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Csonka’s Evolve 70 Review 10.15.16

October 15, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s Evolve 70 Review 10.15.16  

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Csonka’s Evolve 70 Review 10.15.16

– Darby Allin defeated Anthony Henry @ 8:15 via pin [**½]
– Nathan Cruz defeated Jason Kincaid @ 11:20 via submission [**½]
– Fred Yehi defeated DUSTIN @ 11:40 via submission [***]
– The Gatekeepers defeated Bunk and Funk @ 1:55 via pin [NR]
Evolve Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher defeated Ethan Page @ 18:55 via submission [DUD]
– Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tracy Williams @ 26:45 via submission [***¾]
– Chris Hero defeated Drew Gulak @ 22:15 via pin [****]
– Matt Riddle defeated AR Fox @ 10:45 via submission [***¾]

Darby Allin vs. Anthony Henry: Henry attacked right at the bell, couldn’t keep the advantage as Allin picked up the pace and then hit a springboard Nestea plunge to the floor. That boy ain’t right. Back in, Henry cut him off as he went for another springboard, and worked him over the tree of WHOA. A hammerlock back suplex off the ropes then got the near fall. Henry took the heat and worked the arm. Solid focus by Henry here and Allin is great in the underdog role. Allin tried for a backslide but couldn’t due to the arm, allowing Henry to keep on the attack. Allin escaped another hammerlock suplex and then did a version of the Funk tumbleweed roll and got a near fall. Henry cut him off with a knee strike and hit a TKO on the ropes and sent Allin to the floor. Henry following with a suicide dive, rolled Allin back in and hit the frog splash for the near fall. He then transitioned into a Regal stretch, but Allin countered into a pinning combo for 2. Henry hit a German, and then powerbombed Allin and locked in the Texas cloverleaf. Allin managed to make the ropes. Henry kept control here, set Allin up top and set him in the tree of WHOA again and laid in kicks to the injured arm. Allin fought out, sent Henry to the mat and hit the Nestea plunge off the top and picked up the win. Darby Allin defeated Anthony Henry @ 8:15 via pin [**½] That was a solid little opener, with good limb work by Henry and selling from Allin. Allin is great in the underdog role.

Nathan Cruz vs. Jason Kincaid: Both men are making their Evolve debuts here. Cruz is the first ever PROGRESS champion, and Kincaid impressed at a recent tryout. They worked a slow back and forth to begin with some nifty escapes, Kincaid was frustrating Cruz, so Cruz slapped him. Kincaid slapped him back and fired away with kicks. Kincaid hit a springboard forearm to sent Cruz to the floor. Kincaid followed with a 619, but Cruz cut him off and sent him back to the floor. We got some floor brawling; back in and Cruz worked a sleeper. Kincaid escapes with the jawbreaker, but Cruz then hit a slingshot belly to back suplex for 2. Cruz took some time to mock Kincaid as he beat on him, and then grounded him with the chinlock. Kincaid fought back with a knee strike, power slam and then a double stomp The springboard dropkick followed and Kincaid covered for 2. They did a series of reversals and then Kincaid hit a wacky springboard sling blade. Cruz then caught Kincaid with a code breaker for 2. Kincaid tried to fight off Cruz, and hit a sunset flip to the buckles. Kincaid then hit a coast-to-coast dropkick and sent Cruz to the floor. Back in and Kincaid hit a slingshot cutter for 2. Kincaid then went up top, all the way to the post and missed the double stomp. He started to favor the knee, Cruz attacked and then hit the Michinoku drover and locked in a reverse cloverleaf and Kincaid tapped. Nathan Cruz defeated Jason Kincaid @ 11:20 via submission [**½] This was another solid effort from both guys, but it felt as if it was lacking something. The crowd is garbage so far, not even reacting to the big moves all that much. Both guys worked hard, but it wasn’t a blow away performance from either.

