Best of Jack Evans – Defying Gravity
It has been a while but due to school stuff I haven’t been able to turn out a review for a while. I also no longer rate matches under *** for the simple fact that it’s a real pain in the ass figuring out if a match is **1/2 or **3/4. There’s also really no point due to people not buying tapes or DVD’s for ** matches. Not sure if that really made sense but hopefully it did.
Before I get to the review, I wasn’t around for when Candido passed and considering I’m not too good with goodbyes, here’s one from Australia’s favourite tape seller, Martin Cox:
“I comprehend yet never understand just how much something like this registers with me. It seems ridiculous to feel such a wave of loss over the death of someone you never knew, but I guess that only serves to exemplify the sheer degree to which long-time followers of the wrestling business feel at one with something they love so dearly. When you follow something so closely and love it so passionately, day in, day out, I guess it’s hard to separate something that’s ultimately so trivial from what’s really going on in your life.
This one is just so hard to take in. More so than Rick Rude, more than Brian Pillman, the passing of Chris Candido just blew me away. Right now it’s just numb and sitting here typing this just seems surreal. The hardest part is trying to find any resemblance to sense in all this. It’s just such a tragic end to a short life.
To me, Chris was the very embodiment of professional wrestling. Since his triumphant return to the ring, he had stuck out from 99% of other guys working today. He was a rare commodity in the business today; an actual wrestler. A guy that lived, breathed and loved the business he grew up in, Chris understood and excelled at the lost art of working a professional wrestling match.
I think the first Candido match I saw was his classic cage bout with Sabu at the Bensalem Bash in October 1993. The 2 have always had great chemistry together and this was one of those vintage indy matches that was gold dust for tape collectors back in the day. It was obvious from the start that Candido had a ‘feel’ for the business, an element that all great workers have and something that just can’t be taught. Chris just had ‘it’, the charisma, the work and whole package. In truth, he was probably born into the business 10 years to late.
In a weird full circle, I guess my fondest memory of Chris Candido will always be sitting in the front row of the ECW Arena at Cyberslam 97 as he and Sabu tore the house down in a classic Sabu-style main event. To see someone who excels so far at his or her chosen craft, that close, was truly a beautiful thing. All of us there that night finally realised just how much the WWF had missed the boat on Candido. He was that good.
The reality was that Chris was arguably as good as anyone in the business. His return to the ring this year was something to genuinely get excited about as he was by far the funniest worker on the planet and a true breath of fresh, authentic air in a stale, stagnant environment. At just 33 years old, Chris undoubtedly had a lifetime of great performances and wisdom to pass on.
Everybody faces demons in their life, some more than others. The hardest part is facing up to the reality and having the strength to make the change. The real tragedy is that through all their mistakes, the rumours and the lies, Chris and Tammy had the courage to turn themselves around and make a break for the life they deserved. Life really is a perverted lottery. The only shred of light was that Chris departed on such a high note; back in the ring, back on form, back in black!
My sympathies and thoughts to Tammy and all of Chris’ family and friends.
R.I.P. Chris Candido, you will be missed.”
Highlights of Evans in the first Scramble Cage are shown. I presume the main spots they show are Evans’ Standing Sky Twisters, Teddy Hart giving him a rana from the cage onto everyone and his Double Revolution Moonsault.
Jack Evans vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Teddy Hart vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Amazing Red – ‘At Our Best’
This is pretty much what you’ve come to expect with the Six Man Mayhem matches, a crazy spotfest. The focus is not really on Jack in this match but rather Teddy Hart. He was booted out of the ROH locker room at Main Event Spectacles after doing a bunch of crazy dives after the Scramble Cage match and exposing the business a little. In this match he shows that he’s got the world of potential but is too busy getting himself noticed rather than doing his career any good. The phantom SSP from Teddy has become pretty famous, but for all the wrong reasons. Evans brings two moments in this match though that have become mainstays in many Ring of Honor Music Videos, his Corkscrew Moonsault to the outside and his 630. He also takes a sick Cut Throat Driver from Mark as well. Red going over served no purpose in the long run since the winner of the match got into the old Top 5 Rankings and straight after this show TNA talent were kicked off ROH shows (for the better IMO since guys like Shelley, Aries and Evans got to shine). It would’ve been a better move for Mark to take the match in the first place though IMO. Overall a fun match, but SMM matches became better over time.
