It doesn't seem like there's a lot of love for EVOLVE on Cageside.
The few of you who did comment on the live play by play thread dismissed the promotion as MMA Lite and while there were a few instances which supported that argument, there were far more that went against it.
Some last minute replacements -- AR Fox being the most notable -- definitely hurt the card but EVOLVE pulled it together nicely and delivered a show easily worth the $15 it cost to order.
When Scott Reed of The Scene was unable to make the show, Super Smash Brothers were instead booked against the debuting tag team of Drew Gulak and Jake Manning, two associates of Chuck Taylor who are collectively known as "The Gentleman's Club."
The match was good mostly in part to Player Uno and Player Dos who are quickly becoming one of my favorite tag teams behind The Young Bucks and of course, Dem Boys, The Briscoes. The CHIKARA veterans picked up the win in the fun opener.
Due to the reshuffled card, some EVOLVE newcomers squared off in the next two bouts. Josh Alexander took on MK McKinnan in a winning effort and Mike Rollins bested Ashley Sixx. McKinnan is a young British wrestler who looks to have loads of potential. He messed up a move in the early going but it only seemed to fuel his desire to put on a good match as everything that followed was crisp and tight. I will be definitely keeping an eye out for him in the future.
1-0 in EVOLVE, Josh Silver took on Adam Reynolds in the next bout. This was the surprise of the night as I hadn't heard of either competitor going into the bout but walked away impressed. Reynolds picked up his first win in the promotion.
The rest of the show including both main events after the jump!
What was supposed to be next was a singles bout between Chuck Taylor and Samuray Del Sol. Before the match could start, Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA) champion Johnny Gargano came to ringside and confronted Taylor for betraying him during DGUSA's WrestleMania 28 weekend shows. He interjected himself into the match and right then and there, it became an elimination style three-way dance. Del Sol was awesome, he could definitely be one of the next big stars on the indie scene. While he impressed with his athleticism and agility, he was first to be eliminated which left fans with exactly what they wanted to see: Taylor and Gargano, one on one.
At EVOLVE 10, Gargano suffered a back injury during his match and essentially wrestled without feeling in his legs for nearly half an hour. The injury was such that there was talk of stripping him of the DGUSA title. He was able to recover promptly but it didn't stop Taylor from attacking the spinal cord throughout the match. The end came when "The Kentucky Gentleman" slapped a half Boston crab on Gargano, forcing his former partner to pass out. Taylor now stands alone atop the win column with seven victories in the EVOLVE promotion.
The show came back from intermission with a quick match between the other member of The Scene, Caleb Konley, winning a match against the debuting Adam Page. This lead into the main event.
Low Ki and El Generico had a decent match. Really, though, it's Low Ki's fault. He does what he does and whoever he's inside the ring with has to work around that. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad. With Generico, we got good. This match also had a moment of MMA Lite that literally had me shaking my head.
Generico has just escape a hold on the mat and sprang to his feet. Low Ki stayed on the canvas and dared his opponent to join him. If you've ever seen an MMA fight between a striker with no real grappling skills and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) expert with little boxing ability, you've seen this. It was maddening. This is PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING so I dunno, WRESTLE.
Beyond that, there wasn't anything too offensive and the ending was insanely brutal. Generico was playing up an injured knee and was sort of doubled over on the mat with his back facing up. Low Ki hits his signature top rope double stomp in sickening fashion. After the match, the "World Warrior" had some very unkind words for the "Generic Luchador."
The opening half of the main event, the rematch between Fit Finlay and Sami Callihan, was a bit slow. I was starting to get disappointed in the match but then it really kicked into high gear when "The New Horror" got some offense in. The two bruisers laid into each other with Finlay picking up the submission win with the cross armbreaker. Afterwards, the veteran tried to offer his foe some words of advice but Callihan was not hearing it.
After making a splash at EVOLVE 10 and closing out the ECW Arena is such controversial fashion, back to back losses to Sabu and Finlay will assuredly affect the young man from Ohio.
Overall, there's no reason to not watch this show. It's about two hours long, costs $15 and will provide some good times.
Like I said in the play by play, I can think of a million worse ways to spend your time.
Give EVOLVE a chance, Cagesiders. For your ol' pal, Sergio.