Fred Yehi vs. DUSTIN: DUSTIN attacked at the bell and worked over Yehi in the corner. Yehi quickly fought back and stomped away on DUSTIN’s hands, so he took a powder to the floor. Back in, and Yehi again stomped away at DUSTIN and then hit the basement dropkick. Yehi always looks so angry and I love it, the man doesn’t know how to smile. Yehi then laid in some chops and worked a neck crank. A suplex followed and Yehi went back to the neck, working the stump puller. Yehi them delivered strikes to the knee and again stomped away on DUSTIN. DUSTIN then managed to send Yehi to the floor, followed and slammed Yehi to the barricade. Back in and DUSTIN stomped away on Yehi for some revenge, hit the butterfly suplex and posed a bit for the crowd. DUSTIN continued the heat, slowly beating down Yehi and mocking the crowd. Yehi eventually fought back and then hit a German for the double down. They traded forearms, DUSTIN hit soul food but Yehi fought right back and hit a pair of Germans. The rolling elbow then got 2. DUSTIN hit the knee strike and superkick, the DDT followed and DUSTIN covered for 2. Yehi countered a piledriver attempt and then headed up top but DUSTIN hit the run up belly-to-belly, and both men were down again. They traded forearms, Yehi then fired up with chops and stomps but DUSTIN cut him off with the toss up powerbomb. DUSTIN went for the awful waffle, but Yehi transitioned into the koji clutch and DUSTIN tapped. Fred Yehi defeated DUSTIN @ 11:40 via submission [***] That was a good match, with nice intensity from both guys and some great back and forth stuff throughout. Angry Fred Yehi is great, and I love his intensity in everything he does.

Bunk and Funk vs. The Gatekeepers w/Ethan Page: The Gatekeepers are the men formerly known as Blaster McMassive & Flex Rumblecrunch. The Gatekeepers attacked right away, and beat down one man and then tossed him to the other so he could tag out. They basically destroyed and no sold in Road Warrior fashion. They then hit a doomsday device variation and won. The Gatekeepers defeated Bunk and Funk @ 1:55 via pin [NR] That was a good little squash.

– Page proclaimed the Gatekeepers the most dangerous men in wrestling and then ran down Timothy Thatcher as a failure. Page promised that tonight he reminds everyone how great he is when he wins the title. He will carry the company to the highest it’s ever been. Thatcher arrived and wanted to defend his title right now.

Evolve Title Match: Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Ethan Page w/The Gatekeepers: Page backed off right away and tried to use the ropes to keep Thatcher away. Page then powdered and played the stalling game. Page finally came back in and Thatcher took him down and out grappled him, Page got the ropes. More stalling from Page, back in and Page caught him with a right to stop Thatcher from grappling. Thatcher caught him in a guillotine; Page escaped in the corner and hit a suplex. Thatcher quickly went after the leg and grounded Page, who finally got the ropes for the break. Thatcher worked knee strikes and uppercuts, a suplex followed and Thatcher then started to work the arm. Thatcher went for an arm bar, but Page countered into a cover for 2. Page again took a powder to the floor. Page eventually made his way back in and Thatcher worked knee strikes and went after the arm again. We’re eight-minutes in and this is like watching paint dry. Page managed to fight back with some strikes, Thatcher made his angry face as Page hit a slam. Thatcher cut off Page with knees, they went to the apron and traded strikes. Page then hit something resembling a DDT on the apron, and then hit a back breaker on the floor. Page then slammed Thatcher to the apron and they brawled at ringside, Thatcher landed strikes and rolled back into the ring. The Gatekeepers rolled Page back in to save him from the countout, Thatcher hit a gut wrench suplex and another. Thatcher hit a third and Page again rolled to the apron, where Thatcher worked an arm bar. Page caught Thatcher with a kick and hit RKEGO. Thatcher did the Road Warrior Hawk no sell and beat on Page, Page hit a series of kicks, but Thatcher head butted him to stop that. They slowly worked up top, fought back and forth and Page hit the RKEGO off the ropes for 2. There is no emotion in the ring on from this crowd right now, this simply exists. Page called for the package piledriver, Thatcher escaped and we got a REF BUMP, and then another. Low blow by Page, the Gatekeepers hit the ring and Page promised to send Thatcher packing. Thatcher then made his own comeback, tossed the Gatekeepers and Page then ht Thatcher with the Evolve title. New ref in and Thatcher kicks out at 2. The second ref gets taken out, Page grabs the string and tries to choke out Thatcher. Thatcher escaped, hit a head butt and Page kicks out at 2. Arm bar by Thatcher, Page fought out and got a roll up for 2, arm bar again by Thatcher and Page taps. Champion Timothy Thatcher defeated Ethan Page @ 18:55 via submission [DUD] This was not good by any definition of the word. First of all this match lasted about 4 hours long, and it felt every minute of it. There was no real emotion, no real drive, it was simply flat. And then, then the did the horrible overbooking with the ref bumps and such, which added nothing. Finally, Thatcher fights off the Gatekeepers and Page all on his own, and defeated Page clean in the end. On the last show, Page was christened the new top heel, he took out the Evolve poster boy and was set to roll and now feels completely derailed because he got his shot and tapped out after getting almost every heel advantage in the book; he simply feels like a loser. This was bad from a wrestling standpoint and from a booking standpoint. And I don’t want to hear about not “getting” Thatcher. I was a huge supporter of his, but his 2016 has been poor. I love the grappling style, but there is a fine line between methodical and bland and he crosses it way too often. So when the work is flat, you add in the overbooking and then the fact that Page ‘s character felt as if it was executed here. This was a failure. I was actually very interested in the match, but it never clicked on any level for me.

