Orlando, Florida 6/11/16
1.) Cedric Alexander vs. Fred Yehi: ****
This opening match was one that I never knew I wanted, but I’m so glad that we got to see it. I thought this match was great! Alexander had another standout performance in his first weekend with Evolve, while Yehi had one of his best matches in Evolve, up to this point. These two worked very well together, and we saw a ton of good action throughout this match. I might be the high person on this match, but honestly, I enjoyed it that much. Coming into it, Alexander was in a tough spot, after losing to Matt Riddle the night before, but he was able to pick up the win here, meaning that both men went 1-1 on the weekend.
2.) The Bravado Brothers vs. Jason Cade & Darby Allin: ***1/2
After they lost to Catch Point the night before at Evolve 62, The Bravado Brothers were looking to bounce back as they took on two guys who were looking to make a name for themselves. I really wasn’t looking forward to this match, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. This was just so entertaining to watch from start to finish. I don’t think the poor outing the night prior was totally the fault of The Bravado Brothers, because they’re capable of having really good matches like this. To be fair, Jason Cade & Darby Allin were very solid here as well, and had a lot of fun moments, including Jason Cade doing a huricanranna off of a basketball hoop. From start to finish, this match was incredibly entertaining. It had no right to be as fun as it ended up being. While Darby Allin would get an Evolve contract towards the end of the year, I really hope we see more of Jason Cade in the future, because he’s got a ton of potential as well. In the end, The Bravado Brothers managed to get the victory.
3.) Matt Riddle vs. Trevor Lee: ****1/4
While I wasn’t expecting much from the previous match, this might have been my most anticipated match on the entire show. It’s kind of odd that Trevor Lee’s appearances in Evolve have been so infrequent over the last year or two. He’s a guy who definitely needs to be booked more often (if he’s available) and he showed why here. I thought this was awesome! In my opinion, it was easily the Match of the Night. Both guys are fantastic, and it was just an incredible match from start to finish. Even though it only went about ten minutes or so, they packed a ton of action into that timeframe. Matt Riddle would ultimately score the victory via his “Bromission” in this fantastic sprint of a match.
4.) Evolve Title – Timothy Thatcher vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Tracy Williams: ***3/4
The rest of Catch Point initially came out with Williams, but before the match actually began, Williams sent then to the back, saying that they could come out when he won, so they could hand the Evolve Title to him. The night prior at Evolve 62, Williams demanded a shot at the Evolve Title, which Thatcher agreed to, as part of his overall quest to go through all of Catch Point. This wasn’t as good as Thatcher vs. Hero for the Evolve Title from the night before, but it was still a very good match. It had a good intensity to it, and featured some hard-hitting moments. In Evolve, I think some of Thatcher’s best matches happen against guys who are strikers, like Chris Hero and Biff Busick. Williams is kind of a mix of submissions and striking, and we ended up getting a mix of both in this match. I feel like when Thatcher matches rely too much on the submissions and grappling, that’s when they get boring. Fortunately, these two seemed to work well together, and it ended up being pretty good. Eventually, Thatcher scored the submission victory over Williams to retain his Evolve Title.
After the match, Matt Riddle comes out. He says that he’s not surprised that Tracy Williams lost, since he has a girl’s first name, and wants a shot at Thatcher. Stokely Hathaway comes out, and puts over TJP being in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. He said that while TJP would be in WWE, Thatcher would be reading Shakespeare, listening to Adele, and whatever “fake British people” do, while Riddle would be playing beer pong and snap chatting with ugly women. Hathaway says that TJP wants a shot at the Evolve Title. Thatcher agrees to it, and then adds that when he faces Riddle, it’ll be a No Holds Barred Match!