Jack Evans vs. Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Danny Daniels vs. Masada – ‘Reborn: Stage One’
From my ‘Reborn: Stage One’ review:
Evans makes sure to tell us that he’s the greatest mother f*cker we’ve ever seen and he serves all the men in the ring. Six-Man Mayhem has the same rules as Tag Team Scramble where no tags are necessary. Rave and Shelley start with Shelley working the arm of Rave. Shelley tags in Jacobs. HUSS. Rave tags in Daniels. They go with the basic headlock take overs, which ends with Daniels hit a spinning gut buster and senton for 2. Jacobs is pissed does smacks his head off the turnbuckle Samoan style, but Daniels simply ends that with a poke to the eye. Jacobs avoids Daniels and hits a middle rope Hurricanrana. Jacobs hits a dropkick which takes Daniels to the outside which brings Masada in. Jacobs goes to dive but Masada hits a lariat. Masada with a huge big swing and Evans head Jacobs in the head with a dropkick mid-swing. Evans hits Masada with a Dropsault after many reversals from each other and then a neckbreaker across the knee from Masada. Masada goes to dive but Shelley cuts him off Low-Ki style. Shelley comes in and blocks a rope walk rana from Masada by crotching him. Rave in and hits Shelley with chops but he gets stopped by a hard neckbreaker. Rave then hits a STO backbreaker and then locks in a grounded octopus. Jacobs locks in a Camel Clutch on Daniels and Evans locks in an arm lock on Masada. Rave whips Evans into the corner and Jacobs hits him with a clothesline, Rave hits a shoulder block, Shelley hits double knees, Daniels hits a forearm. Masada comes charging but Evans moves, so we do the same but Daniels hits a dropkick. Double onto Rave and Daniels and from Shelley and Jacobs. Evans springs in with a double dropkick. He charges at Shelley but gets killed with a spinebuster and then a hooked stunner. Masada comes in and hits Shelley with a fisherman buster across the knee for 2. Rave in and tries his tilt-a-whirl crossface, but Masada is too big so he hits a Shining Wizard for 2. Jacobs in and hits Sliced Bread #2 on Rave and then crotches Evans up top and hits a reverse DDT. Daniels in and kills Jacobs with a Rubix Cube for 2. Evans in and hits Daniels with a spin kick, Hayabusa style and then hits a springboard Phoenix Splash to the outside. Shelley in and locks the fallen Jacobs in the Border City Stretch for the win. ***1/2. Great fast paced spotfest. The finish adds an interesting story as Shelley made his partner tap who is going to be his partner the next night in the Tag Team Scramble match. (11.04)
Jack Evans and Matt Sydal vs. Alex Shelley and Jimmy Jacobs vs. Ring Crew Express vs. Carnage Crew – ‘Reborn: Stage Two’
From my ‘Reborn: Stage Two’ review:
Last night we practically had the single version of a Scramble match, now we have the real thing. Shelley brings the innovation as he cranks at the legs of Marcos and locks in a full nelson, but Marcos is able to arm drag out. Spin kick and diving Lariat put Marcos out. Dunn is in but Shelley throws him into Marcos and he locks them both in abdominal stretches. Sydal is in with an enzuguri to break things up. Loc bulldogs Dunn down and in comes Jacobs. Loc takes him down and tries to ram his head into the turnbuckle, but Jacobs HUSSES UP. Loc has had enough of that and suplexes him. Evans is in but Devito kills him immediately with a Lariat. Evans is able to come back with the Hayabusa style spin kick but ends up getting killed again with crossface shots from Devito. Hard Northern Lights Suplex puts Evans down again. This kid is dying before out eyes. Double neckbreaker from the Crew onto the RCE. Shelley and Jacobs have had enough of their shit and break out the double teams. Shelley with a double stomp to the back of the head of Devito. Gutwrench brainbuster from Sydal onto Jacobs and then a standing Sky Twister from Evans for 2. Marcos in and plants Evans with a DDT. “Yeah, Flippensteins dead” – CM Punk. No shit. Electric Senton on Sydal. RCE go up and hit the stage dive. Evans wants to five but Loc gets him and powerbombs him onto everyone on the outside. Shelley takes him out with a neckbreaker and hits a corkscrew pescado. Sydal is up and hits an SSP to the floor. Now Devito is up with a moonsault. Evans has now recovered and hits an Arabian Phoenix Splash. That has to be one of the best high flying moves I’ve ever seen. Evans throws Jacobs back in. Jacobs is able to take Evans out but gets nailed with a Lariat from Devito. Carnage Crew have got Jacobs and hit him with the Carnage Driver. Crew have got it won but they get dragged out of the ring. Evans is up and hits the 630 Splash for the win. ***1/2. Great scramble match, one of the best for memory (bar the Scramble Cage from MES). “It’s mine now bitches, I run this shit” – Jack Evans. (12.41).
Jack Evans, Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs. Special K – ‘Generation Next’
From my ‘Generation Next’ review:
Aries, Strong and Evans are in for Generation Next and Dixie, Izzy and Angeldust for Special K. It’s not the smartest decision for Angeldust to be in there because he’s still suffering from the spike piledriver off the cage through 2 tables at the At Our Best show. This is a great way to get Generation Next over with the crowd, by having them face Special K in the opener. This match also progresses Special K getting more serious. This is what you’d expect it to be, spotty. Aries targets the neck of Angeldust early but Special K make sure to get some offence in. Special K’s strategy is the only one that could possibly bring them victory, and that is attempt to wrestle smarter and avoid Gen Next’s big moves. Strong’s many backbreakers are reversed a few times, which are perhaps the most dangerous to Special K since they aren’t very big. It starts to break down a bit, but amidst the action, Evans manages to hit a shining reverse rana on Izzy. It’s every bit as beautiful as it sounds. K get a little more offence in before Strong kills Dixie with a powerbomb backbreaker. Gen Next all then set up Special K. 450, CX ’03 (Straight Jacked Widows Peak) and 630 put K down for the triple pin. **. Nice little opener, mainly showing what Gen Next had, which was pretty vital, because Aries and Strong had worked one main show before this, so needed to get over with the crowd. (7.54).
Jack Evans vs. “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson – ‘Survival of the Fittest’
From my SOTF review:
Much like Cabana vs. Acid, this is a squash, but in this one, Evans is stretched in ways the human body shouldn’t stretch. I can’t give the submissions a name, but Evans leg is stretched over his head a couple times. Evans tries a few come backs, but Danielson is too strong for him. In the end, Evans does get some offence in, with some kicks and then a Springboard Corkscrew Moonsault. Evans hits another one in the ring for 2, but he’s just living on borrowed time, and Danielson knocks him down with a European Uppercut. He then locks Evans in the most vicious Boston Crab ever seen in wrestling, which can be viewed here and needless to say, that ends the match. Yes it was a squash, but Danielson’s submissions kept it interesting enough. **
Jack Evans and Roderick Strong vs. Izzy and Dixie – ‘Reborn: Completion’
This is pretty much here for Generation Next to look strong. Let them survive Special K’s big stuff and let them get their trademarks in. When K mob Strong on the outside, Evans busts out the prettiest dive in wrestling in the Springboard Sky Twister. When back inside, Strong brings what CM Punk would call the “freaky retard strength” with massive suplexes. He makes sure to chop the shit out of Dixie too. Strong and Evans debut their moonsault double team in this match, with Evans coming off Strong’s shoulders with a moonsault. Strong decides he’s had enough and kills Izzy with a backbreaker and Evans laying in a flying kick as well. 630 finishes things. Nice way to open up the show, even though not a great match.
Scramble Cage: Jack Evans vs. Trent Acid vs. Loc vs. Devito vs. Dan Maff vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Oman Turtuga vs. Diablo Santiago vs. Fast Eddie vs. Alter Boy Luke vs. Dunn vs. Marcos – ‘Scramble Cage Melee’
The rules are simple, dive off a platform onto a wrestler(s) and you eliminate them. Unlike the first Scramble Cage match, this one doesn’t live up to the hype. Sure the dives look good, but what else have we got besides that? The brawling in the middle just means nothing and is an excuse to give them time to set up for the next dive. Maff does some nice stuff in the early going, but after what happened with Homicide I just can’t get into him anymore. Devito using a moonsault off the top of the cage to eliminate Maff and Whitmer is surprising due to his size. I knew he could do moonsaults but never thought he’d do it from that height. The elimination looked great, but building to it we practically had nothing.
