The most compelling facets of Evolve Wrestling is the company’s emphasis of wrestlers’ win-loss records, and its series of rules and regulations enforcing sportsmanship. However, Gabe Sapolsky indolently sent out a twitter invitation to a man he didn’t fully understand. Kevin Steen accepted the offer to appear at EVOLVE 9 in NYC for two reasons: to piss off Ring of Honor officials by helping their rival promotion, and to personally make Sapolsky regret ever extending the invite. “You know, all of those nice rules EVOLVE has? All that stuff about terms and regulations and missions…that’s really cute…but it’s not really for me…” Steen’s promises threatened the very existence of EVOLVE.
Then it happened. In the midst of an Opportunity Knocks match, Kevin Steen rushed in to attack Eric Ryan and Bobby Beverly, putting them away with package piledrivers. He used this entrance as a segway to his promised open mic, in which he went on to recount his actions at Ring of Honor’s Best in the World, and vowed that he would destroy EVOLVE. The self-proclaimed Antichrist of professional wrestling would have us believe that once the promise of total anarchy was set, no one would be able to stop him, right? Steen’s gaze fixed upon Bobby Fish, and the two locked eyes. Fish response to Steen was that if he didn’t want to follow the rules of EVOLVE, he would personally make him.
It was a valiant save on the part of Bobby Fish, but it was a decision he would later regret when Steen attacked him at the start of his match against Jon Davis. This was the second EVOLVE match of the night that Kevin Steen had interfered with, canceling their opportunities to advance in wins-losses. But Fish and Davis didn’t travel all the way to Manhattan to wrestle a minute match. And since Fish’s and Davis’s match was thrown out, they challenged Kevin Steen to an unsanctioned 3-way, which immediately began with Jon Davis knocking out the referee. The melee ensued as all three men battled both inside and outside the ring. Steen drove Fish with a powerbomb on the apron, Davis nailed Steen with a DDT on the apron, Fish hit a springboard to the outside taking out Davis, Fish then locked Steen in a heel-hook submission in the center of the ring. However, a new referee didn’t appear until after Fish released the hold.
The match eventually ended as Steen started charging towards Fish, and Davis intercepted with a shoulder bump tackle to send Steen to the outside. Davis then finished off Fish for the pinfall. Right after the match, Davis challenged Steen for a continuation of the match, one-on-one, but several guys from the back dragged Steen out of B.B. Kings.
Who indeed was the best? An answer that was deprived from both Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor back on April 24, 2011 at EVOLVE 7. At the time, the two Win Leaders–at 5 wins each–were not content with being tied for Win Leader, so they challenged themselves to an impromptu match to settle the score. However, Gargano’s and Taylor’s manager Larry Dallas, who didn’t want his two sponsored fighters facing off against one another, called for Reby Sky to throw in the towel in the middle of their match. The action resulted in a loss for Chuck Taylor, and a win for Johnny Gargano making him the definitive Win Leader for EVOLVE.
The entire premise of EVOLVE is to find out who is the best through win-loss records. Gargano and Taylor were not happy at all in what Dallas did that night, so Sapolsky reached out to both men and signed them to an official rematch to headline EVOLVE 9. Larry Dallas did everything in his power to avoid the match, even had a petition via twitter, but Gargano’s and Taylor’s competitive resolve would not allow for Dallas to intervene again. Yet Dallas attempted one last time by throwing in the towel during the start of the match, to which Gargano wiped on his butt and shoved in Dallas’s mouth and then fired him as his manager. Thankfully, the referee disregarded the outside forfeit attempt, and continued the match.
The capacity NY crowd saw some fantastic back and forth between these two men. Taylor surprised Gargano with a dropkick and proceeded with a dive that was countered with a running forearm. Taylor cinched in a modified surfboard, Gargano later struck with a double foot stomp followed by a neckbreaker. Both men avoided and countered spears, dives, and moonsaults. Taylor countered a lawn dart with a DDT on the outside, disappeared to the back of B.B. Kings to notify the fans to move the chairs out of his way. He charged from the bar and jumped over the elevated ledge–barely clearing the jump as he took a bad step on the ledge–to connect with Gargano still on the floor. The crowd went nuts.
The two men would later attempt the other’s finishers, but only resulted in near falls. Taylor notified the people on stage (leveled to the ring apron) to move their chairs, which was set for Taylor to nail Gargano with a DDT. Barely making the 20-count, Gargano eventually fell to Taylor’s Awful Waffle driver for the pinfall.
The two exchange a celebratory hug for a hard-fought competitive bout. With Chuck Taylor once again tied with Gargano for Win Leader–now at 6 wins each–this is definitely not the last time these two will face each other.
The bonus main event that preceded Taylor-Gargano was Sami Callihan against Dave “Fit” Finlay. For a man of Finlay’s age, it certainly wasn’t a factor in the match as Finlay drove vicious kicks to the inner thighs of Callihan. Sami who could barely rise to a vertical base was told to walk it off. Yet Sami impaled Finlay with vicious knife-edge chops across his chest. After a grueling battle, which had fans chanting, “This is Awesome,” the match ended after Sami kicked out of two Celtic Crosses, flipped off Finlay, and finally fell to a tombstone piledriver.
Finlay, whose voice was shot after enduring all those chops, thanked Sami for providing an incredible match.
The complete card at EVOLVE 9 with updated win-loss records is as follows: Eric Ryan (0-0) vs Bobby Beverly (0-0) match was thrown out after Kevin Steen attacked both men … Silas Young (3-1) defeated Sugar Dunkerton (0-1) … The Super Smash Brothers (1-1) defeated Facade and Jason Gory (0-2) … Pinkie Sanchez (1-0) beat Lince Dorado (0-1) … Cheech and Cloudy (4-1) suffered their first loss as a tag team against Larry Dallas’s new team The Scene (Scott Reed & Caleb Konley) (1-0), Cheech attacked Cloudy, ending their partnership … Jon Davis pins Bobby Fish in Unsanctioned 3-Way also including Kevin Steen … John Silver (1-0) beat Tony Nese (0-3) … Dave “Fit” Finlay (1-0) defeated Sami Callihan (3-2) … Chuck Taylor (6-3) beat Johnny Gargano (6-3).
The exclusive pre-show featured three matches from NYWC. The pre-card is as follows: Nikki Syxx defended her NYWC Starlet championship against Violent Stevens … Stockade & Apollyon defeated MC Kenny Royal & Ryan “The Adrenaline” Rush … “The Greek God” Papadon defeated “Yours Truly” Alex Reynolds and Kieran in a 3-Way.