Evolve 64 (7/16/2016)- Queens, NY
OPENING SEGMENT- Stokely Hathaway comes out and says that “Dream Team Management” (i.e. himself) has decided that TJP needs an extra day of rest before his title shot against Timothy Thatcher tomorrow night and thus the advertised TJP vs. Zack Sabre Jr. match won’t be happening. I’m assuming that this is an angle. Hell… it had f*cking better be an angle, Gabe!
CRUISERWEIGHT CLASSIC SPOTLIGHT MATCH: Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Gargano- 7/10
They even have the official Cruiserweight Classic logo pop up in the beginning of the match like they used to do with the shining title belts in ROH. Okay. We get it. A bunch of EVOLVE guys are in the Cruiserweight Classic. We get it. I was fine with the focus on it for the last few shows because there were EVOLVE storylines being progressed, but this seems like focusing on the Cruiserweight Classic purely for the sake of focusing on the Cruiserweight Classic.
This was a very smooth, fast-paced, hard-hitting opener. This is type of match I think we’re going to get a lot of as we go deeper into the Crusierweight Classic.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- great!
First that dastardly Drew Galloway attacked Gargano from behind in anticipation of their match tomorrow night. Ethan Page came out to protect Gargano, using his own body to shield Johnny from Galloway’s chairshots. Drew Gulak came out to make the real save, then cut a promo challenging Galloway to a match, right here, right now! (He also called EC III a “Fred Flintstone lookalike,” which made me burst out laughing).
It looked like we were going to get the match, but instead of Drew getting in the ring like he teased, CHUCK TAYLOR showed up and jumped Gulak from behind and laid him out with his finisher. The rest of Catchpoint (aside from Matt Riddle) came out to protect Gulak, and in one of those beautiful little touches that makes EVOLVE so great, while Yehi and Williams were shouting at Galloway and Taylor, Stokely Hathaway was quietly doing his best to keep TJP in the corner and calm so that he wouldn’t get into a fight a possibly get injured going into his title match tomorrow night.
Speaking of title matches, Galloway said that “Dustin” had carried Johnny Gargano in the early days of EVOLVE just like he had carried Gargano when they were tag champs together earlier this year… and to prove it, he wanted Catchpoint to give them a shot at the tag titles later tonight. Williams cut a great promo accepting the challenge. Catchpoint are the best tweeners ever.
DARBY ALLIN vs. CHRIS DICKINSON vs. FRED YEHI vs. TONY NESE- 4.5/10
The first spot in this match was Allin charging at Dickinson and getting back body dropped over the ropes, landing with some part of his body (it looked like his legs but might have been his pelvis) landing on the metal guardrail, then falling down and landing on either his back or his head- or both- on the metal part of the floor that said guardrail is built into. If he keeps taking the sort of bumps he has taken in his short time in EVOLVE, it will only be a short time until he stops wrestling- for EVOLVE and for everyone else.
The other guys did some stuff before Allin found his way back in it after about three minutes. He then got up and proceeded to take another crazy bump, though this time there were guys there to catch him (he still might have banged his arm on the guardrail on the way down, though). This guy is insane.
The match was short. Most of it was guys beating up Darby Allin, who was pinned by Nese in the end. There was also a bit towards the beginning with Yehi showing a very Catchpoint brand of opportunism, going roll-ups on anyone who got caught focusing on someone else. That was cool, as it was something we usually don’t see from Catchpoint, but which does very much fit into their philosophy.
ETHAN PAGE vs. WHEELER YUTA- no rating, good squash
Page is still selling his arm from the earlier chairshots by Galloway. He also looks quite pissed. He started this match off with a HUGE f*cking kick that caught Yuta right on the chin. He proceeded to beat the crap out of Yuta. Yuta got in one brief flurry, but Page finished him off in quick and dominant fashion, ending it with a SICK Package Piledriver. For those paying close attention, this is now the second time that Page has come out to a match angry about an earlier attack from Drew Galloway and absolutely destroyed some young newcomer to EVOLVE who is looking for a big opportunity (the first being Darby Allin at Evolve 59).
ETHAN PAGE PROMO- AWESOME!
