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Csonka’s Evolve 39 Review 3.26.15

March 27, 2015 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s Evolve 39 Review 3.26.15  

As a reminder, this will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard. Remember, this is a review; and I am here to review the show. As always, I encourage discussion and even disagreement, just do so in a respectful manner. I will be doing the review for Raw and most PPVs and iPPVs going forward.

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Evolve 39 Review 3.26.15

~ Drew Gulak defeated Timothy Thatcher @ 13:30 via pin [***]
~ Biff Busick defeated Tommy End @ 9:30 via submission [**½]
~ Chris Hero defeated Ethan Page @ 14:00 via pin [**¾]
~ Rich Swann, Ricochet & Uhaa Nation defeated Caleb Konley, Brian Cage & TJ Perkins @ 20:00 via pin [***]
~ DGUSA Open The Freedom Gate Title Match: Champion Johnny Gargano defeated AR Fox @ 22:00 via pin [***¼]
~ No Restrictions, No Limits Evolve Title Match: Champion Drew Galloway defeated PJ Black @ 18:00 via pin [**]

You can order Evolve on iPPV at this link.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Gulak: Gulak cut a pre-match promo, discussing that pro wrestling has lost it’s way; but guys like he, Busick and Thatcher are looking to rectify that. His effort and winning matches is what matters, and if it real enough people will feel it. These guys, for those that have not seen them, work a more grappling/submission based and sometimes hard-hitting style. They had a great match last year at the Wrestling Odyssey event during Mania weekend; in what was a British Rounds match. The style is excellent when done correctly, and these guys do it well. Evolve has brought in the right guys to have these type of matches, and have been able to separate themselves a bit by focusing on the style. Gulak’s focus was on scoring with his ankle lock, as he continually worked his grappling to get to the legs and try for the hold. Thatcher was working the arm. The grappling was really clean, and not overly choreographed, which sometimes ground exchanges come off as. Also, the style is such a departure from the typical wrestling, every thing means something, no running the ropes to run the ropes; these matches have a gritty, almost real feel that I appreciate. Thatcher would turn the tide late in the match, going for the ankle lock, but Gulak used clever reversals to counter. Thatcher’s work was more based on the arm, and as he went for a kimura late, Gulak countered into a cradle for the victory. Gulak is now 4-0 against Thatcher. They have a good crowd, which responded well to the style. Overall this was a good opening match, showcasing the style that Evolve has been pushing this year really well. Some of the arm and leg work ended up being just there as it never played into the finish, making it not mean as much as it has in past matches like this.

Biff Busick vs. Tommy End: Tommy End is making his debut with Evolve, and has received a lot of hype. He has a kickboxing background and uses that for a striking style. Chris hero “endorsed” him for a shot in Evolve, which is a new gimmick that they are using to introduce new talent. I like to describe Biff Busick as a technical brawler, similar to a Fit Finlay in some ways. They started off pretty basic, and then it broke down a bit as End started to show off his striking to take advantage of things. End’s strikes look good and it helps that he’s likely laying in some stuff really snug with a guy like Busick. The crowd responded well to his stuff, and he looked to finish off Busick with a bicycle kick, but Busick countered into the headlock takeover into the choke and End went to sleep. Post match Busick called out Hero, stating that Hero endorsed End and that End got choked out. They face off tomorrow. That was a good way to set up the match with Hero, and overall End did well for himself. Busick has been on a roll, so the debut loss won’t hurt him. The match overall was fine, but never got into the next gear. Again, this was really more about setting up Hero vs. Busick tomorrow night, which isn’t a bad thing, but I was hoping for more.

* Note: It may have been a miscalculation kicking off the show with two matches that have such a similar vibe.

Chris Hero vs. Ethan Page: Page cut a pre-match promo, and thanked Gargano for endorsing him for this shot, and he hopes to make him proud. Oh he’s turning on Gargano this weekend. He also joked about his lack of crowd response and the fact that they likely didn’t know who he was. Hero is a former Evolve champion, so the match with Busick will be important in terms of who gets a title shot down the line. The early portion of the match was Hero being one step ahead of the newcomer, dominating early. They went to the floor, which featured more beatings from Hero. Page then started to battle back, but I never really bought into his near falls. At one point, Hero no sold a cutter and planted Page with a sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Page had a near fall when he countered a moonsault into a cutter, but no one bought it unfortunately. Hero then unloaded with strikes, removed the elbow pad and destroyed Page with an elbow and scored the win. They set up Page a resilient, but the outcome was never in doubt for the live crowd or myself. They just didn’t buy into Page, and I felt that it hurt the match. This could have been cut a few minutes quite honestly.

* Hero cut a post match promo, and says Busick hasn’t earned the right to use his name, and that he’s not afraid of him. Busick then came to the ring and said Hero was afraid of him and being choked out. Busick then gave Hero a free shot to KO him, but Hero refused because he wanted the chance to kick his ass tomorrow. Busick then went for a choke and Hero bailed.

Rich Swann, Ricochet & Uhaa Nation vs. Caleb Konley, Brian Cage & TJ Perkins w/So Cal Val and Andrea: Perkins is in for Trent, who appears to be done with WWNLive due to ROH and NJPW commitments. Uhaa Nation is finishing up this weekend, as he is WWE bound. They did some really fun stuff early with Nation and Cage, showing off both their power and athleticism. It broke down late, we got dives and everyone in trying to take each other out, leading to a spot where all six men were down. Miscommunication between Perkins and Konley led to Konley eating a press slam by Nation, the 450 from Swann and then the Uhaa combination to end the match. In some ways there was a lot of fun to be had, but the match surely had its issues. First of all it felt too long, with the heat on Swann lasting too long to the point it started to get boring. This could have been shaved down a bit time wise. Nation winning makes little to no sense, due to him leaving. Also, if Konley (one half of the tag champions, and also in a match tomorrow night) had to take the loss, why not lose to Swann, who he’s wrestling tomorrow night? Why have Konley lose at all when Cage and Perkins (not regulars) were there to take the fall. Especially Perkins when they did the post match angle of him walking out? They have certainly had better six-man matches, and the overall booking left a lot to be desired, in my opinion.

