EVOLVE 5: Danielson vs. Sawa

Rahway, NJ – 9.11.2010

Chuck Taylor is backstage getting geared up. He’s complaining to Up In Smoke about how he’s not in the main event, but rather the opening bout. We then get the opinions from some of the guys on the show over who they think will the main event between Bryan Danielson and Munenori Sawa. The opinion is pretty much split.

EVOLVE’s Opening Video: “Welcome to EVOLVE, wrestling’s newest brand. Thank you for your support. EVOLVE follows the inherent rules of sportsmanship. Simply, if it is not tolerated in sports, it is not acceptable in EVOLVE. Any athlete going outside these lines will face fines, suspensions, and even possible banishment from EVOLVE. EVOLVE focuses on win-loss records. It is all about records. Every match has a consequence, and results are never forgotten. The top players in EVOLVE will be determined by the leaders in three major categories: there is a Wins Leader, Winning Streak Leader, and Best Record Leader. This gives everyone on the roster something to aim for, a goal and a target. The competitors on top are the athletes to beat. We have a documentary crew in the locker room capturing everything. We will show you the real man or woman behind the wrestler. Now let’s go to the locker room of the main eventers and get things started!”

Mike Quackenbush (0-0) vs. Chuck Taylor (3-0)

Quack takes Taylor down to the mat and grapevines his legs. Taylor transitions into a headscissors. He stretches out Quack’s legs and throws his head to the mat. Quack escapes and puts on a headlock. Taylor turns into a wristlock, but Quack trips him and cranks on his leg. Taylor reverses into his own leg submission. On their feet, Quack avoids a dropkick and takes Taylor down into a Skayde schoolboy for two. Taylor hits a dropkick for one. Taylor traps Quack’s arms around his own legs to put pressure on his neck and shoulders. Taylor releases and gets taken down in another Skayde schoolboy for two. Taylor throws him over with a belly-to-belly suplex. A seated dropkick gets Taylor a two count. Taylor boots Quack and goes for a piledriver. Quack sends him to the floor and follows with an Asai moonsault. In the ring Quack hits a few elbows and a dropkick. Both men brawl on the apron until Quack drops Taylor with a DDT on it. A springboard senton gets Quack two. Taylor drops Quack with a quebradora. Taylor connects with Sole Food. He rolls Quack into a cross crab. Quack grabs the bottom rope to escape. Taylor springboards in and Quack catches Taylor with a seatbelt pin at 9:01. Solid action throughout but I can’t help but feel just a little peeved that Taylor has been built up so much, only to have his streak ended in the opening match. **1/2

Up In Smoke (Cheech & Cloudy) (2-0) vs. Aeroform (Flip Kendrick & Louis Lyndon) (1-3)

Lyndon and Cheech start off with some back and forth. Lyndon takes Cheech down with a headscissors and a double palm strike. Kendrick tags and hits a double sole butt with Lyndon to Cheech. Lyndon blind tags in and hit Cheech with stereo slingshot dropkicks for two. Cheech hits a neckbreaker for two. Up In Smoke drop him with stereo side Russian leg sweeps for two. Cheech stretches Lyndon out over his knees and Cloudy hits a back senton on him for two. Kendrick tags in and helps Lyndon regain control of the mat for their team. Lyndon hits a moonsault on Cheech on the floor, and Kendrick flies onto Cloudy with a twisting body press. Cheech blocks a palm strike from Lyndon and drops him a Gory Bomb for two. Lyndon sends Cloudy to the floor and sends Cheech out with a spinwheel kick. Kendrick tags in and hits Cloudy with a crossbody. He sweeps his legs. Cheech blocks Kendrick’s splash. Kendrick flips up into a headscissors and wheelbarrows into an X-Factor. Kendrick flips into a legdrop for two. Lyndon kicks Cloudy in the face and Kendrick drops him face first with a suplex for two. Cheech drops Kendrick with an STO. Up In Smoke attack Lyndon in the corner. Kendrick hits Cloudy with an enzuigiri and takes Cheech down with a tornado DDT. Cloudy crotches Kendrick n the top rope. Up In Smoke drop him with a tandem Hero’s Welcome and the Tidal Wave for the pin at 7:40. The usually fun spot fest you’ve seen these teams have before. That said, I don’t want to see it again. It’s been done to death in EVOLVE. **3/4

