EVOLVE 16: Davis vs. Fish


Jacksonville, FL – 6.30.2012

Championship Rundown
Open The Freedom Gate Championship: Johnny Gargano
Open The United Gate Championship: World-1 International (Ricochet & Masato Yoshino)

Chuck Taylor says his issue with Johnny Gargano isn’t over and that he is still planning to come after him. He hears Samuray Del Sol is the new hot thing in wrestling and plans to put him in his place tonight.

Lenny Leonard brings out Johnny Gargano to open the show. Gargano tells the crowd that the doctor won’t medically clear him to wrestle tonight due to his bad back. This brings out Tony Nese, his opponent for tonight. He feels that Gargano has been milking his back injury and wants him to man up. He says if he were the Freedom Gate champion he would accept all challenges, but that’s why he’s the Premier Athlete and Gargano is just a guy. Those words are enough to convince Gargano to keep his match with Nese for tonight.

The Scene (Scott Reed & Caleb Konley) (3-0) vs. Kennedy Kendrick & Damien Angel (0-0)

A random girl named Cammy is in the Scene’s corner. Angel headscissors Konley and knees him in the stomach. He headscissors and dropkicks Reed. He gets two with a leg lariat. Konley gives him a Manhattan Drop. Angel clotheslines Reed to the floor. Konley tries a baseball slide. Reed catches him and drives his chest into the apron. Konley kicks him in the face. The Scene wear down Kendrick until he sneaks in a superkick to Reed. Angel comes with forearms and headbutts to the chest. The Scene overwhelm him with stomps and forearms to the back. They double superkick Kendrick when he runs in. Angel is put away with the Ob-Scene at 4:55. A decent squash to give the Scene some momentum. Towards what? Nothing in particular. *

Lenny Leonard doesn’t care for the Scene so he just shoves the microphone in their face. Konley mocks Leonard while also informing us that they’re now 4-0. They give a shout out to Larry Dallas who is watching in Japan. Reed says they’re going to celebrate their undefeated streak by going to strip clubs.

A trailer for “EVOLVE 15: Generico vs. Del Sol II” is shown. You can read my review of the show here and pick up the DVD here.

Style Battle Tournament Match
AR Fox (4-3) vs. Tommy Taylor (0-2)

Since Bobby Fish and Jon Davis are already in the Finals, this match is simply a formality to determine 3rd and 4th place. Taylor overpowers Fox early on, but Fox has the wherewithal to go to the floor or the ropes so no real damage can be done. Fox tries a slingshot maneuver but gets shoved to the floor. Taylor gets two with an uppercut. Taylor catches Fox’s crossbody. Fox turns it into a crucifix bomb for two. Taylor strings a rolling Ace Crusher and a neckbreaker together for two. Taylor applies a Regal Stretch. Fox escapes. He evades a corner attack and missile dropkicks Taylor to the opposite side. He clotheslines Taylor then skins the cat into a dropkick. Fox ducks a clothesline and hits an enzuigiri. He misses a springboard 450 splash. Taylor suplexes Fox onto his head. He follows up with a TKO for two. Taylor ascends the ropes. Fox brings him down with a bridging sunset flip to get the win at 8:16. That was surprisingly short and the finish came out of nowhere. It also felt like the match ended right before it could kick into the next gear. Not bad but the weakest match either guy had in the Style Battle for sure. **¼

Fox tells Lenny Leonard that he just signed an extension with DGUSA/EVOLVE. He plans to take the momentum from this win to prove he’s the best high flier in the world. This prompts Lince Dorado to come out. He also feels he’s one of the best high fliers and challenges Fox to fight him any place at any time. Fox accepts the match for right now!

