The first-ever DVD from EVOLVE Wrestling, the latest project from Gabe Sapolsky and Sal Hamoui, was officially released this week and is available at www.EVOLVEWrestling.com.
In taking a look at the DVD, one gets the impression we are looking at the first draft of a different concept and presentation for wrestling. There are several entertaining matches on the release, particularly a great main event featuring Davey Richards taking on Ikuto Hidaka that is pretty much worth the price tag of the DVD itself, but more unique is the attempt at having a "documentary feel" to the show.
The DVD opens up with a number of talents talking about what drives them in professional wrestling, speaking to the camera in a "Real World" confessional type of setting. It's a unique idea but I would have preferred to have seen graphics explaining who many of the talents were, particularly since this was the first show and one would assume they are being showcased to a new set of eyeballs. Some of the backstage segments are good, but others, including a female documentarian trying to plead her case to Davey Richards as to why she needs to film everything, fall short. But, it's a first effort and nothing is ever perfect in a case like this, plus it was a different way of trying to get over talents and their characters.
The wrestling itself is patterned after the old days of World Class, with wrestlers just coming down to the ring to the same music and preparing for battle. There's very little crowd interaction, there's no running around the ring or grandstanding. Two competitors come out and they are ready to fight. The idea here was to treat wrestling as much as a sport as possible and in that regard, I enjoyed the presentation but the entrances did feel a little repetitive.
The wrestling presentation is straight and to the point. With the exception of the main event, nothing goes long but everything is entertaining. In particular, Kyle O'Reilly vs. Bobby Fish, a CHIKARA six man tag and Jimmy Jacobs vs. Ken Doann and TJP vs. Minenori Sawa from DDT in Japan all had their moments and are worth a look. The aftermath of the Jacobs bout will actually go down in history as Tommy Dreamer's first post-WWE appearance and is even more interesting to watch seeing portions of the Northeast crowd not exactly warming to the former ECW star.
Quick notes on the matches: Kyle O'Reilly vs. Bobby Fish was really stiff and a good way to showcase the first EVOLVE concept. They swiped another WCCW concept here right in the opener with Lenny Leonard doing post-match interviews and setting up future storylines....Chuck Taylor vs. Cheech was Something of a squash with the storyline being that Taylor was trying to earn his way onto the EVOLVE roster. Richochet vs. Arik Cannnon was solid....The Dark City Fight Club vs. Aeroform seemed to confuse everyone since all four were fighting at once but DCFC got over with their power spots.... Mercedes Martinez vs. Niya was just a squash but a good way to introduce Martinez. Niya was a total cutie as well....Brad Allen vs. Silas Young clicked at time and during others, it didn't. You got the impression they are counting on Allen to make a splash here.....Jimmy Jacobs vs. Kenn Doane was real good. Jacobs was great here and Doane remains one of those great mysteries of life in that you can't figure out why he's not back on national TV already....The Dreamer stuff, to me, was fun....Johnny Gargano vs. Chris Dickinson was really good and hard hitting....I loved Minenori Sawa vs. TJP...If you like the CHIKARA six man Lucha style, you'll enjoy Team Lighting (Mike Quackenbush, Hallowicked, and Frightmare) vs. Akuma's Army (Gran Akuma, Brodie Lee, and Icarus). Brodie Lee was awesome here....Davey Richards vs. Kota Ibushi was excellent. Richards is a monster wrestling machine and Ibushi, with all his ridiculously unique high flying is the perfect match to work with Richards. One thing that was maintained throughout the DVD was intensity in the ring.
For more on EVOLVE, which will hold its second live event this Saturday in Rahway, NJ with Ikuto Hidaka vs. Chris Hero on top, visit www.evolvewrestling.com.