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EVOLVE 11 iPPV
by SamoaRowe

April 13, 2012

-From Toronto, Ontario. Our hosts are Lenny Leonard and Arda Ocal.

-Lenny Leonard pumps up the crowd and introduces Player Uno and Player Dos, collectively known as the Super Smash Bros. They are on a quest for a million points. They are joined by newly heel Chuck Taylor and his new running buddies. Taylor is sick of teaming with Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann and is going to hang out with people he wants to. His new stable is called “The Gentlemen’s Club.”

The Super Smash Bros. vs. Drew Gulak and Jake Manning (with Chuck Taylor)

Jake Manning takes an early time-out to look over his rule book. Gulak tags in and goes back and forth with Player Dos. Gulak and Manning attempt a double team and Dos sends them both to ringside with a double hurricanrana. The SSB tease a dive. The match restarts with Player Uno squaring off with a cowardly Manning. Gulak cheap shots, allowing his team to put the boots on Uno and take control. Player Uno takes an extended beating until making the hot tag. Player Dos is eager to impress with a flurry of high-flying offense. Springboard DDT on the apron by Dos! Double team lung blower by SSB! Uno and Gulak brawl at ringside, possibly leaving the outcome to Manning and Dos. Backbreaker/face plant combo by Manning gets a near fall. Gulack returns and nails a suplex/crossface combo on Dos. Player Uno nails a dive through Dos’ legs onto both opponents. The SSP team up to suplex Gulak onto Manning! The SSB deliver the Fatality on Gulak for the win at 10:36! This was a fairly cookie cutter indie opening match, but it served it’s purpose of pumping up the crowd. I question the logic of jobbing out a brand new stable like this, but whatever, **½.
Winners: The Super Smash Bros.

-The SSB stick around to congratulate their greatness on the mic. Chuck Taylor looks like he’s ready to hurt someone. Taylor claims he doesn’t care about wins and losses and storms off.

MK McKinnan vs. Josh Alexander

Both of these men are making their EVOLVE debuts. McKinnan has platinum blond hair and likes to kick. Alexander is a bald gentlemen. McKinnen botches a springboard move pretty quickly, but Alexander salvages it by using it to his advantage. It’s going to be an uphill battle to win the crowd back after that. Alexander tries though, nailing a Northern Lights suplex. McKinnan forges a comeback and successfully nails a tope. McKinnan bounces around but gets trapped in a Piledriver! Alexander picks up the win at 4:00. Well, that wasn’t good, but it was short. Alexander showed some potential, ½*.
Winner: Josh Alexander

Psycho Mike Rollins vs. Ashley Sixx

Hahahaha, Ashley is a girl’s name! Anyhow, both of these guys are making their EVOLVE debuts. Rollins is a big (by EVOLVE standards) guy and uses it to his advantage. Sixx sneaks in some shots but eats an airplane spin. Rollins nails some turnbuckle punches and keeps throwing them even after Sixx escapes. Rollins tosses Sixx to ringside but Sixx rebounds with a legsweep into the apron. They return to the ring for a more evenly fought contest. Rollins wins a chop-fest. Rollins blocks with a modified spinebuster. Sixx nails a springboard hurricanrana off the top! Rollins absorbs some slaps and a knee strike. This only makes Rollins angry and he delivers the Psycho Mike Driver for the win at 6:59. This worked better as an extended squash for Rollins than as a spotty festival of MOVES, *½.
Winner: Psycho Mike Rollins

