July 16, 2016
From La Boom in Queens, NY
Your host is Lenny Leonard
Before the show, Stokely Hathaway comes out to interrupt Lenny Leonard. He tells us we will not see TJP against Zack Sabre Jr. tonight because he needs to rest for his title match tomorrow night against Timothy Thatcher, if Thatcher retains tonight against Marty Scurll.
WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Gargano
The crowd starts up “Johnny wrestling” and “both these guys” chants. Both guys start off working the arm. After that they work a fast-paced sequence that saw Alexander hit satellite headscissors as they end in a stalemate. They work a nifty rollup reversal sequence after that then Gargano cuts off a dive by Alexander with a Superman spear. Gargano hits a few chops as the fans are jacked for this match. Alexander catches Gargano with a dropkick then flies out with a tope that sends Gargano into the guardrail. Back inside, Alexander gets two with an STO. Alexander then chops Gargano, who does the Flair flop, as that also gets a nearfall. Gargano ducks a top rope attack then hits Alexander with a step-up enziguiri as both men are down. Gargano hits Alexander with a rolling kick but runs into a boot in the corner. Gargano cuts off Alexander as he is hanging on the middle rope then runs on the apron to hit another enziguiri. Gargano slingshots back in with a DDT for two then works over Alexander in the corner. He tries for the Gargano escape but Alexander turns that into a rollup for a nearfall. Alexander then catches Gargano with a Michinoku Driver for another nearfall in a fast-paced spot as the crowd applauds. Gargano blocks a Lumbar Check attempt then they start exchanging strikes until they knock each other down with the crowd going nuts. Gargano hits a super kick then lawn darts Alexander into the middle turnbuckle. Alexander cuts off Gargano with an enziguiri then hits a brainbuster for two. Spinning heel kick gets two. Gargano blocks a back suplex but gets hit with an enziguiri. Gargano then rolls through a move by Alexander and puts on the Gargano Escape as Alexander eventually taps out (11:58) ****.
Thoughts: What a great opening match. Everything these two did looked amazing. Plus, they let Gargano shine before tomorrow’s big showdown against Drew Galloway at EVOLVE 65. This is a match working seeking out, especially for fans of the CWC as both guys are featured in that tournament.
After the match, Drew Galloway runs in to attack Gargano from behind. He then hits him with a powerbomb before leaving to grab a chair. However, Ethan Page runs in to cover up Gargano as Galloway proceeds to destroy him with several chairshots. Drew Gulak runs in to dropkick the chair into Galloway’s face as the crowd chants for him. Gulak then yells at Galloway how they ran his “Fred Flintstone look-a-like” friend Ethan Carter III out of EVOLVE and will do the same to him as he wants Galloway to return to the ring. However, Chuck Taylor runs in wearing street clothes and attacks Gulak. Tracy Williams & TJP then run out as Galloway & Taylor leave the ring. Galloway grabs the mic and tells the crowd to relax as he will always be one step ahead. He talks about how his message is so strong that his allies continue to grow as he introduces Taylor as “Dustin,” which is his birth name and points out how he carried Gargano in his early years of EVOLVE. Galloway then challenges Catchpoint for the EVOLVE Tag Titles as Williams reminds them they are in New York City and this is their home as they always defend their home and accept the challenge. On commentary, Leonard questions as to why Dustin would attack Gulak. This was also great. I started watching EVOLVE this year for the most part and I started off thinking Page was terrible but he has managed to improve each and every show. And in his current role of the guy trying to win the trust of Gargano and others to fend off Galloway and his men, he is thriving. The surprise attack of Dustin was pulled off well and we now have a Tag Team Title match for later on in the show.
