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.
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.