EVOLVE 65

July 17, 2016

From the Melrose Memorial Hall in Melrose, MA

Your host is Lenny Leonard

Tonight, Timothy Thatcher will defend the EVOLVE Title against TJP. Plus, Johnny Gargano vs. Drew Galloway in an “Anything Goes” match.

 

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Cedric Alexander vs. Tomasso Ciampa

They start off on the mat and end in a stalemate. They have some fun with the crowd as they sit down next to each other Indian style but Ciampa sneaks in a quick rollup. Ciampa then holds the ropes open for Alexander as they once again lockup, with Alexander working a side headlock. They end in another stalemate as Ciampa and Alexander continue to engage the crowd in a light-hearted manner. Alexander shows off his athleticism and hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors before working the arm after a pair of armdrags. Ciampa breaks that up with a forearm smash then breaks up a handspring with a running dropkick. Ciampa shouts out “armbar” and puts the hold on Alexander, joking to him to face the “hard cam,” prompting Leonard to say that Ciampa is paying attention in class down in Orlando. Alexander breaks out and chops Ciampa against the ropes but gets his dropkick brushed aside. However, Alexander comes back to drill Ciampa with a dropkick to the face. Ciampa runs in the ring to avoid a dive then takes Alexander off of the apron with a running knee lift. Ciampa follows out and drapes Alexander over the guardrail before taking him down with a running knee lift. He tries that same sequence but this time runs around the whole ring before hitting his knee lift. Back inside, they trade chops then end up fighting up top where Alexander flips out of a sunset bomb then hits a basement dropkick. Alexander charges but runs into a knee lift then  Ciampa runs around before applying a chinlock, referring to himself as the “chinlock master.” Alexander gets out and takes Ciampa down with another headscissors then flies outside with a tope as both men are down on the floor. Back inside, They work a reversal sequence ending with Alexander hitting a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall. The crowd starts a “this is awesome” chant. Ciampa reverses a move and hits an Air Raid Crash for two then sets up Alexander but gets caught. Alexander botches a move that they improvise by turning it into a cradle as that gets two. Ciampa then turns Alexander inside-out with a discus clothesline. Project Ciampa gets a nearfall as both men are exhausted on the mat. Ciampa places Alexander up top and hits a few chops before heading up but Alexander escapes and tucks Ciampa’s head underneath the turnbuckle and hits three kicks. Buckle bomb gets two . Brainbuster gets two. Super kick gets two. Alexander takes a quick breather before heading up top but misses a frog splash. They have a pinfall reversal sequence then Ciampa cathces Alexander with a knee strike. Alexander comes back with a roundhouse kick after blocking a flurry of strikes and hits the Lumbar Check for the win (18:09) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good opener, although it went a bit longer than needed. It almost felt like something you would see in PWG with the crowd interaction and joking around at the beginning.

 

Travis Gordon vs. Ethan Page

Page slams Gordon off of a lockup. Gordon flips over a drop down and poses but ends up walking into a clothesline. Page uses an overhead slam to send Gordon into the corner then asks the crowd if they are happy and they respond. Leonard puts over how Page is trying to prove himself to Gargano then catches Gordon with a clothesline. He then hits a powerbomb before getting the win with a package piledriver (2:37) 1/2*.

Thoughts: Just a basic squash match as Page is in a role of giving newcomers a chance.

 

After the match, Page asks for the microphone. He then asks the crowd how they like EVOLVE and puts over their debut in Massachusetts. He then tells us he is the bearer of good news and pumps up the crowd after letting them know EVOLVE will return to New England. Page then talks about wanting to see Gargano destroy Drew Galloway in the main event. However, Galloway runs in and boots Page down before hitting the Future Shock DDT. Galloway grabs the mic and tells us he is the only sane one in EVOLVE as Page is getting helped to the back. Galloway tells the crowd they are either against us, and wrong, or with us and if so, only are bandwagon jumpers so he doesnt want you anyway. Galloway says his match tonight against EVOLVE will dictate the future of the company and after he beats Gargano, he will give whoever takes his place as the new leader the tools to survive because all he is trying to do is save EVOLVE from itself. Page is almost like an ambassador of EVOLVE as he is pandering to the fans and pumping up the crowd. I loved the Galloway run-in here as he is killing it in his role as the guy “saving” EVOLVE from itself.

