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May 11, 2012
-From Charlotte, NC. This is a new market for EVOLVE and I’d wager there’s about 80 people in the crowd. That’s gotta hurt. Our host is Lenny Leonard.
Adam Page vs. Jake Manning vs. Caleb Konley (with Johnny Fairplay and Amanda)
Fairplay is subbing for Larry Dallas, who is currently on a tour with Dragon Gate. Jake Manning has a “Man Scout Rule Book” that pertains exclusively to him. All three men go at it, taking turns applying headlocks and throwing arm drags, roll-ups, and other early match offense. Manning tosses Konley but suffers a monkey flip from Page. Konley trips Manning on the apron, setting up a moonsault from Page. Konley soars into a back spin kick from Page. Page misses a cross body on Manning. Manning hoists Page, allowing Konley to throw a chop and deliver a senton. Page uses a sunset flip to get a near fall on Konley. Manning sneaks in for a DDT/STO combo on both opponents. Butterfly suplex by Manning gets 2 on Page. Comeback by Page! Ugly standing shooting star press by Page on Manning. Page botches a superplex block. Konley nails a bad moonsault off the turnbuckle Page is sitting on. Manning absorbs it and nails a face plant to score the win at 7:23. Reeeeally sloppy. Guys, learn to walk before you try to run, *.
Winner: Jake Manning
-Johnny Fairplay no-sells the fact that Konley just lost. Manning celebrates his first victory as well he should.
Mike Cruz vs. Alex Reynolds
Gee, I wonder if they’ll do a lot of moves? They trade wrist work in the early going. Cruz counters into a monkey flip. Cruz is tossed into the turnbuckles but bounces into a cross body. Suicide dive by Cruz! Reynolds whips Cruz into the ring post. Reynolds begins targeting the midsection! Reynolds slows things down with an abdominal stretch. Careful, Kenn Doane used rest holds and stopped getting booked after 2 shows! Cruz strikes his way back into the contest. Springboard blockbuster by Cruz gets a near fall. Sky high gut buster by Reynolds only gets 2. Cruz blocks a suplex but his full nelson is easily broken. They trade pinning predicaments until Reynolds scores the pinfall at 7:22. Not nearly as spotty as I expected. They might be on to something with Reynolds, **.
Winner: Alex Reynolds
Jigsaw vs. Low Ki
The crowd finally wakes up as they know the participants. Jigsaw isn’t quite ready for Low Ki’s aggressiveness in the early going. Jigsaw goes after the arm, but Low Ki lights him up with a chop. They trade holds on the mat. Low Ki gets a bit rough, pushing Jigsaw’s face into the canvas while working the leg. Low Ki crab walks around the ring, trying to lure Jigsaw into a trap. Jigsaw manages to sneak past it and go after the leg. Ki throws some hard kicks and applies a waist lock. Jigsaw escapes, but gets caught in a body scissors. Ki returns to throwing stiff shots in a ruthless fashion. Reversal Irish whip by Jigsaw and a drop-kick into the corner. Flying cross body by Jigsaw, but Low Ki rolls through. Leaping hurricanrana by Jigsaw! The camera misses Low Ki countering a super kick. Jigsaw counters the Ki Krusher with a small package. Jigsaw is unable to put Ki away and suffers a double stomp to the chest! Low Ki delivers the Ki Krusher for the win at 14:21! Hey, someone won a match with their finisher! Solid, mat-based contest, with a satisfying finish, ***.
Winner: Low Ki
-Low Ki grabs a mic and mocks Jigsaw for pretending to be a luchador and not being a serious professional wrestler. He’s sick of all these guys who don’t take the sport as seriously as he does. I have a feeling that Low Ki takes everything he does seriously. He probably pumps himself up before brushing his teeth and scolds his room mate for not doing the same.
