Chris Hero defends the Evolve Title against Trent Baretta!
New Orleans, Louisiana 4/3/14
I should note that the setting for the WWNLive Shows is interesting. The ring is essentially on an auditorium stage, with seats on the stage surrounding three sides of the ring, and the actual auditorium seats being the fourth side.
1.) Biff Busick vs. Drew Gulak: ***1/2
These two met in the finals of the 2014 Style Battle Tournament at Evolve 24 in an awesome match. It wasn't nearly as good as that match, but it was still very good. Whenever you get these two in a ring together, it's always going to be a great, and this was not different. Very technical match. Biff Busick is able to get the win (I think one of his first against Gulak) after a great exchange via submission.
2.) Green Ant vs. Maxwell Chicago: **1/4
I was so disappointed when this was announced. Nothing against Maxwell Chicago, but Green Ant deserves SOOOOOO much better than a comedy match. He's been having great matches all over the place, and although I know he can do these types of matches based on his work in CHIKARA, I feel on this big of a weekend, it was kind of beneath him. As far as the match goes, it was fine for what it was. Harmless fun. Green Ant gets the win via submission.
3.) AR Fox vs. Caleb Konley (with Su Yung & Mr. A): ***1/2
Back at Way of the Ronin in February, Caleb Konley joined the Premiere Athlete Brand, attack AR Fox & Chris Hero in the process, thus setting up this match. Su Yung & Mr. A accompany Konley at ringside. This was a very good match. Lots of great back & forth action between both guys. But then came the end of the match. Konley is able counter the Lo Mien Pain, and hits AR Fox with a Death Valley Driver from the top rope to the apron!!! That got a massive reaction from the crowd!! After Konley throws Fox back in the ring, he is able to get a quick rollup on Konley for the win. This was the same type of BS Finish that we saw in the Jigsaw/Fire Ant Match from Way of the Ronin. It's both head-scratching & frustrating. A great match ruined by a horribly booked finish.
Caleb Konley, Su Yung & Mr. A attack AR Fox after the match.
4.) Open The United Gate Tag Team Titles - The Bravado Brothers (with Moose) vs. The Gentlemen's Club (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy with Drew Gulak): **
This is sort of a mini feud that began at the last Dragon Gate USA Shows where (I believe) Moose took out Orange Cassidy. If The Gentlemen's Club don't win the titles here, they can no longer challenge for the titles as long as The Bravado Brothers are champions. The match was just kind of there, and the crowd didn't seem to care about it too much (which can be said about most of the Bravado Brothers/Gentlemen's Club Matches). The Tag Team Division in Dragon Gate USA/Evolve has been really lackluster lately, and it would continue throughout the weekend.
After the match, Orange Cassidy walks out on the Gentlemen's Club, literally through the crowd and out the door.
For those who were watching the live iPPV, there was a 45 Minute Intermission. Before the next match, Larry Dallas came out for an interview. I honestly didn't care.
I should note that the next two matches were sort of "Pick Your Poison" Style Matches, with Johnny Gargano picking Ricochet's opponent & Ricochet picking Gargano's opponent.
5.) Ricochet vs. Anthony Nese (with Su Yung & Mr. A): ***1/2
These two had a match at Freedom Fight 2013, which Nese won. This was a pretty good match. Despite the fact that there was a slip up towards the end, it was still very solid, which is exactly what you would expect from these two. Ricochet, who won Dragon Gate's Open The Dream Gate Title in Japan a few weeks prior, defeats Nese in this match.
After the match, Johnny Gargano (who was on commentary), comes out and cuts a promo on Ricochet, talking about his accolades since winning the title in late-2011. This led to Ricochet being attacked by Gargano, but Rich Swann comes out to make the save, leading to the next match...
6.) Johnny Gargano vs. Rich Swann: ***1/2
There have been a number of matches between these two since Gargano turned heel last year. I actually thought this was another solid match, though far from their best. Much like some matches earlier on, there was a lot of great action, but the ending did affect the match on the whole, though I think what Gargano did to win the match (using his title belt while the referee was distracted) wasn't nearly as bad compared to what happened earlier.
Following the match, Gargano continues to attack Swann until Ricochet comes out and hits Gargano with his new finisher, The Benadryller.
7.) Evolve Title - Chris Hero vs. Trent Baretta (with Su Yung & Mr. A): ***1/2
In an embarrassing moment, Hero forgot to bring out the Evolve Title. This match came about after what happened at Way of the Ronin, where following Hero's Evolve Title win, Trent Baretta laid out a verbal tirade towards Hero, which led to an attack by The Premiere Athlete Brand. Much like earlier, this match actually had some very solid action throughout, but once again, the booking hurt it in the end. Essentially, Hero was able to channel his inner-John Cena, as he was able to overcome interference from the entire Premiere Athlete Brand as well as a loaded kneepad from Baretta to retain his title. Did I mention there was a ref bump as well? When I think about this match, it reminds me a lot of the Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards ROH World Title Match from Final Battle 2011. A match that, on paper, should have been great, but was hampered by overbooking. I've seen some people lambast this match, but the actual wrestling wasn't that bad at all (although the match did go a little longer than it probably should have).
I've seen a lot of negative things said about Evolve 28. In regards to that, I though that the show was not as bad as everyone claims it was. From a strictly in-ring standpoint, most of the wrestling was pretty solid. Gulak/Busick, Fox/Konley, Ricochet/Nese, Gargano/Swann, and even the main event, all had good wrestling content. The problems that came with this show was mostly the booking, particularly when it came to the finishes of a lot of these matches. They literally did the same ending in the Fox/Konley match that they did in the Fire Ant/Jigsaw match from Way of the Ronin, and both times they made no sense. Why did Chris Hero need to look like John Cena? Why did Trent Baretta and the rest of the Premiere Athlete Brand come off as a bunch of fools for not being able to beat down Hero despite all of their interference? Couple that with the deteriorating Tag Team Division and, what I feel like, is the criminal misuse of Green Ant's abilities, and there you have a lot problems coupled with many questions. So in summary, Evolve 28 was a pretty average wrestling show that was hampered by bad booking, which is not something you want to have during WrestleMania Weekend.