Other PPVs RADICAN'S EVOLVE 10 iPPV REPORT 1/14: Complete review of final show from ECW Arena
Jan 25, 2012 - 5:50:10 PM
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RADICAN’S “EVOLVE 10” iPPV REPORT
JANUARY 14, 2012
AIRED LIVE ON WWNLIVE.COM
Larry Dallas and Ahtu came out to start the show for Ahtu’s open challenge. Lenny Leonard explained Dallas had been able to slip through the cracks with the merger of EVOLVE and DGUSA to be back at ringside. Low Ki’s music played and he came out to a big pop.
1 - - LOW KI vs. AHTU (w/Larry Dallas)
Low Ki nailed Ahtu with a flip kick to start the match and Ahtu was down for a long time. Dallas tried to fan Ahtu with his shirt to revive him. The crowd chanted for another kick as Ahtu finally staggered to his feet. Low Ki charged at Ahtu and hit a handspring into a knee strike. Ki went up top and finished off Ahtu with a double stomp.
Winner: Low Ki – This was an effective squash for Low Ki, but the ref probably should have stopped the match after the first kick since Ahtu was legit knocked out.
Ahtu was helped out of the ring after the match. Ki got on the mic as the crowd applauded. Ki said he’d sat on the sidelines for a year and watch wrestling die a slow death. Low Ki said boys are trying to imitate men and actors are trying to imitate professional wrestlers. Ki said he was here to be the catalyst for change. Ki said he wants his profession back and the crowd applauded. Ki said he was putting everyone on notice that he’s in EVOLVE and he’s not going anywhere. Ki said he’d be in Miami and Toronto for the upcoming DGUSA and EVOLVE dates. Ki said if anyone is man enough to step in the ring with him, he dares them to do so. Ki then did Taz’s old beat me if you can, survive if I let you catch phrase before leaving the ring.
Johnny Gargano came to ringside to do commentary, but they didn’t have a headset for him. Leonard told Gargano to keep an eye on the upcoming match alongside him.
Cheech came out to very little reaction. Cloudy came out next to even less of a reaction.
2 - - CHEECH vs. K.C. “CLOUDY” DAY
Leonard reset the feud between both men that began at “EVOLVE 9” when Cheech turned on Day. Day charged at Cheech, but he caught him and tossed him across the ring. The pace picked up with both men traded moves at a high speed. Day sent Cheech to the floor and went for a dive, but Cheech moved. Cheech got back into the ring and nailed him with a combination backbreaker. Cloudy tried to fire back, but Cheech took him down with a Thesz press. Cheech locked in a leg submission and posed for the fans, but Cloudy eventually got the ropes. Cheech charged Day in the corner, but he got his knees up. Cheech spilled to the outside and Cloudy went for a corkscrew dive, but Cheech never turned around and Day crashed and burned on and the floor. That looked strange.
They brawled on the floor and Cheech tossed Day into the guardrail. Day went for a code red on the floor, but Cheech countered and drove Day into the apron. Cheech took a breather, but eventually went and tossed Day back into the ring before covering him for a 2 count. Day fired back and went up top, but Cheech crotched him. Cheech and Day battled up top. Day went for a tornado DDT, but Cheech countered. They exchanged counters until Day hit a spinning DDT that left both men down on the mat. The crowd clapped as both men struggled to get to their feet. Cloudy got a couple of rollups for nearfalls. He followed up with an ace crusher, but only got a 2 count.
Cloudy went for a reverse hurricanrana, but Cheech held onto the ropes. They went back and forth and Cloudy was able to connect with a reverse hurricanrana for a 2 count. The crowd clapped as Cloudy got to his feet. Cloudy went for another code red, but Cheech countered and drove him face-first into the canvas for a nearfall. The crowd clapped once again as Cheech nailed Cloudy with a dropkick in the corner. Cheech landed on the outside and used the ropes to hit a swinging kick on Cloudy for a 2 count. Cheech hit go to Cheech on Cloudy, but lifted him up before the ref could count to three and the crowd booed. Cloudy countered a move from Cheech into the code red for a nearfall. He charged at Cheech, who caught him with go to Cheech again for the pin.
Star rating: (***) – This was a good back and forth match. The crowd got into it at times after not reacting to either guy much when they made their entrances. They delivered some good back and forth action with a lot of counter wrestling mixed in with high flying. Cheech could have done a little more to reinforce his heel character, as he only showed some shades of being a heel towards the end of the match when he lifted up Cloudy’s head out of a sure pin.
They played some odd music after the match. Cheech decided not to give an interview after the match and went to the back. Leonard thanked Gargano for keeping him company. The crowd booed when the next referee came out.
