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RADICAN'S EVOLVE 19 iPPV BLOG 4/5: First EVOLVE champion crowned in Tournament Finals, Young Bucks vs. SSB (Updated w/complete review)

Apr 9, 2013 - 1:11:26 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


APRIL 5, 2013

1 – Samuray Del Sol vs. Rich Swann vs. Sami Callihan vs. Jigsaw – EVOLVE Title Tournament Quarterfinal match. There were a lot of multi-man sequences during the opening minutes of the match. The highlight was Del Sol hitting a spider suplex on Callihan, who suplexed Swann. Jigsaw then hit a coast-to-coast dropkick on Del Sol in the corner. The match continued at a furious pace and the crowd was into the action. Eventually Sami Callihan caught Del Sol going for a spring board and submitted him with the stretch muffler to advance.

Winner: Sami Callihan – This was a hot opener, although the opening minutes of the match still hadn’t been uploaded onto the VOD feed when I tried to watch it a second time.

Lenny Leonard introduced Tony Nese as the latest signing to World Wrestling Network. Nese said the business isn’t about being the best wrestler; it’s about building your own brand. Nese said he was going to put together a support group to give himself a clear path to the top of DGUSA. Nese said the premier athlete brand was here. Nese got some light boos making his announcement.

2 - - A.R. Fox vs. Jon Davis – EVOLVE Title Tournament Quarterfinal match. Colt Cabana joined Lenny Leonard on commentary. Fox hit his signature three dive sequence to the outside that popped what seems to be a passive crowd. Davis dominated the action for a long period of time. Fox tried to fire back on the outside, but ended up taking a hip toss onto the apron. I think at this point Fox is going to have to retire in two or three years taking these kinds of bumps. Davis dominated for several more minutes and Fox tried to mount a comeback, but Davis nailed him with a buckle bomb for a 2 count. Davis went for a chokeslam off the apron to the concrete, but Fox blocked it and DDT’d him on the apron. The crowd fired up a little bit and Fox hit his inverted 450 to the outside to wipe out Davis.

Davis got his knees up when Fox went for a swanton and connected with a running knee for a nearfall. Fox countered the 3 seconds around the world powerbomb into a hurricanrana. Fox went for a springboard, but Davis hit a wheelbarrow German suplex and then the 3 seconds around the powerbomb, but Fox kicked out at the last second. Davis tried to hit a razor’s edge to the outside, but the ref dragged Fox off. Davis accidentally clotheslined the ref and the bell rang apparently signaling a DQ.

An official came out and warned Davis not to attack the official because this was Evolve. Davis got on the mic and asked why he shouldn’t take out his frustrations on the ref. The feed froze while Davis was cutting his promo. He ended up walking to the back.

Winner: A.R. Fox – The crowd sounded dead for most of the match, although they were vocal for Fox’s comeback towards the end. The finish came off strangely to me, as it seemed to be an accident that Davis clotheslined the ref.

3 - - The Gentleman’s Club (Drew Gulak & Orange Cassidy w/ The Swamp Monster) vs. Open the Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano & Brian Kendrick. Cassidy fell asleep trying to lock up with Gargano. Gulak, Swamp Monster, and Cassidy all hit moves on Kendrick in the corner. Kendrick got on the mic and told Cassidy and Gulak to hit him in the face, so they did. Kendrick fired up on both men moments later, but the numbers game caught up to him. Gargano ended up in the ring and he dominated Gulak on offense until getting cut off with a chin breaker. Cassidy and Gulak tagged in and out to work over Gargano. Gargano eventually made the hot tag to Kendrick, who ran wild on Gulak and Cassidy.

Gargano and Kendrick hit a superkick/DVD combo on Cassidy, but he kicked out. Cassidy fired back on Kendrick and then hit a dive to the outside on Gargano a short time later. Gulak slammed Kendrick to the mat and Cassidy went up top and appeared to fall asleep before falling onto Kendrick for a 2 count. Gargano tried to get into the ring, but Gulak tossed him to the outside. Gargano finally ran in and took out Cassidy and Gulak with a DDT/Facebuster combination. Gargano got cut off and ate a double team bulldog/suplex, but Kendrick ran right into the fray. Cassidy got the big squeeze on Kendrick, but Gargano ran in and hit a superkick and then the lawn dart on him. Gargano charged at him in the corner, but Cassidy spit something into his face. Swamp Monster held onto Kendrick on the apron, but Gargano nailed him with a dropkick. Gargano took out Swamp Monster and Cassidy with a senton off the apron. Kendrick then hit sliced bread #2 on Gulak for the win.