After their elimination, Maff and Whitmer kill people with chair shots, which of course is only there to hide the meaningless brawling going in by the people still left. Although from the brief glimpses I saw, Acid and Eddie were doing some pretty cool stuff. The elimination of the Carnage Crew actually has a little logic behind it, with Luke hitting a senton to them in the midst of brawling with Maff and Whitmer. But much like the first elimination, it was pretty but we had nothing leading to it. Everyone bar Evans and Acid then gets eliminated in short order when Eddie gives Marcos and backflip slam onto everyone bar Acid and Evans. The rules say it’s not down to Evans, Acid and Eddie, but Eddie broke his ankle I believe and is taken out of the match.
The final portion is good, but didn’t need 6 minutes. Acid does hit his Yakuza Kick and Reverse Brainbuster cleaner than usual though. There are two problems with Evans giving Acid a rana from the top of the cage. One is that Acid should’ve been eliminated and the second is Acid’s leg bent in a real funny direction. The spot was not needed and it looked as though Acid already had a leg/ankle injury from earlier in the match. If there is one thing this match does give us though it’s Evans taking the thing with the 720 Legdrop. The real problem I have with this match is there didn’t have to be so much mindless brawling. The first Scramble Cage didn’t have that, but this one seemed to. There were too many awkward spots and injuries as well. Acid and Eddie came out injured and Evans got caught in the balls by Acid’s knees off a standing Sky Twister. The dives are pretty, but nothing else really.
Jack Evans vs. Trent Acid vs. Fast Eddie vs. Izzy – ‘Weekend of Thunder’ Night 2
This is one I don’t get being on here. Sure, it has flashy looking moves and dives, but would be more suited for a highlight package. It’s the usual what you’d expect though with this type of match that has Evans in it. Everyone does good stuff but gets outshined by Evans’ flips and bumps. Another reason I don’t get why this is one here is Evans doesn’t even win the match. Some of the stuff here is dangerous stuff you need to cut down on though. I got no problems with Corkscrew 450’s, but a Moonsault Slam to the floor on everyone is getting a little dangerous. It’s one of those screw up things and you’re career might not only be over but you’re career. What I like though is in 2001, this style match most of the time would main event indy shows, luckily it doesn’t now.
Jack Evans and Roderick Strong vs. Homicide and Rocky Romero – ‘Joe vs. Punk II’
What this match does is prove that the Havana Pitbulls may be a badass team, but put in a wrestler who is much better than Reyes and the team gets blown away. It’s interesting to see Homicide and Romero team together since the Pitbulls are very shoot style and Homicide isn’t, but they work tremendously well together. The main theme is that Evans is best when he’s explosive and a lot of the time depends on Strong to save him when in difficult positions, but when he gets going, he can make you pay.
When Evans is getting worked over, it’s obvious that the Rottweilers can finish him any time they want, but are more into beating him down and show they’re the dominant stable. They’ll throw a move in every now and then, but most of the time it’s striking Evans down. They get too cocky though when Homicide takes too long on a Flying Headbutt and Evans is able to tag out, and boy does Strong make them pay. After Strong makes them pay, Evans is ready and they make them pay even further with their crazy double teams. It’s all too obvious that the Rottweilers never took them serious enough and are now paying for their mistake. When Homicide and Romero put their full effort in, they show that they are superior wrestlers to Strong and Evans. Homicide even shows he had Evans beat with his Lariat, but he was not legal. But No matter how superior a wrestler is though, it’ll never be a match for tag team experience. It may have been a small mistake, but it comes back to cost the Rottweilers. Gen Next’s win ultimately comes down to luck with Evans being set on the top rope for the 630. A win is a win though and they’ll take it. ***1/2
If it is included, the post match Rottweilers promo is gold. They fake the handshake and Homicide kills Evans with the Cop Killa. “Thankyou Chicago, I f*cking hate you all” – Homicide.