Sunday, May 22, 2011

EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley iPPV (4/19/11)

EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley iPPV
April 19th, 2011
BB Kings House of Blues, Manhattan, New York
Attendance: ???

This is EVOLVE's first i-PPV since they helped create the WWNLive i-PPV provider to compete with GoFightLive, but it's also the last scheduled indy wrestling appearance for Jon Moxley at this time, as he's been signed up to a WWE developmental deal. Tonight he faces Austin Aries in our main event.

Your hosts are Rob Naylor, Austin Aries, and Jimmy Jacobs

Jimmy Jacobs (4-2) vs. Shiima Xion (0-0)

Shiima is making his EVOLVE debut here and he's got a tough task ahead of him in the veteran Jacobs, but he shows no respect to Jimmy as the match begins, slapping him in the face. Jacobs explodes on him and stomps away on him in the corner. Xion hits the floor for a breather but Jacobs follows him out with a big tope suicida. Xion responds with a moonsault off of the guardrail onto Jimmy and they bring the action back into the ring. Jacobs dominates Shiima in the ring, curb-stomping him on the mat. Shiima fights back with a dropkick that entangles Jacobs nastily in the corner and starts to trash talk him and show off to the fans, hitting a backbreaker for a one count. Jimmy tries for Sliced Bread #2, but Xion counters out so Jimmy hits him with a leaping ace crusher for two. Big spinebuster from Xion followed by a superkick, but Jacobs responds with a spear for another near fall. Jacobs tries a back-elbow off the second rope but Xion catches him and rolls through right into a crossface in a neat transition. Xion rolls Jimmy up with a la magistral cradle though and gets the clean upset at 7:28. Decent opening contest and a great debut for Shiima Xion, who showed a lot of personality and character in his short time in the ring. **¼

After the match Shiima gets on the mic and says it's safe to say that he's arrived in the company. He leaves Jimmy some napkins and tells him he can use them to either wipe off his mascara or stick them in his trunks to atleast pretend like he's got something down there. This guy could make a great heel for the company.

Silas Young (1-1) vs. Tony Nese (0-1)

Silas is a guy that's been growing on me over the last few months as I looked more into his work in AAW. Intense lock-up to start and both men trade knees and high kicks. A leg lariat gets Nese an early two count. Both men look impressive in the early going, countering each other at a lightning fast pace. Nese misses a frog splash off the top and eats a fisherman's brainbuster from Silas for a close two. Silas starts some trash talking and nearly boots Nese's head off for another near fall. Nese flips out of a back suplex attempt and lays out Silas with a kick to the face and a spinning heel kick. Nese blocks a tornado DDT attempt and hits a frankensteiner off the top, but Silas gets the shoulder up. Young hits a fireman's carry on Nese and then finishes him off with the PeeGee Waja Plunge at 5:47. This definitely could have used another five minutes as both guys were wrestling at a rapid and crisp pace, showing off their impressive athleticism. I see big things in both guy's futures in the company. **½

After the match Silas threatens to walk over to Larry Dallas' table and smack the taste out of Reby Sky's mouth.

Johnny Gargano (4-2) vs. Jon Davis (0-0)

Davis is one half of the popular Dark City Fight Club tag team out of Florida and is making his debut here, trying to play the spoiler for wins leader Gargano. Basic speed vs. power match-up here. Gargano tries some armwork in the early going but Davis just shakes it off with his power, slamming Gargano to the mat. Big snap suplex gets Davis a two count. Davis slams Gargano several times and then gives him a backbreaker for another near fall. Davis continues to work away on Gargano's back and the crowd surprisingly begins to rally behind Gargano. Gargano starts to mount a comeback with quick kicks and an ace crusher from his knees, but he's still favoring the back. Davis lays in stiff right hands and then lariats Gargano right out of his boots, but Johnny kicks out. Gargano tries for a slingshot spear but Davis catches him and tries for a powerbomb only for Gargano to counter with a hurricanrana that sends Davis to the floor. Gargano follows him out with a tope and then gets right back up and somersaults off the apron onto him! Gargano finds another platform and somersaults off that as well, wiping out Davis for the third time on the floor. Gargano comes off the top but Davis grabs him in mid-air and delivers a devastating spinebuster and a jack-hammer suplex, but somehow Gargano still kicks out. Jumping ace crusher from the second rope and a superkick set up the Diced Bread but Davis kicks out this time. Gargano applies the Gargano Escape and Davis tries to power out of it, but Gargano sinks it back in and Davis taps out at 13:38. Great power vs. speed match with two very talented guys, though I'm surprised the armwork ended up paying off for Gargano. Great debut for Davis too. ***

