EVOLVE 13 iPPV from Concord, NC (May 12, 2012)
I had initially intended to watch ROH Border Wars, but my intentions were no match for their technical failings. I at least caught the end of the main event after the conclusion of EVOLVE 13. Nevertheless, I requested a refund and ordered EVOLVE, which once again had an excellent stream on the heels of all of the WWNLive shows since March.
1. AR Fox def. Ricochet, Jigsaw, and Samuray Del Sol following Lo Mein Pain on Del Sol, earning a shot at Johnny Gargano’s Open The Freedom Gate Title in the main event. Gargano sat in on commentary. The match followed old Four Corner Survival rules (tags needed to enter the ring). They took their time early, picked it up huge toward the end, and had a good match overall. One funny spot saw Ricochet and Del Sol do these springboard moves from the apron into the ring onto Fox, one after the other. When Jigsaw went to do one, he simply jumped into the ring and tried to get the pin before the other two broke it up (BRAINS!).
2. Silas Young def. Adam Page via ref stoppage from mounted punches. Short and to the point. Page is a young shaggy-hair babyface. Silas is now calling himself the last real man in wrestling. He doesn’t use social media or care what anyone thinks, he’ll just keep winning and hurting people (he’s at 4-1 now).
3. Caleb Konley (w/ Jonny Fairplay and Random Broad 87) def. Kyle Matthews with I believe the O Face (surfboard crab combo). This was fine. Chuck Taylor was on commentary. Fairplay got good heat in his kooky Jimmy Hart-style outfit.
4. Alex Reynolds def. “Manscout” Jake Manning with a 2K1 Stunner. A little longer than it needed to be. Taylor stayed on commentary, as Manning is a member of his Gentleman’s Club. Manning consulted his handbook on a few things. Weird seeing him in this wrestling getup after seeing him much more often as the ringleader of 5 Dollar Wrestling and selling Highspots’ wares. Okay action, Reynolds hasn’t grown on me yet, but he’s now at 3-0.
5. Low Ki def. Jon Davis with a double stomp while Davis was in the Tree of Woe. Really good match with Davis taking it to Ki. Included a pounce by Davis and a dragon sleeper attempt out of 3 Seconds Around The World. Ki still came out to his own music. First guy to to go 4-0, put over Davis as a real man stepping up to give him a challenge, and reiterated the desire for an EVOLVE championship.
6. Chuck Taylor def. Mike Cruz with the Awful Waffle. Cruz looked fine (first time I’ve seen him), but Taylor dominated mostly. Accompanied by fellow Gentleman’s Club members Jake Manning and The Swamp Monster, a costumed being looking like Cousin It made of grass, who I saw first in person a couple weeks ago. The other Gentleman’s Club members were confirmed early on as Drew Gulak and Orange Cassidy. Lenny Leonard has nothing to say about them other than they’re “a zany cast of characters,” and that Taylor is just making a mockery of things. Taylor is now at 8-3 (Best Record and Wins Leader), and as such he also added that he’d like to see a championship in EVOLVE.
7. El Generico def. Sami Callihan with a brainbuster. I really dug this one. Plenty of drama, first with a standoff in the beginning, then with the drama over some near count-outs and submissions in Callihan’s favor. He worked over Generico’s knee quite a bit, and he also slammed him onto the floor and threw him into the guard rail. Low Ki was on commentary, saying his issue with Generico is that he needs to step up and shouldn’t be so hesitant. Generico got to the ropes while deep in the stretch muffler. Sami went for it second time, but Generico countered it into a rollup for a nearfall. Big running boots by both prior to the finish. Generico is now 1-2, Sami is 3-6.
- Post-match, there were some chants of “Si!” for Generico, and he addressed Low Ki’s past statements by saying he thinks he’s pretty good. Sami then attacked Generico’s knee from behind. Leonard freaked out as pre- and post-match attacks aren’t allowed in EVOLVE (ultimate no-no in EVOLVE, Brother). The refs tried to calm Sami down, but Sami throttled one of them before Ki ran out and chased him off. He didn’t shake Generico’s hand or anything, but seemed to show him a little respect as he left.
8. Johnny Gargano def. AR Fox with the Gargano Escape, retaining the Open The Freedom Gate Title. This was my favorite title defense by Gargano thus far. Terrific back and forth match, and Fox continues to wow me. One late sequence saw each guy dodging the other guy’s flying moves to the floor, landing on their feet, before Fox caught him with an enzugiri. He then gave Gargano a shirinui onto the edge of the apron, and then wiped him out with an inverted 450 to the floor. Fox survived an early attempt of the Escape. Fox hit one successful 450 for a nearfall. On the attempt of a second one, Gargano sprung up to nail a superkick as Fox came down, then hit the Hurts Donut for a nearfall. A second Hurts Donut followed by the Escape clinched it.
- Post-match, Gargano put over Fox as the definition of a champion, and thanked all of the fans for their support. He then pointed out a young girl named Peyton in the front row, who he invited into the ring. This girl wrote a school paper on how Gargano is her hero, her father shared it with Gargano online, and Gargano was really touched by it. He let Peyton hold the title belt and celebrate with it as Gargano led a chant for her. Super Mega Feel-Good Babyface segment here, nothing wrong with it at all.
Great match and ending to the show, which I thought was very fun overall.