Lenny Leonard interviews Up In Smoke after the match. He questions there tactics. Cheech says he believes there are no cheap wins, just wins. Lyndon comes in to confron them about crotching his partner. Up In Smoke try to get Lyndon and Kendrick to fight, but they just head to the back instead.

We get a clip from Earlier Today where Larry Dallas and a female companion are coming into the building. A random guy says that he is not welcome into the building and kicks them both out.

Jimmy Jacobs (3-1) vs. Adam Cole (1-1)

Jacobs and Cole stand off waiting for the other to make the first move. Cole does, grabbing a headlock. He ducks Jacobs’ chop and takes him over with a few armdrags. Jacobs and Cole slap each other in the face. Jacobs asks for another. Cole applies a headlock and Jacobs slaps him again. Jacobs fires up after getting kicked in the chin and hits a hard clothesline. Cole drops him with a neckbreaker. Jacobs sweeps Cole’s legs off the second rope. Jacobs stands on Cole’s chest in the corner. Jacobs grabs Cole’s arms and slams his face into the mat repeatedly. Jacobs ends with a curbstomp. Cole slaps Jacobs from the apron. Jacobs fires up with more slaps. Cole blocks an O’Connor roll and scores with a flurry of offense. Jacobs spears him down. Cole picks up Jacobs and lights him up with chops in the corner. Jacobs cracks Cole with a boot. Cole sends Jacobs to the apron and sends him to the floor with an enzuigiri. He crashes into Jacobs with a suicide dive. In the ring Cole hits a crossbody for two. Jacobs catches Cole in the Guillotine Choke. Cole escapes and hits a German suplex for two. Jacobs springboards into an ace crusher. Cole blocks the Contra Code and rolls up Jacobs for two. Cole hits a superkick. Jacobs lands the Conta Code for the pin at 8:05. These two have really good chemistry. The mutual hatred they have been building for the past few shows really came through. Both guys came out looking great in the end. ***

Lenny Leonard congratulates Jacobs on being the Wins leader in EVOLVE. Jacobs says he’s done something else Johnny Gargano couldn’t do, and that’s beat Adam Cole. Jacobs says he’s now the guy to beat in EVOLVE.

Drake Younger (2-0) vs. Sami Callihan (2-0)

Both men charge at each other with kicks. They pummel each other with forearms. Callihan hits a few more in the corner. Younger turns him inside out with a clothesline. He flips Callihan to the floor. Younger hops off the ring steps onto Callihan with a crossbody. In the ring, Callihan sends Younger off the apron and to the floor with a springboard clothesline. He follows with a suicide dive. Callihan brings Younger back in the ring and hits a missile dropkick for two. Younger drives Callihan into the corner to free himself from a choke. Younger blocks the Zig-Zag. Callihan hits a Saito suplex. Younger blocks a biel and dropkicks Callihan back to the floor. Younger follows up but gets back dropped on the floor. Younger side steps an attack which causes Younger to collide face first with the barricade. Once again they trade forearms. Callihan ppeprs Younger with punches but accidentally forearms the ring post. Younger throws Callihan head first into the ring apron. Callihan is bleeding from his head when Younger throws him back into the ring. Younger lays in punches and stomps in the corner. Younger and Callihan fight for control on the top rope. Calihan shoves Younger down to the mat. He goes for a headbutt but misses. On their knees, Younger and Callihan slug it out. They continue as they come up to their feet. Callihan hits the Zig-Zag for two. Younger ducks a clothesline and connects with a pair of half-nelson suplexes for two. Callihan counters the Drake’s Landing and hits a diving forearm for two. Callihan powerbombs Younger for two. Callihan puts on the Stretch Muffler. Younger grabs the ropes to escape. Callihan dumps Younger with a running Rubix Cube for two. Callihan goes back to the Stretch Muffler. Younger turns it into a pin for two. Younger hooks Callihan and drops him with the Drake’s Landing for the pin at 13:01. This was two guys senselessly hitting one another. Younger’s just kind of slow and half-hearted in some of his stuff which really takes the match down. Callihan on the other hand has shown a ton of potential in EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA, and I think he should have won. **3/4

