4/14 Pruett’s EVOLVE 11 Results and Review: Sami Calihan vs. Fit Finlay, Low Ki vs. El Generico, Chuck Taylor vs. Samuray Del Sol vs. Johnny Gargano and more
By Will Pruett
EVOLVE 11 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Live on iPPV on 4/14/12, viewed On Demand at WWNLive.com
Lenny Leonard opened the show and ran down the card for the fans in attendance. This is part of the WrestleReunion event. He mentioned that a few wrestlers are not able to appear tonight and said this will give an opportunity for some new talent to break out.
The Super Smash Brothers joined Leonard in the ring. Player Uno mentioned that they are on a quest to make it to a million points. They called out Chuck Taylor, who was bringing his new stable members to the ring. Chuck Taylor said he is tired of doing what he should do. He said that Ronin is dead. He introduced “The Gentleman’s Club” stable that consists of Drew Gulak and Jake Manning.
Pruett’s Pause: The house mic is hard to hear over the on demand feed. This is causing some issues. The video is rather nice looking and the ballroom they are in looks nice as well. An issue all over iPPV is the house mic not being tied into the iPPV feed. Someone needs to fix this, and soon.
1. The Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno and Player Dos) vs. The Gentleman’s Club (Drew Gulak and Jake Manning) w/ Chuck Taylor). Arda Ocal joined Leonard as a color commentator.
Player Uno and Jake Manning started out, but quickly tagged their respective partners. This became a quick exchange in the ring with hip-tosses galore. The Smash Brothers looked to be going for a double dive to the outside, but summersaulted back and posed in the middle of the ring instead.
Leonard and Ocal discussed the win-loss records of each team.
Pruett’s Pause: While I love tracking wins and losses, it seems a little empty. The concept is great, but it has not evolved (no pun intended) to the point where it feels important.
Gulak got heat on Player Uno and then tagged Manning. It looked like Uno was going to rock a comeback, but he was quickly taken down by Manning and Gulak tagged back in. Player Uno tried to tag Dos, but Dos was pulled off the apron by Manning.
Player Dos eventually received the hot tag and delivered a springboard DDT on the apron to Gulak. They double-teamed Manning. Manning scored a nice near fall with a backbreaker combo move.
Player Dos and Jake Manning ended up in the ring. Manning went to the outside with Gulak. Dos stood on the second rope and Uno dove through his legs onto the Gentleman’s Club gathered on the outside. Eventually Uno picked Gulak up in the Gory Speacial and Dos dove blockbuster-style off of the second rope to give Gulak a cutter-type maneuver as they fell. This was enough for the three count.
The Super Smash Brothers defeated The Gentleman’s Club in 11:37
Pruett’s Pause: This match was clumsy at times, but exciting enough to get the fans into it. The crowd is quite hot, chanting for everything they can. I would have loved to have seen a more coordinated opening match. Gulak, especially, looked sloppy in the ring.
2. M.K. McKinnan vs. Josh Alexander. Both of these wrestlers are making their EVOLVE debuts. McKinnan looks like a young Dolph Ziggler. Alexander is wearing a better looking singlet than Ryback’s.
They started with McKinnan showing off his speed, but falling victim to Alexander’s power. Alexander pummeled him in the corner and hit a nice Northern Lights Suplex to land himself a two count. The commentators are discussing Johnny Devine and his training of Alexander.
Alexander hit a long suspended suplex on McKinnan much to the delight of the fans. McKinnan fired back with a few kicks, sending Alexander to the floor. He then hit a flip through the ropes onto Alexander.
Back in the ring McKinnan was hit with a big forearm, followed by a double underhook piledriver and that was enough for a three count.
Josh Alexander defeated M.K. McKinnan in 4:04.
Pruett’s Pause: This was an exciting enough match that didn’t hurt either guy. I don’t mind a four minute match on an indie show, especially when neither guy means anything to the fans in attendance. Instead of trying in vein to prove themselves, these guys simply had a decent match.
3. “Psycho” Mike Rollins vs. Ashley Sixx. This is another match with two wrestlers debuting for EVOLVE.
Pruett’s Pause: A man named Ashley? What will they think of next?
Rollins is playing a monster here, showing a ton of strength to kick things off. They stalled a little with faceoff after faceoff. Sixx took control with some big forearms. Ocal is offering some great insight on all of these local guys. He is doing a great job on this show.
They traded corner punches and Rollins continued punching the corner after Sixx had ducked away. Outside the ring, Sixx hit a side-Russian Leg Sweep onto the apron. Sixx was able to take Rollins down and he went for a pun for only two.
