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RADICAN'S EVOLVE DVD REVIEW SERIES: "EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley" - Tozawa vs. Taylor, Callihan, Naylor quotes

Feb 29, 2012 - 1:05:34 PM

APRIL 19, 2011

The show started with Jon Moxley shown entering the venue backstage.

Larry Legend introduced the show. The crowd seems very enthusiastic tonight, although the hard camera shows the small stage seating area. Shiima Xion came out first. He’s a longtime independent wrestler and this was his first appearance in EVOLVE. Jimmy Jacobs came out next to a big pop from the crowd.

The sound and picture are really sharp once again after EVOLVE edited this show for DVD.

(1) Shiima Xion vs. Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs slapped Xion and hit a dive a short time later. Jacobs dominated for several minutes, but Zion fired back and tied him in the ropes. They went back and forth and traded nearfalls, but Xion ended up catching Jacobs with a cradle for the pin. (*3/4)

I wish EVOLVE and DGUSA would bring back Larry Legend I miss him. He interviewed Xion after the match. Xion said Jacobs was a stepping stone for him. He said he has arrived in EVOLVE. Xion then took out some napkins and told Jacobs he could use him to wipe off his mascara or stuff his tights. Ugh!

Jigsaw and Hallowicked were shown walking backstage when they ran into Akira Tozawa. Hallowicked and Frightmare began screaming at each other until Jigsaw pulled him away. Tozawa grunted for the camera before walking away. (Radican note: That was funny.)

(2) Tony Nese vs. Silas Young. Nese dominated the action early, but Young caught him with a modified brainbuster for a 2 count. They had some really good exchanges before Nese caught Young with a kick that left both men down. I miss Lenny Leonard. Nese caught Young with a top rope hurricanrana for a 2 count. Young fired back and caught Nese with his split-legged moonsault for the win. The match featured some good action, but neither guy showed much personality in the ring. (**)

They showed Larry Dallas and Reby Sky watching from the stands. Young was interviewed after the match. He said he was building momentum. Young called Gargano and Dallas sleazy. He threatened to slap Sky, as Dallas hilariously restrained her from charging the ring.

Austin Aries was shown lacing up his boots backstage. (Radican note: What was the point of that?)

(3) Jon Davis vs. Johnny Gargano. Davis got a small pop coming out, which wasn’t audible on the iPPV when it aired live. Gargano came out next and also got a good ovation. This was labeled as a spoiler match with Davis debuting here as a singles wrestler in EVOLVE. The previous matches also featured wrestlers with one loss or no record.

Rob Naylor was joined by Austin Aries on commentary. I couldn’t hear Aries well on the iPPV, but they did a good job of making him come through perfectly during this match. Gargano's work is really crisp. He was showing signs of growing as a performer by the month during this period. Naylor said there would be a tie breaking match if three men were tied for the lead in wins by the end of the night.

Gargano worked over Davis's arm before they did a series of exchanges that ended with Gargano nailing Davis with a neckbreaker. Davis fired back moments later with a shoulder tackle, but Gargano caught him with a sling shot spear right away. Davis slowed the pace down after hitting a big powerslam. Davis targeted Gargano's back and continued to work it over for several minutes with the crowd into his power offense. Sky rallied Gargano from the outside with Dallas. Gargano fired back and hit Davies, who was on his knees, with an ace crusher. Davis fired back and hit a huge clothesline for a nearfall and the crowd popped. Gargano fired back and hit a series of dives through the ropes, off the apron, and off the stage. Davis caught Gargano coming off the top and nailed him with the jackhammer for a nearfall. They did an awesome sequence at the end where Gargano got Davis in a variation of the border city stretch and Davis dead-lifted Gargano for a power move, but Gargano countered it back into the original submission for the win. Both men looked good here. (***1/2)

Dallas and Sky celebrated with Garagano in the ring as Aries left to get ready for his match. Gargano said he was the only leader in wins in EVOLVE. Dallas got on the mic and said he was supposed to be co-wins leader with Taylor. Gargano acted upset like he didn't want to share the lead in wins. Taylor then came out. Sky suggested they should go to the back to settle the matter.