Lenny Leonard says Younger’s a hard worker. Younger says he wants to be the Wins leader, and therefore says he wants Jimmy Jacobs if the opportunity arises.

We then cut backstage to see Bryan Danielson verbally berating Chuck Taylor. He says Chuck could be the face of EVOLVE if he quit clowning around. Danielson says Taylor needs to change his attitude in order to be taken more seriously.

Brad Allen (2-1) vs. Johnny Gargano (2-2) vs. Frightmare (0-0) vs. Jon Moxley (0-1) vs. Gran Akuma (1-1) vs. Rich Swann (0-1)

Gargano immediately hits the floor so he doesn’t have to start off. Allen and Moxley quickly trade holds and strikes. They slap each other and Allen unleashes a flurry of punches in the corner. Allen dumps himself on his head trying to go for a springboard crossbody. He recovers and sends Moxley to the floor. Frightmare and Akuma tag in. Frightmare takes Akuma down with a headscissors and an armdrag. Frightmare headscissors Akuma on the floor. Swann and Gargano tag in. Swann takes Gargano down with a headscissors. He rounds off into a German suplex. Swann lands on his feet and hits a dropkick. Moxley knocks him down with a back elbow. Allen sends Moxley to the floor. He boots Gargano and hits a spinebuster. Frightmare flies in with a huracanrana to Allen. He hits a jump-up neckbreaker. Moxley knees him down and dumps him chest first into a kick from Akuma. Moxley lays in some strikes. Akuma hits a fallaway boot and goes for the Rubix Cube. Swann flies in with a knee strike to Moxley. Swann and Frightmare evade a series of moves from each other until Swann superkicks him. Swann rolls into a headscissors on Allen. Allen sends Swann into Gargano’s arm, and Gargano lawn darts him. He then lawn darts Frightmare in the same corner. Allen nails Gargano with a big boot. Gargano hits Allen with a slingshot spear and suicide dives onto Akuma on the floor. Frightmare and Swann send Moxley to the floor. Frightmare and Swann hit tandem moonsaults to the floor. Allen tope con hilo’s onto all five of his opponents. In the ring, Allen drops Moxley with The Deal. Gargano superkicks Allen. Akuma pump handles Gargano into a slam on his knees. Swann gets knocked down with a clothesline. Frightmare gets slammed as he goes for double knees on Akuma. Allen hits a reverse TKO on Akuma. Gargano crotches Allen on the top rope. Akuma brings Allen down with an Spider Exploder suplex. He lands a moonsault and Swann breaks the pin. Swinn connects with an enzuigiri. He hits the standing 450 splash. Frightmare breaks the pin and hits Swann with the Kneecolepsy. Gargano rolls up Frightmare for the pin at 8:36. All six guys worked hard and put on a fun, frenetic match. This probably would have been better off as a trio of singles matches, but what can you do? At least the right guy won. **1/2

Lenny Leonard interviews Gargano. Gargano says he’s back on the winning track on EVOLVE and says he literally ended five other lives in the ring tonight. Gargano says general consensus says he’s the baddest man on the planet. With that, Homicide makes his way to the ring. Homicide flips off Gargano and tells him to get his ass out of the ring. Gargano obliges, but Jon Moxley makes his way into the ring. Homicide says he thinks Moxley is the hottest wrestler right now. He says that he’s come to EVOLVE to take his crown back and that he’ll be keeping his eye on Moxley. Moxley agrees that Homicide should keep his eye on him before leaving. Homicide says he’s going to take control of EVOLVE.

