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Csonka’s Evolve 71 Review 10.16.16

October 16, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s Evolve 71 Review 10.16.16  

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Csonka’s Evolve 71 Review 10.16.16

Non-Title Fight To The Finish: Drew Gulak defeated Timothy Thatcher @ 14:20 via submission [***¾]
– Tracy Williams defeated Jason Kincaid @ 18:15 via pin [***¾]
– The Gatekeepers defeated Joe Coleman and Eric Locker @ 1:10 via pin [NR]
– Ethan Page defeated Sami Callihan @ 13:45 via pin [****]
– DUSTIN defeated Darby Allin @ 11:00 via pin [***¼]
– Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Fred Yehi @ 20:45 via submission [****]
– Chris Hero defeated Matt Riddle @ 17:35 via pin [****½]

Non-Title Fight To The Finish: Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Gulak: No gear here tonight, they are in regular clothes (Gulak in jeans, Thatcher ready for some basketball) here tonight. They brawled at the bell, and quickly went to the floor. They brawled around the building, including back to and onto the bar. They fought up into the second floor, and both teased tossing the other over the balcony. No one died because they fought back to the floor and then backstage. They actually brawled all the way into the parking lot and then onto the stage, where Gulak beat on Thatcher with chairs. He then tossed Thatcher off the stage and dove off onto him before they brawled into the streets in front of the building. After a brief time outside, the fight returned to the bar where Thatcher fought back and slid Gulak down the bar. Thatcher worked him over with knee strikes, uppercuts and head butts and at about 12-mninutes in they finally returned to the ring. Thatcher laid in some bitch slaps, but Gulak fired up and hit some slaps in return. They both started to land German suplexes and then Gulak trapped Thatcher in the roped with the dragon sleeper and Thatcher had to tap. Drew Gulak defeated Timothy Thatcher @ 14:20 via submission [***¾] That was a great street fight style match, and succeeded because both guys worked with intensity and also because Thatcher got out of his comfort zone. He succeeds well when he allows himself to get away from “his style/bubble,” and this was another example of that.

– Stokley Hathaway again tried to get Thatcher to join him, noting that he will take care of everything Thatcher hates, and that Thatcher can just do what he loves, wrestle. Thatcher shook hands with Hathaway and the ladies made it rain.

Tracy Williams vs. Jason Kincaid: Both men are coming off losses at Evolve 70; Kincaid is the newcomer, while Williams is the established roster member as part of Catch Point. They did some very nice back and forth grappling to begin, smooth transitions and done in a fashion to where it was never slow. They did a very nice job of portraying that Kincaid was on Williams level early on; Williams finally cut off a head scissors and took control for a bit, but not for an extended heat segment. Kincaid was able to cut off Williams but stunning him off the ropes, then fighting to the floor where Kincaid hit a lariat off the stage to the ring apron, and that got a near fall. Kincaid started to piss the crowd off as he beat on one of their favorites. Williams finally cut him off with a high angle back suplex, and ran wild with clotheslines and a brainbuster for the near fall. Williams then scored with a lariat, which also got a near fall and a “ref you suck” chant. Williams worked the necktie, but Kincaid managed to counter with the neck breaker and then hit the powerslam, double stomp and blockbuster combo. Kincaid then hit the sunset flip buckle bomb and a coast-to-coast dropkick for a near fall. This really turned a corner. Kincaid slapped Williams, they worked up top and Williams fought him off. Williams then hit he buckle DDT and lariat, which got 2. Williams fired up and just ground and pounded away on Kincaid, showing his frustration. Williams would stomp on his neck repeatedly, but Kincaid kept kicking out. Kincaid fired up, got sent to the floor and then Williams tried for a suicide dive but got cut off. Back in, Kincaid hit a springboard leg drop (after some trouble) for a near fall. They worked through a series of counters; Williams finally planted Kincaid with the piledriver for the win. Tracy Williams defeated Jason Kincaid @ 18:15 via pin [***¾] Tracy Williams is very good and gets lost in the shuffle in Evolve, due to thee being so much talent. He is an excellent guy to have work with new talent, and had a hell of a match with Kincaid here. While a bit sloppy in its execution at times, Williams did everything in his power to make Kincaid appear to be a player and the crowd responded very well to everything they did. Kincaid also stepped up his game, and while he fits in doing the grappling style, he also feels completely different than everyone on the roster. I hope that they use him more going forward.

The Gatekeepers vs. Joe Coleman and Eric Locker: The Gatekeepers attacked before the bell and ran through their shit in a Road Warrior Style Squash. The Gatekeepers defeated Joe Coleman and Eric Locker [NR] Exactly what it needed to be.

– Ethan Page cut a promo, noting that he lost both nights of his pay due to hitting an official last night. He brought chaos to last night’s title match, just like he did to Gargano’s farewell. He doesn’t have the title, but promises to bring chaos to Evolve. Had to believe him after he broke his first promise about winning the title last night.

