Thursday, March 31, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: RAW REVIEW WEEK 10

March 22, 1993
Manhattan Center
Manhattan, New York

We're a hop skip and a jump away from Wrestlemania, let's see what Raw has in store with us now. And who knows, maybe I'll actually time this out perfectly and get my Wrestlemania Review up on the weekend of this year's Wrestlemania. Wouldn't that be something?

BUSHWHACKERS vs. DAMIEN DEMENTO & THE REPO MAN
I think Vince has teased the Bushwhackers more than once as "Appearing Next Week" and up until now they hadn't shown up on RAW. I have no idea why those matches didn't happen or why they didn't air them. I honestly haven't gone back and watched a Bushwhackers match ever, because I didn't like their goofy asses when I was a kid. But since those days, I've seen their stuff as the Sheepherders and am interested in comparing the two sides of Luke and Butch again.

They're still goofy. Ass biting spots. I'm actually into the idea of a Damien Demento and Barry Darsow being a team. If they shaved Darsow's head and had him act crazy too it would be a pretty fun combination. Demento and Luke do this spot where Demento goes for a shoulder block and they both take back bumps. Then Demento just gets up and takes control. A minute later they do it again and Luke crawls away for the hot tag. Demento isn't very good, so I take back what I said about him and Darsow being a team. Repo Man deserves better. Luke and Butch finish off Repo with the Battering Ram and Repo still deserves better. Gotta say, I still don't care about the Bushwhackers but I'll keep enjoying the Sheepherders. This match was a dud.

TATANKA vs. RENO RIGGINS
Riggins has leaopard skin tights and white boots. No kneepads. Mad Dog Marty Sugar would not be pleased. They work a shoulder lock while Reno is in the ropes. Lame. At one point, Tatanka gets whipped to the corner and he hops on to the middle rope and springs back with a cross body. He misses, but I was still surprised he did it. Didn't know he had that one in his repertoire. Reno gets in some chops, but eventually Tatanka "Tatankas Up!" and dominates him with a powerslam and a samoan drop. I dig Tatanka's powerslam. I think the Powerslam is one of my favorite moves in wrestling actually. Fun showing for Tatanka.

WWF HALL OF FAME IS BORN
So this is the year the WWF/E Hall of Fame came into creation and it's very first inductee is Andre the Giant. It's no surprise as Andre had passed away a month earlier. I wonder if they planned on making a Hall of Fame before he passed and if we could have gotten a living Andre The Giant getting inducted at Wrestlemania
IX.... They do a fun montage of Andre bits while a piano plays. I think my favorite bit is that they show Hogan attempting the Body Slam and failing. Pretty awesome.

After the clip they show three young guys in the crowd who were actors on One Life To Live. The one on the left is:
Ryan Phillippe
MONEY, INC. vs. SCOTT RICH & JEFF ARMSTRONG
Armstrong boasts one of the worst clothesline bumps and one of the greatest rat tail cuts ever. This one gets a little marred do to the camera cutting back to Rob Bartlett who's flipping through channels on his little TV to scope out the competition. Vince declares there is no competition for Monday Night Raw. Even with out that distraction this match is pretty weak. The whimpies aren't really very good, and Ted and Irwin are just going through the motions on this one. 
More intense than Davey Richards.
But seriously, this military cut with the rattail is pretty intense right?

DOINK THE CLOWN vs. KAMALA
Doink is wearing a different wig. It's kind of like a little green afro. This is the second match-up between these two I've seen so far. The last time, Doink fooled Kamala with an empty present. This time he just pretends to give him one and then takes it away. Doink slaps on what looks like a Dragon Sleeper early on - he's out of control. He's like some kind of Dean Malenko in clown make-up. He controls a lot of this and when Kamala finally starts making his comeback he runs outside for the present to give it to him for real this time. Kamala takes it and gets counted out. Again. Same exact ending as the other match. 

Doink then climbs under the ring and out the other side. Kamala follows him. Doink makes it out and grabs a chair and smacks Kamala while he's still under the apron. Twice. The problem is that Doink is obviously hitting a center ring leg. While he's waiting for a third time Kamala comes out a different side and surprises Doink from behind and chases him out of the building. Fun story. But nothing to go out of your way to see.

