Best of British - News from the UK Wrestling Scene
Adrian here! Summer is on its way, and the wrestling season is entering full swing here in the UK. Plenty of news to report this week, and if like me you’re in the middle of exams, good luck!
EVOLVE IPPV hype videos
EVOLVE have released two final hype videos for this weekend’s pay per views. The first features Jon Davis talking about his opponents Finlay and Low Ki.
The second documents the history of the Sami Callihan/AR Fox feud, which will climax at EVOLVE 12.
You can order the shows at WWNLive.com. Full line ups and prices for both shows are available in the post below this one on the Indy Wrestling Express home page.
Thoughts: This could be a huge weekend for Jon Davis. I like Callihan and Fox, but I’ll be pleased when their feud is over. The EVOLVE IPPVs should be really good this weekend.
New EVOLVE videos (feat. Finlay and Sami Callihan)
Two new videos promoting the upcoming EVOLVE shows are now on Youtube. The first features former WWE and WCW star Fit Finlay talking about his upcoming match with Jon Davis: The second features Sami Callihan, as he discusses his “Evolution’s End” match with AR Fox.
Both of those matches will take place at EVOLVE 12, in North Carolina on the 12th of May.
Thoughts: I haven’t watched either video yet. The bout with Finlay could be a breakout match for the impressive powerhouse that is Jon Davis, and I’ll be very pleased to see the Callihan/Fox feud finally end.
Review - EVOLVE 11
The show took place on Friday the 13th of April in Toronto. You can read the full results HERE.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Sami Callihan vs Finlay 2
These two had a very good, painfully stiff fight. I never cease to be amazed at how brutal Finlay’s bodyslams look, that move looks so normal when anyone else does it! Sami looked like a warrior for surviving so much of the Irishman’s offence, including multiple Celtic Crosses and a tombstone, before he tapped to the cross armbreaker.
Finlay winning was a shocker, I was certain that this story would conclude with Sami avenging his EVOLVE 9 loss. After the match, Finlay told Sami that he basically needs to drop his shenanigans and focus on his wrestling if he wants to improve, but Sami just shot him down and stormed off. With Sami’s losses to Sabu and Finlay, I think they may be going for an angle where he has hit rock bottom, perhaps leading to a babyface turn. If not, his loss to Finlay is a puzzling decision.
I’d say that their original match (at EVOLVE 9) was better than this one. Perhaps I’d think differently if I watched them both again though.
Low Ki vs El Generico
This was very good, but as seems to be becoming tradition with Low Ki matches, it finished just before it reached greatness. Just like his match with PAC, it built perfectly, then when it was almost time to kick it into high gear, he ended it with the Warrior’s Way. Mind you, it was a particularly sick double stomp, onto Generico’s back while he was huddled over himself.
Heel Low Ki?
Following Low Ki’s match, he took to the mic and declared “You aren’t as good as you think.” to Generico. The crowd boo’d as you would expect. I’m all for Low Ki turning heel, his “quest to make wrestling serious” or whatever he’s doing would make much more sense with a heel persona. I thought he was a heel when he debuted in EVOLVE, but then he was babyface in DGUSA (they share the same continuity now).
It’s time for Low Ki to move from the dream matches into proper feuds, and there are many more babyfaces than heels for him to feud with in DGUSA right now, so him turning to the dark side makes sense.
Johnny Gargano vs Chuck Taylor vs Samuray Del Sol
Del Sol was impressive in the early going, then we were left with the Gargano/Taylor grudge match after his elimination. This didn’t reach the heights of their great Evolve 9 match, but it was good. I didn’t like the finish, as the Open The Freedom Gate champion Gargano passed out in Taylor’s half boston crab. It didn’t come off like Austin/Hart at WrestleMania 13, I thought it just made the champion look weak, especially since Taylor has never been booked like a top guy in DGUSA (though I suppose he has in EVOLVE…this merger can be confusing). I guess they didn’t want Taylor to lose so soon after his heel turn, but then why put Gargano in the match at all? He could have faced Caleb Konley or someone.