Facade & Gory came out to some boos. Someone at ringside help up a sign and Facade took out some spray paint and made a sign. Frightmare & Jigsaw were out next to a big pop from the crowd. The crowd is pumped for this match.

(4) Facade & Jason Gory vs. Frightmare & Jigsaw. Fast-paced action as expected. Jimmy Jacobs came in on commentary and said he was alright despite losing to Xion. Jacobs talked about meeting Facade and Gory years ago in Pittsburg. He said it was nice to see them get this opportunity in EVOLVE. Facade dominated the action early, but Jigsaw fired back with a dropkick and the crowd popped. Holy crap this is fantastic fast-paced action. Frightmare tagged in and went a million miles an hour while running wild on Gory. He finally took him down with a neckbreaker. Gory and Facade got sent to the outside where Jigsaw and Frightmare nailed them with tandem dives and the crowd went nuts. Jigsaw, Frightmare, and several others are wearing pink arm bands as a tribute to Larry Sweeney. Jigsaw and Frightmare hit Sweeney's signature fist-drop on Gory that drew a pop. Facade got the hot tag and took out Jigsaw and Frightmare with a great-dive that saw him step up the ropes before leaping to the outside. Facade did some incredible things here, but Jigsaw managed to break up a sure pin on Frightmare before nailing Gory with a twisting Jig N' Tonic for the pin. This was great. (***1/2)

Legend interviewed the winners after the match. Hallowicked grunted into the mic. Jigsaw said nothing was better than winning in NYC. Jigsaw translated what Hallowicked said. He said that they were challenging any team in the world to take them on in EVOLVE. Jigsaw and Hallowicked got a round of applause before exiting the ring.

Jon Moxley was shown backstage getting ready for his final match in EVOLVE against Austin Aries.

Zack Sabre Jr. and Sami Callihan both came out to good responses from the crowd. The crowd started a chant for Callihan before the match began.

(5) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Sami Callihan. This was Sabre’s EVOLVE debut. The beginning of the match was insane as Callihan hit several chops and went to town on Sabre. Sabre caught Callihan in an arm bar, but Callihan lifted him and powerbombed him into the turnbuckles.

Naylor quote: “Sami Callihan is aggression personified.”

They did an insane exchange on the floor where they countered submissions up on the stage. Sabre went for a dive off the stage, but Callihan countered it into an exploder suplex!

Naylor quote on Callihan’s personality: “The guy makes coffee nervous.”

Sabre caught Callihan in an insane arm/leg submission where he slammed Callihan's knee into the mat while torqueing his arm. Sabre took the time to tussle his hair before turning the submission into a pinning combo for a nearfall. Both men traded slaps and kicks and the crowd went nuts.

Naylor quote after Saber headbutted Callihan’s chest leaving both men down: “Absolutely disgusting sound from that one fans.”

Both men were down after a double headbutt. Callihan only got a one count after a series of suplexes and a big clothesline. Callihan finally got the win via ref stoppage after he got Sabre in the stretch muffler while he kicked him in the head with his other leg. This was really good. (***3/4)

The crowd stood and applauded after the match ended. Callihan was interviewed after the match. Callihan grabbed the mic from the Legend and said nobody could beat him. Callihan said he was only one win away from the top of EVOLVE. Callihan said he just went toe-to-toe with one of the best submission artist and strikers in wrestling today. Callihan then said he wanted to talk about Moxley. He said they'd been everywhere together, but now Moxley was going to the big time. He thanked Moxley to close the promo. (Radican note: Classy touch at the end of the promo by Callihan to thank Moxley.)

Larry Dallas and Reby Sky were shown making their way to ringside with Johnny Gargano. They ended up sitting in the audience. Larry Legend said one of the competitors had requested time to address the fans. Legend brought out John Davis.

Davis told Dallas to shut his stupid face. Sky and Dallas looked angry at ringside. Davis said the last year of his career had been rough. Davis said he came here tonight to establish dominance, but he didn’t. Gargano, Dallas, and Sky looked on angrily from their seats. Davis talked about the fans chanting his name and said he felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time. Davis said he felt accepted. He apologized for letting the fans down tonight. Davis promised it would not happen again.

