Lucha Tributes: Jack Evans
It's time! It's time! It's...new series time! Alright, didn't think that intro through. Here's the deal everyone; with Lucha Underground now less than two weeks away, I thought it be nice to debut a new series building up to what should totally be, as Tony Schiavone would say, THE BIGGEST NIGHT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT! Thus, you're getting fourteen Cult Tributes (renamed Lucha Tributes for this shindig) on fourteen Lucha Underground performers till then! Don't expect it to be just big names either; I will be doing tributes for both wrestlers AND non wrestlers during this time. Hey, gotta stay original somehow. So with all of that said, why don't we start the first one? Lucha Kliq (and random newcomers who are discovering all this for the first time), this here is a Lucha Tribute to everyone's favorite rudo who happens to be friends with Angelico, the one, the only, Jack Evans. Or as AAA's announcers would say, JACK EVANS, JACK EVANS, JACK EVANS!!!!!!!!!!!!
What You Already Know
Chances are you know Jack Evans for many things; he’s a decent break dancer, likes the Eminem song “Lose Yourself”, has the high flying lucha style pretty much covered and claims to be “the man, the myth, the legend”, “the inventor of modern lucha libre” and (most controversially) the FIFA Champion of Lucha Underground. Your resume can’t beat Jack’s guys. Oh, he’s also a sixteen year wrestling veteran, best known for his time in Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Wrestling Society X, Dragon Gate, Pro Wrestling NOAH and of course, AAA and Lucha Underground. Arguably, 2015 was Evans’ best year as a wrestler, as he debuted in Lucha Underground to great acclaim, nearly won PWG’s annual Battle of Los Angeles event and won the AAA Tag Team Championships with his longtime pal and tag team partner Angelico. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Jack “carries the team”, or so he tells Dave Meltzer while having a friendly contest with Angelico. And yes, much like the FIFA Champ claims, numerous sources dispute whether this is true or not.
What You Didn't Know
I could’ve put this in the section above, but frankly, there are still not enough people out there that know of Jack Evans being a Hart Dungeon graduate. That’s right, THAT Hart Dungeon, the one up in glorious Calgary, Albert, Canada which helped launch the careers of Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Brian Pillman, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith and countless others. After getting some training with former wrestler turned Dave Meltzer sidekick Bryan Alvarez, Evans would journey up to Stampede Wrestling in 2001, where he would receive additional training from the Hart Family. As such, Evans is considered one of the last graduates of the Hart Dungeon, alongside WWE superstars Tyson Kidd and Natalya, former WWE star and son of the British Bulldog Harry Smith and indie star Teddy Hart (Evans is in fact the only member of the group to not be a member of the Hart Family, either by birth or marriage). The group would team briefly in both Stampede and Court Bauer’s MLW promotion as the Hart Foundation 2.0, and they remain close today, especially Evans and Hart (who would continue teaming as Hart Foundation 2.0 on the indies and eventually in Mexico). Plus, Evans is the only person who can say he was trained by one of the famous wrestling families in the world and a guy who would go onto be one of the most well recognized wrestling journalists in the world. All he needed was for Wade Keller to team him promos, and you’d have the most interesting wrestling training experience in the history of the western hemisphere.