 

Marty Scurll vs. Matt Riddle

These two start off going at it on the mat to start and end in a stalemate. Riddle sarcastically claps for Riddle after he did his taunt and ends up getting slapped in the face. Riddle smiles then heads towards Scurll, who ducks outside. Scurll has a fan come over and give him five but pulls back his hand at the last second. Back inside, Scurll beats on Riddle in the corner. He charges and lands on the apron after a backdrop where Riddle takes him off with a springboard knee smash. Scurll avoids a slide outside then surprises Riddle with a super kick from the apron. Back inside, Scurll starts attacking the arm of Riddle with stomps. Riddle comes back with a release German suplex then hits a pair of deadlift gutwrench suplexes. Scurll ends up faking out Riddle with a super kick then hits him low before using a clothesline. Shortly after that, Riddle comes back with a fisherman’s buster as both men are down. Scurll hits a flurry of kicks then gets a nearfall with a piledriver. He sets up for the chicken wing but Riddle escapes. Scurll tries it again as they end up with a reversal sequence that ends with Riddle hitting a jumping tombstone piledriver for a nearfall. Scurll tries for the chicken wing again after dodging a springboard attack then catches a kick and bends back Riddle’s toes but Riddle kicks him in the face and uses a small package for two. Scurll comes back with a finger breaker but Riddle catches him with a springboard knee smash. Riddle locks on the Bromission as Scurll tries everything he can to fight out but ends up tapping out (10:22) ***1/2. After the match, he holds up the EVOLVE Title belt, which belongs to Timothy Thatcher.

Thoughts: Good match. I really like Scurll a lot and Riddle just oozes charisma. Wouldn’t have minded this going about five minutes longer. Scurll was better here than the previous night with Thatcher.

 

Catchpoint Tryout Match: Darby Allin & Jonathan Gresham & Chris Dickinson vs. Catchpoint (Drew Gulak & “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi) w/ TJP

The rules here are that if someone pins a member of Catchpoint, they get to join the group. Allin’s chest is all taped up after the insane bump he took the night before at EVOLVE 64. Gulak immediately puts Allin in a rear naked choke but Dickinson & Gresham break that up. Dickinson powerbombs Gulak then piledrives Allin on top of him. Williams tags and beats on Gresham as Catchpoint takes control. They cut off the ring for a bit until Gresham counters a piledriver and makes the tag. Dickinson and Yehi trade chops until Dickinson takes him out with a low dropkick. Gresham tags back in and lands some kciks but Yehi starts fighting back. They keep on running into each other as that stops when Yehi sends Gresham down. They trade chops now until Gresham wins that battle. Dickinson and Gresham keep tagging each other in as they beat on Yehi. Allin finally tags in and gets two with a snap suplex. Yehi targets the taped ribs of Allin and tags out as Gulak hits a powerbomb. The match breaks down but Catchpoint stays in control as they beat on Allin. Williams gets two with a butterfly superplex but Allin escapes and makes the tag. Yehi and Gresham go at it with Yehi winning that battle. A flurry of tags happen after that until Dickinson press slams Gulak off of the top rope. Dickinson beats on Gulak in the corner then tries for a superplex but Gulak blocks that with a kimura and takes Dickinson off before hitting a clothesline as that gets two. Gresham and Williams tag in as Williams blocks a crossface attempt and hits a backbreaker. They trade go-behinds until Williams takes Gresham down and starts slamming his knee off of the mat until Dickinson breaks that up. Dickinson is now in and briefly runs wild but Williams slams him down and gets two off of a top rope splash. Allin tags and whiffs on a dropkick as he is now getting stomped in the corner. Gulak works a chinlock for a bit then Allin comes back with a springboard crossbody. Gresham pulls Dickinson off of the apron and tags himself in as he runs wild. Allin takes the Leap of Faith on to Gulak on the outside as Gresham gets a nearfall on Yehi, who comes back with a stomp. Dickinson is now pissed at Gresham then hits him with an enziguiri then a powerbomb. He drags Gresham to the corner and tags himself in as he slugs it out with Gulak. Gresham then pulls the ropes down on Dickinson and they fight as Williams flies out with a tope and lands awkwardly with his head bouncing off of the floor. Jesus Christ that looked bad! Back inside, Gulak catches Gresham with a reverse rollup then locks on the Dragon Sleeper with a body scissors while Yehi cuts off Allin’s breakup attempt and Gulak gets the win via submission (17:04) **1/2. After the match, the crowd applauds Williams, who was able to get up under his own power. On the outside, Yehi  and Gresham stare each other down.

