Evolve 74 12/10/16 Review
Queens, New York
EVOLVE returned to La Boom, it’s strongest venue for EVOLVE 74. Despite the Timothy Thatcher’s absence due to the concussion suffered the last time the company was in New York, the show was solid from top to bottom and really delivered. The following is a live perspective on the show.
Jaka vs. Drew Gulak
Good opener to start the show. Jaka will be wrestling for his EVOLVE contract this weekend and this match was a great showing of what he can offer the company. Gulak really allowed him to get a lot of offense and it made both men look strong, told a good back and forth story. Real hard hitting back-and-forth action from these two with both absorbing absurdly stiff shots. The end came when Gulak was able to lock in the Gu-lock for the submission victory. After the match Larry Dallas came out and started to first put himself over by talking about how important he is and then afterwards started to ask Gulak about Catch Point. Yes Drew if cats point was ultimately over to our God on my side that Catchpoint failure this prompted Tracy Williams to come out front talking about how cats point is more than one person aware of life philosophy. Drew stared him down and walked away without saying a word. Good build to tomorrow Catch Point Power Explode match, while adding the wrinkle of how Jaka may have something brewing with Williams.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Chris Dickinson vs DUSTIN
At the start of the contest Dickinson was really working in overdrive pulling out all the stops. Dickinson showed agility and strength throughout the match. Dustin looked stronger than he has since returned. Just overall great heel work from Dustin, even going so far as to tell a little kid to shut up. This match match felt like it was dedicated to developing his personality a little bit more and it worked to perfection.The end came after Dickson unsuccessfully set up for a death valley driver from the top, but DUSTIN was able to slip out of of the move and power bomb into a pile driver to drop allowing him to get the out of the move and connected with an Awful Waffle from the top rope. Dickson, like Jaka before him, took the opportunity and ran with it, while DUSTIN was able to earn a clean victory, positioning as much more of a threat down the line.
Darby Allin vs Brian Cage
Allin starts off with an immediate coffin drop from Allin on to Cage before he even hit the ring!our Derby continued to connect with Kaufman drops and did his best to fight Cage off. are Derby continued to connect with Kaufman drops and did his best to fight Cage off. However Cage was simply too strong for Allin and started to toss him around like a rag doll. Allin continued to kick out despite Cage’s best efforts. Finally Cage had enough and told the fans on the stage to clear the way,then gorilla press slammed Darby Allin 8 feet onto a stage. As the referee counted, Gabe Sapolsky came out to check on Alli who made a valiant effort to make it back before being counted out, but fell just short. Cage won, but Allin did not get pinned, as he swore not to. Great work here from both men, as they played their parts perfectly. Allin’s selling, heart and fearlessness make him an easy wrestler for the fans to get behind.
Winner: Brian Cage
Ethan Page vs. Cody Rhodes
Ethan came out and thanked Cage for taking Allin out, saying he spent his money well. He then cut a promo on Rhodes, calling him a Bullet B*tch. Cody Rhodes promptly came out sporting his new Bullet Club gear, ready to take on Page. Cody showed off to start the match, which irritated Page, so he tried to match him, but instead flipped him the double bird. Crowd was really into chanting too sweet for Cody the entire match. The referee got knocked out and Page hit a Spinning Dwayne, but had no referee to make the three count. Cage came down to interfere alongside one Gatekeeper, but Darby came down to help Rhodes, only to be tossed outside to take out the Gatekeeper and Cage out. Cody then hit Page with a low blow before the Cross Rhodes and won the match via pinfall. A little crazy ending and it was a bit odd, as Page came off as the face in not getting the pin he deserved, only to have Cody cheat again to win right after he did the same in ROH.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Jeff Cobb vs Matt Riddle
The two started feeling each other out, with neither man gaining the clear advantage. Cobb seemed to surprise Riddle with his reversals and grappling. Without seeing their work together before, this match didn’t seem to hit another level, but was a showcase in the real fighting ability both bring to the table. Riddle has been chosen as the heir apparent to the kingdom of EVOLVE, but he shouldn’t win every match and this was a good example of intelligently slowly pushing him towards an eventual title reign. Riddle tried to put Cobb away with a Bro 2 Sleep and his jumping tombstone, but that only earned him a two count. Cobb fought off an armbar and then was able to use his raw strength to hit Tour of the Islands for a pinfall victory. After the match the two exchanged a friendly handshake despite their spirited match. After the match Stokely Hathaway came out and offered Jeff Cobb a coveted spot in the Dream Team, which would also earn him an EVOLVE contract. Despite the chance to align with the brains behind T.J. Perkins and current EVOLVE champion Timothy Thatcher, but Cobb made it clear the only contract he’ll sign is a title match against Thatcher.
Winner: Jeff Cobb
Ricochet and Kaasa vs. Yehi and Williams
Every time that Ricochet steps into an EVOLVE ring he brings something else to the table. Tagging with Kaasa here, he started the match on the apron and was talking it up with fans, defending Kaasa when fans starting chanting about the former’s mullet. Kaasa looked better here and really had a chance to showcase his skills, with impressive maneuvers throughout. Ricochet is Ricochet and he helped make this match much more interesting than it came off on paper. Yehi and Williams worked like a well-oiled machine, performing as believable tag team champions. The outcome never really seemed to be in question, but used a vehicle to display Kaasa’s considerable talent, the match served its purpose well.Catch Point retained after Kaasa missed a shooting star press and Williams made him tap to a crossface.
Winners: Fred Yehi and Tracy Williams
Chris Hero vs Dick Togo
This match was very different from most of Hero’s matches, with Togo standing toe to toe with the much larger and younger man in this one.Hero can do no wrong and tonight was no different. His elbows and piledriver came off as truly punishing and Togo’s ability to battle back was simultaneously impressive and a reminder to everyone there that he still has gas left in his tank, even at the age of 47. After withstanding everything Hero threw at it,Togo hit two pedigrees and then a senton off the top to win the match by pinfall. Hero first put Togo over, saying that he is one of the best that Hero has wrestled all year and urged the crowd to look up Togo on YouTube to see even more of his impressive body of work. He then thanked the crowd in Queens for being one of the best crowds that he has fought in front of this year, a really nice and heartfelt moment with the fans. DUSTIN came out and interrupted, telling Hero to basically take is 2016 and shove it. Hero slapped him across the face and walked out as the show ended.
Winner: Dick Togo
Final Reaction: B+/A-
The flow of the matches, the performances and the fan interaction really made this event hit on all cylinders. It seems to go without saying, but EVOLVE shows in NY, as Hero said, are special and the booking reflects this. The company frequently books the weekend double shots with the intention of saving the best for last, but in no way does that make the first show any less important. Being able to work around the absence of Thatcher as well as Galloway bodes well for EVOLVE moving forward as the spots left open by Gargano, Perkins, Nese and what looks to be Gulak are being filled with talent individuals who add to the product. Cody’s booking was the only part of the show that didn’t seem to fit into what EVOLVE is trying to do, but there is another night to have Page harp on the injustice, becoming that much more unbearable. WIlliams and Yehi have really grown into their roles as a powerful tag team combination and Allin continues to earn the adulation of the crowd, all indications that the future will continue to be promising, especially if names like Ricochet,Cobb and Cage are ready to appear more often down the line.