BRM Reviews Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish (GREAT!)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish (GREAT!)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 10th, '20, 13:44

Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish (7/23/2010)- Union City, NJ

Larry tries to entice Dragon to come hang out with him and his crew after the show, claiming that Sean Davis has promised them the time of their lives after the show. Dragon tells that neither Larry nor Sean Davis belong in EVOLVE (a concept that Bryan notes he himself helped develop), then orders him to leave, and ensures that he does so by kicking him in the butt several times until Larry has been pushed out the door. Bryan is here to rid us of Sean Davis. HOORAY!

BRODIE LEE(1-1) vs. JON MOXLEY(0-1)- no rating, decent segment (but could have been a lot better if not for one problem)
This was a short but intense brawl with a finish that was disappointing to the live crowd, but is one that strikes me as necessary and important, and not just for the sake of setting up the post-match segment. Said finish was a double-DQ after both men grabbed chairs and the referee felt like he lost control of the match. Doing a finish like this is important because it establishes that a DQ is no idle threat. You don’t want to be one of those promotions where a heel will constantly cheat right in front of the referee and the announcer says that the referee is using his “discretion” to not call for the bell after a chair-shot, but insists that if this keeps happening the referee will have to call for the DQ, only for the next ten minutes to see the heel constantly ignore or even shove down the referee, hit babyface with six more weapons, kick him in the nuts, and benefit from the interference of both his lackeys and his trained attack tiger , all the while the announcer is still saying “if this keeps up, the referee will certainly call for the DQ!” (looking at you, New Japan).
That would completely neuter the threat of a DQ, killing any possibility for drama when you need it. This is doubly important in any promotion trying to promote itself as a sport-like atmosphere (which early EVOLVE tried to do more than just about any promotion since Sam Muchnick retired), and triply so when you’re early on in your promotion’s run or soon after some big kayfabe shakeup (like a brand split). You tell your audience what the rules are, and then establish that you’re serious about them by showing the rules being enforced. EVOLVE even already did this a bit by suspending Munenori Sawa for merely slapping TJP before a match. It illustrates to us that they really mean it when the video package about the promotion they showed us right before this match said “if it’s not tolerated in spots, it is not acceptable in EVOLVE.”
And that right there is the source of my one big problem that prevents me from calling this a good segment. Before these two grabbed chairs, we saw them spend 97% of the match brawling on the outside, including grabbed at each other’s faces, Moxley biting Brodie, and Brodie putting his hands on the referee. To me, it seemed that the referee lost control of this match WAY before these two grabbed their chairs, and that worked against the principle I talked about above.

After the ref disqualifies them both, they still have a stand-off with the chairs until the referee threatens to suspend them if they don’t put the chairs down. Brodie does so, but Moxley is a little hesitant, and the referee goes over to him and yells at him, so he begins to slowly knee down and put the chair down to show the referee that he is complying with his orders and not about to try anything funny… and Brodie Lee took this opportunity to charge in and kick the chair into Moxley’s face. The referee grabbed Brodie’s arm to yell at him and Brodie took a swing at him. The referee managed to duck it, and an angry Brodie stormed off.
When Moxley recovered, he grabbed a chair and seemed like he was going to go after Brodie but managed to stop himself. He took a few moments to calm down, and eventually yelled “I TIRED TO DO IT YOUR WAY!” and then “IT’S JUST A CHAIR!” I loved this little bit, as it makes Moxley the babyface who we have sympathy for because he was invited to come to EVOLVE and he really is trying to follow the rules in this alien atmosphere, but at the same time, he comes off as that guy who doesn’t quite seem to get it (“it’s just a chair?” Dude, it’s a weapon, and weapons are illegal) and you know that he’s going to explode and probable turn heel at some point, and hurt someone very badly in the process.

We next go a note that instead of the usual backstage footage, on this DVD we would be seeing interviews with the wrestlers all filmed the next day. I don’t know if this means that the documentary crew is gone forever, but it was nice to have the note that they are acknowledging that something is different (especially with the note about the documentary crew in the “what is EVOLVE?” video they showed before the first match along with the explanation of the records and leaderboard and the “if it’s not tolerated in sports, it isn’t acceptable in EVOLVE” quote). The first of these we got was a…

For something being filmed the day after the show, it sure sounds like there is a lot of wrestling going on in a nearby room. Maybe they’re in a training school or something, but it seems to me that if you’re going to tell me something is happening the day after the show, you really should go out of your way to not make it seem like you’re filming it during the show and lying about the timing. It’s immersion-breaking.
As for the actual content of Brodie’s interview, he was apparently asked to apologize for his actions, and instead of doing so he asked if he should apologize for having a sore neck and jaw. He asked “and you want me to play by the rules?” Then he got up and left. If he is supposed to be a hypocritical heel with ridiculous bullsh*t justifications for his actions then I guess this was okay, but it that’s not what this was supposed to be, then I don’t understand what Brodie’s point was. If the idea was that Moxley cheated first, why not just say that, and point out that Moxley bit him before he did anything even remotely against the rules?

