Evolve 14 (6/28/2012)- Ybor City, FL
Hello everyone, and welcome back to BRM’s Monthly “This Day in Wrestling History” Review Series! I really don’t have anything interesting to say here this month. I just decided to watch some EVOLVE. Specifically, Evolve 14.
JOHN SILVER(1-1) vs. JAKE MANNING(1-1) (w/Chuck Taylor & the Swamp Monster)- 4.75/10
Manning gave Silver a snapmare on the apron, and it looked brutal. He also hit a version of the Lethal Combination, except that Silver took the reverse STO part on his head. This was decent. Silver won cleanly with one of those wacky backbreakers where you start off by kneeling on your opponent’s back while he is bent over.
CHUCK TAYLOR INTERRUPTS JOHN SOLVER’S WINNER’S INTERVIEW AND SHOOS HIM OFF, AND SILVER JUST GOES AWAY- bad
I get that it’s EVOLVE so Silver can’t really hit Chuck or anything like that, but just backing down so easily did not make Silver look good. Chuck Taylor cut a promo threatening to murder several people, including his opponent tonight, Colt Cabana, and his opponent later this weekend, Johny Gargano. It’s clear at this point that this angle is not working, as the fans are all cheering for Chuck’s group, not booing them for disrespecting the rules.
COLT CABANA(0-0) vs. CHUCK TAYLOR)(8-3)- 6.5/10
Cabana, like Low Ki, gets his own music instead of the generic EVOVLE music. We got some good comedy early with Cabana outsmarting Taylor. When Taylor took over, he got quite vicious working over Colt’s leg. Eventually Chuck won with a great wrestling counter into a Single-Leg Crab.
MIKE CRUZ & CHEECH HERNANDEZ(0-0) vs. THE SCENE(2-0) (w/An Unnamed Female Friend)- 5.75/10
The Scene won a fine but short action match cleanly.
STYLE BATTLE VIDEO PACKAGE- could have been A LOT better
We were told that there were four wrestlers, each representing a different style and each with something at stake for them. A.R. Fox was representing “high-flying” and was the “returning champion,” looking to retain his crown. Bobby Fish represents “puroresu junior heavyweight style” and is hoping to make a “dramatic journey to .500” after starting his EVOLVE career off with so many losses. Jon Davis is representing “heavyweight style” and has apparently put his career on the line. That was news to me. The fourth was Tommy Taylor, who represents the European style, and is “on the comeback trail.”
The issue here is that the things I put in quotes were literally the only words on the screen, aside from the wrestlers’ names. That on its own isn’t great because the succinct manner in which it was written makes this feel way too much like I’m just being shown the booker’s notes. Expanding it like I did for A.R. Fox would have made this feel more like the final product of a promotional package rather than the rough draft it felt like.
But even that wouldn’t have been nearly as effective as letting us hear each guy cut a little promo. Things are always more effective when you hear them straight from the source. And this was especially true for the stories of Davis (for whom this news feels like it is coming out of nowhere and really does need an explanation of why he would do this) and Taylor (who we have never seen before).
STYLE BATTLE TOURNAMENT MATCH: Jon Davis(1-3) vs. Tommy Taylor(0-0)- 5.75/10
The rules of the tournament this year are no time limits, you get two points for a win, and lose one point for a loss. No points to anyone for a double-count-out or a double-disqualification.
Davis used his strength to win a decent match. His career being on the line in this tournament feels like it has killed all of the suspense. He cut a promo saying that he would win.
STYLE BATTLE TOURNAMENT MATCH: Bobby Fish(3-4) vs. A.R. Fox(4-1)- 7.75/10
Colt Cabana joined Lenny Leonard on commentary for this match.
Lots of great action here, and they did a great job of actually making it feel like there was a contrast of styles (especially comparted to the previous match). Fish picked up the win. It’s the first night of the tournament, and he’s already back at .500. Mission accomplished, I guess?
BOBBY FISH INTERVIEW- good
He basically answered the question I just asked, emphasizing that it is now important to him to win tomorrow and get above .500.
SANTANA GARRETT vs. SARA DEL REY- 4/10
This was a “SHINE preview match.” Daffney joined Lenny Leonard on commentary for this match. The fans were happy to see Death Rey kick the sh*t out of Santana. The match was competent but short, and came across as exactly what it was, which was some other promotion’s match stuck onto this show as a commercial.
SARA DEL REY PROMO- good
She wants to know if this is really the best competition SHINNE has to offer her. She demands the best competition. She wants… JAZZ. I remember the news of this announcement feeling like a big deal at the time, but it really didn’t come across that way here.
