Evolve presents its very special tenth card that will also serve as the final wrestling event in the legendary ECW Arena. With a main event featuring Johnny Gargano defending his Open the Freedom Gate Championship against Ricochet, this will be the biggest Evolve show to date.
Hello everybody, Matt Waters here with live coverage of Evolve 10. Stay tuned throughout the night for results and an instant review of each match.
- Sorry folks, we’re having some major issues with our WWNLive account that we’re still trying to resolve. We hope to get to coverage shortly…
Athu vs. Low Ki
This match took place during the period in which our account was down so I didn’t see the match, but I’m informed Low Ki made his surprise return to answer Athu’s open challenge and destroyed him, getting the victory with Warrior’s Way.
Cheech Hernandez vs. Cloudy
Recap: Up In Smoke imploded as former partners and now bitter rivals Cheech and Cloudy did battle and it was Cheech who proved to be the stronger link, picking up the victory after Go 2 Cheech. Cloudy took the fight to Cheech throughout, but Cheech’s size advantage proved too much and he was able to put Cloudy down after a pair of Go 2 Cheech’s – he elected not to go for the pin after the first and nearly lost the match for this, but was able to absorb Cloudy’s best shot and hit his finisher for a second time to get the win.
Review: Despite my personal dislike of Cheech and indifference towards Cloudy, this was a decent little contest. There was plenty of ugly, particularly Cloudy missing a corkscrew suicide dive significantly, crashing down onto the concrete while Cheech stood still, completely untouched. I guess the story was that Cheech was feeling cocky after the first Go 2 Cheech but Cloudy nearly winning changed his mind so he let the pin go ahead the second time around. I didn’t see the entire match and joined it in progress so it’s hard to form a full opinion, but what I saw was good enough.
The Scene vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds
Recap: The Scene continued to build momentum, putting down the young duo of John Silver & Alex Reynolds thanks to their superior teamwork. Reynolds and Silver did show surprising chemistry for a non-regular team, with Reynolds’ athleticism in particular providing some problems, but The Scene were able to predict his next move and catch him when he was vulnerable, hitting their Wheelbarrow DDT/Suplex Combination for the W.
Review: More sloppy moments here, but a blessing in disguise for the live crowd who got to chant “You f’d Up” a few last times in the building that made that chant famous. Reynolds showed some flashes of potential, vaguely resembling Tyler Black if you reaaaaally squint. The non-regular team looked pretty slick together, stringing together two particularly nice sequences. A somewhat forgettable match that served to get The Scene over and little else… though I do want to see Reynolds some more.
Jigsaw vs. AR Fox
Recap: In a bout between an undefeated singles wrestler and an undefeated tag team wrestler, it was Jigsaw, making his solo debut in Evolve who picked up the win, overcoming AR Fox’s momentum in the company to get the victory. The pair flew all over the ring and dropped high impact bombs on each other, with Fox hitting an extremely high risk springboard 450 to the outside to wipe his opponent out. Not done there, he hit a Leg Drop off the top while Jigsaw’s neck was draped across the apron. The masked man survived this aerial assault and countered the Low-Main-Pain with a gargantuan backdrop suplex and a huge superkick to get the pin.
Review: Turns out when you put two good, athletic young wrestlers in the ring together they have a good match. Who would have thought? Jigsaw is severely underrated as a solo talent after spending so much time in various units and duos, and while Fox isn’t going to be the new Rob Van Dam or anything, he’s working out quite nicely for DG & Evolve too. Both guys have really unique movesets and gelled together very well. I’m surprised Jigsaw got to win, but I’m happy he did. Watch this match please.
- After the match both men spoke about Evolve, and Sami Callihan appeared to taunt AR Fox with some beer bottles, trying to make Fox attack him, which would be a direct violation of Evolve’s rules. Fox thought better of it, but was clearly very frustrated with the leader of the D.U.F.
Uhaa Nation vs. Pinkie Sanchez
Recap: DGUSA’s young phenom Uhaa Nation made his Evolve debut and proved every bit as dominant, obliterating Pinkie Sanchez of the D.U.F. despite Sanchez’s cocky demeanor and frequent taunting. Catching Sanchez in mid-air, he executed three powerbombs and the Uhaa Combination (standing moonsault followed by standing shooting star) for the quick win.
