Orlando, Florida 4/18/15
1.) SHINE Title - Santana Garrett vs. Andrea: *1/4
We kick off the show with a match for the SHINE Title that was announced the previous night at Evolve 41. This was supposed to be Su Yung challenging Santana Garrett, but SoCal Val took her shot and gave it to Andrea. It’s pretty clear that the only reason this match happened was to further facilitate Su Yung splitting from The Premiere Athlete Brand. It wasn’t a good showcase for Santana Garrett, who in 2015, has become the female version of Ultimo Dragon, holding several women’s wrestling titles. Finally, it really was a bad idea to have this open the show. It just wasn’t a good match (I’d put that mainly on Andrea). A botched interference attempt from Su Yung led to Santana Garrett getting the win to retain her SHINE Title.
Afterwords, SoCal Val & Andrea get into an argument with Su Yung over the loss. It looks like Su Yung is finally going to fight back, but she gets taken out by Andrea before she has the chance.
2.) "All Ego" Ethan Page vs. Martin Stone: **1/4
The next match of the night sees Ethan Page looking to go 2-0 on the weekend as he takes on Martin Stone. This match was just ok. It was decent, but nothing more with that. The issue is, after that first match, the second match needed to be better, and it wasn’t. Stone has been fine in all of his Evolve outings up to this point, but this was certainly his weakest. If there was a positive element to this match, it’s that Page got the win, as he should have.
3.) Andrew Everett vs. Rey Horus: ***1/4
Business is about to finally pick up, as we have a battle of high-flyers in this match. Finally, we have a match worth talking about on this show! A entertaining contest between these two young high-flyers. Some really good action from both guys in this contest. In the end, Horus would get the win over Everett with a top rope Frankensteiner. Again, a pretty solid match. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing these two face off again.
4.) TJ Perkins vs. Timothy Thatcher: ****
While TJ Perkins picked up a big win over Biff Busick at Evolve 41, Thatcher suffered a defeat against Roderick Strong. I thought this match was great! Coming into this match, I was pretty excited to see how Thatcher’s style would mesh with the style of TJ Perkins, and they ended up working really well together. There was a ton of great action in this match. This is a perfect example of the positive side of the grappling style that Evolve is putting more attention on. Thatcher would pick up the win after getting TJ Perkins to tap out. A really entertaining match between these two.
5.) Biff Busick vs. Roderick Strong: ****
I feel like these two have faced off before, but I can’t remember where. It could be a first-time ever matchup, I’m just not sure. Anyway, this was another really great match! Of course, you would expect a match between these two to be filled with lots of strikes and a ton of hard-hitting action, and that’s exactly what we got here. These two are just so good, and they worked really well together here. Eventually, Busick would pick up a big win over Strong, who became the #1 Contender to the Evolve World Title the night before at Evolve 41.
After the match, Busick cut a promo about how much he hated Timothy Thatcher and how, in his mind, Evolve officials have been screwing him over. This leads to Thatcher coming out, and the two have a brawl that needs to be separated by security. What’s significant about this incident is that Busick struck Thatcher really hard in one of his ears during the brawl, which gave Thatcher a pretty serious ear injury that forced him to miss the next set of Evolve shows.
6.) Davey Richards vs. Trevor Lee: ***1/2
Up next we have a match that, I believe, is a first-time ever encounter. I though this had to potential to be as great as the two matches that preceded it, but it was hampered by two things. Firstly, I think it needed a little more time to reach the level of being a truly great match. Second, the fire alarm in the building went off during the match, and that definitely detracted from the match. Richards would pick up the victory in this match.
7.) Open The United Gate Titles - Street Fight - The Premiere Athlete Brand (Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley with SoCal Val & Andrea) vs. Ronin (Johnny Gargano & Rich Swann): ***1/2
Back in January at Evolve 37, Ronin reunited in trios action against The Bravado Brothers & Moose. While Ronin was a major part of Dragon Gate USA, they were never able to capture the Open The United Gate Titles. Johnny Gargano & Rich Swann look to check that off their list as they face The Premiere Athlete Brand in a Street Fight. Ethan Page is on commentary for this match, and as always, was pretty entertaining. The match itself was pretty good. The early brawling in the crowd detracted a bit from the match in that it was hard to see what was going on. Once they got back in the ring, it was a pretty good match. I also like the fact that they four guys actually wore street clothes to a Street Fight. Some might complain that this runs contradictory to Evolve’s new direction, but in my opinion, you always need some form of variety, as you don’t want every single match on the card being the same thing. Su Yung would eventually get involved, blowing mist in the face of SoCal Val, finally getting her revenge. In the end, Gargano & Swann would pick up the win, and captured the Open The United Gate Titles! Not the best match on the show, but a really solid Main Event.
After the match, Gargano tries to cut a promo celebrating Ronin’s victory, but he gets into a verbal confrontation with Ethan Page. Gargano called Page a nobody and said he didn’t deserve to face him. Eventually, Page left, and Ronin celebrated they title win to close the show.
While this show wasn’t quite as good as Evolve 41, it was still pretty solid. The first two matches really hurt the show, in my opinion. Fortunately, things picked up with Andrew Everett vs. Rey Horus. You then had two great matches in a row with TJ Perkins vs. Timothy Thatcher & Biff Busick vs. Roderick Strong. These two matches are definitely worth checking out. Even though the two closing matches had their own respective issues, they were still very solid matches. Ronin winning the Open The United Gate Titles in the Main Event was a really cool moment. Despite various setbacks, this show continued the string of solid Evolve outings in 2015.