Kayfabe! – Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution with Roderick Strong
Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution: Roderick Strong
I said in my review of the inaugural edition of this series, that it could be a very interesting one, and the second edition is just that. Gabe and Johnny Gargano had good chemistry from working together for so long, but, Gabe and Roddy go back thirteen years, so they have a lot more to talk about. The biggest thing they can talk about is how much Roddy was able to grow and mature as a worker. They first met in 2003 when Roddy got booked on the pre-show of an ROH card, and didn’t even know what Gabe looked like. Roddy walked right past him several times, until someone clued him in and told him he might want to introduce himself to the person that got him onto the show.
Like the Gargano edition, the match selection seems to be good, I enjoyed watching them, but the selling point here is the conversation between Gabe and Roddy, and not so much the actual matches. We’re shown two FIP matches, versus Samoa Joe in 2005 and Roddy winning the FIP Title from Bryan Danielson in 2006, and then it jumps forward to showing two EVOLVE matches, versus Drew Galloway in 2014 and Biff Busick in 2015, and a tag match with Austin Aries versus Ricochet and Uhaa Nation from the WWN Supershow. It’s a drag that they couldn’t get any of Roddy’s ROH matches licensed, since it’s not like ROH is taking advantage of their archives from those days. So, while it’s cool to hear them talk about Roddy being twenty two and learning by working with Joe, Punk, Bryan, etc. and then come full circle, where now it’s new guys being booked with Roddy because of how good he’d become, it’s a shame that we can’t actually *SEE* where Roddy turned the corner.
Honestly, the only real criticism I can give this is that sometimes their timelines are off. Gabe mentions that Joe was still ROH Champion during his FIP match with Strong, but the match was in 2005, and Joe lost the title at the end of 2004. Roddy thinks his FIP Title win from Danielson was soon after their 56-minutes match in Chicago, but it was more than six months later. But, it’s not like they’re making such egregious errors that it calls their credibility into question. The WWN Supershow match is pretty much ignored by them, because they veer off into talking about Generation Next, both the stable and the actual show. It winds up being the highlight (for me, at least) because it’s the first time that a lot of what they talk about as far as the background of things is actually brought to light. They both lament that one of their bigger regrets is that Roddy and Jack Evans never got the ROH Tag Titles, but, it was because Evans was in such demand in Mexico and in Japan with Dragon Gate, that it was too hard to get dates on him. Gabe makes a really nice comparison of working various indy groups to working the old territories, with Roddy cutting his teeth in places like IPW and FIP, which got him ready for ROH, and in turn made him what he is in places like PWG and EVOLVE.