The match has really slowed down with both men going for some near-falls. We got a close up of “Psycho” Mike who is wearing odd eyeliner. Sixx hit a huricanrana off the top that took far too long to set up for and got a two count on Rollins. Rollins continuously sat up as Sixx tried to hit him on the ground.
Rollins hit the “Psycho” Mike driver (Think Owen Hart to Steve Austin at SummerSlam 1997) for the win.
”Psycho” Mike Rollins defeated Ashely Sixx in 7:02.
Pruett’s Pause: That was not a very impressive match. Both guys wrestled a slow style that was uninteresting at best. With two matches in a row filled with unknowns, this is a tough show to get into. It’s paced well with nothing going too long, but there is no reason to care about the matches happening. If everyone goes in 0-0, what stories are there to tell?
4. Alex Reynolds vs. Jon Silver. Silver is screaming a lot and is a bit smaller than Reynolds. This is Reynold’s singles debut in EVOLVE.
They started with a series of arm holds and reversals. That was fun. They continued the quick exchange into a standoff and the enjoyment continued. The fans cheered as the speed only seemed to increase. Silver hit an impressive double stomp on Reynolds.
Ocal and Leonard talked about a vow from Reynolds to have a “Goldberg-esque” streak in EVOLVE. Silver hit a running kick on a downed Reynolds and he yelled loudly while he did so.
With Silver hung up on the second rope, Reynolds went to the outside and drop kicked hit in the face. Following this Reynolds dove back into the ring, onto Silver and scored a two count. The fans started to get behind Silver, but Reynolds stayed in control. The match slowed as both men punches each other dramatically in the center of the ring.
Silver ended up hitting double knees to the chest of Reynolds and that got a small reaction out of the crowd. Silver locked in a submission hold and yelled more than Reynolds until Reynolds got to the ropes. Silver then hit a major German Suplex for just a two count.
Reynolds hit a roaring elbow, followed by a Fisherman’s Suplex/Backbreaker variation for the three count.
Alex Reynolds defeated Jon Silver in 12:01.
Leonard interviewed Reynolds in the middle of the ring. He said he took an opportunity and ran with it. The rest was mildly unintelligible.
Pruett’s Pause: This match felt like a series of spots, followed by a reset and another series of spots. The work was there, but it just felt unimportant. Once again, with the win-loss records all being 1-0 or 0-0 going into the matches, the wins don’t feel quite as important as they should.
As Leonard introduced the men in the next match, Johnny Gargano walked to the ring, grabbed a mic and confronted Chuck Taylor. He ran down his history with Taylor and the events in Miami that lead to their breakup. Gargano said he plans to break Taylor’s neck. He said that he defends Taylor when the Dragon Gate office did not want to bring him back.
Gargano walked through various moments where he defended the “real” Chuck Taylor. Gargano said the “real” Chuck Taylor is a douche bag. He said that since A.R. Fox is not here this evening, they should make this a three-way dance.
5. Samuray Del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano in a three-way elimination match. Gargano rushed for Taylor is start it out, but Taylor was too quick. Del Sol went after Gargano in the ring for a quick exchange. Taylor hung out outside the ring as Gargano took control of Del sol.
Taylor ended up back in the ring as serving as a springboard for Del Sol to hit Gargano. Del Sol then looked to be going for a dive onto Taylor, but Gargano stopped him and hit a dive on Taylor on his own. Del Sol went after Gargano in the ring, but Taylor came in and nailed him from behind.
Taylor threw Del Sol down for a two count. Gargano is off selling on the outside. He returned to throw Del Sol into Taylor. Del Sol was then eventually powerbombed into Gargano. Del Sol hit an impressive huricanrana on Taylor, then dove onto him on the outside. Gargano went for a dive onto both of them, but Del Sol was not having it.
Taylor rolled Del Sol up via his tights for a three count.
Samuray Del Sol was eliminated at 5:50.
The crowd booed the elimination. Gargano and Taylor faced off in the middle of the ring. Gargano put the boots to Taylor. They went around the outside and Gargano slammed Taylor onto the hotel carpet.
Pruett’s Pause: Someone’s getting married on that next week.
The brawl on the outside continued as Gargano went for a bulldog onto the apron and Taylor turned it into a Belly to Back Suplex. Taylor worked over Gargano’s back including a body scissors that somehow the fans in attendance found comedic. Leonard mentioned that the winner of this match will take sole possession of the EVOLVE leaderboard, being 7-3.
Taylor is going from hold to hold, now locking in a chin lock. Gargano fought back and began trading offense with Taylor, selling his back, but still nailing a plancha over the top and a senton from the apron.