AR Fox (5-3) vs. Lince Dorado (1-1)

Dorado ducks a bicycle kick. He superkicks Fox and gives him a Dragon suplex for two. Fox throws a flurry of punches and forearms to the back. He drops Dorado with two Ace Crushers and bicycle kicks him to the floor. Fox follows with a dive over the top rope. He then comes out with the kickflip moonsault. They fight around ringside. Fox places Dorado on the apron. He hits the Alabama Jam. Back in the ring. Dorado is sent to the apron. Dorado dropkicks Fox’s knee out and comes back in with a moonsault press for two. He also gets two with a top rope senton. Dorado monkey flips Fox to the floor. He follows with a springboard twisting senton. He places Fox in a chair. He tope con hilo’s onto Fox as he is seated. Back in the ring Dorado only gets a two count. Fox blocks an Irish whip with a rolling Death Valley Driver. He tries a Swanton but Dorado gets his knees up. Fox clotheslines He Dorado then skins the cat into a dropkick. Poor Lince. Because, you know, he’s a cat. Air Fox gets him a two count. Fox wants a top rope Ace Crusher. Dorado instead brings him down with a Frankensteiner. He throws a series of kicks before dropping Fox with a flipping DDT. Fox manages to kick out. Dorado’s second rope moonsault doesn’t get the job done either which does not make him happy. Fox and Dorado fight on the ropes. Dorado shoves Fox down. Fox hits the ropes to take out Dorado’s balance. He tries for Lo Mein Pain. Dorado gets his foot up to block. Fox superkicks and gamengiri’s Dorado. The second Lo Mein Pain attempt is a success and Fox gets the pin at 9:23. Now that’s more like it. Both Fox and Dorado got to showcase their athleticism and the crowd really enjoyed it. Imagine what they could do with both men at their best. ***¼

Jon Davis says while life isn’t easy he’s overcome every obstacle that’s been put in his way. He finds himself tonight in his hometown with another obstacle in his way. He finds himself in the Style Battle tournament finals with Bobby Fish who beat him earlier this year in Miami. Davis has put a lot of pressure on himself saying that he will retire if he loses but he’ll be at ease when he wrestles in front of his people. He plans to climb tonight’s obstacle and hopes Fish will give him everything that he’s got. That’s what Davis plans to do.

John Silver & Alex Reynolds (0-1) vs. Cheech Hernandez & Mike Cruz (0-1)

Silver and Cruz trade wristlocks. They begin exchanging various strikes. Cruz snapmares Silver into a one-legged basement dropkick. Cruz chops him up in the corner. Silver catches him with an uppercut mid-air. Reynolds tags in. He and Silver drop toe hold Cruz into stereo dropkicks to the sides of his head. Cruz throws some chops and tags in Cheech. He and Reynolds go through a Lucha-esque exchange. Cheech headscissors Reynolds to the floor. Cheech follows with double knees into the floor! Silver dives onto Cheech when he gets back to his feet. Cruz comes off the top with a Swanton bomb onto him. Cheech comes back in with Reynolds. Cheech catches him with a kick and slingshots in with a senton. Cruz does a splash off of Cheech’s back for two. Reynolds blasts Cheech with a knee to the face. Silver charges. Cheech puts him in a Gory Special. Cruz crossbody’s onto Reynolds. Cheech while still holding onto Silver puts Reynolds in a Pendulum stretch. Cruz dropkicks Reynolds and Cheech drops Silver onto his face and chest. Silver escapes from The Deluxe. He kicks Cheech in the face and tags in Reynolds. Reynolds and Silver get two with stereo enzuigiri’s. Cheech gets isolated in the corner of the Beaver Boys. Cheech blocks a Frankensteiner attempt from Silver and slams him onto his face and chest. Cruz throws some overhand chops to Reynolds. He knocks him down with some flying forearms. Cruz comes out of the corner with a springboard gamengiri for two. Reynolds comes back with a 2k1 TKO. Cheech breaks the pin. He gives Silver a pump-handle suplex. Reynolds stomps Cheech into the mat. Cruz back elbows and enzugiri’s Reynolds in the corner. Cheech facewash kicks him, then hits the 619 from the floor. Cruz delivers a frog splash. Silver breaks the cover with double knees off the top rope. Silver enzuigiri’s Cheech. He snapmares Cruz into him. Silver half-nelson suplexes Cruz. He and Reynolds double superkick Cruz. They give him a tandem Rubix Cube for the pin at 13:03. Both teams looked really good in this match. Reynolds and Silver are people who seem much more suited to be a team in EVOLVE than singles competitors. Given what I’ve seen out of them in CZW lately I hope that becomes the case. I really do think Cheech and Cruz have potential as a team or in the singles ranks. Hopefully we see them again one day. ***

