1/16/2010 - Rahway, NJ
1) Bobby Fish vs. Kyle O'Reilly - 4
2) Chuck Taylor vs. Cheech - 4
3) Arik Cannon vs. Ricochet - 3
4) Dark City Fight Club vs. Aeroform - 3
5) Mercedes Martinez vs. Niya - 1
6) Silas Young vs. Brad Allen - 5
7) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Kenn Doane - 4
8) Johnny Gargano vs. Chris Dickinson - 3
9) Munenori Sawa vs. TJP - 5
10) Mike Quackenbush, Hallowicked & Frightmare vs. Gran Akuma, Icarus & Brodie Lee - 3
11) Kota Ibushi vs. Davey Richards - 5
Evolve, conceptually, I don't have a lot of problems with. I wish, though, that if they wanted to go the route of say, I don't know, BattlArts, that they'd stick by their guns and really try to pull off "shoot style" in America. Instead, it's this hybrid amalgam watered down by remnants of bad, '10 American independent stuff, in-front of vapid, bored crowds and a year-deep now and none of the records, etc. really translate to additional interest in the product.
Fish and O'Reily was the prototypical Evolve match, at least on paper, two dudes throwing hard kicks, jockeying for stuff, etc. I dug it as UWFi-lite but won't make me forget about guys like Otsuka. Taylor and Cheech follows in its footsteps, but gone are the more serious exchanges, sugarcoated by Chikara-lite touches -- which, maybe that's this company's problem, it's not so much a well-defined group but just shades of other peoples' identities. Taylor's "Awful Waffle" landed solidly and boosted their score one point.
Cannon and Ricochet was fairly good, but little man vs. big man has been done infinitely better, give me Myserio vs. Gallows instead, please. I'm a DCFC fan, but, damn guys, that match was the drizzling shits. Everybody looks lost and disinterested, like sorority girls mistakenly dragged to a first-person shooter house party. What's the deal with the legal man issues, too? I don't think both members of DCFC were ever not in the ring at the same time.
Almost gave the women's match another point, because it was as good as a short squash could be, but honestly, I'd have rather saw Niya work for a few more minutes to earn a higher grade. Allen and Young was my favorite match of the show. Allen looks, well, not unremarkably like Young, and other independent stiffs with beards and long hair, but for a muscular guy he tries some pretty ballsy flying stuff including here a somersault from the top to the floor that looked painful. I don't think anything else matched what was delivered here in terms of over-delivering.
Jacobs and Doane could have earned a "5", but they did a re-start after Tommy Dreamer came down to protest, and I mean, seriously? Instead of relishing the fact Doane still works the WWE generic style, they clearly didn't have enough confidence in him to allow him to do that (and play up his strengths, an extended, dull headlock sequence got a "This is awesome!" chant and they should have ran with that), and the restart and Jacobs' guillotine choke were both unnecessary and unsightly. Gargano and Dickinson, probably least memorable thing all night, but seeing Johnny cop Darren Young's finisher was worth a mild chuckle.
I liked TJP vs. Sawa, interested in seeing Sawa vs. Danielson from Evolve 5, but this was a nice appetizer. TJP was clearly over his head as Sawa just looked so much more confident and composed, leading them through each chapter of their in-ring novella. TJP is insanely fast, though, my biggest complaint here is he didn't get to do more of his stuff, make this more competitive, etc.
The Chikara six-man was, well, more flaccid than reactions to the forthcoming Green Lantern film. I've grown to generally like Chikara throughout most of '10, but whenever they show up elsewhere, like JAPW, etc. it never has that same appeal. The main event, well, we all got what we expected: lots of crazy, intense offense, with little to no reactionary or sustained selling or psychology to speak of. Still, it was a fun romp, Ibushi especially demanded my attention, pulling off some spectacular stuff like a giant moonsault to the floor, etc. The strikes were mostly crisp, not unlike the $20 bill many fans mistakenly handed over for a ticket or DVD to/of this event.