wrestling / TV Reports

Csonka’s Evolve 52 iPPV Review 11.07.15

November 7, 2015 | Posted by Larry Csonka
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Csonka’s Evolve 52 iPPV Review 11.07.15  

 photo EVOLVE_Wrestling-645x370_zpsemxtbnbg.jpg

Csonka’s Evolve 52 iPPV Review 11.07.15

– Ethan Page defeated Lio Rush @ 12:46 via pin [**¾]
– Anthony Nese defeated Peter Kaasa @ 12:48 via pin [***½]
– Matt Riddle defeated Tracy Williams @ 6:53 via submission [***]
– Caleb Konley defeated TJ Perkins @ 17:50 via pin [****]
– Drew Gulak defeated Johnny Gargano @ 22:15 via referee stoppage [****½]
Evolve Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher defeated Drew Galloway @ 17:00 via submission [****¼]

– They did an FIP kickoff show, which ran long and caused the Evolve iPPV to start late. Black Baron vs. Stitch Osiris had a good outing; I want to see more as they worked hard in their match and impressed; they had the best match on the pre-show. Jason Cade impressed again, this time in singles action against Martin Stone. Cade slipped on the ropes late, and it looked bad, but Stone covered for it quickly and went right to the finish. I will be shocked if Cade isn’t brought in for a look by Evolve soon. Hell the January tag tournament wouldn’t be a bad place to give him some run.

– The pre-show main event was for the Florida Heritage Championship. Cauliflower Chase Brown challenged Maxwell Chicago. Brown ate raw cauliflower on his way to the ring. Chicago is a comedy wrestler, who is good in small doses, but can often overstay his welcome. Owens made a comeback and during so ate some cauliflower to power up ala Popeye. He then dropped Chicago on his head during a suplex attempt. Chicago retained with the deep-dish driver.

~ Black Baron defeated Stitch Osiris [***]
~ Jaxson James defeated Joss Hess [**]
~ Vandal and Kade defeated Deimos and Kristofferson [**]
~ Martin Stone defeated Jason Cade [**¾]
~ Florida Heritage Championship: Champion Maxwell Chicago defeated Cauliflower Chase Brown []

NOTE: The FIP pre-show is a separate event, and in no way factors into the final score of the Evolve event.

– The Evolve 52 iPPV was scheduled to start at 7PM ET; it started at 7:57PM ET.

Evolve 51 ended up being an amazing, show of the year contender with Gargano vs. Thatcher being the centerpiece of the event. Thatcher beat Gargano, which was a win he needed to cement his claim to being the face of the promotion. Tonight he faces the man he won the title from, Drew Galloway.

Ethan Page vs. Lio Rush: This is the continuation of the Ethan Page angle, where he has promised to reinvent and redeem himself, and has offered to work the opening matches to prove himself. Rush made his debut last night, defeating Fred Yehi in a good match. Rush has been wrestling for about a year according to commentary and shows a ton of promise. Page looks like a damn giant in there against Rush. Page has done a good job selling this redemption/losing streak angle with his demeanor in the ring and facial expressions. Rush was looking to get momentum, and when he went high risk got caught in the ropes in the tree of WHOA, allowing Page to take back control. They had a back and forth striking battle, and then Page turned Rush inside out with a Yakuza kick for a near fall. Page got a near fall off of the cutter, and then showed a ton of frustration when he didn’t get 3. They fought up top and Page hit a Michinoku driver, but only got a near fall. Page then started to berate Rush and repeatedly kicked him in the face, but rush fought back with the Death Valley driver and then went for the frog splash, but ate boots. Page then hit the uranage for the win. Page didn’t cheat to win, but showed that the “All Ego” side of him is not completely gone. Post match he thanks Rush, and said he needed the win. He then spoke about the tag tournament, and wants to prove how sorry he is to Gargano. He caused Swann to leave Evolve, and asked Gargano to be his partner in the tournament. He called out Gargano, who came out. Page begged Gargano to be his partner, and Gargano says he learned from his mistakes. Gargano then discusses CM Punk, and says a snake will always be a snake and you never trust a snake. He then told Page if he wants to prove he changed, and then says he needs to get out of his ring. Page then left. I really hope that Page is working a version of the Ole vs. Dusty angle here, where he fucks over Gargano in the end.

* Gargano then called out Drew Galloway. Gargano said that they have gone to war with one another, and spoke about how crazy wrestling is in 2015. So he has an idea, since they are uniting all of these companies, maybe they should join forces. Gargano then proposes that they enter the tag tournament together. Galloway said that they are both passionate about wrestling, and they will figure out the name later, but tonight they unite the clans and will team together. * Gargano then called out Drew Galloway. Gargano said that they have gone to war with one another, and spoke about how crazy wrestling is in 2015. So he has an idea, since they are uniting all of these companies, maybe they should join forces. Gargano then proposes that they enter the tag tournament together. Galloway said that they are both passionate about wrestling, and they will figure out the name later, but tonight they unite the clans and will team together. Then promised a fight in the main event because he wants the title back.

