EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley

New York, NY – 4.19.2011

Commentary is provided by Rob Naylor. Austin Aries is with Rob for the first three matches, then Jimmy Jacobs joins Rob for the rest of the show.

The show opens with a clip of Jon Moxley entering the arena earlier today. Tonight is his final match in EVOLVE (and on the independents) before heading to WWE.

Tonight EVOLVE has a spoiler concept since three men currently tie the top of the charts with 4 wins and 2 losses each: Jimmy Jacobs, Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor. All three of those men will be taking on guys who are making their EVOLVE debut. One of these men will be the leader of the pack by the end of the night. If more than one person wins their spoiler match, those persons will compete in a Sudden Death match. The winner of that match will then top the EVOLVE leader board. Our opening contest is the first of those three matches.

Jimmy Jacobs (4-2) vs. Shiima Xion (0-0)

Xion mocks Jacobs’ height at the start. Jacobs responds by stomping him fiercely in the corner. Jacobs lays in some headbutts after Xion fails to fight up from the mat. Jacobs lets Xion go to the floor so that he can hit a suicide dive. Jacobs whips Xion to the stage. Xion jumps up and comes down with a gnarly moonsault. Back in the ring Xion slams Jacobs and stomps on his feet. Jacobs chops and rakes Xion’s face after recovering. He forearms Xion in the chest for a two count. Jacobs slams Xion’s face into the mat, then curb stomps him. Xion kicks out Jacobs’s knees when Jacobs goes to the middle rope. Xion puts on a crossface with Jacobs tied up in the ropes. Xion delivers the Hostile Makeover for two. Jacobs clothesline Xion after being kicked in the face. Xion gets his knees up to block a senton. Xion pops Jacobs up and boots him in the face on the way down. Jacobs recovers and goes for a Shiranui. Xion shrugs it off but takes a jump-back Ace Crusher for two. Xion catches Jacobs with a spinebuster. He superkicks Jacobs. Xion hits the ropes and Jacobs spears him for two. Xion blocks a second jump-back Ace Crusher, rolling Jacobs into a crossface. Jacobs rolls out and goes for the End Time. Xion catches him with a Magistral cradle for the pin at 7:17. That was quite an upset victory for Xion. Jacobs was a great opponent for Xion’s debut, making him look good even while dominating most of the match. It’s too bad this was Xion’s only EVOLVE appearance as it looks like they had plans for him. **1/2

Larry Legend asks Xion how it feels to win in his EVOLVE debut. Xion says now that he has used Jacobs as a stepping stone in EVOLVE, it’s safe to say he has arrived. Yeah, and left too. He makes some remarks challenging Jacobs’ manhood before heading to the back.

Frightmare and Tozawa get into a screaming match backstage. Jigsaw takes Frightmare away from him. That was interesting.

Silas Young (1-1) vs. Tony Nese (0-1)

Young shoves Nese after Nese breaks a lock-up in the corner. We are shown that Larry Dallas and Reby Sky are watching the show in a private ringside booth. Nese catches Young with a leg lariat for two. They both throw chops at each other. Nese delivers a pump-handle suplex for two. Nese trips Young as Young hits the ropes. Nese misses a frogsplash. Young gets two with a fisherman’s buster. Nese fights up with an elbow. He ducks a clothesline but eats a big boot for two. Young wrenches on Nese’s arm and neck. Nese sole butts Young after blocking a suplex. He follows with a fallaway kick to the face. Nese hits a series of kicks to fire himself back up. He gives a seated Young a running knee strike in the corner for two. Nese blocks a tornado DDT. Nese places Young on the top rope and brings him down with a super huracanrana for two. Young catches Nese with the Peejee Waja Plunge for the pin at 5:39. Now that’s what I call making the most of the time you’re given. The action was nonstop and exciting from bell to bell. Both guys looked really impressive and I look forward to seeing more from both of them. **3/4

Larry Legend asks Silas what’s next for him in EVOLVE. Young says he can feel his momentum building inside of him. He says Larry Dallas and Johnny Gargano have what’s coming to them and threatens to slap Reby Sky if Dallas gets out of hand.