Josh Alexander vs MK McKinnan
These two had a good little match. I felt sorry for McKinnan when he botched some moves in the early going (most notably a springboard moonsault), but he made up for it with an impressive dive and some other cool moves later on. Alexander displayed some good power.
Arda Ocal did a good job on colour commentary in the first half. I’d like to see him become a permanent fixture, but I’m not sure how likely that is since he’s based in Canada.
In EVOLVE, wrestlers all enter to generic ambient music, with no differentiation between opponents. It’s really bad. Take Samuray Del Sol for example. At the DGUSA shows in Miami, his entrance, with the “Lu-cha! Lu-cha!” song and his fist pumping immediately got him over. Here he couldn’t do it. Then El Generico’s “Ole!” song was also absent, so the energy that his entrances usually bring was non existent. People even tried to do the “Ole!” chant over the EVOLVE music.
It didn’t help matters lower down the card either, as the guys who nobody had heard of didn’t get the chance to get their personalities over with their entrances.
Low Ki was the only guy who got to come out to his actual music, and he came across as a much bigger star because of it.
Bobby Fish, AR Fox, Scott Reed, couldn’t make it into Canada, so Gargano vs Fox and the Fish match were cancelled. This did have quite an impact on the card, as no real replacement was made for the Fox match (Gargano was just added to Taylor vs Del Sol), and a solid Bobby Fish match could have improved the forgettable undercard a lot.
The opening tag match (Super Smash Brothers vs Drew Gulak and “The Manscout” Jake Manning) was forgettable aside from a few cool spots near the end, and the other matches (that I didn’t list in “The good” section) were even more lacklustre. They were mostly random indy guys who most of the IPPV customers and the live crowd didn’t know, and few of them did anything memorable. I wouldn’t say their matches were bad, but they weren’t up to the standard that the audiences for Gabe Sapolsky’s promotions demand.
Wins and losses
I always liked the wins and losses system in EVOLVE, but it’s really jumped the shark. The Style Battle didn’t factor into it, triple threats don’t factor into it and now apparently Open The Freedom Gate title matches don’t factor into it? Gargano became the clear wins leader when he retained his title against Ricochet at EVOLVE 10, but apparently that didn’t count for some reason, so now Taylor is the wins leader, despite their match being a triple threat and despite him having no more wins than Gargano? It’s so complicated, and doesn’t even make sense.
If EVOLVE was set up like a league with seasons, certain matches being non-league, with the results not factoring into the wrestler’s records, would make sense. But it isn’t, the wins and losses are just an eternal statistic, like in MMA, so it makes no sense to have matches off the record.
The top guy?
So Johnny Gargano is the DGUSA champion, while Chuck Taylor is the undisputed official EVOLVE wins leader, somehow. Did either of them look like the company’s top guy on this show? No, Low Ki was the man who seemed to be the face of EVOLVE. Let’s compare his presentation to that of Gargano:
* Low Ki was on the poster and the graphics (in between the matches), and he was in one of the main events. Gargano was not.
* Low Ki was the only guy on the show who got his real entrance music, allowing him to do his proper entrance. Gargano randomly wandered to ringside to randomly join a match.
* Low Ki said one line that made him sound like a bad dude while also furthering a story with his potential heel turn. Gargano talked at some length about the impact Taylor’s betrayal had had on him. That was necessary, but Low Ki’s one line was delivered better.
* Low Ki pinned one of the most popular indy wrestlers in the world after crushing him with a brutal double stomp. Gargano passed out in Chuck Taylor’s half boston crab.
The situation is very similar to the current CM Punk/John Cena dynamic; Punk holds the WWE championship, but Cena is still clearly “the man” in that company. This is the only show I’ve made this judgement on so far, we’ll see how it pans out in the future.
Low Ki and Bobby Fish both mentioned their desire for the creation of an EVOLVE championship at the last DGUSA shows, which kind of made the DGUSA title look like an afterthought. It wouldn’t have been as bad if it was mentioned at the EVOLVE show, but no one uttered a word about it.
The two main events were good, but they didn’t quite reach my admittedly high expectations. This was my least favourite show out of the four I’ve watched from DGUSA/EVOLVE this year (that’s all but EVOLVE 10). I preferred the Finlay vs Callihan and Gargano vs Taylor matches at EVOLVE 9 to their matches on this card. It wasn’t a bad show, but it’s not one that I would strongly recommend. If you really want to see the main events or the triple threat, or if you’re just an EVOLVE die hard, you can order it on demand over at WWNLive.com
Agree? Disagree? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @IWEnews
EVOLVE 11 on live IPPV tonight!
EVOLVE 11 will take place in Toronto tonight, and it will air live on IPPV over at WWNLive.com at 8pm EST. We won’t have live coverage here, but I will post a review in a few days as I’ll be watching it on demand. The headlining bouts will be El Generico vs Low Ki, and the rematch between Sami Callihan and Finlay. Full line up and other details here:
ROH: Next IPPV announced, Richards vs Steen main event
Ring Of Honor’s “Border Wars” show (the one featuring Finlay) will be broadcast on live IPPV. ROH commentator Kevin Kelly mentioned on Twitter that the show will be hosted on a new IPPV network, following the extreme technical difficulties suffered with the Go Fight Live pay per views at WrestleMania weekend.
“@H0D01986: Is Border Wars going to be on IPPV?”
“@RealKevinKelly: Yes. Not on GFL though, thank God”
The main event for the show has also been announced:
Yes, Davey Richards will defend the ROH world championship against Kevin Steen.
Thoughts: Richards vs Steen will be a huge draw. I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a new champion emerge from what should be a great contest. I’m sure a Richards/Rhino “proving ground” match was scheduled for this show, before they decided to make it an IPPV.
I wonder if ROH will be starting their own IPPV network. It would be hilarious if they sought the help of the exiled Gabe Sapolsky and WWNLive. That could actually be good for everyone involved if they went that route.
Updated EVOLVE 11 line up
This show will be broadcast on live online pay per view on the 13th of April. You can pre-order now at WWNLive.com
Low Ki vs El Generico
Finlay vs Sami Callihan 2
Just announced: Johnny Gargano vs AR Fox
Just announced: Chuck Taylor vs Samuray Del Sol
More matches will be announced soon, featuring Bobby Fish, the Super Smash Brothers and more.
Thoughts: Two potentially awesome main events backed up by another two potentially great matches. This could turn out the best EVOLVE show to date.
Finlay coming to Ring Of Honor
Fit Finlay has been announced for Ring Of Honor: Border Wars. His opponent is yet to be revealed. The show will take place in the Ted Reeve arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the 12th of May.
Thoughts: Finlay’s independent matches always deliver brutal hard hitting old school action, so this is great news for ROH. Fans of the “Belfast Bruiser” should also check out the EVOLVE IPPV on April the 13th, where he will face Sami Callihan for the second time. That show is in Toronto too.
EVOLVE matches announced (feat. Low Ki, Generico, Finlay & Sami)
The following is quoted from today’s EVOLVE press release:
“A double main event has been signed for EVOLVE 11 on April 13th in Toronto at the Doubletree by Hilton - Toronto Airport on 655 Dixon Road. Tickets are now on sale in the www.DGUSA.tv Store or by calling 267-519-9744. The live iPPV at www.WWNLive.com can be pre-ordered now. The double main event is:
The Rematch - Main Event #1
Dave “Fit” Finlay (1-0) vs. Sami Callihan (3-3)
July 26th, 2011 saw Fit Finlay wrestle his first match on the independents as he competed at EVOLVE 9 against Sami Callihan. No one knew what to expect going in. The result was an epic war that was voted by the fans as the EVOLVE/DGUSA Match Of The Year. Finlay is one of the most respected veterans around. Callihan has exploded into a worldwide star. Toronto will get the rematch.
