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Csonka’s Evolve 51 iPPV Review 11.06.15

November 7, 2015 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s Evolve 51 iPPV Review 11.06.15  

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Csonka’s Evolve 51 iPPV Review 11.06.15

– Peter Kaasa defeated Ethan Page @ 14:21 via pin [***¼]
– Matt Riddle defeated Drew Gulak @ 12:50 via submission [***]
– Lio Rush defeated Fred Yehi @ 9:55 via [**¾]
– Tracy Williams defeated Martin Stone @ 14:20 via submission [**¾]
– TJ Perkins defeated Anthony Nese @ 18:45 via submission [****¼]
– Drew Galloway defeated Caleb Konley @ 11:35 via pin [****]
Evolve Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher defeated Johnny Gargano @ 28:25 via pin [****¾]

ACW Kick Off Show

– They ran an ACW kick off show, which started at 8:25PM ET or so. The first match was a bunch of guys (7, and I caught it part way through) working really hard to impress. It came off sloppy a lot of the time, but they tried and it had its fun moments. Jason Cade stuck out as someone with a lot of potential.

– Bucky Wells vs. Jaxson James was next. Jaxson James looks like he is working with a Gunner starter kit; scraggly hair, some tattoos and the beard. Wells has good size and a solid base of skills it appears. This was solid, they tried but there were a few moments where the action really lacked flow, like start and stop and start again style stuff. Wells won with a sloppy TKO at about 5:50; both guys have some potential, they just came off as guys that need to work more.

– The next match was CJ O’Doyle vs. Deimos. These two recently faced off, and O’Doyle attacked Deimos’ injured arm from that match right away. The ACW commentary did a good job of trying to inform without going too far with talking points. O’Doyle mostly focused on the arm, using crossface at one point, but Deimos escaped. O’Doyle then started to randomly yell for his former partner, allowing Deimos to make a comeback. O’Doyle then ran through Sideshow’s (his former partner) signature stuff. O’Doyle yelled a lot again, and Deimos hit a chokeslam with his injured arm. Come on son. We then got a run in by Francisco Ciatso as Deimos ran wild and a DQ at 7:10. And then, Mark Silva (a giant, jacked up Mark Coleman type that Vince McMahon would love) made the save and we had our next match.

– Mark Silva vs. Francisco Ciatso was next. Silva had good power stuff, but his selling is sketchy and you can tell he needs more time to put things together smoothly. Silva won with the jackhammer @ 4:55.

– ACW Title Match: Champion Sideshow vs. Aaron Epic. Epic won the opener to earn the title shot. The pre-show was supposed to start at 8PM ET and started late. It’s 9PM ET now, which is when the Evolve PPV was set to start. CJ O’Doyle joined us for commentary. The commentary team did a lot to sell the upcoming O’Doyle vs. Sideshow match that is coming up, but the match felt like a complete afterthought both in the presentation and the work. It wasn’t bad, but it was very flat. Epic showed good fire late, and actually tried to cheat at one point to win the title, which commentary sold well since he never does that. Sideshow won @ 5:59 with the Omori driver. It was fin, I didn’t see enough to make me want to invest in ACW, but I appreciate WWNLive doing the crossover stuff with promotions that air on their network.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

WWNLive.com iPPV

Evolve 51 iPPV Kicks Off Here

* The Evolve iPPV finally kicked off at 9:17PM ET. Lenny Leonard and Rob Naylor will do commentary tonight. They then announce Trevin Adams, who says that they will have Evolve tag team champions. On January 22nd, 23rd and 24th they will gold a tournament to crown the champions. Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Romero) is the first team announced for the tournament.