Austin Aries is lacing up his boots. His bout tonight with Jon Moxley is his second EVOLVE match. This is also the second straight show that Aries is headlining.

Johnny Gargano (4-2) vs. Jon Davis (0-0)

This is the second of three spoiler matches. Davis shoves Gargano to the corner. Davis shoves Gargano to the corner and shoots him an intimidating look. Gargano decides to work over Davis’ arm on the mat. Davis shoulder blocks Gargano to escape. Davis blocks an armdrag and whips Gargano to the corner. Gargano sole butts Davis in the stomach. Gargano double stomps his back and follows with a knee strike and neckbreaker. Davis shoulder tackles Gargano, causing Gargano to roll to the ring apron. Gargano catches him with a slingshot spear. He hits a senton. Gargano strikes have no effect on Davis. Davis catches Gargano with a powerslam. Davis chokes Gargano with his boot, then suplexes him. He drops a knee for two. Davis knees Gargano in the mid-section to cut off his momentum off the ropes. Davis slams Gargano twice before delivering a backbreaker for two. Davis’ shoulder blocks in the corner only get him two as well. Gargano stomps Davis’ chest after blocking a powerbomb. Gargano rolls Davis into a low gamengiri. Gargano gets two with a low Ace Crusher. Davis gets in a series of strikes, ending it with a shotgun lariat for two. Gargano puts Davis in an Anaconda Vice in the ropes. He releases and goes for the slingshot spear. Davis catches him and goes for a powerbomb. Gargano sends him to the floor with a huracanrana. Gargano follows with a suicide dive and two rolling sentons. In the ring, Davis manages to catch Gargano coming off the second ropes with a spinebuster. Davis hits the Jackhammer for two. Gargano slides off his back to avoid a powerslam. He gets a two count multiple times with various pins. Gargano comes off the second rope with an Ace Crusher. He superkicks Davis, then hits the Diced Bread for two. He transitions into the Gargano Escape. Davis rolls out and deadlifts Gargano onto his shoulders. Gargano puts him back in the Gargano Escape, causing Davis to tap out at 13:18. This picked up tremendously by the end, allowing both men to shine like stars. The crowd was getting into all the nearfalls and added to the drama. Losing aside, there was no finer way for Davis to make his singles debut in EVOLVE. ***1/4

Larry Legend reminds Gargano that as of now he is the Wins leader in EVOLVE and asks him how it feels. Gargano says tonight was just the first step and claims he will be the Wins leader by the end of the night. Larry Dallas reminds Gargano that the game plan is for him and Taylor to be co-Wins leaders. Gargano is not down with this idea, causing Chuck Taylor to come out and get in his face. Reby Sky calms everyone down and says they can all figure things out backstage. Gargano leaves ahead of everyone else.

CHIKARA Sekigun (Jigsaw & Frightmare) (2-0) vs. Jason Gory & Façade (0-0)

Facade flips out of an armbreaker into a headscissors. Facade catches him with a Manhattan drop and a wheelbarrow armdrag for two. Jigsaw takes Facade down with a toreador and an armdrag. He connects with a basement dropkick. Facade O’Conner rolls him for two. He tags in Gory who flies in with a springboard splash for two. Frightmare tags in. Gory wheelbarrows into a sunset flip for two. Frightmare takes him over with a Frankensteiner. He hits a jump-up neckbreaker for two. Jigsaw and Frightmare catch Gory and throw him onto Facade. They hit tandem basement corner dropkicks to Facade and Gory. They follow up with tandem dives. Frightmare drops a senton on Gory for two. Jigsaw drops a Sweeney fist for two. Jigsaw stretches Gory in a Gory Guerrero Special. Frightmare doublestomps Gory while he’s in the submission for two. Jigsaw drops him with a gordbuster. Gory drops Jigsaw with a leg-capture DDT and tags in Facade. Facade gives Frightmare a few strikes and a pop-up kick to the face. Facade sends him to the floor and dives onto both Frightmare and Jigsaw with a springboard senton. In the ring, Facade walks the ropes into a dropkick to Frightmare. Facade legdrops him on the middle rope, and Gory splashes Frightmare neck first on the second rope. Facade connects with a springboard spinwheel kick. Jigsaw breaks the pin. Jigsaw delivers a fallaway kick. Frightmare hits a yakuza kick and Jigsaw drops him with a brainbuster. Frightmare hits the Kneecolepsy and Gory breaks the pin. Gory hits a Yoshi Tonic. Facade and Gory hit a lungblower/German suplex combo. Jigsaw doublestomps Facade to break the pin. Jigsaw superkicks Gory and follows up with the Jig N’ Tonic for the pin at 8:48. Not only was this a nice high flying bout, but it set itself apart from the rest of the matches on the card. Gory and Facade looked good and certainly deserve a second chance. Of course, I’m happy the CHIKARA Sekigun are on a roll. **3/4