Johnny Gargano (6-4) vs. Tony Nese (2-3)

Wisely Nese wraps his leg around Gargano’s neck and upper back. He rolls Gargano into a pin attempt. He shoulder blocks Gargano causing Gargano to roll to the floor. When Gargano comes back in he avoids Nese’s boot and goes for the Garga-No Escape. Nese gets the ropes instantly. Gargano sends him into the second rope with a Complete Shot. A knee strike/neckbreaker combo hurts Gargano’s own back. Gargano clotheslines Nese to the floor. Nese sweeps his legs out causing Gargano to land back first on the ring frame. Nese gets two with a slingshot clothesline. Gargano looks ready to make a comeback but Nese cuts him off with a backbreaker. Nese tries another springboard clothesline. Gargano catches him with a Complete Shot mid-move. Nese sends him to the apron and gamengiri’s him to the floor. Nese cartwheels to the floor and kicks Gargano in the stomach. He sets up for a dive but Gargano cuts him off with a slingshot spear. He knocks Nese to the corner with a forearm. He puts him in a tarantula. He rolls Nese into an enzugiri. He powerbombs Nese for two. Nese rolls to the floor. Gargano suicide dives after him. He calls for it a second time. Nese sweeps out Gargano’s feet. He misses a slingshot quebrada. Gargano slingshot DDT’s him for two. Nese maneuvers Gargano to the top rope and brings him down with a Frankensteiner. He throws a series of kicks to Gargano. Gargano manages to hit a discuss lariat before collapsing. Nese gets on a waistlock. Gargano backs him to the corner to escape. Nese follows him to the opposite corner with an elbow. Gargano dropkicks him in the opposite corner and lawn darts him. Nese rolls through a pin and with one arm lifts up Gargano into a buckle bomb. He knee strikes Gargano in the face for two. Gargano lands a superkick. He tries a reverse huracanrana. Nese slides out and German suplexes Gargano for two. He then gives him a spider Gemran suplex. He attempts a 450 splash. Gargano gets his knees up. Nese blocks a superkick. Gargano hits the Hurts Donut anyways. He locks the Garga-No Escape for the submission victory at 14:56. This was good back and forth wrestling but they never really put the true focus on Gargano’s back. Nese however got his chance to stand toe to toe with the top guy which is a position he has earned in just one weekend back. Gargano had the same problems he had selling his back as he did in the Taylor match the night before, shrugging it off in the closing stretch. I’m curious to see where both guys EVOLVE careers are heading. ***¼

Gargano tells Lenny Leonard that his back hurts after that match. He puts over Nese for being a Premier Athlete. He turns his attention to Akira Tozawa. He won’t let any injury stop him from defending that title in Taylor, MI on July 28th and vows to come out of the match with the title still in hand.

Bobby Fish is backstage. He doesn’t care that Jon Davis put his career on the line. When Fish ends his career, Davis has to know that he only has himself to blame for his retirement. Fish promises to run the table and become the 2012 Style Battle winner.

Chuck Taylor (9-3) vs. Samuray Del Sol (1-3)