3 - - JOHN SILVER & ALEX REYNOLDS vs. THE SCENE (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed w/Larry Dallas & Lady of the Night)
Larry Dallas unbuttoned his shirt and taunted the crowd at ringside. Silver and Konley kicked things off. Konley tried to sell Silver a DVD (that didn’t really happen). Konley took control of the match and worked an arm bar. Silver countered and took Konley down to the mat and locked in an arm submission of his own. Konley and Silver went back and forth until Silver caught him with a European uppercut. They exchanged counters and hit a double clothesline. Both men then leapt up to their feet and came to a stalemate. The crowd booed as both men continued to go at it. Silver took control and tagged in Reynolds. They nailed Konley with stereo kicks to the side of the head for a 2 count.
Konley tagged out to Reed, who quickly took down Reynolds with a clothesline. Reynolds fired back and took out Reed with a big dropkick. Reynolds took down Reed again. Konley charged at him, but Reynolds got out of the way and he fell to the outside. Reed went for a hot shot on Reynolds, but it wasn’t pulled off smoothly and the fans let the wrestlers know about it by chanting “you f---- up.” The Scene took control of the match and took down Reynolds and delivered a pair of elbows for a 2 count. Konley and Reed continued to tag in and out to work over Reynolds, but the crowd wasn’t into the match. Reynolds took out Reed and Konley and crawled towards Silver, but Reed dragged him away. Reynolds fended off the Scene again. He crawled towards Silver once again and made the hot tag. Silver ran wild on Reed once he tagged into the match.
Silver hit the double knees on Reed, but Konley broke up the pin. All four men ended up in the ring. Konley sent Reynolds to the outside and went for a dive, but Silver cut him off. Reynolds and Silver hit a double stunner off the second turnbuckle. Reed got back into the ring and sent Reynolds into Silver with a hip toss. Konley tossed Silver to read for a powerslam, but he kicked out. Silver fired back and ducked a pair of charges in the corner. Reynolds & Silver hit a combination of moves on Reed capped by a German with a bridge from Silver, but Konley made the save. Reed countered a double team maneuver. He caught Reynolds going for a handspring. Konley hit a DDT on Reynolds and Reed immediately hit a German with a bridge for the pin.
Winners: Caleb Konley & Scott Reed
Star rating: (**) – This really dragged in spots and the fans weren’t really into the action until the end. I’ve seen the Scene have better performances than this one, but the crowd just wasn’t into the match.
The crowd booed after the match ended. Leonard said Dallas wanted to do an interview, but he said he wasn’t interviewing Dallas because he’s a tool.
Jigsaw came out for the next match to a nice reception wearing new ring gear that had blue patterns mixed in with the usual puzzle pieces. A.R. Fox was out next to a really good pop from the crowd.
Jigsaw asked for the mic before the match started. Jigsaw said he wanted to thank everyone in Philadelphia for making CHIKARA a success in this building. The crowd applauded and Jigsaw gave the ref the mic.
4 - - JIGSAW vs. A.R. FOX
They did some chain wrestling to start the match. Jigsaw grounded Fox and locked him in a submission, but Fox broke free. The crowd clapped as both men reset before going back at it. Jigsaw got another submission with a Gory special, but Fox broke free. The pace picked up and Jigsaw hit a couple of arm drags before nailing him with a dropkick. Fox fired back and hit a dropkick on Jigsaw as he came off the ropes for a 2 count. Fox continued the assault sending Jigsaw into the corner before nailing him with a flipping senton off the second rope. Fox grabbed a front face lock as the crowd applauded. Jigsaw tried to fire back. He sent Fox to the outside and nailed him with a big dive through the ropes and the crowd applauded again.
Jigsaw tossed Fox back inside the ring and continued the assault. The crowd tried to rally behind Fox, but Jigsaw nailed him with a kick. Fox countered Jigsaw and hit a chinbreaker. He got right up and nailed Jigsaw with an ace crusher and both men were down. Both men battled on the ropes. Fox snapped Jigsaw’s neck over the top rope and nailed him with a springboard missile dropkick. He followed up with a leaping senton in the corner for a 2 count as the crowd rallied behind him. Jigsaw countered Fox, but Fox tripped him over the middle rope. Fox followed up with a DVD and went up top and hit a frogsplash into a swanton for a 2 count. Wow!
Both men exchanged counters. Jigsaw shoved Fox into the corner and hit a kick. He followed up with a brainbuster, but only got a 2 count. Fox went for another springboard ace crusher, but Jigsaw got out of the way and nailed him with a superkick for a 2 count. Jigsaw went up top, but Fox cut him off. Fox then nailed him with a step up dropkick off the top rope and Jigsaw spilled to the floor. Fox followed up with a springboard 450 to the outside and the crowd went nuts and chanted for Fox. Fox placed Jigsaw on the apron and pounded away on his chest. He then went up top and nailed Jigsaw with a leg drop off the top. That couldn’t have felt too good for Fox.
