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RADICAN'S EVOLVE 16 iPPV REPORT 6/30 - Coverage of live iPPV from Jacksonville, Fla.

Jun 30, 2012 - 8:34:32 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist

RADICAN’S EVOLVE 16 iPPV REPORT
JUNE 16, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED LIVE ON WWNLIVE.COM
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The crowd sounds much more enthusiastic tonight than last night. Lenny Leonard said he had some bad news and brought out Johnny Gargano. It looks like there are more people in the building than there were last night. Gargano talked about meeting with the doctors earlier today and he shouldn’t wrestle tonight. The fans booed. Gargano said he’s sorry, but he’s body isn’t cooperating. Tony Nese came down to the ring and said he didn’t just hear that. He told Gargano he had been milking the back injury for months. Gargano told Nese he’s looking at the man in EVOLVE wrestling. Gargano said he’d go to the back and put his stuff on and wrestle him tonight. The fans chanted for Gargano. Gargano told Nese his back may be hurt, but his fist is feeling just fine.

They’ve got the EVOLVE turnbuckles and ring apron back tonight, so the ring looks much more professional. The feed also looks much better tonight compared to the previous night.

1 - - THE SCENE (Caleb Konley & Scott Reed w/Cammy) vs. Kennedy Kendrick & Damien Angel

Angel got in some nice offense on Reed and Konley during the early going. Leonard noted that Kendrick was trained by Lance Storm. The Scene fired back and hit a stereo spinebuster on Kendrick. The Scene worked over Kendrick for several minutes, but Angel got the hot tag and ran wild. The action broke down and the Scene hit it’s obscene on Angel for the win. (*1/2)

Leonard interviewed the Scene and said he didn’t care what they have to say. Konley said something, but I couldn’t hear it as he mocked Leonard. Reed said something and waved to the crowd.

It’s Taylor vs. Fox next for third place in the 2012 EVOLVE Style Battle tournament.

2 - - TOMMY TAYLOR vs. A.R. FOX – 2012 Style Battle tournament match

Fox had the advantage during the early going, but Taylor cut him off going for a springboard with a dropkick. Taylor slowed the pace and worked over Fox for several minutes before hitting a neckbreaker combination on Fox for a 2 count. Taylor continued to work over Fox for several minutes, but Fox finally mounted a comeback and hit a missile dropkick. The crowd fired up as Fox hit some spectacular offensive moves on Taylor. Fox went for a springboard 450, but Taylor rolled out of the way and went back to work on Fox. Taylor went up top, but Fox cut him off with a sunset flip with a bridge for the win. This was a good little match. (**1/2)

Leonard interviewed Fox after the match. Fox said he was happy with the victory after losing last night. He said he’s the best high-flyer in the world, which brought out Lince Dorado. Dorado said he’s good, but not the best at high-flying. He asked where his spotlight is. Dorado challenged him to a match. The crowd fired up and chanted “Yes, yes, yes.” Fox said they could do it right now and the crowd went nuts.

3 - - A.R. FOX vs. LINCE DORADO

Dorado hit a dragon suplex with a bridge right away for a nearfall. Fox fired back and sent Dorado out of the ring. He got some incredible air going over the top rope and nailing Dorado with a dive on the chairs. The crowd went nuts as Fox followed up with a kick flip to the floor off the ringpost. Fox hit a legdrop off the top to the apron and the crowd went nuts. Dorado fired back and took control of the action after hitting a nice moonsault off the top for a 2 count. Fox ended up on the outside and Dorado hit a corkscrew twisting press to the floor and the crowd went nuts again.

Dorado set up Fox on a chair and nailed him with a tope con hilo through the ropes and the crowd went crazy again. Good lord this is fantastic. Fox fired back and went for a swanton, but Dorado got his knees up and both men were down. Fox got the upper hand once both men regained their bearings and hit an inverted senton in the corner for a nearfall. The crowd roared at Dorado’s kick out and chanted this is wrestling. Dorado fired back and connected with a top rope hurricanrana for a nearfall. Dorado lit up Fox with chops and kicks and connected with a running blockbuster for a nearfall. Dorado went for a shooting star leg drop, but barely connected. He followed up with a moonsault off the second rope for a 2 count and the crowd applauded. Dorado went up top again, but Fox cut him off and hit Lo Mein pain for the win. That was amazing. (***3/4)

The crowd chanted for Fox after the match.