Alex Reynolds vs. John Silver

Reynolds is yet another guy making his EVOLVE debut tonight. I seem to recall Silver really impressed me on a previous EVOLVE DVD. They creatively trade wristlocks and near falls. They prove to have a great chemistry and they continue to counter whatever they throw at one another. Reynolds has better luck utilizing a side headlock. Silver breaks out and the pace quickens. Silver uses a nasty curb stomp. Reynolds rebounds and nails a running knee to the head. Reynolds hangs Silver on the ropes for a boot to the face from ringside. These guys know a lot of moves, I get it. Backbreaker/Northern lariat combo by Reynolds. Silver makes a comeback and throws everything he’s got. Reynolds shakes it off and hits a chin breaker. Silver appears to be losing a slugfest so he quickens the pace yet again. Silver tenaciously applies an armbar. Reynolds slams Silver off the ropes. Gut buster and standing shooting star press only gets 2. Now that’s just silly. Reynolds misses a moonsault, giving Siler the opening he needs. Wheelbarrow German suplex by Silver gets 2! Reynolds drops Silver head-first on his knee to pick up the win at 12:17. This started as a fine exhibition, but got really silly towards the end. You’ve seen this match a million times, **½.
Winner: Alex Reynolds

-Reynolds is interviewed by Lenny Leonard, but I can’t understand anything he says. The audio quality on this iPPV isn’t all that good (but luckily, the video quality is fantastic).

-It’s time for Samuray Del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor, but first we’re joined by DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano. Gargano’s feelings are still hurt by Taylor’s recent betrayal. Gargano is confused why Taylor did what he did, because they were good friends and teammates. Johnny feels that he always had Taylor’s back when the guys in the locker room would trash him. Now Gargano thinks Taylor is a douche bag and can’t wait to punch him in his face. The crowd chants “triple threat” since Gargano’s scheduled opponent, AR Fox, couldn’t make it to the show. The fans get their wish.

Samuray Del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano

Taylor flees the ring almost immediately, leaving Del Sol and Gargano to square off in a fast-paced contest. Gargano gains the upper hand with a flurry of offense, including a crisp neck breaker. Taylor chooses his return carefully, assisting Del Sol in drop-kicking Gargano to the floor. Del Sol uses the ropes to plant Taylor and goes for a submission. Gargano spears Del Sol and goes directly into a suicide dive onto Taylor! Tornado DDT by Gargano gets 2 on Del Sol. Things become really rapid fire with all three men sprinting around and on top of one another. Del Sol wipes Taylor out with a running dive! Del Sol blocks Gargano’s dive attempt but eats an Alabama Slam. Taylor rolls up Del Sol to eliminate him at 5:48! Oh well, Del Sol got a nice opportunity to get over beforehand. Taylor has no interest in going one on one with Gargano, who is all fired up. Gargano directs traffic to ringside, where he delivers a slam onto the concrete floor. Taylor rebounds and nails a flying double axe handle in the ring. Taylor applies a body scissors! Nothing riles a smark crowd up like rest holds! Gargano makes a comeback, landing a flying plancha to the floor. Somersault senton off the apron! Taylor counters a spear with a DDT! Taylor misses a beautiful moonsault. Gargano launches Taylor into the turnbuckles and nails a super kick. They block finishers and trade submission holds. Things gets epic as they trade blows. Gargano is doing a killer job selling his hurt back. The back injury allows Taylor to apply a half crab! Gargano passes out from the pain, giving the win at Taylor at 19:09. This was damn good. Gargano is a top notch baby face performer and Taylor really did a number on him. I look forward to seeing the match, ****.
Winner: Chuck Taylor

-Leonard interviews Taylor after the match. Taylor says the Gentlemen’s Club loves to win and takes his leave.

Caleb Konley (with Larry Dallas and Lea) vs. Adam Page

Page is a described as a “20 year old tobacco farmer” by Leonard. He, like many tonight, is making his EVOLVE debut. Konley enjoys the upper hand in the early going, taking a moment to pelvic thrust the head of Page. Page knows how to throw a nice arm drag. Page chases Konley around the ring and hits a clothesline. Konley eats a back body drop. Page nails a shooting star press off the apron! Konley rebounds and drives Page into the turnbuckles. Bad looking lung blower by Konley gets 2. The crowd chants “underage” as Page makes a comeback. Superplex by Konley gets 2. Page’s power slam is also only good for 2. Konley unleashes a flurry of moves but can’t score the pinfall. A neck breaker isn’t enough either, so this is where I start rolling my eyes. Konley’s face buster sets up the O Face submission. Konley gains the win at 7:28. Page has a world of potential, I’d like to see him come back. Otherwise, this was a silly near fall-fest of an exhibition, **.
Winner: Caleb Konley