Fox rolled Jigsaw inside the ring and covered him for a 2 count. Jigsaw surprised Fox with a small package for a 2 count. He then nailed Fox with a German with a bridge for a nearfall. The crowd clapped as Fox struggled to get to his feet. Fox countered Jigsaw and nailed him with an enzuguri. Fox went for the one man Spanish fly off the top, but Jigsaw countered it into a suplex and nailed him with a superkick. The crowd counted along as Jigsaw covered Fox for the three count.
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good back match with the crowd into Fox and rallying behind him throughout the match. Both men looked good in the match and executed some nice counters and high-flying. The finish of the match was really well-done as well with Jigsaw countering the one man Spanish fly off the top from Fox into a suplex and immediately nailing him with a superkick for the win. This is a surprising loss in some respects for Fox, who has been getting a big push lately. I don’t think the loss hurts Fox, but perhaps Jigsaw’s win is an indicator he might be in the mix in the singles division this year in EVOLVE and DGUSA.
The fans gave both men a standing ovation after the match. Leonard said he was going to the ring to interview Jigsaw. Jigsaw got to his feet first and pointed to Fox and asked the fans to applaud him. Leonard interviewed Jigsaw, who is now 1-0 in EVOLVE. Jigsaw thanked everyone for supporting him on the final night in the ECW Arena. Jigsaw said we’d be seeing a lot of him in EVOLVE. Leonard then interviewed Fox. Fox told Leonard the last time he was in a DGUSA he got a beer bottle broke over his head by Sami Callihan. Callihan came down to ringside clinking some beer bottles with his fingers over a mic.
The fans gave Callihan a mixed reaction when he came out. Callihan asked Fox how his head was. Fox spit at Callihan. Callihan taunted Fox with the beer bottles and dared Fox to hit him. The ref told Fox not to do it because he would be fined and suspended. The crowd booed that announcement. The ref gave Callihan to the count of 10 to leave. Callihan continued to click the bottles together as he went back towards the entranceway. Fox teased nailing Callihan with a dive. Callihan dared Fox to jump on him. Callihan eventually headed backstage. Fox left the ring to a mixed response from the crowd.
Radican’s thoughts: This was an effective post-match segment incorporating the rules of competition in EVOLVE. I liked how Fox had to restrain himself from going after Callihan. Callihan played his role well here too and it’s nice to see a good angle being built in EVOLVE for a change that has the potential to play out over the course of several events.
5 - - UHAA NATION (w/Ricochet) vs. PINKIE SANCHEZ
Leonard labeled Sanchez as the sexual spider monkey. Sanchez got excited and teased taking his shirt off. Sanchez left his shirt on and slipped out of a lockup attempt from Nation. Sanchez grinded around and took off his shirt and cleaned off his junk with it. Sanchez ducked a lockup and slapped Nation across the backside. Sanchez bailed before Nation could kill him. Sanchez went outside and called for a timeout. He asked the crowd if they had any beer. Nation turned his back and Sanchez nailed him with a dropkick and a springboard DDT. Sanchez then connected with a dive to the outside. Sanchez strutted around on the apron. Nation recovered and got into the ring. Sanchez went for a springboard, but Nation caught him and hit a fall away slam. The crowd chanted for Nation as he tossed Sanchez into the corner. Sanchez caught Nation with a boot in the corner and nailed him with a dropkick to the leg. Sanchez followed up with a running hip attack and Nation was down.
Sanchez went for another springboard, but Nation caught him and hit him with three powerbombs and the crowd applauded. Nation followed up with a standing moonsault and then a standing SSP for the win. The crowd applauded the explosive finish.
Winner: Uhaa Nation – Am I watching a created wrestler? Nation was awesome when he finished off Sanchez. I’m hoping he holds up and can make some serious money because he’s freakishly athletic for someone his size. Sanchez was funny here as well when he was strutting around after hitting a couple of moves on Nation. I’m really impressed with Nation and this was an effective squash.
Leonard mentioned that Nation had joined the Blood Warriors stable in Japan. Leonard got into the ring to interview Uhaa Nation. Nation told Leonard he’s the future. He told the fans they’d just witnessed the power. Ricochet said he and Nation were used to working in the finest buildings in Japan. He said they were forced to work in dumps in Japan. Ricochet said the fans should thank the new owner for renovating the building. Ricochet said the Arena closing doesn’t matter. He said the only thing that matters in him leaving with the Open the Freedom Gate Title.