– Stokely Hathaway is out now. Hathaway says he won’t get in the ring because Thatcher broke his thumb. Hathaway has forgotten things and says he’s been studying Thatcher. Hathaway had some ladies with him and made it rain for Thatcher, and says he does everything that Thatcher hates; the talking, the fame, the glory, the money. Hathaway tried hard to recruit him. Thatcher walked out and Hathaway says he never said no.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tracy Williams: They went back and forth early, both looking to gain the advantage. Both guys used slick transitions and counters in the opening minutes, with neither man able to get a sustained advantage. Both guys were able to use some inventive counters, and for as much as I have watched both guys, this felt fresh in its execution. So far all of the mat work has come off effortlessly, with Williams slowly starting to gain an advantage. ZSJ cut him off, they traded some strikes and ZSJ started to target the arm. Williams rolled out, and transitioned into a rear naked choke but ZSJ got the ropes. Williams then started to mix in more striking. This allowed Williams to take things to the mat and work the bow and arrow. ZSJ escaped and started to kick the hell out of Williams’ arm and was showing way more aggression. They then trades strikes and chops center ring, ZSJ scored a takedown and locked in a head scissors. Williams rolled for a pin, but ZSJ started to tie him up even more and was also working the arm; Williams got the ropes. I love when guys take something simple, like a cravat, and put some stank on it and make it look extra painful like ZSJ was doing here. Williams tried to counter with a bally to back suplex, it didn’t connect well and ZSJ landed oddly as Williams finally started to put some offense together. Williams then worked the cross face, ZSJ scrapped but Williams hit the belly to back suplex, which landed clean and covered for 2. Williams landed kicks to the back, so ZSJ did his Shibata impersonation and called for him to throw more and tried to no sell them. Williams then kicked the shit out of him and covered for 2. Williams then worked a knee bar, ZSJ countered with an arm bar but Williams countered into a cross face. They kept countering holds and Williams got the ropes. ZSJ hit a tiger suplex for two and then locked in the dragon sleeper. Williams escaped and got an ankle lock; they worked through counters once again with Williams hitting a series of suplexes and then a lariat by Williams for 2. ZSJ fought off a piledriver, and the jackknife cradle got 2. Williams laid in more strikes, but ZSJ hit the brainbuster and PK for a near fall. We got more counters, with ZSJ dropping down and getting a knee bar, but Williams worked the ankle to counter and they then traded strikes. They both tried for heel hook variations, and then traded kicks before both men breaking their holds. Williams again got an advantage in the striking, and then ZSJ scored with the triangle. Williams powered out and powerbombed ZSJ on his head, he covered for two and then Williams hit a NASTY looking piledriver and ZSJ survived. I am surprised ZSJ is alive after those head drops. ZSJ finally cut off Williams and got the double arm bar and Williams had to tap. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tracy Williams @ 26:45 via submission [***¾] This was a very good match, and they had to battle to overcome the title match that seemingly destroyed a crowd that was not al that into things in the first place. From a technical standpoint this was excellent, they also had some great intensity, but I also feel that his was a match that would have been way better with some editing, and cutting 6 to 10-minutes as it started to feel long, especially after the previous match. Still, this was easily the best thing on the show so far.

