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Csonka’s Evolve 65 Review 7.17.16

July 17, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s Evolve 65 Review 7.17.16  

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Csonka’s Evolve 65 Review 7.17.16

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Cedric Alexander defeated Tommaso Ciampa @ 18:09 via pin [***½]
– Ethan Page defeated Travis Gordon @ 2:37 via pin [NR]
– Matt Riddle defeated Marty Scurll @ 10:22 via submission [***½]
Catch Point Open Tryout: Catch Point defeated Chris Dickinson, Jonathan Gresham & Darby Allin @ 17:04 via submission [***]
EVOLVE Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher defeated TJP @ 11:36 via submission [**½]
WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tony Nese @ 14:55 via pin [****]
The Final Showdown: Drew Galloway defeated Johnny Gargano @ 17:28 via pin [****]

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Cedric Alexander: Alexander had an awesome match yesterday with Gargano, and Ciampa just had a great match earlier today with Matt Riddle. I am really looking forward to this. They both played to the crowd and did a bit of comedy to play off of that. Ciampa was way more playful than usual, applying holds and telling Alexander to “face the hard cam” as he worked him over. That ended when Alexander leveled him with a great dropkick. Unfortunately that only pissed off Ciampa, who destroyed Alexander with a knee strike. He connected with another on the floor. Ciampa then took a lap around the ring and connected with another running knee. The crowd likes both, but with Alexander being a more natural babyface, Ciampa worked a good subtle heel role to define the roles. They went back and forth with strikes, with Alexander finally using his speed advantage and sending Ciampa to the floor and connecting with a suicide dive. Both guys worked some great counters as we got deeper into the match, leading to some good near falls for both. Ciampa then dropped the kneepad, they then tried to get creative but Alexander slipped and they recovered with a cradle. Ciampa then destroyed Alexander with a lariat and project Ciampa, but Alexander kicked out for a great near fall. Alexander escaped the top rope air raid crash, leading to a series of corner dropkick, a buckle bomb and brain buster for a near fall. Alexander then hit a superkick to a kneeling Ciampa for another near fall, and this has escalated quickly. Alexander missed a frog splash, leading to a series of cradles and near falls. Alexander finally hit a superkick and lumbar check to pick up the win. It started fine, and was entertaining but then they flipped the switch and took it to another level, and delivered a very good opener.

Ethan Page vs. Travis Gordon: This is Gordon’s Evolve debut. Gordon tried to showboat a bit, which Page did not appreciate, so he took him out with a lariat. Page hit the sack of shit slam to the buckles, but Gordon used his speed to make a comeback with some flashy offense. He then ran into a boot, and ate a powerbomb and package piledriver to pick up the win. Similar to last night, this is about Page picking up wins and showing that he’s a serious competitor as he keeps looking for redemption.

– Post match, Page says Evolve will return to New England. But he can’t wait to see Gargano destroy Galloway in the main event. Galloway then attacked and hit the claymore and future shock DDT. Galloway claims he is the sane one around here, and you’re either with them or against them. This is all about saving Evolve, and tonight the winner of his match dictates the future of this company, and he will rip out the heart of Evolve, and will become their new leader. Also it’s interesting that Page keeps saving Gargano, but Gargano still hasn’t forgiven him and refuses to help when he needs it.

Marty Scurll vs. Matt Riddle: Riddle still has the Evolve title with him, which he took from Champion Timothy Thatcher. They worked some solid and basic back and forth to begin, and then Scurll slapped Riddle. Riddle connected with a springboard knees strike, sending the fight to the floor. Scurll hit a superkick and then took the heat, working the arm of Riddle to set him up for the chicken wing and also trying to hurt the grappling of Riddle. Riddle then fought back with some suplexes and knee strikes, halting Scurll’s momentum for a bit. After some back and forth, Riddle connected with the fisherman’s buster for a double down. Scurll managed a pair of superkicks and then a piledriver (which Riddle sells so well popping up) and got a near fall. Scurll looked for the chicken wing, got it, but then Riddle escaped and Riddle hit the JUMPING tombstone for a near fall. Riddle’s look of shock was excellent there. Scurll went for the chicken wing again, Riddle escaped but then Scurll did his finger break spot, but did it on the toes of Riddle. He then did it on the fingers, but Riddle hit a knee strike and locked in the twister and Scurll had to tap. Ok, if you are going to do the “finger/toe break” spot, you HAVE to sell it a bit. Riddle didn’t, at all, and it bothered me because it then just becomes a spot to pop the crowd due to the sound that Scurll makes. That was a fun match, very good overall but not great. Riddle continues to thrive though, even with an opponent who doesn’t work to the strengths that Riddle usually excels with.