After the match Gargano celebrates with Larry Dallas and Reby Sky. Larry tries to convince Gargano to share the role as wins leader with stablemate Chuck Taylor if he wins later tonight, but Gargano doesn't seem to like the idea.

Jigsaw/Frightmare (2-0) vs. Facade/Jason Gory (0-0)

Now onto some action in the tag team division, which unfortunately hasn't done much to impress me so far. Facade and Gory are making their debuts here and I can't say I'm familiar with them. Jigsaw and Facade start us off with some arm-drag exchanges. Gory and Frightmare tag in and do virtually the same with a few nip-ups and headscissors thrown in. Frightmare delivers a jumping neckbreaker and then tags Jigsaw back in, though all four men quickly jump in the ring and begin wrestling anyways. Big double dropkick to Gory and Facade in the corner and they both hit the floor for a breather, but of course Jigsaw and Frightmare take them out on the floor with a tope suicida and tope con hilo respectively. Back inside the CHIKARA boys double team Gory with a Gory special/double-stomp combo. Gory plants Jigsaw with a unique leg-sweep DDT and both men tag out to their partners. Facade flies off the top rope with a somersault senton and takes out both of his opponents on the floor. Back inside they double-team Frightmare and a springboard spinning heel kick gets Facade a near fall. The Eclipse gets Frightmare a near fall of his own, but he eats a Yoshi Tonic and a German suplex that Jigsaw breaks up with a double-stomp off the top rope! Jigsaw finishes Gory off with the Jig 'n' Tonic to go 3-0 at 8:48. Now that's more like it, this was wall-to-wall non-stop action from all four men and Gory and Facade still came off well in the loss. One of the best straight tag matches in EVOLVE yet. ***

After the match Frightmare and Jigsaw lay out an open challenge to anyone who thinks they have what it takes to defeat them.

Sami Callihan (2-1) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (0-0)

Now this is an interesting match-up. Sabre is making his debut here, and from what I've seen of him in the past he should fit right into the company with his in-ring style. Both men charge at eachother as the opening bell rings and immediately begin exchanging stiff chops. Sabre quickly tries for his signature cross-armbar but Callihan counters out quickly with a powerbomb into the turnbuckle. A big kick sends Sami to the floor but Callihan sweeps out Sabre's legs from under him, sending him crashing to the floor, which by the way has the two smallest floor pads I've ever seen on a wrestling show. Seriously they barely cover 1/4 of the floor. Both men fight onto the stage nearby and Sabre again tries to lock in the armbar, but Sami counters with the Stretch Muffler. Exploder suplex from Sami right onto the hardwood floor! Back inside Sami hits a big splash for a two count. Sabre grabs Sami's arm though and begins twisting and bending his fingers, which sends me into a flashback of countless Destroyer matches in Japan in the 70s. Things break down into a stiff slap-boxing match all of a sudden and Sabre lays in some kicks to the midsection for good measure. Callihan springboards in to a face full of boot and Sabre gets a two count off it. Sami hits a pair of Saito suplexes and pulls down the straps, as it's CLOBBERIN' TIME! They trade unique bridging cradles for a lengthy series of near-falls and and Sabre locks in the cross armbar once again. Sami counters back into the Stretch Muffler and then just boots the ever loving shit out of the back of Sabre's head, causing the ref to stop the match and award it to Callihan at 12:01! Just the kind of unique match-up you expect out of EVOLVE, both men came in with a game plan focused on strikes and limb-work. Good debut for Sabre, and I love that ending as EVOLVE continues to take cues from MMA. ***¼

Intermission is next, and in a cool move they decide to play a Larry Sweeney vs. Sal Rinauro from the 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup. Decent match too, but I won't review it since it's not exactly canon.

