By Big Red Machine
From August 20, 2016

Evolve 67 (8/20/2016)- New York, NY

LENNY LEONARD MAKES AN ANNOUNCEMENT- We’ll have a special guest commentator for the main event: JOEY STYLES! My two favorite commentators of all time together in the same booth! Joey came out and put over the product and put over Lenny. During the world title match, Lenny will do color commentary while Joey will do play-by-play.


ETHAN PAGE PROMO- he notes than Johnny Gargano has only one weekend left in EVOLVE, and he wants Johnny to forgive him for everything he did and accept that he is a changed man now before Johnny leaves the company… and he’ll do “whatever it takes.” Page’s promo here definitely felt heelish, which was exactly what was needed to put the doubt back in your mind that maybe this whole redemption angle has been a ploy all along.

They did some stuff. It was mostly fine, although there were some points where their timing was a little off.

Hard strikes some good bodywork, and a much more MMA feel than most matches, even in EVOLVE. I’m not a fan of the Katsuyori Shibata “I’m going to let you hit me” spot, but if I were to ever like it, the way they did it here- where it felt like it was coming from a place of actual emotion rather than just doing it for the sake of doing it- is as close I will come. It definitely worked in this match. What Matt Riddle did here was fighting spirit. No selling a bunch of forearms is not.

CRUSIERWEIGHT CLASSIC SPOTLIGHT MATCH: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Cedric Alexander- 8/10
The graphic for this pointless thing gets gaudier and gaudier every month. Thankfully there won’t be any more, as Lenny Leonard told us this would be the last one.
The story of this match was Zack doing, bendy-twisty painful-to-watch Zack Sabre Jr. submission things to Cedric’s arms while Cedric just tried to do whatever he could to fight back, and he eventually managed to turn it into more of a brawl, with Zack doing his best to turn it back. In addition to that story, they had a lot of GREAT reversals in hear, including one completely jaw-dropping spot that you will never see coming, but as soon as you see it, you’ll know it’s the one I’m talking about.

ZACK SABRE JR. PROMO- he’s coming after the title.

This was a very interesting contrast to last night’s pure professional wrestling match between Cody and Zack Sabre Jr. This was your standard Chris Hero strike-fest. It wasn’t as good as last night’s match, but Hero’s matches tend to be… unpredictable, shall we say, in that a lot of what makes the match is the “feel,” of the pacing, which is not only subjective from person to person, but there are sometimes where I feel that Hero and someone else could put on the exact same match twice, and yet the pacing might work for me one night and not the other.
For Cody, this was a chance to show that he can go out there and sell strikes in the indy style du jour, just like last night was him going out there and proving he could wrestle it. Cody lost after Drew Galloway nailed him with a cowbell to help Hero pick up the win, which added an extra something to the match that I can’t quite put my finger on enough to explain why it helped the match so much.
There were some antics in the beginning, and there was also a spot where Hero nailed Cody with a giant Dusty Rhodes foamcore head he grabbed from a fan and Cody sold it like a weapon-shot, but there was no DQ. Other than that, this was a great match.

First Hero cut a good little promo and then left. Then Drew cut a great promo on Cody before he was chased off by Drew Gulak. Gulak then called out Thatcher for the…

EVOLVE WORLD TITLE MATCH: Timothy Thatcher(c) vs. Drew Gulak- 7.75/10
The story here was that at one point there was a change in Thatcher’s demeanor and he really seemed to be trying to hurt Gulak. They had good work the targeted body parts and great mat wrestling, but there was definitely something missing here. It was great, but not what a blow-off of this magnitude should have been. Thatcher finally getting that first win over Gulak (he came in at 0-4) didn’t feel like anywhere near as big a moment as it should have.
Joey Styles and Lenny Leonard were great on commentary together.
Also, of note is the fact the crowd once again seemed to turn on Thatcher.

Gulak lives up to his word to present the title belt to winner of tonight’s match… and Thatcher lives up to his word to hurt anyone from Catchpoint who had touched his championship. I can’t quite call this a 100% heel turn from Thatcher because, in a way, he is justified in this quest for vengeance, but the way he snubbed Gulak’s attempt at honorable conduct with what almost felt like a cheap shot (he was facing him when he threw the kick and he did theoretically warn him) definitely made him feel heelish.
Tracy Williams came out to make the save but DUSTIN came out behind him and clipped his knee. Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III were not far behind, and they started to beat down the Catchpoint guys. Thatcher did not stand up for EVOLVE at all, and instead just took his belt and walked to the back.

They want a mouthpiece for their group. Before Joey can answer, Fred Yehi and TJP of Catchpoint rush past him to save their pals. Williams is helped to the back. Meanwhile, Drew starts screaming and demands an answer from Joey Styles right now. Joey says he wants to think about it. Before Drew can respond, Fred Yehi starts to cut a promo, telling Drew and his cohorts that he and TJP will face them 3-2, but he wants it to be a No DQs match.
As the brawl started, Lenny Leonard noted that throughout all of this, Matt Riddle has not been out here to help his Catchpoint teammates, so I suspect he will be getting another lecture on this subject from Drew Gulak soon. Someone who DID come out to help, however, was Ethan Page, so this match turned into a…

NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH FOR THE EVOLVE TAG TEAM TITLES: Drew Galloway, DUSTIN(c), & Ethan Carter III vs. Ethan Page & Catchpoint (Fred Yehi & TJP) (w/Stokely Hathaway)- 6.5/10
Catchpoint can win the belts by pinning any member of the anti-WWE/EVOLVE team, and if they win, they will be able to defend the titles under Freebird Rules. If you think you might have misread that last sentence, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter now because the champs retained. The match was disappointingly short.

Cody Rhodes came out and cleaned house on the heels. Then Joey Styles came out and made fun of the heels, including telling Drew he should be happy to be wrestling in a promotion “where fans actually have to pay for the tickets.” Joey is apparently going to be the new “matchmaker,” and so he altered the main event of next months’ return to NYC: instead of Gargano vs. Cody, we’re getting Gargano & Cody vs. Drew & Hero.

Another solid show from EVOLVE, but the top matches didn’t quite deliver at the level they needed to. The main event in particular was a big disappointment. EC III is a great promo, but never delivers up to the in-ring standards of EVOLVE, and Chuck Taylor/DUSTIN also doesn’t have the best reputation for delivering in main event. They’re both good pieces to the puzzle, but maybe they should be kept out of the main event unless they’ve got something REALLY big that they can give enough time to.

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