What may surprise people about Evans (aside that he once wrestled 380+ matches in one year, according to Vampiro) is that despite his background and obvious skill, Lucha Underground and Wrestling Society X are the only two promotions that have featured him regularly on North American TV. I know what you're thinking; didn't you say he wrestled for Ring of Honor and TNA? While that's true, Evans' stint with ROH preluded their first apperance on television, while TNA only featured him once on Impact back in 2011, where Evans defeated someone named Tony Nese in a singles match (in fairness, TNA did feature Evans on a couple PPV's back in 2003 and one in 2011. Then again it's TNA). Combine that with WWE never showing interest in Evans till this year, when he and Angelico reportedly turned down a deal to join NXT, and that leaves WSX and the LU as his only places for TV exposure. In the end, it was likely for the best. Evans and fellow indie legend Matt Sydal actually had the first ever match in WSX's entire history, a choice that wasn't by accident. According to high level WSX sources (and by high level, I mean friend of the blog, Rudo Can't Fail underboss and WSX creator Kevin Kleinrock), the plan was to establish Evans as a big star for the promotion, and that later seasons would've seen Evans win a midcard title before rising up to the main event (similar to RVD during his TV title run in ECW). The lesson, as always, is screw MTV. Although if MTV hadn't been dumb and canceled WSX, we wouldn't be seeing Jack doing the top level rudo work he's doing right now for the LU. Of course, he'd be doing it in WSX, which means that still be around, which would also be good...wow I walked into that one. The second lesson, as always, is that as long as Jack Evans is being given a chance to break dance, wear clothes WAY too big for him and do stuff like the Ode to Blitzkreig, nothing else matters.
We're going to have multiple moments here because, let's face it, it's Jack Evans. He's too great for just one. First, we have this. It needs no description.
Second, we have the opening match in WSX history between him and Matt Sydal. Not to make Kevin sound like an even bigger genius than he already is, but you can immediately tell this was exactly what viewers should've first seen when turning on the show. In about six minutes, Evans and Sydal give you a Fury Road paced action/adventure with a lot of cool flips, a lot of cool kicks and Evans inexplicably wearing a shirt that Chessman would think is too big for him. High level of entertainment right here.
The third moment is from Triplemania XVIII (that's roman numeral for 18), where Evans took part in a four way match with Christopher Daniels, future tag team partner Extreme Tiger (now known as Tiger Uno in TNA) and Japanese wrestler Nosawa for the AAA Crusierweight Championship. This match is notable for two reasons; one, it's really good (and considering the talent in the ring, it should be) and two, Evans wins the title. That's right, at AAA's biggest show of the year (featuring an outstanding match between LA Park and La Parka no less!) and facing big odds (not only was the competition stiff, but the official for the match was corrupt), Evans would win what is thus far his only singles championship for AAA. He would go onto hold the belt for nearly two years before losing it to Juventud Guerrera. And hey, there's no shame in losing to The Juice.
And here's Jack's debut match in Lucha Underground against Aerostar. This was one of the most underrated bouts of the entire first season to me; not only does it feature the great in ring action you'd expect from these two, but Evans was seemlessly able to transition from his technico persona down in Mexico into the cocky, arrogant, full of himself rudo that he perfected over the course of 2015. Those two factors helped establish him as a player, despite the fact that he lost the match. Seriously, how many times do you see someone lose their first match for a company and still be a big deal afterwards? That's the world of the LU for you.
It's weird to do this section for someone who's career still has years upon years left on it. The best way I can sum it up is that, after years of being an intriguing and exciting talent, Jack Evans has become one of the most complete overall wrestlers in the world today. Oh yes, he still has the ability to wow people with his high flying offense, but his work at incorporating more technical wrestling into his style and the character work have absolutely transformed him. I cannot believe how entertaining Jack is every time he appears onscreen, and you have to believe he would be feuding with Roman Reigns in WWE right now if he had the look Vince McMahon so disturbingly desires. Thamkfully, he'll be a fixture in Lucha Underground and AAA for the near distant future, and I think things are only going to get better. The rudo persona Evans has in the LU will definitely take him places, and I think there's huge money in AAA eventually turning Evans and doing the same. Can you imagine rudo Jack vs. technico Angelico, hair vs. hair? You might as well start printing the money out right now. Whatever they decide to do, look for Jack Evans to have an even bigger, better, more entertaining 2016 than 2015. Hide your copies of Step Up!
That'll do it kids! I'll be back later today with another one of these bad boys. Who will it be?! You'll just have to wait. Till then, some Alan Rickman meme's in honor of another man, myth and legend.
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