Other PPVs RADICAN'S EVOLVE 35 iPPV REPORT: Complete coverage of outstanding Show of the Year candidate
Sep 15, 2014 - 6:55:37 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S EVOLVE 35 iPPV REPORT
SEPT. 14, 2014
BY SEAN RADICAN, TORCH COLUMNIST
AIRED LIVE ON WWNLIVE.COM
Heather Lynn introduced the show. The crowd appeared to be smaller than the previous show, but the small venue appeared to be packed.
Johnny Gargano came out for the opening match to a good pop. Gulak also got a good ovation when he was introduced.
1 – JOHNNY GARGANO vs. DREW GULAK
Neither man could get the upper hand during the early going and they came to a series of stalemates. The fans were hot for the exchanges on the mat as the action continued to unfold. They continued to go back and forth the mat, as they exchanged submissions, but neither man could gain a sustained advantage. Gargano got a leg submission and Gulak continually tried to fight his way free. Gulak rolled on top of Gargano and grabbed an arm bar, but Gargano was able to maintain the hold. Gulak got the arm bar again with his legs still tied up. Gulak then freed himself and began working over Gargano’s arm on the mat. Gargano eventually escaped and tied up Gulak in a pinning combination for a near fall and both men backed away from each other as the fans applauded. Both men shook hands and went back on it on the mat. Gulak had the upper hand, but Gargano fired back with his signature rolling enzuguri and the fans chanted for Gargano. He eventually grabbed an arm submission while manipulating Gulak’s fingers, but he managed to get to the ropes. They went to a big exchange off the ropes after Gargano had dominated the action for a long period of time and Gulak rolled through on Gargano and got a dragon sleeper. The fans fired up, but Gargano managed to get the ropes. Gargano rolled through an ankle lock and applied the Gargano escape, but Gulak got countered and got him in the ankle lock once again. Gargano struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Gulak went for the ankle lock again, but Gargano kicked him in the side of the head and he collapsed to the mat. They did a rolling small package and Garagno eventually got a near fall. He went for another rolling enzuguri, but Gulak got an ankle lock. Gargano managed to shake him off and Gulak spilled to the floor before Gargano nailed him with a dive through the ropes. The fans fired as Gargano went for a slingshot spear, but Gulak slid behind him and got an ankle lock. Gulak transitioned into the Gargano escape and Gargano countered it into the ankle lock. Gargano then turned it into the Regal stretch for the submission win.
Both men shook hands after the match and the fans applauded. Su Yung and Mr. A came down to ringside. Yung told Gargano his victory over Nese the previous night was a fluke. She said Nese was demanding a rematch. Yung then told Gargano if he helped Swann again that there would be consequences. Gargano got on the mic and asked Yung if she was going to give him herpes. Yung told Mr. A to get Gargano as the fans chanted “Herpes, herpes.”
Gargano quickly got Mr. A in the Gargano escaped. He then bailed from the ring when Konley and Nese ran down to the ring. Nese yelled at Mr. A after Gargano left the ring.
Winner: Johnny Gargano at 16:57
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a very good opening match. The crowd was quiet as both men went back and forth on the mat throughout the match, but showed their appreciation each time there was a break in the action. They went to some really nice counter sequences late going for submissions and pinning combinations leading into the finish.
2 - - TRACY WILLIAMS vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER
Thatcher got a big pop coming out to face Tracy Williams. This is William’s EVOLVE debut. Leonard noted that Thatcher is currently ranked #2 in EVOLVE after winning the Style Battle. They went right to mat, as the announcers noted that Williams was a technical wrestler with similarities to Busick and Gulak. Thatcher grabbed a leg submission early, but Williams quickly got to the ropes to break the hold. Williams had an arm submission, but Thatcher got to the ropes. Williams went for a chop, but Thatcher blocked it and waved his finger at Williams. Williams hit a hard whip into the corner on Thatcher for a 2 count. Williams began working over Thatcher’s neck and bridged over on top of him while maintaining the hold for a series of 2 counts. The fans began clapping as Williams went after Thatcher’s arm. Thatcher fired back and hit a European uppercut to Williams’s arm. Williams countered Thatcher on the mat and grinded his forearm in his face before going back to work on his arm. Both men exchanged headbutts and Williams eventually got a crossface. Thatcher struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Thatcher displayed some good facial expressions as he got back to his feet. Thatcher hit a double underhook suplex and applied a Fujiwara arm bar and Williams had to tap.