* Post match Andrea hit low blows on Nation and Swann, while Cage took out Ricochet. Konley then laid out Swann with a belt shot, allowing the heels to stand tall. Val then read Perkins the riot act, because he cost them the match. He then bailed. I hate that ending when I see it four times a week on Raw (lose but stand tall) but it does help set the stage for Johnny Gargano & Rich Swann vs. Caleb Konley & Brian Cage tomorrow night.

DGUSA Open The Freedom Gate Title Match: Champion Johnny Gargano w/Ethan Page vs. AR Fox: Gargano is a two time Open The Freedom Gate champion, while Fox is a former Evolve champion. They ended up going to the floor early, and teased a lot of stuff until Gargano hit a tornado DDT on the floor. There are times where I feel AR Fox is a fun performer, and there are times where I feel everything he does is contrived. I also think that Gargano is really good. Early on, this match felt too contrived at times, where you just saw the set up and everything coming in a bad way. They did cool stuff, they did the right stuff at times to get near falls but none of them had that juice or made you feel pulled into the match. I never really bought them, it just felt as if they did stuff, then did more stuff and then they did even more stuff. Gargano did a suicide dive late, and when he connected they broke through the barricade, which finally woke up the crowd. That had to suck for the people in the front row. Gargano either tweaked the knee or was just selling really well down the stretch following that. Gargano countered the Lo Mein Pain late, and hit a buckle bomb and lawn dart for a near fall. Fox then hit Lo Mein Pain and a 450, for another near fall. Gargano finally got the Gargano escape for the win. They picked things up down the stretch and finally got me to buy into some of the near falls, but the beginning didn’t click that well with me. Still, this ended up a quality bout, even if it started as a struggle.

* Fox and Gargano shook hands post match, while Page was a bit of a dick. Lacey they appeared to interview Gargano. Gargano will defend his title on Saturday against Drew Galloway, if Galloway still is Evolve champion, the match will be to unify the titles. Gargano wished Galloway good luck and then put over WWNLive as the place to be if you love wrestling.

No Restrictions, No Limits Evolve Title Match: Champion Drew Galloway vs. PJ Black: Drew Galloway is of course the former Drew McIntyre, while PJ Black is the former Justin Gabriel. Following his WWE release, Galloway has done really well with WWNLive and has become a good champion. I wasn’t the biggest fan of how early he won the title, but the run has been quality stuff. I really don’t see Galloway losing here, as the unification match on Saturday is a big selling point and something that has been expected for some time. So they well have their work cut out for them making Black feel like a real threat to the title. They had a back and forth opening, with Black getting some run until Galloway started to use his size to take control. He stomped on the legs and started to work them over to ground Black, so of course he then hit like four dives because, selling, what’s that all about? They did the big trading punches spot late in the match, and like 3 people did the, “BOO… YAY” thing, which was really depressing. Galloway sold frustration at not being able to put Black away, so Black hit three superkicks and got an emotionless near fall. Galloway hit a piledriver, kick out. Second rope air raid crash, kick out. Black slapped him, he hit the future shock DDT and that was the finish. They tried to write an epic, but I never bought into Black winning and the near falls had little to no emotion. Galloway appeared to be doing everything he could to make this epic, but it simply did not click with me at all and came across as a disappointing main event overall. So far, Black has not followed in the footsteps of Galloway and Trent in having great post WWE performances.

* Lacey interviewed Galloway about the title vs. title match on Saturday. Galloway put over Black for the match, and then thanked the fans. He ranted about this being pro wrestling, that he loves this, and then said he’d beat Gargano. He promised to lead the ship as a dual champion and to prove himself as the best. Gargano appeared, they had a standoff and Galloway said he respected him but that this was his ring. Gargano said he’d been here for six years and that this was his ring. Galloway said that Gargano has gotten to do what he loved, and now he is proving himself, and then asked him to leave the ring or he would knock him on his ass. Galloway promised to kill Gargano if he has to prove himself. They shoved each other and Page appeared to break it up but they rolled around a bit until Page and Swann pulled Gargano to the floor.

* 411 will have LIVE WWE Hall of Fame coverage, starting at 7:45PM ET on Saturday night.

* 411 will have LIVE WWE WrestleMania 31 coverage, starting at 5PM ET on Sunday.

* I will be also be doing reviews for Evolve 40, SHIMMER 71, The WWN Super Show, King of the Indies (both night one and two) and of course WrestleMania. Make sure to follow 411 all weekend, as we have all of the shows covered that are on PPV or iPPV.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Going into this show, I had really been enjoying the Evolve product, the vibe, direction and quality of the shows were good and I felt that they were on the right track. Unfortunately this was the show that things just didn’t click. There was some solid and even fun at times wrestling, but the general feeling I had was that the show had a ton of potential but never got there. I did appreciate the build to the Hero vs. Busick and Gargano vs. Galloway matches though. But some of the matches went too long, the booking of the six-man wasn’t what it really should have been and the main event was a big disappointment for me. Add in that they didn't deliver that one great match (that we usually get at the very least) and this was a rough start to the weekend for Evolve, easily their weakest show of 2015 so far.