During the Wrestlemania hype report with Mean Gene, Gene-o asks Macho Man if his Sedan is a single or a double and if it comes with vestal virgins. This is how Macho Man reacts.
STEPHANIE!
OVERALL SHOW
Just an okay show. No great action, but some fun seeing early 90's culture. I get oddly nostalgic for these days. Like the other day I watched this crappy direct-to-video movie called Blown Away, starring The Two Corey's and Nicole Eggert. I totally loved it just for the nostalgia factor. That and Nicole Eggert got naked a lot. And because of her I also have a strong desire to watch whole seasons of Baywatch, a show I loved when I was younger. Remember the one with Giant Gonzalez?

See how I brought it back? It's all connected, baby.

I hope everyone has an awesome Wrestlemania weekend. Go Team Del Rio!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: RAW REVIEW WEEK 9

March 15th, 1993
Hudson Civic Arena
Poughkeepsie, New York
Special note: This is the FIRST Raw to take place outside of the Grand Ballroom in Manhattan.

Tonight we have Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and Rob Bartlett who is doing a Vince McMahon impersonation. It appears that the Blizzard of '93 has altered their plans and some wrestlers aren't in attendance. This may also explain the different venue.

RAZOR RAMON vs. RUSS GREENBERG
Russ Greenberg's flat top is strong. His rattail is stronger.
Razor goes through his move set. We get his very cool Abdominal Stretch variation, a chokeslam, and a back body drop off the top to set up the Razor's Edge. Russ doesn't get anything in and it's probably for the best. His selling is a little too goofy looking for me. He does those aftershock flops that don't look so hot. Well, at least this was quick.

TYPHOON vs. L.A. GORE
L.A. Gore has a cool ass name. I'm assuming it's a play on that guy who invented the internet's name. Doesn't matter, it still sounds awesome. He kind of looks like John Holmes, which then makes me think L.A. Gore means something else. I have no idea how I got there, but I hope I'm right. This match is a good example of Typhoon kicking ass. He snaps off a suplex that feels painful. And sweet Jesus he rips off a powerslam that was about an inch away from breaking Gore's neck on the rotation. Just domination. Typhoon's big smiles and high impact style makes me kind of wish he was a bad guy. Pretty nice squash, and I hope there's more L.A. Gore in my future.

HEENAN INTERVIEWS HARVEY AND THE GIANT GONZALEZ
Whippleman is perfect to be next to Giant Gonzalez. He's so goddamn monstrous looking. The costume is so weird though. He actually gets a line in and he says, "Undertaker, I've got a Giant Surprise for you." Hilarious.  First thing I've heard him say since he'd come into the WWF and that's the line he gives us.

PAPA SHANGO vs. BOB BACKLUND
They reference Backlund holding the title for five years and how impressive that is. Backlund is pretty awesome at getting beat up. Papa Shango just isn't particularly fun to watch in control. He's not really vicious, or creepy, he's really just a generic wrestler. Backlund makes him look a lot cooler than he is. After a lot of mediocre control work Backlund sneaks a small package for the pin and win. It's a bit of a let down, and a lot of it is on Papa Shango.

NASTY BOYS vs. THE HEADSHRINKERS
This was pretty fun for the most part. Crowd was hot and the Headshrinkers offense was looking vicious. Eventually the action spills to the floor and the four guys make their way back to the concessions table where they proceed to make a mess. Saggs nails Samu with a bucket about four times and Samu no sells it because they were all head shots. Saggs counters this with mustard to the face. Apparently yellow mustard is like green kryptonite to a Samoan. Cutesy way to end the show, but I could have used more violence and less ketchup.

Can you imagine if concessions was next to the entrance now?
OVERALL SHOW:

A lot better than last week, but nothing very exceptional. I'm getting pretty down on Papa Shango. His gimmick is amazing and he looks awesome but his in ring work is so boring. I hope Headshrinkers and the Steiners are going to be hooking it up soon. their stuff with the Nasties was fine, but it didn't scratch that itch I had. Oh and I can't wait until Rob Bartlett is fired. He was terrible. Again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: RAW REVIEW WEEK 8

MARCH 8th, 1993
Had a nice break from the 1993 stuff and then I got the fever. The fever for some Doink. I hope Doink is on this.