4 - - CHEECH HERNANDEZ & MIKE CRUZ vs. JOHN SILVER & ALEX REYNOLDS

Cruz had the upper hand on Silver during the early going, but Silver fired back and tagged in Reynolds for a tandem dropkick on Cruz. Cheech got the tag from Cruz and sent Reynolds to the outside. Cheech eventually connected with a knee drop off the apron on Reynolds and the crowd fired up. Silver then came out of nowhere and wiped out Cheech with a dive and the crowd popped. Reynolds and Silver began working over Cheech on the outside, but Cruz wiped them out with a flip dive. Cheech began working over Silver. Reynolds tried to run in, but Cruz cut him off with a dive off the top. Cheech then locked Silver and Cruz in a double submission. The crowd popped after Cruz nailed Reynolds with a dropkick to finish the sequence.

Silver cut off Cheech and tagged in Reynolds for a stereo enzuguri. Silver worked over Cheech for a while with some intense offense as the match settled down a bit. Reynolds tagged in and continued to work over Cheech. Cheech finally cut off Silver with a face buster and both men were down. Cruz got the hot tag and ran wild on Reynolds. The action broke down after Reynolds caught Cruz with a chinbreaker out of a 2k1 bomb. Cheech ran into to break up the pin, but Reynolds cut him off. After some great back and forth action, Reynolds and Silver pinned Cruz after a tandem pendulum slam. That was a very good tag match. (***1/4)

5 - - JAKE MANNING (w/Chuck Taylor) vs. BLAIN RAGE

Rage took down Manning, who went outside to consult his manual. Rage took down Manning again and he went outside and drank from his canteen before consulting his scout manual again. Manning finally hit a suplex on Rage and choked him with his boot so the ref couldn’t see it, but the ref eventually caught him. Rage fired back after Manning grounded him for several minutes and hit several knee strikes. The crowd seems to be favoring Rage here as he mounts his comeback. Rage draped Manning over the turnbuckles and hit a step up knee to the mid-section moments later. He followed up with a top rope hurricanrana. Rage then hit a missile dropkick, but Manning kicked out. They battled for position moments later and Manning rolled up Rage and grabbed the tights for the win. This was a nice change of pace given the last two matches were pretty intense. (**)

6 - - Open the Freedom Gate Champion JOHNNY GARGANO vs. TONY NESE – Non-title match

Nese controlled the action during the early going and worked over Gargano’s back on the mat. Gargano fired back and went for the Gargano escape, but Nese got the ropes. Gargano hit a knee strike/neckbreaker combo and favored his back before posing for the fans. Gargano sent Nese to the outside, but Nese swept his legs out from under him and Gargano landed back first on the apron. The fans tried to rally behind Gargano as Nese continued to work over his back on the mat back inside the ring. Nese continued to dominate the action and they went to an exchange near the apron that saw Gargano connect with a spear through the ropes much to the delight of the crowd. Gargano sent Nese to the outside after a big powerbomb and connected with a dive through the ropes. Gargano went for another dive, but Nese surprising him by running into the ring and tripping him up. Gargano fired right back and hit a DDT for a 2 count.

