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RADICAN'S EVOLVE 15 iPPV REVIEW 6/29 - live coverage of event from St. Petersburg

Jun 29, 2012 - 10:04:40 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist

RADICAN’S EVOLVE 15 iPPV REPORT
JUNE 29, 2012
ST.PETERSBURG, FLA.
AIRED LIVE ON WWNLIVE.COM
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1 - - MIKE CRUZ vs. TONY NESE

Neither man got the upper hand during the early stages of the match. Nese hit a tope through the ropes, but Cruz came back moments later with a splash off the top. Nese dominated the action for a long period of time after hitting a backbreaker. Nese made some cocky covers, but he’s not really playing to the fans to get over his heel personality. Cruz hit an enzuguri and the crowd fired up with both men down. They exchanged some big moves back and forth, but Nese eventually won with a spider German followed by a 450 for the pin. (**)

Leonard interviewed Nese after the match. Nese said he’s been waiting for opportunities and he’s not going to earn them, he’s going to take them. Nese mentioned he’d challenged Gargano, but he hadn’t answered him yet. Nese said he would get his answer to his challenge at EVOLVE 16.

2 - - TOMMY TAYLOR vs. BOBBY FISH – 2012 Style Battle Tournament match

Leonard said Fish could assure himself in the finals with a win over Taylor. They exchanged holds on the mat and standing during the early going. Fish went for the Fish hook at one point, but Taylor was right next to the ropes. Fish hit a dropkick and worked over Taylor for several minutes, but Taylor fired back and mounted some offense. Fish got the upper hand again and went for a diving headbutt, but Taylor got out of the way. The crowd has been mostly quiet during the match, but a slight dueling chant started. Fish countered Taylor a short time later and locked in the Fish hook for the submission win. (*1/2)

Leonard tried to interview Fish after the match ended, but he refused to answer his question about gaining momentum.

Jon Davis made his way out to the ring. He already has 2 points in this round robin style tournament. Fish has guaranteed himself a match in the finals with the victory over Taylor. Neither man got much of a reaction when introduced before the match.

3 - - JON DAVIS vs. A.R. FOX in a 2012 Style Battle Tournament match

Fox hit a kick flip off the apron to the outside and the crowd applauded during the early stages of the match. Fox followed up with a legdrop off the top to the apron, as he continued to mount some offense. Fox hit another guillotine legdrop off the top to the apron on Davis, but he kicked out at 2. Davis fired back and hit a huge chokeslam that made the crowd gasped. Fox tried to fire back and went for a stunner, but Davis impressively countered it into a suplex for a 2 count. Davis blocked a top rope hurricanrana attempt and hit a buckle bomb and a huge running kick for a nearfall. The crowd tried to rally behind Fox, as Davis continued to dominate the action. Fox finally caught Davis with a springboard ace crusher and both men were down.

Fox mounted a comeback and got a nearfall after a cannonball SSP in the corner. They battled up top and Davis hit a powerslam off the top for a 2 count. Fox fired back on Davis a short time later and connected with a big swanton, but Davis kicked out at one and the crowd chanted for Davis. Fox sent Davis to the outside and eventually nailed him with an inverted 450 and both men were down on the outside. The crowd chanted for Fox as he tried to regroup. The crowd fired up as Fox tossed Davis inside the ring and hit a springboard 450 for the nearfall. Davis countered Fox’s crucifix attempt into a spinning powerbomb for the win. That was a heck of a match. (***1/2)

The crowd chanted “that was awesome” after the match. Leonard told Davis he would face Fish in the finals of the Style Battle tournament tomorrow. Fish said tomorrow wasn’t about handshakes or mutual respect. Fish said he knows Davis needs the win tomorrow, but he has to have that win. Davis said he has a family to feed. Davis said Fish could bring the fight, but tomorrow he wasn’t going home empty handed. Both men went face-to-face. A couple of officials came out to make sure they didn’t get physical, as that’s against EVOLVE rules.

4 - - CALEB KONLEY vs. SCOTT REED vs. LINCE DORADO vs. JAKE MANNING vs. JOHN SILVER vs. ALEX REYNOLDS – Six Way Freestyle match

Dorado and Silver exchanged moves at a fast pace and came to a stalemate. They tried to tag in both members of the Scene, but they dropped down from the apron and refused to wrestle each other. The Scene were tagged into the match by Manning and Reynolds. They both tried to tag out, but everyone dropped down from the apron. Konley and Reed finally decided to lock up and went at it fast and furious. Both men blew up and Konley tried the finger poke of doom on Reed, but everyone broke it up. They did a series of dives to the outside capped by a huge flip dive from Dorado to take everyone out and the fans cheered. The Scene tried to work together against Dorado, but he was able to fight them both off. The Scene finally cut off Dorado and nailed him with a pendulum slam.

