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Evolve 18 Review and Analysis

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-LIVE From Vorhees, New Jersey
Estimated Attendance: 300-400

-Your host is Arda Ocal, Colt Cabana, and Johnny Gargano

-AR Fox (Open the United Gate Champion)(6-4) vs. Tony Nese (2-3)

Match in Five Words or Less: Innovative Fun

Match Summary: Hearing noise emanating from this New Jersey crowd. TJ Hawke and Ben Turpen are really making a difference. Feeling out process to start. Nese maintains a headlock. Shoulder tackle off the ropes. Fox ducks and dodges. Hip toss blocked. Nice roll by Nese. Into a submission ad Fox’s neck gets stretched. O’Connor roll gets two. Fox kicks Nese up and over. Trio of armdrags by Nese. Big dive and the guard rail breaks. Well, it’s going to be a long night of action. Chop by Nese. Back in the ring. Spin kick misses for Fox. Up and on the ropes. Incredible agility. Armdrag and dropkick by Fox. Asai moonsault misses. Nese leaps but gets caught with a dropkick. Fox with a huge dive toward the entrance way. Elbow to the back of the neck. Clubbering blow to the back. Elbow to the chest as Nese is on the apron. Leg drop thumps. Fox puts Nese on the top rope. Nese blocks Lo Mein Pain and tosses him down. Kick to the head. Back to the corner for an open hand chop. Forearm. Snapmare into a cover for two. Fox with a forearm. Nese sweeps him down. Springboard moonsault hits. 1-2-NO! Bodyslam by Nese. Into a chinlock. Jawbreaker by Fox. Forearm back and forth. Fox flips over to the apron. Kick to the face. Fox hits a springboard dropkick. Clothesline. Back elbow. Another dropkick. Running charge and he slides to the floor. Springboard acecrusher. 1-2-NO! Fox to the top rope. Headscissors. Fox ends up on top for two. Series of kicks miss for both men. Nese sent into the middle rope. Fox hits a superkick. Rolling death valley driver. Swanton. 1-2-NO! Forearms by Fox. Running boot  by Nese. Fox follows up with one of his own. Nese spinds Fox around and hits a powerbomb.  Another kickout by Fox. Fox kicks Nese while he’s on the top rope. Boot by Nese. Fox with double boots. Right hands by Fox. Nese comes down but Fox won’t die. Kick to the face. Lo Mein Pain! Fox advances.

Match Analysis: Just a really fun and innovative back and forth. Fox continues to get better with each match and is also breaking out new, innovative offense. Nese was so underused in TNA it’s disgusting. He continues to impress and put forth excellent performances. Perfect way to start the show. Not a lot of psychology but a lot of athleticism.

Winner (s)/Rating: AR Fox/***1/2

-Papadon (0-0) vs. Masada (0-0)

Match in Five Words or Less: The Complete Opposite

Match Summary: Masada is pretty over in front of what I assume is a big-time CZW crowd. Lock-up as they go in the corner. Chop by Masada. Papadon brings him over and into an armbar. Shoving match. They pie face each other. Chop battle. Headlock by Papadon. Knee to the midsection and chops from Masada. Uppercut. Knee by Papadon. Kicks. Chops. Slap. Masada blocks a kick and hits a back elbow. Papadon hits an uppercut off the middle rope. A two count. Running boot to the face. Stiff forearm. Right hand by Masada. Papadon won’t die. Clothesline by Masada. Another one. Block. Series of counters. Masada with a running forearm. Snapmare and he stretches Papadon out.   Elbow to the back of the neck. Forearm battle. Papadon hits a back suplex and kick to the face. Masada with a back suplex of his own. Flatliner into the middle rope by Papadon. Running face wash. Snapmare and a chinlock. Right hands by Masada. Forearm. Back and forth they go. Amazing. Back kick by Papadon. Elbow by Masada. Boot to the head. Off the ropes. Knee to the head. Running boot. A two count only. Papadon hands Masada across the top rope. Messed up suplex almost drops Masada on his head. Masada catches him. Regalplex drops Papadon. Brainbuster and Masada wins.