Ethan Page vs. Sami Callihan: They worked the basic back and forth, Callihan hit a trio of suicide dives and then they brawled to the floor where Callihan hit a pair of bicycle kicks and then a tornado DDT on the floor. Callihan was rolling, but Page immediately hit an apron bomb to cut him off. They felt way too soon; Callihan beat the count and Page took the heat, working him over in the corner. Great fire from both guys here, as Callihan started to fight back and looked like a man possesses and the crowd was into this. Callihan hit the running DVD to the corner. They traded strikes from the mat, slowly working to their feet as they beat on each other. After a series of kicks, Page cut Callihan off and slammed him off the top. Callihan fired up and hit an XPLODER in return. Both then went for the running boot and did the double down. They both started to throw clotheslines; Page got the better of the exchange and hit RKEGO for a near fall. Page mocked Callihan, went for the package piledriver but Callihan countered into a modified ankle lock. Page escaped that; Callihan again escaped the package piledriver and hit the packaged tombstone and Page somehow kicked out. Callihan then laid in a series of nasty forearm strikes, but Page caught him with a running boot that turned him inside out and then the package piledriver for the win. Ethan Page defeated Sami Callihan @ 13:45 via pin [****] I cannot stress enough how much Page needed that match after last night’s loss and quite frankly shit match with Thatcher. Both guys worked with excellent intensity, they had a plan, there was no bullshit and it all worked together very well. Callihan can be very hit or miss with me, but when he drops the cat gimmick and comes to be a pissed off fighter working a sprint, he is awesome. This was a great job by both guys, who brought the intensity and kept the crowd invested the entire time.

– Drew Galloway is out on commentary.

DUSTIN vs. Darby Allin: The opening stretch was fun, with both working a quick pace and using some fun counters They brawled to the floor where DUSTIN slammed Allin into the wall and took control. Back in the ring, DUSTIN took the heat and tossed around the slammer man. Allin got his hope spots, but DUSTIN kept cutting him off. The issue with the heat was that while Allin is a great underdog, the heel has to have some edge to him, and DUSTIN is just… DUSTIN. He does offense, he maybe mocks him a bit, but thee is a lack of intensity, which if we had that I feel that this comes off way better and gets the crowd knot it big time. As it is, this is fine with DUSTIN constantly cutting off Allin and planting him with powerbombs. DUSTIN hit what I believe was the third powerbomb and kept asking the ref to check him, but Allin kept fighting and finally caught DUSTIN with the DDT. Allin went back to the sleeper, which is a solid gameplan but should be used against a monster heel. Allin has great resilience though, constantly going after the sleeper but DUSTIN would make the ropes and get the break. Back to the floor and Allin escaped a powerbomb and sent DUSTIN into the post. Allin then climbed the post and did the coffin drop to the floor. That was sweet because he scaled a pole with no assistance. Back in the ring DUSTIN cut him off and then battle dup top, Allin sent him off and then missed the coffin drop. Awful waffle by DUSTIN, and Allin was finally done. DUSTIN defeated Darby Allin @ 11:00 via pin [***¼] That was a good match, with DUSTIN getting a win he needed, and Allin continuing to be the most sympathetic figure on the roster. Allin is basically Evolve’s Mikey Whipwreck, everyone loves him and even when he loses, he never comes off as a loser because of his never say die attitude. He’s a great addition to the roster because of that, he’s different in a great way.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Fred Yehi: Both guys are looking to get a win here, which should lead to the one who wins getting a title shot on the next shows. ZSJ out grappled Yehi early, which only made Yehi even more pissed off than he is in his natural state. Yehi’s grappling is so aggressive as compared to the laid back style of ZSJ, which creates a nice difference of style. ZSJ again grounded him, with ZSJ working an inverted Indian death lock. ZSJ transitioned to the arm bar, but Yehi got the ropes. ZSJ again took Yehi down, working the arm but Yehi escaped and started to work the legs of ZSJ. ZSJ would get the ropes. Yehi then picked up the pace, and scored with the koji clutch, but ZSJ was too close to the ropes. Yehi continued his attack, dropping elbows to the spine of ZSJ. ZSJ managed an up kick to cut him off, and immediately attacked the arm of Yehi. I love when ZSJ picks up his level of aggression, and Yehi’s selling of the attacks is great here. Yehi shows such great fire when he gets a hope spot, but once ZSJ goes back on the attack his selling and facials are so great. Yehi started to lay in some chops, but ZSJ answered with uppercuts to take control back and then got a near fall. Yehi started to put some offense together, hitting a neck breaker to soften up ZSJ for the koji clutch, but ZSJ once again went back to the arm to stop the momentum of Yehi. This is great focus from both guys, ZSJ went for a running uppercut but Yehi caught him and dropped him with a desperation German. Yehi worked the stomps and a running senton, tried for a piledriver, but ZSJ transitioned into the octopus hold. Yehi escapes and then hits a quick powerbomb, which got a near fall. ZSJ fought off the stomp, hit a suplex and rolled into the kimura. Yehi countered and rolled into his guard. ZSJ started to bend the wrist in unnatural ways, Yehi then tried to rip his ear off. Stomps from Yehi followed and then a rolling forearm got the near fall. Yehi charged, but ZSJ countered and locked in an arm bar and rolled into the pin for 2. They traded big strikes center ring, STO by Yehi and then into the koji clutch again. ZSJ tried to escape and Yehi rolled into the cradle for 2. ZSJ scored with the arm bar and then added the second arm and ties up Yehi, who had to tap. Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Fred Yehi @ 20:45 via submission [****] This was an excellent match, with great grappling, great intensity and selling and a smooth flow that never allowed the match to feel long. Zack Sabre Jr delivers once again and Yehi got to go hold for hold with him, and looked excellent even though he lost.