Gargano hit a powerbomb, then went to lock in the Gargano Escape, but Taylor made it to the ropes. Taylor slipped outside and went to walk out on the match. Gargano pursued him up the ramp and placed him squarely in the ring. Taylor hit a neckbreaker from the second rope for a two count.
Taylor went for a moonsault off the top and Gargano moved out of the way. Gargano stood and nailed a dropkick into the corner, followed by a lawn dart into the turnbuckle and a superkick with Taylor on his knees for a two count. Both men worked their way to their feet and Gargano and Taylor traded finisher attempts and reversals until Gargano locked in the Gargano escape. Taylor rolled Gargano into a half crab and Gargano crawled to the ropes.
They traded Boo-Yay punches as they made their way to their feet. They then traded Boo-Yay superkicks until Gargano nailed a discus lariat on Taylor. Taylor went back to the half crab and pulled Gargano back from the ropes. Gargano tried to power out, but he passed out from the pain of the half crab.
Chuck Taylor defeated Johnny Gargano and Samuray Del Sol in 19:27.
Pruett’s Pause: Great, intense exchanges between Taylor and Gargano. Del Sol provided a ton of athleticism early and was a nice distraction for Taylor and Gargano. I am a little disappointed that we got the first Taylor and Gargano match so quickly. The feud had to advance here due to travel issues, but I would love to have seen the story as it was meant to be told. The ending, with Gargano passing out, played into the feud and Gargano’s back injury very well.
Chuck Taylor was asked about Leonard about being on top of the wins leaderboard. Taylor said that The Gentleman’s Club loves to win.
Pruett’s Pause: This was an okay first half of the show. Matches 2, 3 and 4 really dragged for me, but the overall presentation was well done. The three-way dance made up for the poor matches that preceded it and provided the kind of action I was hoping to see here. Arda Ocal is a fantastic color commentator and really enhanced these matches. He and Leonard are working well together and making this show more enjoyable in the process.
6. Caleb Konley (w/ Larry Dallas and some woman) vs. Adam Page. Back from intermission and apparently Adam Page is a tobacco farmer. Page worked on Konley’s arm to start and also worked him over with arm drags a little later.
Konley attempted to run from Page, but could not get away. He suffered a back body drop and then another onto the floor. Page hit a Shooting Star Press off the apron onto the floor and the fans cheered him for doing so. Back in the ring, Konley scored a hip toss and then took Page down by his hair. This was followed by a headlock, which Page fought out of.
Konley managed to wheelbarrow Page into a lung-blower for a two count. Page climbed up to the top rope, and Konley knocked him off and followed with a superplex for 2. Page eventually hit a neckbreaker on Konley for two and this match has slowed considerably.
Konley locked Page in “The O Face” which is his submission maneuver and Page gave up.
Caleb Konley defeated Adam Page in 7:31.
Pruett’s Pause: This match felt like it dragged in the middle. I can’t exactly pinpoint why that was, but it was not great. The Scene is still an act that bothers me, and not in a good way. Also, none of the wrestlers get to use their theme music on this show, it is all random, dramatic sounding music. I guess that is an EVOLVE thing, but not getting to sing along with El Generico’s music makes me sad.
I take that back, Low Ki gets his own weird sounding Japanese infomercial music, but no one else does.
7. El Generico vs. Low Ki. Low Ki is sporting an orang mouth guard to match his tights. They locked up at center and traded a few holds. Generico looked to have the upper hand until Ki backed him into the corner.
Leonard is now alone on commentary. The crowd is chanting “Let’s go both guys” as Generico chopped Ki hard in the corner. Low Ki returned the favor with a hard chop against the ropes and this lead to a headlock on Generico. Generico is showing some aggression by shoving Low Ki. This version of Generico is fantastic.
Low Ki, laying on his back, invited Genrico to come after him and he eventually did. Ki ended up with Generico in a side-headlock on the ground. Generico was able to take control with a quick exchange, ending in a leg lariat. Generico and Ki then faced off in the middle of the ring, and Ki got the better of the striking exchange, hitting a brainbuster on Generico for two.
The match went outside and Low Ki hit a running dropkick on Generico, who was leaning against the ring apron. Both men returned to the ring and their feet, with Ki throwing Generico down and locking in a body scissors on him, which the crowd chanted for.
They chopped each other in the center of the ring. Those could not have been comfortable. Generico avoided Low Ki charging at him. Ki on the outside and Generico hit a flip over the top on him. Generico threw Ki back in and hit a cross-body for a two count. Generico hit a blue thunder powerbomb for a two count.
Generico went for the running Yakuza kick and was kicked by Low Ki, who followed up with a dragon sleeper on Low Ki. Generico faded down to the ground, but got to the ropes.