Match Analysis: Just a very different match from the opening one. Fun technical back and forth match to start before they dropped some bombs. Some mess-ups from Papadon but nothing too disastrous. Masada can really go with the best of them whether he’s in a technical match or a deathmatch. Hope to see both men showcased in Evolve more.

Winner (s)/Rating: Masada/**3/4

-Rich Swann (1-2) vs. Jigsaw (1-2)

Match in Five Words or Less: Chikara Style

Match Summary: Some mat work to start. Cravat by Swann. Jigsaw counters into a hammerlock. Chop to the chest. Jigsaw stretches Swann across his own back. Leapfrog by Jigsaw. Pace picks up. Dropkick by Swann and a two count. Snapmare by Swann. Kick to the back. Knee placed in the back and a chinlock applied. Knee to the midsection. Bodyslam by Swann. Jigsaw catches Swann and drops him in a pancake. Running kick. Dive takes out the guard rails again. Chop by Jigsaw. Swann comes back with one of his own. Kick across the chest. Back suplex into the side of the apron. Blow to the back and kick to Swann. Chop back from Swann. Boot by Jigsaw. Swann sent into the top turnbuckle. Choking in the corner. Stomp by Jigsaw. Snapmare and another kick to the back. 1-2-NO! Body scissors applied. Elbows by Swann. Jigsaw brings him down. Strikes from Swann. Forearm by Jigsaw. Follow-up chop. Whip across my Swann. Boots out of the corner by Jigsaw. To the top rope. Swann hits a rana. Jigsaw rolls under the bottom rope. Corkscrew dive to the floor. Swann sends Jigsaw back in the ring. Boot by Jigsaw. Swann hits a tornado DDT as he goes around. 1-2-NO! Swann misses a charge. Elbow. Sunset flip. Jigsaw rolls through and hits a double stomp. German suplex into a bridge for two. Jigsaw gets himself psyched up. Brainbuster blocked. Knee to the stomach. Kick by Swann. Leg drop as he leaps off Jigsaw’s back. 1-2-NO! Jigsaw reverses a whip and catches Swann. Firemen’s carry into a powerbomb. Jack knife pin. 1-2-NO! Kicks across the chest by Jigsaw. Jigsaw misses. Swann rolls under and hits an acecrusher. Standing shooting star press. 1-2-NO! Jigsaw on his knees. Series of kicks from Swann. Sling shot sends Swann into the top rope. Superkick from Jigsaw. Brainbuster. 1-2-NO!  Double stomp misses. Spin kick by Swann. He covers both  legs and gets three.

Match Analysis: I’m so happy that these two really got to develop this into a really good match. They started slow but picked up the pace and had the crowd rolling at the end. Loved the nearfalls as it looked like a couple of spots could have easily been the finish. Great to see Evolve put a match like this out there.

Winner (s)/ Rating: Rich Swann/***1/4

-Larry Dallas comes out. I consider leaving the room. He tries to get Papadon to join The Scene. Papadon signs it. Marti Belle signs the contract. Apparently she’s wrestling both Larry Dallas and Papadon. Papadon powerbombs her. Dallas covers and gets the win. This gets no star rating or any more discussion. Pure garbage.

-Jon Davis (4-3 vs. Chuck Taylor (9-4)

Match in Five Words or Less: Jon Davis…Not Over

Match Summary: Jon Davis’s entrance gave me time to post some stuff on the website and Twitter, so thank him for that. They take FOREVER to get started. Shoulder tackle by Davis. Taylor tells him to go again. Davis hits another shoulder tackle. Taylor stays down. Referee lifts his arm twice, but Taylor comes up on the third one. He runs into another shoulder tackle. Davis with a glancing blow. Taylor continues charging and failing on Davis. Leaping shoulder tackle on Davis. Running knee as Davis is on the apron. Plancha but Davis catches him and hits a spinebuster on the side of the ring. Clubbering blow. Elbow to the back of the neck on Taylor. Taylor sent front first into the corner. Back suplex gets two. Shots from Taylor. Right hand by Davis. Taylor tells him to stop and says he has a grenade. Davis hits it out of his hand. Swamp Monster and Drew Gulak toss the grenade. It blows up in the Swamp Monster’s face. Roll-up by Taylor. Swinging DDT off the middle rope. 1-2-NO! Uranagi blocked. Taylor hits a boot. Davis hits a powerslam. Taylor whipped. Back elbow. Lucha roll. Taylor goes for the half crab. Davis kicks away. Uranagi by Taylor. Kick to the chest. 1-2-NO! Omega Driver blocked. Clothesline misses. Soul Food hits. Davis with a clothesline. Another one. 1-2-3. Crowd does not like that.