El Generico vs. Low Ki

They don’t waste any time locking up. The crowd chants “Let’s go, both guys” as they feel each other out. Low Ki throws one of the nastiest chops I’ve ever seen and lands an elbow drop. Low Ki begins targeting the head. Generico almost blocks an arm breaker but Ki holds on. They break and Ki stays on his back, challenging Generico to come after him. Ki puts on a clinic as he systematically dismantles Generico. The pace quickens and Generico lands a leg lariat. They exchange chops as politely as can be expected. Brainbuster by Ki gets 2. Cue the head scissors! The fight spills to ringside, where Low Ki drop-kicks Generico into the ring frame. Back to the ring, Low Ki continues to dominate. Generico shows some life by answering Ki shot for shot. Generico sends Ki crashing to ringside, nicely setting up a running dive! Back to the ring, Generico nails a flying cross body for 2. Blue Thunder Powerbomb by Generico gains another near fall. Ki surprises with the Dragon Sleeper! Generico counters with a Falcon Arrow! The Yakuza Kick misses, allowing Ki to nail a hard kick to the chest. Generico dodges the shotgun knees and connects with the Yakuza Kick! Low Ki blocks the turnbuckle Brainbuster and delivers The Warrior’s Way for the win at 16:35! All around terrific work here. The crowd chants “That was awesome” and I couldn’t agree more, ****.
Winner: Low Ki

-Low Ki takes a mic and says that El Generico isn’t as good as he thinks he is. That was cold.

Sami Callihan vs. Dave “Fit” Finlay

This is a big time rematch from their memorable EVOLVE 9 encounter. Finlay wants to teach young Callihan a lesson and pushes him into the corner. Sami slaps Finlay across the face and gets knocked off his feet for his trouble. Sami has already been busted open. Their brawl spills to the ringside area. Finlay is completely in charge as he bats Sami around. Callihan aims for the face with a head butt and follows up with a body scissors. Finlay escapes and turns the momentum around. Callihan catches Finlay but the leg and drives his shin to the mat. Finlay responds with a hard Irish whip. Sami surprises with an enziguri for 2. Diving lariat off the turnbuckle by Callihan! Suicide dive by Sami wipes Finlay out! Sami has something in mind for the top rope but gets shoved to the floor. Finlay intentionally scoop slams into the ropes. Finlay drives Sami’s leg into the ring post to soften it up for a leg submission. Sami plants Finlay but can’t lock on the Stretch Muffler due to being violently shoved into the barricade. Celtic Cross but Sami kicks out at 1! Finlay delivers two more Celtic Crosses for 2.9999! Sami blocks a tombstone but eats a lariat. Finlay nails the tombstone pile driver for 2! Desperate big boot by Callihan, but Finlay returns the favor. Both men nail knockout kicks! They stumble to their feet but knock each other out yet again. And a third time. Finlay reverses the Stretch Muffler with a cross arm breaker! Sami taps at 20:37! That was an unexpected finish, as Finlay is on his way out of the company. It didn’t quite live up to their original encounter, but it still delivered plenty of action and developed into a war, ***¾.
Winner: Dave Finlay

-Leonard interviews Finlay on his win. Finlay tells Callihan that he needs to get his head straight and work on his wrestling moves. With time, Callihan will have what it takes to make it. I can’t quite make out what Sami’s response is but he storms off in defeat.

Final Thoughts: There was some weird booking going on here, as I don’t quite get why the heavily pushed, red hot Sami Callihan did a job to Finlay, who is on his way out of the company. If this leads to a storyline where Sami takes Finlay’s advice to heart and refocuses on his career, and less on personal grudges, than it could work out. Otherwise, this show featured as weak an undercard as I’ve seen in recent memory, but ultimately featured three matches hovering around ****. That makes this an easy recommendation. I will also say that the production values far exceed those of the ROH iPPVs and was a smooth, pleasant viewing experience. Thumbs up!

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