Catch Point Open Tryout: Drew Gulak, Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi vs. Chris Dickinson, Jonathan Gresham & Darby Allin: If Chris Dickinson, Jonathan Gresham or Darby Allin score the win, they will get an invitation to join Catch point. Allin is taped up from last night, which I appreciate. The prospects tried to work together and save each other early, trying to show that joining Catch Point was something important to them. Yehi and Gresham beat the hell out of each other in a battle of short and pissed off men. Dickinson and Gresham then tagged in and out, trying to show that they could hit harder than the other. Allin finally got tagged in, which led to Yehi attacking his ribs and Catch point taking control. Williams and Gulak were particularly aggressive, constantly slamming Allin down and targeting the ribs. Allin got the desperation tag, leading to more Yehi and Gresham; I want a singles match between these two. We got some quick tags, Dickinson and Gulak worked and Gulak kept challenging Dickinson to fight. We got some quick tags, with Catch Point keeping control overall. Catch Point again isolated Allin, and this is fine but I keep waiting for it to heat up and it keeps going. Gresham finally took the tag, pulling Dickinson to the floor so he could try and get the win. Allin hit a dive to the floor, Gresham hit a suicide dive and when he returned to the ring, went back and forth with Yehi. Dickinson and Yehi agued, and Dickinson hit him with the sitout powerbomb and then pulled him to the corner for a tag. Dickinson got some run, Gresham blind tagged in and we got a dive, where Williams landed badly and may have knocked himself out. Gulak got the dragon sleeper on Gresham and won. (Williams busted his head open, but was ok and walked to the back.) This was a good match, but it got a level where they got comfortable, stayed there and then started to feel long. It was good, but that’s it.

– Post match Gulak puts over their opponents, and says Catch Point is at their peak. They call out Matt riddle and want to know why he wasn’t there when the team needed him. Gulak says he’s part of the team, but needs to show it. “Bro…” Riddle says he is part of the team, but he has a match coming up with Thatcher. TJP says he has a title match tonight, and plans on winning it. Gulak says no matter what, he will present the winner with the title. Timothy Thatcher arrives, and so does Stokely Hathaway, with his broken thumb from last night. Hathaway is pissed, and says he will be happy when TJP beats him tonight. He wants to run Thatcher out of the company, and when he loses the title, Evolve will get rid of their liability. His new goal is to erase Thatcher from Evolve history. TJP slaps Thatcher and they have to be separated by the locker room.

EVOLVE Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. TJP with Stokely Hathaway: Following the big brawl, they started the title match right away. They brawled early to play off of the pre-match segment, and to also break from the usual Thatcher formula. This led to TJP working the arm of Thatcher, and continually going for an arm bar. Really smooth and focused work by TJP here, no empty space or busy work, everything made sense and as designed to break down Thatcher. Thatcher got a hope spot with a quick arm bar, but TJP countered and got the hanging arm bar in the ropes to slow that. Thatcher would comeback with head butts and uppercuts, but TJP scored again with the arm bar. Thatcher powered him up, with the hurt arm, and slammed out of the hold. Thatcher’s main way of “selling” seems to be holding his arm and making a constipated face, but when it comes to offense, he’ll use it with little thought. Like here when he decided to fire off a bunch of gut wrench suplexes. They exchanged submission holds, Thatcher kept going for the arm bar, and then countered a TJP submission into a cradle for the win. This was fine. Thatcher’s matches have been missing something, last year he could do no wrong, but outside of the Hero match this year (where hero made him work outside of his usual formula) he has come across bland and uninspired I love the style of Evolve and was a big Thatcher supporter, but this was a solid match with nothing wrong other than I kept waiting for the action to intensify and all I got was some lackadaisical selling and a flat finish. I get what they want to do with Thatcher, but it is not working (in my opinion) and I think that they need no move on from him as the top guy. There was a time where Thatcher was the right guy to help lock in the style, but his matches have lacked and there are several others who can be loyal to the style, but adapt and work with anyone and put on better matches at this point.

– Post match, Thatcher pointed at Gulak to hype their August 20th title match.