The fans applauded as Thatcher posed after the match.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher at 9:15
Star rating: (***1/4) – I love that EVOLVE has begun to present something different from the norm by integrating a nice class of technical wrestlers into their roster. This was a lot of fun to watch and the crowd was appreciative of the exchanges between both men on the mat. Williams dominated a lot of the action, but Thatcher looked really good selling with his facial expressions and intensity before getting the submission win.
Roderick Strong got a mixed reaction when he was introduced before facing Drew Galloway in a Non-Title match. The ring announcer accidentally announced him as Drew McIntyre and the fans got all over her. Galloway got on the mic and said he had heard the match wasn’t going to be for the EVOLVE Champion. Galloway says his rule is that he will put the title on the line anywhere at any time, especially in front of real wrestling fans in New York. Galloway put over Strong and said he deserves a shot at the EVOLVE Championship. The fans went nuts, but the ref told him that EVOLVE officials say that it’s all about the rankings. The fans chanted “F--- that s---.” The ref said this match will be a non-title contest. The fans chanted “F--- that s---“ again. The ref told Strong if he can beat Galloway, he will get a future title match. Strong got on the mic and put over Galloway. He told the ref he didn’t understand something he had said. Strong said it wasn’t if he could beat Galloway that he would get a title shot because he knew he could beat him. Strong said he would beat him tonight and then he would beat him again for the title and show everyone he is a failure as champion in EVOLVE just liked he was a failure in WWE. Strong then attacked Galloway to begin the match.
3 - - EVOLVE Champion DREW GULAK vs. RODERICK STRONG – Non-Title match
Strong ran wild during the early going, but Galloway obliterated him with a clothesline. The crowd was hot for the action as both men began beating the crap out of each other on the floor. Galloway tried to pitch Strong back into the ring at one point, but he spun around the bottom rope 619 style and nailed him with a kick. Strong followed up with a dive to the floor, but Galloway eventually dodged a running strike and back dropped Strong into the ring post. Galloway tied Strong up in the ropes Sheamus style and nailed him with 10 punches and did Sheamus’s pose, but Strong nailed him with a kick and then hit a back breaker onto the apron and the fans went nuts. Strong got the upper hand and began working over Galloway inside the ring. They had some fantastic hard-hitting exchanges, but Strong managed to maintain the advantage. Strong taunted Galloway with some light kicks to the head and he fired back with some knees in the corner, but Strong quickly whipped him chest-first into the turnbuckles to maintain the upper hand. Strong grabbed an abdominal stretch and did Sheamus’s punches and pose. Galloway ended up kipping up and he nailed Strong with a huge boot as he came off the ropes that left both men down on the mat. Galloway got the upper hand and hit a back breaker for a 2 count. They went to a big exchange of blows in the middle of the ring and Galloway hit a sit-out spine buster for a near fall.
The crowd was split and began chanting for both men. The fans then began chanting “This is awesome.” Galloway climbed the turnbuckles with Strong on his back, but he managed to slip out of it. They battled up top again and Strong connected with a superplex. Strong connected with a series of forerams and Galloway told him to bring it. Strong then hit a series of running knees in the corner and an Angle slam for a near fall and the fans fired up. Strong got the Stronghold in the middle of the ring. Galloway struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. The fans chanted for both men as they went back at it. Strong and Galloway had a fantastic exchange. Strong hit a step-up enzuguri, but Galloway nailed him with a huge clothesline. Galloway hit a cradle piledriver, but Strong kicked out at the last second. The fans fired up and chanted for Strong. Strong hit the sick and a Gibson driver, but Galloway kicked out. Strong hit a second Gibson driver and Galloway kicked out again at the very last second and the fans went ballistic. This is an incredible match. They exchanged big forerams and Galloway hit a sick kick and his double arm DDT finisher for the win. This match is worth going out of your way to see.
The crowd stood and applauded after the match was over. Strong had left the ring, but he ran back and hit Galloway with a jumping knee. He then wiped out Galloway with the EVOLVE title and the fans booed. Strong tossed the title onto Galloway before leaving the ring. Galloway made his way to his feet and the fans chanted his name. He sold frustration as he went to the back.