Match Analysis: Very odd match as Taylor was being his usual comedic self while Davis was trying to get himself.  Bizarre match that wasn’t very good as both guys seemed to be on different wavelengths.

Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Jon Davis/**1/4

-Johnny Gargano gets into Jon Davis’s face. He buries Davis for being fake and essentially being a PHONY. A BIG FAT PHONY. Gargano says Davis is mediocre at being a bully because he’s still standing. He walks out.

-Davis tries cutting a promo and mentions the main event being contested under Dragon Gate rules. Apparently, he’ll be back later.

-Arda Ocal is in the ring making announcements when some John Morrison groupie interrupts. This brings out Christina Von Eerie. Von Eerie takes her out to literally no reaction.


-El Generico and Samuray Del Sol vs. Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno and Player Dos)

Match in Five Words or Less: Upset City

Match Summary: This might literally be worth the 15 dollars right here. Code of honor followed. We’re all friends here. Del Sol and Dos begin. Feeling out process. They go to a stalemate. Generico in next. Dos brings Generico to the corner. Uno grabs the arm. Shoulder block sends Uno off the ropes. Uno sends Generico down. Generico fake dives. Trio of armdrags. Uno up and over. Shoulder block on Generico. Uno comes over. Clothesline misses  by Generico. Headscissors by Uno. Generico is surprised. Generico does not accept Uno’s hand. Del Sol reenters as does Dos. Armdrag by Dos. Sweep by Del Sol. Beautiful rana. Kick misses. Dos hits a rana. Handshake. Tag to Generico. Shot to the back. Clubbering blow. Dos sent into the top turnbuckle. Uno with a chop to the head of Generico. Drop toe hold by Uno. Knee drop by Dos. 1-2-NO! Snapmare. Dos brought into the ring. 1-2-NO! Chop in the corner. Generico comes back. Generico sent into the boot of Uno. Chop on Generico. Boot and chops by Generico. Uno comes back with one of his own. Waistlock by Dos. Roll-up on Generico gets two. Dropkick connects to Generico. Double elbows. Moonsault/fis drop combination. Chinlock. Del Sol tries getting Generico back into things. Blue thunder powerbomb by Generico. Del Sol hot tag. Underneath. Leapfrog. Headscissors by Del Sol. Dos sent outside. Standing sliced bread by Del Sol on Uno gets two. Uno takes Del Sol into the corner. Chop by Uno. Shots from Generico. Double axehandle. Elbow. Kick to the midsection. Snapmare and elbow drop. To the chinlock. Generico goes for the mask. Double team offense as Del Sol hits a beautiful springboard splash. Trailer hitch. Kick to the head. Into the corner. Generico with a right hand to the back. Jab in the corner. Chop by Uno. Boot and right hand by Generico. Whip across. Yakuza kick blocked as Uno plants him in a flatliner. Dos tags in. Cross body hit on Del Sol. Generico sent off. Pele kick back on Del Sol. Fake of a dive. Uno hits a tope con helo through the ropes. Del Sol roll-up gets two. Dragon suplex gets two for Dos. Del Sol out of a back suplex. He connects on a kick to the head. Boots as Dos is in the corner. Right hand by Generico. Dos with elbows. Michinoku driver by Generico gets two. Stomp by Del Sol as Generico knocks Uno to the floor powerslam by Generico. Generico monkey flips Del Sol on top of Dos. Generico tosses Uno out of the ring. Yakuza kick! Brainbuster turned into a rana. 1-2-NO! Exchange of nearfalls with the help of their partners. That was awesome. Del Sol immediately gets kicked by Dos. Powerbomb countered. Knee by Dos. GET OVER HERE! Exploder sends Del Sol into Generico. 450 by Dos as Uno hits a cannonball. 1-2-NO! Uno kicks Generico out of the ring. Del Sol counters and sends Dos into the corner. Yakuza kick. Half nelson suplex. Del Sol hits Rising Sun. 1-2-NO! Uno breaks it up.  Uno tosses Generico out of the ring. Chop to the back. Uno tells him to stop. Right hand. Generico takes Uno out and leaps to the top rope. Uno brings Generico down. Uno sent out of the ring. Yakuza kick. Dos shoves him. Del Sol brings Dos down and gets three.