Larry Legend asks Jigsaw and Frightmare how it feels to be on a roll in EVOLVE. Jigsaw claims they’re the best tag team in EVOLVE. Frightmare speaks some gibberish. Jigsaw translates, and says that they will face any team who wants to step up to them.

Jon Moxley is shown pacing around backstage.

Sami Callihan (2-1) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (0-0)

Sabre kicks Callihan in the chest to avoid his charge. Callihan throws chops right back at him. Callihan snapmares him into a dragon kick. Sabre rolls Callihan into a cross armbreaker. Callihan breaks immediately and powerbombs Sabre into the corner. Sabre blocks a clothesline and kicks Callihan in the ropes. Sabre chest kicks him from the apron. Callihan sweeps Sabre’s legs out to block another chest kick. Callihan and Sabre fight on the staging area. Sabre rolls him into a cross armbreaker in front of the commentary booth. Callihan turns it into a Stretch Muffler. Sabre kicks Callihan back to the floor. Callihan catches Sabre coming off the stage with an exploder suplex on the ground. In the ring, Callihan hits a rope assisted splash for two. Sabre uses some Lancashire maneuvering to go for the cross armbreaker again. Callihan breaks but Sabre kicks his arm as he grabs the ropes. Sabre traps Callihan’s arm while driving his knee into the mat repeatedly. He aggressively chest kicks Callihan in the corner. Callihan fires back with chops and kicks. Sabre headbutts Callihan in his mid-section twice. They slap each other like crazy. They go slap for sole butt, tiring each other out. Sabre headbutts Callihan in the chest as Callihan comes off the ropes. Sabre kicks Callihan as he comes in from the apron. Sabre gets two with a running powerbomb. Sabre knee strikes Callihan’s arm. Callihan comes back with two Saito suplexes. Callihan hits the Forearm 2 Remember and Sabre manages to kick out at one. Callihan calls for another forearm. Sabre rolls up Callihan instead for two. A few pin attempts from both guys goes nowhere. Callihan knees Sabre in the back of his head. More pin attempts lead to Callihan going for the Stretch Muffler. Sabre small packages him in response for two. Sabre rolls Callihan into the cross armbreaker. Callihan escapes and puts on the Stretch Muffler. Sabre pushes his leg down to escape. A running chest kick gets him two. Callihan blocks an enzuigiri. He sits down on a Stretch Muffler and kicks Sabre in the head until he passes out at 12:44. This was an absolute war. These guys dished out and took a lot of punishment while also doing their best to focus where they inflicted damage in the process. Sabre nave gave up on trying to wear down Callihan’s shoulder while Callihan constantly went for his Stretch Muffler in retaliation. Callihan could have done more work on the leg, but otherwise this was real good stuff. ***1/2

Larry Legend asks Sami how it feels to be 3-0 in EVOLVE now. Sami says 2011 is his year and that he is one step closer to reaching the top of EVOLVE. He then gives a shout out to Jon Moxley and thanks him for being a great partner. For those who don’t know, Sami and Moxley teamed as The Switchblade Conspiracy in many different companies.