Winner: Drew Galloway at 17:39
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was an epic match. They started out with some hard-hitting action. The match was paced well with some nice exchanges that left both men down before they resumed going at it in the ring. Strong was impressive in this match. He’s so smooth in the ring and his striking is fantastic. The crowd heat for this match was fantastic as well as they got hotter and hotter for the near falls leading into the finish.
Sabre got a good reaction coming out to face Busick. Busick also got a big pop coming out for the match.
4 - - ZACK SABRE JR. vs. BIFF BUSICK
Leonard mentioned that Busick is ranked #3 in the EVOLVE rankings. The fans were hot after the opening bell rang. They quickly went to the mat and went back and forth before Busick got to the ropes with Sabre on top of him. Sabre began working over Busick’s arm on the mat as the crap began clapping. Busick got the upper hand a short time later, but Sabre rolled him up with a pinning combination for a 2 count. Busick got the upper hand again on the mat, but Sabre rolled around until he was able to go into a headstand and bridge himself out of the submission. They went to a great sequence where both men ended up facing each other doing neck stands with their hands locked. Sabre eventually got the upper hand and popped Busick into a pinning combination for a near fall. Both men went for rollups and they continued to counter each other until they came to a stalemate and the fans applauded. Things got intense with Busick engaging Sabre in a pair of tense lockups. Busick eventually locked up with Sabre and dragged him to the middle of the ring before nailing him with a series of European uppercuts. Busick got a figure 4 head scissors on Sabre, who had a hard time escaping. Sabre eventually freed himself and popped on top of Busick and locked him in a combination arm and leg submission. Sabre then went after Busick’s arm while twisting his fingers before he let go of the hold and stomped on his elbow. Sabre began twisting Busick’s arm at a nasty angle as the crowd gasped, but Busick managed to grab the ropes. That looked nasty. Sabre tied up Busick’s arms and began manipulating them while standing behind Busick. Busick tried to mount a comeback, but Sabre drope him into the corner and nailed him with a series of running uppercuts. He then got the cross-arm breaker, but Busick countered it into a rear naked choke. Sabre quickly slipped behind Busick and hit a dragon suplex for a near fall. The crowd was split and began chanting for both men.
Sabre went up top, but Busick obliterated him with a European uppercut. Busick then stalked Sabre before hitting a half-nelson suplex and a diving European uppercut, but Sabre rolled right into the ropes to break the pin attempt. They battled up top a short time later and Sabre went for an arm submission. He then went for a sunet bomb, but Busick held on. Sabre eventually kicked out Busick’s from under him to end the sequence. The fans fired up with both men slow to recover after Sabre hit a big running uppercut for a 2 count. Sabre jumped onto Busick and grabbed a kimura. Busick collapsed and Sabre began working over his arm. He went for a bridging pin, but Busick caught him in a rear naked choke. Sabre fired back and locked up Busick in a fancy pinning combination for a two count. Sabre told Busick to bring it and nailed him with a snap dragon suplex. Busick applied a rear naked choke and then hit a judo throw. Busick held onto the choke from the side and then got on his back and Sabre submitted. What a match!
Both men shook hands after the match as the crowd chanted for Sabre to come back. Busick saw Timothy Thatcher was standing in the crowd and watching the match. Busick signaled that he wants to face Thatcher again and the fans fired up.
Winner: Biff Busick at 19:05
Star rating: (****) – This was an awesome display of technical wrestling. Sabre was really dominating the action on the mat and going after Busick’s arm. The crowd gasped at one point with Sabre manipulating both of Sabre’s arms. They had a really good sequence of counters on the mat before Busick won the match via submission.
The Premier Athlete Brand and The Bravado Brothers were booed when they came out for the match. The fans then began chanting for Moose, who helped the Bravados onto the apron. A. R. Fox came down to the ring during the introductions. He said he had won a shot to have any match of his choosing. He said he wanted a shot at Ricochet’s title, but he knew he was a top contender. He said he wanted a shot at the tag titles right away. Moose grabbed the mic from Fox and appeared to break the mic. Lancelot told him he could have a shot at the titles because he has no friends. The fans seemed to want Moose to be his partner, but came down to ringside and stood in Fox’s corner. The fans chanted “All night long” as Swann got into the ring and stood next to Fox. Swann yelled that he wanted the match to be turned into an Elimination match. The ref tried to keep everyone away from each other. It appeared that the stipulation was agreed to.