Chris Hero vs. Drew Gulak: As you would expect, they opened things up with a slick and well done grappling exchange. While the opening grappling exchanges aren’t exactly fast paced, both guys clearly have a goal and you can see it as they execute. Gulak had the early advantage, grounding Hero to nullify his size advantage. Hero worked to escape and went to his striking game, but Gulak again grounded him. Hero made the ropes, and after trading strikes Hero tried for the piledriver, Gulak fought it off and Hero hit a series of elbows. Gulak would again fight off a piledriver, and hit a series of dropkicks. Hero finally hit the bog boot and sent Gulak to the floor. They brawled on the floor as Hero slammed Gulak into the barricades. Gulak fought back and in the ring he scored with the dragon sleeper; hero got the ropes and they returned to the floor. Hero then started to destroy him with strikes as they battled on the floor. Gulak would beat the count, but walked into Hero back on the attack. Hero continues to beat on Gulak, and Gulak finally scored with a belly to back suplex. More than anything this pissed off Hero, but Gulak finally was able to fire up and put some extended offense together. Gulak hit a series of atomic drops, which Hero sold like death, and Gulak got a near fall off of those. Gulak then hit a series of corner forearm smashes, but Hero dropped him with a cyclone kick for a near fall. Hero started to punish Gulak with forearms and then spit in Hero’s face. They traded big strikes and Gulak got the lariat for a near fall. Gulak then stomped away on Hero and called him a piece of shit. They went face-to-face and started to destroy each other with strikes and chops. Gulak got a sunset flip for a near fall, and then got the dragon sleeper. Hero dropped to the mat and fought for the ropes and got them. Gulak looked for a piledriver, Hero fought and then got a roll up for 2. Hero then hit the stuff piledriver, and then a Gotch piledriver followed, but Gulak survived. Hero then delivered a series of forearm strikes, Gulak looked to be finished and Hero hit a rolling elbow to the back of the head and that was that. Chris Hero defeated Drew Gulak @ 22:15 via pin [****] That was a brutally awesome match, with Hero playing the bully perfectly and Gulak fighting for everything he had, and finally failed after Hero hit him with everything. The intensity was off the charts here, and they delivered an excellent outing that the show needed.

– Drew Galloway arrived and congratulated Hero for being a true independent wrestler and then buried Matt Riddle for not taking his opportunity. He also blamed Riddle for hurting his neck, which led to his injury and the fact that he is out for six weeks. It was a miracle that he wasn’t out of action for over a year. And tonight, he brought back the first Evolve champion to face Riddle, a man that helped form Evolve and he is a man that will steal the show and teach Riddle a lesson. AR Fox had an issue with management, but he had the stroke to bring him back.

Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox: As Riddle made his entrance, Fox hit a dive to the floor and we’re underway. They made their way into the ring and Riddle tried for a choke, but Fox got the ropes and talked shit to Riddle. Riddle then took Fox down and was out grappling him wit ease. Riddle worked for an arm bar, but Fox made the ropes. Riddle worked knee strikes in the corner, but Fox hit sling blade and then the corner clothesline. Riddle managed to avoided a corner charge and then hit the springboard knee strike. They brawled to the floor and Fox then hit the lo mein rain to the floor. Fox then laid Riddle on the apron, and went up top and connected with the leg drop, which led to a near fall. Fox talked more trash, and Riddle fired back with strikes but Fox hit the enziguri. Riddle then countered Fox and hit the desperation fisherman’s buster, and both men were down. Riddle would light up Fox with strikes and an up kick, and then hit the BRO TO SLEEP for a near fall. Riddle laid in knee strikes, and then followed with rolling gut wrench suplexes. The bridging German followed for a near fall. he got “Bro Plex City” chants. Riddle laid in more knees and kicks to Fox, but Fox managed a bicycle kick and Riddle countered sliced bread but Fox scored with a cutter. The swanton got a near fall. Fox back up top and the 450 misses, and Riddle hit elbow strikes and then the bro mission and Fox tapped. Matt Riddle defeated AR Fox @ 10:45 via submission [***¾] That was a totally different Matt Riddle match and that is a good thing as he worked with someone new and moved away from his usual strengths at times, but still made it work. Riddle is a joy to watch at this point as he grows with every performance, makes the most of his time, constantly delivers and jus gets it.

– Post match DUSTIN attacked Riddle and he and Fox worked him over, but Catch Point made the save for Riddle. Galloway and crew bailed as Gulak got the mic. Gulak says Catch Point is about respect, and wants to know if Riddle is with them. Riddle says he never left and we got handshakes. Williams was reluctant, they did shake but those two have had matches and are always competitive. Catch Point stood tall to close the show.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Average
The 411
Things started off solid and then went off the cliff for the title match, and this show really felt as if it was in trouble. Thankfully the final three matches really saved the show from being one of the worst Evolve shows in some time. If you’re cherry picking, the final three matches are the must see matches from the show. I really am not sure what they’re doing with the world title scene at this point. Thatcher feels dead as champion, and it felt as if Page was going to win to follow up on the Gargano beat down and that they would build to the big Riddle match, since Gargano anointed him the new face of Evolve. But the booking here contradicted that line of thought. This was not a bad show by any means, but one of the weaker Evolve shows of 2016.