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Northwest Community Center – Orlando, FL – Saturday, August 9, 2014
Lenny Leonard and Ron Niemi are on commentary.
EVOLVE Champion Drew Galloway defeats Anthony Nese (w/ Caleb Konley and Su Yung) at 11:38. Galloway has been the Champion since 8.8.14, and this is his first defense. He starts the show with a promo putting over EVOLVE and stating that he’s going to defend the title in every match going forward. Galloway has a deep, nasty bruise on his leg from his match last night with Chris Hero, so Nese wisely goes right after it. Yung interferes quite liberally whenever she has a chance. Nese spends a lot of the match in control, and looks really good in doing so. He gets Galloway in position for the 450 Splash but Galloway moves out of the way. Galloway then hits the Future Shock DDT to pick up the win. Good first defense for Galloway there, as Nese is over enough to challenge for the belt but not be a true threat to win it yet. The leg work didn’t really go anywhere, but it made sense for Nese to go there. Galloway is off to a 2-0 start now.
Rich Swann makes his way out and tells Nese and Konley that Su Yung was with him all night last night, a fact that enrages the Premier Athlete Brand as they make their way to the back. Swann then challenges Galloway to a title match, since he was supposed to face Hero for the title tonight. Galloway agrees, but the referee says that Swann has to beat Hero tonight to earn his title shot.
James Raideen defeats Drew Gulak at 10:08 in a Style Battle Tournament Match. Raideen wastes no time attacking Busick and using his power to control the opening minutes. Gulak responds by going after the leg, and even cinches in the Ankle Lock late in the match. Raideen makes it to the ropes to break the hold. He recovers and hits two big lariats, which Gulak kicks out of both on a pin attempt. Raideen then hits a vicious powerbomb to get the pin and move both himself and Gulak to 1-1 in the tournament. This was good, sound stuff and all, but Raideen seems really out of place in a category with Gulak, Busick, and Thatcher. These two just didn’t click.
Timothy Thatcher defeats Biff Busick at 15:56 in a Style Battle Tournament match. This should be a grappling fan’s dream. They chain wrestle back and forth for quite a bit, and they even throw some vicious headbutts into the mix. Both men look pretty evenly matched from a wrestling standpoint, so they end up deciding to trade strikes. Busick wins that battle but can’t get a pin yet. He goes to the top rope but Busick drills him on the way down with a European Uppercut. Thatcher hits a Les Artes Lift into the buckles for two. They continue to go back and forth and Busick locks in a Rear Naked Choke. Thatcher is able to fight his way out of it and after a series of reversals he traps Busick in the Fujiwara Armbar to get the win. All four men in the tournament are now at 1-1. I really enjoy this kind of matt grappling style, and this was a very good match besides. Both men showed off their technical proficiencies and their toughness. Nothing fancy here, just really good wrestling.
Caleb Konley defeats Johnny Gargano at 16:14. Anthony Nese comes out with Konley to be in his corner. Gargano seems distracted in the early going, possibly due to his loss last night or due to his Evolution’s End math tomorrow night with Rich Swann. Konley uses that internal distraction, as well as the external distraction of Nese to keep Gargano on defense. Gargano gets cracked in the face and his nose starts to bleed; it may be broken, but it’s only about a 3.0 on the Cena scale. As the match wears on, Konley shows that he’s improved to the degree that he can pretty much hang with Gargano, which is awesome. The finishing stretch gets quite heated, with lots of signature moves connecting and others missing. As they battle on the top rope, Nese interferes again and Konley knocks Gargano back to the mat. Konley follows with a springboard moonsault to get the pin. Imagine how much more effective it would be if Konley had gone over without Nese interfering at the end? They still could have sold it as Gargano being mentally distracted if they want to protect him a bit. At any rate, this was a fantastic showing for Konley, a terrifically worked match by both guys that built exceptionally well to the flurry down the stretch.
Rich Swann defeats Chris Hero at 19:36. This is certainly a bit of a styles clash. Johnny Gargano tries to attack Swann before the match, but Swann bitch slaps him back to where he came from. Both men surprise by starting the match with some back and forth chain wrestling. That’s just not normally what I expect from Swann. Of course thing escalate and Hero uses a succession of strikes and tries to keep the pace slow, while Swann flies around and tries to speed up the match. Hero gets more and more frustrated as the match goes on, and letting the referee know exactly how he feels about him at all times. Swann unleashes a flurry of offense and gets Hero in position for the Standing 450. Hero gets his knees up and cradles Swann for a near-fall, but Swann counters into his own cradle to get the pin. This went on a little bit long but certainly made Swann look good and that’s alright with me. The high-flyer going over the frustrated technical wrestler with a technical wrestling move is always choice.
Open the Freedom Gate Champion Ricochet defeats Matt Sydal at 15:20 to retain the title. Ricochet has been the Champion since 4.4.14, and this is his first defense. Both men look good in the opening minutes, and Sydal is the one able to take the first prolonged advantage. Things never really slow down too much, as both men wrestle a very similar, fast-paced style. Sydal is coming off a win over Johnny Gargano last night, so he has momentum on his side. Sydal and Ricochet gel very well together, and everything they do just works. The finish finally comes after Ricochet lands a series of kicks to the head, and then a perfect 630 Senton to get the pin. I love the one upsmanship and competitive spirit that was obviously on display here, as each wrestler gave the impression that he wanted to outdo his opponent, but without being a dick about it.
This is another potent six-match card, with almost everything three stars or higher, and two matches at four stars, which is a great percentage. Ricochet v Sydal was a worthy main event, but just as exciting was the great performance by Caleb Konley in his match against Johnny Gargano. They also furthered some feuds here (Gargano v Swann, Ricochet v Galloway), which is always a plus. Chapter 2 of EVOLVE is certainly off to a good start.
Tags: Chris Hero, evolve, johnny gargano, Matt Sydal, Ricochet