RADICAN'S EVOLVE DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Evolve 3: Rise or Fall" 5/1 - Castagnoli vs. Taylor, Fish vs. Hero
Nov 15, 2010 - 2:19:22 PM
By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN'S EVOLVE DVD REVIEW SERIES
EVOLVE 3: RISE OR FALL
MAY 1, 2010
The show began with several backstage “documentary” style segments. Jimmy Jacobs and Brad Allen talked about what it would mean to go to 3-0 in Evolve. Kyle O'Reilly was also shown training backstage with Chris Dickinson. O'Reilly also discussed what it would mean for him to go to 3-0.
Chuck Taylor was shown backstage talking to Gran Akuma. He said he had gone from a qualifying match on the first Evolve show to the main event tonight. The backstage segments closed with Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero backstage talking about Bobby Fish. Hero told Fish he was giving him the rub tonight.
(1) Sami Callihan (0-0) beat Adam Cole (0-0). This was a solid opener. Cole German suplexed Callihan on the apron during the early stages of the match. They built up to a big exchange of blows in the middle of the ring. Cole hit a dropkick, but Callihan fired back and applied the stretch muffler for the submission victory. Callihan moves to 1-0. (**3/4)
(2) Johnny Gargano (1-1) beat Ricochet (1-1). I really liked this match, but I wasn't a big fan of the finish. Ricochet hit some awesome arm-drags and went for a dive, but Gargano speared him through the ropes. Gargano controlled the match for a long period of time until Ricochet fired back. Gargano went for another spear through the ropes, but Ricochet got out of the way and nailed him with a springboard moonsault. They built up to several nearfalls. Ricochet hit an insane twisting dive onto Gargano on the outside and sold an injury to his knee. The rules are that every match had to have a winner, so after the ref reached a count of 20, the first man in would win it. Gargano managed to push Ricochet to the floor and made it back into the ring first for the win. Gargano moves to 2-1 with the win. (***1/4)
After the match, Lenny Leonard interviewed Gargano. He said it didn't matter that he won via countout. Jacobs came out with Sean Davis and applauded. Gargano took a shot at Jacobs and labeled himself as an inspirational wrestler.
Jon Moxley was shown pacing backstage. They cut to him sitting in a chair backstage. He complained about all of the rules in Evolve. He said he would always be better than Drake Younger.
(3) WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez (2-0) beat Brittney Savage (0-0). This was another impressive squash for Martinez who got the win after a Fisherman's buster on Savage. After the match, Martinez challenged Amazing Kong to come face her in Evolve. (n/a)
(4) Aeroform (0-2) beat Up in Smoke (1-0) and Team Beyond (0-0). This was another really good match on the undercard featuring some fast-paced tag team action. Cheech got a double submission on Silver and Burnett during the early stages of the match. They built up to a big spot where Kendrick hit an insane twisting splash onto everyone on the outside. Burnett took a really bad looking bump to the outside when he got tripped through the ropes and landed right on his backside. Kendrick ended up pinning Silver after a spiral tap 540. Aeroform moves to 1-2 with the win. Up in Smoke was not credited for a loss because they weren't involved in the decision. (***)
O'Reilly was shown warming up backstage. He mentioned that Tony Kozina would not be in his corner because he was ill.
(5) Drake Younger (0-0) beat Jon Moxley (0-0). Both men went right after each other during the early stages of the match and exchanged blows. Moxley showed some good submission work as he targeted Younger's arm on the mat. Younger fired back and nailed Moxley with a wrist-clutch DVD for a nearfall. Both men ended up going to the floor where Moxley nailed Younger with a release suplex. Younger fired back moments later after the action resumed in the ring and nailed Moxley with several big moves, but Moxley continued to kick out. Moxley ultimately ended up taking the loss after Younger ducked a charge in the corner and nailed him with Drake's landing for the pin. Moxley didn't show much personality in the ring here. Younger said after the match this was his first step towards the top of Evolve. Younger moves to 1-0. (***)
(6) Chris Hero (0-1) beat Bobby Fish (0-2). One of the better storylines of 2010 has been Bobby Fish's quest to get his first win in Evolve. This was just a fantastic match featuring great storytelling. Fish nailed Hero with several MMA style kicks and a knee strike. Hero cut Fish off and Fish appeared to have injured his knee after missing a diving headbutt. Hero hit several of his signature KO elbows on Fish, but he kicked out each time. Fish then fired back with a leaping knee strike and the crowd applauded with both men down on the mat. The finish was fantastic. Hero hit a rolling elbow off the ropes, but Fish kicked out at one. Hero nailed Fish with a number of elbow shots and Fish went down to one knee. Hero nailed Fish with a kick and another elbow for the pin. This was fantastic. (***3/4)
After the match, Brad Allen came out to check on Fish. Hero yelled at Allen and went backstage quickly. He told Allen he wouldn't give him the rub. Leonard tried to interview Hero, but Hero blew him off.