EVOLVE 4 Fallout – Brodie Lee was suspended from participating at EVOLVE 5 and Jon Moxley was fined. Check out what happened in my review of the show. After the footage, Jon Moxley comes out and says that EVOLVE will give him a rematch with Brodie Lee in the future.

WSU Championship
Mercedes Martinez (Championship) (4-0) vs. Amazing Kong (0-0)

Martinez has trouble getting a grasp on Kong. Kong shrugs off her strikes and kicks. Kong splashes Martinez as she comes off the ropes. She pins her with one foot for two. Kong throws Martinez by her hair. Kong whips Martinez to the corner and follows in with a splash. Kong hits a splash on the mat for two. Kong twists Martinez in a Camel Clutch position. Martinez frees herself with a chinbreaker. Martinez hits a flurry of forearms before Kong knocks her down with a Mongolian chop. Martinez evades an avalanche in the corner and hits three big boots. Martinez takes Kong off her feet with a missile dropkick. Kong immediately rolls to the floor. Martinez hits a suicide dive. In the ring Martinez goes to the top rope after a basement dropkick. Kong backfists her back to the mat where she stands on Martinez’s chest. Kong drops her with the Implant Buster for two. Kong goes to take off the turnbuckle pad in the corner. Referee Mike Kehner stops her from doing so. Because of this, Kong kicks Kehner in the groin. Kehner crawls out of the ring and rewards Martinez the match via disqualification at 7:20. Four shows of build up lead to a very unsatisfying finish. Kong not losing in her first match is one thing, but I think they could have done the finish is a less angersome manner. *1/2

Jimmy Jacobs is bragging to Johnny Gargano backstage. Larry Dallas sneak in backstage and celebrate Gargano’s win with him.

Kyle O’Reilly (2-1) vs. Ricochet (1-2)

Neither man gets a clear advantage on the mat. Ricochet arm whips O’Reilly and takes him down with a huracanrana. Ricochet toreadors him off his feet. O’Reilly drops Ricochet out of a wheelbarrow into a cross arm breaker. Ricochet escapes and stands off with O’Reilly. O’Reilly rolls into a pinning predicament for two. O’Reilly grabs Ricochet’s ankle but Ricochet scurries to the rope to breeak before anything serious can happen. Ricochet avoids a big boot in the corner. O’Reilly forearms him in the corner. Both guys trade kicks on the apron. Ricochet headscissors O’Reilly into the guardrail. Ricochet hits a corkscrew legdrop onto O’Reilly’s neck on the guardrail. Ricochet only gets a one count back in the ring. A standing moonsault only gets him two. Ricochet Tiger Walks O’Reilly and follows with a cannonball senton for two. O’Reilly goes up and over Ricochet in the corner. He pummels him with kicks to the upper body. O’Reilly takes Ricochet down with a dragonscrew and applies an Indian Death Lock. Ricochet breaks. O’Reilly rolls from a courting hold into an ankle lock. Ricochet gets the ropes to escape. Ricochet kicks up from the mat, but O’Reilly grabs his leg and applies a grapevine ankle lock. Ricochet kicks his way free. Ricochet slips out of a German suplex and springboards into a DDT. O’Reilly superkicks Ricochet and turns him inside out with a lariat for two. O’Reilly sits down with a half crab. Ricochet escapes and hits a Backslide Driver. O’Reilly pops up and is met with an enzuigiri. O’Reilly kicks out, frustrating Ricochet. O’Reilly hits a tornado DDT. He slaps back on the cross armbreaker. Ricochet drops him with a pump-handle driver for two. O’Reilly gets in a few kicks before Ricochet dumps him on his head with a suplex. Ricochet evades and blocks some more kicks before hitting another suplex. Ricochet heads up top. O’Reilly cuts him off but gets kicked off. Ricochet hits a 630 Splash for the pin at 15:15. A great ending to a very solid match. The selling was sparse, but O’Reilly came off looking really strong. I was surprised at how grounded Ricochet was, but he did a fine job taking a beating before coming back with his signature aerial move to win. ***

