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EVOLVE 72 11/12/16 Review

EVOLVE 72 11/12/16 Review
Queens,New York
La Boom

Pre-show Dark Match
Tommy End vs. Tony Nese
The crowd was split between both these men and the two did not disappoint. End hit a number of punishing strikes, connecting with a brutal knees and kicks that somehow were weathered by Nese. Despite End’s onslaught, Nese was able to come away with the victory in this one, hitting the 450 splash, despite the low hanging lights, to pick up the victory. The two men exchanged handshakes after the match and the crowd gave End a touching send-off. Before he left, End grabbed the mic and thank the fans, saying that no matter where he goes, he will remember them.

Winner: Tony Nese

DUSTIN vs. Matt Riddle
Joey Styles joined Lenny Leonard to start the night and announced that after EVOLVE is truly Bro, quickly leaving the ring as Matt Riddle made his way out. The match started with Riddle going for an armbar early on, which DUSTIN was only able to escape by reaching the ropes. During the match, the crowd was insanely behind Riddle, alternating chants between Bro and Let’s Go Bro, led by a four year old by the way. Riddle won the match after hitting a Fisherman Buster into a full small package for the pinfall victory. The match itself was a really good opener on its own, but the level of crowd involvement in this one made it an incredible experience to start the show.

Winner: Matt Riddle

Fred Yehi vs. Jason Kincaid
A nice change of pace here between two incredible interesting styles of wrestling that started off with a very quick pace. Kincaid has recently appeared on both ROH and EVOLVE shows and he seems to finding his footing with EVOLVE. His offense is incredibly unique, early on he jumped off the ropes and planted himself in a cross-legged position, avoiding big trouble stomps from Yehi, clearly frustrating his opponent. Despite launching himself off of the ring post to put Yehi away, Kincaid fell victim to a reverse STO that Yehi transitioned into a Koji clutch for the submission victory. The match’s placement was effective here. It didn’t tear the house down, but it did not need to. After the raucous first match, this allowed the crowd to gain a measure of reprieve from the high intensity of the opener while showcasing a completely different style.

Winner: Fred Yehi

Darby Allin & Tony Nese vs. Team Pazuzu (Chris Dickinson & Jaka)
Originally scheduled as a singles bout between Dickinson and Allin, Dickinson’s mic work and the introduction of Jaka led this to be a tag team match. Dickinson spoke about how he has not gotten an EVOLVE contract, clearly irritated that Allin has. He went on to say that had Nese not stolen the victory the last time they were at La Boom, he would have solidified his worth as a contract worthy competitor. That prompted Nese to come out and join Allin. Despite Nese’s support, Darby was bashed about the ring, squeezing in flashes of offense, even connecting with a plancha to the outside when he simply couldn’t find his footing for a springboard leap. Allin’s recovery from the botch showed a level of maturity and ring presence that is rare in young talent. When Nese finally gained the upperhand for his side, Allin tagged himself back in, but he and Nese had brief words, allowing Jaka to drag Nese to the arena floor. Dickinson did not hesitate in catching Allin with a Dragon suplex that saw Allin land right on the back of his neck. Dickinson and Jaka then hit a clothesline/leg sweep combo for the pinfall victory over the underdog.

Winners: Team Pazuzu
“All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Before the match got under way, Sabre Jr. stormed the ring, chasing Page to the outside. After finally finding a mic that worked, Page demanded that ZSJ calm down and allow him to get into the ring if he wanted to “wrestle” and “grapple”. Despite Page’s clear mockery of Sabre’s style, he was able to keep up with him, working over the same arm that he and the Gatekeepers attacked at the last set of EVOLVE shows. Page worked the arm over repeatedly and despite being on the edge of submitting a number of times, he was able to slam ZSJ to the mat with a hammerlock/spinebuster that finally did in the catch-as-catch style Brit, as he came out the loser via pinfall. After the match, Page got on the mic again and said that he is only able to think of one word moving forward and that word is spelled C-O-D-Y. He showed off his new Era of Ego tights that sport the EVOLVE logo and made it clear that the Era of Ego has just begun. Page’s work as a face in the past pales in comparison to his work as a heel. He is believable as an overly confident braggart who can back it up when the situation calls for it.