The Gentleman’s Club (Jake Manning and The Swamp Monster) are in Taylor’s corner. Taylor puts on a wristlock. Sol armdrags Taylor which catches Taylor off guard. Taylor is very proud of his shoulder block. Sol takes him down with a headscissors. Taylor cartwheels through a quesadora armdrag and gets two with a tornado clutch. Sol headstands and backflips into a headscissors that sends Taylor out. Sol fakes him out with a dive. Taylor takes control when he comes back into the ring. Sol headscissors him into a Fujiwara armbar. Sol puts on an Indian Death Lock. Taylor gets the ropes. He slams Sol a few times. Taylor suplexes Sol and gets distracted by a kid ringside. Sol sneaks in a Frankensteiner from the apron. Taylor goes right back to work and applies a figure four headscissors. He looks to set up for possibly the Awful Waffle. Sol is able to counter with a standing Shiranui. Sol spinwheel kicks Taylor for two. Taylor tosses Sol off the second rope and gets him in an arm capture head vice. Sol escapes. He drops Taylor with a multiple rotation DDT. Taylor bails to the floor and Sol follows with a springboard dive. In the ring Sol tries a springboard huracanrana. Taylor catches him and counters with a powerbomb. Taylor again tries the Awful Waffle. Sol kicks Taylor in the stomach. He drops him with a Code Red for two. Sol head up top. Taylor belly-to-belly suplexes him off for yet another two count. Taylor misses a moonsault. Sol hits him with the Rising Sun for the pin at 13:04. That was a nice victory for Del Sol, putting away the guy whose on top of the leader board. Taylor’s Lucha acumen made him a good foil for Del Sol and they were able to put some cool stuff together. ***¼

Style Battle Tournament Match
Jon Davis (3-3) vs. Bobby Fish (5-4)

Davis breaks a lock-up in the corner. Fish has Davis grounded. When Davis becomes too much Fish goes to the floor. Fish goes to the apron when Davis begins to mount him. Fish catches Davis with a dropkick. He slingshots in with a senton for two. Fish throws some kicks before suplexing Davis for another two count. More chest kicks are delivered. Davis responds with some chops. He powers up Fish for a powerslam. Davis holds him up in a delayed vertical suplex position, then turns it into a powerslam for two. He drives his shoulder into Fish’s back multiple times in the corner. He sends Fish back first into the opposite corner. Davis misses a moonsault. Fish lands a swift kick to the head. Davis is able to kick out from it. Davis rolls out to avoid an attack from Fish. Fish however pescado’s out after him. Back in the ring he lands a diving headbutt for two. Fish takes Davis down with a dragonscrew leg whip. Davis drives Fish’s face into his knee pad and nails a short arm lariat. Fish manages to kick out. Davis goes to pick up Fish. Fish puts him in a cross armrbreaker. Davis gets his foot on the ropes. He lifts up Fish in a German suplex for two. Davis puts on a Boston Crab. Fish rolls through and applies the Fish Hook. Davis escapes. He gets Fish up for 3 Seconds Around the World. Fish kicks out! Fish sends Davis into the corner with a suplex. When Davis heads to the top rope, Fish kicks him in the leg. He brings Fish down with a release superplex. Davis kicks out. Fish misses a charge in the corner. Davis powerbombs him into the corner. Fish rolls under a lariat. Davis Pounces him. Fish fires up. He eats a lariat. Davis gives Fish 3 Seconds Around the World once more for the win and the tournament at 16:20. That was a very appropriate way to end the tournament. You really believed both guys had a lot at stake and that the win meant a lot to them. The crowd came and went but the wrestling and story were both solid. As much grief as Davis get, the story of him during this portion of his career was done really well. ***½

Lenny Leonard gives Fish his props as he heads out. He then turns to Davis. Leonard knows that he was ready to call it quits after losing to Finlay and Low Ki last month. This was his weekend for redemption, and Davis did so by going 3-0 and winning the Style Battle. Davis says now that he’s achieved the goal of being the Style Battle Champion, he thinks the next step is the introduction of an EVOLVE title. He thanks everybody who supported him on his journey. The crowd gives him a nice reaction as the show comes to a close.

Outside in the dark a fire is lit by the Manscout. He’s very proud of himself for this.

