EVOLVE 66

August 19th, 2016

From the MCW Arena in Joppa, MD

Your host is Lenny Leonard

 

The show starts with a video of Ethan Page as he calls out DUSTIN for his jealously and how he ruined what he had with the fans. Page said he stabbed Johnny Gargano in the back and that makes him his enemy as he will face DUSTIN tonight so that in September, Gargano can and will forgive Ethan Page.

 

CWC Spotlight Match: Cedric Alexander vs. TJP w/ Stokely Hathaway

These two shake hands before the match, per the instructions of the referee. The announcer puts over the buzz around Alexander over his match in the CWC against Kota Ibushi. These two trade off working the arm until TJP hits a dropkick. TJP then takes Alexander down with a headscissors and does it again until Alexander reverses. TJP flips out and takes a bow as the fans applaud. Alexander then chops TJP and takes him down with a springboard armdrag as TJP bails. TJP runs back in and tries to catch Alexander off guard but is unable to phase him as Alexnader mocks TJP with a bow. TJP then works an octopus hold and breaks to boot Alexander in the ribs. TJP lands a few uppercuts but Alexander escapes and hits a satellite headscissors and follows that with a dropkick. Alexander hushes the crowd as he lays into TJP with chops in three corners, to the delight of the fans. TJP does a headstand in the corner as Alexander finally charges but gets caught with a headscissors then TJP targets the knee. TJP then starts laying into Alexander with uppercuts before back to the knee. He then works a Muta Lock but Alexander breaks that with elbow smashes. TJP hits a slam but misses a slingshot senton as Alexander comes back with a swinging STO. Alexander hobbles and knocks TJP down a few times. TJP floats over on a suplex attempt and his one of his own. Alexander then floats over and lands on the apron and hits a springboard clothesline for two. Alexander catches his breath and tries for the brainbuster as TJP breaks out and that triggers a reversal sequence ending with TJP applying the ankle lock as Alexander reaches the ropes. TJP once again targets the knee as Alexander fights back. They knock each other down with kicks as the fans applaud. TJP sends Alexander in the ropes and hits a springboard dropkick then a springboard DDT. TJP almost gets the win with a Benadryller but Alexander manages a cradle out of a straight jacket suplex attempt. Alexander catches TJP with a Michinoku Driver then a brainbuster for a nearfall. TJP then ducks a pair of kicks and applies a kneebar and Alexander taps as he is unable to make it to the ropes (15:25) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Good opening match. It did get a bit rough towards the end but the first half of the match was excellent. Both guys showed why they belong in the WWE’s cruiserweight division here.

 

After the match, Hathaway calls out Triple H and says if he wants the best for the Cruiserweight Division, he will contract him about TJP. Hathaway then says TJP proved him right that he was the best during the CWC. The crowd chants “nine ninety-nine” as Hathaway talks about the Cruiserweight Division coming to RAW as the crowd boos his mention of Stephanie McMahon as he asks her to get his number from her “hubby” because TJP’s price goes up with each passing day. Good promo by Hathaway, who has been quite strong as a manager in EVOLVE.

 

Jigsaw & Peter Kaasa vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi

Jigsaw and Williams go back-and-forth on the mat to start in a good sequence. They tag out as Yehi pulls Kaasa down in midair as he attempted a leapfrog. Kaasa ducks a clothesline and hits an angle slam and teases a dive outside but Yehi moved out of the way. Williams and Jigsaw are back in and work a faster paced sequence than before as Jigsaw gets two with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Williams regains control then tags Yehi, who catches Jigsaw with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Jigsaw is getting worked over in the corner then Williams stretches him out. Jigsaw tries to fight back against Yehi then takes him down with a missile dropkick as both men are down. Jigsaw makes the tag as Kaasa runs wild, showing off his athleticism in the process. Jigsaw takes Yehi out with a tope then Kaasa takes Williams outside and flies out with a twisting Flying Space Tiger Drop that looked great and really pumped up the fans. Back inside, Kaasa hits Williams with a Northern Lights Suplex then floats over to hit a brainbuster for two. He then misses a moonsault as Williams puts him in a sleeper. Williams then turns Kaasa inside out with a clothesline for a two count then locks on a crossface. The match breaks down now as all four men are down. Yehi and Jigsaw officially tag in as Yehi  hits a pair of German suplexes. Jigsaw then catches Yehi with an enziguiri and a double stomp to the back of the neck before getting the surprise win with a brainbuster (13:45) ***1/4. After the match, Williams helps up Yehi then slaps him across the face. Yehi takes Jigsaw out with a rolling elbow then slaps Williams back as they stare at each other before raising their arms. They then shake hands after laughing as Williams leaves and Yehi finally follows.

Thoughts: Good match. Kaasa really showed off his crazy athleticism in his EVOLVE return. His hot-tag sequence was great. And Jigsaw has shown how he can be an effective mat-based wrestler since his match against Zack Sabre Jr. at EVOLVE 64. The stuff with the Catchpoint guys was interesting as on commentary they pushed that they were going crazy. It will be interesting to see what happens to Catchpoint going forward.

