Sami Callihan vs Zack Sabre Jr – EVOLVE 55

Sami Callihan vs Zack Sabre Jr

01/24/2016

Orlando Downtown Recreation Complex, Orlando, Florida, United States

(reviewed 06/01/2016) This could either be really great or really mediocre, and I think it’s completely based on how much intensity and focus ZSJ brings. Thankfully, both of them do it right at the beginning before bringing things down to a simmer, which is actually quite interesting. It’s weird, this is, on some level, real similar to the kinds of “I hit you, you hit me” matches Ishii and Shibata have been having for years, and while I’d never imagine anyone other than those two doing that style well, these lads sort of pull it off. I guess it’s because they don’t go overboard with it, and soon transition into ZSJ’s typical armwork. Thankfully, he’s putting more oomph than usual into it, and Callihan sells well for it. When Callihan makes his comeback and they brawl a bit on the outside, I quite like it, as it’s completely different from ZSJ’s usual wheelhouse. Back in the ring, Callihan takes to the mat and continues to go after the Brit’s leg, and I love all of this, all this “two grumpy guys twist and grind each other’s limbs and take potshots at each other”, like 70’s AJPW is alive and well. Callihan eats the ring post hard on a running tackle and ZSJ goes back to his usual armwork, which includes a nifty powerbomb that’s transitioned into a submission that surely has a cool Spanish name I’m not aware of. They start throwing bombs towards the end, and it’s sort of awkward and low impact until the finish, which is a “falling forearm” elbow smash from Callihan. Not bad at all. Sort of loses its fire in the final minutes, but this is a fresh enough matchup that what they do is interesting and entertaining, and I don’t feel that it wasted my time, and I doubt you would either if you chose to watch this.

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