Review: Nation could be a millionaire someday. How the WWE haven’t yet noticed him I’m not sure, but he can’t have long left on the indies. Pinkie’s antics were pretty funny, particularly yelling “I’m okay!” after a dive to the outside. But Nation was the star here, and we saw more of his incredible physical gifts. Uhaa’s been wrestling in Japan as a member of Blood Warriors for a month or so now and still doesn’t have BW attire… what gives?
- Uhaa speaks of the power of Blood Warriors after the match, and Ricochet insults The Arena, Philly and basically everyone not in Blood Warriors. Ronin arrive to quiet them down, with Swann calling Ricochet nothing more than Cima’s b***h. The crowd love that and scream it out when prompted.
Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann vs. Super Smash Bros.
Recap: Ronin made their debut in Evolve thanks to the official merger with DGUSA and made an immediate impact, putting down one of the company’s best teams in the Super Smash Bros. after Chuck Taylor hit the Awful Waffle on Player Dos. It was a battle of creative offense and incredible athleticism, with Player Dos and Rich Swann in particular demonstrating their ability to flip and fly. At one point Taylor held Dos in a death valley driver position on the apron and Swann ran and jumped over the top of them to hit a dive to the outside, followed by Taylor hitting the move onto the apron. The Smash Bros. nearly got the victory with some of their high impact double teams, but Ronin were able to rally back and the ever-devestating Awful Waffle led to Player Dos’ downfall after he avoided the move at first.
Review: Both of these teams are awesome and the Smash Bros. need to be booked regularly somewhere. That is all… Nah, but seriously this was a lot of fun, though Rich Swann was a little more reserved than I would have liked. He and Taylor work surprisingly well together as a team and I look forward to seeing what they can do now they have Evolve as a playground as well as DGUSA. That being said, Taylor was at the top of the mountain before the merger with six wins, and it would be a shame to see that change now that Gargano’s championship is recognised in Evolve.
Jon Davis vs. Kyle Matthews
Recap: Young powerhouse Jon Davis began the road to living up to his potential by picking up a victory over Kyle Matthews to bring him back to a 1-1 record, hitting Three Seconds Around The World to get the pin. Matthews didn’t manage much offense.
Review: Jon Davis is strong. The crowd were completely dead for this one, failing to pop even for the mighty Pounce. That ruined the match for me, because it was short and simplistic so it needed some heat. Perhaps the overly-long intermission killed the crowd?
- Jon Davis challenged Finlay to a match after the bout was over. Strong words.
Sami Callihan vs. Bobby Fish w/AR Fox
Recap: In a rematch from the Style Battle, Bobby Fish was able to make Sami Callihan tap out with the Fish Hook. Callihan has only himself to blame for the loss, as it was an AR Fox distraction that allowed Fish to come back from the jaws of certain defeat and get the win. Fox of course was only out there in the first place after Callihan taunted him earlier in the evening. Both men worked each other’s legs throughout, attempting to use their respective finishing holds to get the win.
Review: And the lame duck of the night is… Seriously, they were going for a slow burn and instead they just ended up with a boring match. The crowd loved Callihan despite him being a heel, cared not one bit for Fish and cared even less for the pace of the match. Remember when the average Evolve match was less than five minutes? The finish confuses me too. At one point Callihan obliterated Fish’s leg and had the Stretch Muffler and if you ask me that should have been the end. Instead, Fox gets away with slapping Fish in the face several times, because apparently trying to goad your friend on via slapping their face is not a disqualification. Then Fox, a babyface, distracts Callihan, spits in his face and causes him to lose and is still a babyface. Weird. Bad. Weird.
- After the match Fox puts on a pair of handcuffs and asks Callihan to hit him. Pinkie Sanchez emerges from the back to hand Sami a beer bottle and after a great deal of deliberation, the D.U.F. decide to leave, frustrated.
Open the Freedom Gate Title Match
Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet
Recap: Johnny Gargano made his first successful defense of the Open the Freedom Gate title, defeating Ricochet with the GargaNo-Escape to win a battle of 2011′s two most improved wrestlers. The pair demonstrated exciting counters to each other’s favourite moves all match long, with Ricochet dominating for several minutes, but his cocky attitude prevented him from putting the champion away, and Gargano soon found a way to fire back, nearly forcing a submission a couple of times. Several head-drops later and Ricochet was able to hit the 630, but Gargano kicked out. Ricochet tried the move again but missed, allowing Gargano to hit the Hurts Donut and lock in the GargaNo-Escape again and with that the match was over.