Thoughts: This wasn’t bad but it never got out of first gear and did not need to go 17 minutes long. I did not feel that anyone really stood out on the non-Catchpoint team though. Luckily, Williams was not seriously harmed here. That was one nasty bump on a hardwood floor.

 

After the match, Gulak congratulates their opponents then puts over Catchpoint as Yehi and TJP are behind him. Gulak then calls out Riddle, who enters the ring holding the EVOLVE Title. Gulak asks Riddle to act like he is part of the team. Riddle then says that he has an upcoming match against Timothy Thatcher. However, TJP comes over and says he is facing Thatcher tonight and will be the new champion. Gulak then says no matter who wins, he will be the one to present them with the EVOLVE Title. Thatcher comes out for his title defense now. Stokely Hathaway now comes out to show his broken thumb that he suffered at the hands of Thatcher and promises that TJP will beat him tonight. Hathaway then says his goals are to manage the champion at WrestleMania but for now that is on hold as his main goal will be to erase Thatcher from EVOLVE history. TJP takes a swing at Thatcher as the rest of Catchpoint, sans Riddle, break them up. The rest of the locker room comes out to separate TJP and Thatcher. A nice segment to hype up the title match. They also continued the story of Riddle not being on the same page with the rest of Catchpoint.

 

EVOLVE Title Match: TJP w/Stokely Hathaway vs. Timothy Thatcher (c)

Thatcher starts by pummeling TJP in the corner. TJP fights back as they keep going at each other. TJP works the arm then follows Thatcher outside and slams his head off of the apron before hitting a few knee strikes to the face. Thatcher fights back and tosses TJP into the guardrail. Back inside, TJP once again attacks the arm and works an octopus hold until Thatcher makes it to the ropes. TJP stays focused on the arm then hits a pair of suplexes for a nearfall. TJP now works a chinlock as the crowd rallies behind Thatcher. TJP takes Thatcher down then goes back to working the arm before applying a Camel Clutch. Thatcher counters and applies a Fujiwara armbar as TJP scurries over to the ropes. Thatcher hits a pair of uppercuts in the corner but TJP is able to apply a hanging armbar in the ropes. Thatcher then drops TJP with a headbutt as both men are down. They trade kicks until TJP takes Thatcher down with a low dropkick and applies a cross armbreaker. Thatcher deadlifts TJP with a powerbomb and starts to pump himself up. Thatcher hits a pair of gutwrench suplexes but TJP grapevines the leg. However, Thatcher counters with a Fujiwara armbar. TJP escapes and hits a roundhouse kick but Thatcher comes back with another Fujiwara armbar. TJP escapes but Thatcher rolls him up for the win (11:36) ***. After the match, Thatcher does the air gun to Catchpoint. He leaves and Catchpoint leave disappointed.

Thoughts: Good match. Better than Thatcher’s title match against Scurll the previous night anyway. However, the crowd was not into the match as Thatcher still remains in a funk as a performer. I did like Thatcher standing tall at the end though as they are really building towards a Thatcher vs. Riddle title match, which should be interesting.

 

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Tony Nese vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

These two feel each other to start. Sabre works the arm then Nese tosses him in the corner. Sabre dodges an attack and takes Nese down after an uppercut. He uses a bow-and-arrow lock but runs into a knee as Nese takes control. He hits a few leg drops and gets two off of that. Nese catches Sabre with a super kick then gets two with a deadlift German suplex before using a bodyscissors. They work a reversal sequence that ends with Sabre kicking Nese off of the middle rope as both men are down. They go back-and-forth with Sabre using some creative holds then Sabre ducks a super kick on the floor and places Nese’s leg on the apron and jumps up to hit a running kick. Back inside, Sabre hits a German suplex for two but Nese blocks a kick then they have an insane sequence where Sabre catches Nese in an armbar after a double jump moonsault but Nese deadlfits him for a buckle bomb. They fight in the corner and up top where Sabre rolls through a frankensteiner for a nearfall. Nese comes back with a Falcon Arrow for two. They start trading strikes then Nese hits a pumphandle driver for two. He tries the 450 but Sabre rolls away then gets the win with a bridging rollup (14:55) ***3/4. The fans give both guys a standing ovation.