Winners: Brian Kendrick & Johnny Gargano

Star rating: (**1/2) – This was a fun match, but the crowd didn’t get into the action like I expected with Gargano and Kendrick involved. There were some good exchanges down the stretch and I enjoy the Gentleman’s Club as a mid-card gimmick, but this didn’t seem like the best way to feature Gargano and Kendrick on this card.

Sami Callihan appeared to hurt his knee jumping over the top rope while making his entrance. The ref continued to check on Callihan while Chuck Taylor made his entrance.

4 - - Sami Callihan vs. Chuck Taylor – EVOLVE Title Tournament Semi-Final match. The bell rang and Taylor went right after Callihan’s leg. Taylor worked over Callihan’s leg on the floor and inexplicably rolled him back into the ring to beat the ref’s count. Callihan fired back and hit a pair of suplexes. Callihan then hit a third suplex. Callihan then hit a fourth suplex. He went for a fifth suplex, but Taylor slipped away and got a half crab submission. The crowd sounds so dead for this match. The ref checked Callihan’s arm, but he fired up and got the ropes. Taylor got the half crab again a couple of minutes later in the middle of the ring. Callihan got the ropes again, but the crowd didn’t react much to him escaping the submission again.

Taylor slipped out of a stretch muffler attempt before hitting an uranagi. Taylor then nailed Callihan with a big kick to the head for a 2 count. Taylor went up top, but Callihan kicked his legs out from under him. Callihan hit a powerbomb for a 2 count and applied the stretch muffler. Taylor ended up tapping out giving Callihan the win.

Winner: Sami Callihan – They told a good story with Callihan “injuring” his leg while entering the ring, but the crowd never got into the action much. Taylor looks like he’s getting in really good shape.

5 - - A.R. Fox vs. Ricochet – EVOLVE Title Tournament Semi-Final match. Ricochet hit a running dropkick in the corner right after the bell. They had a really great sequence during the early going that ended with Fox hitting a kick flip off the apron to the floor. They had another great sequence going back and forth countering each other’s dives, but Ricochet finally hit a crazy dive to the outside to end the sequence. The pace slowed and Ricochet arrogantly stood on Fox’s back before grabbing a modified abdominal stretch. Ricochet draped Fox over his back and drove Fox’s head into the turnbuckle 10 times. Ricochet went up top, but Fox shoved him over the guardrail. Fox then got a running start and hit a flip dive over the ringpost, over the guardrail, and onto Ricochet and the crowd popped.

Fox hit a legdrop on the apron and tossed Ricochet back into the ring. They traded counters off the ropes and Ricochet caught Fox by surprise with an ace crusher and hit a SSP for a 2 count. Fox fired back and hit a springboard ace crusher for a 2 count. The crowd applauded while Fox went up top. They went to another nice exchange that ended with Ricochet hitting a leg-capture suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. Fox knocked Ricochet off the top and hit the double knees to the back of Ricochet’s head. Fox hit a running SSP into the corner and went for Lo mein pain, but Ricochet countered it and hit a release leg capture suplex off the second rope for a 2 count. Holy crap!

Both men battled up top moments later. Ricochet kicked Tozawa to the mat went for a 630, but Fox rolled out of the way. Fox then got a pinning combination for the win.

Winner: A.R. Fox

Star rating: (***3/4) – They had some amazing exchanges in the match, but it’s a shame they had to kill each other to get a reaction from the crowd. Both men looked really good in this match.

After the match, Von Eerie taunted Ricochet before he went to the back.

One man is loudly booing the Scene as they make their entrance. It sounded like the same man was booing Cannon as well.

6 - - Scott Reed (w/The Scene) vs. Arik Cannon – No DQ match. Cabana is back in the commentary booth. Cannon took over during the early stages of the match after hitting a dropkick to the back of Reed’s head. Reed fired back with a nice dropkick of his own as Cannon came off the ropes. Cannon hit a neck breaker, but Konley ran in and began attacking Cannon. Konley and Reed drove a baseball bat into a chair over Cannon’s crotch. Cannon fired back, but Konley nailed him with a tornado DDT to put a stop to his momentum. Reed covered Cannon, but only got a 2 count. Konley and Reed started to argue after Reed accidentally chopped Konley. Cannon fired back once again after Trina got on the apron for no reason and bent over. She decided to get off the apron, but then she got back into the ring to apparently give Cannon oral sex. Dallas then ran in and clipped Cannon’s legs.

Uhaa Nation came down to ringside and wiped out the Scene. The fans chanted for Uhaa as he wiped Konley with a crazy standing press. Dallas ran in and clipped his leg, but he didn’t go down. Trina got into the ring, but Marti Belle came down to the ring and took her out. The fans chanted for the women to fight. Uhaa nailed Reed with a suplex and Cannon hit total anarchy on Reed for the win.