5.) WWE Cruiserweight Classic Flashpoint – Johnny Gargano vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Drew Gulak vs. TJP vs. Lince Dorado vs. Tony Nese: ***3/4
This match was billed as a preview of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, with competitors from Evolve who were in the tournament. All five men were briefly interviewed during their entrances, which was something different, and I think it added to the atmosphere of this being associated with the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. While this match is just a showcase for four of these men, it has a lot more meaning for Anthony Nese, who was a late addition to this match. He needs to win in order to qualify for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. That stipulation did hurt the match a little bit, in my eyes (since you pretty much knew who was going to win), but still, I really enjoyed this match. There was a ton of fun, fast-paced action throughout, and the crowd was into it at various points. In a shocker, Johnny Gargano was eliminated first (cleanly) by Drew Gulak. As Gargano made his way to the back, he was jumped by Drew Galloway & Ethan Carter III. After this brief interruption, Lince Dorado & Drew Gulak were both eliminated by TJP, and in the end, Anthony Nese scored the win over TJP to win the match and qualify for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Like I said, even though the outcome was telegraphed, this was still a very good match that was pretty entertaining throughout.
6.) Anything Goes Match – Drew Galloway vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page: ***3/4
Galloway scored a victory over Ethan Page back in their first encounter at Evolve 60. This was another very good match, and I had a lot of fun watching it. While this wasn’t the best match on the card, it was on par with a couple of other matches from this show. They brawled inside of the ring, outside of the ring, and all throughout the building. A couple of foreign objects (mainly chairs) became involved, but this match was more of a brawl than a hardcore/weapons match. Some probably didn’t like this as much, but honestly, I enjoyed watching this match. I feel like Galloway really excels in these situations, and he worked well with Page here. Speaking of “All Ego”, he did a very solid job here also. He’s had two Anything Goes Matches in the span of a few months, and he did good in both situations. Eventually, Drew Galloway got the win after hitting Page with the Future Shock DDT onto a bunch of chairs.
After the match, Ethan Carter III came out to celebrate with Galloway, who said that he didn’t need to be here, but he is because he loved independent wrestling. EC3 then took the mic, and said that his open challenge was cancelled due to a “lack of opponents”, but then Johnny Gargano came out! He said that he would answer EC3’s Open Challenge, but said that he wanted a Last Man Standing Match! EC3 accepts, and the match is on!
7.) Last Man Standing Match – Ethan Carter III vs. Johnny Gargano: ***3/4
These two are actually quite familiar with each other, since both are out of the Cleveland area. Gargano’s elimination from the Cruiserweight Classic Flashpoint, and the attack after the fact by Galloway & EC3, make a lot more sense now, in hindsight. Similar to the Anything Goes Match that came before it, I thought this was a lot of fun to watch. Of course, Gargano is awesome, but EC3 is pretty good as well. This match was a little more hardcore than the previous match, with a table being brought out, and EC3 forcing the ring crew to take off the top rope. Even though this match did see a fair amount of interference, with Galloway first getting involved to help EC3, followed by Drew Gulak & TJP helping Johnny Gargano, I still thought this was a very enjoyable Main Event. This match, along with what we saw in the previous match, as well as in the Main Event of Evolve 62, were all very different from what we normally see in Evolve, and I think that’s a good thing. Shaking things up on shows is necessary sometimes, especially with the recent issues surrounding Timothy Thatcher’s run with the Evolve Title. Again, I can understand if some didn’t like this as much, but I really enjoyed it. Toward the end of the match, after Galloway was sent packing, Brandon Tolle (one of Evolve’s main referees, who was brought out by Galloway after EC3 had taken out the original referee) helped the babyfaces take out EC3 by giving him a Stone Cold Stunner!! Gargano then delivered the final blow, sending EC3 crashing onto a table (that didn’t break), and he was unable to answer the ten count. It was nice to see a referee get revenge on EC3 after all of the havoc he and Galloway had caused in recent shows.
After the match, the group of babyfaces cut a fun promo to close out the show, with Brandon Tolle doing both a spinaroonie and the worm.
Even though this show didn’t have any Match of the Year Contenders on it, I thought it was one of the best Evolve shows of 2016. The consistency of this show from start to finish is what really lifted it up. The worst match was only ***1/2, the best match was ****1/4, and the final four matches were all in the ***3/4 range. Matt Riddle vs. Trevor Lee was my Match of the Night, but there was nothing on this show that fell below really good. I think some of the best wrestling shows out there are ones that are incredibly consistent, with all of the matches in that very good to great range. It makes the show so much easier to watch, and it honestly makes it more enjoyable as a whole. I would definitely seek this show out.