5 - - DGUSA Open the United Gate Champions THE BRAVADO BROTHERS (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado w/Moose) vs. A.R Fox & Rich Swann vs. THE PREMIER ATHLETE BRAND (Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley w/ Su Yung, Mr. A) – Open the United Gate Triple Threat Elimination match
Swann and Fox went right after the Bravados after the bell rang. Fox and Swann ran wild on the PAB during the early going and hit some insane maneuvers that fired up the fans. Fox cleared the ring of the Bravados and began nailing them both with dives. He then wiped out a pile of people with a huge flip dive to the floor. Moose caught Swann going for a flip dive and powerbomed him into Fox and the fans went nuts. Leonard noted that the Bravado Brothers reign had reached 302 days. Swann got cut off and the Bravados and then the PAB brand worked him over in the ring. Swann fired back and hit a double handspring ace crusher on the Bravados and Fox got the hot tag and ran wild. The action broke down after Harlem jumped Fox from behind. Lancelot made the save for Harlem after he took a springboard code breaker from Fox and a rolling frog splash from Swann. There was too match action to keep up with as the Bravados and the PAB went at it on the apron. Harlem finally hit an exploder off the apron to the floor on Konley, who went flying into Nese and the fans went nuts. Swann went to the top and wiped out everyone with a 450 to the floor. Fox went up to the balcony and wiped out everyone with a swanton to the floor and the fans lost their minds. The fans went crazy and chanted for Fox, as Leonard noted this was only his third match back from a broken wrist. The Bravados went for the gentleman’s agreement on Swann, but Fox rolled up Harlem from behind to eliminate him. The Bravados isolated Fox after being eliminated and the PAB went to work on Swann on the floor. They hit the gentleman’s agreement on Fox. The PAB tried to get at the Bravados, but Moose stood in the way. Mr. A took out Moose with a leg lariat, but Konley and Nese yelled at him anyway.
Nese covered Fox once the Bravados left the ring, but he kicked out at the last second. Konley went for a pinning combination, but Fox kicked out once again. Fox fended off the PAB and tagged in Swann, who ran wild. The fans were red hot for Swann’s high octane offense. Swann hit a standing moonsault off the top on Konley and the fans went nuts. Nese caught Swann going for a buckle bomb and hit a one-handed buckle bomb. Konley then hit a falcon arrow, but Fox made the save. Nese and Konley hit Fox with a tandem neck breaker, but Swann made the save. Yung got up on the apron and Swann grabbed her. Nese attacked him from behind and Swann tried to kick him, but he ended up hitting Yung instead. Nese blocked a standing 450 from Swann and Konley blocked lo mein pain. Konley hit a falcon arrow off the top onto the apron and Nese finished off Fox with a 450 off the top for the win. What a match!
The fans chanted “EVOLVE, EVOLVE” after the match was over. The fans then chanted “PAB, PAB.” After the match, Nese tossed Swann out of the ring to turn the crowd against the PAB.
Winners: Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley at 16:58 to become the new Open the United Gate Champions
Star rating: (****) – This was an insane match and if you like great tag team action, look no further than here. This was all action from start to finish and the crowd was insanely hot during this match. Fox’s swanton off the balcony was insane and is definitely a career defining moment for him. The tag division badly needed to be shaken up. Although the PAB hasn’t been over to the level of their push, this could be a huge stepping stone for them going forward. Fox was definitely the MVP of this match.
Uhaa Nation got a good pop coming out for the main event. Ricochet also got a good reaction coming out to defend his Open the Freedom Gate Championship. This was an excellent match earlier this year in Dragon Gate in Japan when Ricochet defended the Open the Dream Gate Title against Nation in a MOTYC. These two are also in the Monster Express stable together in Japan.
