EVOLVE 3: Rise or Fall

*** EVOLVE Wrestling DVD Reviews by Brad Dykens ***
May 1, 2010 – Rahway, New Jersey

INTRODUCTION: EVOLVE bills itself as wrestling’s newest brand, and it really is a breath of fresh air. The rules are that of traditional sports, following logical rules of gameplay. It’s an environment where wins and losses actually mean something. This was the third event for EVOLVE, and it was called “Rise or Fall” for a very good reason – everybody on the roster was either going to ‘rise’ or ‘fall’ in the rankings. They pitted wrestlers with the same win-loss records against each other to see whose fortune would continue, and whose would come to an end. In some cases, it will mean being exiled from EVOLVE. When have we ever seen something like that in professional wrestling? And it’s so simple nobody would have ever thought about it, until booker Gabe Sapolsky came along.

Sami Callihan (debut) vs. Adam Cole (debut): This is the first time I’ve seen Sami Callihan and now I know what all the fuss is about. He is quite the character; like a cross between Rhino and the lead singer of Sum 41. Both men fought for their first win in EVOLVE. They each had a chance to show their stuff, but thankfully it was Sami Callihan who walked out with his arm triumphantly raised.

Johnny Gargano (1-1) vs. Ricochet (1-1): Here we go with a ‘swing’ match, where one wrestler will rise above the 50% record and the other will fall. I am a big fan of Gargano and I am watching his career carefully. I’ve only seen Ricochet a few times but he is getting some serious buzz on the independent scene. Gargano is kind of a wreckless nutcase over on Dragon Gate USA, but here he is a straight wrestler with a serious focus. Ricochet hit a perfect shooting star press, but Gargano kicked out and rolled to the floor. Ricochet followed up with a crazy flip dive off the top rope onto Gargano but smashed his knee on the floor in the process. Ricochet sold it and tried to climb into the ring to beat the 20-count (yes, it’s a 20 count in EVOLVE). Ricochet was about to get in at the last second but Gargano grabbed his leg and pulled him back out, so it was a double countout. However, this is EVOLVE, and there must be a winner so they said that the first man to get into the ring would get the WIN. It’s so simple it’s almost stupid – but it’s not stupid, it’s great. Gargano bashed Rico’s knee and beat him into the ring to officially improve his record to 2-0.

Lenny Leonard & Johnny Gargano: Lenny asked Gargano about the questionable tactics he used to beat Ricochet. Jimmy Jacobs and his posse came out to applaud Gargano’s victory, but Gargano just made a joke about Jimmy’s sexuality. Gargano was proud of himself, and is showing signs of going heel.

Mercedes Martinez (c) vs. Brittney Savage: Mercedes defended her WSU title against the little blonde girl who seems to end up in every promotion in the Northeast at some point, Brittney Savage. Mercedes has gone through Niya and Sumie Sakai at the previous EVOLVE events, and is looking to continue her streak and prove that women belong in EVOLVE. Personally, I’d say by pulverizing every girl who walks through the doors she is proving that women don’t belong in EVOLVE – only one woman (her!). Martinez literally squashed Savage, which is how I usually prefer Savage’s matches to end. After the match, Martinez challenged Amazing Kong to come to EVOLVE and face her one-on-one to see who the “tougest bitch in the land” is.

Up in Smoke (Cheech & Cloudy) vs. Aeroform (Louis Lyndon & Flip Kendrick) vs. Team Beyond (Zane Silver & Chase Burnett): Seriously? Team Beyond? I’d rather see Up in Smoke vs. Aeroform any day. Up in Smoke beat Aeroform on EVOLVE 2, so I guess they’re mixing it up. My first impression of Team Beyond was that they look like super jobbers who job to jobbers, but I quickly ended up eating my words because they proved that they could hang with the top competition. Don’t judge a book by its cover, right? All of these guys have been studying their Best of the Motor City Machine Guns DVD. There was lots of madness going on in this match, but it was Aeroform who won the match and earned their first victory (1-2). Up in Smoke fall to 1-1.

Drake Younger (debut) vs. Jon Moxley (debut): Both of these guys are naturally very unstable, and may find it difficult to maintain the discipline that is expected of EVOLVE wrestlers. Moxley is a vicious heel in other promotions, but here he will be challenged to play by the rules and be a true competitor. It kind of reminds me of when ROH started in 2002. I’m not a huge fan of Drake Younger (yet) due to his association with the ultraviolent leagues. I have seen him adapt to more respectable levels both here and in Dragon Gate, so I guess there is hope for him. Moxley is my guy though, and I’m looking to see him continue to break out all throughout 2011. Younger pinned Moxley after hitting him with the Drake’s Landing. Well that’s no way to win my heart, Mr. Younger. Don’t go beating my favorite guy!