The crowd fired up as both men regrouped after the 2 count. Nese blocked a tornado DDT from Gargano and nailed him with a top rope hurricanrana and the fans cheered with both men down on the mat. They exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Gargano eventually ducked a kick and connected with a discuss lariat as the crowd fired up with both men down. They had a great exchanged that ended with Nese hitting a one-armed buckle bomb and a running knee strike in the corner for a good nearfall. Gargano missed a reverse hurricanrana and Nese hit a German with a bridge moments later for another 2 count. The crowd rallied behind Gargano as he tried to regroup. Nese hit a spider German suplex out of the corner and went for a 450, but Gargano got his knees up. The crowd didn’t react much to Gargano blocking the 450. Gargano hit the hurts don’t it and applied the Gargano escape for the win. This was a good match that told a good story, although the crowd seemed surprised by the finish. (***1/2)

Leonard came into the ring after the match to interview Gargano. Gargano said Nese is a great athlete. The crowd chanted for Nese. He said he may be the Open the Freedom Gate Champion, but Nese is pretty darn good. Gargano then addressed Akira Tozawa the #1 contender. Gargano said the title, EVOLVE, and DGUSA mean everything to him. Gargano said on July 28 as long as his heart is still beating the title would go nowhere. Good post-match promo from Gargano.

7 - - SAMURAY DEL SOL vs. CHUCK TAYLOR (w/Swamp Monster & Jake Manning)

Del Sol hit a crazy backwards handstand headscissors that tossed Taylor to the outside that caused Manning to throw out his manual. That was funny. Del Sol did several revolutions around Taylor moments later before locking in an arm bar, but Taylor got the ropes. Del Sol then did his spinning Indian death lock, but Taylor eventually escaped. Taylor ducked the double knees in the corner attempt from Del Sol and choked him on the mat. Taylor jawed with some fans while applying a headscissors submission. Del Sol fired back and hit a standing sliced bread variation the left both men down on the mat.

Both men got up, but Del Sol greeted Taylor with a spinning kick for a 2 count. Taylor countered Del Sol and applied a headscissors submission. The crowd tried to rally behind Del Sol, who eventually got the ropes. Del Sol fired back and hit a crazy multiple rotation DDT on Taylor. Del Sol then followed up with a flip dive to the outside and the crowd roared and chanted for Del Sol. Taylor countered a springboard hurricanrana attempt from Del Sol into a spinning powerbomb moments later for a 2 count. The crowd tried to rally behind Del Sol, who hit a step up Code Red on Taylor for a 2 count. Del Sol went up top, but Taylor nailed him with a belly-to-belly suplex for a 2 count. The crowd doesn’t seem to be into the nearfalls right now. Taylor jawed with the crowd and went up top for a moonsault, but missed. Del Sol followed up and hit a springboard reverse hurricanrana for the win. This was very good, although the crowd never fully invested in the action. (***1/4)

Jon Davis got a big pop coming out for the main event. Bobby Fish also got a good reaction coming out for the match.

8 - - JON DAVIS vs. BOBBY FISH - 2012 Style Battle tournament finals

After a feeling out process during the early stages of the match, Fish hit a dropkick and got in his first bit of sustained offense. The crowd chanted for both men at one point as Fish continued to dominate the action. Davis finally countered Fish and hit a big powerslam. Davis took control and eventually hit a long delayed vertical suplex for a 2 count. Davis hit a big suplex and went for a second rope moonsault, but Fish rolled out of the way. The crowd fired up as both men were slow to get to their feet. Davis rolled out of the ring after Fish missed a moonsault, but managed to land on his feet. Fish wiped him out with a springboard to the outside. Fish went back up top back inside the ring and connected with a diving headbutt.

Fish began working over Davis’s legs. Davis fired back and hit a huge forearm and a big clothesline for a 2 count. Fish got a cross-arm breaker, but Davis fought out and hit a big German with a bridge for a nearfall. That was an impressive exchange. The fans chanted for both men as they regrouped. Davis hit a powerbomb for a nearfall and went right into a Boston crab submission. Fish fought out and grabbed the fish hook. Davis struggled and eventually got the ropes. The crowd woke up as Fish went back on the attack. Davis had a hard time getting to his feet. Davis ducked a knee strike and hit the three second around the world powerbomb for a good nearfall. The crowd chanted for both men as they tried to regroup.