Larry Dallas, Reby Sky and Chuck Taylor make their way back to their booth ringside. Jon Davis then comes out since he supposedly requested time to talk to the crowd. He talks a little trash to Dallas’ crew. Davis said the crowd made him feel accepted in EVOLVE and apologizes for letting them down tonight. He assures the fans that it won’t happen again.

Rich Swann (0-1) vs. AR Fox (1-0)

A fast paced back and forth sequence ends in a stalemate with neither guy making a strike. Swann dropkicks Fox. Fox dropkicks Swann off the apron to the floor. Swann evades the kickflip moonsault and moonsaults off the stage onto Fox. Swann gets two back in the ring. Swann clotheslines Fox in the corner and rams his shoulder into Fox’s mid-section. Swann pokes Fox in the eyes and does an arrogant dance. Fox blasts Swann with multiple forearms. They each evade one another’s moves. Swann superkicks Fox and then hits Rolling Thunder for two. Fox slides through Swann’s back as Swann hangs neck first on the middle rope. Fox hits a jump-back Ace Crusher from the apron. Swann rolls to the floor and Fox tope con hilo’s onto him. Fox brings Swann back in for a two count. Swann enzuigiri’s Fox on the top rope. He brings him off with a super huracanrana. Swann gets two with a running shooting star press. Fox then gets two with a package suplex. Swann rolls back and hits an Ace Crusher. A pele kick gets him another two count. Swann misses FIREBIRD due to Fox putting his knees up. Fox boots Swann on the top rope. Fox hits the Lo Mein Pain for the pin at 5:53. The amount of crazy things these guys crammed into this match has to be seen to believed. They showcased the agility and high flying fluidity they both possess and won over the audience immediately. Although Swann was more impressive, Fox winning was the right call. **3/4

Larry Legend asks how Fox feels after winning his second match in EVOLVE. Fox says he’s going to let his actions speak for himself and that the people will see what he’s all about.

Shiima Xion is celebrating with his fellow Western Pennsylvanian pals Façade and Jason Gory, who are not as pleased with the result of their match. Xion suggests they all go to a club down the street to celebrate his win. Façade and Gory don’t seem into it. Xion demands they go and heads out without them, assuming they will follow. Façade and Gory speak to each other in audio so low we can’t hear them. They then leave the room.

Chuck Taylor (4-2) vs. Akira Tozawa (0-0)

Tozawa goes for Taylor’s arms on the mat. Taylor and Tozawa exchange holds until they get to their feet where they reach a stalemate. Tozawa forearms Taylor and armdrags him into a senton splash. Tozawa slams Taylor and delivers another senton for two. Taylor puts his boot up to block an attack from Tozawa. He rolls Tozawa into a pin attempt for two. Taylor dropkicks Tozawa for two. Taylor applies a headscissors. Tozawa gets the ropes to break it. Tozawa chops Taylor a few times. Taylor powerslams Tozawa for two. Taylor side steps a bicycle kick. Tozawa still kicks out Taylor’s legs and kicks him in the side of the head. Taylor rests outside where Tozawa suicide dives onto him. Taylor knocks Tozawa to the floor and comes out with a plancha. Tozawa sends Taylor back to the floor and suicide dives onto him again. In the ring Tozawa hits a Saito suplex for two. Tozawa misses the Apron Kara Tozawa. Taylor kicks Tozawa from the apron and uranage slams him for two. Taylor gives him Sole Food. Tozawa responds with a huracanrana and a knee to the back of Taylor’s head. Both men now lay on the mat. Once recovered they match forearm strikes and boots. Tozawa bicycle kicks Taylor and German suplexes him for two. Tozawa hits a second German suplex. Taylor ducks a bicycle kick and gets the pin at 10:50 with the Awful Waffle. This was pretty much the standard stuff you see from either guy. That being said, it was still quite good. Just not anything memorable or really special. ***

Larry Dallas and Reby Sky celebrate with Taylor. That is until referee Mike Kehner says that Taylor and Johnny Gargano have to have a match now to determine the man who’s at the top of the EVOLVE leader board. Dallas denies it and wishes for Taylor and Gargano to go out instead. Taylor says he doesn’t want to share the top of the leader board and doesn’t want to wait until after the main event for the match. So, Taylor vs. Gargano takes place right now.

