1/14 Evolve PPV review: Dot Net reader's detailed review of Sabu, Joey Styles, Justin Credible, and other ECW alumni returning for the final show at ECW Arena, Low Ki's surprise appearance, Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet
Evolve Online Pay-Per-View
Philadelphia, Pa. at ECW Arena
Report By Dot Net reader Austin Vitelli
I ordered the EVOLVE 10 show last night on iPPV. This was my first ever EVOLVE show that I have seen, and if you didn’t already know, it’s the last wrestling show at the famous ECW Arena. I was very excited for this show, but it didn’t exactly live up to the hype as much as I wanted. It started about five minutes after eight PM eastern time, which was the advertised bell time.
Ahtu came out to the ring to start the show along with his manager, Larry Dallas. He had an open contract and was willing to face anyone that came to the ring to challenge him. Very much to my surprise (and delight), Low Ki (Kaval in WWE) made his return and challenged Ahtu to a match.
1. Low Ki defeated Ahtu in 1:51. Low Ki got a very warm welcome from the Philadelphia crowd. Right after the bell rang, Low Ki hit a massive kick to the head of Ahtu, who then was down on the mat just lying there for an entire minute. Low Ki then hit another kick, went to the top rope, and won the match with the Warrior’s Way double stomp move. I wish it was longer because I have never seen Ahtu before, and Low Ki is a very talented in-ring competitor.
I was pretty disappointed with this match overall because Low Ki, who easily weighed 100 pounds less than Ahtu, won in three moves total. After the match, Ki cut a promo on how "his wrestling business has bled a slow death." He was pretty good on the mic, and much better than anything I heard from him in his WWE stint. He said he was here to stay in EVOLVE, which got him another good reaction as he left the ring.
2. Cheech defeated Cloudy in 10:12. For those of you who don’t know these guys, they used to be tag team partners under the name Up in Smoke, but they broke up after the last EVOLVE show. At one point, Cloudy completely missed a corkscrew suicide dive and was greeted with a "You F’d up" chant. As a side note, the crowd did this many times throughout the night when someone messed up. It was a tough crowd. Anyway, at seven minutes in, Cloudy hit a nice cutter for a two count. At eight minutes, Cloudy then hit a reverse spike hurricanrana for another two count. At 9:30, Cheech hit his finisher the Go 2 Cheech (basically CM Punk’s GTS), but Cloudy barely kicked out. Cheech then hit another of the same move to pick up the victory. Going in, I did not really care about this match, but I actually ended up enjoying it in the end. It was one of the better matches of the night.
3. The Scene (Caleb Konley and Scott Reed) defeated John Silver and Alex Reynolds in 9:45. Larry Dallas escorted The Scene out to the ring along with a random woman who they called "Samantha," but announcer Lenny Leonard called her their "skank." Classy, EVOLVE. The majority of this match was basic tag team action until the eight minute mark, which is when it started to get more interesting.
Reynolds and Silver hit a double stunner from the top rope on Konley. The standard tag team rules were practically thrown out after this as everyone was on the ring at once at all times. Eventually, The Scene won with their DDT/German Suplex combination on Reynolds. I personally didn’t care much for this match, and I don’t really care much for The Scene either. They just aren’t that interesting or exciting.
4. Jigsaw defeated AR Fox in 11:09. I expected the crowd to like this match considering they were practically dead for the first three. I assume that many of the original rabid ECW fans were not there or it would’ve been louder. Jigsaw thanked the fans for coming before the match started. As many of the matches throughout the night, there was nothing to write home about until towards the end. Fox hit a Death Valley Driver, then a Swanton Bomb for a two count seven minutes in. At eight minutes, Jigsaw hit a nasty brainbuster for a two count.
At nine minutes in, Fox hit a springboard 450 Splash out on the floor that looked crazy. Less than a minute later, Fox hit a Guillotine Legdrop with Jigsaw’s head hanging over the edge of the ring. Then Jigsaw began to take the advantage and won the match with a Super German Suplex, then the most ridiculous superkick I’ve ever seen. AR Fox is very talented and I love watching him wrestle (he sells very well) Jigsaw thanked the fans post-match again, saying that he was going to be around in EVOLVE a lot throughout 2012.
