By Big Red Machine
From November 07, 2015

Evolve 52 (11/7/2015)- Orlando, FL

ETHAN PAGE vs. LIO RUSH- 6.75/10
A great opener, but the real magic was in the story being told with Ethan Page. Page has been insisting that he has turned over a new leaf, and in his match last night that certainly seemed to be true. Tonight, when he got frustrated, he started to look like the old Ethan Page, first letting his frustration show, then being a bit of an ass when he regained control of the match… but unlike the old Ethan Page, he never once cheated. If anyone else was in Page’s spot in this match, we’d dismiss his actions as merely the competitiveness kind of making him be a bit of a jerk for a few minutes, as can happen to anyone. But because this is Ethan Page, and he has spent the past six months being an unbelievably huge piece of sh*t, it comes across as Page either reverting back to his old ways, or perhaps showing his true colors, depending on how skeptical you are of his sudden change of heart (and speaking of people who are skeptical of Page’s turn, Lenny Leonard has been doing an AMAZING job on commentary with this angle. Absolutely perfect).

Ethan Page wants to enter the upcoming Evolve Tag Team Title Tournament… and he wants JOHNNY GARGANO to be his partner. Gargano comes out and references CM Punk’s fantastic “a snake will always be a snake” promo from his big heel turn at Death Before Dishonor III, basically telling Page the he would have to be an idiot to trust him seeing as how Page has spent the past six months doing everything he can to ruin Gargano’s career. Just like last night, Gargano tells Page that if he really want to convince him that he changed, he should go away and leave Gargano alone.

Gargano is kind of a dick to Galloway about the fact that he works in NXT, but it’s all cool because this was in retaliation for Drew’s pointless suspicious of him because of this fact last night (which is even more dickish in hindsight when you realize that Drew himself also works for TNA). Then Gargano proposes that they team up in the Evolve Tag Team Title tournament. Rob Naylor immediately named them “Gargalloway.” Then Gargano heads to the back so Drew can cut a not very good promo building up his title match in tonight’s main event.

PETER KAASA vs. ANTHONY NESE (w/SoCal Val & Andrea)- 5.5/10

MATT RIDDLE vs. TRACY WILLIAMS (w/Drew Gulak)- 5.5/10
As Rob Naylor said: “it can end at any point,” which is one of the things I’ve grown to love about Evolve. Riddle picks up the win, but Gulak tells him “you’re not done with us yet.”

TJ PERKINS vs. CALEB KONLEY (w/SoCal Val & Andrea)- 7.5/10

SOCAL VAL PROMO- she announces that the Premier Athlete Brand will be in the Evolve Tag Team Title tournament.

JOHNNY GARGANO vs. DREW GULAK (w/Tracy Williams)- 8/10
Awesome match, especially if you love mat wrestling and hold-counter-hold wrestling.

EVOLVE TITLE MATCH: Timothy Thatcher(c) vs. Drew Galloway- 8/10
This match seem destined for greatness, with Thatcher working the arm and Drew working over the head, and superb commentary by Lenny Leonard tying it into other Evolve Title matches this year… then we got a rather abrupt finish and it was over.
They did a bit where Thatcher wanted a handshake but Drew didn’t take it, but the timing (and the commentary) set up the idea that maybe Drew just didn’t see the offered hand.

After Galloway headed to the back, Team Catchpoint (Gulak, Williams, and TJ Perkins) came out to the ring. Gulak told Thatcher he had two choices: “you either get out of MY ring… or you get beat down.” Thatcher told them to bring it on, so Team Catchpoint surrounded him… but before they could move in, Matt Riddle came out to reinforce Thatcher. Gulak then challenged them to a tag match, which was thrown out about a minute in when Riddle turned on Thatcher. Riddle put Thatcher in an armbar while Gulak shouted at him to give up. Thatcher flipped him off instead, so Riddle kept the hold on, doing a lot of damage to Thatcher’s arm. Gulak cut a promo on Thatcher, then Riddle declared that he was coming after Thatcher’s Title, which I found a little surprising because I thought that Gulak wanted the title for himself. Either way, this was the type of BIG segment that you want to close out your year on, especially when you’ve got two and a half months until your next show (also, conveniently enough time for Thatcher’s arm to heal, as he is being advertised for the January triple-shot).

Another awesome show from Evolve. It started out a bit slow but closed out strong, and set the direction for next year. I was pretty cold on Thatcher as a babyface, but this weekend (and tonight’s match in particular) really sold me on him for this role.

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