Tuesday, April 19, 2011

EVOLVE 6 Review/EVOLVE 7 Preview (iPPV Tonight!)

EVOLVE Wrestling kicks off their 2011 campaign tonight; live on iPPV hosted by WWNLive.com. Please click the link below from Jim to order this show. The idea of a Tuesday night show is an interesting one. Definitely a non-traditional night for indy wrestling, EVOLVE is a non-traditional promotion with the way they’ve focused on Win/Loss records and a more personal background on many of the wrestlers they feature as drawing points for fans. 2010 was a year where EVOLVE really shaped and sculpted their identity and I feel tonight they will not only set the tone for 2011, but they take the spotlight opportunity that exists and make the most of it.

I quickly want to review EVOLVE 6 (available for purchase here: www.evolvewrestling.com; $15) and then look at how EVOLVE 7 sets up.

EVOLVE 6 had three major themes going into and heading out of the show.

1. The first Wins Leaders in EVOLVE for singles and tag team divisions would be determined.

2. The debuts of Austin Aries and Homicide.

3. The story of Bobby Fish and his chasing his first win.

Three wrestlers (Jimmy Jacobs, Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano) all had sights set on being the Wins Leader (or holding a share of it) as they entered EVOLVE. Taylor had the challenge of well-traveled, often considered top level wrestler Austin Aries. Jacobs and Gargano opposed one another to upset the apple cart of the other and continue the rivalry they had with each other since EVOLVE 1. When the dust settled after EVOLVE 6, all three wrestlers were tied at 4-2 and all considered the Wins Leader. Another interesting development was Larry Dallas creating an “A-List” Group and sponsoring fighters in EVOLVE, with Taylor and Gargano being the first two signed respectively. This sets up EVOLVE 7 as the ground where a true Wins Leader will finally emerge.

Austin Aries and Homicide made their names for the better part of a decade across the U.S. and internationally, competing for a who’s who list of pro wrestling organizations. Both achieved one of the highest honors as well, becoming Ring of Honor World Champion, a title that was and still is a very well-respected championship. Each having done so much, both entered EVOLVE with new career motivations. Homicide was drawn in by the agitating, aggravating, and irritating Jon Moxley, who wanted to draw the fight out of “The Notorious 187” to prove that he was truly a bad man as well. Aries was looking to compete against a new crop of talent and prove that his abilities could continue to be un-matched, regardless of where he plied his talents in the ring.

EVOLVE 6 was a tale of two stories for these athletes. Aries was victorious in a hard-fought bout against Chuck Taylor (where Chucky T’s guts were on full display as he fought through a severe shoulder injury) and showed a measure of respect to Taylor post-match. Homicide and Moxley’s war of words came to a head in a brutal Relaxed Rules Match that saw a variety of weapons used, but ultimately Moxley’s psychological warfare along with nagging injuries were too much for Homicide. The Brooklyn native snapped after the referee stopped the match to prevent further injury, despite Homicide never giving up or tapping out. Homicide wailed away on Moxley, drawing blood with his “ghetto fork” and nearing a scary, sodomy approaching violation with a screwdriver. Yet, this entire scene played out and Moxley refused to fight back. The result, Homicide remains suspended by EVOLVE officials as EVOLVE 7 is set and Moxley will now battle Aries, with a lot on the line to be explored below.

Bobby Fish is arguably the wrestler who used the EVOLVE stage better than any other wrestler during 2010. He was a name who had a little more exposure than Johnny Gargano, Jon Moxley and others, but in the minds of many fans, he wasn’t someone that was given much, if any thought to. From EVOLVE 1 through EVOLVE 4, Fish’s string of absolutely incredible, competitive and dramatic matches against Kyle O’Reilly, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero and Bryan Danielson raised his profile without a doubt and proved that even in defeat; he was always just one maneuver away from victory. After taking stock of himself and EVOLVE 5 off, Fish returned to where he began and engaged in another memorable encounter (again) with the fast-rising Kyle O’Reilly. Both men traded hard-hitting strikes, kicks and high impact moves, which tested their will as much as it tested their fighting spirit. Fish was able to finally overcome his winless streak and was the better man that O’Reilly that night, setting his personal sights with a fresh approach for 2011. If his 2010 was an indication, when Bobby Fish graces the EVOLVE ring in 2011 (he unfortunately is not on EVOLVE 7), he will be worth watching.

Additional quick notes from EVOLVE 6: Silas Young returned after a 10 month hiatus and admitted substance abuse issues to gain a big win over the previously undefeated Drake Younger, Rich Swann, AR Fox and Tony Nese used a Four Way Match to showcase their abilities and provide a glimpse of what is to come, Up in Smoke continued their tag dominance, becoming the Tag Team Wins Leaders and Ricochet continued his 2010 rise, overcoming Adam Cole.

Now, tonight EVOLVE 7 becomes reality in Manhattan from B.B. King’s Bar & Grill. The main event is Austin Aries vs. Jon Moxley. Aries wants to continue the momentum of EVOLVE 6, while Moxley will say farewell, having recently been signed by WWE. Moxley’s star has constantly been on the rise across many promotions over the last 2 years. Can he steal Aries’ thunder and go out a winner or will Aries prove that he, as much if not more, than Moxley is deserving of a WWE opportunity and truly is the better wrestler/athlete?

As mentioned above, what was left unresolved at EVOLVE 6 will get settled tonight, as Wins Leader’s Jacobs, Taylor and Gargano all have “spoiler” matches against the debuting Shiima Xion, Akira Tozawa and Jon Davis, respectively. In the event all 3 win again in their schedule bouts, a Playoff Match will be held with any or all who have identical records to truly determine the overall Wins Leader. Jacobs winning would truly cement his efforts, along with serving as a small milestone of sorts as he continues to battle back from admitted addiction issues. For Taylor and Gargano, athletes both sponsored by Larry Dallas and his funding sources and coupled with the beautiful Reby Sky, a win for either would give more money, more power and an even higher profile for this rapidly developing group. The one wondering would be what happens if Taylor and Gargano are forced to face off? Will Dallas’ money talk or will B.S. walk?

Elsewhere on the card, Zack Sabre Jr. continues his impressive U.S. tour in what should be an incredible display of striking, athleticism and hard-hitting action against Sami Callihan. High-flyers Rich Swann and AR Fox will battle in a match that both men want. Who will be one step ahead of the other to get the “W” and can either Swann or Fox attempt to challenge Ricochet for the moniker “Future of Flight,” especially with Ricochet on tour with Dragon Gate? Silas Young looks to keep his positive momentum moving forward and targets Johnny Gargano, who he “charges” with part of the faltering of his sobriety. Before he can get to Gargano, he must first overcome Tony Nese, a man who is very similar to Silas in build and move set. Nese is also ready to breakout and would likely enjoy doing so at the expense of Young. Tag Team action rounds out the card, with the CHIKARA duo of Jigsaw & Frightmare battling the Midwest duo of Facade & Jason Gory in what is being touted as a potential show stealer and the only tag bout on the card.

Again, don’t forget to tune in tonight and check out EVOLVE 7. I will be watching live and will return with opinions and ideas in the aftermath of this exciting event! Thanks for reading!

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