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tony Nese: Nese made the mistake of trying to grapple with ZSJ, which led to ZSJ trying him up like a pretzel. Nese was able to use a mix of power and speed to make a comeback and finally put some offense together, scoring with a spin kick and then a series of leg drops. Once Nese had control, he was able to find some success on the mat and keep some variety to his game. But as he went for a springboard, ZSJ kicked the knee and sent Nese crashing to the mat. They worked through a series of strikes and counters, and ZSJ connected with the soccer kick. After some back and forth, they again went to the floor where ZSJ hit another soccer kick. Nese went for the double jump moonsault was caught in the triangle, but he then powered ZSJ up and into a buckle bomb for a great series and near fall. They worked some great counters as we got deeper into the match, it felt as if they had worked together a ton as they did that. Nese’s power made for a great counter to ZSJ’s grappling and submission work, allowing him different ways to survive and fight back. Nese countered a series of arm bar attempts and scooped up ZSJ into a sitout tombstone for a near fall. Nese would miss the 450, allowing ZSJ to roll him up and score the win. This was the best thing on the show so far, with the clash of styles working to their advantage, and it leading to a different (but still high quality) match than both men usually put on. That’s not a bad thing, more refreshing than anything.

The Final Showdown: Drew Galloway vs. Johnny Gargano: Gargano hit a superkick at the bell and scored a near fall in the first five seconds. They quickly spiked to the floor, where Gargano ran wild with superkicks and a ton of running nee strikes as Galloway was trapped in the apron skirt. That was really great fire to start the match and to get the crowd into it right away. Galloway fought back and took the fight into the ring, where he beat down and tossed Gargano around, using his size advantage well here. Galloway kept on the attack, and demanding that Gargano just give up and quit. Gargano kept refusing and would fire up, but Galloway kept cutting him off and even slapping him in the face repeatedly because he’s a dick (this is a compliment). They battled up top, Gargano managed to slip out and hit a superkick to the knee and then the backstabber. Gargano was able to put some offence together, hitting the spear through the ropes and getting a near fall. Galloway cut off Gargano’s run with a powerbomb, which got him a near fall. We went to the floor again, where Gargano managed to post Galloway and then hit a sweet tornado DDT off the steps. Back in the ring Gargano hit another DDT for a near fall. Gargano laid into Galloway with chops and then he tried for the lawn dart, but that was countered. Galloway hit the reverse Alabama slam and then locked in the Gargano escape in order to humiliate Gargano, but Gargano countered and escaped. Galloway posted himself and Gargano got the hold again. Galloway would get to his feet, but Gargano got the future shock DDT, leading to the near fall. Galloway begged off, but then raked the eyes and hit two future shock DDTs, but Gargano kicked out at 2! Galloway vowed to kill Gargano, and caught a high cross and hit TWO tombstone piledrivers, but somehow Gargano survived! Galloway was pissed that it did not work, Gargano kept fighting but ate a claymore kick and a JUMPING tombstone to pick up the win and rip out the heart of Evolve. Normally I would hate the over use of the finishers, but they are trying to tell the tale of the “new king” so to speak ending the reign of the face of the company as they write Gargano’s exit. The post match also played into that very well. The main event was very good overall, a different match than anything else on the show, telling the right story with the right level of brutality. As a match in a vacuum it may not be looked on as great as the stars I gave it, but as a complete package with its story, it worked so well and felt like an excellent effort all together.

– Post match Galloway gloated about his victory. He said that today is truly Independent Wrestling day, and that he had to finish Gargano right now. Ethan page arrived to make the save, and sent Galloway packing with the RK-EGO. Page tried to check on Gargano, but Gargano refused his help. Page grabbed the mic and said this isn’t the Gargano that he knows, and not to send people home like this. Gargano said that he doesn’t know how much longer he can do this, and apologized if he let anyone down. They’re setting the stage for Gargano’s exit here, with Page looking to be the one to pick up his shield and keep fighting for Evolve.

– Page then announced the December return to the venue in the same way Gargano used to do to send them home happy.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Evolve 65 was another very good effort from the company. We had good wrestling, the continuation of stories and set up for the next shows. We also look to be getting the culmination of the Ethan Page redemption angle, which looks to see Johnny Gargano exit for NXT and finally forgive Page, anointing him the new protector of Evolve. It’s all coming together nicely for Evolve, as they continue to deliver one of the most confident products out there.