Thursday, December 31, 2015

Evolve 43 Review

Drew Galloway defends the Open The Freedom Gate Title against Biff Busick!

Evolve 43
Woodside, New York 5/30/15

I should quickly note here at the beginning that this venue, La Boom, is a new venue for Evolve, and would quickly become a regular stop for them in 2015.

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

Before this match begins, SoCal Val cuts a promo expressing her displeasure over Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley losing the Open The United Gate Titles to Ronin at Evolve 42, but says they plan on redeeming themselves. She also adds that she wants to “talk business” with Roderick Strong in her hotel room later. As far as this match goes, Anthony Nese is taking on Rey Horus. I actually thought this was a pretty enjoyable opener. Some very solid action throughout, and both of these guys looked good. In the end, Horus would score an upset victory over Nese!

After the match, Konley attacked Horus, and Nese just left in frustration. Konley didn’t want to wait any longer for his match, and calls out Davey Richards! Looks like that match is next!

2.) Davey Richards vs. Caleb Konley: ***3/4

Richards defeated Konley’s tag team partner Anthony Nese at Evolve 38. As far as this match is concerned, I really liked it. Konley has grown so much since he left The Scene a few years ago. He had a very good showing here against Davey Richards, who you can always count on to have, at least, a good match. Eventually, Richards would pick up the win over Konley, meaning that The Premiere Athlete went 0-2 on this show.

Afterwords, Richards requested a future shot at the Evolve World Title.

3.) "Speedball" Mike Bailey vs. TJ Perkins: ****

This is the Evolve debut for Mike Bailey, who has been making a name for himself all over the independent scene, most recently in PWG. Here, he’s taking on TJ Perkins. This was a great match! Perkins is just an incredibly entertaining performer, and I think he really meshed well here with Mike Bailey. A very unique match, to say the least. Perkins would get the win in one of the best matches of the night.

4.) Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee: ****

Lee’s made a few appearances in Evolve this year, but this is arguably his biggest challenge yet. These two actually had a really good match in PWG a couple of months prior, so it should be no surprise that this match was great as well! Hero is having a sneaky good 2015, and Lee is always an entertaining person to watch in this ring. These two work very well together, and it produced another great match on the other side of the country. Hero would eventually score the victory over Lee, but the Carolina Caveman put up a spirited effort.

5.) Open The United Gate Titles - Ronin (Johnny Gargano & Rich Swann) vs. Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams: ***1/2

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Tracy Williams in Evolve, as he had a match against Timothy Thatcher back at Evolve 35. Here, he’s returned as the protégé of Drew Gulak, as they challenge Ronin for the Open The United Gate Titles. This was a pretty solid match. It wasn’t an incredible match by any stretch, but all four of these guys are very capable performers, so it was almost impossible for them to have a bad match. In the end, Gargano & Swann would get the win to retain their titles.

After the match, Gargano & Swann announced that they were retiring the Open The United Gate Titles, since the Dragon Gate USA brand is essentially defunct. They do, however, advocate for the creation of an Evolve Tag Team Championship.

6.) Open The Freedom Gate Title - Drew Galloway vs. Biff Busick: ***1/2

I would assume that Busick’s victory over Roderick Strong at Evolve 42 earned him this title shot. I was intrigued to see how these two would work together, and they ended up having a pretty good match. It was a hard-hitting affair, as you would expect, given who was involved. I could have done with a little less brawling on the outside, but that’s just a minor drawback. While it wasn’t quite as great as some of the other matches on this card, it was still a very solid Main Event. Galloway would eventually pick up the win to retain his Open The Freedom Gate Title.

Afterwords, Busick refused to shake hands with Galloway. Then Johnny Gargano came out while Galloway was hyping up his Evolve World Title Match with Roderick Strong. Gargano asked Galloway to retire the Open The Freedom Gate Title. Galloway refused, but he did offer to give Gargano a rematch before leaving. Gargano then closed the show by hyping up his match the next night against Ethan Page.

Overall: 8.25/10

I thought this was a pretty good show from Evolve. Mike Bailey vs. TJ Perkins & Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee were easily the best matches on the show, with Davey Richards vs. Caleb Konley not that far behind. The two title matches were also pretty solid, and we saw a big moment with the Open The United Gate Titles being officially retired. With this show, Evolve continues it’s run of consistently good shows in 2015.

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