Swann interrupted Ricochet and did the Ronin entrance freestyle. He led the crowd and said when I say Ricochet you say bitch. The crowd joined in and applauded. That was fantastic. Swann finished his rap and the fans chanted for Chuck Taylor. Ricochet and Nation left the ring. Taylor got on the mic and said to bring out the Super Smash Bros. so he and Swann could defeat them soundly.
6 - - RONIN (Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann) vs. The Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno & Player Dos)
Swann and Uno kicked things off by exchanging headlocks. Leonard talked about Gargano and Swann wanting at shot at the Open the United Gate titles. Swann took down Uno and posed for the crowd, which allowed Uno to recover and nail him with a big chop. Taylor put his shirt back on after seeing Uno hit Swann with the chop. Dos tagged in and went at it with Taylor as the crowd clapped before they locked up. The pace picked up with Dos nailing Taylor with a headscissors takedown. The Super Smash Bros. then hit a combination of moves on Taylor that popped the crowd. The Super Smash Bros. tagged in and out to work over Taylor. The crowd tried to rally behind Taylor, but he was unable to make a comeback. The Super Smash Bros. hit a combination side slam/bulldog on Taylor, but Swann made the save. Taylor fired back on Uno moments later with a clothesline and Swann tagged in.
Swann nailed Dos with some big chops and some forearms in the corner. Uno fired back with some big chops, but Swann caught him with a clothesline in the corner. Ronin began tagging in and out to work over Uno. Taylor whipped Uno off the ropes and nailed him with a nice dropkick. Taylor and Swann hit another combination of moves on Uno, but he kicked out at two. Uno hit a stunner out of nowhere on Swann and was about to tag out, but Taylor knocked Dos off the apron. Swann bit Uno’s fingers, but the ref made him stop. Dos fired back with a chop, but Swann nailed him with a forearm. Dos fired back with another chop, but Uno caught him coming off the ropes and slammed him to the mat. Both men tagged out and Dos caught Taylor with a cross body. Dos continued to run wild on Swann and Taylor. He nailed Swann with a corkscrew plancha to the outside before taking out Taylor with a leaping leg lariat off the top for a 2 count.
Taylor caught Dos with soul food, but Dos cut him off. The action continued at a rapid pace Taylor countered a double team by powerbombing Dos into Uno in the corner. Swann then hit a rolling thunder frogsplash on Uno, but Dos broke up the pin. There were some great sequences here and Dos did an evasion and nailed Swann and Taylor with a Pele kick and the crowd went nuts. The action resumed at a rapid pace. Swann caught Uno with an ace crusher and Dos immediately nailed Swann with a splash off the top, but Swann rolled out of the ring and he couldn’t cover him. All four men were down as the crowd applauded. Taylor and Dos went at it on the apron. Taylor sent Uno to the outside and lifted Dos onto his shoulders. Swann jumped over Taylor and wiped out Uno with a dive. Taylor then nailed Dos with a DVD on the apron and the crowd went nuts.
Swann and Taylor went to work on Uno in the ring with a combination of moves capped by a standing SSP from Swann for a 2 count. SSB fired back and Uno pitched Swann into a German from Dos that sent Swann into Taylor in the corner and the crowd gasped. SSB hit a Gory special/blockbuster combination on Swann, but Taylor came out of nowhere to make the save. Dos countered the awful waffle moments later, but Taylor eventually caught him with it on the second attempt for the pin.
Winners: Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good tag match with some excellent back and forth action. The match started slowly, but both teams picked up the pace and showcased some excellent double team maneuvers. The crowd got hotter and hotter as the match went on and delivered some really good nearfalls from both teams down the stretch. It’s great to see tag team wrestling like this on the independent scene.
The crowd chanted “that was awesome” at both teams after the match. Uno helped Dos out of the ring to get to the back. Leonard came into the ring to interview Ronin. Taylor said when Ricochet was down touching his boyfriend CIMA, he and Swann were ready to take their titles. Swann said Ronin baby to conclude the interview.
The show went to intermission.
6 - - KYLE MATTHEWS vs. JON DAVIS
Davis hit a big suplex to break out of a headlock. Davis took Matthews down with a pair of big chops. Davis continued the onslaught whipping Matthews to the corner and he spilled to the mat. Matthews grabbed a sleeper, but Davis drove him into the corner. Matthews grabbed the hold again, but Davis drove him into the corner a second time. Matthews grabbed the sleeper again, but Davis lifted him up and hit a powerslam. A small portion of the crowd tried to rally behind Matthews, but Davis took him down with an elbow off the ropes. Davis hit a pair of slams on Matthews, who struggled to his feet. Matthews went for a small package, but Davis blocked it. Matthews went for a crossbody, but Davis caught him with a spinning ace crusher for a 2 count.