 

Ethan Page vs. DUSTIN

DUSTIN comes out and taunts Page with his EVOLVE Tag Team Title belt. He then boots Page before the bell and hammers away as he dumps Page outside. Page comes back and slams DUSTIN’s head against the timekeeper’s table and poses to the crowd. He grabs the mic and tells us he will kick DUSTIN’s butt. DUSTIN sends Page into the guardrail but Page returns the favor then hits a backdrop on the floor. They head inside briefly until Page clotheslines DUSTIN outside and flies out with a tope. Back in the ring, Page hits a fallaway slam. DUSTIN comes back with a suplex and taunts the fans but manages to get a bit of applause. They trade strikes until DUSTIN uses an eye rake. Page finally comes back and slaps DUSTIN down as he beats him in the corner. DUSTIN then targets the knee and takes Page down while choking him out with his knee. He dropkicks Page in the back of the head for two. Page counters a hurricarana attempt with a sitout powerbomb as both men are down. They get up and trade strikes as Page wins that battle. Page runs wild and gets the crowd behind him before slamming DUSTIN off of the top rope for two. DUSTIN then yanks Page off of the apron and piledrives him on the floor. Page just beats the 20 count to head inside and runs into a super kick for a nearfall. Page tries another comeback but DUSTIN stops that and hits a pair of DDT’s but unable to get the win. A few fans start an “Awful Waffle” chant, which is the name of DUSTIN’s finisher as Page lawn darts DUSTIN into the corner after breaking out of a stretch. Page hits a big boot for two then shortly after that hits the package piledriver for the win (13:45) *1/2.

Thoughts: This match just did not click. It was built up like a grudge match but DUSTIN’s brawling looked bad and Page just kept pandering to the crowd and it never worked. I like the idea of the DUSTIN character but he is struggling in this role. I have no idea what will happen to Page as he could be in line for a top babyface push or just setting him up for a heel turn.

 

CWC Spotlight Match: Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak

Nese takes Gulak down to start. He tries to work the leg but Gulak takes him down as they end in a stalemate. The crowd starts a dueling chant as neither man can gain the advantage. Nese takes down Gulak with a clothesline after a lengthy struggle as he works over Gulak in the corner. Gulak cuts Nese off with a dropkick then starts working the leg. Gulak then switches to an armbar to maintain control after Nese tries to escape. Gulak heads up top as Nese cuts him off with a somersault into an uppercut then he takes Gulak off with one arm for a buckle bomb. Nese hits a few knee lifts to send Gulak down before using a leg sweep. Nese then hits a double jump moonsault for two. Nese tries another sweep but Gulak dodges that and takes Nese out with a tope. Back inside, Gulak puts on another armbar. He then works a hanging guillotine as Nese finally deadlifts him with a suplex and drops him on the ropes. Nese hits a running knee strike then tries to suplex back into the ring but Gulak stops that so Nese sweeps his legs. Nese then flies out with a Fosbury Flop and rolls Gulak inside but misses the 450. Nese then blocks a Dragon Sleeper and uses a sitout piledriver for two as a “this is awesome” chant breaks out. Gulak mounts a comeback as he grabs Nese by his beard and slaps away before getting a nearfall with an electric chair drop. Both men are down then head up top were Gulak gets two with a superplex as Nese uses a cradle for a nearfall of his own. Gulak heads back up and hits a flying clothesline for two. Nese fights back and tries a pumphandle but Gulak blocks that then, in a perfect sequence, Gulak counters a leapfrog with a sunset flip and gets the win (18:16) ***3/4. After the match, Gulak stares at the EVOLVE championship, which is on the mat.

Thoughts: This was one hell of a match with a great finish. Both guys stood out here and it makes sense for Gulak to get the win as he heads into a potential title match against Timohty Thatcher tomorrow night. Nese has also stood out more the past few shows.

 

After the match, Gulak grabs the mic. He tells us that we will see Timothy Thatcher vs. Matt Riddle in a No Holds Barred Match. Gulak mentions how he is carrying the belt out of respect as Thatcher feels he is not fit to hold the belt. He then mentions how Thatcher will hurt anyone that touches the title and says he should act like a man and come out. Thatcher’s music hits as he heads out but it was all so Riddle could attack Thatcher from behind. The bell then rings after that as the two brawl on the floor. A nice segment to start off the title bout.

 

No Holds Barred Match for the EVOLVE Championship: Timothy Thatcher (c) vs. Matt Riddle