Cannon went after Nation after the match, but ended up eating a big suplex.

Winner: Arik Cannon – This seemed like more of an angle to reintroduce Uhaa as opposed to a match. I’m not sure why he made the save for Cannon. Whatever they were going for didn’t come off very well here.

SSB got cheers when being introduced prior to their match with the Young Bucks. The Bucks were largely booed by the sounds of things. The fans started a SSB chant before the start of the match.

7 - - Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno & Player Dos) vs. The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson). The pace was quick during the early going and Dos was wiped out with a superkick by Nick. The pace slowed while the Bucks began to work over Dos. Matt hit a double handspring before back raking Dos. The Young Bucks played air guitar after that spot. The crowd tried to rally behind Dos, who took an extended beating from the Bucks. Dos finally sent Nick to the outside, but Matt cut him off. Dos then avoided a charge in the corner and tried to tag in Uno, but Nick dragged him off the apron. Matt ended up spearing Dos after he missed the chance to make the hot tag. Dos matrixed out of a double clothesline and hit a double Pele kick on the Bucks. He then tagged in Uno, who ran wild.

The fans chanted for Uno, who continued to dominate the action. Matt jumped on Uno’s back and Nick ran over, but Uno cut him off and hit a Samoan drop suplex combination on both men. The action broke down with a rapid-fire series of moves from both teams. Dos ended the sequence by rolling through a cross body attempt from Matt and slamming him to the mat for a 2 count. Dos nailed Matt with a superkick while Uno held him upside down before nailing Nick with a dive through the ropes. Uno then dropped Matt down with a piledriver for a 2 count. They went to a rapid fire exchange that ended with Matt hitting a suplex on Uno. Dos tried to hit him with a frogsplash after, but Matt got his knees up and all three men were down. Nick accidentally hit Matt with a knee strike in the corner when Dos got out of the way. The SSB hit a series of moves on the Young Bucks and went for a pin on Nick, but Matt broke up the pin. The Bucks hit stereo superkicks on Uno. They went for the stereo superkicks on Dos, but he matrixed out only to eat a pair of superkicks while he was upside down. The crowd fired up as the pace quickened. Nick hit a 450 on Dos, but he kicked out. Bucks went for more bang for your buck on Dos, but Uno broke it up. The SSB set up for the fatality and hit it on Matt for the win.

A SSB chant broke out after the pin. Leonard said this was the signature win they’ve been waiting for. After the match, the SSB offered a handshake, but the Young Bucks wiped them out with a pair of superkicks and the fans booed.

Winners: The Super Smash Bros

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a very good match. The crowd didn’t react to it like you would expect until the second half of the match when the pace picked up. The finishing sequence of the match was electric with a series of fantastic exchanges.

Leonard tried to pump up the crowd and get them to stand before the main event. A graphic showing the completed bracket of the tournament flashed on the screen.

Lenny Leonard interviewed Callihan at ringside before the match. He asked him what’s going through his mind right now. Callihan said he’d had a tough road and it doesn’t mean s—t to this crowd. Callihan said whether he’s a good guy or bad guy, the crowd doesn’t care. Callihan said like it or not, he would be the first Evolve Champion.

Leonard then interviewed Fox. He said Fox had a hard fought contest against Davis and then Ricochet. Well, it hasn’t been the toughest road. Leonard asked Fox how he was feeling. Fox said he had a lot of pain, but he wasn’t feeling it. Fox said he was going to get the pin on Callihan and show him who the real champion is.

8 - - A.R. Fox vs. Sami Callihan – EVOLVE Title Tournament Finals. So, we have Fox with a sore neck and Callihan with a sore ankle as the storyline going into this match. Fox’s path has seemed easier because of his cheap wins. Callihan hit a pair of huge slaps during the early going that decked Fox. Callihan continued to target Fox’s head during the early going. Fox fired back and dropkicked Callihan off the top and he appeared to take a nasty spill to the floor. Fox then followed up with a huge dive to the floor and the fans fired up. Fox set up Callihan against a corner section of the guardrails and hit a running SSP that fired up some vocal fans. Callihan fired back and whipped Fox over the guardrail, but ate a superkick when he tried to go after him. Fox went for his signature series of dives and nearly killed himself on the second one when his foot got caught on the ropes. Callihan was avoiding the dive when Fox came through the ropes.

