The wait is finally over as Mercury Rising 2016 is set to take place. The card features 3 World Title matches from 3 different WWN promotions and the conclusion of the Zack Sabre Jr. Best in the World Challenge. Not to mention the return of Kota Ibushi as he is featured in a massive six man tag main event.
Best In The World Challenge Series – The Rival: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Hero
Chris Hero started with some mind games, constantly leaving the ring and faking out the anxious ZSJ. When the two finally go at it Sabre came out firing with a bunch a European Uppercuts, continuing it to the outside where he got Hero in to an Octopus hold and already began twisting his fingers. Back in the ring Sabre began twisting the ankle and wrist of Hero, stomping on both. Hero himself came back and was twisting the wrist and fingers of Sabre just as Sabre had done to him. A failed Running Senton by Hero got him caught in a quick Cross Armbreaker but he broke out a delivered a hard elbow to Sabre. Hero with multiple Boots to the head of Sabre and they were followed by multiple Running Sentons. Sabre had moments of offense but Hero kept cutting him off with tough elbows and kicks. When Sabre finally took control we saw him get a near fall off a Penalty Kick and he returned to working the arm of Hero. At one point he put Hero’s arm in a chair and step on the chair. The match devolved in to Sabre egging on Hero to keep hitting him with boots, which led to a lot of stiff shots. Hero too called on Sabre to hit him harder, almost winning after a Snap Piledriver. After some Hero dominance they trade shots again, Hero’s Gotch Piledriver is countered in to a bridge for a near fall. Hero followed a Discuss Boot with 3 Bare Elbows to the back of the head of Sabre for the win.
Great match to start off the event! Hero played the bully role perfectly while Sabre was the aggressive fighter looking to finally show him up. As someone who has seen a few of their matches before it doesn’t have the same luster since I’ve seen this match up so many times, but on its own it is a great encounter.
Winner: Chris Hero
Respect Is Earned: Drew Gulak vs. Fred Yehi
Yehi took Gulak to the ground quick, and had an early advantage. A lot of quick maneuvering between the two, but every time Gulak found his way out of a hold Yehi got him back down. Gulak finally gained an advantage after a hard chop and modified Regal-Plex. At this point Gulak continually kept Yehi down, working creating holds until Yehi turned it in to a strike battle he got the better of. Amazing sequence where Gulak got out of Dragon Sleeper just to fall in to a Reverse Suplex and Koji Clutch. Once freed, Gulak clamped on to the ankle of Yehi for an Ankle Lock that did massive damage to Yehi as he spent the rest of the match limping. Yehi connected with a number of different Suplexes, but after a lightening quick exchange Yehi tapped to a Dragon Sleeper. After the match Gulak showed respect to Yehi and invited him to join Catch Point, which he obliged.
Great technical match. Yehi controlled this match and Gulak more so than their previous encounter at Evolve 56. I preferred the Evolve 56 match more simply because it felt more agrressive, this time around was much more of mat affair. It may very well have been what they were going for since the goal was for Yehi to find the Catch Point. I hope this begins a rise for Yehi just as William’s stock has blown up.
Winner: Drew Gulak
The Third Chapter: Matt Riddle vs. Tracy Williams
Williams had the early control, working the leg of Riddle. When both men were back to their feet Riddle took over with some hard strikes momentarily until he was dumped to the outside and hit with a Williams dive from the top rope. Riddle being the showman he is came back and faked an outside dive, slapping Williams instead! He delivered a German Suplex to Williams back in the ring and both men traded blows that Williams surprisingly got the better of. Williams delivered multiple Dropkicks from all over the ring for a near fall, followed up by an Octopus Hold and a Octagon Hold. Riddle kept taking a lot of punishment until he caught Williams with a Bicycle Knee from out of nowhere and a Fishermen’s Buster for a 2 count. After a hard Lariat by Williams he got laid out by an Alabama Slam and locked in the Bromission. Williams escaped and tied Riddle up in the ropes where he chopped Riddle until he eventually countered it in to a Cross Armbreaker on the ropes. Williams got Riddle to the top rope where he hit a huge Avalance DDT for a 2 count, but immediately applied a Facelock to Riddle who was forced to tapped.
Great match between these two. Viewers are accustomed to Matt Riddle dominating matches, but in this case he was constantly working from behind and he worked so well in this dynamic. Tracey Williams in the last few shows has finally broken through and become a noteworthy star. Even in a loss, Matt Riddle still came out looking like a star.