Riddle and Thatcher continue to brawl on the outside. Thatcher takes control and tries to work the leg but Riddle fights him off and rolls into the ring. They start trading haymakers then slaps then they trade holds on the mat. Thatcher works the ankle as Riddle is screaming in pain. Riddle escapes then hits a German suplex and pumps up the crowd before hitting a pair of rolling deadlift gutwrench suplexes before applying a cross armbreaker. Thatcher is in the ropes but that does not mean Riddle has to break as its under No Holds Barred rules. Riddle teases a dive then stops short and slaps Thatcher, who slaps him back. Thatcher hits a few uppercuts then slams Riddle’s arm against the post. Thatcher suplexes Riddle back into the ring for a two count then gets another nearfall with a gutwrench. Thatcher works a crossface for a bit then beats Riddle against the ropes. The crowd is behind Riddle as he cuts Thatcher off then stomps him repeatedly before using a triangle choke. Thatcher breaks out then they engage in another battle until Thatcher hits a gutwrench for two. Thatcher then works a choke but Riddle is able to break that up with a Saito suplex as both men are down. Riddle takes Thatcher down with a knee then stalks over him but Thatcher takes him down and works the knee. Thatcher takes Riddle down again with a Dragon Screw and works a knee bar as Riddle is screaming in pain. Riddle then grabs Thatcher’s ankle as they start slapping each other and roll around to the apron, eventually falling outside. They head back in with Thatcher hitting a double underhook suplex before applying a Fujiwara armbar. Riddle escapes and kicks Thatcher before hitting a Fisherman’s Buster then a tombstone but Thatcher is able to kick out and lock on an armbar. Thatcher then uses a cross armbreaker as Riddle is hanging in the ropes and eventually has to tap out (16:46) ****1/4. After the match, Thatcher maintains the hold until Gulak makes the save. Gulak confronts Thatcher and blocks a headbutt with a kick as Thatcher is out. Gulak grabs the mic and holds the belt over Thathcer and says that tomorrow night in Brooklyn, he expects  Thatcher to hand the belt to him as he drops it before leaving.

Thoughts: Man, this was an excellent match. Riddle is just an amazing wrestler. I don’t know if anyone in the past 20 years has been able to pick up pro wrestling quicker than him, including Kurt Angle. My only complaint about the match itself is the finish as Thatcher immediately put on the finisher after getting hit with a tombstone and a fisherman’s buster. My complaint about the booking was I believe this was the time for Riddle to go over. Thatcher has zero momentum as the champ and has had a subpar 2016 in the ring. They should have pulled the trigger here.

 

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Cody Rhodes

The crowd chants for Cody to start then switches to a “both these guys” chants. He has long tights and looks to be in good shape. Leonard puts over how Cody wants to show everyone that he is one of the best in the world. They go back-and-forth to start as Sabre toys with Cody a little bit. Sabre then works the arm as he shows off his mat skills. Cody tries to break out but Sabre keeps forcing him back down. Sabre breaks and waits for Cody to get up as Cody stretches Sabre out. Cody takes Sabre down with a hip toss then works the arm until Sabre breaks that up with several kicks as they end in a stalemate with the crowd applauding. Sabre catches Cody with a kick then drops him down on his arm as Sabre goes back to work. Sabre stomps in Cody’s arm then takes him down with an uppercut. Sabre kicks Cody off of the ropes as he was hanging then follows him out and hits another uppercut. Sabre continues to work over the arm on the outside but misses a running kick and boots the steps. Cody rolls inside and hits Sabre with a Dragon Screw as he was on the apron and between the ropes. Cody now targets the leg as he takes control of the match. Sabre escapes and stomps the arm and goes back to working that over. Cody ducks a clothesline and hits a side effect. He then ducks an enziguiri and hits a Disaster Kick for two. Cody comes back with a clothesline but Sabre ducks an attack and hits a half-nelson suplex. Sabre gets two with a penalty kick then boots Cody again in the corner. Cody ducks a kick and puts Sabre up for an Alabama Slam then spins around but Sabre is able to put Cody in a hanging kimura. Sabre breaks and heads up top where he hits the arm. Sabre almost puts Cody away with a cradle then Cody hit the Cross Rhodes for two. The crowd applauds as both men are hurting. Sabre catches Cody with an elbow then uses a hanging armbar but Rhodes pulls him up and hits a powerbomb. Cody then goes back to working the leg as he locks on an inverted figure-four, called the “American Nightmare,” as Sabre taps out (18:06) ***1/4.

Thoughts: The match was good but it did not stand out or anything. Cody looked okay but Sabre took most of the match on offense. Hopefully, Cody can show more going forward.

 

After the match, Cody grabs the mic and tells Sabre to get back inside. Sabre enters as Cody helps him up and shakes his hand. They hug as Sabre leaves while Cody asks what happened to himself. Cody said he did not take the safe bet as he wants to prove himself while the people of EVOLVE bet on him. Cody talks about the shadow cast upon him in the WWE then what happens when you wake up and the shadow is gone. He says you start fighting, scratching, and clawing back as he wants to prove his doubters wrong. He then addresses Drew Galloway and says he is not interested in the past and not his man before wishing the crowd a good night. Good promo by Cody as he wants to reinvent himself and not be part of Galloway’s crusade against the EVOLVE/WWE relationship.

 

Final Thoughts: Overall, the wrestling was good and the title match was great. However, the booking was disappointing and it lacked the big show feel the previous several EVOLVE shows had. Thatcher’s title reign should have ended here, IMO, and the Page/DUSTIN grudge match did not work at all. Cody’s debut was just okay but am I still intrigued to see how he does going forward. There have been better EVOLVE shows this year but I would not call this a bad show by any means. It was just disappointing.