Homicide approaches Mercedes Martinez backstage who is looking a little depressed. Homicide cheers her up and restores some of her confidence.

Bryan Danielson (1-0) vs. Munenori Sawa (1-0)

Danielson and Sawa each throw a kick. They then each lay in a flurry of kicks in the corner. They stand off as the fans cheer and applaud. They agressively jockey for position on the mat. Danielson settles Sawa in a front chancery. Danielson transitions from a full mount into a cross armbreaker. Sawa breaks a short arm scissors. Sawa grabs Danielson’s ankle and Danielson grabs Sawa’s head. Danielson’s kicks do nothing to Sawa. Danielson slaps him down and punches him in the chest and shoulder for a two count. Danielson kicks away at Sawa’s hamstrings before putting Sawa in a surfboard stretch. Danielson drives Sawa’s knees down into the canvas. Danielson grapevines Sawa’s legs and applies to pressure to his knee. Danielson keeps the legs tied as he forearms Sawa multiple times in the face. Danielson bridges back to apply more pressure. Danielson ties Sawa in the ropes and kicks him multiple times in the chest. Sawa blocks a kick and dragonscrews Danielson down. Sawa fires up with lightning punches in the corner. He drope toe holds Danielson and lays in a barrage of kicks to his back. Sawa drops a Muta elbow for two. Danielson turns a knee strike into a single leg crab. Sawa crawls to the ropes to break. Sawa fires up as Danielson forearms and headbutts him. Sawa hits a chest kick to knock Danielson down. Danielson counters a second kick with an ankle lock. Danielson hits a leg-capture German suplex for two. Sawa takes Danielson off his feet with a courting hold. Danielson quickly takes Sawa down into an Achilles lock. Sawa escapes a barrage of elbows and fires away with kicks to the back and head. They exchange slaps to the face on their feet. Danielson spits in Sawa’s face. He and Sawa continue to slap one another. Sawa hits the Irabu Punch. Danielson blocks a second but eats a spinning enzuigiri. Sawa follows with a shining wizard and an Octopus stretch. Danielson grabs the ropes to break. Sawa tries to reapply the hold, but Danielson throws him off and kicks him in the side of the head. Sawa fires up and eats a second kick. He eats a third and Danielson puts on the LeBell Lock. Sawa taps out at 13:52. This was an awesome strike-for-strike battle with neither man letting up for a second. It’s these kind of strike and mat-based matches that define EVOLVE for me, and these two showed everyone how it should be done. ****

Danielson goes for a handshake after the match. Sawa instead gives him a hug and raises his hand. Danielson then points to Sawa to cue the people to cheer his name. Lenny Leonard wants Danielson to compare his match tonight with all the ones he’s had in the past. Danielson puts over Sawa and says EVOLVE was partially his brain child (true story). He thanks the fans for coming out and for their appreciation when he got fired by the WWE. Danielson jokingly asks the music guy to play the Backstreet Boys for the fans. He then asks for his theme song “The Final Countdown” to be played, but we cut to the back before we at home get to enjoy it.

Larry Dallas, his woman, and Johnny Gargano come to Chuck Taylor. They invite him out to party. Taylor looks apprehensive, but decides he will go out with them. He tells Danielson (the camera, specifically) that he’s going to reach the top of EVOLVE, but he’s going to do it his way.

As a bonus, the DVD features a nearly five minute highlight video of EVOLVE 5.

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