FOUR-WAY FREE-STYLE: Johnny Gargano(6-4) vs. Alex Reynolds(3-0) vs. Lincé Dorado(0-1) vs. Tony Nese(0-3)- 7.75/10
Nese picks up his first win in a match that was all action.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
Johnny Gargano’s back was hurt. Nese demanded that they “get him out of my ring” because “this is my spotlight.” Nese then volunteered himself as an opponent for Gargano in two nights at Evolve 16, for which Gargano currently has an open contract.
EL GENERICO(1-2) vs. SAMURAY DEL SOL(0-2)- 8.5/10
Samuray del Sol and El Generico also both got their own music tonight. Lenny got Samuray del Sol’s record backwards. He’s actually 0-2, not 2-0.
During this match we were told that as a result of snapping and attacking a bunch of referees on the previous show, Sami Callihan has been suspended for FIVE DGUSA and EVOLVE shows. I don’t like the suspension for breaking EVOLVE rules carrying over to DGUSA, but I can live with it. The bigger issue here is that this sort of announcement should happen at the beginning of the show, not be thrown in on commentary towards the end.
This was an excellent athletic match that was probably even more impressive back in 2012. Watching this now, in 2022, I was far more struck by the fact that Generico did such a great job of playing the established veteran who wasn’t going to let the young punk out-do him… without ever feeling like the big, bullying heel. We all said that WWE was crazy for taking his mask off and even crazier for making him a heel, but seeing matches like this makes me think that they were a lot more tuned in than we thought.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT #1- GREAT!
Generico said that Low Ki likes to call himself a “world warrior,” but Generico is one as well. He said that the difference between himself and Low Ki is that he is willing to give credit to young talent, and he put Samuray del Sol over as the future of wrestling as a whole and lucha in particular. He told Samuray that he could have a rematch any time he wanted… and Samuray said responded that he wanted a rematch tomorrow night.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT #2- bad
Samuray del Sol left, and Generico began to give the usual “thank you for coming” promo that always ended a show, but Christina Von Eerie came out and interrupted him. She said that Generico thinks he can just walk in anywhere and take over, but Mad Blankie (the worst name for a stable ever) are the ones who run DGUSA. She slaps him in the face. This is EVOLVE, so shouldn’t that get her suspended from the next show? Except she’s not actually in EVOLVE, so would she get suspended from the next DGUSA show instead? She bet that Generico didn’t “have the balls” to do anything to her, so Generico kicked her head off. Maybe there is some DGUSA thing I’m missing here, but this felt quite random, and CVE was pretty boring (I was interested at first when I thought she might be a messenger of the suspended Sami Callihan, because she was doing a great job of copying his promo cadence, but it turned out not be).
This was a decent show from EVOLVE. The wrestling was never bad, but there were definitely some matches that felt like they should have been better (Davis vs. Taylor in particular). The main event was memorable, the idea of a rematch the next night was a very effective hook, and the crowd was into everything, but I couldn’t help but feel that creatively things just weren’t clicking. Even this crowd, which was into the show, was more into the Swamp Monster than they were into the up-and-coming John Silver who we were supposed to want to see vanquish the jerks making a mockery of things. The pieces are there and the ideas are there (I love the way Gabe set up to elevate Nese by giving him a win here and doing the post-match segment with Gargano, using the fact that Gargano is defending the title tomorrow night to give us a reason for why he might have an open contract the next night and to tell us that top-guy Gargano might have a lot of trouble with lowly Tony Nese because his back will only get worse after tomorrow’s surely grueling title defense, for example), but the wrestlers (other than maybe Gargano and Generico) just feel like they are about half a notch less over (or, in Taylor and his friends’ case, the crowd is reacting to them the wrong way, through no fault of their own) than they need to be to make things work. I just don’t care if Jon Davis decides to retire or not, but I feel like with six more months, maybe I might.
Anyway, this DVD also had some bonus features, which I have covered below. Both of those bonus matches involved the use of weapons, which is how I will segue to my tease for next month’s review, which is from a promotion we haven’t covered before, and will surely include A LOT of weapons.
2010 JEFF PETERSON MEMORIAL CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH (from 12/4/2010): Jon Moxley vs. Sugar Dunkerton- 3.5/10
This was short, and was clearly only on this DVD because they’re putting the whole tournament on the bonus features of this weekend’s triple-shot.
2010 JEFF PETERSON MEMORIAL CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH (from 12/4/2010): Sami Callihan vs. Frightmare- 7.5/10
This was an excellent brawl that makes its way onto my list of really great matches shorter than eleven minutes. This felt like a star-making performance for Frightmare in front of this audience, with both the crowd ad myself at home becoming firmly convinced that he not only could but WOULD beat Sami Callihan.
PWG, MLW, AAW, WWN, etc
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