Winner: Tracey Williams
Anything Goes: Ethan Page vs. Anthony Nese w/ So Cal Val & Andrea
After a quick slugfest to start off Page went to the outside and grabbed a chair but got it Superkicked in to his face. Page came back quick however and threw a chair at Nese! He proceeded to put the chair around Nese’s neck and tossed him in to the corner. Back inside the ring Nese caught Page with a knee and DDT’d him on to a chair. Nese wore Page down with the chair and brought more chairs in to the ring just to throw Page on to them! Page battled back but got a chair thrown in to his face! Nese introduced a ladder in to the match and choked Page with it, leaving it set up in to the corner. Page countered a throw in to a slingshot on to the ladder and knocked Nese down with the ladder followed by a Fallaway Slam on to a chair in the corner for a near fall. Another Page near fall came after a Forward Throw Suplex, and than Nese came back with a Drop Toe Hold on to a chair, but than Page came right back with a cutter on to a chair! After an Over the Shoulder Slam on to the chairs by Nese both men dualed with chairs until Page destroyed Nese with a chair shot to the head for the 2 count! The match ended when Page Powerbombed Nese on to a ladder and followed it up with a Package Piledriver for the win.
This match was a great shift from the usual Evolve match type; sometimes a little No DQ is what an event needs. Because shots to the head are becoming rare in the industry, when Page and Nese were throwing chairs and used one straight blow to the head it felt like such a big deal. The blows looked painful and they kept coming back for more, these guys looked like tough S.O.Bs. And in no way did match quality suffer either, they performed at a high level in a no DQ match when such matches have gained a bad reputation for being lazy. A job well done by both men.
Winner: Ethan Page
SHINE Championship Match: Taylor Made w/ So Cal Val & Andrea defends vs. Nicole Matthews
I unfortunately missed the first half of the match because of an issue with my computer, but was able to pick it up before it ended.
Taylor was in control, pounding Matthew’s head on to the mat. Over in the corner Taylor stomps the mud hole in Matthews and walked it dry! Matthews came back with a Lariat but got hit with Double Knees to the back and a Neckbreaker by Taylor. Matthews fought back and hit Taylor with a German Suplex and than locked in a Lion Tamer! Val distracted the ref as Andrea interfered and connected with a big boot on Matthews followed by a Taylor Cutter for the win.
I hate that I missed half this match because what I saw was really good. This was my first time seeing Matthews perform and she looked so crisp in the ring. Taylor Made battled like an aggressive champ who was not ready to lose, she wrestled a tough match. Val was in top form before, during, and after the match with her mic work and how she draws the ire of the crowd. Andrea has grown in to her own unique role as a powerhouse to be feared at ringside who brings her own banter to the table
Winner: Taylor Made
FIP World Heavyweight Title Fatal Four Way
Caleb Konley w/ So Cal Val & Andrea defends vs. FIP Florida Heritage Champion Maxwell Chicago vs. Gary Jay vs. Jason Cade
Cade and Jay started out with Jay tossing Cade out of the ring; Konley ran in and threw Jay out as well when Chicago came in and spent a minute trying to do a Leap Frog, crowd chanted Holy Shit (I wish I was kidding). Cade came back in and hit Chicago with a Fallaway Rana and Jay tossed him right back outside the ring. Chicago was back in and did a comedy spot Chop and Shoulder Block. Chicago teased a top rope dive and instead went to the floor and tossed himself on to all the competitors, crowd chanted holy shit again. Near pinfall on Cade by Chicago back in the ring and Konley tossed Chicago out (sensing a theme here). Konley cut off a Jay dive from the top rope with a Dropkick and Snap Suplex. Chops were exchanged between he and Jay before Cade took them out with a dive from the top rope along with Chicago. Lungblower by Cade on Jay and a Superkick to Chicago for a near fall. Cade is fired up and hits a Northern Lights Suplex and Standing Double Footstomp on Konley. His flurry Continued with a Tope on the outside to Chicago, a Plancha to Konley, and a 450 Leg Drop to Jay on the outside! After a Frog Splash on to Jay, Konley tossed Cade out and Powerbombed Jay on to both Chicago & Cade on the outside. Back in the ring Jay hit Konley with a German Suplex to the corner, than an Exploder Suplex to Jay in the same corner, and an Arm Drag to Chicago in the corner. Strike exchange between Cade and Jay, Jay went down and Chicago hit Cade with a Tiger Driver for a near fall but Konley broke it up. Chicago tried setting Jay up on the top rope, but Cade turned it in to a Sunset Flip Powerbomb. He headed to the top rope but Andrea tossed him off. Konley took advantage and delivered a Michinoku Driver to Jay off the top rope for the win.
