going on a journey when I watched EVOLVE or DGUSA in 2013, I felt the product was lacking. Add in not knowing when to call it quits on certain acts (hey Larry Dallas, can't wait to hear from you) and it becomes an issue.

    The final thing I want to discuss, and it is a positive one, is the wrestling. The wrestling this year for the promotion was really good, honestly second only to New Japan in overall quality. Look at that list above and you'll see what I mean. Performers such as Johnny Gargano, The Young Bucks, AR Fox, Shingo, CIMA, Akira Tozowa, EITA, Tomahawk T.T., Samuray Del Sol, Akira Tozowa, Bravado Brothers, Trent Baretta, Rich Swann, Chuck Taylor, Anthony Nese, Ricochet and many others are featured by the promotions. It is a great roster of talent that delivers on different, but consistent levels. One name you may be familiar with, Samuray Del Sol, had a tremendous 2012 (in matches against and teaming with El Generico) for the promotions. He was off to a great start in 2013, and was making waves in AAA before signing a developmental deal with WWE (like Generico); Del Sol is now known as Kalisto. Simply put, the in ring delivers big time and more than just Internet fans have taken notice over the past few years.


     photo 9ae7c168-e3eb-4a6e-a003-b0ea7894094c_zps203a9d9e.jpg

    BEST PERFORMERS ON THEIR iPPVS

    For the second year in a row, Johnny Gargano takes the top spot as the ace of EVOLVE and DGUSA. Gargano is the current Open the Freedom Gate Champion, and has held the title for more than 750 days. Gargano didn't keep the title of top performer easily, but since he is the featured performer and top champion, I felt he once again had a strong enough year to retain the title of best performer. Last year Gargano was the resilient babyface champion, who had to fight to get into the company and gain acceptance from the Dragon Gate proper performers. This year, he turned heel at the big WrestleMania weekend match with Shingo, and has turned into an egotistical, smarmy, disingenuous individual. Lets look at his list of great matches from 2013…
  • From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV – Johnny Gargano vs. Shingo [****½]
  • From Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising iPPV – CIMA, EITA & Tomahawk TT vs. Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann & Ricochet [****¼]
  • From EVOLVE 22: Johnny Gargano vs. Samuray Del Sol [****¼]
  • From DGUSA's Enter The Dragon 2013 iPPV – Johnny Gargano vs. Akira Tozowa [****¼]
  • From EVOLVE 23: Rich Swann & Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano & Trent Baretta [****]
  • From DGUSA's Freedom Fight 2013 iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Chris Hero [****]
  • From DGUSA's Revolt iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Jon Davis [***¾]
  • From EVOLVE 21 iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Tomahawk T.T. [***¾]
  • From DGUSA's Bushido: Code of The Warrior iPPV: Johnny Gargano vs. Rich Swann [***¾]

  • The promotions together held 15 events, and Gargano was part of 9 matches on my year-end list (matches ***¾ and up) and had several others that also made the list. When you are billed as the top guy and are main eventing most of the shows, you have to deliver and deliver consistently. Gargano did that, and most importantly did so on the promotion's biggest shows on WrestleMania weekend. The Dragon Gate six-man was awesome, and his match with Shingo was a MOTY contender, and most years would have been considered more highly if it weren't for the huge volume of great matches this year. The thing is that Gargano is also doing it with a nice variety of opponents. Shingo, CIMA, EITA, Tomahawk T.T., Samuray Del Sol, Akira Tozowa, Trent Baretta, Chris Hero, Jon Davis and Rich Swann were involved in these matches, but the thing was that outside of the new heel stuff, I felt that the matches had a different feel to them. And that's important, because one things become a consistent formula, boredom sets in. While I may not always love the booking, I look forward to Gargano's matches.

    Gargano also continues to evolve (pardon the pun) as a performer. Last year I noted that, "Gargano is a guy that has improved tremendously over the last two years, going from a guy most thought was just a comedy guy to an excellent tag team performer; but in 2012, he really blossomed as a singles worker, and the top act for EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA". The good news is that this continued in 2013. While on some levels I feel the heel turn isn't working as well as the company thinks it is, Gargano has been spectacular as the egotistical, smarmy, disingenuous champion. He had the in ring skills, but the character development is another key in his growth as a performer. Gargano continues to improve and deliver, and as a fan, that is great to see.

    BEST PERFORMERS: While I did name my overall best performer, I do want to make mention of the overall best performers for the promotion. EVOLVE and DGUSA had a ton of great matches this year, and these men are the ones that have consistently delivered when appearing on iPPV and need to be mentioned...

  • Akira Tozowa
  • Young Bucks
  • Ricochet
  • AR Fox


    OVERALL IMPRESSION OF EVOLVE/DGUSA iPPVS

    AVERAGE PPV SCORE: 7.38 {Based on 15 Events} According to the 411 scale, which is what I use for grading the PPVs, that means for the year that the gives EVOLVE & DGUSA slightly above a "GOOD" rating. This was slightly up from last year's average score of 7.36.

    Final Thoughts: Wrestling wise, EVOLVE & DGUSA were very good in 2013. I am a fan of great wrestling, so on that level they delivered. If you're a fan of great wrestling, and don't care too much about the story aspect of things, the shows are worth it, especially for the price point ($10-$15 a show). But the constant iPPV issues, along with the booking is what held the promotion back. While I love the great wrestling, I still do want stories. I want to go on that ride, and I do want some episodic feel to the shows to have a feeling that things are going somewhere. I didn't get that in 2013 from EVOLVE & DGUSA, and that is what held the shows back in overall quality. With that being said, I have made the decision to not cover EVOVLE and or DGUSA iPPV events in 2014. I set an insane schedule for PPV watching in 2013, but for 2014 I plan to cut back, and unfortunately EVOVLE and DGUSA made the decision easy for me, mostly due to the iPPV issues. When the iPPVs worked, everything was fine, but too many times I have to go to the VOD of the events, which meant fitting them in during the week. It becomes an inconvenience to my family schedule, and while I love many of the performers in the promotions, I just cannot sacrifice the time. I wish them the best of luck in 2014, and if the iPPV issues improve, I will reconsider them for evaluation in 2015.

  • Wrestler Of The Year: Johnny Gargano
  • Tag Team Of The Year: The Young Bucks
  • Show Of The Year: Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV
  • Match Of The Year: From Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate iPPV – Johnny Gargano vs. Shingo



    Have you checked out the Csonka Podcasting Network? If you haven't, you should We run anywhere from 15-20 shows a month, discussing pro wrestling, the world of MMA, the NBA, general sports, popular TV series of the past, bad movies, battle rap, interviews, MMA & Wrestling conference calls and more! Around 10 different personalities take part in the various shows, which all have a different feel; so you'll likely find something you like. All of the broadcasts are free, so go ahead and give a show a try and share the link with your friends on the Twitter Machine and other social media outlets! Running since May of 2011, there are currently over 450 shows in the archive for you to listen to.

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    Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.


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