Match Analysis: In front of a better crowd like the one in Reseda, this might be a match of the year contender. As is, this was just a very good one. Not sure about the result here with Del Sol going to Mexico and Generico perhaps going back to Ring of Honor. We’ll have to see how this develops. Fantastic work from all four men as you would expect. This delivered to my expectations.

Winner (s)/Rating: El Generico and Samuray Del Sol/***3/4

-Four Way Freestyle: Jon Davis vs. Rich Swann vs. Masada vs. AR Fox

Match in Five Words or Less: Another Upset

Match Summary: Davis dominates early. Back and forth with Masada. Spinning backfist misses. Charging forearm. Kick sends Davis out. Fox up and over. Rana on Masada. Lo Mein Rain hit on Davis and Swann. Masada with a missile dive. Davis takes it. Kick by Fox. Leg drop on Masada prone on the middle rope. Masada catches Fox on the top rope and goes for a superplex. Battle. Firemen’s carry but Swann interjects. Boot to the face. Swann 450s and goes into a senton. Swann placed on the middle rope. Boot to the face. Davis catches Fox and powerbombs him in the corner. Jackhammer gets two. Release German suplex on Swann but Masada breaks that up. Back elbow. Spinebuster on Masada. Swann breaks the count. Chop in the corner. Masada with shots to the back Of Davis. Fox climbs. Powerbomb. I hate that tower of doom stuff. So dangerous. Fox tries covering everyone but can’t get the win. Masada drops Fox right on his neck. Oh my God. Davis breaks the count. Series of reverals. Three seconds around the world Swann breaks the count. Fox hits a swanton on Davis. Duck of a clothesline. Acecrusher blocked. Swann hits a spin kick on Fox. Jack knife pin and Swann gets a shocking victory.

Match Analysis: Three of the four men in this match have to wrestle later on tonight, so it makes sense for this to be short. Good for the time given but this should have been so much more considering its spot in the card. One of the cons to these doubleheaders (and some of the talent being on both shows) is things can get shortchanged.

Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Rich Swann/**1/2

-Open the Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano (champion) vs. Sami Callihan