Jon Davis vs. Dave “Fit” Finlay
This is Finlay’s last night in EVOLVE, as he’s set to face Roderick Strong in Ring of Honor the very next night. They lock up and have a shoving contest. Finlay drop toe holds into a headlock. Davis counters into an armbar. Finlay aggressively goes after the arm, but we have a stalemate. Finlay is selling an eye injury, which might be a legit or could be a ruse. Finlay takes it personally and attacks the face. Davis goes for a wristlock and powers Finlay to the mat. Finlay tries to smash his way out, but Davis continues to work the wrist. Finlay retaliates with a snap mare and a chinlock. Davis shakes it off and applies a chinlock of his own. They continue to trade holds for a bit. They begin using more aggressive shots to break holds, with Finlay tossing Davis to the floor. Davis cautiously returns and the match restarts. More mat work. Finlay mixes things up with a modified Indian death lock and gets a pinning predicament for 2. Finlay drives the leg into the ring post. Finlay continues to work over the raw leg, as he finally seems to have gained the advantage. Davis counters into an armbar! Davis works over the arm, driving it into the ring post. Davis shoves Finlay into the turnbuckles and delivers a belly to back suplex. Second rope moonsault by Davis gets 2! Finlay counters into a sleeper. Spinebuster by Davis gets another 2 count. Big boot by Davis but Finlay snaps him off the turnbuckles. Tombstone piledriver by Finlay ends it at 23:42! This was a wrestling game of chess that managed to keep the crowd invested. A great technical wrestling match, ****.
Winner: Dave Finlay
-The crowd chants “That was awesome” as Finlay hangs around for an interview. Finlay can barely speak, but he seems to think Jon Davis has a bright future ahead of him. Finlay turns the subject to his rival, Sami Callihan, saying he needs to get his head out of his you-know-where. Callihan storms the ring and simply states that Finlay needs to mind his own business.
-For some reason, they wait until now to run a Davis/Finlay hype package. Hey, you guys already sold me on the match, seeing as we just witnessed it.
-Chuck Taylor and the Gentlemen’s Club come to the ring for their match. They’re accompanied by someone dressed up in a bizarre “Swamp Thing” costume. Did I miss something, because this Swamp Monster thing just came out seemingly nowhere.
Open the Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano and Samurai Del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor and Silas Young (with Jake Manning and the Swamp Monster)
Gargano and Taylor got to pick their own partners for this match. Gargano looks for a handshake from Young, but it’s not happening. Young and Gargano sprint into a hot opening sequence. Taylor enters and distracts Gargano long enough for Young to sneak attack. Del Sol makes the save, overwhelming Taylor with his fast flying maneuvers. Taylor and Young effectively isolate Del Sol for an extended beating. Gargano gets a hot tag and tosses Young to the floor. Gargano misses his dive opportunity and nails a slingshot spear. Gargano wipes Taylor out on the floor and finally gets a chance to dish out some punishment. Young distracts but Gargano hits a slingshot DDT for a near fall. Gargano and Del Sol hit stereo super kicks and blockbusters. Taylor dumps Del Sol, leaving Gargano behind to suffer a backbreaker/lariat combo from Young. Del Sol gets dropped into a forearm and gets stuck in a half crab from Taylor. Gargano makes the save! Gargano Escape on Taylor! Young saves but Gargano lawn darts him into the turnbuckles. Del Sol wipes out Taylor but Young plants him. Gargano saves Del Sol, allowing the luchador to dive onto Young at ringside. Taylor surprises Gargano with the Awful Waffle for the win at 10:15. They packed a lot of action into a relatively short match. Great work here, ***½.
Winners: Chuck Taylor and Silas Young
-Lenny Leonard interviews Chuck Taylor. Taylor gets to choose the stipulation for his upcoming title match against Gargano due to this win. At the next set of Dragon Gate USA shows, Taylor is getting his shot at the gold. You can bet that the Swamp Monster will be there to cheer Taylor on.