Callihan picked up Fox and hit a Saito suplex into the guardrail. Callihan left Fox on the outside and the majority of the fans booed him. Fox struggled, but managed to beat the ref’s count back into the ring. Callihan grabbed Fox’s arms and began stomping on his chest. Callihan viciously attacked Fox on the outside and dumped him to the floor drawing a gasp from the crowd. Callihan spit on his hand and let the spit drip to the mat before chopping Fox. Callihan landed a big right to Fox’s face before landing another slap. Callihan placed Fox up top, but he shoved him to the mat. Fox did a summersault and then a senton into the opposite corner onto Callihan. The crowd fired up with both men regrouping. Fox hit a springboard ace crusher and a swanton, but only got a 2 count.

Fox went for a 450, but Callihan got his feet up. Callihan then hit a big running kick into the corner. Callihan went for another running kick, but Fox ducked and rolled up Callihan for a nearfall. That was slick. Callihan fired back with a big slap, but Fox just glared at him. Callihan hit several more slaps, but Fox wouldn’t go down. Fox ended up grabbing Callihan and he hit a DVD. Fox then hit a 450, but Callihan kicked out. Fox set up Callihan up top, but Callihan chopped him to the mat. Fox hit a running dropkick and went for Lo mein pain, but Callihan countered it into a German off the top. Callihan fired up and hit a powerbomb before going right into the stretch muffler when Fox kicked out. Callihan dragged Fox to the mat and transitioned it into a single leg crab. The crowd fired up as Fox struggled towards the ropes. Fox finally got the ropes and the fans applauded. Callihan dragged Fox up to the top with him, but Fox slipped out. Callihan caught Fox with a running boot, but Fox fired up and hit Lo Mein pain for the win.

Callihan grabbed the EVOLVE title from the ref when he tried to present it to Fox. Callihan paused, but ended up giving it to Fox and they shook hands and hugged. Callihan raised Fox’s hand and left the ring. The fans chanted for Fox and Leonard came into the ring to interview him. Leonard said Fox’s performance was gutsy.

Fox got on the mic and dedicated the win and dedicated his win to the #2 high-flyer Ricochet. Fox said he couldn’t have done it without him. Fox said EVOLVE was about all types of wrestlers and said he would defend it against any challenger that could step in the ring and bring it. The Young Bucks came into the ring while he was cutting his promo. Matt got on the mic and sarcastically congratulated Fox. He said tomorrow, Fox was stepping in the ring with his partner CIMA against the hottest tag team in wrestling the Young Bucks. Matt said tomorrow night would be their night. Matt said they were taking the tag straps back to Southern California before leaving the ring. Fox said he didn’t have a lot of time to recover and do the same thing to the Bucks that he just did to Sami, Ricochet, and Davis.

Winner: A.R. Fox to become the first EVOLVE Champion

Star rating: (***1/2) – Neither guy sold well enough to get the story fully over that both were injured going into the match. Fox was especially bad in this match, as he got murdered by Callihan, but didn’t sell anything while he was making his comebacks. It’s the little things that count and make matches with this type of storyline more dramatic. That being said, they had a good match and the crowd was invested. The Fox storyline never clicked for me, as he won against Davis via DQ and then got a flash pin on Ricochet after he missed a 630 to advance to the finals. It seemed like Callihan’s path was much tougher than his. That being said, they had a really good main event level match.

Overall thoughts: (6.5) – I wasn’t able to see the entire first match when I went back to watch the VOD of this show. Once WWNLive posts the entire show online, my score may be higher based on the quality of the first match, as what I saw was very good.

EVOLVE drew a large crowd for “EVOLVE 19,” but they weren’t into the action like I expected them to be. From what I saw of the opening match, that was the hottest the crowd was all night, although they did get into some of the matches later on the show.

The story they were trying to tell with Fox and Callihan as they advanced through the tournament and got banged up suffered because of the selling of both in the main event. Neither guy sold their injuries much at all during the main event, but Fox was murdered during the first half of the finals of the EVOLVE Title tournament and appeared to be fine during the second half of the match.

That being said, the match itself was good and the crowd was invested down the stretch. The final sequence of the match was really exciting as well. I’m left to wonder coming out of this show if Fox is going to turn heel. He had what appeared to be an easy path to the finals of the tournament winning by DQ against Jon Davis and then getting a flash pin on Ricochet after he missed a 630 on Fox. After the match, Fox was cocky and said Ricochet was the second best high-flyer in the world.

Several of the matches on the undercard were average at best, as Gargano & Kendrick vs. Gentleman’s Club, Davis-Fox, and Callihan-Taylor were average at best. The Cannon-Reed No DQ match was the worst match of the night, as it was marred by tons of interference and Uhaa Nation’s interference didn’t add anything to the match.

There were some very good matches on the undercard, but none reached the four star level because of the lack of crowd heat, although Fox-Ricochet came close. The Young Bucks-SSB and Callihan-Fox matches were also very good, so there’s enough on here to make this show worth checking out.


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