EVOLVE 86 Review

June 24th, 2017

Opening Match:  Timothy Thatcher (w/ Catch Point) vs. Austin Theory
Sometimes, Thatcher’s matches have this sense of dread that hangs over them.  The crowd falls into a lull because the pacing is so methodical and they sense that Thatcher’s opponent really doesn’t stand a chance.  That feeling has been exacerbated now that Thatcher has Catch Point in his corner.  Theory certainly had his moments here, but they weren’t able to engage the crowd, which is especially problematic in the opener.  Theory is quickly becoming the Will Ferrara of EVOLVE, meaning that he can only look good in defeat so many times before the fans stop caring.  Hopefully, Theory’s relationship with Priscilla Kelly comes to light soon.  I’m a bit more critical of this one because of its placement as the opener.  Thatcher won in 10:27 with a rear-naked choke.  *¾

Match #2:  Chris Dickinson (w/ Catch Point) vs. ACH
There are certainly exceptions, but my general rule with ACH lately is that the shorter the match, the better.  I do not intend that as a knock on ACH.  He is so skilled at rattling off sequences with tremendous energy that a needlessly long duration takes away the things that make ACH so much fun to watch in the ring.  This match was fourteen minutes and it was fine.  However, I have to think the action would have been more enjoyable as a sprint.  ACH won in 14:30 with a 450 splash.  **¾

A Gatekeeper (Blaster McMassive) makes his way to the ring.  His new name is Thomas Sharpe.  Sharpe claims that the Gatekeepers and his relationship with Ethan Page is no more.  Ethan Page interrupts and claims that he no longer cares about the Gatekeepers.  Alas, a new Gatekeeper attacks Sharpe from behind.  They have a two-minute match, which Sharpe wins with a black hole slam.  This was executed pretty well.  Maybe I’m crazy, but I think Sharpe has a ton of potential and I hope he accomplishes some big things in EVOLVE.

Match #3:  Fred Yehi vs. Jaka
Jaka was not thrilled that Yehi decided to quit Catch Point, and I would say that the action adequately reflected that anger.  However, there were some rough spots early on in the match that lost the crowd and hurt the vibe that they were going for.  From that point, letting the match last sixteen minutes seemed like a huge mistake.  The crowd’s willingness to become invested matters a lot in these situations and I don’t think they were fully invested down the stretch.  Luckily, we have another chance to explore the Yehi vs. Catch Point feud tomorrow when he wrestles Chris Dickinson.  Stylistically, I think that match will end up being better, so all is not lost.  Yehi won in 16:21 with a koji clutch.  **½

Match #4:  Tracy Williams (w/ Stokely Hathaway) vs. Jason Kincaid
Williams is quickly becoming my favorite wrestler to watch on these EVOLVE shows.  Ever since Stokely Hathaway’s insertion into Catch Point, Williams constantly looks on-edge and is never willing to put up with anyone’s bullshit for even a second.  So, you can imagine how friendly Williams was towards Kincaid’s shtick here.  Much like Austin Theory, Kinkaid has done his fair share of losing lately.  However, with Kincaid I have more faith that his losing streak will lead to something productive, as the man is clearly on the verge of a mental breakdown.  These two delivered a fun showcase that did an excellent job of highlighting their offenses and personalities.  The duration felt about right as well.  Williams won in 13:55 with a crossface.  ***¼

Match #5:  Ethan Page vs. Keith Lee
This match was a good example of how Lee should look on a more regular basis.  Coming into this contest, I had my doubts as to whether Lee would win.  Thankfully, he did.  Page busted out all of the tricks and tried to be as resourceful as possible, but it didn’t work out.  And that’s okay, because Lee is an absolute beast.  That’s the point (I think).  More people should be losing to Lee because there is certainly no shame in losing to Lee.  They had better chemistry together than I was expecting and were able to produce a quality match.  More importantly, Lee came away from this one looking tremendous.  Lee won in 10:48 with a jackhammer.  ***

Match #6:  Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Riddle is the WWN Champion and Sabre is the EVOLVE Champion, but neither title was on the line in this match.  Simply put, they killed it.  Everything just seemed like it was on a different level from the rest of the show.  The aura they gave off as performers, the level of crowd response, the urgency of the action – just everything.  You can also imagine how thrilled I was at the twelve-minute duration in light of what I said about some of the earlier matches.  Gabe’s willingness to experiment with these shorter durations is certainly a strength.  This was supposed to be a showcase of the two premier champions in the WWN Live family and a twelve-minute sprint was perfect here.  Sabre won in 12:35 with a heel hook.  ***½

-Show Grade: C+
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: Riddle/Sabre, Williams/Kincaid, Lee/Page
You Should Avoid:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *