Ybor City, Florida 6/28/12
Before I begin with the review, I should note that this was the first time that Evolve ran a show in The Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida. As we all know, this venue has now become a regular stop for Evolve, and is also the home of SHINE.
1.) Jake Manning (with The Gentleman’s Club) vs. John Silver: **½
The show kicks off with Jake Manning, who is accompanied by Chuck Taylor & The Swamp Monster, taking on John Silver. This was a fine opening match. These two seemed to work well together, and did a good job at getting the fans into the show. Silver would end up getting the win with an innovative version of a backcracker.
Before John Silver could be interviewed by Lenny Leonard, Chuck Taylor interrupts things. He says that he will defeat Johnny Gargano for the Open The Freedom Gate Title the next night at Evolve 15, and his first title defense will be against The Swamp Monster. This brings out Colt Cabana, leading to our next match.
2.) Chuck Taylor (with The Gentleman’s Club) vs. Colt Cabana: ***
As you may have expected, there was a lot of comedy in this one. Even with the comedy, the match itself was still pretty solid for what it was. If you’ve seen both guys enough, this is pretty much exactly what you would expect. It’s a little weird that Taylor would have this type of match the night before he would challenge Johnny Gargano for the Open The Freedom Gate Title, but again, it was still a solid match. Taylor would eventually pick up the win over Cabana.
3.) The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed) vs. Mike Cruz & Cheech Hernandez: ***
Here we have tag team action featuring The Scene, who are thankfully not accompanied by Larry Dallas tonight. They’re taking on the team of Mike Cruz & Cheech Hernandez (the latter is known most for his team with Cloudy called Up In Smoke, who were very successful in Evolve’s early years). This was pretty solid tag team contest. Cruz & Cheech looked really good for a makeshift tag team, but in the end, The Scene would pick up the victory.
4.) 2012 Style Battle Tournament - Jon Davis vs. Tommy Taylor: ***
This is the first match in 2012 Style Battle Tournament, which takes place over the course of this triple shot in Florida. Everyone in the tournament will face each other once. Two Points are awarded for wins, you lose a point for a loss. In particular, Jon Davis had declared that he would retire if he lost any of his matches. Here, he’s taking on Tommy Taylor, who had spent time in WWE developmental. This was a solid match, and a good start to the tournament. The pace was a little slow at times (and that may have affected how the crowd reacted to it), but it was still a pretty solid match. Davis would get the win, scoring two points.
5.) 2012 Style Battle Tournament - AR Fox vs. Bobby Fish: ***3/4
Now this is a styles clash if there other was one. You have the high flying, daredevil style of AR Fox going against the puroresu style of Bobby Fish. This was a really good match. The first true standout match of the night. Great action from both guys, and the crowd was very much into it. They certain didn’t hold anything back. In the end, Bobby Fish would get the submission victory over Fox, scoring two points.
After the match, Fish is interviewed by Lenny Leonard, who brings up that Fish has finally reached a .500 record in Evolve, now sitting at 4-4. He puts over Evolve being about wins & losses, and says he’s going to use the Style Battle Tournament to finally get above a .500 record.
6.) Sara Del Rey vs. Santana Garrett: *3/4
Up next we have a showcase match for SHINE, which is making its debut next month. This was basically an extended squash. Santana got some offense in, but it was mostly Sara Del Rey in control, and she easily gets the win.
Sara Del Rey takes the mic after the match, questioning if this was the best competition available. She wants only the best, and calls out former WWE Women’s Champion Jazz.
7.) Four-Way Freestyle - Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano vs. Alex Reynolds vs. Lince Dorado vs. Tony Nese: ***¾
Now this is a pretty random four-way, in terms of who was involved. This actually ended up being a really entertaining match. It was a fun contest where everyone had a chance to showcase themselves. It was also nice to see the Open The Freedom Gate Champion mix it up with some up-and-comers. Lots of crazy multi-man action throughout this one. In the end, Tony Nese would get the win after a 450 Splash on ALex Reynolds.
After the match, Nese is interviewed with Lenny Leonard, and he brings up Johnny Gargano’s open contract for Evolve 16. He accepts his challenge, so it looks like Gargano vs. Nese is set for that show.
8.) El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol: ****
This would be the first match in the El Generico/Samuray Del Sol Trilogy. This match had a lot of great action, as you would expect. Both guys took it to the limit, and the crowd loved what they were seeing. Lots of really cool offense from both competitors. Eventually, El Generico was finally able to connect with his Top Rope Brainbuster for the victory!!
Afterwords, El Generico puts over Samuray Del Sol, and calls out Low Ki. Christina Von Eerie and her massive mohawk interrupt him. She says that he can’t just walk into Dragon Gate USA, because it belongs to her stable, Mad Blankey. She slaps him a couple of times, but El Generico doesn’t retaliate. She continues to taunt him, but he finally spans, hitting her with a Yakuza Kick in the corner!! He looks dismayed as the show comes to a close.
I thought this was a pretty solid effort from Evolve. The undercard, for the most part, was around average to good, with everything around the range of ***. The show finally picked up with the 2nd Style Battle Tournament Match of the show in AR Fox vs. Bobby Fish. It finished on a high note with an really entertaining four-way match, and the exciting first match in the El Generico/Samuray Del Sol Trilogy. A good night of wrestling is all you can really ask for, and this show certainly was that.