He makes a public plea to Johnny Gargano to forgive him. He first talks about the beatings he has taken for Gargano, then points out that Gargano has so much on his plate between NXT, EVOLVE, and this war with Drew Galloway that he can’t possibly do it on his own and needs someone to help him. Page finishes it off by asking Gargano to listen to the fans.
This promo was perfect! It is a perfectly natural expression of frustration, but because this is pro wrestling, that whole “just forgive me already and let me be in your corner” thing always seems suspicious, and even more so when you consider Page and Gargano’s history together. Like Lenny Leonard, I really want to believe that Page is sincere- and his actions certainly seem to back that up-, but I also have this little voice in my head that Gabe Sapolsky and CM Punk put there a long time ago, and it says, “The greatest thing the devil ever did was make you people believe he didn't exist...and you're looking at him right now!”
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. JIGSAW- 8.25/10
An absolutely wonderful submission grappling match that then incorporated some high spots and some striking and eventually finished off in your more typical American style.
RODERICK STRONG vs. MATT RIDDLE- 8.75/10
Riddle is wearing Timothy Thatcher’s EVOLVE World Title match. No one from Catchpoint came out with him.
More world class bro-on-bro action than a feud between Von Erichs! Roddy is still Roddy no matter where he goes, and Riddle is amazing. Mat wresting, defensive wrestling, hard strikes, submissions, suplexes, faceplants, and even a high spot or two. What more could you want (other than ten more minutes, obviously)?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- great!
Riddle dares Thatcher to come take his belt back. Then he rubs it on his junk. Thatcher finally comes out, but once again he just stands there while Riddle insults him and his belt. Thatcher just takes his jacket off because I guess his match is next.
Stokely Hathaway rushes out and yells at Riddle for not being out here with the rest of Catchpoint earlier, defending the company’s honor. He then cuts a promo saying that Riddle will have to hand the title over to TJP when TJP beats Thatcher tomorrow night. Stokely does suggest that the next time EVOLVE returns to Queens (September 11th), TJP will defend the title against Riddle. Stokely grabs the belt, then remembers that Thatcher had previously said he would hurt anyone who touched his belt and gets very scared. Thatcher grabs Stokely and breaks his fingers (Riddle laughs his ass off at this), which he did to Biff Busick back at Evolve 48, which was the last time we saw Biff in EVOLVE. Nice to see Thatcher finally remember to bring his testicles with him to an EVOLVE show.
EVOLVE WORLD TITLE MATCH: Timothy Thatcher(c) vs. Marty Scurll- 8.25/10
Thatcher let Riddle take the belt back because he hasn’t yet repaid his “debt” to everyone in Catchpoint or whatever metaphorical silliness Gabe is using in this angle. Scurll worked Thatcher’s entire arm, from the shoulder to the fingers. Thatcher tried to go for Marty’s arm, but it often felt more like he was just fighting to survive. He eventually picked up the win with a sick headbutt to the back of Scurll’s head and then a sleeper hold.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- F*CKING AWESOME!
TJP comes out and attacks Thatcher in order to avenge Stokely. The other Catchpoint members come out to calm him down and restrain him. Gulak and Thatcher go nose-to-nose… but then Riddle let TJP escape and TJP hit Thatcher in the back of the head with a sucker kick and knocked him out!
Then Drew Galloway and Dustin showed up, and Riddle, Yehi, and TJP were heading to the back, Galloway told Riddle “you don’t need any machine behind you.” Interesting.
EVOLVE WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Catchpoint (Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams)(c) vs. Drew Galloway & Chuck Taylor/”Dustin”- 8/10
Awesome back-and-forth tag team main event.
DREW GALLOWAY & “DUSTIN” PROMOS- great.
Drew says he is only doing what is best for EVOLVE. It’s okay that the fans don’t believe him. That’s because they “don’t know any better.” But thankfully Drew is here to tell us what is best for us. He promised that their stable would be in full force next month in Brooklyn: Drew Galloway, EC III, Dustin, Chris Hero, & Cody Rhodes.
Dustin cut a promo saying that “Chuck Taylor is dead, and all of you idiots killed him.” Dustin is upset that the fans didn’t support him like they supported Gargano.
A fantastic show from EVOLVE. Awesome wrestling up and down the card, and whole bunch of segments that felt like major moments in multiple storylines.