By Big Red Machine
From November 09, 2019
Dan Barry is our “live event host” now. He wastes some time doing nothing on a show with a run-time that is under two hours.
COLBY CORINO (w/Mike Donovan) vs. A.R. FOX (w/Ayla Fox & the Skulk) - 7/10
I’m sure this has at least a bit to do with the fact that he is rarely allowed to get in so much offense or have a match that goes this long, but this was the best I have seen Colby look. A.R. Fox treated him like an equal, and it felt like a big step up for young Colby. A great match.
SKULK PROMO - The important part here was Leon Ruff talking about how much it meant to him to have the chance to wrestle someone he grew up watching.
BIG GAME LEROY & WRECKING BALL LEGURSKY vs. THE SKULK (Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray) - 3.75/10
So we’ve got a guy who won’t put his Nintendo Switch down against a guy whose gimmick is now apparently that he wrestles while stuck in his shirt. What has this company become?
REINA GONZALEZ vs. SHOTZI BLACKHEART - 3.75/10
Reina Gonzalez! Now that is a woman who comes off saw actually tough, instead of Shotzi Blackheart’s “I play tough on TV” vibe. Reina beat the sh*t out of Shotzi and Shotzi sold well… and then Reina just went and got herself DQed for hitting Shotzi with her cowbell. Reina then cut a promo saying that Shotzi wasn’t fit to represent EVOLVE in NXT.
CURT STALLION & BRANDON TAGGART vs. HARLEM BRAVADO & ANTHONY GREENE (w/Brandi Lauren) - 6.75/10
This was a very good tag team match. Stallion is an excellent babyface in peril, Taggart is great in his role as the big babyface with the hot temper, and Greene and Bravado are gelling very well as a heel tag team.
ARTURO RUAS & ANTHONY GUTIERREZ vs. THE UNWANTED (Sean Maluta & Joe Gacy) - 6.25/10
This match stems from an angle they shot on the recap show for the previous show. I always like it when they throw an angle onto a show you’re not expecting to see anything on because it makes things feel more spontaneous and real.
The heels won with a low blow on Gutierrez. Not only did the referee not see it, but Ruas didn’t either, so how he responds to this loss will be a good test of his newfound respect for Gutierrez.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Unfortunately, before we could learn more about Ruas’ temper and belief in his new partner, he got attacked from behind by Eddie Kingston and floored with a Backfist to the Future. Kingston then cut a promo demanding that Babatunde come out for their scheduled…
RELAXED RULES MATCH:
Babatunde vs. Eddie Kingston - 4/10
Very disappointing. Babatunde still hasn’t shown much real progress. In this supposedly “relaxed rules” match they didn’t do anything you wouldn’t see in a regular match.
MATT SYDAL vs. LEON RUFF - no rating
Sydal suffered an injury very early on. He left ringside of his own volition and the referee followed him. The commentators and fans both had no idea what was going on. The fans felt cheated and chanted “WHAT THE F*CK!” It was weird because you couldn’t tell Sydal was injured at all so fans really had no idea what was going on so it’s hard to blame them for their reaction. I also think EVOLVE’s crew could have handled it better. A big X sign from the referee would have been nice, just to quickly communicate what had happened, and Dan Barry making a joke about being Sydal’s replacement really felt like it was rubbing salt into the wound of not getting this exciting match more than it did breaking the tension
NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH:
Anthony Henry vs. J.D. Drake - 8/10
Henry works on the back and gets the win in a brutal match. This would be fine except that we had the same thing on the previous show with Drake winning, so all they’ve done is gone 50-50, and that doesn’t get anyone over as we’re now back to square one.
LAST CHANCE EVOLVE TITLE MATCH IN WHICH ANYONE WHO INTERFERES WILL BE BANNED FROM EVOLVE:
Austin Theory(c) vs. Josh Briggs - 5.5/10
Anthony Greene and Harlem Bravado attacked Briggs from behind before the bell, so they're not technically interfering in the match and thus won't be banned. Are there no babyfaces to come out to Briggs’ aide? Where are Curt Stallion and the Skulk? Some fans started to chant “bullsh*t,” and I completely sympathize with them, as it felt like we were getting cheated out of our main event title match.
Theory declared himself and the winner and left but we got the bit where Briggs demands that the match take place anyway so Theory comes back and beats on him for a while until Briggs turns the tide and wins. I just don’t understand why Gabe would do this instead of giving us a nice, full, clean main event that gets main event time and where Theory works over Briggs’ injured hip, bringing Briggs’ story to its natural conclusion.
Making matters worse was the fact that the spot that saw Briggs turn the title was Theory trying to use the title belt as a weapon right in front of the referee and losing the tug of war for the belt, then getting hit in the nuts by Briggs- the babyface- when the referee was off putting the title belt away. Making things even worse is that after one more bit of offense for Theory (including an Ataxia that looked very bad), Briggs took over and got the win off of yet another spot where Theory distracted himself by yelling at the referee.
Briggs win was supposed to be something big, but it was overbooked to the point where it felt both painfully inevitable and extremely underwhelming. This was a confluence of storyline factors that completely failed.
This was a very disappointing show from EVOLVE. There are definitely bright points in the promotion, but the ringwork often isn’t what it should be, and the creative really feels like it has faltered into total mediocrity (and that might even be a bit generous). 2019 has been such a downer of a year for this company, and blowing Briggs’ title win like they have feels like the absolute epitome of that.