THE MEGA MANIACS PROMO
Hulkster brings the thunder with this. Jimmy Hart has gotten the contract signed for a bout between Money Inc and the Mega Maniacs at Wrestlemania. And for those people that think Brutus is the wink link, Hogan has been beating him in the face with a metal face over the weekend. So problem solved, then? Hulk hints that there's a big surprise in store for them. Can't wait to see what that is.

MONEY INC. vs. VIRGIL & TITO SANTANA
Virgil's red and white pinstripe tights have to be some of the worst tights ever. Ted plays the mindgames by starting off with Tito and avoiding Virgil. When Virgil gets in, Ted laughs and backs out. They play the opposite roles game in the first half with Tito and Virgil cheating like crazy and Irwin playing Heel in Peril. They do the switching places behind the ref's back and pretending like they slapped hand spot a couple of times and the crowd loves it. There's a commercial break and when we come back Money Inc is control. IT kind of ruins the rhythm a little. As soon as we get back Tito's making a hot tag that we had no build to. Shortly after that Money Inc. sneaks out a win. I wish I could see these four go at it again without any interruptions. What we got was pretty neat.

TATANKA vs. PHIL APOLLO
Before the match they recap the past few weeks of Tatanka owning HBK. They also do a funny bit where Rick Martel comes out and tells the ring girl to take a hike so he can walk around with the RAW Card. It's a funny way to get a little quick heat before his match with Perfect later. Anyway. This was a decent squash.  Phil Apollo isn't memorable by job guy standards. Tatanka has a nice Ron Simmons-esque powerslam that he busts out. I'm starting to buy his Samoan Drop as a finish too. Outside of that nothing much here.

PAPA SHANGO vs.MIKE EDWARDS
I need this outfit. 
Martel does replaces the ring girl again before this match. Hilarious. He's dressed in what can only be described as a yachter's robe.
Shango drags this one out and it's still kind of boring. Beyond the face paint and the gimmick stuff, the guy doesn't have that same physical charisma to bring the character out. I'd go as far to say that Boogeyman was better in bringing out his weird character than Shango. Honestly the more I see him the more I'm kind of disappointed.

BOB BACKLUND vs.TONY DEMORO
Demoro has a great physique and I'm trying to figure out if I know him from somewhere else. Backlund is really hot and the crowd loves him. A few Bobby chants through out. It was great to watch them get excited over  him just schooling a guy on the mat or hip tossing him. Backlund busts out a really cool pin to finish it off. So far the best overall match of the show.

MR. PERFECT vs. RICK "THE MODEL" MARTEL
This was like two jazz musicians riffing with each other. Smooth solid action and both guys played their parts perfectly. Martel's gutwrench suplex is fantastic and this was probably Perfect's best TV match as a face. It was just so good and Perfect was starting to make a comeback until IT WAS ALL RUINED. We got a commercial break and when we come back the goddamn match is over. YEAH. It was over and Perfect was slapping hands. And then they show an instant replay of Perfect hitting the Perfect-plex.

It would be like if The Rebels were attacking the Deathstar and then we go to a commercial break we come back and we're at the ceremony where they get the medals. And Obi-Wan Ghost says, "Let me show you what you missed," and we cut to a quick shot of the Death Star exploding. And the worst part is this whole show was pre-recorded. How does a pre-recorded show get so messed up in the timing department? I sat through Papa Shango stalling his ass off when putting away Mike Edwards, but when an actual good match comes on "We just don't have time to fit it in. FUCK THIS.

And to cap it off I get this graphic to tease me for next week:

....
....

....

