Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Select Matches from EVOLVE 75 12/11/16

1. Jeff Cobb vs. Fred Yehi

ER: Love these two and they worked a real fun 10 minute match, but it never really felt like there were any consequences. It was felt a little too rehearsed and set in stone. Everything in it looked good (although Yehi was too clappy on his dropkicks). The grappling was predictably cool, with Cobb reversing a go behind by grabbing a cravate, and Yehi going for a backpack choke which Cobb escapes by bending Yehi's wrist. There were a couple of really cool moments of Cobb catching a limb to block something, one where he blocked a Yehi forearm, and another late in the match where he blocked an octopus choke by grabbing Yehi's leg before it crossed his throat. Real cool visuals. Both men snapped off some impressive throws (shock!), with Cobb launching him on a pumphandle and Yehi snapping two low angle Germans. Match was quick and to the point and didn't doddle, but again it felt a little more like an exhibition than a dramatic 10 minute match. But I like the shit these two exhibit so NBD.

2. Chris Dickinson/Jaka vs. Darby Allin/Peter Kaasa

ER: A kind of messy but fun tag match. Props to Kaasa for rocking the 1993 Scott Steiner mullet. I don't love his feathery-soft-but-athetically-gifted offense, but I could see him getting better. Allin is a guy I've really started to love, feels like an early 2000s indy guy like Dixie, a dude with good selling and some quirky offense who will absolutely die on bumps. Phil is a big fan of creep mode Dickinson, and I still can't totally get a feel for Jaka but he and Dickinson make sense as a team. This had some cool stuff but also had some clunky "take a move and then plan my bump" kind of delays. Allin's standing-on-opponent senton is sick and I loved the ending of him doing his tope en reversa with Dickinson catching him. With more focus (they kept getting stuck with wanting a spotfest vs. wanting Jaka/Chris working an Andersons cut off the ring match) this could have been more, but as is it was decent.

3. Dick Togo vs. Ethan Page

PAS: Togo has wrestled random Italian crusierweights, DDT comedy scrubs,  and untrained Bolivians, but his greatest challenge might have been to get a match this solid out of the "Inexplicable" Ethan Page. Togo had the crowd behind him, as they seemed to be as irritated with this match being booked as I was. Dick was kind of a fun disrespectful babyface, he no sold one of Page's crappy punches, flipped him off, spit in his face. I did like how both guys did some cool counter wrestling, Togo caught Page's RKO attempt with an RKO of his own, and Ethan kept evading Togo's senton. Pretty entertaining match with Togo looking great. Didn't love the finish with Page hitting his rock bottom and pinning Togo clean, continuing the Ethan Page super push. Did Gabe see Owens with the WWE belt and decide to overpush his own Tubby Canadian with crap facial hair? Is this like when Russo tried to make Booker T the Rock? I did like how the Gatekeeper took the pedigree and senton, it felt like Togo v. Gatekeeper would have been the better match.

ER: "Inexplicable" Ethan Page is the perfect nickname, and would actually make him FAR more interesting as a worker. Just give him a self-aware "overpushed" gimmick. To me it feels more like Heyman pushing Justin Credible. Gabe's even celebrating the 20th anniversary of Credible beating Sasuke twice by bringing in another M-Pro legend to put over his own version. But this was good! Ethan can look fairly unathletic at times but sometimes it benefits the match, like when he sandbagged Togo on a backdrop to the floor, it instead made it look like Togo was really muscling him over, and then Page clunked nastily on the apron and into the railing. Page can throw some decent haymakers, and also some clunkers, and Togo was wise about picking and choosing which punches to treat like a big deal, and I liked the way they kept avoiding each other's finish. Togo hits a crazy delayed slingshot senton and splats Page with a tornado DDT on the floor, and I really liked a couple of Page's slams. Smart layout, still inexplicable why it was booked.

4. Chris Hero vs. DUSTIN

ER: A look into a text conversation between me and Phil:

Phil: Did you finish watching EVOLVE 75?
Eric: Need to watch Riddle match and curious what Hero can do with DUSTIN
Eric: I'm not going to watch the near 40 minute Gulak/Williams match though
Eric: If people were talking it up maybe, but I've seen them work enough good 15 minute matches
Phil: You are going to watch a DUSTIN match, and not a Gulak match
Phil: ?
Eric: Dustin match 11 minutes, Gulak match 36 minutes
Eric: And the match has Hero
Phil: Dustin match has Dustin
Phil: That match is Gulak's EVOLVE swan song, the climax of the Catch Point movement, the passing of the torch
Eric: Oh you watched it?
Phil: Fuck no, it's 36 minutes long

I love Phil, you guys. But yeah, it's true that Dustin was in this match. I don't care how much Dustin tries to look like Buster Posey, he still wrestles like serious Chuck Taylor. The problem with this match was that they worked things on equal terms, as if Dustin's strikes were just as powerful as Hero's. Hero sold the same for Dustin as Dustin sold for Hero. That's silly. We've seen a couple dozen Hero matches this year alone where he beats the shit out of someone who actually returns the stiff strikes. And now I have to believe that Dustin's strikes are hurting him? Dustin's clubbing shots to the back are some of the worst I've seen. I could just never by Hero being damaged by any of the strikes. But there were fun moments, because Hero got to find fun ways to hit Dustin. Hero threw a couple killer right hands, some great kicks, and awesome short knee, that nasty snap piledriver; it's Hero, the strikes will look good. Spot of the match: Hero gets a boot up in the corner and Dustin stops himself from running into it. Dustin laughs and makes a "that's your big plan?" gesture at Hero, and Hero immediately punches him. Match went the right length, just can't buy Dustin as any kind of threat to Hero. The moments that worked were Dustin trying to cheat to win, and really if this had been worked more like Akiyama/Inoue I could have seen myself loving it. Dustin is not Masao Inoue though.

5. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet

PAS: I was looking forward to this on paper, but it didn't really deliver. This felt like Ricochet dragging Riddle into a Ricochet match, instead of Riddle getting Ricochet to work a Riddle match. There was enough cool stuff in there to make it worth watching, I really liked Riddle catching Ricochet's moonsault in a triangle choke, and the finish was neat. Unfortunately, most of this felt like dosey-do dance wrestling, with Ricochet sort of mailing it in. Disappointing.

ER: Yeah this really wasn't the match I wanted. This was sexy dance fighting. Both guys are good sexy dance fighters, and the way Ricochet strings together some sequences is really impressive, but sexy dance fighting isn't going to be the best use of either man's talents. The moonsault into the triangle was really cool, but that sequence in the middle where they were essentially running in circles taking turns kicking each other in different ways? You could hear the crowd get silent in the middle of it. My least favorite Riddle match :(

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