Chris Hero (0-1) w/Claudio Castagnoli vs. “The Infamous” Bobby Fish (0-2): A few years ago I talked about Chris Hero like I talk about Jon Moxley now. I’d love to see them clash some day. Hero lost his debut match in the main event of EVOLVE 2 against Ikuto Hidaka in what turned out to be an amazing contest. Fish lost to Kyle O’Reilly on EVOLVE 1 and then lost to Claudio Castagnoli on EVOLVE 2 in the match that almost stole the show. Hero & Castagnoli are playing nice guys here in EVOLVE, so before the match they greeted Fish and everybody wished each other luck. You had to wonder how long this wholesomeness was going to last. Hero tried to use his knockout punch several times, but Fish kept kicking out. Finally a third punch, followed by a kick to the head, and one final knockout punch, ended the match and allowed Hero to improve his record to 1-1. It’s a shame that someone as big as Fish has a record of 0-3 because it doesn’t reflect his skill level. After the match, Brad Allen came out to check on Fish, and Hero became very offended that his spotlight was being stolen; so offended that he blew of his post match interview.

Brodie Lee (0-1) vs. Gran Akuma (1-0) vs. Hallowicked (0-1) vs. Chris Dickenson (0-2): I’m looking for Brodie Lee to dostroy all three of his opponents, and continue his gimmick from Dragon Gate. If that was Brodie’s plan, it sure didn’t play out that way because they all ganged up on him as soon as the bell rang. Then they all started wrestling each other. Eventually Brodie Lee did take over and dominate, finishing off one of his unfortunate opponents for the win. Hopefully he will get on a roll now.

Kyle O’Reilly (2-0) vs. TJP (0-1): No clue why they have to call T.J. Perkins “TJP” in EVOLVE. Seems kinda dumb and unnecessary if you ask me. They’re saying TJP stole the show at EVOLVE 1 when he wrestled Munenori Sawa. It’s a shame that someone as plain and unpolished as Kyle O’Reilly has a 2-0 record right now. Thank God TJP improved his record to 1-1, but more importantly prevented O’Reilly from earning 3-0 bragging rights.

Jimmy Jacobs (2-0) vs. Brad Allen (2-0): Before the match, Sean Davis (the Heartbreak Express member doing his ultra stupid whatever gimmick) took a seat in the audience with his tall Asian bodyguard/boyfriend. Johnny Gargano came out and sat with them, so they could all watch their boy, Jimmy Jacobs, compete in the ring. Jacobs has been avoiding them and doesn’t want anything to do with the group. These two guys were fighting for the right to be the only man with a 3-0 record in EVOLVE. Brad Allen has been compaigning for a match with Chris Hero, and if he wins this one, Hero will have no choice but to accept the challenge (right?). That would make sense if Hero was the champion, or if EVOLVE had a championship at all. After a decent match, it was the amazing Jimmy Jacobs who walked out with the perfect record. If I was in charge of EVOLVE, he would be my first champion.

Claudio Castagnoli (1-0) w/Chris Hero vs. Chuck Taylor (1-0): Chuck Taylor kind of reminds me of Napolion Dynamite. This match was voted in by the fans, which explains why Chuck Taylor was wrestling in the main event. Chris Hero felt like Taylor stuck his nose in his business by standing in the corner of Hidaka during the main event of EVOLVE 2. This looked like a mis-match, as |Castagnoli was a lot taller then Chucky T. Hero acted like his partner had Chuck’s number and that victory was a forgone conclusion. This match went very long, and consisted of Castagnoli treating Taylor like his own personal toy, but the playtime went too long and Taylor started fighting back with some good offensive moves. Hero was stunned, but maintained his faith in his partner. The finish saw Taylor lift Claudio up with ease and drop him right on the back of his head with some kind of “driver.” The move looked bad, but not too bad where it would be dangerous. After the match, Lenny Leonard interviewed Chuck Taylor and he said things are going to change and from now on he is making the rules.

If you would like to purchase this or any other EVOLVE DVD
please check out the EVOLVE website at EVOLVEwrestling.com