Ethan Page vs. Peter Kaasa: Following his loss to Johnny Gargano, Page claims to have clarity thanks to the words of Sami Zayn, saying that he is a new man. He claimed to have seen the light, and stated that he apologized to Gargano and the entire WWNLive Universe. He wants to start at the bottom and earn his way to the top without all of the shortcuts, even offering to be in the opening match. Peter Kaasa is Earth Two Chris Sabin, he looks like him a bit and can do highflying stuff, but is jacked and has a great power game. Kaasa may be more jacked than the last time I saw him. Page came off more reserved, playing off of the video packaged I discussed. Page played things cool and on the up and up, but Kaasa was getting the better of him early. Page would fight back and take control, but the story was that he wasn’t working with any confidence and was continually upset when he couldn’t put Kaasa away. Kaasa did the awesome cross body counter into a moonsault slam, which always looks cool. They did some fun stuff down the stretch, including Kaasa hitting the deadlift German with the bridge for a near fall and Page turning Kaasa inside out with a yakuza kick. Kaasa kept countering the uranage, and then ran up the ropes in the corner for a sweet tornado DDT. Kaasa is a freak. Page got a near fall off of a cutter, they did the big striking exchange and Kaasa hit a spinning Sasuke special to the floor. Kaasa then finished off Page with the 630. It started off slow, and may have went a bit too long, but they worked themselves into a good match to kick off the show. Page looked devastated as he lost again, but he shook hands with Kaasa and sold the disappointment as he left.

Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle w/Tracy Williams: Gulak is one of Evolve’s established stars, and one of the guys that specializes in the grappling style. Riddle debuted at the last set of shows, is a former MMA fighter and went 2-0 on the previous PPVs. He takes a big step up in competition this weekend, after working short matches his last time out, against one of Evolve’s top guys. Riddle shot for a takedown right away and tried for a choke, but Gulak got the ropes. This was Riddle’s gameplan early, taking Gulak down and looking for submissions. Gulak would gain control using more traditional pro wrestling moves. Riddle is doing a better job of mixing the MMA style in with the wrestling, and with the style Gulak uses, they did some really nice transitional stuff. I laughed when Riddle just no sold an Irish whip and looked at Gulak like, “what’s this bullshit?”. Gulak would eventually toss Riddle to the floor and then used a dive and missile dropkick, going outside of his comfort zone, to take control. They would get into a striking exchange, which was bad news for Gulak. Gulak continually used the ropes to escape submissions, and then Riddle did it late and laughed at Gulak and yelled, “those are the rules, man!” Riddle would get upset down the stretch as Gulak kept kicking out at 1, showing no respect for the offense of Riddle. Gulak went up top late, and Riddle “sorta” caught him with an arm drag into the cross arm breaker for the submission victory. The finish was a bit off, but the overall match was good, with a good pace and was completely different from the opener. This was a big step for Riddle, going nearly 13-minutes and showing good improvement. The story was really good, and the win by Riddle is a really big one.

* Gulak put over Riddle post match, and thanked him for the match. Riddle then said Gulak was like everyone else, a steppingstone. Williams laid out Riddle with a cheap shot, setting up their match for tomorrow. Gulak said that this was a lesson, because in wrestling, anything can happen.

Lio Rush vs. Fred Yehi: Both men are making their Evolve debuts tonight. Yehi looks like he’s wearing his PJs. He eventually took them off and had tights on. They did some fast paced counter wrestling to begin, Rush slowed it down and then worked some kicks. Yehi had enough of that shit, blocked a kick and then just punched the foot of Rush. Yehi scored with a series of suplexes, and then slowed things down with the body scissors. Rush would escape and get some run, connecting with kicks, but would run into an STO, an then Yehi locked in the koji clutch. Rush managed to roll to the ropes and got the break. Rush looked to control with a series of strike, but Yehi just head butted him in the throat, and then hit a fisherman’s buster for a near fall. Rush hit a standing Spanish fly, and then hit the frog splash for the win. This was a good little showcase match, a little too frantic at times, but it featured strong performances from both. I would not mind them being brought into the mix, especially for Florida shows, since I believe that these guys work out of Georgia.