– Post match, Zack Sabre Jr put over Yehi and said that he was in big trouble at times. He said that they should do it again, but not in the near future. Zack Sabre Jr called for a title shot since he was 2-0 this weekend, but Ethan page arrived and beat him down. The Gatekeepers joined Page to help with the beat down and also beat down some of the tryout guys. Darby Allin tried to make the save, but the gatekeepers tossed him to the floor onto the pile of geeks. Page grabbed a chair and they Pillmanized the arm of Zack Sabre Jr. With this and the win earlier this was the rehab attempt for the poor booking of Page the prior night.

Chris Hero vs. Matt Riddle: Riddle went for takedowns early, but used his power advantage to shove Riddle away. Hero then grounded Riddle and tried to rip off a toe, but Riddle made the ropes. Riddle quickly tried for the heel hook, but Hero got the ropes and took a powder to the floor. Back in and they traded chops, but then Riddle fired up and laid in knee strikes and forearms in the corner, great flurry by Riddle there. Hero would fight back and sent Riddle to the floor with a bicycle kick. Hero followed Riddle to the floor and worked him over with chops and slaps. Riddle tried to fire back, laid in forearms but hero drop shim with an elbow strike. Back in, and Hero jacked Riddle with another bicycle kick in the corner. He followed with forearms and nee strikes, the senton then hit and Hero covered for 2. Hero then started to stomp on the exposed feet of Riddle, landed a kick to the head and knee drop and covered for 2. Riddle tried to fight back with chops, hero teased the piledriver but Riddle fought it off so hero kicked him in the face and tried it again. Hero then laid in a series of forearm strikes and kicks and he just destroys Riddle here. Riddle hit the desperation gut wrench suplex, went for a German but Hero fought it off initially, but Riddle then connected and hit the running senton. Great fire from Riddle here as he makes the comeback and pus together his first sustained offense of the match. Riddle ht the delayed fisherman’s buster, which got a near fall. Riddle laid in a rapid-fire series of strikes and then hit the springboard knee strike. Hero managed to hit the cyclone kick, but Riddle kicked out at 2. Hero told him to stay down as he kicked him in the ace, and hit another senton. Hero kicks him in the face again, but Riddle keeps firing up and taking all of Hero’s best, finally avoiding the senton and locking in the bro-mission. Hero managed to get the ropes, Riddle worked body kicks but Hero countered and looked for the elbow, but Riddle countered that and hit the BRO TO SLEEP. Hero went to the corner to try and get a break, hero then beat the ref’s count and hit two tolling elbows on Riddle. A third followed and then Hero missed the elbow to the back of the head and Riddle laid in rapid fire strikes and then teased the tombstone, but Hero countered and hit a tombstone of his own followed by the stuff piledriver! Hero went for the Gotch piledriver, Riddle countered into a triangle. Hero escaped, and transitioned to hit another piledriver, but Riddle kicked out! Hero finally hit the rolling elbow to the back of Riddle’s head and put him away. Chris Hero defeated Matt Riddle @ 17:35 via pin [****½] This was an amazingly heated and physical main event match, and despite the fact that there was some great wrestling earl yon, they managed to surpass it. Hero knows how to work Riddle, he kept the time frame in that window that works well for Riddle and worked that style that allows for Riddle to deliver great looking offense as well as sell, which Riddle excels at so early in his career. Also, no one, and I mean no one, works the bully formula better than Chris Hero in 2016. Everything he does has a purpose, it comes at the right time in the right place and it just works. If you’re not watching Hero and Riddle this year, you’re missing out on some special performances. This was another example of an excellent match where both the winner and loser come out looking good.

– Post match Tracy Williams arrived and challenged Hero to a match since Hero already beat Gulak and Riddle. Hero laid out Williams as Galloway and DUSTIN attacked Riddle on the floor. Galloway said he’ll be back in two weeks, but is here to lead and that is why he is here, to inspire his troops to victory. He said Riddle’s Cinderella story was over, and praised hero and DUSTIN for their victories tonight. He then wanted Hero to jack Riddle up some more, but Hero refused and bailed. DUSTIN then tried to attack, but Gulak and Yehi arrived and ran then off. Gulak grabbed the mic and ran down Galloway and says this has to end. He promised that the unified Catch Point will win the war.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
After a rough night at Evolve 70, Evolve returns to form at Evolve 71 with one of their best shows of the year. The wrestling delivered big time, it had a great vibe and intensity all night long, the booking was better, they did nice work to rehab Ethan Page and this was simply a joy to watch. This show gets a big thumbs up from me.