After the intermission break, Jon Davis comes out for some promo time. He gets into it with Larry Dallas at ringside a bit and then tells the fans he appreciates their support tonight and he promises not to lose again.

AR Fox (0-0) vs. Rich Swann (0-1)

Excellent match choice to come back from the intermission, though in a funny moment the on-screen graphic accidentally refers to him as Sami Callihan before quickly changing to Rich Swann. Well, it is live. Both men quickly run the ropes and do a leapfrog sequence. Swann hits a dropkick and tries for a springboard, but Fox nails him in the face with a dropkick of his own, sending him to the floor. Fox tries a moonsault off the top and lands on his feet as Swann literally flips out of the way, onto the nearby stage podium, which he then moonsaults off himself onto Fox. Yes this match is flippies heaven, and if you can suspend your disbelief a bit there's nothing particularly wrong with that, especially as a match to pump the crowd back up after the intermission. Back inside Swann goes to work on the mid-section and then flips eye-poke. Awesome. Fox tries for an ace crusher but again Swann just flips his way out of it and then hits a Rolling Thunder frog-splash for two. Fox backflips off the top rope into an ace crusher that sends Swann to the floor, where of course he meets him moments later with a huge somersault plancha over the top. Swann delivers a leaping hurricanrana from the top and then follows it with a standing shooting star press, but Fox kicks out again. Fox hits a unique release northern lights suplex for a two count of his own but Swann responds with a rolling stunner for a near fall of his own. Swann climbs to the top but Fox leaps up next to him and delivers a leaping Spanish Fly to get the pin at 6:01! Without a doubt probably the best six minute match I have ever seen in my life. Yes, there was an ungodly amount of flips and rotations. No, it didn't detract from the match because that's exactly what this was supposed to be. I have never seen two guys go all-out and fit so much action into such a short frame of time, and this crowd is rabid and red hot after witnessing it. ***½

Chuck Taylor (4-2) vs. Akira Tozawa (0-0)

Tozawa continues to work for pretty much every independent promotion in the United States, and that's A-Okay with me. Both men start with some basic mat-wrestling, exchanging holds and countering out of them. Tozawa hits a nice back senton but hesitates and only gets a two count. Taylor transitions from an armdrag into a unique bridge for a two count of his own and then drills Akira in the face with a dropkick. Taylor gets a powerslam for another two and starts kicking Tozawa in the ropes. Tozawa misses a bicycle kick but hits a dropkick that sends Taylor to the floor. Tozawa goes for his pair/trio of topes to the floor but Taylor has it scouted, cutting him off on the second tope attempt and hitting a pescado of his own to the floor. Tozawa will not be denied his topes though, hitting another huge one into the guardrail. A towering Saito suplex gets Tozawa a two count of his own. He attempts (and of course misses) the springboard diving headbutt and Taylor just side-slams him to the mat. Taylor misses a second rope moonsault attempt but hits Tozawa with the Sole Food. Tozawa counters with a vicious knee to the back of Taylor's head and both guys are out for the count. Back on their feet they trade vicious forearms and bicycle kicks while generally screaming like mad men possessed. Taylor kicks out of a German suplex then counters a second one with a superkick and follows it with the Awful Waffle to pin Tozawa at 10:49! Another great match here as these two have similar styles and worked excellently together. Some fantastic transition sequences mixed with both men's over the top personalities equals a fun match. ***¼