Match in Five Words or Less: This Crowd Sucks

Match Summary: Davis tries to get involved right away, but Callihan boots him out of the ring. Callihan tells Davis to look at the screen. He tells Davis to leave. Crowd also tells Davis to leave.  Early face wash by Callihan. A second one. Gargano blocks a third one. Slaps by Callihan. Gargano locks in GargaNo Escape. Dive and the guard rails EXPLODE! Another huge dive. Callihan comes off with a clothesline. Dive through the bottom and middle rope. Chop on Gargano. Running chop as Gargano is prone. Callihan chops the post as Gargano ducks. Champion with one of his own. Suplex blocked. Knee blocked. Bicycle kick by Callihan. Gargano counters a back suplex. Forearm to the corner. Gargano hits a vertical suplex to the corner. Chop in the corner by the champion. Challenger spits. Gargano chops by him. Gargano goes to work on the left arm of Callihan. He bridges back on the left arm. Into a roll-up for  two. Dropkick. Crowd is pretty split. Boots in the corner. Whip in the corner. Boot out of the corner by Callihan. Leaping kick by Gargano. Callihan bites Gargano’s hand. Slap. Headbutt. Sunset bomb blocked. Superkick to the left leg. Callihan pulls Gargano out of the corner. Trailer hitch except he grabs the legs almost in an ankle lock position. He ties the arms back and hits a forearm to the neck. Left hands by Gargano. Callihan hits a death valley driver. Slingshot splash is met with knees. Back and forth with forearms. Then they transition to chops. Clotheslines from Gargano. Roll over and a stiff kick to the face. Cover for two. Headbutt by Gargano. Callihan brings him up and over. Kick. Spear caught. To the other side of the ring. Gargano flips him over. Shoulder tackle from outside. Springboard DDT gets two. Chop in the corner. Biting in the corner. Whip by Callihan. Gargano ducks. Leaping knee. A second one blocked. Dragon screw leg whip. Figure four leglock by Callihan. Gargano struggles but makes the bottom rope. Running clothesline. Enziguri by Gargano. Pump kick by Callihan. Series of back and forths. Clothesline collapses both men. Hurts Doughnut blocked. Callihan uses his thumbs in a neat trick. Series of counters. Knee by Gargano. Scoop up. Lawn dart into the bottom turnbuckle. Hurts Doughnut. The crowd lightly applauds the kick-out. Awful. Callihan grabs the bottom rope. Callihan is still on the mat. Gargano looks concerned. Back drop driver out of nowhere. 1-2-NO! Gargano goes to the top rope. Callihan punches him but brings him to the top. Both men get knocked down. Superkick by Gargano as Callihan lies across the middle turnbuckle. Sunset bomb blocked. Callihan sent butt first on the apron. Gargano sends Callihan into the guard rails face first. Back drop driver by Callihan on Gargano. Splash misses. Immediately Callihan applies the stretch muffler. Roll-up for two. Pump kick. Sitdown powerbomb. 1-2-NO! Stretch muffler! Callihan rolls away but Gargano applies his own submission finish. Roll-up by Callihan gets two. Stretch muffler. Gargano with a hard series of kicks in the face. Gargano sends him down. GargaNo Escape! Callihan lifts him up. Crucifix bomb. GargaNo Escape. Knees to the head. Callihan is out. Gargano retains.

Match Analysis: Great way to cap off this show. These two delivered another classic Freedom Gate title match. Other than his matches with Finlay, this was the best of Callihan in the WWN universe. Major props to these guys for wrestling a great contest in front of a crowd that could not have cared less. I loved the counters as neither man could get their finishers locked on completely. Once Gargano did, match over. Great effort.

Winner (s)/Time/Rating:  STILL Open the Freedom Gate Champion-Johnny Gargano/****

The Verdict: Not quite sure what was accomplished tonight other than being a really good wrestling show. Jon Davis continues to struggle, but at least he didn’t win both of his matches. Swann put on a really good first round performance and we’ll see if him winning actually goes anywhere come tournament time. The tag team bonus match and main event made this event worth 15 dollars all by itself. Great work by all six of those men. Just like a lot of Evolve shows, a lot of great action but some questionable storylines and one terrible segment involving Larry Dallas.

Regardless of this show and what’s to come, Gabe Sapolsky and DJ Hyde need to do whatever they can to get out of ever having to go back to Vorhees, New Jersey.

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2 thoughts on “Evolve 18 Review and Analysis

  1. […] live from Voorhees, New Jersey. Here are the results of the event, courtesy of my overlords at Pro Wrestling Ponderings (click the link to see their analysis of the […]

  2. I was there live and the crowd was mainly just people there who were going to see CZW later on. The whole crowd for both shows was more about seeing the weapons and blood rather than seeing actual wrestling. Whenever there was wrestling, the crowd sat on their hands. Its a damn shame that when companies like CZW try to be more than just a deathmatch company, their fan base doesn’t want to accept it. If EVOLVE was by itself, the reactions would be completely different cuz there would have been more fans who would have come that enjoy pure wrestling. I do think EVOLVE was a damn good show with 2 great matches. 

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