Goddammit 

Friday, March 4, 2011

LIVE SHOW REPORT: LUCHA ALL PRO CHICAGO

WAR ARENA
PIERPORT BUSINESS PARK
FEBRUARY 25th, 2011

Went out to see Lucha Chicago All-Pro a couple weeks ago and figured I'd write up my experience, because that's what I do. I know I've got some Chicago readers that are wondering about the local scene and what to check out so I figured I'd hit up some places and see who's worth spending 10 bucks on.

This was my second time out to Pierport Business Park and I kind of dig the venue. It's not the hottest looking place, but it's cool enough for some rasslin'. I sat second row and there were four kids sitting upfront and a group of kids to my left. They all seemed really excited and I knew they were going to have a fun time. Nothing is better than watching wrestling with kids who like to boo and tell bad guys they stink. I can't wait until my own son is old enough to take to the shows. It's gonna be awesome.

Anway....WRESTLING!

TRIOS MATCH 
GATTO EL GUAPO, SENIOR GUAPO, EL HIJO DEL MASCARAS vs. DIEGO CORLEONE, COLLIN CAMBRIDGE, EL VERDE DIABLO
Diego Corleone is a guy a I really dig. He's perfect for the low end of the card because he gets the crowd warmed up and vocal. He was in rare form tonight. He came in and got in the face of one of the kids next to me. The kid started crying. No joke. CRYING. Nothing sadder or funnier than an overweight, Puerto Rican 11-year old boy crying at a scary wrestler with a bull rope and black make-up. Once the tears showed up, Diego set his hooks and kept coming back to him as the match kept going. "YOU WANT SOME OF THIS?!" Eventually the kid switched places with his parents and moved back a row. Brilliant.

Also one of the kids in the front row turned around and said, "Can I come sit with you?" because she was scared. It was just her and her three brothers, the eldest was probably 12. No clue where there parents were. I went into nice parent mode and told her that was fine, and was glad I did. She proved to be an AWESOME wrestling fan. And her brothers were cool as hell too.

The match wasn't very good and featured one of the worst powerslams I've ever seen. Diego whipped this little guy, Senior Guapo, I think, and was going to do a snap powerslam kind of like Randy Orton does now. But Diego just kind of fell on his back while Guapo did a stuttering front flip over him. Atrocious. No one in the crowd wanted to cheer on the good guys, mostly because no one knew who was who and also because they're not particularly good.

Moving on....

BRYCE BENJAMIN vs. JOEY MARX. 
I think last time I saw these two they were teaming up. I like them both. Bryce has some really slick gear and is working a "Sexy Mofo" schtick. It works. He had an awesome fat manager that was lobbing softballs at the crowd. "I don't want to hear any JOEY chants!" and the crowd would start them right on queue. Too easy and I loved it.

They work a solid match that really got the crowd going. Joey is a great face to beat up on. He's cute, he's charismatic, he bumps really well and he's just somebody you want to root for. The crowd was really willing him through the match as he got dominated a lot. It was a bit of a let down when he lost but it was such a good bout that I don't think anyone was to bothered about.

I hope to see them wrestle again in the future.

LUCHA CHICAGO ALL-PRO TAG TOURNAMENT ROUND 1:
VICTORIOUS SECRET vs. DA SOUL TOUCHAZ
I love Da Soul Touchaz. I saw them for the first time at the NWA CHICAGO show I reviewed and just can't stop talking about them. Since then they've been on a couple of CHIKARA shows and they were on the last DGUSA Chicago show getting beat up by Brodie Lee. Really cool group of people. Victorious Secret work an awesome gay gimmick. The trick to this match was that Da Soul Touchaz were playing heel and the gay guys were playing faces. And somehow it worked out. People resisted it at first because wrestling history has conditioned us to believe gay guys are usually bad guys. And the last time I saw the Victorious guys they were playing heel and it worked really well. They play faces just as effectively. Possibly more so because they have to overcome the stigma of gay wrestling characters.

The girl who sat next to me, was really hilarious. She broke her camera phone out and kept yelling "Pose for me, baby!" at the Victorious Secret guys. Her brother turned around and said "....um....they're gay." And she responded, "I know! WORK IT!" Highlight of the night.

