DREW GULAK vs. JAKA- 7.75/10
It's one of Gulak's last nights in the company and yet he beats the up-and-coming talent here tonight. Why? Because Gabe understands that winning is just one part of getting over to an indy wresting fan in today's day and age. Gabe used Gulak to help get Jaka over by taking a guy many fans were ambivalent on in Evolve and using Gulak to help prove to the fans that he can have an Evolve-style- and more importantly, an Evolve-quality- match. To help prove that Jaka belongs. Also, not losing here will make it mean more when Gulak does lose to Tracy Williams tomorrow night.
LARRY DALLAS INTERVIEWS DREW GULAK - OUTSTANDING segment
Larry wants to know if Drew's comments on the last show- that "Catchpoint is a failure" means that Catchpoint is dead. Drew dodges the question by reaffirming the former statement but not commenting on the latter. He instead says that he will focus on winning the "WWN Title," which I didn't even realize was going to be a thing.
Tracy Williams then came out and said that Catchpoint was never only about Drew; that it's bigger than he is, and thus Drew doesn't get to unilaterally declare it dead or judge it to be a failure. Larry Dallas interrupts Tracy to stir up sh*t, claiming that everyone sees him as being in Gulak's shadow. The segment continued, with all three guys being utterly tremendous. In terms of in-ring work, Evolve is one of the best out there, but in terms of storylines, Evolve is THE BEST... and they do it all with simple, basic, realistic, emotional, HUMAN stories.
There are Matt Riddle "b.R.o." shirts. Now you all know what to get me for the holidays.
DUSTIN vs. CHRIS DICKINSON- 6.5/10
On commentary, Lenny Leonard confirmed that Drew Galloway has been suspended indefinitely for striking an Evolve official at the last show. He also noted that this was Galloway's second time being suspended for doing so, which makes me wonder if Gabe has already come up with a kayfabe way to write Drew out in case TNA has some sort of way to pull him. Or it could just be Lenny Leonard doing what most wrestling announcers fail to do by having an accurate memory for relevant information. Either way, this was one of those little things that makes me love the presentation of the Evolve product all the more.
Dickinson is now doing those stupid Shibata spots, but at least he is showing a lot of emotion so it feels like more than just a "look at how tough I am" spot just for the sake of doing the spot. Also, DUSTIN's reaction in taking advantage of Dickinson's foolishness via eye-rake made me smile because it's exactly the sort of thing I wish Shibata's opponents would do.
The match was quite good. Like with his tag team partner Jaka earlier, this definitely felt like Dickinson trinyg to prove himself. Both Dickinson and Jaka lost tonight, so tomorrow they will have a "Do Or Die" match for Evolve contracts against the pairing of Peter Kaasa & Darby Allin. Speaking of Darby Allin, it's now time for...
DARBY ALLIN vs. BRIAN CAGE- 5.5/10
If there was ever a perfect opponent for the typical Darby Allin match, it's pretty much got to be Cage. They had your standard Darby Allin match where he gets destroyed the whole match aside from his few suicidal highspots, but this time we got a new twist on the (awesome) finish to fit in with Allin's vow to not be pinned. Cage came in as a hired gun of Ethan Page to take revenge on Allin for costing Page's Gatekeepers the tag titles at the last show. Because of that, after this match ended, we got an...
ETHAN PAGE PROMO - he's only got one Gatekeeper with him because the other was injured by Allin last month. He cut an awesome promo on Cody.
CODY RHODES vs. ETHAN PAGE (w/one of the Gatekeepers)- 7.25/10
Just last weekend I was talking up how unbelievably fresh heel Cody felt in ROH, and now, a week later, I am so happy to be back to seeing pure, white meat, babyface Cody. What happened in the intervening week? The announcement that he is joining Bullet Club. That's how stale Bullet Club is right now.
Annnnnnnnnnd... never mind what I just said. I don't quite think this was a heel turn for Cody so much as it was more of an acknowledgement that he might need to start fighting fire with fire, but either way I wish he would have just stayed pure babyface. A promo to explain things would be nice.
After the match, Page scolded his Gatekeeper for failing to keep the gate. The Gatekeeper did not look happy about this.
Does Cody's music remind anyone else of EC III's?
MATT RIDDLE vs. JEFF COBB- 7.5/10
The story here was that Cobb's size was too much for Riddle to overcome, so Riddle had to rely on technique. Cobb suplexed Riddle all over the place and was too big for Riddle to lock in the Bro-mission on. I was expecting a broadway here but Cobb got the big win to establish him as a top player in his Evolve debut.
STOKELY HATHAWAY TRIES TO RECRUIT JEFF COBB TO THE DREAM TEAM - great segment.
Once again Stokely is wearing Timothy Thatcher's Evolve World Title while Thatcher is out with an injury. Stokely was awesome, as always, although his promo probably went a bit too long. Cobb eventually turned him down, saying he wants the Evolve Title instead.
EVOLVE WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Catchpoint (Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi)(c) vs. Peter Kaasa & Ricochet- 8/10
The story of this match was, interestingly enough, the Evolve style against the Dragon Gate style. They didn't out right say it, Lenny Leonard did kind of hint at it (he said that Catchpoint has come to define the Evolve style and noted that Kaasa and Ricochet are both Dragon Gate guys), and the wrestlers certainly seemed to work like that was the case. That meant we got hard-hitting and submissions from the Evolve guys and crazy athleticism from the Dragon Gate guys, which might have peaked with Kaasa doing some sort of crazy corkscrew lionsault type of thing that I still don't entirely believe that I saw. Awesome match.
CHRIS HERO vs. DICK TOGO- 8.75/10
Yeah, so Dick Togo totally completely still has it at age forty-seven. This match was F*CKING AWESOME!
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - good
Chris Hero started to cut the usual show-closing "I love Evolve/thank you for coming promo," which is a good way to once again drive home that he is no longer part of Drew Galloway's anti-Evolve stable. Hero was confronted by the last remaining member of that stable- who is also his opponent tomorrow night- DUSTIN. DUSTIN offered to have their match right now instead of tomorrow, but Hero declined because he's not an idiot. Hero walked off, leaving DUSTIN with a slap in the face, which the fans taunted our heel over as Lenny Leonard signed off.
Yet another completely awesome show from Evolve. Tomorrow night's show could be nothing but Toru Yano, Grado, Heath Slater, and Eva Maria reading poetry to blow-up sheep dolls, and Evolve would still get my vote for Promotion of the Year.