FOUR CORNERS MATCH: Drake Younger(1-0) vs. Ricochet(1-2) vs. Rich Swann(0-0) vs. Chris Dickinson(0-3)- 6/10
Oh my G-d they’re all so young! Drake was the oldest of these guys at a mere twenty-five years of age. Swann as just nineteen.
This is the first official in-division four-way match, and they let us know right away that the only person who would receive a loss on his record was the1 person getting pinned, and the winner would receive only one win (just in case someone might have thought he should get three wins because he won a match over three opponents).
This was an excellent action match for the six minutes it got. Everyone looked good, and when the wrestlers paired off in the beginning, the camera crew made sure to stick with the Swann/Ricochet pairing so the new guy (Swann) could show off his stuff. The story of the match was Dickinson being dominant. He got Ricochet in a submission at the end but Ricochet was able to hold off for so long that Younger was able to reverse a big move of Swann’s and hit Drake’s Landing for the win (all taking place behind poor Dickinson, so he couldn’t see the sequence coming. This poor guy just can’t catch a break.

Dickinson, yelling at the referee, Drake, and a fan who told him he sucked. He was ordered to get out fo the ring and eventually did, telling the camera on his way to the back that Ricochet was “out cold” and saying he was “tired of this company” and tired of “these rules screwing me.”
Lenny Leonard then interviewed Drake Younger in the ring. Drake cut a good promo noting that he was now just one win behind the wins leader.

Drake came across as a nice young man, putting everyone over, but this didn’t really add much for me other than that (so maybe that was the point). The only new info was that his opponent for the next show will be Sami Callihan.

WSU WORLD TITLE MATCH: Mercedes Martinez(c)(3-0) (w/Sammy Geodollno) vs. Tina San Antonio(0-0)- 0.75/10
They say you learn something new every day. Well the new fact I learned today is that this here Sammy Geodollno lady would soon go on to become Veronica in CHIKARA.
This was a little more competitive than a squash, but not much.

Lenny asks Mercedes if she has received a response to the challenge she made to Amazing Kong at the previous show. She says no. We are then interrupted by a video of Kong, who rips a picture of Mercedes in half, and then eats it, just for good measure. The then makes the “I want the belt” gesture, followed by some other threatening gestures. The screen then says that she accepts the challenge for the September 11th in Rahway (AKA the next show). Because I’m a stickler for these sorts of things and doubly because EVOLVE has made an effort to be the “it’s all realistic” promotion, I do have to point out that it would have been nice if they had showed us a shot of King’s video being broadcast on a screen in the building so we’d understand how Mercedes was seeing it.

JOHNNY GARGANO(2-1) vs. ADAM COLE(0-1)- 6.75/10
They did just enough to make you want to see more of them while holding back most of what they can do for the inevitable rematch. Cole won by roll-up, which was definitely the right finish for the personalities involved at this point in the story.

Cole cut a total babyface promo while being interviewed by Lenny Leonard. Jimmy Jacobs came out and mockingly clapped for him. Then he said the following: “Is it hot in here, Adam Cole, or is it just you?” That would have been perfectly fine, except that the next line was “if there were showers in this building, I’d want to Bradshaw that ass” and slapped Cole on the butt. This is the same Jimmy Jacobs who proposed an angle two years before this where he would try to rape Austin Aries.
Jimmy then started to mock Gargano for losing to Cole. Cole snatched the mic away from him and a cut promo saying that from the day EVOLVE started, Jimmy has done everything he can to make Cole feel as unwelcome as possible and to feel like he doesn’t belong in EVOLVE, and Cole is tired of it. He tells Jimmy that if Jimmy thinks he doesn’t belong in EVOLVE, he should prove it beating him in a match at the next show. Jimmy brushes this challenge off and heads to the back. Gargano follows Jimmy and tires to goad him into accepting the challenge.

This came off as a little too heavy-handed in some regards, but it was some darn good babyface stuff.

AEROFORM(1-2) vs. CHIKARA SEKIGUN(Jigsaw & Hallowicked)(0-0)- 5.75/10
Solid but short tag team action. The crowd really loves Jigsaw.