The action broke down and Silver and Reynolds hit stereo Germans on Konley and Reed for a double nearfall. The action continued at a furious pace with nearfalls being broken up left and right. The crowd fired up as Dorado went after Manning with a hurricanrana for a nearfall. Dorado finished off Manning with a Tornado DDT and a SSP for the win. This was a fun, but short match that the crowd enjoyed. (**3/4)

Colt Cabana came out next to his own music and carried a small girl around the ring with him. Cabana got a big pop and chant from the fans. Cheech came out next to the generic EVOLVE music.

5 - - COLT CABANA vs. CHEECH HERNANDEZ

Cabana frustrated Hernandez with his unique style of chain wrestling and the crowd chanted for Cabana. Cheech fired back with a flap jack, but Cabana avoided a sit down and attempt from Cheech and rolled him up for a 2 count. Cheech cut Cabana off right away and continued to dominate the action. Cabana got his feet up on Cheech’s dive from the top and hit the flip flop and fly which drew a pop from the crowd. They battled up top, but Cabana stood up with Cheech on his shoulders and dropped him over the top turnbuckle for the win. This was a fun, but short match. (*3/4)

Several kids ran up to Cabana and hugged him after the match.

Samuray Del Sol and El Generico both came out to their signature music. Several children ran up to Generico and hugged him as he made his entrance.

6 - - EL GENERICO vs. SAMURAY DEL SOL

Both men took turns getting the upper hand during the early stages of the match and showed sportsmanship by shaking hands. Generico finally mounted some sustained offense after catching Del Sol with a dropkick after a fast-paced exchange off the ropes. Del Sol fired back and applied a slick-looking Indian death lock, but Generico got the ropes. Generico fired up after kicking out of a pin at 2 and hit a big slam. Generico became more aggressive as he lit up Del Sol with some hard strikes. Del Sol went for a springboard, but Generico nailed him with a running Yokuza kick that sent him to the floor. Del Sol ducked a running Yokuza kick from Generico in the corner and nailed him with a crazy flipping dive to the outside and the crowd popped. Del Sol continued on the offensive and connected with an insane code rode where he stood on Generico’s back and then used his momentum to launch into the code red. Wow!

Del Sol went for a running senton in the corner, but Generico got out of the way. Generico went for another Yokuza kick in the corner, but Del Sol blocked it. Del Sol charged at Generico, but Generico popped him up and crashed down to the mat for a 2 count. The crowd fired up as Generico went back on the attack. Del Sol countered another running Yokuza kick in the corner and hit a fantastic looking tornado DDT for a nearfall that left both men down. The crowd went crazy after Del Sol hit a springboard reverse hurricanrana called rising sun for a nearfall. Wow! The crowd fired up as both men tried to regroup. Generico cut off Del Sol up top and went for the top rope brainbuster, but Del Sol pushed him off. Generico got his knees up on a 450 attempt. Generico connected with the running Yokuza kick. Generico then went for the top rope brainbuster, but Del Sol blocked it and hit rising sun off the top for the pin. Del Sol made my jaw drop during that match. (****)

The crowd chanted for one more match. They then chanted for Del Sol, who led everyone in a “Lucha, Lucha” chant. I highly recommend checking this match out.

Taylor didn’t get much of a reaction during the formal introductions. Gargano got a decent pop from the small crowd in attendance.

7 - - Open the Freedom Gate Champion JOHNNY GARGANO vs. CHUCK TAYLOR (w/Swamp Monster & The Manscout) – Open the Freedom Gate title match

Taylor wasn’t paying attention when the bell rang and Gargano nailed him with a running dropkick in the corner. He followed up with the lawn dart and then hit a springboard splash to the outside. Gargano went to town on Taylor as Leonard talked about how focused he was to get a shot at Taylor. They brawled back to the outside and Taylor cut off Gargano. Taylor set up several chairs around Gargano and charged at him, but Gargano backdropped him onto the stack of chairs. Gargano stalked Taylor on the outside. He went for a superkick on Taylor, but ended up wiping out the timekeeper. Gargano checked on the timekeeper as several people came out to check on him. Gargano went back after Taylor, but Taylor launched him back-first onto the ring steps.

Gargano favored his back as Taylor worked him over in the ring. The crowd tried to rally behind Gargano. I think Leonard is cutting off the crowd when he talks, so it’s hard to hear them from time to time. The crowd booed as Taylor made a cover with one foot after hitting a pair of body slams. The crowd tried to rally behind Gargano, but Taylor continued to dominate the action. Gargano rolled out of the way of a springboard moonsault and went for a slingshot spear through the ropes, but Taylor turned it into a backbreaker. Taylor rolled back into the ring trying to avoid a dive from Gargano, but Gargano caught him with the spear and both men were down.

Gargano fired up on Taylor and went for the Gargano escape, but he couldn’t hold it because of his back and had to let go. The crowd audio came back in again as they clapped with both men down. Gargano went for a springboard DDT a short time later, but Taylor countered it into an exploder into the turnbuckles for a 2 count. Taylor slammed Gargano to the mat and connected with a springboard moonsault. He went for a half-crab, but Gargano pushed him away. Taylor went for the half crab again, but Gargano rolled him up for a nearfall. They went back and forth and Gargano finally connected with a discus lariat that left both men down. The crowd just isn’t fully into this match as another crowd might be.

