Evolve 59 (4/2/2016)- Dallas, TX
Apparently this show’s opener had even worse streaming problems than yesterday’s did (which is kind of hard to imagine). I did some Twitter research and picked out the best comment I could find, which was: “streaming implies a kind of fluidity. This is more of a dam.”
EVOLVE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Drew Galloway & Johnny Gargano(c) vs. Team Catchpoint (Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams)- 7.75/10
Great match, with lots of fun submission wrestling. The finish saw Gargano accidentally wipe out Galloway with a tope suicida, then tap out to Williams about two spots later. Galloway congratulated Catchpoint on their victory, but then asked them to please hold off on their celebration for a few minutes because he had something he had to get off of his chest.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Drew cuts a promo about how he chose to come to EVOLVE instead of making a bunch of money elsewhere because he wanted to show that he is the best in the world and help all of the amazing wrestlers in EVOLVE get the recognition they deserve. He talks about how he took the EVOLVE Title all over the world and raised its prestige…
And then he lost the title even though his foot was under the ropes. Then he got suspended for three months for shoving a ref. Then, we he finally comes back “NXT started showing up on MY show!” There was this big, collective “OHHHHHH!” from the crowd and Gargano got this sort of sad look on his face. Drew continued, saying that he didn’t work so hard to make EVOLVE what it is only “for WWE to step on it and away my glory!” That got quite the cheer from the fans, and I would have loved to know what was going through Gabe’s mind when that happened (and hopefully we will get to see the results of Gabe’s gears spinning playing themselves out of the course of the near future).
Drew criticized people working double-shots for NXT and EVOLVE on the same day. He said “people” but the only one who has done that is Gargano (he did it in January and Lenny Leonard actually told us that the tag title match was put on first because Johnny was doing so today as well). I found this to be a little hypocritical, considering that Drew is currently working for TNA and actually did a TNA-EVOLVE on the Sunday of the previous EVOLVE weekend. But back to the segment…
“Do you know how that makes me feel, Johnny?” he asked his tag team partner? Then Drew Galloway kicked Johnny Gargano in the nuts. “THAT’S how it makes me feel!” Drew then locked Gargano in the Iron Maiden (which is also the same move as Gargano’s Garga-No Escape). Ethan Page came out and pulled Drew off of Johnny, so Drew kicked him in the nuts, too, then laid him out with the Future Shock DDT. Then he screamed a lot and I couldn’t quite understand most of what he said, but he ended it by saying that he was going to go fly home to Scotland now. An AWESOME segment. I’m extremely excited to see if Drew’s comments about the EVOLVE-WWE relationship lead to anything bigger.
CHRIS HERO vs. FRED YEHI- 7.25/10
Yehi once again rejects a handshake. Hero was a great heel, making fun of Yehi’s size (or lack thereof). Speaking of Yehi’s size, I absolutely love how he incorporates it into his arsenal in a very unique way.
As is usually the case with Hero’s matches, the story is about the fact that the opponent just won’t stay down no matter how hard Hero hits him. Hero’s body language is always great, but in this match, he and Yehi took that to a whole different level. It made this match feel very different, and for that reason alone I’d recommend checking this match out (although the fact that it was a great match certainly doesn’t hurt). I think Yehi made a lot of new fans this weekend.
SAMI CALLIHAN vs. ANTHONY NESE (w/SoCal Val & Andrea)- 6/10
Very good for the short time it got (relatively, for EVOLVE, anyway). Callihan made Nese tap out to an arm submission (basically it was Nigel McGuinness’ London Dungeon, but I don’t know what the technical name of the move is).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Good
SoCal Val berated Nese for losing tonight, on the biggest night in EVOLVE history, and with WWE scouts watching, too, which is important because she wants one of her guys to be picked for the Global Cruiserweight Series Tournament. Val says that the Premier Athlete Brand is no more and the stable is back to being Valifornia… but she still owns Nese and Konley’s contracts. She says that Nese had better win at Mercury Rising tonight. Nese snatch the mic away from Val (Andrea came scrambling in to get between them to protect Val) but instead of telling Val to shove it, Nese assured her he would take care of business tonight.
ETHAN PAGE vs. DARBY ALLIN-okay squash.
Darby Allin got to show off that he can do flips. Then Ethan Page destroyed him with a Package Piledriver.
ETHAN PAGE PROMO- very good. He’s got a No DQ’s match against Tony Nese later tonight Mercury Rising, and he is now challenging Drew Galloway to a match when EVOLVE makes its debut in Baltimore later this spring.
USA VS. EUROPE SERIES: Tommy End vs. TJP (w/Stokely Hathaway)- 7.5/10
TJP worked over End’s knee while end tried to knock TJP out. He managed to do so eventually, but the finish felt very abrupt which, in my opinion, hurt the match.
USA VS. EUROPE SERIES: Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.- 6/10
Huh. That was quicker than I was expecting.
USA VS. EUROPE SERIES: Marty Scurll vs. Timothy Thatcher- 6.25/10
Thatcher is still wrestling despite his kayfabe injured shoulder and title defense tonight. This did, of course, lead to Thatcher having to tap out, setting Scurll up for a future EVOLVE Title shot (and perhaps more importantly, indicating that he has a future in EVOLVE).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Sami Callihan’s music hit and Sami cut a promo over the PA system saying that he was in Thatcher’s head and that he would make Thatcher tap out tonight to win the EVOLVE Title.
USA VS. EUROPE SERIES: Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet- 8.75/10
Definitely more of a “moves” match than anything else, but all of the moves were focused on the head so there was some story here. Quite the spectacular match aside from that dumb spot with the People’s Elbows. You’re grown men, not children playing “pretend to be your favorite WWE Superstar.”
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- After the match the rest of the Europeans came out to the ring. Sabre Jr. noted that the series ended at 2-2, so he wants a tiebreaker. He invites all of the Americans to come out and they do, but TJP is not dressed to fight anymore so Sabre asks them to “bring out another American…” and he gets CHRIS HERO!
Hero and Sabre Jr. have a stare-down, but this quickly turns into Hero and Tommy End knocking down everyone else. Hero says that the tie-breaker will be his match with Sabre Jr. at Mercury Rising. Ospreay comes in and takes out Hero. End gets in his face… but then both of them are distracted by the appearance of KOTA IBUSHI! Ibushi rushes the ring but End cuts him off with stomps as he slides under the bottom rope. Ibushi makes a comeback and lays End out with some kicks. Ricochet manages to pull himself up but instead of attack him, Ibushi offers him a handshake which Ricochet accepts, seeing as how they will be tag team partners a few hours in the main event of Mercury Rising. Then Ibushi turns around and offers Ospreay a handshake despite the fact that Ospreay will be on the opposite side of that match. Ospreay snubs him. This whole thing wasn’t bad per se, but there was WAY too much going on and it did feel kind of unnecessary.
RICOCHET GIVES A SPEECH- He gives the standard “I love this company, and you fans are so great” speech. He seemed like an odd choice seeing as how he hasn’t been around in a year and is also under contract to Lucha Underground, who probably don’t want their guys working for WWE’s pet indy. He said he would try to be back as soon as he could.
Another great show from EVOLVE, and quite the newsworthy show as well. Ospreay vs Ricochet was definitely the Match of the Night, but I want to put over the Hero vs. Yehi match one more time. Make sure you watch that one, too.