The crowd clapped and Matthews fired back on Davis with a missile dropkick. Matthews then locked in an octopus submission. Davis tossed Matthews off and went for a powerbomb, but Matthews countered with a headscissors takedown. Davis countered Matthews moments later by slamming him to the mat. Davis followed up with the pounce and hit a spinning powerbomb for the win.
Winner: Jon Davis – This was a short squash. It wasn’t a particularly impressive showing for either man and the crowd was just dead for this match for the duration.
Lenny Leonard interviewed Davis after the match. Davis said he was supposed to beat Matthews. Davis said he hadn’t made a name for himself yet. Davis said Finlay had disrespected him. Davis said next time he came to EVOLVE he wanted to face Finlay and make a name for himself. The crowd was really annoying chanting what during Davis’s promo.
Bobby Fish came out with A.R. Fox to face Sami Callihan. Sami was not happy about this development. Fox got on the mic and told Callihan not to worry about him cornering Fish. Fish got a small response when he was introduced. Callihan got a mixed reaction and then a chant for his name.
7 - - BOBBY FISH (w/A.R. Fox) vs. SAMI CALLIHAN
Fish charged at Callihan right at the bell and drove him into the corner. Callihan ducked a charge in the corner a short time later and nailed him with a running boot in the corner. Callihan went for another running boot, but Fish caught him with a slam. Callihan bailed to the outside and Fish caught him with a slingshot plancha. Fish and Callihan battled up top moments later. Fish pushed Callihan to the mat and nailed him with a diving headbutt for a 2 count. The crowd seems really dead so far for the second half of the show. Fish continued to assault Callihan as Leonard put over Fish as being dangerous, despite his poor record in EVOLVE. Fish nailed Callihan with some kicks before sending him to the mat with a punch. The crowd started chanting for Callihan, which Leonard noted to be odd.
Fish went after Callihan’s leg and nailed him with a dragon screw. Callihan caught Fish with a kick as he came off the ropes. Callihan went for a springboard dropkick on the apron, but Fish swept his legs out from under him. Callihan fired back with a big chop and began nailing Fish with kicks. Fish blocked a kick and went back after Callihan’s leg. Callihan countered a figure 4 with a small package for a 2 count. Fish went back after Callihan’s leg and sent him to the mat with a kick. Fish applied the figure 4 in the center of the ring. The crowd tried to rally behind Callihan, who spit in Fish’s face. Fish sent Callihan down with a headbutt while continuing to hold onto the figure 4. The crowd booed as Callihan tried to escape the figure 4. Callihan rolled over and now Fish was in pain. Both men ended up rolling into the ropes to break the hold.
Both men got up selling their legs. Fish went back on the attack and targeted Callihan’s leg. The crowd chanted for Callihan as Fish nailed him with a series of kicks to the chest. Callihan charged at Fish, but ended up eating a suplex into the turnbuckles. Both men battled up top. Callihan managed to block a superplex from Fish. He then went for a sunset bomb, but his leg buckled. Callihan eventually got out from under Fish and kicked his leg before hitting a powerbomb off the ropes. Callihan grabbed a leg submission on the mat and Fish screamed in pain. Fish eventually got the ropes to break the hold.
A small chant for Callihan broke out as both men struggled to get to their feet. Fish caught Callihan with the Fish hook submission. Callihan struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Fish and Callihan exchanged kicks to the legs. They continued to exchange kicks until Fish finally sent Callihan to the mat with a leg kick for a 1 count. Callihan caught Fish by surprise with a Saito suplex. Callihan hit a superkick to Fish’s leg and he screamed in pain. Callihan then applied the stretch muffler. Fish struggled, but didn’t tap. Fox slapped Fish in the face and encouraged him not to tap. Fish finally countered and got a rollup for a 2 count. Fish caught Callihan with a kick when he got back to his feet. Callihan swept out Fish’s feet from under him. Callihan jawed with Fox. Fox spat at Callihan, who let go of the stretch muffler. Callihan and Fox continued to bark at each other. Fish hit a backdrop driver on Callihan. Fish locked the Fish hook in again and Callihan tapped.
Winner: Bobby Fish
Star rating: (**3/4) – Both men put in a game effort to tell a good story, but the crowd made this hard to sit through by not reacting to the submissions or much of anything for that matter except for some small chants here and there. This would have been a better match in front of a different crowd, but without the fans reacting to the submission work, it dragged a lot in certain spots.
