Segunda Caida

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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Matches from EVOLVE 99 1/14/18

Darby Allin vs. Brody King

ER: Darby is one night removed from getting his tendons and joints rearranged by Zack Sabre, so now he's punishing himself by putting himself in the opener to get the beating that he deserves. That Sabre match was painful as hell, so this guy is really cementing how nuts he is by going out and wrestling just as crazy as he usually does. King is a beefy guy with tons of tattoos, growing out a dye job. He looks like Steve Corino, if Corino was raised in Portland. This goes to a 10 minute draw, which isn't a very exciting finish, but the crazy we got from Allin during those 10 minutes cannot be denied. I love things that he adds to traditional crazy, like he doesn't just hit a screaming tope con hilo through a seated Brody, he does so while also swinging fists; so he crashes through King and then punches him with both hands until he gets to his feet. He hits a Coffin Drop from the buckles into the crowd (through King and some chairs) and also hits one in ring that gets turned into a nasty German by King. Allin takes several rough bumps, getting tossed from the crowd back to ringside (no padding) and also takes a huge clothesline. Allin is nuts and I can't imagine not going out of my way to see this guy.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Fred Yehi

ER: This never really got into gear, which happens with these kinds of matches. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of disconnect to make the whole thing feel like an exhibition, which I think this felt like at several points. Nothing ever felt at stake, the trading never really went anywhere satisfying, and the move escalation had no real drama. Thatcher works to throw Yehi a couple of times with big deadlift suplexes, but Yehi is up suplexing him in no time so why did we go through that pantomime of struggle? I liked how Thatcher went to throwing strikes early while grappling; so many times we get the same "this was a professional grappling exchange until x started losing and went to strikes", so I liked that they were getting those out of the way. But I don't think it really went anywhere worth following.

The End (Odinson/Parrow) vs. Catch Point (Tracy Williams/Dominic Garrini)

ER: This one definitely sounded cooler on paper than it ended up being. It's a tornado tag that ended up being kind of a mess, probably because Odinson and Parrow are not as good as I thought/hoped they would be. Parrow (apparently pronounced like Agatha Christie's Poirot) especially looked lost at a few points, and was constantly bugged by minor hesitations, made it look like he was holding back and wrecked some flow. He would throw a strike and then kind of look around before doing his next move, slam someone and then look around. It didn't read as ruminating monster, it read as confused. I thought he looked really good the night before against Dickinson, but maybe Dickinson is just that damn good at this point. The match still had plenty of cool, by no means a waste of time, I just had (perhaps unrealistic) expectations. Rightly or wrongly this was the on-paper match I was most excited about. Odinson had good fire, loved him obliterating Hot Sauce with a vicious pounce, and it set up the best spot of the match later, when Garrini caught him in a triangle in mid air while he went for another pounce. Odinson charged hard into the ringpost, took a huge German from Garrini, was really ripping around the ring while Parrow was missing a lot of the spark he showed the night before. Really the Garrini triangle should have been the finish, but they got a little cute with having Williams get a triangle on Parrow, and The End powering up and powerbombing them into each other. It looked cool, but I'd rather have Garrini's sub skills treated more seriously. If a black belt in jiu-jitsu can't tap a couple big muscle-y guys, then what really is the point of being a black belt in jiu-jitsu? This was a miss, but I'm still optimistic for future match-ups.

Matt Riddle vs. Jaka

ER: A match with no shortage of really great stuff, and also its fair share of stupid stuff, that overall went a bit too long. It started off with a kind of cool grounded pace, and once we got to the silly suplex trading and on-my-knees bomb throwing I was wishing it stayed there. Riddle throws a bunch of cool kneelifts right to Jaka's face (one of them causing an instant nosebleed) and Jaka has a bunch of fun Kamala-as-taekwondo-student strikes, and they come up with some cool counters around those. I love Jaka's headbutts and standing spinning heel kick, and he really levels Riddle with it at one point (with Riddle doing a fun and goofy wobble leg delayed sell), or when he caught Riddle's Pele kick and just started biting Riddle's heel. Riddle hits these hard to watch heel kicks while Jaka's arms are trapped, just unprotect shots to the face that were nasty enough that we could have gotten a stoppage finish. Earlier in the night Yehi did his silly kicks to Thatcher's chest from his back, and Thatcher sold those as much as these absolutely nasty shots were sold. We get a surprise kickout after Riddle messes up Jaka's face with a knee and hits a tombstone, but the actual finish is great: Jaka goes for that fast spin kick and Riddle catches him and just smothers him with the Bro Lock. Sadly, in the middle of the match we got a super goofus German suplex exchange, with both men taking turns selling the actual throwing of the suplex far more than the actual suplexes they were taking. Riddle suplexes Jaka, slowly gets to his feet with back to Jaka while Jaka stands up and suplexes Riddle, Riddle gets to his feet while Jaka slowly stands to his feet, back to Riddle, etc. It sucks. And the Hack Myers cosplay strike exchange was maybe dumber. So yeah, a lot to love, annoying stuff to hate.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. WALTER