Battle Of The Best - Main Event #2
Low Ki (1-0) vs. El Generico (0-0)
El Generico can be called the most popular worldwide independent wrestler. Low Ki is world renowned as an elite athlete. These two forces will collide in Toronto. This will be Generico’s EVOLVE debut and Ki’s first high profile EVOLVE match.
“This isn’t complicated booking,” EVOLVE Co-Founder Gabe Sapolsky said. “Toronto is one of the major wrestling markets in the world. We need to make an impact with EVOLVE’s debut so we signed the two matches with the most marquee value possible. Finlay vs. Callihan was one of the best matches anywhere in 2010. Now April 13th will get the rematch. Ki vs. Generico is simply putting two the best in the world at their carft in the ring and letting them do their thing. It doesn’t get any better than that.””
Lee’s thoughts (not quoted from the press release, obviously): Awesome. I probably don’t need to explain why the Low Ki/Generico match will be so great, but those who are new to EVOLVE may be unaware that Callihan vs Finlay was one of the best matches in America last year, so round two should be quite something. I’m guessing this is where Sami will avenge his loss.
I guess Finlay vs Davis has been postponed until EVOLVE 12 or 13. Well, it wasn’t officially announced for EVOLVE 11, but it seemed a safe bet since the match was confirmed and that was the next show.
Best of British - News from the UK Wrestling Scene
Fight Club:PRO held an event called “Rise Against” on the 24th of February in Wolverhampton. Thanks to Scott Hollis for sending in these results:
Trent Seven defeated Clint Margera
MK McKinnan defeated Jonathan Gresham
Chris Brooks and “The Baby Jesus of British Wrestling” Rockstar Spud wrestled to a no contest
Dave Mastiff defeated Sami Callihan
Thoughts: I love how much Sami Callihan has been appearing in the UK recently. This sounds like it was a great show. There is also a review of the show at http://www.wrestlingslasthope.blogspot.com.
IPW:UK had their huge “No Escape” event on the 26th of February in Sittingbourne, Kent. Here’s what happened:
British Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, Bracket B, Semi-final 1: Zack Sabre Jr defeated Wild Boar
British Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, Bracket B, Semi-final 2: Sami Callihan defeated Noam Dar
Finlay defeated Martin Stone
Marty Scurll defeated Doug Williams (who replaced AR Fox, who had been deported)
Tag Team Contenders Match: Project Ego defeated Mark Haskins and Joel Redman. Haskins turned on Redman post-match.
Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Sha Samuels defeated Dave Mastiff after Spud hit Mastiff with the belt.
British Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, Bracket B Final: Sami Callihan defeated Zack Sabre Jr. Sami Callihan will now face Marty Scurll in the final for the title next month at the Troxy in London.
Thoughts: What a fantastic show this must have been. I was expecting Sabre to beat Callihan and set up an all-LDRS final, but this outcome will do nicely too. I hope they make this event available on demand.
Grand Pro Wrestling (GPW) were at The Rose Club in Hindley, Wigan last night (the 2nd) for “Northern Soul”. I was going to attend, but couldn’t make it due to illness. Nevertheless, here are the results:
RJM and Chris Echo wrestled The Blackpool Blondes to a no contest. After the match, The Blonds stole the GPW Tag Team Trophy from RJM and Echo.
Gallagher’s Gold Title Match: Jack Gallagher defeated Joey Hayes. Pre-match, Gallagher announced a new stipulation to the match, that each competitor would be allowed only 3 rope breaks. Gallagher then got the victory with the armbar after Hayes had used all 3 breaks.
Danny Hope came out to make an announcement, but was interrupted by LA Austin, Zack Diamond and Bubblegum, causing a brawl between the four. Damon Leigh, Ste ‘Bin’ Mann, Cameron Kraze and Jiggy Walker then came out to get involved. Midst the chaos, Bubblegum started his match with Austin.