The crowd booed the after Fish got the win. Fish left and Fox got into the ring. Fox taunted Callihan and mocked him for tapping out. Fox grabbed a pair of handcuffs and put them on behind his back. Fox taunted Callihan and dared Callihan to hit him. Pinkie Sanchez came down to ringside and grabbed a beer bottle out of his jeans. Sanchez gave Callihan the beer bottle. Callihan tried to hit Fox with it, but couldn’t do it because he didn’t want to be suspended. Fox taunted Callihan and the crowd chanted for Callihan to hit him. Callihan ended up leaving the ring and storming to the back. The ref got the key from Fox and freed him from the cuffs.
Leonard said Open the Freedom Gate Champion Gargano vs. Ricochet match would be held under DGUSA rules and the match would not count towards their EVOLVE records. Ricochet came out first with Uhaa Nation to very little reaction. Gargano was out next and he came out and shook hands with fans at ringside. Some fans chanted for Gargano before Leonard did the formal ring introductions for the main event. Gargano got a small round of applause when he was introduced.
8 - - Open the Freedom Gate Champion JOHNNY GARGANO (w/Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann) vs. RICOCHET (w/Uhaa Nation)
The crowd clapped before both men locked up. A small group of fans began chanting for Gargano. Ricochet took Gargano down and stepped on his hand during the early stages of the match. Gargano took Ricochet down a moment later and went to work on his arm. Ricochet escaped by tying up Gargano’s arm with his legs and kicking away at it. The crowd clapped before both men locked up again. Both men exchanged a series of counters at lightning speed and came to a stalemate as the crowd applauded. They went at it again at a rapid pace and Ricochet eventually took down Gargano with a dropkick. Leonard highlighted that Ricochet is a double champion in Dragon Gate in Japan.
Gargano fired back and drove Ricochet into the turnbuckles. Ricochet flipped out of a neckbreaker, but missed a standing SSP. Gargano then connected with a neckbreaker on the crowd applauded. Gargano went to work on Ricochet’s arm on the mat. Gargano continued to work over Ricochet on the mat. He tied up his arm and legs in a nasty looking submission, but he ended up letting go of the hold. Gargano went for a dive off the second rope, but Ricochet got his knees up. Ricochet went on the attacked and walked over Gargano’s face. Ricochet stood of Gargano as the crowd chanted Gargano’s name. Ricochet tied up Gargano in a nasty standing submission. He dragged Gargano to the corner and drove his face into the turnbuckles before slamming him to the mat for a 2 count.
The crowd tried to rally behind Gargano, but Ricochet went back on the attack. Ricochet posed in the middle of the ring before covering Gargano with his leg for a 1 count. Gargano fired back with a rolling kick and sent Ricochet to the outside with a clothesline. The crowd applauded and Gargano went for a spear, but Ricochet got out of the way. Gargano sent Ricochet to the floor moments later and nailed him with a dive through the ropes. Gargano ducked a springboard from Ricochet, but he landed on his feet. Gargano blocked a handspring hurricanrana and eventually ended up powerbombing Ricochet into the guardrail.
Gargano rolled Ricochet into the ring and covered him for a 2 count. Ricochet fired back and went for a springboard off the ropes, but Gargano nailed him with a dropkick. He followed up with a neckbreaker, but only got a 2 count. Ricochet countered a lawn dart and caught Gargano with a springboard ace crusher for a 2 count. Some of the fans began chanting for Gargano. Ricochet went for a suplex, but Gargano blocked it. Gargano kicked Ricochet in the face, but Ricochet blocked a charge into the corner. Ricochet followed up with an exploder into the turnbuckles and hit a standing SSP for a nearfall.
Ricochet slapped away at Gargano’s head and taunted him. Gargano fired back after Ricochet took a second to taunt the crowd. Both men began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Gargano was moving a little bit slower than usual at this time, but managed to hit the law dart after a series of exchanges. Ricochet fired right back with a rolling kick, but Gargano nailed him with a superkick and both men were down. A lot of the crowd just isn’t into this match. Ricochet ate a dropkick, but got right up and caught Gargano with a dropkick in the corner. Gargano countered a hurricanrana off the top and went for a sunset flip. Ricochet escaped and Gargano got a rollup. Ricochet kicked out, but Gargano got the Gargano escape. Ricochet tossed Gargano off and after another exchange, Gargano caught him with the Gargano escape in the middle of the ring. Ricochet eventually got the ropes and Gargano had to break the hold. The crowd clapped with both men down on the mat. The crowd then began chanting for New Jack.