The finish was a little clunky but they still put out some great work. Really good face-in-peril work by the Victorious Secret guys and the hot tag was awesome. Real fiery stuff and it had people getting excited. I love it when that Southern Tag Formula is executed well, and they got the job done here.

Really a big fan of Victorious Secret after this show. They're incredibly versatile and know how to work their gimmick on either side of the line. They can be cute and funny or raunchy and gross and they can actually tell what's the best choice to make. Really cool guys.

REMY RENZ vs.BRUISER SYXX -
No DQ Match
There was an angle earlier in the show in which Danny Nieves(da boss) and his guys Bruiser and Ace Martino were confronting the Champ Mr. 450 Hammet and Remy Renz. Remy cracked Bruiser with a chair and we got some blood. So this match was made a No DQ match. They did some really fun brawling. Bruiser works a kind of Brody schtick with a big chain. He does the Berzerker HUSS bark, except it's more like HUT. The whole match.

My problem with this match is the finish. There's a ref bump and a foreign object tossed in my Nieves. If it's No DQ why wouldn't they just have the foreign object ready to go? Why wait for the ref to get hit to toss it in? Kind of illogical.

Afterwards the declare a rematch which will be a DOG COLLAR MATCH. I really want to see it but I don't think I'll be able to make it out that night. Makes me sad.

DISCOVERY vs. ORIENTAL TIGRE JR.
This wasn't much and to tell you the truth I can't remember what happened. I know it went quick and folks weren't terribly interested. Some weak lucha.

LUCHA CHICAGO TITLE
MR. 450 HAMMET vs.ACE MARTINO
It wasn't nearly as fluid as it should have been. Mr. 450 is crazy over.. He carries himself like the champ and the crowd was never as loud as they were for his stuff. It wasn't a great match, as they don't seem to work very fluidly. Lots of stuttering and jittering around. the rhythm to their movements didn't feel nearly as good as something like Bryce/Marx earlier in the night. It was well booked though and I seriously thought Hammet was losing the title that night.

I will say this: I've seen MR. 450 TWICE now. He's won both times. Neither of those times did he do a 450 splash. He actually finished this match with a FROG SPLASH. If you're going to call yourself MR. 450 you better come through. Especially when you're going over with a  move off the top.

After the match their was some brawling that eventually lead to the enitre locker room spilling out and having a big throw down in the ring. The faces cleaned house to a bunch of cheers and posed for some pictures. I thought the show was over and almost left. I was actually at the door when the music for the next match started.


TRIOS MATCH 2/3 FALLS
EL GUARDIAN DEL AMOR, FURIA ROJA, & FUNEBRE VS. EMPERADORA AZTECA, GOLDEN, & DEMENCIA
People had actually left before this started and they were totally spent from the 450 match and the locker room brawl in the ring. That felt like the ending. I have no idea why this was last. And really no one cared. They tried hard to get people to clap and get into it but really it all fell flat. One of them did a tope and pushed his opponent into the kids that were up front. Which made me care about them even less. I honestly didn't think they were going to do it because they could clearly see these kids watching them. There's 4 sides to the ring and on one side there is no kids to run into. Why risk falling onto a 7 year old? Silly.

These guys may actually be good normally but they really were put in the wrong spot.

OVERALL SHOW THOUGHTS:
The crowd was better than the NWA Chicago show(run by the same people) but the wrestling wasn't quite as good. There was a couple of good matches but some real clunkers. Still, the atmosphere is so much better than some of the other shows I've been to. I've been ranting to folks about my distaste for crowds at the DGUSA show, and those kinds of fans but there was none of that here. And it's the crowd and atmosphere that makes up for any short comings in the ring.

I'll keep checking out the promotion though. They book some really cool people who bust their asses and the crowd and venue take me back to watching wrestling as a kid. I would say if you see Da Soul Touchaz, Victorious Secret, Bryce Benjamin, and Joey Marx on the card, it's worth going out to.