(7) Brodie Lee (0-1) beat Gran Akuma (1-0) and Chris Dickinson (0-2) and Hallowicked (0-1). Something was missing here, as this was just an average match. Everyone went after Lee during the early stages of the match. The finish saw Dickinson with the upper hand on Lee, but the crowd got under his skin. Lee capitalized and nailed Dickinson with two big boots and the truck stop for the pin. Lee moved to 1-1 with the win and looked good here. Dickinson is credited with a loss.
(8) TJP (0-1) beat Kyle O'Reilly (2-0). This match was another highlight of the card. These two put on a realistic wrestling clinic filled with stiff strikes and slick mat work. They built to a big spot during the early stages of the match where TJP suplexed O'Reilly over the top rope to the outside. Another big spot occurred later in the match when both men began exchanging kicks and they each hit simultaneous kicks to the head as the crowd applauded. The finish saw TJP get the win with a figure 4 death lock. TJP moves to 1-1 with the win.
(9) Jimmy Jacobs (2-0) beat Brad Allen (2-0). This was another very good match on the card. The announcers said Hero wouldn't be able to ignore Allen here if he picked up the win. Sean Davis and his entourage were on the outside and they distracted Allen, which gave Jacobs the upper hand. They built a couple of good spots around Jacobs's end time submission, including one where Allen caught Jacobs on the outside and Jacobs applied the end time, but Allen tossed him to the floor. Jacobs eventually countered Allen's finisher into the end time and Allen passed out, so the ref called for the bell. (***1/4)
(10) Chuck Taylor (1-0) beat Claudio Castagnoli (1-0). This was a very good main event with Taylor picking up a surprise win. Both men were shown picture-in-picture making their way to the ring from the backstage area. The pace was slow during the early stages of the match with both men exchanging holds. The pace picked up after Castagnoli hit a dive through the ropes to the outside on Taylor. Castagnoli then lifted Taylor up and tossed him back over the top rope into the ring. Taylor got his first sustained offense of the match after sending Castagnoli to the outside. He then nailed Castagnoli with a big flip dive over the top rope. Castagnoli dominated much of the action down the stretch. He nailed Taylor with a series of big moves, but Taylor continued to kick out. The finish was awesome as Taylor twisted around Castagnoli's arm when he went for a clothesline and turned it into the awful waffle for the win. (***1/2)
Leonard interviewed Taylor after the match and Taylor said he was going to make his own rules and change Evolve.
The show closed with Jacobs and Cole backstage. He told Cole he should have taken his advice. Davis came into the room and Jacobs told him to leave. He said he wasn't going to party anymore and was going home to study Evolve 1. The DVD closed with a shot of Cole slumped in his chair selling frustration.
Overall thoughts: (8.0)This was a really good DVD from start to finish. Unlike the previous Evolve DVDs, this show didn't boost a MOTYC. Instead, the show provided a nice story from start to finish where wrestlers either advanced up the ranks with a win or fell back in the pack with a loss.
One of my favorite storylines in wrestling this year has been Bobby Fish's quest to get his first win in Evolve. He's looked fantastic in all of his losses. His match against Hero had the entire crowd behind him by the end of the match with everyone wanting to see him get a win. I'm looking forward to seeing how this storyline plays out over the course of the next couple of DVDs. Fish never showed anything promising in ROH, but Evolve booker Gabe Sapolsky has found a way to make him a player in this promotion. This isn't a case of a wrestler looking bad and losing, but instead it's a story of a guy determined to win that can't get over the last hurdle in the end each time he wrestles.
The other standout match on the card was TJP vs. Kyle O'Reilly. These two put on an intense encounter that brought in many MMA-style elements while at the same time delivering a great pro wrestling match. Their exchange of kicks before the finish was another great moment on this release. It's a shame TJP isn't appearing in Evolve any longer.
Another match that stood out was the Ricochet-Gargano encounter. I really enjoyed their match that built up to a finish that I didn't like. They announced at the beginning of the show that there would be no double countouts allowed on this show and that the first man back into the ring after a double countout would win the match. I would have rather seen a decisive finish in the ring as opposed to Gargano beating Ricochet back into the ring after pushing him to the floor on the outside. The finish came off as anti-climatic.
I really enjoy Evolve. The storylines build from show to show. The wrestling on this event was solid from top to bottom with two really good matches thrown into the mix. This show is definitely worth a look. It just clicks from top to bottom.
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