Ricochet caught Gargano with a kick on the apron and then hit a springboard DDT. Gargano then took a belly to back suplex on the apron. Ricochet then hit a space flying tiger drop. Ricochet went up top and hit a SSP, but Gargano kicked out. The crowd began to clap with both men down on the mat. Ricochet went up top again and went for another SSP, but Gargano caught him with a SSP that didn’t really connect. Gargano then hit the hurts don’t it, but the crowd booed the nearfall and continued to boo with both men down. Some fans clapped and some booed as both men exchanged blows from their knees. The crowd booed as both men continued to exchange blows.
Gargano wasn’t moving well at all by this point. Gargano countered Ricochet in the corner, but Ricochet hit a reverse hurricanrana. Ricochet hit another reverse hurricanrana and a KO kick for a nearfall. Ricochet set up Gargano and went up top. He went for a 630 and nailed it, but Gargano kicked out. The crowd booed after Gargano kicked out. Ricochet went up top again, but Gargano got out of the way. Gargano hit another hurts don’t it and applied the Gargano escape. Ricochet struggled, but eventually tapped out.
Winner: Johnny Gargano to retain the Open the Freedom Gate Title
Star rating: (**3/4) – This was hard to watch down the stretch when Gargano was clearly in a lot of pain. He clearly shouldn’t have tried to wrestle here. The first half of the match was quite good and I couldn’t tell Gargano was injured, but he took some rough bumps during the second half of the match. A portion of the crowd began to boo the match down the stretch and things just didn’t click leading up to the finish. They should have called an audible here and just went home early and gone to the tribute to the arena.
Both men were down after the match. Some people cheered and others booed. Nation helped Ricochet out of the ring. Swann and Taylor tended to Gargano, who didn’t move. Gabe Sapolsky and several other people came down to ringside to check on Gargano. They rolled him to the apron and the fans applauded Gargano. Gargano was eventually helped to the back. A big Gargano chant broke out as he made his way to the back.
Leonard began introducing the tribute to the ECW Arena. Leonard said they were going to send the building off with the people that made the building famous. Leonard introduced Bob Artese, who was the first ever ECW ring announcer. Leonard said the number of shows at the ECW Arena ends at 410 shows. Artese got on the mic and said it was great to be in the building one last time. Artese then brought out Joey Styles, who came out to a big pop.
The crowd chanted oh my God. Styles got on the mic and smiled. He then said, “Oh my God!” and the crowd applauded. Styles thanked EVOLVE for having him. Styles said being here tonight meant more to him than being in any other building or at WrestleMania. Styles thanked the fans for coming out and they applauded.
Styles said he was going to introduce some legendary figures. He brought out Pitbull #1 Gary Wolfe first. Wolfe came out to a big reception. Styles then brought out J.T. Smith, who came out to a big reception. The crowd chanted you f----- up at Smith, who played to the chant. Styles brought out ECW founder Todd Gordon next, who came out to a big pop. Gordon got on the mic and said it was amazing to see the same faces in the ECW Arena after 20 years. Gordon said this place was our toilet. Gordon said Sandman had asked him to toast the ECW Arena. He took out a beer, but several CZW wrestlers came out. One of them said CZW owns the building. He said they had taken the building past extreme. Gordon took out one of the CZW wrestlers with a clothesline. The CZW guy taunted the ECW wrestlers.
Balls Mahoney’s music played and he came to the ring and began hitting his signature punches on the CZW wrestlers. He then nailed one of the CZW wrestlers with an unprotected chairshot. The CZW wretlers got the upper hand and the fans began chanting for New Jack. New Jack’s music played and he came to the ring with a trashcan full of plunder. The crowd roared as he made his way into the ring.
New Jack began taking out the CZW wrestlers with his plunder. New Jack played a small guitar before smashing it over one of the CZW guys. New Jack was then attacked by Justin Credible, who nailed New Jack with a cane. Sabu then came out to no music and faced off with Credible.
9 - - SABU vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE
The crowd went nuts and chanted for Sabu. The crowd chanted Justin a------ at Credible as he assaulted Sabu with a cane. Sabu fired back and hit a swinging DDT off the second turnbuckle. The crowd continued to go nuts for Sabu as he applied the camel clutch. Sabu got a chair and tossed it at Credible. Sabu jumped off the chair, but Credible nailed him with the cane. Credible continued to work over Sabu in the ring and he nailed him with a clothesline for a 2 count. Credible tossed a chair at Sabu. Sabu caught it and Credible hit a superkick for a 2 count. The crowd chanted for fire as Credible set up a table. Both men brawled outside the ring. Sabu came up bleeding on the outside.