Chuck Taylor (5-2) vs. Johnny Gargano (5-2)

Taylor boots Gargano twice and rolls them up for two. Gargano goes for the Gargano Escape. Taylor rolls free. Gargano catches him with the Hurts Donut for two. Gargano clotheslines Taylor in the corner. Taylor hits the Awful Waffle but can’t follow up right away because his neck hurts. He gets two when he finally makes the cover. Gargano lawn darts Taylor into the corner. Two superkicks and a Hurts Donut later, Gargano pins Taylor two. Gargano puts Taylor in the Gargano Escape. Reby Sky throws in a towel, causing the match to end in Gargano’s favor at 2:29. If I didn’t know that these two met in a rematch at “EVOLVE 9”, I’d likely be more pissed about the finish. Knowing that it leads somewhere, it’s not nearly as bad as it was when it first transpired. There’s not much of a match to rate here; we’ll just have to see how things play out in the future. N/R

Taylor is obviously pissed at Dallas and heads to the back. Reby Sky follows, presumably to try and calm him down. The fans chant “You Screwed Chuck” at Dallas, who also leaves. Larry Legend asks Gargano what it’s like to be the undisputed wins leader in EVOLVE. Gargano says it doesn’t matter who screwed Chuck, all that matter is that he is on top of EVOLVE right now.

Sami Callihan is recovering from his match backstage. Zack Sabre Jr. asks if he’s okay. Sabre shakes his hand and Sami admits that he respects Sabre. Sami says Sabre should have checked his Twitter to see that he had promised to tap Sabre out tonight. They both make it known that they would like a rematch at some point.

Austin Aries (1-0) vs. Jon Moxley (1-1)

Moxley breaks out of a top wristlock and circles the ring with Aries. Aries breaks the end of another wristlock exchange. Aries gives him two armdrags. Moxley scouts Aries after putting him in a headscissors. He picks up Aries and suplexes him for two. Moxley chops Aries in a couple corners. Aries overhand chops Moxley and sends him to the floor. Aries follows with the Heat-Seeking Missile. Aries gets two with a slingshot senton and the powerdrive elbow. Aries drives his knee into Moxley’s leg. He then puts Moxley in a stump puller, rolling him onto his shoulders for two. Aries kicks Moxley’s leg repeatedly. Moxley fights out of the corner and suplexes Aries and himself over the top rope and to the floor. Moxley makes it into the ring limping. He connects with a lariat and then falls to the mat. Moxley recovers before Aries does and hits a Diamond Cutter for two. He gets two with a brainbuster as well. Moxley goes for a second, but Aries reverses and hits his own brainbuster for two. Moxley superplexes Aries. Aries holds onto Moxley’s leg for a two count. Moxley delivers a piledriver for two. Moxley gives Aries a cradle piledriver. Aries gets his foot on the rope to break it. Moxley’s frustration causes him to bring a wrench into the ring. He argues with himself over what to do and ends up disposing over the wrench angrily. Aries rolls up Moxley for two. He punts Moxley and hits a brainbuster for two. Aries crossbody’s Moxley. Moxley rolls through into a pin for two. He then puts Aries in a Fujiwara armbar. When Aries doesn’t quit, Moxley puts Aries in the Last Chancery. Aries escapes and punts Moxley in the head again. He now puts Moxley in the Last Chancery. Moxley’s arm drops twice. When he prevents it from dropping a third time, Aries rams his knee into Moxley’s head. Moxley fights back with forearms. Aries forearms Moxley before taking him over with the chinbreaker/suplex combo. He hits the IED and a brainbuster. Moxley kicks out of the 450 splash. Aries goes for another brainbuster. Moxley turns it into a small package for two. Aries delivers three more IED’s. Moxley escapes another brainbuster attempt. He goes for a sunset flip. Aries sits down on it, pinning Moxley at 15:19. Moxley’s been given a lot of credit about his promos and brawling capabilities. While both of those are excellent, this match was able to highlight that he is able to get it done in the ring technically as well. He and Aries kept things entertaining the entire time and had some really fun exchanges. I loved the part where Moxley got angry over whether or not to use the wrench, as it harkened back to how adamant Moxley was about obeying the rules in his last EVOLVE match with Homicide. He also desperately wanted to leave EVOLVE with a winning record although it ended up not being that way anyhow. This was a nice way for Moxley to say farewell to the independent scene and a good way to cap off the show. ***1/2