Commentary is provided by

Bonus Matches

2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup Semi-Finals
Arik Cannon vs. Jon Moxley

“2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, Night 2” – Crystal River, FL – 12.4.2010

Moxley brings Cannon to the mat looking for a Rings of Saturn. Cannon rolls him into a pin and then a wristlock. Moxley gets the ropes. Cannon brings him back down in an armdrag. Moxley forearms him in the face. After rubbing his forearm against the nose Moxley stomps on Cannon’s head. Cannon sends him to the floor. He baseball slides him into the barricades which busts Moxley open. Moxley throws a series of angry headbutts and tosses Cannon into the crowd. He whips Cannon into a wall. Cannon whips Moxley into a garage door. They come back ringside where Cannon continues to throw punches. He pries open Moxley’s open wound. Cannon goes to the top rope. Moxley brings him down with a superplex. He goes for a lariat. Cannon ducks and drops him with a swinging neckbreaker. He chokes Moxley with his shirt. After a forearm exchange, Cannon throws three clotheslines. Moxley fights out of an exploder suplex. He comes off the second rope with a double axe handle, but Cannon catches him with an exploder suplex. Cannon is covered in Moxley’s blood which is so gross. He calls for a brainbuster. Moxley escapes and gets two with an Ace Crusher. He puts on a Fujiwara armbar. When Cannon escapes he goes for another Ace Crusher. Cannon block it, throws a haymaker, and drops Moxley with a brainbuster for two. Moxley kicks out of a second brainbuster as well. Cannon argues with the referee. Moxley almost whips Cannon into the referee. The referee covers up. While the referee isn’t looking, Moxley kicks Cannon in the groin and small packages him for the win at 9:50. The blood really intensified the match. I appreciated both men attempting victories in the same way they won in the previous round. Cheap finish aside this was pretty good, much better than both of their CHIKARA matches. They would have a rematch in DGUSA a few months later, which was not only not as good, but had the same finish as well. ***

2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup Semi-Finals
Rich Swann vs. Sami Callihan

“2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, Night 2” – Crystal River, FL – 12.4.2010

Swann’s right shoulder is taped up. The fans give him a hard time for not wanting to get into the ring. He and Callihan spit at each other after talking trash.. Callihan charges at him the moment he gets in the ring. He throws some chops. Swann superkicks him to the floor. Swann comes out looking for a headscissors. Callihan catches him and swings him into the barricades. He goes to the top rope. He jumps down and Swann gives him a superkick for two. Swann calls for Swann on Fire. He decides not to give the fans the satisfaction and opts for a regular splash. He misses and Callihan puts on a Koji Clutch for the submission victory at 1:24. Obviously not much of a match but what they did was a perfectly acceptable story. ½*

2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup Finals
Sami Callihan vs. Jon Moxley

“2010 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, Night 2” – Crystal River, FL – 12.4.2010

Moxley has a bandage on his head but his torso and arms are caked in dried up blood. He attacks Callihan while the referee is checking on him. He rakes his eyes across the top rope and chokes him. The other wrestlers from the tournament file out to watch the match. Callihan throws some chops. Moxley shoulder blocks him down. Callihan evades a boot and the Boss Man slam. They knock each other down with stereo clotheslines. They trade strikes on their knees. Moxley jumps up to deliver a boot for a one count. He drops Callihan out of a suplex. He stomps the heck out of Callihan after Callihan took a breather on the floor. Callihan manages to catch Moxley in a tree of woe and chops at his leg. He dragonscrews the leg and looks for the Stretch Muffler. Moxley turns it into a crossface. Callihan gets the ropes. Moxley dropkicks Callihan to the floor. Moxley sets up for a powerbomb but Callihan counters with a backdrop. Moxley does superplex him back in the ring for two. He drops Callihan with an Ace Crusher. He powerbombs him , then turns him over into an STF. He tries for the Hook and Ladder. Callihan slips out and puts on the Stretch Muffler. Moxley grabs the ropes. He throws a flurry of forearms. He tries a sunset flip. Callihan sits down it and gets the pin at 7:00, making him the winner of the tournament. That was a nice way to get Callihan a big win and set him up for the rest of his run in the WWN Universe, and give him an FIP title shot down the line. Unfortunately, I don’t think that ever happened. It also would have been more significant if we got a chance to see the match around when it happened instead of years later. **¾

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