Anthony Nese with So Cal Val & Andrea vs. Peter Kaasa: The early portion of the match was a story of one-upsmanship, as both looked to show that they were the better wrestler with the better physique. They had some really great pacing early, with both working hard and not allowing for any downtime. Kaasa had control and took Nese to the floor, and as he went for the Sasuke special, Nese snuck back into the ring and dumped him to the floor with a back suplex. This allowed Nese to get the heat and finally get control of things. Solid heat by Nese, Kaasa then made his comeback and connected with a series of suplexes for a near fall. They did a good series of counters, where Nese flipped out of the German suplex and hit a double stomp for a near fall. They did a good back and forth striking section, and then both did the matrix fake outs, leading to Kaasa hitting the moonsault press slam for a near fall. Nese planted Kaasa with a sitout piledriver, went up top but Kaasa ran up the ropes and hit an Angle slam for a near fall. Kaasa went up top, Andrea took the ref and Val grabbed Kaasa’s leg, allowing Nese to pull him off the top, Kaasa hit the buckles on the way down, and Nese scored the win with a roll up and the rights. This was a really good outing from both, I just disliked the finish; but at least it protected Kaasa, who has been hot since his debut.

Tracy Williams w/Gulak vs. Matt Riddle: Riddle went 2-0 in his debut weekend, and then picked up a big win over Drew Gulak last night. He now faces Gulak’s protégé Tracy Williams. Williams slapped Riddle before the bell, and once the bell sounded Williams scored with a shotgun dropkick and was on the attack. Much like last night’s match, Riddle went to his wheelhouse, taking Williams down and then working for a submission. Williams went the striking route, countering kicks by Riddle and trying to beat down Riddle. Williams had great aggression here, and his offense looked really tight. Riddle got shot to the floor and then Williams went up top and hit a high cross. Williams seems to be taking the best parts of what Gulak did the night before, like he scouted Riddle, and used that to his advantage here. Riddle survived the onslaught, and laid in some stiff offense of his own; and then scoring the submission victory out of nowhere. Another good outing for Riddle, he’s being paired with the right guys and working the right style of match, while showing consistent improvement. This was a nice mix of wrestling and the Evolve grapple style, with a great pace so that it never got boring. I hate those that assume the grapple style is too slow and boring, like any style it can be, but this was a great example of keeping the action fluid while keeping to a style that they have worked hard to embrace. Gulak promised that Riddle hadn’t seen the last of Catch Point.

Caleb Konley with So Cal Val & Andrea vs. TJ Perkins: Perkins defeated Nese last night, and looks to go 2-0 against the Premiere Athlete Brand. Konley tried to get a bit cute at the beginning, trying to grapple with Perkins, which was a mistake. Perkins then went lucha to counter and take the advantage, showing his diversity. Konley would eventually slow down the attack of Perkins, and attacked the back a bit and then worked a surfboard. Konley kept Perkins grounded as he worked the heat, moving from the back to the neck for his focus. Perkins started to make his comeback, running wild with kicks, but also taking the chance to work the ark with some strikes. He then wrenched the shoulder of Konley, softening him up for the potential arm bar finish. Perkins escaped a submission attempt by Konley and almost used a version of La Mistica to get to his arm bar. Konley tried to win my heart, using the Regal-plex for a near fall. Perkins countered a spinning backfist with a kick to the arm, paying off the earlier work, and then hit a dive to the floor. The missile dropkick to the shoulder followed, again keeping his focus. They picked up the pacing down the stretch and worked on some really nice near falls, and the crowd was into this way more than about anything else on the show. Perkins got the arm bar, but Konley powered him up to the corner, and then hit a cradle shock for another near fall. They would fight up top, Konley would dump Perkins and hit the merosault for the win. This was a bit of an anticlimactic finish and I hate the result, Perkins has been built and set on course to battle Thatcher, and should have won here. This is also another example of the 50-50 booking Evolve will do on these double shot weekends, win one night and lose the next. Val put over her boys and announced that they would be part of the tag title tournament. I get that they needed the PAB to win for that announcement, but cutting off Perkins seems like a very bad choice. Konley stepped up again, and it finally feels after years of misfires with him he is hitting his stride.

* Gargano and Galloway, Roppongi Vice and The Premiere Athlete Brand are all set for the January tag tournament. I would also imagine Gulak and Williams will be part of it as well.