Both men got up and exchanged blows. After an exchange of counters, Taylor countered the Gargano escape and rolled into the half crab, but the crowd didn’t seem to buy into it as a dangerous move. The crowd tried to rally behind Gargano as Leonard said this might be the end of Gargano’s run. Gargano struggled, but ended up getting the ropes. Gargano tried to hit another running dropkick in the corner, but Taylor pulled the ref in his way and Gargano hit the ref. Taylor hit a low blow and covered Garagano, but there was no ref. Taylor got the Open the Freedom Gate title from the outside and the crowd booed. Gargano ducked a belt shot and hit hurts don’t it, but there was no ref. A ref ran out to count the pin, but Manning pulled him out of the ring. Gargano hit a springboard dive onto the ref and Manning. Taylor connected with the awful waffle back inside the ring, but Gargano kicked out at the last second and the crowd chanted for Gargano.

Taylor called for the Swamp Monster, who held Gargano against the ropes. Taylor tried to hit Gargano with the belt, but he hit the swamp monster. Gargano hit a superkick and hurts don’t it, but only got a nearfall. Gargano applied the Gargano escape and Taylor finally tapped. This was pretty good, but the crowd just didn’t provide the type of atmosphere for what you would want for a match of this magnitude. (***1/2)

The crowd cheered for Gargano as he raised the title above his head after the match. Gargano got on the mic and said everyone should wave goodbye to Taylor. He said Taylor sucks. He asked for a chair because his back hurts. He asked the fans if they enjoyed the show and they applauded. The crowd really fired up when Gargano told them to keep it going. Gargano said he had heard Tony Nese had issued a challenge. Gargano said Nese may suck, but he did win his Four Way Freestyle last night. Gargano said Nese was the cause of his back pain. Gargano said he’d wrestle Nese tomorrow night. The crowd chanted for Gargano and he pandered to them. Gargano said he wouldn’t put the title on the line not because he’s afraid, but because Akira Tozawa is the #1 contender. Gargano said he’s really excited to face Tozawa in Michigan next month for DGUSA. Gargano told the crowd they were great and he thanked them for coming. Gargano thanked the fans and they chanted for him to close the show.

Overall thoughts: (7.0) – The stream for the live airing wasn’t very good. It didn’t freeze on me once the EVOVLE portion of the show began, but it was choppy. I was surprised they didn’t do more to polish the venue they ran in, as it looked very low-rent. EVOLVE usually has a good looking entrance and a video screen, but they didn’t use that tonight. Also, they didn’t change the ring to EVOLVE colors and stayed with the FUW apron, which was an eye sore.

As EVOLVE continues to run in new markets, they’re not drawing big crowds and it seems like the venues they’re running in are too big to make the crowd that they do draw seem hot. It was especially noticeable during the main event that there weren’t many people there. The fans that were in attendance, included a lot of children were hot for a lot of the action, but it seemed like the crowd audio dropped in and out when Leonard talked on commentary.

Some matches seemed to get less time than they would have ordinarily, as the FUW portion of the show went to intermission and ran really long. The good news here is that there were a lot of good matches on the show that make it worth checking out if you didn’t see it live, especially given that the VOD version is likely to look much better than the live version did.

The show started out with a couple of matches that the crowd didn’t take to. A.R. Fox and Jon Davis then had a very good Style Battle tournament match. They had a hard time getting the crowd into it, but the fans were definitely cheering as the match went on and were into everything by the end of the match. Davis continues to impress me working with a variety of different opponents in recent months and I like his “win or go home storyline.”

Del Sol-Generico stole the show plain and simple with an amazing match that got the crowd really into the match. I could see the people standing and cheering as the match went back and forth down the stretch. I’d love to see the third chapter of this feud at some point in the near future in front of a larger crowd.

Gargano-Taylor had a good match. I was surprised to see all of the ref bumps and heck, even the time keeper got bumped. This is a match that would have played out better in one of the usual DGUSA/EVOVLE markets. The crowd was into it, but this is the match DGUSA/EVOLVE has been building to for months. Taylor has been a real thorn in Gargano’s side and he got some heel heat, but having Swamp Monster with him makes his heel act come off as mid-card material.

Gargano went for broke here from the start and sold his back injury that he suffered last night thanks to Tony Nese. He showed a lot of guts beating Taylor in spite of all of the shenanigans that went on during the match. I was surprised Gargano was so laid back with his post-match promo given that Taylor turned on him and has beaten him multiple times in recent months, but when the match was over, Gargano was cracking jokes and even said Taylor sucked at one point as he went backstage.

I give this show a solid recommendation to check out on replay. There are several matches on the card worth checking out and what happened on this show flowed nicely into tomorrow night where Bobby Fish will take on Jon Davis in the finals of the Style Battle tournament and Gargano and Nese will have their first encounter in their new feud. I also think the VOD version of this show will look better than the live feed.


***

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Follow Sean on Twitter at Twitter.com/SeanRadican

Contact Sean at PWTorchSean@gmail.com





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