Darby Allin vs. Chris Dickinson vs. Fred Yehi vs. Tony Nese
Originally, Tracy Williams was supposed to be part of this match but was replaced by Dickinson as he will defend the Tag Titles later on in the show. Allin is on one side of the ring as he stares down his three opponents. He then charges at Dickinson and gets backdropped to the floor as he lands tailbone first on the guardrail then folds in half as he lands on his head in a completely unnecessary spot. The ref checks on Allin, who is out cold as the wrestlers are looking over at him. Yehi sneaks up behind Dickinson and rolls him up for two as the other three guys go at it while Allin struggles to get back to his feet. Yehi stomps Nese but Dickinson hits him with a German suplex. Dickinson works the legs of Nese until Yehi breaks that up, only for Dickinson to take him down with a Dragon Screw. Nese takes down Dickinson with a springboard hurricarana then knocks Yehi off of the apron. Nese tries for a dive but Allin trips him up. Allin sets up for a Mexican armdrag but instead launches himself backwards to the floor on top of Dickinson & Yehi. Nese then takes everyone out with a Fosbury Flop. Back inside, Allin tries to fight back against Nese but misses a punch as Nese dodges it and kips up to hit a super kick. Nese kicks Allin in the corner until Yehi nails him with an elbow. Dickinson hits Yehi with an enziguiri as everyone hits a bunch of moves until Dickinson is left with Allin and hits a Falcon Arrow for two. Yehi takes over and stomps Allin’s hand to hit a German suplex but Nese hits Yehi with a pumphandle driver as Dickinson breaks up the pin. Dickinson has Allin up top and hits a Splash Mountain but Nese comes off the top to hit Allin with a 450 splash for the win (8:28) ***. After the match, the crowd chants for Allin as Dickinson shakes his hand. Allin then limps backstage.
Thoughts: Good match. Allin was out of his damn mind trying that spot but at the end, he won over the crowd so I guess that counts for something. This was all action and fun to watch. Giving Nese, the man part of the CWC, the win was a smart move.
Wheeler Yuta vs. Ethan Page
Yuta is a nineteen year old from California who is in Philly now for the CZW Dojo Wars. Page boots Yuta in the face to start. Page then beats on Yuta in the corner before hitting a Jackhammer. He then places Yuta up top and tries a press slam but Yuta slips out and hits arm drag. Yuta trips Page up and goes out on the apron but Page drops him back inside with a fireman’s carry before Page hits the RKEgo. Page follows with a buckle bomb then gets the win with a package piledriver (2:28) *. Page tells the crowd to give Yuta a hand as he is carried away. Page then addresses Gargano and says whether he likes it or not, he needs to forgive him because he is alone in this fight and he took that beating from Galloway, to the point he cannot feel his arm, for him. Page wants Gargano to know that he is not the same person as he was last year and has a full plate between EVOLVE, NXT, and CWC. Page then brings up how guys in the locker room tell Gargano to give him a chance but he refuses to listen. So, Page tells Gargano maybe he will listen if he hears it from the fans as he closes by stating to Gargano he is the one man in EVOLVE he can trust.
Thoughts: The push of Page as a face continues and its starting to work. Page has done a better job than expected in this role. I’m not his biggest fan but I am able to recognize improvement when I see it and Page is making this story work.
Jigsaw vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Jigsaw takes TJP’s place here so he can get the night off heading into his title defense tomorrow night. The match starts off on the mat as Sabre gets the best of his opponent. Jigsaw showed some skills here himself as he is now matching Sabre hold-for-hold. Sabre almost locks on the Kimura then starts bending Jigsaw’s leg backwards as he targets that. Sabre then tells Jigsaw to hit him as he takes him down again and dropkicks Jigsaw in the back of the neck before working a Japanese strangle hold. Jigsaw floats over then pulls the ropes down on Sabre before flying out with a tope con hilo. Back inside, Jigsaw hits an uppercut and a lariat but Sabre comes back to work an octopus hold in the ropes. Jigsaw comes back with an enziguri then hits a double stomp from the top on Sabre, who was hanging on the middle rope. Sabre is able to catch Jigsaw in a kimura then after that hits a few uppercuts. Sabre dodges a kick to hit a Dragon Suplex then hits the Penalty Kick for the win (17:33) ****.
Thoughts: Excellent match. Jigsaw surprised me with his mat-wrestling ability here. He’s been a veteran of the independent scene and made several appearances on TNA from 2012-14 and this was the best I have seen him look as he hung right with Sabre every step of the way.
Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong
These two start off by trading holds. Riddle starts slapping Strong around on the mat as the crowd chants “bro.” The crowd starts up the “shitty little boots” chant at Strong as both men have a staredown. Riddle backs Strong into the corner but Strong floats over and catches Riddle with a boot to the face. Strong stomps Riddle then drops an elbow for two before working an armbar. Riddle fights back and pounds away before hitting rolling gutwrench suplexes. Riddle take Strong off the apron with a basement dropkick and takes his time going out but that allows Strong to drop him on top of the apron as he takes a breather. Strong then crotches Riddle on the guardrail with a back suplex before working a chinlock in the ring. Riddle escapes but runs into a dropkick as Strong covers for two. Strong stomps on Riddle in the corner but runs into a kick. Strong then lights up Riddle, who fights back, but is able to hit a cradle backbreaker for a nearfall after ducking a kick. Strong places Riddle up top but Riddle fights back and hits a flying knee smash as both men are down. They get but and trade strikes until Riddle hits a fisherman’s buster for a two count. Strong breaks up a cross armbreaker attempt with a stomp to the face but Riddle slips out of a fireman’s carry and tries a springboard move as Strong knees him in the back. Strong hits Riddle with a bunch of elbows then hits a gutbuster but Riddle comes right back with a springboard knee smash for two. They slug it out and trade knee strikes until Riddle hits Strong in midair with a jumping kick as both men are down. They get up as Strong ducks a knee smash and hits the Sick Kick for two. Strong then hits a Gibson Driver and locks on the Strong Hold as Riddle tries to fight to the ropes. Strong pulls him back as Riddle kicks him then Riddle gets Strong in the Bromission for the win (18:32) ****.
Thoughts: Another fantastic match. Strong did great in his return to EVOLVE and Riddle continues to amaze in his young pro wrestling career.
After the match, these two hug it out. Riddle then grabs the mic and calls out “Trashy Tim” for not accepting his challenge as he proceeds to rub the EVOLVE Title over his crotch as he tells Thatcher he is waiting. Thatcher comes out and stares down Riddle. Hathaway then comes out and asks Riddle where he was with the rest of Catchpoint when they were trying to defend EVOLVE. Hathaway asks Riddle to hold up the belt as he says its not up to standards and wants Riddle to shine it up nice to give it to TJP when he defeats Thatcher tomorrow. He then points out how “Trashy Tim” was going to hurt the next person to touch his belt as Riddle throws it to Hathaway and leaves as Thatcher snaps his fingers while Riddle laughs on the outside. After that, Marty Scurll comes out for the match. He does his entrance as Riddle goes back in the ring and grabs the belt. Scurll then sings his own rendition of “Hush Little Baby” as he will hurt Thatcher with the chicken wing. The Thatcher vs. Catchpoint story has been great. Riddle’s cockiness is great and adding Hathaway to the mix backing TJP lends another layer to the story as he tries to drive a wedge between Catchpoint.
EVOLVE Title Match: Timothy Thatcher (c) vs. Marty Scurll
These two start off on the mat as Leonard lets us know that Hathaway suffered a broken thumb after being attacked by Thatcher. The crowd starts up a dueling chant as they end in another stalemate. They slug it out as Thatcher wins that battle. Scurll then takes Thatcher outside and hits a super kick from the apron as the crowd applauds. Back inside, Scurll works a Dragon Sleeper then starts kicking Thatcher in the back. Scurll then fakes a super kick and hits Thatcher in the shin but Thatcher starts to fight back. Scurll knocks Thatcher down and stomps him on the mat while grabbing his arms. Thatcher deadlifts Scurll and slams him down but Scurll regains control. Thatcher then fights back and beats on Scurll in the corner. Scurll floats over on a slam attempt and tries for the chicken wing but Thatcher blocks that and hits a gutwrench suplex. He hits another gutwrench as that gets two. Scurll then comes back to hit Thatcher with a gutwrench but turns his back as Thatcher hits a Saito suplex for two then applies a Fujiwara armbar. Scurll escapes and gets two with a powerbomb as both men are down. They work a reversal sequence then start trading strikes as that ends with Thatcher getting a nearfall with a release German suplex. Scurll comes back and snaps Thatcher’s fingers before applying the chicken wing as the crowd goes nuts. Thatcher makes the ropes as Scurll starts elbowing Thatcher in the face. Scurll tries another chicken wing but Thatcher breaks that up with a judo toss and headbutts Scurll in the back of the head. Thatcher then locks on a sleeper for the win (14:55) **1/2. After the match, TJP runs out and attacks Thatcher then the rest of Catchpoint follows as Riddle just chills on the top turnbuckle. Thatcher gets carried away as Galloway & Dustin tell Riddle that he is too good for Catchpoint and should be with him.