Aries says he’s turning the mic over to Moxley instead of giving a post match speech. He heads to the back while other members of the EVOLVE roster come out to applaud and send off Moxley. Moxley says his loss tonight hurt because he fully intended on winning. He laments being out of shape and revels in the fact that he has a few more days left to use foul language. He toasts to the wrestlers who made their way out to the ring to send him off (Callihan, Sabre, Fox, Swann and Jigsaw) after putting Aries over. Callihan puts Moxley over big time and says it was an honor to travel with and learn from him. The fans chant Moxley’s name as he and his buddies head to the back.

Larry Dallas, Reby Sky, Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor are still arguing backstage. Gargano runs into Silas Young who looks at him angrily.

Bonus Match

FIP World Heavyweight Championship
Roderick Strong vs. Jon Moxley

FIP “Southern Stampede 2011” – Crystal River, FL – 4.7.2010

Strong and Moxley were the last two men in a Battle Royal earlier on this show, giving them this chance to compete for the vacant FIP Championship.

Kizarny is in the ring getting the fans to chant. Moxley hits the ring and attacks him. Moxley puts him in a chicken wing, bringing out Roderick Strong. He lights up Moxley with chops and punches. Strong continues his attack on the floor. Moxley boots Strong as he tries to re-enter the floor. Moxley tries to take control, but Strong throws him back in the ring and lays in more punches. Moxley slams Strong out of the corner for two. Moxley whips Strong into the corner and chokes him with his boot. Strong boots Moxley to block a corner attack. Strong hits a leg lariat. Moxley blocks the Death By Roderick and snaps Strong’s arm across the top rope. Moxley targets his attack on Strong’s arm. Strong shoves Moxley shoulder first into the ring post outside the ring. Moxley knocks Strong back to the floor and continues to wear down his arm. Strong punches Moxley to break a wristlock. Moxley however puts on an armscissors. Strong tries to turn it into the Stronghold. Moxley kicks Strong away and torques on the arm until Strong gets to the ropes. Strong grabs the ropes to avoid the Chicken wing. Strong breaks out of a Regal Stretch. He goes for Death by Roderick. Moxley blocks and puts on a Fujiwara armbar. Strong gets the ropes again. Strong fights back to his feet and nails an enzuigiri. A couple shots in the corner lead to Strong delivering a Falcon Arrow for two. Strong gives Moxley a backbreaker for two. He puts Moxley in the Stronghold, and Moxley wisely grabs the ropes right away. Moxley blocks another backbreaker and Boss Man Slams Strong for two. Strong tries a few quick pins but with no luck. Moxley DDT’s Strong for two. Moxley drops Strong stomach first on the mat. He follows with a lariat for two. Moxley throws Strong shoulder first into the corner to block a backbreaker. Strong catches Moxley on the top rope with a superplex after a gamengiri. After making it up to their feet both men throw strikes. Strong hits the Death by Roderick. Moxley jackknife pins Strong to block a Tiger Driver. Strong kicks out and hits the Sick Kick for two. Moxley small packages Strong to block the Stronghold for two. Strong delivers a backbreaker for two. Erick Stevens makes his way down the aisle, distracting Strong. Moxley gives Strong the Hook and Ladder. Moxley then puts Strong in the Chicken Wing. Strong taps out at 15:15, making Moxley the new FIP World Champion. The storytelling here was on point with Strong softening up Moxley’s back to make the Stronghold more effective and Moxley working on Strong’s arm to prevent him from doing so. Even though Stevens soured Moxley’s win just a tad, both guys worked hard and provided a fun contest. ***

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