Bubblegum defeated LA Austin
Danny Hope and The Master Plan (Cameron Craze and Jiggy Walker) w/Melanie Price defeated Damon Leigh, Zack Diamond and Ste ‘Bin’ Mann by disqualification. The match was announced as a 3 vs 2 because Bin Mann had been knocked out during the brawl earlier, but he returned midway through. Heel referee Mike Fitzgerald called for the DQ after Bin Mann gently pushed him. Mann then issued a challenge to Cameron Kraze.
Voodoo and Prof. Mike Holmes presented “Science Fiction: LIVE” (a live version of their Youtube show).
The Mystics (Voodoo and Suzuki) defeated Ken Zen and Skullcrusher
Cyanide (w/AAA Tasker) defeated El Ligero
GPW Heavyweight Title: Martin Kirby (c) defeated “The Juice” CJ Banks (who replaced Dirk Feelgood) to retain the championship.
Thoughts: Another fine show from GPW. Not sure why Dirk Feelgood was replaced, but CJ Banks is a worthy alternative. Jack Gallagher’s match was probably awesome as always.
Southside Wrestling are in St Neots tonight for “Battle of the Egos 2”. Here’s the complete card:
Southside Championship: T-Bone (c) vs Rockstar Spud
Pro Wrestling:EVE guest match: Nikki Storm vs Erin Angel
Speed King preview bout: Mark Haskins vs Kris Travis
The Predators vs Robbie X and LJ Heron
Ego Dragon vs Bengal Tiger
Mad Man Manson vs Prince Ameen
Fatal 4 Way: Martin Kirby vs Leon Shah vs UK Kid vs RJ Singh
Thoughts: Solid card. Haskins vs Travis should be an excellent bout, as should the title match and the Fatal 4-way.
Also tonight is CRW’s first show of 2012, “Destruction Derby” at Temple Park Leisure Centre, South Shields:
CRW Heavyweight Championship: Assassin (c) vs “Tyneside Titan” Lowthian
CRW Tag Team Championship Final: The Minto Brothers vs The Lost Avengers
Hair vs Hair Match: Paragon Smith vs Con-ARGH Stitches
Team Newcastle vs Team Sunderland: Section 5 (Tommy Cage, ‘Hired Gun’ Graham Robson, Hotshot & CK Edwards vs ‘Kowboy’ Dan West, Cohash McQuade and 2 names TBA
Micky ‘The Mann’ vs ‘The Future’ Jason Daniels
Plus 2 more matches to be announced.
Thoughts: Team Newcastle vs Team Sunderland, on the weekend of the Tyne-Wear derby, in a town roughly midway between the two cities. That’s more than a little provocative. Nevertheless it’s an intriguing idea, although speaking as a lifelong Sunderland supporter I find it unlikely that the Newcastle-based CRW will let the Mackem team go over in this one. I think Lee may be attending this show tonight (but don’t hold me to that), so we may see a review of the show in the coming days.
Edit from Lee: I can’t go unfortunately! I totally forgot about it until reading this, and it starts in half an hour. Damn. Hopefully I’ll catch the next CRW show. Micky “The Mann” is my favourite wrestler there, you can count on the opener being good.
Britannia Wrestling Promotions are at Liquid in Wrexham tonight for “Fight Night”. Here’s what’s been announced so far:
Zack Gibson vs Jack Gallagher
Jim ‘The Metal’ King vs Joey Hayes
Shawn ‘The Hammer’ Davis vs Dave Rayne
Posh ‘n’ Mets vs The Mean Old Bastards
PWI:BWP World Catchweight Championship: CJ Banks (c) vs Babyface Pitbull
Twin vs Twin: Leah Owens vs Casey Owens
Dylan Roberts vs Joey Starr
Cyanide will be holding a “Cyanide Slam Challenge”.
Thoughts: Anything with Jack Gallagher in it is instantly gold (no pun intended) in my book. It’s a strictly over-18 show too, so there should be some added spice to the content that we rarely see in British wrestling.
That’s all for this week. If you have any news, reviews or results to share, feel free as always to email me at email@example.com.