Generico counted another dragon sleeper with a falcon arrow. Generico went for the Yakuza kick in the corner and missed. Ki kicked Generico hard in the chest and gave him another one as he got to his feet. Ki nailed a few more kicks and attempted to pin Generico, but only got a two count. Ki went for the shotgun knees in the corner and Generico moved.
Generico hit the Yakuza kick and went for the top rope brainbuster, but Ki slipped out. Ki then went up top and hit the Warrior’s Way for the three count.
Low Ki defeated El Generico in 16:38.
Low Ki grabbed a mic and said that Generico is not as good as he thinks he is.
Pruett’s Pause: That was a pretty good match. For my money, Generico is a much better performer than Ki, but that’s just me. The fans were into Generico and Ki for the whole match. This wasn’t the great match I figured these guys would have, but it was very good and there is nothing wrong with good.
8. Sami Calihan vs. Fit Finlay. They started with a little shoving of each other to demonstrate mutual disrespect. Calihan slapped Finlay hard and Finlay responded with a headbutt that sent him to the ground and busted him open.
Finlay sent Calihan to the outside and stalked him onto the floor. He sent Calihan back into the ring and Calihan is bleeding profusely. Finlay slammed Calihan down to the mat and pinned him for only a two count. Finlay then slammed Calihan’s head hard into the mat.
Calihan slapped Finlay in the chest, but was backed into a ringpost. Calihan attempted another chop to Finlay and Finlay blocked it. Calihan and Finlay rolled back into the ring and Finlay continued the assault on Finlay.
Finlay locked a leg lock in on Finlay and slowed the pace of the match. Calihan responded with a rear chinlock and then turned to take Finlay’s back, slamming elbows down to Finlay’s head. Finlay returned to control as Calihan went flying into the turnbuckle.
Calihan attempted to put Finlay in a half crab, then went for a pin, but settled for a few slaps to the chest. Finlay returned to his feet and followed up with a slap of his own, taking Calihan off his feet.
Finlay continued the offense and spit on the hotel carpet.
Pruett’s Pause: Someone is getting married on that next week!
Calihan ducked a right hand from Finlay and managed to connect with a big kick to the head. Calihan dove to the outside, into Finlay. Calihan rolled Finlay back in, but Finlay managed to send Calihan out onto the floor. Finlay delivered a hard kick to Calihan and sent him back into the ring.
Finlay hit a bodyslam on Calihan and then another. Finlay went after Calihan’s knee, stomping it and throwing it into a turnbuckle. Finlay followed with a modified half crab and stood on Calihan’s head. Calihan fought out and showed some fire. He ended up going for a stretch muffler, but Finlay kicked him out of the ring. Finlay set Calihan up for the Celtic Cross and got a two count.
Finlay decided that another Celtic Cross was in order and a third. Calihan still kicked out. The fans showed their cliché appreciation with a “This is awesome” chant and Finlay hit Calihan with a lariat. Finlay hit Calihan with a tombstone piledriver for just a two count. Calihan rolled over the referee, then flipped off Finlay.
Finlay attempted another tombstone, but Calihan slipped out and hit a big boot. They then hit big boots on each other. They repeated this spot not once, but twice. They kicked each other on the floor and Finlay attempted a backslide on Calihan. Calihan tried for the stretch muffler again, but Finlay was able to lock in a cross arm-breaker for the submission win.
Fit Finlay defeated Sami Calihan in 20:44.
The fans chanted “Thank you Finlay” as Leonard stepped into the ring. He said it was a war between them and complimented the performances of both men. Finlay said that Sami needs to get his head straight and work on his wrestling ability. He said that Calihan has what it takes, but he needs to forget about all of his feuds with older guys.
Calihan stood and Leonard pointed the mic at him. Calihan questioned why he would say anything when he just lost.
Leonard promoted that next EVOLVE events and signed off.
Pruett’s Pause: That was one hell of a brawl. The intensity was present from the very beginning. It was not about high spots or anything else, it was just a fight. This was a very nice way to end the show. I haven’t seen their other two matches, so the style here surprised me a bit.
The outcome, with Finlay going over also surprised me. Why have a guy who is going over to ROH and is part-time at best go over one of your young rising stars, not once, but twice? Calihan could have used this win and while it looks like they are attempting to tell a story with the loss, I question the decision.
Overall, this was a decent show. The three-way dance, Low Ki vs. El Generico and Finlay vs. Calihan were all worth watching. The undercard was weak at best. You won’t be disappointed if you order this show for the main events, but I would not exactly suggest watching the undercard matches along with it.
To check this show out, go to wwnlive.com. It is not a bad way to spend a few hours watching wrestling.
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