Fish got up and hit an exploder into the corner. The crowd began chanting for Davis as both men were slow to get up again. Fish’s fans then began chanting for him. They battled on the turnbuckles and Fish eventually nailed Davis’s leg with a kick after being shoved to the mat. Fish then hit a huge release superplex for a 2 count. Fish no-sold a pounce, but Davis nailed him with a lariat. Davis then hit the three seconds around the world powerbomb for the win. This was a very good match. (***3/4)

The crowd chanted “that was awesome” as Davis struggled to get back to his feet. The fans chanted for Fish as he made his way to the back.

Leonard interviewed Davis in the ring and talked about Davis wanting to walk away after the last set of EVOLVE shows. Leonard congratulated Davis for being the 2012 Style Battle Tournament. Davis talked about his losses and said he’d achieved his goal. He said he wanted an EVOLVE title. Davis said that EVOLVE title belongs around his waist. The fans chanted for Davis. Davis thanked the fans for their support in recent months.

Overall thoughts: (7.5) – This was an improved effort over EVOLVE 15. The show was missing some star power with Cabana and Generico off the card, but there were a number of good matches on this show. Right off the bat, it was really refreshing to see the EVOLVE ring mat, turnbuckles, and apron setup after last night where the ring was just an eyesore. Another thing of note is that the stream looked very good and was much clearer while I watched the show live, as the picture was sharp and there was no pixilation.

The best match on the show turned out to be the unannounced A.R. Fox-Lince Dorado contest, which saw Dorado challenge Fox to an impromptu match that the crowd really got into, despite the crowd being small in size. The crowd was wowed by a spectacular display of athleticism from these two athletes.

The other match that stood out during the first half of the show was the Reynolds & Silver vs. Cruz & Hernandez tag match. They put together a good match that built up and slowed down and then turned the speed back up towards the end leading into a good finish.

The crowd atmosphere wasn’t great for the big matches on the card, but it was better than last night for the most part. When watching these shows, people watching on iPPV and DVD want to see red hot crowds. The building they were in was fairly spacious once again as it was last night. The crowd was mic’d much better, but these shows would come off better in smaller venues if EVOLVE is going to continue to run in new markets.

Gargano-Nese was a very good match that told a good story with Nese working over Gargano’s back and Gargano bringing the fight to him. Gargano did a good job of selling and eventually caught Nese with the Gargano escape to end the match. I thought Gargano’s post-match promo did a good job of setting up his match against Tozawa at the next round of DGUSA shows in July. It was a much better promo then the one he delivered last night after beating Taylor.

Del Sol continues to impress me with his spectacular offense. It’s a shame his match against Taylor didn’t get more heat from the fans, as he pulled off some jaw-dropping maneuvers. Taylor’s heel act is wearing thin and it comes off as something that would be better on the mid or lower card. His silly selling for submission where he screams can get really annoying when I’m trying to take a match seriously. That being said, Taylor-Del Sol was very good and well-worth checking out if you get the chance if only to see what Del Sol is capable of in the ring.

The main event featured some great hard-hitting action and submission work. It wasn’t a great match, but it was very good. I hate to repeat myself, but I think this match would have played out much better in front of a different crowd. The fans were into the match, but the crowd size just couldn’t generate a ton of heat for Davis and Fish. This was a well-worked match and both men are much improved from when they started in EVOLVE. Davis’s journey to either keep winning matches or retire is compelling to watch and the finish of this match was well-done.

One thing I have to say is that it’s nice to watch shows where the nearfalls are toned down, as they were tonight. There were a lot of decisive finishes on the show and one of the major complaints about independent wrestling is that there’s too many nearfalls in a lot of the matches. It seems like EVOLVE is getting away from that and I applaud that decision.

Overall, this show is worth checking out if you want to see a bunch of good matches. Fox-Dorado stole the show and was a great bonus considering it was unannounced. EVOVLE can’t just surprise people with matches like this on every show, but it’s a nice bonus with the iPPV element play for those watching live that something like that match took place. There really wasn’t a bad match on the card here. Hopefully EVOVLE starts running in smaller building in the future as they continue to grow, as it will only help the atmosphere of their shows.

***

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Follow Sean on Twitter at Twitter.com/SeanRadican

Contact Sean at PWTorchSean@gmail.com





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