After the match Larry Dallas, Reby Sky, and Johnny Gargano all hit the ring to celebrate, but because both Chuck and Johnny are tied in the win columns now, we have to have a tie-breaker right now between both men. Dallas tries to weasel out of it

Chuck Taylor (5-2) vs. Johnny Gargano (5-2)

Taylor hits a superkick to start and tries a quick roll-up for two. He tries for the Awful Waffle but Gargano counters into a standing Gargano Escape. He delivers the Hurts Donut to Chuck but Taylor somehow kicks out! Taylor responds by nailing Gargano with the Awful Waffle, but it takes him too long to cover and Gargano kicks out. Gargano launches Taylor into the post like a lawn dart, superkicks him in the face and delivers another Hurts Donut, but again Taylor kicks out! Gargano locks on the Gargano Escape and Larry Dallas gives Reby Sky a white towel that she then throws into the ring to stop the match and give Gargano the cheap win at 2:33. Fans hate that, but it's a smart move booking-wise as you obviously tease at a re-match between the two stablemates down the line. Match wise this was just two minutes of finishers. *

After the match Gargano savors all of the fans boos as the fans chant "You screwed Chuck!"

Jon Moxley (1-1) vs. Austin Aries (1-0)

This is Moxley's final show on the independent scene here as the WWE signed him up to a developmental deal recently. He's a good worker and can be absolutely incredible on a microphone and in his creative promos, so he should do fine in the WWE system. Aries is still fighting off sickness, having apparently lost ten pounds just this week alone. They start on the mat and Moxley one-ups Aries and slaps on an armbar. Aries sends him tot he floor though and comes shooting out after him with the huge tope, sending the guard-rail flying back a few feet. Hilo and a power-drive elbow back in the ring gets Aries two. Aries tries for a suplex and Moxley tries countering it but they both tumble nastily over the top rope and to the floor. They landed pretty bad on that one, and they even bring a doctor out as Jimmy Jacobs leaves the commentary table to check on them, but they slide back into the ring anyways. Big lariat takes Aries inside out and Moxley collapses. Ace crusher gets Moxley a near fall, so he tries a brainbuster but gets the same result. Aries responds with a brainbuster of his own. Moxley hits a superplex off the top, but Aries rolls into a cradle for two. Moxley gives him a big piledriver but once again Aries kicks out so Moxley gives him a cradle piledriver, and this time Aries gets his foot on the rope. Mox is pissed now so he goes to ringside and grabs a wrench from the ring bell, but he can't bring himself to use it. Aries gives him another brainbuster and tries a cross-body off the top, but Moxley rolls through for two and then applies a Fujiwara armbar, really wrenching away on the arm. Moxley tries the Muta Lock on him next but Aries still won't quit and he counters into the Last Chancery. The ref checks to see if he's out but Moxley gets back up and they trade forearms back on their feet. Aries hits his famous brainbuster-450 splash combo, but Moxley kicks out at two!.Aries hits a trio of dropkicks in the corner but Moxley fights back with headbutts and reckless swinging. Aries rolls him up off the ropes though and gets the three at 15:36. The only thing holding this back was the abrupt finish. This was a great way to send Moxley off as he fought a clean match for once and both guys wrestled an extremely fun mix of an old school brawl and the modern indy "main event" formula. ***½

After the match the locker room come out as Aries gives Moxley the mic and lets him say goodbye to the fans. Moxley says he usually gets off on the people booing him, but it was great tonight to have some of them cheering for him just as hard. He puts over EVOLVE and Sami Callihan grabs a mic and puts him over as one of the best wrestlers in the world as the locker room and fans say goodbye to him to close out the show.

Bottom Line: The one thing this show (and most EVOLVE shows) has going for it is consistency. There's nothing on this show that's going to make your Match of the Year ballot, but there's not a single bad match on the show either and several very good ones. A solid i-PPV debut for the EVOLVE brand, and an easy Thumbs Up.

Score: 7.5/10

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