Their next show is March 25th, so give them a shot. The main event is supposed to be Samuray Del Sol(who's pretty cool) and Mr. 450. And since I won't make it I'm sure that's the night he does a 450. There's also the Dog Collar Match that I mentioned. So with just those two matches I'd say it'd be a good time to check out one of their shows if you haven't before.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

EVOLVE 4 REVIEW

July 23, 2010
Ace Arena
Union City, NJ

JON MOXLEY vs. BRODIE LEE
Gotta say, not a big fan of the Brodie Lee. I've got no idea why but something isn't quite clicking yet. I think it's his gear. His wiki bio says he's 6'7" and all his big baggy clothes makes me feel like he's smaller. I dig Moxley and these two brawl pretty well together. I have feeling I'll remember this match more at the end of this show because it is different than what I think of when I think Evolve. Both guys go for a chair and the ref finally says he has enough and calls it a day. I kind of dig the maybe not-so subtle way of conditioning the audience to the style of the product. I'll be interested to see how consistent it remains as the promotion moves forward. Highlight would be Brodie kicking the chair in Moxley's face. it looked like he got a mouthful and the camera was right on it. Pretty nasty.

CHRIS DICKINSON vs.RICH SWANN vs. RICOCHET vs. DRAKE YOUNGER
I'm digging Chris Dickinson. First of all, he Gorilla Press Slams Drake Younger on the floor. As a heads up to any wrestlers who may read this, if you want me to be a fan of you just beat up Drake Younger. But I also like Chris because he doesn't seem to have time for Ricochet and Swann's flippy shenanigans. Anytime they come at him he just tosses them out of the way. I can get behind that. Of course the finish is kind of stinky, Dickinson has a Cobra Camel Clutch on Ricochet while Drake picks up a three count on Swann. Dickinson was pretty pissed as he believed Ricochet had passed out in the move and the ref should have called the match before administering a count for Younger. Some fun spots but not enough substance with the sizzle.

I also don't get multi-man matches in Evolve. It seems like it goes against the entire concept of the company.

They're dong some "Day After" interviews and Drake Younger actually gives a good one about getting knocked loopy and how it was instinct that he blocked Swann's Standing 450. It felt a lot more real and honest than some of these confessional style interviews I've been seeing. Mostly because he was just plainly trying to explain what was going through his head during the match. Simple stuff.

TINA SAN ANTONIO vs. MERCEDES MARTINEZ
Martinez dominates this one like she has all the matches before. I can't really get a read on her but she squashes really well, so she's got that going for her. The story here is after the match. Mercedes has been challenging Amazing Kong, and hasn't heard an answer until tonight. Kong has sent a video of her ripping up a Martinez picture and eating it. I'm actually interested in that one because Kong is cool and I'd like to see Martinez in something close to competitive.

ADAM COLE vs . JOHNNY GARGANO
I've said it ever since I first saw him at the first DGUSA Chicago show: I like Johnny Gargano. He's just a fun and interesting personality. He's a little weird but he's also pretty smooth in the ring. He also isn't too caught up in the social dance style of wrestling that's all the rage. He kind of reminds me of Brian Kendrick. Man, I'd actually really like to see a Kendrick/Gargano match right about now.

Adam Cole could be anyone. I think he wrestled Sami Callihan at EVOLVE 3, but I honestly couldn't remember what that guy looked like then and I was sure I was going to forget him after this until he won. He's no 123 Kid...he's not even a Trent Beretta.... but I guess he'll do. I honestly don't remember much about the match, I kind of lost interest. Gargano was good and kept things interesting. There's just something very hollow and bland about Cole that makes him hard to get into. He's got some fun spots, but so does everyone these days. The character just isn't there.

Jimmy Jacobs rushes out to make fun of Gargano for losing to Cole, while making fun of Cole for being Cole. Adam takes the mic from him and challenges him to a match at EVOLVE 5. Jimmy just laughs him off and walks.

HALLOWICKED and JIGSAW vs. AEROFORM(Flip Kendrick/Louis Lyndon)

Louis Lyndon is another dude that I really like.He's a fun character, he wrestle relatively well. I definitely get more interested in a card if he's on it. Jigsaw is another guy I've dug over the last couple of years. The last few shows I've watched him in he's definitely been one of the hardest working guys on the card. The Utility guy of the indies if you will.

