Monday, March 9, 2015

Evolve 32 Review

Orlando is treated to a Dream Match as Matt Sydal challenges Ricochet for the Open The Freedom Gate Title!

Evolve 32
Orlando, Florida 8/9/14

The shows starts off with the NEW Evolve Champion Drew Galloway. He talks about how the previous night was a "rebirth" for him & Evolve. He shows a big bruise he got on one of his legs from the previous night. Galloway says he wants to defend the title any chance he gets, and that includes right now, against Anthony Nese!

1.) Evolve Title - Drew Galloway vs. Anthony Nese (with The Premiere Athlete Brand): ***1/2

Again, I don't think this was originally scheduled to be a title match, but Galloway made it so. I actually really enjoyed this. Galloway fought though his injury and looked really good, as did Nese. There was some minor Su Yung interference, but that was a minor complaint. Galloway gets the win in his 1st Successful Title Defense.

After the match, Rich Swann comes out. He makes fun of Nese for losing, and implies that Su Yung spent the night with him, which causes The Premiere Athlete Brand to freak out. Then Swann challenges Galloway to an Evolve Title Match. Galloway wants the match right now, but it is stopped by one of the referee, who says that Swann needs to beat Chris Hero tonight in order to get a title match.

2.) Style Battle 2014 - James Raideen vs. Drew Gulak: **1/4

Up next is more of the Style Battle Tournament. Raideen needs to win this match in order to stay alive in the tournament. The match itself was just ok. It definitely wasn't as good as Raideen's match with Busick from Evolve 31. Raideen won with a vicious powerbomb on Gulak, to stay alive in the tournament.

3.) Style Battle 2014 - Timothy Thatcher vs. Biff Busick: ***3/4

This should prove to be much better than the previous match. Thatcher really impressed against Gulak the night before at Evolve 31, and like Raideen, also needs a win to stay alive in this tournament. These two had a really good match here. It was the best example of "human chess" if there ever was one. There were lots of really good exchanges between Busick & Thatcher, and it really picked up towards the end. Thatcher would eventually get the win via submission in this really great encounter.

After this match, all four competitors are 1-1 in the Style Battle.

4.) Caleb Konley (with Anthony Nese) vs. Johnny Gargano: ****

Su Yung wasn't out with Konley & Nese. Presumably they were upset over what Swann had said earlier. This was actually a really great match. It's probably one of the best performances Konley has had in Evolve, and it should be no surprise that it came up against someone like Gargano. Lots of great back & forth action in this one, and the crowd was really into it. There was some interference at the end of the match by Nese, but it was minor, and I really wasn't as bothered by it as some people were, even though that interference led to Konley getting the win.

Afterwords, they continued this storyline of Gargano being on the decline since losing the Open The Freedom Gate Title by having Konley cut a promo saying that Gargano used to be "The Golden Boy", but now a win over him doesn't mean as much since he is "washed up".

5.) Chris Hero vs. Rich Swann: ***3/4

You had a really interesting clash of styles here, as the striking ability of Hero was going up against Swann's high flying. This was another match that I thought was really good. Personally, I very much enjoyed it. Hero was obviously frustrated over his loss of the Evolve Title the previous night, and that played into the story of this match. There was great action throughout and it picked up down the stretch. Swann would get the win in pretty slick fashion to (presumably) earn himself a future Evolve Title Match.

After the match, Hero teases knocking out the referee, but doesn't, and leaves.

6.) Open The Freedom Gate Title - Ricochet vs. Matt Sydal: ****

These two participated in a tag team match on a big Dragon Gate Show back in July, but I believe this is their first singles encounter. The Open The Freedom Gate Title is on the line in this one (and I think this is actually Ricochet's first defense of the title here in the states). This was a pretty great match, as you would expect. It's hard for any Ricochet match to be bad, and Sydal really looked good in here as well, showing that the ring rust is quickly fading away. The action was fast paced, the two worked really well together, and the crowd was really into it. Ricochet is eventually able to put Sydal away with the 630 to win the match & retain his title.

Following the match, Drew Galloway comes out after Ricochet cuts a promo, setting up their match for the next night at Evolve 33.

Overall: 8.25/10

I felt that this was by far the best show of the weekend. Aside from one match, everything on here was really good to great (Gulak/Raideen was the only match that fell below ***1/2). This is what we were looking for when Evolve announced this reboot. Great wrestling with very little bullshit, and while there was a little of the latter, I don't think it hurt any of the matches that much. Some matches were long, but again, I don't think that's a major complaint at all. Ricochet/Sydal & Gargano/Konley had great matches, with Busick/Thatcher, Hero/Swann & Galloway/Nese not that far behind. A really solid effort from Evolve, and a much better start to Chapter 2 than Evolve 31.

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