ER: Good match, with Sabre foolishly, pridefully, continually trying to stand with WALTER, and WALTER continually slapping and chopping him down until Sabre could no longer stand. WALTER kept throwing these huge right handed chops all match that wouldn't just knock Sabre down, but also send him flying. Sabre still found ways to tie WALTER up, and that was going to be his only chance to win. Every time he would slap WALTER I would cringe, because I know he was about to get blasted. The grappling was really fun as you'd have Sabre trying to lock on complicated holds and WALTER gracelessly bulldozing his way through them. I loved the knuckelock sequences where Sabre legkicks WALTER to his back and gets into mount while still throwing kicks to WALTER's inner leg, and WALTER powers up on his neck. Then WALTER flattens Sabre but somehow Sabre is able to power up on his neck. Nuts. Sabre was always smartest when sidestepping WALTER's attacks, dodging the dropkick to land the punt, throwing a cool fakeout legsweep that WALTER bit on, leading to a nice rolling ankle pick from Sabre. But every time Sabre would lock something on, that means WALTER was in striking distance, my favorite moment of that being the final stretch where Sabre starts to lock in a triangle, and WALTER just starts hammering down on Sabre's chest with chops. WALTER just starts powerbombing him afterwards and after three Sabre is down. I'd love a rematch where Sabre does a lot more stick and move, puts pride aside and plays to strengths, throws leg kicks, that kind of thing. We got a glimpse of it with that great late stretch of Sabre beating WALTER to the punch, literally. WALTER would throw punches and 2 or 3 in a row Sabre countered them with kicks. I want more of that kind of stuff, and I think there are a few ways to work a cool rematch.

PAS: I thought this had a lot of fun parts to it, although it could have used some editing. I really liked all of WALTER's early contemptuous throws, he really chucked him with disdain. The knuckle lock sequence was great, Sabre getting smushed on his first attempt was almost a comedy spot, and it was a big moment when he was able to then bridge up, crazy neck strength, and really impressive, I think I would have liked them to save the bridge up for closer to the ending of the match, make it an epic moment, as opposed to something in the beginning. I did think the strike exchanges were a bit superflous, I guess the story was Sabre foolishly standing in front of WALTER, but I though it seemed silly anytime WALTER sold anything he did. I loved the WALTER counter of the triangle attempts, and I liked how Sabre just went down after getting smashed with a bunch of powerbombs, I thought we were going to have a bunch of comebacks still and I am happy we didn't. They did build on a bunch of stuff for a rematch.

Keith Lee vs. Chris Dickinson

ER: I really liked how this started, with Dickinson attacking with leg kicks, all building up to him hitting that huge Pazuzu Bomb out of the corner. That's such a big moment, and Dickinson pulled it off with some struggle, like me lugging heavy antique furniture up the stairs at my parent's house. And Dickinson keeps going right after those legs, locking on a nasty cloverleaf variation where you can see him bending one of Lee's calves over the other, and kicking at his legs in various spots to knock that tree down (I especially loved in the corner when he kicked Lee in the front of the thigh, right over the knee). But I don't think it went anywhere really interested, as Lee going on offense felt sluggish, but not in a way related to his legs being worked over. He just seemed kind of sluggish and after seeing a match where Sabre kept trying to stand with WALTER, it was a little same-y to see a match where Lee kept trying to go to the top rope over and over, getting caught almost every time. Lee hits a nice moonsault from the middle rope, but there were too many moments of Lee slowly climbing the ropes only to get caught by Dickinson, and once Lee kicks out of a freaking top rope reverse rana then all bets are off. Literally anything can happen once a 300 lb guy can get dumped on his dome and still be interested in going back to the top. I liked Dickinson reversing the Ground Zero with a smooth roll up, but Lee just didn't do tons for me here. I thought Dickinson was awesome throughout, but Lee came off bored, either he wasn't conveying his selling strongly enough, or he was just tired. He's super talented and Dickinson worked the match around him in a cool way, so it had a real high floor, but after a promising start I don't think it lived up to its promise.

ER: This show underwhelmed compared to the prior night, as this show more had neat individual performances but in flawed matches. Still, we thought Sabre/WALTER was good enough to land on our Ongoing 2018 MOTY List, and it set up some good potential rematches.

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Blogger Discotortoise said...

I went high on the main event as a whole but really it's about that Dickinson performance which was incredible. His kicks have never looked BAD but they were just insane here, like that 360 enziguri to a kneeling Lee, and he felt intense in the right "I just wanna fuck this dude up and take his title in my home town and will do anything to do it" way. Phil once had a line that was unforgettable about him having the natural charisma of someone who sets up a gay-bashing or a gang rape but no he just came off as a genuine indie hero here. Great, great stuff, no matter what stupid bullshit that Gabe is trying to do EVOLVE can still get two completely different career performances in main events in a two-night span and that's something that no other company can say.

I feel the opposite on Thatcher-Yehi-- Yehi seemed engaged throughout, doing all of the little things that separate him from nearly everyone else as a talent. Thatcher is the one who felt happier to cruise after that truly great war of a tag with WALTER vs. Garrini/Sauce the night before.

And yeah, having seen both nights that weekend, I genuinely think that Darby is one of the top two or three in the world since he came back from the broken arm. It's like, him or Chihiro Hashimoto for #1.

4:12 AM  

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