This is a pretty fun match, with a better sprinty flow than the other stuff so far. I will say that after watching this I would kill for a simple southern style tag match. It felt like we got two 1-on-1 segments and then it just went into madness with everyone coming in and out as they pleased. I find that kind of odd when the company is kind of based around a lot of rules. I would have killed for Jigsaw to play face-in-peril and get beat up by Aeroform. Sure it's kind of formulaic but it works nearly every time and these guys are obviously creative enough to make it interesting. These matches are starting to feel less about telling stories and more about doing stuff. This match had an opportunity to tell a good story but it just turned into "Moves 'n Stuff".

ARIK CANNON vs. SAMI CALLIHAN
Sami Callihan has an X on his crotch.
...
...
Anyway. Thank goodness for this match. I've praised Arik Cannon in the past and he comes through for me here. Callihan is a crazy little tazmanian devil of a guy and I dig it man. He's in it for a fight and even challenges Cannon to hit him. Arik plays is smart and decides to not get into a slugfest and tries to cool it down with a leg grapevine. It works out pretty good until Callihan gets out.

They do a very cool slugfest on the apron where neither one wants to drop to the floor. They're just trade headbutts and chops and forearms and punches. Really cool bit.

Actually the whole match is cool. This is probably the first match that both guys actually create a story to care about. Two dudes swinging for the fences on each other and actually selling the damage done. This match and the Moxley/Brodie match stand out because they both felt like fights.

OSIRIAN PORTAL vs. UP IN SMOKE
I like both of these teams. Cheech and Cloudy generally work well in the ring. They've got good chemistry, a non-offensive move set, and Cheech in particular is a good guy to beat up on. Osirian Portal I've been into since the first time I saw them, and they've gotten better at really fleshing out their characters and playing them up. Ophidian in particular has developed a really fun snake offense where he binds up his opponent in many different ways. It's not just their gimmick but their distinctness in style and character that differentiates them from the rest of the indy scene.

The match itself is good. They take their time and pace it out so it doesn't feel like a spot fest. There's some pretty nasty bumps and drops. Ophidian in particular looks great eating just about any move you want to drop him with. I don't think I really bought the nearfalls or close submissions because I could always tell when some one was ready to break it up. But overall, it's a fun match between two of the better teams out there.

CHUCK TAYLOR vs. JIMMY JACOBS
First of all, this match is actually why I got this show in the first place. Chuck Taylor is a fun guy and a good heel that can actually get negative responses, if he wants to, from a very smarky crowd. And I've been on a bit of a Jimmy Jacobs kick. I've discovered him late and enjoy his recent work.

They put in some really solid work but part of me is a little disappointed in the roles the two played. The crowd was very solidly behind Chuck Taylor and would boo Jimmy when he'd try any offense. I really wish Jimmy would have dicked it up and played with that energy. It would have made the match a lot more exciting, especially with the outcome in mind. There's some pretty impressive spots, especially Chuck's counter to a tope attempt from Jacobs. Worth checking out if you like either guys, but given the atmosphere I kind of wish the two strayed from the script a little and worked with the crowd.

BOBBY FISH vs. BRYAN DANIELSON
I know I've seen him wrestle but I don't remember much of anything about Bobby Fish. And after this match, I'll always remember him as the guy who took a well thought out and paced match and stunk it up with his lack of any in ring personality. It's actually more a testament to Danielson's ability that the crowd even gave a crap about this guy, because the only thing he did was keep up. Some good rasslin' from Danielson, and some fun, nasty, holds. Much like Sami/Arik, this felt like a fight instead of the "let's do spots" buddy wrestling that some of these indy guy's fall into. Fish is fine at working that style and he's worth having around because he can keep up with anybody. But there's nothing else past that, and I guess that's not enough for me.

OVERALL SHOW:
It's an okay show. There's really some decent matches from the usual suspects, with Calihan and Cannon stealing the show for me. Those guys rocked ass. I think there's better EVOLVE shows worth checking out before this one. So if you're looking to pick one don't pick this one. But if you already dig the company, obviously you'll dig this. THUMBS IN THE MIDDLE.