Radican’s thoughts: This was a good promo from Davis and the crowd was into him. He’s got an uphill climb to establish himself after a loss to Gargano.

Fox and Swann came out to mild pops from the crowd.

(6) A.R. Fox vs. Rich Swann. The action was insane during the early stages of the match.

Naylor quote: “The flying starts quickly right here!”

Swann caught Fox with a dive off the stage and the fans went nuts. Fox did an awesome evasion, but Swann flipped out of an ace crusher and kicked Fox in the head. Swann then did a roll and hit a frogsplash for a 2 count. Wow!

Fox fired back and hit a crazy ace crusher that impressed Jimmy Jacobs, who was sitting in on commentary.

Jacobs quote: “That’s way cooler than my ace crusher.”

Swann fired back and hit a standing SSP. The crowd went completely bonkers after that spot.

Jacobs quote: “This is crazy!”

Fox blocked a standing 450 from Swann. A few moments later Swann went up top, but got cut off. Fox then got a running start and basically did a springboard Spanish fly for the win!. (***1/2)

The crowd exploded after the finish and chanted for Fox. They showed Dallas applauding at ringside and discussing the match with Gargano and Sky. Fox cut a promo and said he felt good about going to 2-0. I could watch this match multiple times and never get sick of it. As a matter of fact, that was so awesome I'm going to watch it again.

Xion was shown bragging about his win backstage to Facade and Gory. Xion invited them to go celebrate their victory. Gory and Facade shook their head at Xion. Xion extended his hand and said he’d take them with him. They wouldn’t accept his offer, so Xion said he’d meet them there. Facade and Gory eventually got up and left the room.

Akira Tozawa came out to a big pop for his EVOLVE debut. Chuck Taylor came out next. He can tie Gargano for the lead in wins in EVOLVE with a win here. If Taylor wins, there will be an impromptu match to determine the wins leader in EVOLVE. Taylor got a good ovation. Dallas, Sky, and Gargano were shown applauding at ringside.

(7) Akira Tozawa vs. Chuck Taylor. Tozawa controlled the action early and the crowd popped after he hit a running senton. I miss Lenny Leonard, but Naylor is doing a heck of a job tonight. Taylor fired back with an insane arm drag into a pinning combination for a nearfall. I love how Gargano, Sky, and Dallas are at their own private table cheering Taylor on, although Gargano doesn't look too happy.

Naylor quote on Tozawa: “He really is my favorite.”

Jacobs quote after Naylor stumbled over his words: “You’re overwhelmed by Reby.” Naylor: “I really am.”

They did a crazy spot where Tozawa hit a dive to the outside and went for another, but Taylor cut him off and hit a slingshot plancha over the top. Taylor then went for another dive, but Tozawa tossed him to the outside and hit a second dive that left both men down and the crowd popped.

Naylor quote: “Oh my God. Crazy dive!”

Naylor said this was another spoiler match, which was a theme throughout the show. Tozawa no-sold soul food from Taylor and hit a running knee to his head leaving both men down on the mat. The crowd chanted for Tozawa as both men struggled to get to their feet. They did a fantastic exchange of strikes and Tozawa nailed Taylor with an avalanche German for a 2 count. I nearly killed myself going nuts for the finish of this match, but managed to avoid knee-lifting my keyboard into my face while I stood up after Tozawa missed a kick and Taylor hit the awful waffle for the pin. This was a spring from start to finish with great crowd heat. (***3/4)

Dallas and Sky ran into the ring. The referee then announced that Gargano had to fight Taylor on the spot to break the wins lead. Dallas said the match shouldn't happen because Taylor's neck hurts. Dallas told Taylor to go the back. Dallas said screw these fans, which drew some boos. Taylor said he was ready to fight right now. He said he didn’t want to share the wins lead with Gargano. Dallas and Sky were not happy as the match began.

Naylor quote: “The A list explodes!”