Thoughts: This was an excellent match. Both guys went all out and did a lot of innovative moves and sequences. A great showcase for what these two guys can be capable of in the CWC.

 

Anything Goes Match: Drew Galloway vs. Johnny Gargano

Gargano catches Galloway with a super kick for two. He flies out with a tope then hammers away on the floor. Gargano traps Galloway between the ring apron and delivers a super kick then repeating running kicks as he stops for a breather. Galloway escapes and kicks Gargano low then drags Gargano and gives him a guillotine underneath the ring. They head inside where Galloway beats down Gargano. He now starts tossing around his smaller opponent but Gargano fights back with upkicks. However, Galloway hammers away with mounted punches and chops him in the corner. Galloway tells Gargano he wants him to quit and to give up as he continues to kick the shit out of him. Galloway yells at Gargano to quit then softens him up for a superplex but Gargano counters and tries a sunset bomb. Galloway blocks that but Gargano cuts him off and hits a lungblower as both men are down. Gargano gets up and fires away. He hits his rolling kick and slignshot spear as that gets two. Crowd chants “This is awesome” as Gargano runs into a right hand then gets flattened with a powerbomb for a nearfall. They head outside where Galloway attempts to torpedo Gargano into the post but shoves Galloway and runs and jumps off of the stairs with a tornado DDT. Back inside, Gargano gets two with a slingshot DDT. He chops Galloway in the corner. They go back-and-forth after that as Gargano hits a kick but Galloway blocks a second attempt and hits a reverse Alabama Slam. Galloway then locks on the Gargano Escape as Gargano counters the move. Gargano puts the hold on again. Gargano even hits the Future Shock DDT but that only gets two . Gargano tries to pull Galloway off of the bottom rope then starts hammering away. Galloway then rakes the eyes and hits a big boot before hitting rolling Future Shock DDT’s but Gargano still kicks out. He places Gargano on top but Gargano kicks him away. Gargano tries a crossbody but Galloway catches him and hits two straight tombstone piledrivers but Gargano was able to kick out. Galloway is beside himself and holds up Gargano for a bit but Gargano fights back. Galloway then manages to hit Gargano with the Sick Kick then hits another tombstone as that gets the win (17:28) ****.

Thoughts: This was one hell of a match. Gargano gave it his all here and took a shit-kicking but at the end of the day he was unable to overcome the size and strength of his opponent. Galloway is coming off like a huge star in this role too. They guy has the look, size, and ability to be a star anywhere he goes.

 

After the match, Galloway declared this date to be “Independent Wrestling Day.” He then states he needs to finish this now and heads over towards Gargano but Page runs out. Page slaps Galloway in the face then hits the RKEgo. Page checks on Gargano, who brushes him away. Page then tells a visibly disappointed Gargano not to send the people home like this. Gargano looks dejected then tells the crowd he does not know how much longer he can continue to do this before apologizing for letting everyone down. Gargano slowly heads up the ramp and stops at the entrance as the show ends. Another great segment in what has to be the feud of the year at this point. It seems like they are setting up for Page to take over Gargano’s role as the leader against Galloway. Page has improved by leaps and bounds but I still do not know if he will be able to carry the role.

 

Final Thoughts: Although not as good as EVOLVE 64, this was still another quality show. With two great storylines and quality wrestling, its tough not to love this promotion. The Galloway vs. EVOLVE feud is the best in wrestling and I recommend that everyone check out this promotion, which you can on WWN Live

 

Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:

Thursday: Highspots Shoot Interview with Ron Simmons

Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/12/88

Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 2/11/82

Sunday: WWF Philadelphia Spectrum 11/12/88

Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/13/88

Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/19/88

Wednesday: WrestleCon 2016 Supershow 4/2/16