Monday, March 9, 2015

Evolve 34 Review

Zack Sabre Jr. comes to Evolve and Rich Swann challenges Drew Galloway for the Evolve Title!

Evolve 34
Queens, New York 9/13/14

Before the first match, Johnny Gargano is out to cut a promo. He talks about his recent slide and that he wants to work his way back up to challenge for the Evolve Title. After what Caleb Konley said at Evolve 32, Gargano said he was ready to prove to himself and to the fans that he wasn't "washed up", as Caleb Konley claimed. He's going to start his rise back to the top by taking on another member on The Premiere Athlete Brand in Anthony Nese.

1.) Johnny Gargano vs. Anthony Nese (with The Premiere Athlete Brand): ***1/4

This was a pretty solid opening match. I like the fact that they've (seemingly) turned Gargano babyface again and are having him wrestle in the opening match and work his way back up. The fact that they had him start off with Nese (after what Konley had set at the last set of shows) also works well. These two had a very solid opener, with lots of good action. Gargano would get the win with a roll-up. 

After the match, The Premiere Athlete Brand attacked Gargano, including Mr. A (wasn't he "fired" from the group a few months back?) until Rich Swann made the save! They beat up Swann for a bit until Gargano recovers & runs them off.

2.) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Timothy Thatcher: ****1/4

After coming off of his performances in the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles for PWG (those reviews will be coming), Zack Sabre Jr. is here in Evolve, and he's taking on Timothy Thatcher. This was a fantastic match! A great technical display between both guys. For those who haven't seen a lot of Zack Sabre Jr., you got a real look at just how great he is. Thatcher was a perfect opponent for him, as their styles meshed extremely well together. Zack Sabre Jr. would pick up the win in this awesome match.

3.) Roderick Strong vs. Uhaa Nation: ***3/4

I think this is a first time ever match, and it was one that I also really enjoyed. While the last match had a battle of technicians, this one was more about power & speed. Lots of really solid action between these two, and would you expect anything less? Uhaa Nation would eventually get the win with the Uhaa Combination. It made sense for Uhaa Nation to get the win here, since he's challenging Ricochet the next night.

4.) Caleb Konley (with The Premiere Athlete Brand) vs. Open The Freedom Gate Champion Ricochet: ***1/2

It's really hard to believe how long Caleb Konley has been in Dragon Gate USA/Evolve. After all that crap with The Scene, and the directionless state of him in 2013 after breaking away from The Scene, he's seeming finally gotten on track in 2014. Here he took on Ricochet, in what was another really good match for Konley (he's had a string of good matches lately). It had some good stuff in it, and both guys looked good. It could have been better, and they could have done a better job building up Konley to a huge win over the current Open The Freedom Gate Champion, but I think the fact that Konley lost to Chris Hero at Evolve 33 hurt the impact of the win a bit, in my opinion. Still, the match was pretty solid.

Up next we have AR Fox coming out to cut a promo. He's making his return after suffering a wrist injury at a Beyond Wrestling's Uncomfortable back in June, and had been on the shelf since. He talks about his return and his goal of winning the Open The Freedom Gate Title. This brings out The Bravado Brothers come out. They took exception to what AR Fox said about being part of the best team to ever hold the Open The United Gate Titles (with CIMA back in 2012-13). They said they were the best tag team in the promotion's history. After some bantering which including AR Fox making fun of The Bravado's Grandmother, they have a surprise for AR Fox in the form of Moose!

5.) AR Fox vs. Moose: **3/4

I'm actually really surprised to see Moose on these shows at all, since he had signed with Ring of Honor a few months prior to this show. Despite that, he's here to wrestle AR Fox. This actually wasn't that bad of a match. It was going along well, and these two seemed to work well together, until The Bravado Brothers interfered and caused a DQ. This led to The Colony coming out to make the save, setting up our next match...

6.) Open The United Gate Titles - The Bravado Brothers vs. The Colony: **1/2

These two teams had a pretty solid title match back at Evolve 30. This was going along fine until the finish came. Basically, The Bravados won after a combination of referee distractions, messing with Silver Ant's mask, and a low blow. It's disappoint because you know these two teams can put on a good match (as they did at Evolve 30) but shenanigans ruined it. The Bravado Brothers' reign as Open The United Gate Champions has been nothing short of disappointing.

7.) Evolve Title - Drew Galloway vs. Rich Swann: ***1/2

The story with the Main Event is that Swann is still feeling the affects of the attack earlier in the night from The Premiere Athlete Brand, and that's he's not 100%. Despite that, the match goes forward. It was actually a pretty solid match. There was a lot happening towards the end, with The Premiere Athlete Brand coming out once again to interfere, Swann not giving up, and Galloway growing frustrated at not being able to put Swann away. Eventually, he is able to do so, and retains the Evolve Title.

After the match, Galloway takes the mic and gives Swann credit for fighting through his injury, saying that he can have a rematch anytime he wants, when he's 100%. He then gives the same rabble-rousing speech he's been giving, but added that he's taking the title all over the world, showing it off on TV in the UK as well as defending the title across the world, to close the show.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was a really good show from Evolve. Zack Sabre Jr. had an amazing match with Timothy Thatcher that is worth going out of your way to see (if you're into that style). Roderick Strong vs. Uhaa Nation also had a very good match. Moose probably had his best singles match to date against AR Fox, despite the match ending in a DQ, and their were a couple of solid matches on the undercard. Other than the rough patch with The Bravado Brothers, it was an enjoyable show. Very little bullshit, which with Evolve, is a good thing.

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