Fox then got on the mic and talked about what happened between him and Sami Callihan at the last DGUSA event when Fox got a beer bottle smashed over his head. Callihan then came out clanking beer bottles into his microphone, begging Fox to attack him (Side note: in EVOLVE, you are not allowed to attack your opponent or anyone else after your match, or you get fined/suspended). Fox was held back from attacking by the referee and Callihan taunted his way back up the ramp.
5. Uhaa Nation defeated Pinkie Sanchez in 3:59. This is the first real match I have seen from Nation, but he didn’t get much offense. I personally can’t stand Sanchez and his comedy antics, so it’s a shame that Nation got stuck in a match with him. Lenny Leonard repeatedly referred to Sanchez as the "Sexual Spider Monkey." Wow. This was basically a comedy match with some offense from Nation, such as a Samoan Drop at the 2:30 mark.
At 3:45, Nation then began to dominate and hit two powerbombs, then a slingshot sitout powerbomb. He then went on to connect with two standing shooting star presses for the win. Post-match, Ricochet (who came out to the ring with Nation as part of Blood Warriors) cut a promo about how The Arena is a dump, and that he’s going to win the title later in the night. Rich Swann cut him off by rapping hilariously out to the ring, making fun of Ricochet.
Just for the record, I’d say that Swann got the best reaction out of anyone on the whole card (on the EVOLVE/DGUSA roster) other than Johnny Gargano. Chuck Taylor came out with Swann to a great reaction as well. Unfortunately, this was one of the only moments that the crowd was lively.
6. Ronin (Rich Swann and Chuck Taylor) defeated Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno and Player Dos) in 15:07. Until about the eight minute mark, it was just standard tag team wrestling. At 8:30 in, Player Dos hit a diving leg lariat from the top rope for a two count. At 9:45, Swann hit a Rolling Thunder for a two count of his own. At 10:45, Player Dos got the advantage back by hitting a crazy double Pele Kick on Ronin. There was excellent tag team action for a full three minute span. There was also a very funny spot when everyone was in the ring at once, so the ref sent the non-legal men back to their corners, but they actually switched corners by accident!
At 12 minutes, Taylor hit a sick Death Valley Driver on Player Uno on the apron. At 13 minutes, Swann got a two count from a standing shooting star press. At 14 minutes, the Super Smash Brothers hit a double team backbreaker on Swann. Then they connected with another crazy double team where Player Uno stood facing the turnbuckle holding Swann back to back in the air. Player Dos then jumped off the top rope, did a flip, and connected with an insane cutter on Swann. But Taylor must’ve been the legal man as he came out of nowhere and hit the Awful Waffle on Player Dos for the victory. This was my second favorite match of the night. All of Ronin are just great talents, so I love to see them wrestle whenever I can. Post-match, Taylor asked for a match with Ricochet and CIMA for the Open the United Gate Tag Team Championship.
It lasted about 25 minutes. They showed various video packages for past EVOLVE and DGUSA events. They also showed two great video packages on the rises on Johnny Gargano and Ricochet, saying this was a rematch from EVOLVE 3 when they were at the bottom of the card.
7. Jon Davis defeated Kyle Matthews in 4:30. There was nothing really special about this match, although it was pretty entertaining. Davis won with his spinning sit-out powerbomb where Matthews starts on his side on Davis’ shoulders (It looks like a very painful move, especially with the strength of Davis). Davis then cut a promo afterwards talking about the disrespect he felt from Finlay last time they were at an EVOLVE show. He challenged Finlay to a match, but received the "what" treatment the whole time. The crowd could not have cared less about either Davis or Matthews.
8. Bobby Fish defeated Sami Callihan in 15:59. AR Fox came out to the ring with Fish. Leonard hyped the match, saying that both men were in serious need of a win (Fish was 1-4 and Callihan was 3-2 in EVOLVE). At six minutes, Fish locked in the figure four leg lock to some "wooos" from the crowd. At 11:30, both wrestlers teased their submission finishers. At 14 minutes, Callihan locked in the Stretch Muffler, but Fish eventually made his way to the ropes. Callihan had the advantage, but Fox spit on him from the outside.
Callihan tried to retaliate and spit back, but he missed. Fish then surprised Callihan from behind and locked in the Fish Hook submission hold. He made Callihan tap out for the victory. This was a very good, hard fought match and my third favorite overall on the night. Callihan and Fox got into a verbal fight afterwards, with Fox this time asking Callihan to hit him. Fox continued to taunt, and even handcuffed his hands behind his back. Callihan called out Sanchez, who brought a beer bottle, but Callihan didn’t hit Fox for fear of suspension. The D.U.F. members sulked back out of the ring and off the stage.