(8) Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano -Tie breaker for the wins lead in EVOLVE

Taylor hit two kicks to Gargano's head and rolled him up for a nearfall right off the bat. Gargano fired back and hit the hurts don't it for a nearfall moments later. Taylor hit the awful waffle out of nowhere, but was too hurt to cover Gargano quickly and only got a 2 count. Gargano caught Taylor in the border city stretch variation after Taylor kicked out of two superkicks. Dallas handed a towel to Sky. Dallas told Sky to toss in the towel for Taylor. Taylor struggled to fight out of the submission, but Gargano rolled through and Sky threw the towel in for Taylor giving Gargano the win. (**)

Dallas yelled at Sky after the match. She told him it was his idea to throw in the towel.

Naylor quote: “What a scumbag move by Larry Dallas.”

The match was more of a storyline than a full-fledged match. The action was really good while it lasted. The crowd booed Dallas after the match. Dallas blamed Sky after the match. Sky told Taylor that Dallas told her to throw in the towel. Gargano bailed and went to the back. The crowd chanted "you screwed Chuck." Sky shoved Dallas and left. Dallas then left the ring shaking his head.

Gargano was alone in the ring. Gargano said Taylor screwed himself as the crowd booed him. Gargano bragged about being the wins leader at 6-2. He said it didn’t matter who screwed Chuck because he was not the wins leader in EVOLVE. The crowd booed as Gargano left the ring.

Callihan was shown sitting on a couch backstage looking worn out. Sabre asked him if he was alright. Sabre shook his hand and thanked him for the match. Callihan told Sabre to check his twitter more often so he’d know that Callihan was going to tap him out with the stretch muffler. Sabre thanked him and said he was new to the United States. Callihan told him if he ever kicked him that hard again he’d slap him hard enough to knock his teeth out.

Radican’s thoughts: This was a fun backstage promo with both guys giving each other a hard time while showing respect to each other after a hard fought match.

Jon Moxley came out to a big ovation for his final EVOLVE match. Aries also came out to a big ovation.

(9) Jon Moxley vs. Austin Aries. The announcers said Aries has been really sick going into the match. Moxley missed a clothesline and spilled to the outside. Aries nailed him with a dive through the ropes. Moxley fired back and suplexed Aries and himself to the floor, which left both men down. Moxley sold an injured knee after the match, but he managed to take down Aries with a clothesline. Moxley hit a brainbuster and an ace crusher for separate nearfalls. Aries fired back with a brainbuster out of nowhere for a 2 count. Moxley hit a cradle piledriver, but Aries got his foot on the ropes. Moxley went and got a wrench. He began arguing with himself about using it. He put it down, but Aries fired back and nailed him with a kick to the face. Aries hit the brainbuster, but Moxley kicked out. Aries went for the 450, but Moxley cut him off. Aries shoved him away, but Moxley rolled through on the dive off the top for another 2 count. Moxley locked in the last chancery, but Aries slipped out and hit a kick to the head and applied the last chancery on Moxley.

Moxley escaped the last chancery, but Aries nailed him with the brainbuster moments later. Aries went up and hit the 450, but Moxley kicked out. Moxley continued to fire back no matter what Aries did to him. The crowd was dead for most of this match for whatever reason, but they fired up down the stretch. Moxley went for a sunset flip, but Aries sat down on him and got the pin. This was a game effort from Aries considering how sick he'd been going into the match. (***1/4)

The crowd started a "Thank you Moxley" after the match. Aries got on the mic and said usually the winner got a post-match promo. Aries said he was giving the time to Moxley. Moxley said usually he got off on making people hate him, but tonight he enjoyed the support. The crowd started a "f---" chant. Moxley said to give a hand to the entire EVOLVE roster and really put over the roster strong on the mic. Moxley then put over Aries and said he was as good as it gets. Moxley did a toast and said this was for wrestling. They poured beer on Moxley as the crowd chanted for him.

Callihan grabbed Moxley before he could leave the ring and told him he's one of the best wrestlers in the world. He told Moxley it has been an honor to travel the world and wrestle with him. Callihan wished him luck in the WWE and hugged Moxley. They left Moxley alone in the ring and the fans chanted for him before he left to the back. That was an awesome moment there.

Dallas was shown walking down the hall backstage with Sky, Taylor, and Gargano. Sky argued with Dallas and Gargano argued with Taylor. Dallas told Sky to shut up and told her she screwed everything up. Silas Young bumped into Gargano and glared at him. Gargano said he had to leave and stepped around Young to end the show.