Sabu ended up whipping Credible over the guardrail and the crowd chanted ECW. Sabu nailed Credible with a lid and tossed him into the ring. Sabu then set up a table inside the ring. Sabu hit a DDT on Credible and propped the table up in the middle of the ring as the crowd clapped. Credible caught Sabu with a low blow from behind. He nailed Sabu with a chairshot to the chest and placed him on the table. Credible came off the top, but Sabu tossed the chair at him. Sabu jumped off the table and hit a legdrop. He then applied the camel clutch before nailing Credible with a spike as the crowd went nuts. Sabu set the table up again and went back after Credible with the spike. The ref finally stopped Sabu from using the spike and the crowd booed.
Sabu went up top, but Credible cut him off and hit that’s incredible. Credible was also busted open at this point and he covered Sabu for a 2 count. Both men fought over the chair. Sabu tripped Credible and he fell onto the chair. Sabu tossed the chair at Credible and placed him onto the table. Sabu nailed him with a chairshot to the back and went up top. Sabu then connected with the Arabian facebuster through the table and the crowd went nuts and chanted ECW. Sabu took his time, but ended up covering Credible for the pin.
Winner: Sabu – This was a fitting tribute match the ECW Arena with both men putting on a match reminiscent of many matches in the building without being overly reckless about the stunts they tried to pull off.
The crowd started a loud Sabu chant after the match. Styles got on the mic and said he couldn’t think of a better way to give the building a sendoff. Sabu interrupted him and indicated he wanted to speak. The crowd roared and chanted holy s---. Leonard said we have waited 18 years for him to speak. Callihan ran down to the ring and took out Sabu. Callihan went after Sabu with a broken bottle and raked away at his head.
Callihan continued to assault Sabu with the mic. Callihan began cutting a promo. He said this was the alarm clock going off on the Extreme Arena. He said he was sick of all the reunions for ECW. Callihan kicked away at a bloody Sabu and said this wasn’t the era of extreme anymore. Callihan said this is his ring. He pointed at the crowd and said those people were now his fans. Callihan said this was now his arena. He said he was the only one that should end the era of extreme. Callihan said Sabu was just like every other extreme legend that wouldn’t go away.
Callihan called on anyone to come stop him as he continued to beat on Sabu. Fox came down to the ring and brawled with Callihan, but Sanchez cut him off and hit a DDT. Callihan got back on the mic and said to all his D.U.F.’s, they’re cool by him. Callihan said to everyone else that supported him and bought his merch, he said he wanted to tell them all from the bottom of his heart to suck his d---. Callihan said the story of the Extreme Arena had finally died and had been put out of its misery by him. Callihan said to hit the lights and the show ended.
Overall thoughts: (7.0) This was certainly an up and down show in many ways but in the end this could be a show that gives EVOLVE and DGUSA a lot of momentum, so it's definitely worth watching. The positives are that the first half of the show featured some really good wrestling. Cheech-Cloudy, Jigsaw vs. Fox, and Ronin vs. SSB were all really good matches with Ronin-SSB being the best match on the show.
The first half of the show also featured a nice angle with A.R. Fox and Sami Callihan. Callihan taunted Fox after his match with Jigsaw, but couldn’t hit him with a beer bottle because of the rules in EVOLVE. This angle continued into the second half of the show and I can’t wait to see both men have a match.
Low Ki’s return is certainly big news. It was a bit alarming to watch him legitimately knock out Ahtu and it brings about the question as to whether or not the match should have been stopped when it was clear Ahtu had been knocked silly by Ki’s kick. Ki could be an effective player for EVOLVE and DGUSA if he doesn’t butt heads with management.
The second half of the show saw the crowd sit on their hands most of the time and most of the matches dragged. Once the main event rolled along, it was clear about halfway through the match that Gargano was in rough shape and they should have gone home early. It was sad to watch Ricochet and Gargano try to finish their match with the crowd booing them down the stretch because Gargano just couldn’t move as well as he normally does. Gargano shouldn’t have taken the bumps he took in the match.
The ECW tribute was handled well outside of the Mahoney chairshot to one of the CZW wrestlers. Sabu and Credible put on a good ECW style match that had the fans in attendance on their feet and chanting louder than they had for most of the show.
I really didn’t like the show closing angle at first because the EVOLVE portion of the show ended on a sour note with Gargano’s injury. Callihan beating down Sabu and then turning out the lights on the arena was certainly a shock. In the end, I think the angle will lead to good things for Callihan and EVOLVE. Callihan cemented himself as a heel and the show-closing angle has gotten a lot of people talking in recent weeks.
Overall, this show had more positives than negatives. Callihan’s progression as a character was executed well throughout the show. There were also some big developments on the show with Low Ki’s return and Davis challenging Finlay to a match. The SSB vs. Ronin match is really good and people that enjoy tag team matches will enjoy that match. On the other hand, a lot of the action on the card was average and the crowd was dead for portions of the card, which made the action drag.
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