Tracy Williams vs. Martin Stone: Martin Stone had a run in NXT as Danny Burch, and works a lot of FIP and Evolve. Williams is part of Gulak’s stable, and is another guy who specializes in the grappling. They worked a basic and solid match early, with some good counters mixed in. The match was laid out in a very even, back and forth style. The work that they did was fine, they had some nice hard hitting exchanges and it picked up well down the stretch, but it felt too long to me. Stone is basically an enhancement guy for Evolve, a solid hand, but he’s slotted in his position. Williams has a match with Riddle on tomorrow’s show, so the win here makes sense. But that was my main issues with the booking, and that is the fact that Stone got in way too much, in my opinion. Williams has a marquee match on tomorrow’s show, and gave way too much to a guy that never wins on Evolve shows. This was a match that Stone should be having with a newcomer, not a guy on the rise. The match was not bad at all, it went too long and was simply the wrong match to work here in my opinion. Williams hit a piledriver and DDT for a near fall, and then scored the win tithe the crossface. Shorten it up, cut out some of the beginning back and forth and strengthen Williams’ portion and it works much better for what they were trying to accomplish. It felt as if they wanted to give Stone some legitimacy, but it was the wrong place and time to do so.

TJ Perkins vs. Anthony Nese w/Andrea: Perkins is Manik in TNA, and is a joy to watch in Evolve because he gets time to work and gets to work the style he really likes. Nese is an Evolve mainstay, and is a very consistent performer. There are issues here, going back to Mania weekend when Perkins was brought in as part of the Premiere Athlete Brand. SoCal Val was not pleased by his performance, and their relationship was short lived. They went with the easy power vs. speed work early, which worked very well, and then went into the grappling, where Perkins had the advantage. Nese scored control off a stiff kick, and controlled for a bit in a solid heat. Perkins fought back and tried to work the arm, but Nese again cut him off and hit a running boot to Perkins on the apron. Perkins didn’t exclusively work the arm, but the minimal work early was continually referenced as he made comebacks as a means to cut off Nese’s momentum. Perkins used an arm bar, hammerlock slam and then a missile dropkick to the arm, maintaining a nice focus as the match went on. Nese spiked Perkins with a Michinoku driver, and Perkins rolled to the floor. As Nese brought him back in, Perkins attacked with the arm bar. Nese was able to use the good arm to buckle bomb Perkins with one arm. They had some really good near falls down the stretch, including Nese hitting a RANA off the top, where he dead jumped from the mat to the top rope. Nese missed the 450, then they traded roll ups and Perkins then grabbed the arm bar one last time and that was that. This was am awesome match, Nese really sold well and Perkins is having a great year in Evolve. I constantly say that if you like his short appearances in TNA, you need to see his Evolve work to really appreciate him. This was the best match on the show by a wide margin.

* Post match Timothy Thatcher came to the ring to get some revenge on Perkins for his actions and attack from the last shows. Gulak and Williams came out to help Perkins to the back. They’re doing a slow build to Perkins vs. Thatcher.

Drew Galloway vs. Caleb Konley w/Andrea: Former Evolve Champion Drew Galloway was suspended in storyline due to attacking Andrea as well as an Evolve official and is making his return tonight. SoCal Val (manager of the Premiere Athlete Brand, consisting of Konley and Anthony Nese) won’t be here tonight, as she fears for her safety. She has instructed Konley to finish off Galloway. Konley attacked Galloway on the floor before the match even started. They then brawled through the crowd and back to the bar area. It was a bit difficult to see at times, but appreciate the thought behind it. First of all it differentiates it from the other matches, and also fits the edict from Val to end Galloway. Galloway drank a beer after hitting a tilt a whirl slam onto the bar. Andrea got involved, and Konley accidentally hit her. After five minutes of brawling, they finally got into the ring and we got the bell as Andrea got carried to the back. Konley sent Galloway to the floor, where he landed in the front row of chairs. This allowed him to take control of things after the countout tease. They kept a good fight vibe here playing off of the brawl, with Konley using elbows and stomps to beat down Galloway. Galloway fired up and hit a clothesline off the top and then a sitout powerbomb for a good near fall. Konley hit a great run, where he countered the future shock and hit a backdrop driver and then a shining wizard for a near fall. Konley with some really good work here tonight, really working like a player instead of just another guy, which he has been for a lot of his run. He’s had flashes, but he led a good match here as the dominant and vicious heel. Konley had control until he ate boots on the Merosault attempt. Galloway then took Konley to the second rope and told him it was time to die as he hit a air raid crash off the ropes, but it only got 2. Galloway couldn’t believe that wasn’t the finish, me too brother. He finally hit the sick kick and future shock to pick up the win. This was another great match, just below the previous one in quality, but it also was worked in a completely different style. This was great work from both men.