Winner: Ethan Page

Chris Hero vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams
This match was absolutely incredible from the opening bell. Hero received as hero’s welcome, a stark contrast to his last appearance at La Boom when he had sided with Drew Galloway. Despite being a face, Hot Sauce immediately went after Hero with a series of suplexes that broke the floodgates open in this barn burner. Hero did all that he could to take Williams out, connecting with vicious forearms and even an absolutely brutal piledriver. Williams was somehow able to kick out and the crowd was on its feet applauding these two men numerous times during the match. In the end Williams was able to make Hero tap out to a crossface submission. This is a must see match and takes the match of the night honors, but that is not really surprising as Hero has continued to show that he may be one of the best wrestlers in the world right now.

Winner:”Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams

Squared Circle of Survival Match for the EVOLVE Championship
Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher (c)
How do you follow the match of the night? Well, EVOLVE had an answer here, as Drew Gulak came out to describe the rules for the match that he was able to get Thatcher to agree to. Gulak ordered the ring crew to dismantle and remove the ropes before the match could get underway.

In a brilliant use of time, Stokely Hathaway then came out to complain about how absurd the match was, leading that when he heard about this he thought that it “was just his imagination”. As he derided Gulak for taking advantage of Thatcher, Joey Styles came out through the crowd, engaging in a war of worlds with the brains behind the Dream Team. Styles commented that Gabe Sapolsky had specifically asked him not to make a political comment, but that Sapolsky made the mistake of giving him a live mic. Styles then commented that mentions that Joanna Rose looked lovely on the night and that the next President would “grab her by the” and that the world he left out brings him to Stokely. His pandering and distasteful comment apparently infuriated Gabe Sapolsky, who tweeted out the following in response.

Styles and Stokely continued their repartee, as Hathaway pointed out that Styles made his career on one catchphrase, while Styles came back at Stokely for managing future stars that leave him behind and needlessly insulted Hathaway’s wardrobe before exiting.After the ropes were finally down, Thatcher came out and he and Gulak did a masterful job of teetering on the end of the apron, teasing that either man could easily fall and get seriously injured. Things ramped up on the outside as Gulak then dislodged the bungy cables that hold the apron down and even used the cords by places the hook in Thatcher’s mouth and yanking his face apart. Thatcher was able to turn the tables and use the cables himself to tie Gulak to the ring post and beat him mercilessly until Gulak was able to squirm free.

From there the match became one of the most innovative matches that I have ever seen. Gulak stripped the mat and padding off, tossing it to the arena floor and exposing the wooden plans underneath. The two men absorbed brutal suplexes on the boards before Gulak ramped up the brutality some more by actually moving the planks, creating a chasm in the ring. The two used the space effectively, with Gulak applying a sleeper hold while Gulak was stuck between the boards, only able to escape by using the extra room to hit a stunner. Not to be outdone, Gulak applied the Gu-lock on the champion while Thatcher’s legs dangled in the hole in the ring. In the end, Thatcher hit a back suplex, driving Gulak’s head into the exposed boards for the victory. Despite the win, Thatcher sustained a concussion and will not be able to wrestle at EVOLVE 73. When he fell victim to the injury is unknown, but it says a lot about his character that he was able to continue at all.

Winner: Timothy Thatcher

Post match, the members of Catch Point came out to check on Gulak. Gulak got on the mic and said that he failed and as such, Catch Point has failed as well. Despite Williams being clearly incensed by the comments, Gulak walked out as Drew Galloway and DUSTIN came down to the ring.

Galloway got on the mic and regaled the crowd with the story of his journey, saying he spent twenty four hours traveling, even paying 70 dollars to take a cab to the venue. He echoed Gulak’s assertion that Catch Point is a failure and that Catch Point disbanding will eventually be good for EVOLVE. Galloway then went on to say that Riddle has ruined the word bro for him. The word used to mean someone was family, but now all he can remember his being kicked in the face by Riddle. In his opinion, if EVOLVE is bro, it is a resounding failure and as such, Galloway needs to exterminate Riddle. Riddle grabbed the mic and simply said “Chill bro”, which enraged Galloway who threw a tantrum as the show ended.

Final Reaction: A
A unique show if I have ever seen one. The crowd really lifted the event up and the each match served a real purpose here. Riddle starting off the show was an effective way to open the show and DUSTIN may have had his best match under his new persona. Hero and Hot Sauce was absolutely amazing and as good as Hero is, Williams really stepped up his game in this match. Allin naturally garners the sympathies of the audience and sells so well that it is impossible to root for him. Page’s obnoxious character rankles the crowd and the main event, which literally tore the ring down, was one of the most brutal and innovative matches that I have ever witnessed. Kudos to Gulak and Thatcher for their work in the match and here’s hoping Thatcher recovers quickly. It should be very interesting to see how EVOLVE 73 shapes out considering the major loss of the champion due to the concussion.

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