SAMI CALLIHAN(1-0)vs. ARIK CANNON(0-1)- 7/10
This was a hell of a brawl that the crowd was really into. Alas, it was ruined by- and I can’t believe I’m saying this in an early EVOLVE review- the referee just not counting them out whole they fought on the outside until they were done with their big spots, then suddenly starting to count so we could tease a count-out. It’s a shame when one stupid and easily-avoidable spot like that can drag down such an intense fight.


Sami’s having one hell of a show here, isn’t he? He also plans the seeds for a little story for himself when he claims that no one can escape his Stretch Muffler.

She’s angry, for understandable reasons. Also, she might be a wrestler, as Larry seems to have promised to be able to get her “in the ring.” We saw this through a door, which was a little weird. I guess they never said the documentary crew wasn’t around for this so, but this (and maybe the opening segment) were the only footage of the same style as the first three shows we’ve seen so far, so it’s kind of jarring to have it here.

Johnny puts Cole over for beating him, says that Jimmy is scared of Cole, and promises Jimmy “you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

UP IN SMOKE(1-0) vs. OSIRIAN PORTAL(0-0)- 7/10
Great action. The winners cut a good promo after the match, and in their Next Day Aftermath video. They mentioned that they went out and partied the night before with Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy.
Unfortunately, they made a comment about Chuck Taylor being undefeated which turned out to be a spoiler. Not cool, Gabe. You’ve got to edit that sh*t out!

He accepts Adam Cole’s challenge so he can put Cole in his place and prove to Gargano that he’s not afraid of Cole. He then reminds the crowd was is at stake in this match: both men’s undefeated streaks, and Jimmy’s position as both the wins leader and winning streak leader. With that much on the line, you’d think this should be the main event, but Bryan Danielson is Bryan Danielson so he gets the spot. I liked that the announcers called attention to this and let us know that both Jacobs and Taylor were pissed off about it.

JIMMY JACOBS(3-0) vs. CHUCK TAYLOR(2-0)- 8/10
This was an awesome back-and-forth match where they made every move count. As was spoiled above, Chuck Taylor won.

Lenny tells Chuck that he’s 3-0 but Chuck says 4-0 because Chuck wants his qualifying match counted as an official win. Considering that we no longer do qualifying matches after that first show (and that Chuck and his opponent were the only people to have one), this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable thing to do, even though I usually hate past-facto changes.

Chuck seems have given up on his insistence that his qualifying match win be counted because, as he points out, he doesn’t need it now that he is officially both the wins leader and winning streak leader. He gloats that he is not the person EVOLVE had in mind to be the face of their company when they started up, but now they’re stuck with him.

BRYAN DANIELSON(0-0) vs. BOBBY FISH(0-3)- 8.25/10
Dragon was allowed to hand-pick his opponent for tonight and he picked Bobby Fish. The story of the match was Fish refusing to stay down for as long as he could. This kind of worked because everyone knew Dragon wasn’t going to lose, but that also hurt things in a way. Fish tapping out would usually be an odd conclusion to this story, but with the story they’ve been pushing in Fish’s backstage segments that whoever he is talking to on the phone wants him to stop wresting due to the strain on his body, it definitely plays into that. We’ll just have to see how they handle it. Fish getting a loud ovation after the match will be a good counterbalance for Bobby on the other side of the scale

LENNY LEONARD INTERVIEWS BRYAN DANIELSON- good babyface “thank you for supporting independent wrestling” stuff. He also issued a challenge to the currently suspended Munenori Sawa for the next show, and put over the Sawa vs TJP match from the first show as something people need to see.

Nice to see that these two finally got back into the building. Not nice that they interrupted an interview, though. Larry tries to recruit Fish to come out and part with them “main event style,” but Fish is despondent over his loss and tells Larry that he’s “done.” He walks out the door, and the cameraman (probably Gabe, based on the voice behind it asking Fish for an interview) zooms in on the exit sign above the door. That’s the kind of thing I used to think was cool, but doesn’t really make sense within the context of kayfabe. Or… I guess it does in that the cameraman is thinking on his feet to make it more symbolic, but it just feels like it’s trying a little too hard, both out of kayfabe, and even for a cameraperson’s actions within kayfabe.

This was a GREAT show from EVOLVE, with lots of great action on top and some great promos and storyline segments as well. I think I like the documentary crew style a little better than the next-day interviews they did for this show, but I see no reason why they can’t mix the two going forward, depending on what the story needs. Next time it’s Dragon’s final EVOLVE match at Evolve 5: Danielson vs. Sawa (so yeah, I’m guessing Sawa gets unsuspended).
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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