6 - - DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion RICOCHET vs. UHAA NATION –Open the Freedom Gate Title match 202: 50 2:25:43 22 minutes 53 seconds
Ricochet hit a dropkick and went to pose, but then realized that Nation hadn’t gone down. Nation fired back with a dropkick of his own after a quick exchange and hit his pose in the middle of the ring. Nation worked over Ricochet, who fired back with a chin breaker, but Nation nailed him a belly-to-belly suplex to maintain the advantage. They went to a great exchange on the floor and Ricochet got the upper hand and hit a springboard SSP to the floor and the fans went nuts. Ricochet tossed Nation back into the ring and began working over his leg. The fans chanted for Ricochet as he worked over Nation’s knee. Leonard noted that Ricochet is only 25 years old. Ricochet continued to work Nation’s knee for a long period of time. They began trading shots and Nation hit a huge forearm that grounded Ricochet. They continued to exchange blows, but Ricochet ended up hitting a basement dropkick to ground Nation. Nation finally caught Ricochet by surprise with a huge leaping lariat as he came off the ropes that left both men down on the mat. Nation did a handspring and hit a springboard moonsault, but was slow to cover Ricochet as he grabbed his knee and only got a 2 count. Nation shook off a Superman punch and nailed Ricochet with a big kick after flipping over and followed up with a huge spine buster for a 2 count.
They went back and forth and Ricochet caught Nation with an ace crusher and a standing moonsault for a 2 count. The fans fired up with both men slow to get up. Ricochet continued to dominate the action and eventually hit a running SSP for a 2 count. The fans fired up and chanted for both men. Ricochet went for a springboard from the apron, but Nation nailed him with a huge enzuguri. Nation then hit a dead-lift enzuguri from the apron back into the ring for a 2 count. Nation sold his leg as he went back on the attack. Ricochet hit a northern lights suplex and rolled through into another suplex and the fans fired up. Ricochet went up top and hit a SSP for a near fall. The fans fired up with both men down on the mat after the near fall. Nation blocked the benadriller and eventually hit a pop-up powerbomb and then a sit out powerbomb for a near fall. Nation then hit a standing moonsault, but Ricochet popped up and grabbed a Texas cloverleaf variation on the mat before he could complete the Uhaa combination. Nation struggled, but eventually got to the ropes. They got up and began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Ricochet hit a series of uppercuts, but Nation grounded him with a big forearm. Ricochet faked a superkick and kicked Nation’s leg again. Nation blocked the benadariller again and grabbed Ricochet’s arms and popped him up into the tombstone position all in one motion in a repeat of the spot from their previous match in Japan for a near fall. The fans fired up after the near fall. Nation yelled at the ref and went up top, but missed a big splash. Ricochet hit a 360 enzuguri and tried to go up top, but Nation grabbed his ankle. Ricochet fought him off, but Nation cut him off once he got to the top. Ricochet grounded Nation with a pair of roundhouse kicks and then hit a 630 for the win.
Nation handed Ricochet his title after the match and they hugged. He then raised Ricochet’s hand before leaving the ring. Ricochet got on the mic after the match and slumped in the corner. Ricochet said he was here to stay for good. He asked the fans to give it up for his best friend Uhaa Nation. He said Nation had been wrestling for a short amount of time, but he’s one of the best in the world. He said he heard another friend say something about challenging for his title. He addressed A.R. Fox and said there’s no way he would let him take his belt from him. Ricochet said the fans were going to see a lot more of him going forward. He said he’s the best in the world and he would see the fans later.
Winner: Ricochet at 22:53 to retain the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.
Star rating: (****) – This wasn’t as good as their match in Dragon Gate earlier this year, but it was still one heck of a match. The crowd seemed to burn out a bit after the insane action on this card, but these two put on an excellent match featuring a lot of back and forth action. Nation did a good job selling his leg, as he hit some impressive maneuvers, but had a hard time capitalizing due to Ricochet’s extensive work on his legs. Both guys looked good here, especially down the stretch where they put together some fantastic exchanges leading into the finish. It was a pleasure to see Nation make a rare appearance back in the US.
Quick thoughts: This was an amazing show of the year candidate. The reboot still has some kinks to iron out, but things are slowly falling into place for EVOLVE. The shows they present are tight and on this night, every single match on the card clicked.
EVOLVE touts itself as presented great in-ring action and they delivered on that promise on this night. Galloway-Strong was an incredible hard-hitting bout. Sabre-Busick showcased some great technical wrestling with both guys going at it on the mat for nearly the entire match. The Triple Threat Elimination match for the Open The United Gate Titles was nothing short of amazing with Fox delivering a career defining off the balcony to the floor. The show then closed with a fantastic Open the Freedom Gate Title match between Uhaa Nation and Ricochet.
The quality of the VOD isn’t great, but I’m sure WWNLive.com will upload a new file as soon as possible. This show is well-worth going out of your way to order. It is one of the best shows I’ve seen all year in the US.
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