* Before the main event started, Ethan Page came to the ring to apologize to Gargano. He knows Gargano didn’t watch his video and that everyone is sick of him. When Gargano made him say I QUIT at Evolve 49, he quit the match but also was quitting who he was. Gargano brought him to Evolve and he tried to ruin it all. He wanted to apologize to everyone on iPPV, and asks what he has to do. Gargano discusses his history with Evolve, and then says tonight is the biggest night of his career. If Page wants to prove that he changed, “get out of MY ring”. Page leaves and looks like a sad panda.

Evolve Title Match: EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Johnny Gargano: This came about after Sami Zayn endorsed Johnny Gargano as, “the face of WWNlive,” which he has been for the last few years. This insulted Thatcher, who is the Evolve champion and had his coming out party over Mania weekend. Thatcher is one of the guys that really feels well built by Evolve, and this match will either see Gargano continue to rule, or will finally crown Thatcher as the man. They shook hands, but both refused to let go, so they had the tough guy standoff. Thatcher used his size and strength advantage early on, and that led to him taking the fight to the mat and working his grappling game. Gargano would see some success in his counter work, but Thatcher dominated the early portion rather easily. They did a rapid-fire grappling/counter exchange, where Gargano finally got the Gargano escape, but Thatcher was right by the ropes and Gargano had to break. After a lot of dominance by Thatcher, Gargano found an opening and started to work the knee of Thatcher. Really good work from Gargano, but Thatcher was able to swing things his way and start to work the left arm of Gargano. Gargano is left handed, which works really well, and Thatcher loves to finish with the arm bar. Thatcher did that Finlay/Suzuki shit where he worked the fingers, trying to cripple the hand of Gargano, trying to eliminate the Gargano escape as a possible finish. They both sold well, Gargano went for the lawn dart, but the hand was too hurt and he took too much time, allowing Thatcher to fight back and hit the tower of London. Gargano’s selling a babyface fire here was especially good, and was a big part of what made his early run a success. The selling down the stretch was well done as they went for finishes, Gargano could not clasp his hands for the escape due to his damaged hand and Thatcher could not get the bridge/angle during the arm bar due to his knee. With both men realizing they had to do something different to try and win, they resorted to a good striking exchange to mix things up. Some smart stuff here as Gargano hit the superkick to the knee and tried the figure four, and then went young lion and worked the half crab. Gargano went back to the escape, but had issues clasping the hands, allowing Thatcher to get the ropes. Gargano ate a knee on the Superman spear spot, and Thatcher went back to the arm bar and Gargano finally tapped, Thatcher retains in a 30-minute match that was awesome, and was not only one of the best Evolve matches of the year, but is in the top 20 or so I have watches so far.. I will admit that I was really worried that the styles would clash here, but Gargano was game to grapplefuck when needed and did it well. They worked a tremendous match, and Gargano tapping clean was the win that Thatcher needed. This was so damn great in regards to the work, the vibe, the importance of the victory for Thatcher, this was a complete package.

* Galloway came out for promo time, and discussing his loss to Thatcher and how Evolve has risen in the ranks. He mentions Triple H discussing Evolve and guys being signed. They have a non-title match set for tomorrow night, but Galloway calls for the rematch to be for the title. A referee gets involved, and says it is all about the rankings, and Galloway isn’t the top ranked contender. Trevin Adams now appears after they scare the ref away and says that Evolve will sanction the match as a title match if Thatcher agrees, and he does.

– You can purchase Evolve on iPPV and VOD at this link.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
This was an excellent show, with a strong undercard and the final three matches delivering huge. We got to meet new faces, we continued the story of Matt Riddle, Ethan Page is figuring out who the new Ethan Page is, Peter Kaasa continues to impress, Anthony Nese and Caleb Konley stepped up big time in singles matches; Galloway, Perkins and Gargano all put in tremendous performances, and Thatcher got the win he needed as champion to be looked at as the man. This was the best Evolve show of the year, and one of the three best shows of the 2015. Buy it, with your money at this link.