Johnny Gargano w/Tracy Williams vs. Drew Gulak: Both men are coming off losses at Evolve 51, and are looking to get back on track tonight. Gulak immediately targets the arm of Gargano, which was worked over extensively by Thatcher last night. They worked North American GRAPPLEFUCK early, with Gargano doing a really good job once again mixing it up. It’s not traditionally his wheelhouse, but between last night and tonight, he has proven he can hang when he needs to. The grappling was some good back and forth stuff, with Gulak continually revisiting the arm of Gargano, again playing off of last night. After a stint on the floor, the tone changed as they started to just kick the shit out of each other, going from a grappling session to a fight for a bit. Things settled back down and Gargano tried to turn the page and work the arm of Gulak. I appreciated the thought in the work, as the mixed things up and weren’t a slave to just one style. Gargano had control for a bit, but threw a clothesline with the bad arm (he’s left handed) and that allowed Gulak to go back on the attack and attack the arm again. Gulak channeling the Andersons here, using hammerlock traps and slams is always great. Gargano continuing to try offense with the injured arm works, because he sells it so well and it is his dominant hand. Things like firing up and missing the inside out DDT, and then having to sell right away because he landed on the arm is 101 stuff, but so often forgotten these days. Gargano had to resort to throwing rights, which didn’t have the same impact, and allowed Gulak to fight through the Gargano hope spots. Gargano countered a top rope clothesline late into the Gargano escape, but like last night didn’t have the strength in the hand to properly clasp his hands, which allowed Gulak to escape. Gulak then used a Japanese strangle hold (using the left arm of Gargano against him) and Gargano passed out for the shocking defeat. Not so much in the fact that Gargano lost two in a row, but that they were definitive losses. It’s a changing of the guard around here for sure. The work was excellent, the call back to the previous night’s injury was great and the selling by Gargano was really amazing here. If we’ve learned anything this weekend, it is that Gargano is still a top-flight performer, putting in selfless efforts this weekend to show that he is no longer the focus of the promotion. I loved that Gulak’s work of the arm meant so much, but appreciated that it was carried over from the previous night. When selling is done the right way, it adds so much to the story being told

Evolve Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Galloway: Galloway promised a fight, and that is how they started here going to the floor and brawling right away. The downfall is that it was a bit difficult to see at times, due to the lighting. They spent a good four-minutes on the floor, making a very clear effort to make this a match that completely strays from the usual Thatcher match, which isn’t a bad thing. Galloway threw everything at Thatcher early, with big strikes and suplexes, and after finally slowing Thatcher down and getting a chance to breathe, he just yelled “FUCK”. Galloway’s offense here was slow and methodical, just brutalizing Thatcher with slams and stomps, it was basic but effective. This led to Thatcher scrambling to survive, and eventually getting an arm bar, but Galloway was at the ropes and he had to break right away. Thatcher would start to connect with some bombs as well as a backdrop suplex, leading to a double down. Galloway stomped on the head of Thatcher repeatedly and hit a short piledriver, and commentary did a good job of mentioning Thatcher’s previous ear injury to play into that. Galloway would also connect with a tombstone for a near fall. Thatcher would simply not quit, and after surviving the onslaught of Galloway, scored the submission win almost out of nowhere. The win is huge for Thatcher, not only to cement him as the man, but to get a real win over Galloway, as the previous win had controversy when Galloway had a foot under the ropes. I also loved the change in match style from the typical Thatcher match, showing his versatility and the fact that he can survive a battle like this.

* Post match Gulak, Williams and Perkins ran in and looked to attack Thatcher, but Riddle made the save. Gulak then challenged them to a tag match, and it’s on.

Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle vs. TJ Perkins and Drew Gulak: IT’S A TRAP as Riddle turned on Thatcher and the new Catch Point stood tall as Riddle locked in the arm bar, and Gulak demanded he give up. Riddle cranked on the arm bar and Thatcher had to tap. Gulak then proclaimed that the ring belonged to Catch Point, and Thatcher’s days as champion are numbered. Gulak said he was in control, making reference to the fact that Thatcher had never beaten him. Riddle promised he was coming for the title.

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

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

 photo fe36ffd0-0da4-4e3b-a2d3-b026b341dd87_zps41ef5d61.jpg
“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Off of the excellent Evolve 51 event, the promotion backed it up putting on another top-notch show, on the level of the previous night. They put on another good undercard, and then delivered in the top three matches. On top of that, they did some build for the tag title tournament, continued the Ethan Page story and most importantly they officially changed the guard with Gargano putting in two excellent, and selfless performances and setting Thatcher as the man moving forward with Catch Point as his official challenge moving forward. When all was aid and done, Evolve delivered their best back to back shot in the promotion’s history and has a ton of momentum heading into 2016. This is another must see event, which you can order VOD at this link.