Bonus features: (1) Jon Moxley vs. Roderick Strong –FIP World Title match - “Southern Stampede 2010,” April 17, 2010: This was for the vacant FIP World Hvt. Championship that was stripped from Davey Richards. Moxley attacks Sin Bodhi of all people to kick this one off. Strong then comes in and jumps Moxley starting their match much earlier on the card than it was scheduled to take place. Both men brawl on the outside before Moxley takes control of the action inside the ring. Moxley snapped Strong’s arm over the top rope and began working it over.

Strong tried to fight back, but Moxley continually was able to ground him and work over his arm. Moxley posed for the crowd as they tried to rally behind Strong. Strong connected with an enzuguri out of the corner and the crowd applauded as both men were slow to get to their feet. Strong fired up and nailed Moxley with a flurry of offense capped by a falcon arrow for a nearfall. Strong hit a backbreaker, but Moxley kick out. Strong sold his arm before applying the Boston crab, but Moxley got the ropes. Moxley countered Strong and hit a sidewalk slam for a nearfall.

They went back and forth and Moxley hit a big clothesline for a nearfall. Moxley was slow to get up, but eventually went for the chicken wing, which Strong blocked. Moxley went up top and Strong cut him off. Strong sold his arm and slowly set up Moxley for a superplex that left both men down on the mat. Strong fired back on Moxley and hit a gut buster, but Moxley countered the Gibson driver into a pinning combination for a nearfall. Strong then hit a running boot for a nearfall.

Erick Stevens came down to ringside and jawed with Strong. Moxley then drove Strong into the mat face-first from behind and applied the chicken wing for the submission. This was a fun match. It started slowly, but there were some really good exchanges before the finish. The finish didn’t do the match any favors, especially with the title on the line. (***1/4)

(2) Alternate Angle Highlight Video: The alternate angle highlights are fun to watch as they present some of the more eye-popping exchanges from the card. Davis’s offense is fun to watch again from a different angle during his match with Gargano, especially when he connects with a jack hammer for a nearfall. The breathtaking spots from Jigsaw & Hallowicked vs. Facade & Gory are also fun.

Callihan vs. Sabre is also touched on here as they light each other up exchanging strikes and kicks from the hard camera’s perspective. The finishing sequence was really slick and looks great from the hard camera as well.

Swann vs. Fox was a blast to watch and some of their breathtaking exchanges are captured from a different angle. In fact, Fox’s finish is shown from multiple angles. Tozawa vs. Taylor is next and that was another match that had some great sequences while the crowd went ballistic. The finishing sequence actually looked better from the angle it was shown from during the DVD as opposed to the bonus section. They close with highlights from Gargano-Taylor and then Moxley-Aries. One of Aries’s kicks to Moxley’s head looks brutal in slow motion.

Overall thoughts: (8.5) – The DVD presentation was an improvement over the presentation of the show on iPPV. The little enhancements like better audio and picture quality make this show well-worth investing in even if you’ve already seen it on iPPV. The DVD edit of this release also incorporates a fair amount of extra backstage footage, including a hilarious meeting between Tozawa and Hallowicked. I wish they had done more of the sit down interviews like they have in the past, but it was nice to get something extra when taking the time to watch this show again on DVD.

This was a really easy show to watch with a ton of good matches. There aren't any MOTYC here, but the wrestlers on the roster work hard from bell-to-bell, so there's never a dull moment. I liked the theme throughout the night of wrestlers making their EVOLVE debut and looking to spoil the opportunity for several wrestlers that have piled up wins from reaching the top of the leader board in the company.

Callihan-Sabre and Taylor-Tozawa were both very good matches that are well-worth checking out. Swann vs. Fox was short, but insane while it lasted. Overall from an in-ring and storyline standpoint, this was one of the strongest EVOLVE shows to date. It doesn’t hurt that the crowd was hot almost all night and the show capped off with a really nice tribute to Moxley before he left for WWE. The bonus features are fun as they future a Strong-Moxley match from FIP that I never expect to see. Strong recommendation.


You can purchase “EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley” at DGUSA.TV in the EVOLVE DVD section.

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