El Generico vs. Ricochet
I’m absolutely stunned that ROH hasn’t signed El Generico to a contract. Anyways, Low Ki joins Leonard on commentary for the match. Generico and Ricochet trade holds in the early going. Generico scores with a shoulder tackle. They quicken the pace, with Generico scoring again with a drop-kick. Hard backbreaker by Generico gets 2. Head scissors takedown by Ricochet and another off the ropes. Lariat by Ricochet gets 2. Ricochet lands some kicks and slows things down with an arm submission. Ricochet locks on a modified abdominal stretch. Ricochet drops Generico for a standing splash. Generico lures Ricochet into a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker. Ricochet scores with a flying corkscrew to the floor. Springboard lariat by Ricochet gets 2.5. Low Ki has spent the entire match nitpicking the psychology of the competitors but has to admit he’s impressed now. Generico plants Ricochet for a close near fall. Low Ki is upset that Generico is pandering to the crowd instead of looking for another cover. Blue Thunder Powerbomb by Generico is yet another near fall. Ricochet blocks the Yakuza kick and counters with a reverse hurricanrana. Michinoku Driver by Generico! The Yakuza Kick connects but the Brainbuster is reversed! Rolling Pele kick by Ricochet and the Phoenix splash gets a close near fall. Ricochet climbs again but Generico sprints up only to get knocked down. The 630 splash finally ends it at 16:26. Ricochet had to unleash everything in his arsenal to get that win. Great high-flying match here, ***¾.
-Leonard interviews a winded Ricochet. He says that his next goal is to defeat Low Ki in a match. He doesn’t have any beef with Low Ki, he just wants a good fight. Ki comes to the ring and accepts the challenge with a handshake. Ricochet takes off, leaving Low Ki to shake his head at Generico, who’s still recovering in the corner. Ki reiterates his point that Generico isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Ki lists off all the legendary masked wrestlers he’s faced on his worldwide travels, pointing out that Generico can’t hang with them. If Generico doesn’t fix things, he’ll become a disgrace to the masked wrestling scene. Interesting mic work from Low Ki.
Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox
“Evolution’s End” means that weapons are legal are ringside and the normal EVOLVE rules still apply in the ring. Johnny Gargano joins Leonard on commentary. Callihan charges as the bell rings and stomps a mud hole into Fox. Fox returns the favor with shoulder blocks and a springboard missile drop-kick. Fox soars onto Callihan on the floor! Fox takes one chance too many, as Callihan blocks a dive with a chair shot. Sami dismantles Fox with an arsenal of chairs, including a one man con-chair-to. Callihan misses a wild swing and hurts himself on the ring post, allowing Fox an opening. Sami nails a neck breaker over the ropes and a lariat. Callihan kicks a chair into Fox’s face and they continue to brawl at ringside. Callihan finds some barbed wire and uses it to punish Fox in creative fashion. Sami is in complete control as he fetches a ladder, but Fox counters with a drop-kick. Kick flip by Fox! Fox makes a hugely impressive comeback, with a series of nifty flying attacks. Fox climbs the ladder at ringside, but Fox cuts him off. Fox suplexes Fox off the ropes! Sami wins a slap fest but Fox retaliates with the highest Swanton bomb I’ve ever seen. Callihan super kicks the leg, which nicely sets up the Stretch Muffler. Fox counters into a pinning predicament and follows up with a springboard ace crusher. Fox sets up a chair and ladder at ringside in an odd fashion. Springboard senton by Fox misses! Short arm lariat by Sami gets 2. Fox leaps up but Sami nails a German suplex off the turnbuckles! Half crab by Sami but Fox gets the ropes. Fox rebounds and hits a leaping suplex off the ropes. Sami rests against the table, but Fox runs and dives over the ladder and they crash against the table! The springboard 450 splash finishes Callihan at 18:48! Absolutely incredible hardcore spot-fest and a fitting way to end the long running feud between these two, ****½.
Winner: AR Fox
-Leonard asks Fox what’s next now that the 10 month feud with Callihan is over. Fox plans on using this momentum to win the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. Fox could be in line for a shot at Gargano if he wins a 4-way on the next show.
Final Thoughts: This was an incredible showing by the EVOLVE crew. The show built to a satisfying crescendo. I insist your order the VOD replay on WWNLive.com. Thumbs up!
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