Review: The crowd should be ashamed of themselves because they simply were not there for the first half and then decided to just start booing both men even though from where I was sitting this was a great main event. Ricochet looked better than Gargano in my opinion, showing the full range of what he can do, both in the air and on the mat, as well as with his mannerisms and heel tactics. Gargano wasn’t bad by any means, but Ric was just on point. They flubbed a couple of spots, but that didn’t deserve the crowd to completely turn on them. The finish was a little sudden, but given how much the crowd had turned and how they were demanding Ricochet tap out, it’s probably best it ended how it did. Gargano was clearly injured, so perhaps they hurried the finish to accommodate?
- Gargano was helped to the back after the match, with Taylor and Swann looking concerned. Medical staff came to the champion’s aid after he remained still for a couple of minutes. Not sure exactly what was wrong with him, possibly a concussion, perhaps some other kind of injury, but he looked very beat up.
The Final Send-Off
Joey Styles thanks the fans for coming out and talks about his memories in The Arena before introducing Pitbull Gary Wolfe, J.T. Smith and Todd Gordon. Pretty sad turn-out. A group of CZW wrestlers led by DJ Hyde turn up to crash the party, claiming the building is theirs as they ran more shows there than ECW ever did. Fair point. Balls Mahoney arrives and does okay for a moment but soon gets overwhelmed. New Jack hits the scene and kills everyone… until Justin Credible betrays ECW to attack him. Sabu is here now too…. and they’re going to have a match?
Sabu vs. Justin Credible
Recap: Sabu defeated Justin Credible with the Arabian Skullcrusher in the final wrestling match in The Arena. The pair of ECW legends brutalised each other with every weapon they could find, but in the end it was Sabu coming out on top.
Review: The crowd cheered every moment of this. I wish I wasn’t surprised. It was slow, it was messy, it wasn’t at all interesting, but the crowd loved it. They hated Gargano/Ricochet, but they loved these two. Sigh. Go away Philadelphia.
- Sabu asks to speak and the crowd go nuts. Sami Callihan prevents this from taking place though and attacks Sabu with a bottle before cutting a promo claiming The Arena is his now after what he’s done in the last two years. He dares anyone to stop him, and AR Fox attacks but Pinkie Sanchez comes to Sami’s aid. Sami thanks the fans that have supported him but then tells them all to go do something not nice to themselves. The lights go out and…… nobody is there when they come back on. That’s right everybody, Sami Callihan is the last wrestler to stand tall in The Arena, he dominates AR Fox again, and I hate Philadelphia.
- This was a very strange wrestling event. In the first half everything seemed fine, a typical Evolve crowd, cheering the right people, clued up on what’s what. I missed Low Ki’s return but I presume that was great. From the matches I did things were going well enough. Cheech and Cloudy and The Scene vs. Silver/Reynolds were inoffensive, and the trend of getting The Scene out of the way early so the real show can get under way continued somewhat. Sanchez/Nation was pretty fun for a squash, Jigsaw/Fox was awesome, and Ronin vs Super Smash Bros. ended up being the match of the night thanks to the crowd actually playing along.
- Then came a very long intermission and perhaps coincidentally things went downhill. Davis/Matthews was short and the crowd cared not a single bit, ruining it. Fish/Callihan was boring and the whole Fox/Callihan feud continues to just be strange, with the crowd cheering Callihan and Fox acting like a heel at times. The main event was pretty good and probably would have been even better if it had taken place in front of any other crowd. Gargano appeared to be hurt and the crowd were actively booing towards the end, so one or both of those things may have caused them to go home a little early.
- If only it had all ended there. Instead we get a quite frankly sad farewell from the pitifully small number of ECW alumni they could get hold of, an inter-promotional fight and an impromptu main event between out of shape 40 year olds that went ten minutes, was utterly uninteresting and for some reason the crowd loved anyway. THEN Sami Callihan gets to ruin the feel-good moment they were trying to create, kills Sabu, fends off AR Fox with ease, craps on the fans and worst of all GETS AWAY WITH IT! There ya go folks that’s The Arena’s grand send-off. Good riddance. Goodnight.
Matt Waters became a wrestling fan through the 1990s WWF video games. He didn't know who on earth Austin was, but he knew playing as him was a very good thing. He got on board with the televised iteration of the pseudo-sport at age 10, watching WCW and later WWF. Becoming bored with the product around 2005, he turned to Ring of Honor and indie wrestling and... well... here we are. Occasionally he writes, mostly he hosts the Podcast of Honor.
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