Evolve 9: Gargano vs. Taylor
Manhattan, New York 7/26/11
1.) Bobby Beverly vs. Eric Ryan: N/A
The shows kicks off with two guys who you might recognize from their work in AIW. They’re having a nice little back & forth match for a few minutes, when Kevin Steen shows up and takes them both out. For those of you who don’t know, this was during the year that Kevin Steen was “exiled” from Ring of Honor following his loss to El Generico in their brutal Fight Without Honor at Final Battle 2010. This was actually shortly after his appearance at Best In The World 2011, where he came back just to say “F*ck Ring of Honor”. He was given an open mic for this show, but it looks like he’s here to do more than that.
Steen then takes the mic. He says if he watches the show back and hears the commentators say anything bad about him, he will “rape their mouths”. He talks about a lot of things, including the last time he was in NYC, what he would do to Jim Cornette, and reminds everyone that Richards dropped Evolve after the first show. He said he has issues with Evolve as well, since it was Evolve Staff (probably referring to Gabe Sapolsky), that made him team up with El Generico in 2007. For that, he says he’s going to destroy Evolve.
This brings out Bobby Fish, and tells Steen that a lot of people have busted their asses to make Evolve relevant. He basically says that Steen needs to find a way to go along with the Evolve rules tonight, or he will straighten him out. Interesting enough, Steen has a seemingly subdued response, as he heads backstage.
2.) The Super Smash Brothers vs. Facade & Jason Gory: **3/4
So of course we all know about The Super Smash Brothers. I know a little bit about Facade, but I’ve never seen Jason Gory before. The team of Facade & Gory seem to have an intriguing gimmick as Facade creates graffiti art for a fan during his entrance. This was a solid tag team match. It was a sprint, and both teams got to showcase themselves in the time they were given. In the end, The Super Smash Brothers get the win. They’re interviewed by Lenny Leonard after the match, and Player Uno says they won’t stop until they have a million wins!
3.) Silas Young vs. Sugar Dunkerton: ***¼
Now this is an interesting styles clash, as you have the no-nonsense Silas Young up against CHIKARA’s resident baller Sugar Dunkerton. This was a pretty good match. Young was acting like a jerk to Dunkerton, calling him a joke, but that caused Dunkerton to fight back hard to prove that he wasn’t. Good action from these two. Young would eventually pick up the victory over Sugar Dunkerton.
During his post match interview with Lenny Leonard, Young says he may have overlooked Dunkerton a bit, but he still won. He says he’s closer to getting his hands on Johnny Gargano. This brings out Gargano, who takes responsibility for Young becoming an alcoholic again, but had no idea of Young’s past drinking problems at the time. Gargano apologizes and offers his hands, but Young just ignores him and walks off.
4.) Lince Dorado vs. Pinkie Sanchez: ***
Here we have a matchup between two guys who have done a lot of work in CHIKARA around this time. This was another pretty solid match. Solid action in this one. Both guys got to show what they had, but it was Pinkie Sanchez who would gain the advantage, and eventually, got the win.
In his post-match interview, Sanchez says he’s here in Evolve to wrestle. Pretty straight-forward.
Up next, Lenny Leonard introduces Larry Dallas, who purchased interview time on the show. He’s accompanied to the ring by Ahtu. He says the scheduled Main Event of Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor is not happening, before he introduces his newest tag team: The Scene of Caleb Konley & Scott Reed.
5.) Up In Smoke (Cheech & Cloudy) vs. The Scene (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed): ***1/4
Hard to believe that this was the debut match for The Scene. They certainly have an uphill battle, as Up In Smoke are undefeated in Evolve in tag team competition. This was a pretty good tag team match. Cheech & Cloudy have always been a solid tag team, but Konley & Reed showed a lot in here as well. Really nice back & forth action from both teams. In the end, The Scene would score what many would say is an upset win, giving Up In Smoke their first loss in Evolve.
After the match, Lenny Leonards tries to interview Up In Smoke on their loss. Instead of saying anything, Cheech attacks Cloudy! I guess Up In Smoke is no more.
6.) Bobby Fish vs. John Davis: N/A
Up next, we were supposed to have a singles match between Bobby Fish & Jon Davis, but Kevin Steen attacks them both less than a minute into the match, causing it to be thrown out. Fish wants to fight Steen, and Davis wants to fight them both, so they all agree to a Triple Threat Match right now!
7.) Three-Way Unsanctioned Street Fight - Kevin Steen vs. Bobby Fish vs. Jon Davis: ***¼
This wasn’t a very long match (it went just under 8 Minutes), but they packed in a lot of stuff in that time frame. Everyone got a chance to shine & showcase themselves in this one. Good action from everyone involved. In the end, Jon Davis would take out Steen, before pinning Bobby Fish for the victory.
After the match, Kevin Steen & Jon Davis continue to brawl, before Steen is finally carried away by security.
8.) Tony Nese vs. John SIlver: ***½
Here we have another interesting match, as it was before these two became the stars on the independent scene that they are today. This was actually a really good match. I wasn’t expecting much coming into this, but both guys really impressed. Lots of really nice action from both guys. Eventually, Silver would pick up the big victory over Tony Nese.
After the match, in his interview with Lenny Leonard, Silver says he’s here to say.
9.) Sami Callihan vs. David “Fit” Finlay: ****1/4
Obviously one of the big selling points of this show was the Evolve debut of the legendary Fit Finlay, as he’s taking on Sami Callihan. This was a great match. You had a lot of hard hitting action (as you would expect), as well as a good story, with the veteran Finlay just getting the better of Callihan at every turn, forcing Callihan to fight from underneath. Callihan fought back hard, and at times just would not stay down, but in the end, Finlay would score the victory.
After the match, Finlay is interviewed by Lenny Leonard, and thanks Evolve and the fans for inviting him to wrestle here in Manhattan. He says that Callihan is one of the toughest guys he’s ever been in the ring with, which is a huge compliment. Finlay then hugs Callihan as he exits.
10.) Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor: ****
Now it’s time for the Main Event! Larry Dallas tries to stop the match from happening, but it’s no use. Gargano then makes it known that he doesn’t need Larry Dallas. These guys know each other very well, and it certainly showed in this match. This was a great Main Event! Lots of great back & forth action between these two. Eventually, after a hard-fought match, Taylor would put Gargano away with the Awful Waffle for the victory.
After the match, Taylor & Gargano make amends, closing the show out on a high note.
This was a really good effort from Evolve. I think the main draw for a lot of people is the only Evolve appearance of Kevin Steen, who certainly left his mark on this show. You also had two great Main Event Matches in Finlay vs. Callihan & Gargano vs. Taylor, which are definitely worth checking out. The undercard, for the most part, was pretty solid, with a surprising highlight being Tony Nese vs. John Silver. I feel as though some might forget about this show, but it’s certainly a show that’s worthy checking out.