9. Johnny Gargano defeated Ricochet to retain the DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Championship in 24:25. Ricochet came out with Uhaa Nation and Gargano came out with the rest of Ronin. There was solid action from the beginning with many counters and stalemates. At 11:30, Gargano tried about four times to hit a release powerbomb on the outside, and finally got it, sending Ricochet into the guardrail (the crowd booed Gargano for this actually). At about 12:30, there was blood coming from the mouth of Gargano.
A minute later, Ricochet hit a diving cutter from the second rope for a two count. Another minute later, Ricochet hit an Exploder Suplex into the corner, then a standing Shooting Star Press for another two count. At 16:45, Gargano hit the Lawn Dart, his signature move. Although I really liked this match, the crowd booed everyone for the majority of the match and just didn’t care. Gargano then locked in the Gargano Escape at about 18:30, but Ricochet got to the ropes. Ricochet then hit another Shooting Star Press 20 minutes in, but still no three count. Ricochet went for another Shooting Star Press, but Gargano attempted to counter it in mid-air.
Unfortunately, Gargano completely missed and was practically booed out of the arena. At 21 minutes, Gargano hit the Hurts Donut. At 23:30, Ricochet hit a 630 Splash, but Gargano got him back with another Hurts Donut. Gargano then immediately locked in the Gargano Escape, and Ricochet finally had to tap. This was clearly the best match of the night by far. Gargano was completely exhausted afterwards (possibly injured?) and needed medical attention. The crowd finally gave him the respect he deserved with "Thank you, Johnny" and "Gargano" chants as he left the building in seemingly a lot of pain.
The video feed froze right after Gargano left, so I missed Joey Styles’ entrance. When the feed came back, he introduced many people such as Gary Wolf (Pitbull #1), J.T. Smith, and Tod Gordon. They all received warm reactions from the crowd until randomly a group of wrestlers appeared from the back wearing Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) gear. They were led by a man that I think was DJ Hyde, but I’m not sure. The CZW guys said they owned the building because they put on more shows than ECW did in the history of The Arena.
Balls Mahoney then came out and attacked the CZW people with a chair. He disgustingly hit one guy straight in the head with no protection (what the heck?), then was overwhelmed by the numbers game. New Jack then came out with a trashcan full of weapons and attacked the CZW people, demolishing everyone in his path. Justin Credible then came out of nowhere with a cane and attacked New Jack to a huge chorus of boos. Sabu came out next and started an impromptu match with Credible.
10. Sabu defeated Justin Credible in 9:36. Credible used (and splintered) the cane throughout the match. Sabu at one point held a chair to his own face and ate a superkick that busted him open above the eye. They then introduced a table, where Sabu was placed with a chair on top of him. Credible went for a splash onto Sabu, but Sabu threw the chair at him. Sabu then produced a spike and butchered Credible’s face with it. Credible later hit the That’s Incredible! (tombstone piledriver) for a two count.
Sabu then gained the advantage and hit an Arabian Facebuster through a table for the victory. Sabu probably got the best overall reaction out of anyone on the entire show. Post-match, Sabu was about to speak when Sami Callihan attacked him from behind. Callihan cut a good promo about how the Era of Extreme should just end, and that all the extreme reunions were stupid. AR Fox came out and attacked Callihan, but Pinkie Sanchez came out and took care of him. Callihan finished his promo and closed out The Arena in a very interesting way.
Notes: This was my third ever iPPV, and I’d definitely rank this one as the least compelling of the three. There were too many matches that seemed pointless when they could’ve made it a solid seven match PPV with all the matches being of good quality. The show ran until 11:30 at night, meaning it was a three and a half hour show, which in my opinion seems too long.
The crowd really killed this show overall though, so it wasn’t really all the wrestlers’ faults. They didn’t care about practically anything other than ECW guys, so it made the event feel less special. That’s not to say that there wasn’t good action on this show because I really enjoyed the main event, the Fish/Callihan match, and the SSB/Ronin tag match. I should also make a note that there was no attempt to avoid unprotected weapon shots, so I hope everyone was okay. Overall, I would not really go out of your way to see this show, but it certainly beats the mainstream stuff that WWE and TNA put out.
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