Thoughts: This match just didn’t do it for me, or the crowd for that matter. Thatcher matches are getting far too repetitive: he sells the arm, hits a few suplexes, then sells the arm and uses his only facial expression before fighting back and winning. Although, the post-match stuff set up nicely for the main event and I liked how they had Galloway try and recruit Riddle, who seemed intrigued by what Galloway said.
EVOLVE Tag Team Title Match: Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams (c) vs. Drew Galloway & Dustin
This match starts off with a brawl. It then settles down with Galloway beating on Williams, who breaks free and tags out. Gulak wants Galloway to tag Dustin and he does as they brawl until Galloway knocks Gulak down. Dustin is now beating on Gulak as he and Galloway are using quick tags to cut off the ring. Gulak is able to tag out as Williams beats on Dustin. Gulak tags as they hit Dustin with some double-team moves. Dustin backs Williams into the corner and does not break cleanly and after that catches Williams with a dropkick in midair before tagging out. Galloway beats on Williams outside of the ring then tries to put him away but fails as Williams keeps kicking out. Dustin applies a reverse chinlock then Galloway works an armbar as the crowd chants “f--- TNA.” Williams powers out with a cradle suplex as both men are down. Both men tag out as Gulak unloads on his former partner in the corner. He applies the Gu-Lock but Galloway breaks up the hold. Dustin hits a corner clothesline but Gulak comes back to hit a snap suplex for two. Williams tags and hits Galloway with a missile dropkick then hits a superplex for two. Williams applies a crossface but Galloway powers out and hits a tombstone for two as both men are down. Dustin tags and decks Williams but runs into a forearm by Gulak, who was on the apron. Gulak tags and hits a flying clothesline for two. Dustin catches Gulak with a jumping knee smash then stretches him out on the mat with a headscissors/arm lock combo as the crowd rallies behind Gulak. He escapes and tags out as Williams runs wild until Galloway hits him with a running boot in the corner. Williams gets up first to hit Dustin with a piledriver then the match breaks down. Galloway and Gulak fight outside where Galloway uses a slingshot guillotine to Gulak underneath the ring. Williams flies outside with a tope on Galloway then heads inside but Dustin hits a Pop-Up Powerbomb and follows with a second one before hitting the Awful Waffle for the win and the EVOLVE Tag Team Titles (18:20) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Good match. The win also helps the story of Galloway’s crusade against the WWE/EVOLVE relationship too. Williams looked great in this match too. He is one of the more underrated talents on the Independent scene today.
After the match, Galloway talks about keeping Independent wrestling sacred and how they are looking out for EVOLVE but at the same time, broke it’s spirit after winning tonight. He then talks about ripping out EVOLVE’s heart tomorrow night when he beats Gargano. He then talks about next month and how they will be at full strength when they have Chris Hero, Ethan Carter, and Cody Rhodes. Dustin grabs the mic and talks about being in EVOLVE at day one, before Gulak was a wrestler as he was a “piece of crap” in CZW. Dustin then asks the fans where they were when he was gone and they are the ones who killed Chuck Taylor. Dustin then talks about Galloway bringing the gold back to EVOLVE. I liked how they closed out the show here, with Galloway promising to cause even more chaos in EVOLVE next month when he is act full strength. Dustin’s promo was fine but he came off a bit goofy at times when trying to be serious.
Final Thoughts: Overall, another stellar offering from EVOLVE. Their top storylines are fantastic and the in-ring product is superb. The storyline between Galloway and the WWE/EVOLVE relationship is currently the best feud in wrestling. This is the best promotion in the United States at the moment and there is something for all fans to enjoy. You can watch EVOLVE exclusively on the WWNLive Network
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Thursday: Shoot Interview with Eddie Gilbert
Friday: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 10/29/88
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 2/4/82
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/30/88
Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/5/88
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/6/88
Wednesday: EVOLVE 65 7/17/16