This match caught me off guard with how good it was. Maxwell Chicago is a comedy wrestler and at times I was in disbelief at what he was doing but it blended in so well with the match since he would struggle with a simple move one moment but than pull off a martial arts kick that catches people off guard. Cade was the story of this match; he absolutely owned this opportunity with his quick offense. I disagree with the hate Caleb Konley gets as I feel he is a talented wrestler and he showed it in this match. Great outing and exposure for FIP.
Winner: Caleb Konley
EVOLVE Championship Match: Timothy Thatcher defends vs. Sami Callihan
Sami ran in to an elbow immediately! Thatcher had him on the mat for a moment but Sami got away, with Thatcher spending the early part trying to get him back down. Sami actually got Thatcher on the ground, delivering timed strikes to the head. Thatcher rolled out and nearly had an Armbar locked in early. Once again, Sami got away and attacked him on the outside, followed up by a Lowpe Suicida. Back inside the ring Sami tried to work the arm but Thatcher’s defense was spot on as he kept the arm away from Sami. Thatcher fought back and hit Sami with a Boot and Belly to Belly Slam followed by repeated knees to Sami’s side. Sami tried being defensive on his back, but got two stomps to his head. After a missed corner Clotheslined Sami hit a Running Knee, but the second attempt was blocked and both man dropped each other with boots to the face on 3 occasions in a row. Both men matched Clotheslines but Thatcher caught Sami in a Saito Suplex, which Sami delivered right back to him. Both men start trading hard head-butts, Sami got the better of it, delivered a Powerbomb, a running boot to the head, and locked in an Armbar. After getting to the ropes Thatcher came back with hard knees and boots but is hit with a Sami boot and Cuerno Killer for a 2 count. Thatcher, from out of nowhere, head-butted Sami and it knocked him out cold for the 3 count.
After the match Catch Point came to the ring and Gulak again called Thatcher a disgrace to the title due to the ways he beat Riddle. Thatcher than said he would defeat every member of Catch Point, but until than will lay down the title. Thatcher than laid the title on the ground and walked out. Catch Point surrounded the title and the crowd was chanting for Riddle to pick it up, but Gulak did instead. Riddle was not happy with this and left.
Can’t lie, I found this match disappointing. Thatcher worked the match with one arm so we did not see his amazing mat game. For whatever reason these two did not gel together and the match felt pretty slow and forgetful. And this is a shame I usually enjoy Thatcher matches so much.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
The Six Man Tag Team Tradition – Days Of Future Past: Kota Ibushi, Johnny Gargano & TJ Perkins vs. Will Ospreay, Tommy End & Marty Scurll
Gargano and Scurll started off with a quick exchange, trading holds. Scurll would repeatedly maneuver out of holds, but Gargano would lock him in another. After a failed Chickenwing attempt TJP entered the ring and so did Tommy End. TJP worked over a Headscissors Lock until End came back with a kick. Ospreay and Ibushi entered the match at this point and the crowd went nuts. Both men began some counter wrestling, highlighted by a snap Dropkick by Ibushi. TJP & Gargano were back in and double teamed Ospreay. End ran in and gave Gargano a hard kick to the chest. Gargano was worked over for a while during this point in the match by all 3 men. He eventually got Ibushi in with a hot tag and he laid out Team Europe with a number of kicks. All men got in to the ring at this point and the match went absolutely nuts with nonstop action I couldn’t begin to call. Team Europe in one spot nailed the “Just Kidding” knee Superkicks to Team Evolve 1 for example. On the Outside Ibushi and Ospreay climbed to a balcony and performed Stereo Moonsaults on to their opponents! Match came down to Ibushi vs Ospreay in a great exchange, with Ibushi pinning Ospreay with a massive Sit-Out Powebomb for the win while Tommy End was locked in the Gargano No Escape.
This match was amazing. Tamed start, but the 2nd half was an all out war between some of the best wrestlers in the world. A fully healed Kota Ibushi is unstoppable in the ring, and Will Ospreay showed why he is the uncrowned best high flyer in the world. Scurll’s charisma and End’s punishing style blended so well with the all around techniques of Gargano and TJP. One of those matches no one wanted to end.
Winner: Team Evolve 1
This show was an absolute pleasure to watch. WWN assembled an all-star six man tag match that delivered in every way possible. Everyone on the card worked their Asses off and brought their A game. It made me forget about the technical issues of Evolve 59 reminded me how strong this brand has become. Keep an eye on Jason Cade, that man was the star of the FIP title match.
MOTN: Days Of Future Past Six-Man Tag Team
Wrestler of the Night: Will Ospreay
Personality of the Night: Chris Hero
Final Rating: 9.2/10