Other PPVs RADICAN'S EVOLVE 37 iPPV REPORT 1/10 - Galloway defends EVOLVE Championship against Ricochet, Busick-Nation and Thatcher-Strong standout matches, feuds develop for WM weekend
Feb 16, 2015 - 6:21:08 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S EVOLVE 37 REPORT
JANUARY 10, 2015
WINTER PARK, FLA
AIRED LIVE ON WWNLIVE.COM
Heather Lynn was opening the show, but Joanna Rose came out to take her place playing off the angle where Galloway accidentally kicked her. Shane Strickland was out for the opening match. Anthony Nese came out next with the PAB. It’s hard to get a read on how many fans are in attendance, but the bleachers opposite the hard cam look fairly full. Nese cut a promo saying they needed to make a change to bring the PAB to the next level. He said he was going to accept So Cal Val’s offer. Su Yung was not happy as Nese brought out So Cal Val as their PR director. Nese told Yung she was being demoted to Val’s assistant and do everything she tells her to do. Val made Yung hold the ropes for her as she excited the ring before the match began.
(1) Shane Strickland vs. Anthony Nese (w/The PAB). Strickland got the upper hand and dropkicked Nese to the floor. He did a handstand over the ropes and hit a hurricanrana and the fans fired up. Val and Yung eventually distracted Strickland on the outside, which allowed Nese to get the upper hand. The cameras focused on Val making Yung sit in a chair on the outside. Nese dominated the action until Strickland began mounting a comeback. They exchanged blows in the middle of the ring and continued to go back and forth. Strickland finally dropped Nese with a spinning kick. Strickland eventually connected with a rolling ace crusher for a 2 count. The fans fired up with Strickland in control. He went up top, but Nese nailed him with an uppercut. Strickland ended up firing back with a big DDT for a near fall. Val took some water from Yung and spit it on her because it wasn’t good enough for her. Strickland got a rollup for a near fall inside the ring. He went for a German, but Nese landed on his feet and hit a double stomp for a near fall. Nese fired back and nailed Strickland with a series of kicks. He then hit a one armed powerbomb into the turnbuckles for another 2 count. Nese countered Strickland and hit a pump-handle powerbomb. Strickland kicked out and Nese immediately applied a half crab for the win.
Winner: Anthony Nese – The match was fine for what it was. The match was flat in spots with most of the focus on Yung and Val on the outside. Nese and Strickland don’t have a lot of charisma and at this point I’m willing to see what Val can do to enhance the PAB. They’ve been snake bitten lately by injuries, but it seems their run in EVOLVE has been flat more often than not.
The announcers mentioned Heather Lynn was crying at ringside.
Roderick Strong came out for his match against Timothy Thatcher and pretended to check on Heather Lynn at ringside. Strong cut a promo before the match. The fans booed him and Strong told one fan he was going to punch him in the face. The fans chanted for Strong to do it. He asked Heather Lynn to come into the ring and told her she could trust big daddy. Strong went to the outside to talk to Lynn. He told her he was sorry that Galloway had kicked her last night. Strong said the EVOLVE officials told him and Galloway if they hit each other, they would be docked their pay for the weekend. Strong said he would show Thatcher what a real wrestler is tonight.
(2) Timothy Thatcher vs. Roderick Strong. Strong had Thatcher in a leg submission, but he managed to get out of it only for Strong to get back on top of him. Thatcher began trying to get an arm submission, but Strong managed to get a dominant position on the mat once again. Thatcher bridged out of the submission and tossed Strong to the mat. He quickly rolled out of the ring as Thatcher glared at him. Thatcher ducked a surprise dropkick from Strong and nailed him with an uppercut. The pace picked up and Thatcher caught Strong with another uppercut. He went for a submission on the mat, but Strong nailed him with a pair of knees to the head to escape. Thatcher tripped Strong and went for another arm submission, but Strong rolled around him on the mat and hit another knee to the head to escape. Thatcher lifted up Strong and dumped him down to the mat, but Strong immediately hit another knee to the head and continued to work him over. Thatcher got a cross-arm breaker for a second, but Strong escaped and stomped on his head. Thatcher got another cross-arm breaker, but Strong rolled on top of him for a 2 count. Thatcher rolled through and held on, but Strong got his foot on the ropes. Strong dragged Thatcher to the outside and lifted him onto his shoulders before tossing him into the ringpost. Thatcher dove back into the ring to beat the ref’s count and Strong immediately nailed him with a running basement dropkick.
Thatcher tried to fire back with several uppercuts, but Strong nailed him with a jumping knee stroke for a 2 count. Strong went for the Stronghold, but Thatcher blocked it. They ended up going back and forth up top. Thatcher pushed Strong off, but Strong landed on his feet and nailed him with a combination of running strikes in the corner followed by an Angle slam for a 2 count. Thatcher fired back and hit a snap suplex. He crawled towards Strong in the corner. The fans began chanting for Thatcher and they ended up in the corner. Thatcher went for the tower of McGuinness, but Strong slipped out and nailed him with a German. Strong taunted Thatcher and nailed him with some light kicks. Thatcher got pissed and nailed him with several strikes and a headbutt. Strong fired back with an enzuguri out of the corner and Thatcher collapsed to the mat. Strong covered him, but only got a 2 count. Strong placed Thatcher up top again after hitting a pair of big chops. Thatcher hit some big forearms, but Strong hit a huge enzuguri followed by a superplex for a 2 count. Strong eventually countered Thatcher and got a Boston crab. Thatcher kicked Strong off and got a small package for a near fall. Thatcher fired back with a headbutt and some brutal uppercuts. He applied a Fujiwara arm bar on Strong, who had to tap out.
Thatcher got on the mic and said he’s not a man of words. He apologized for being a man of action. He said something was bothering him. He said he had won the Style Battle tournament. He said Chris Hero had stepped into the ring and kicked him in the face after he won. Thatcher said he doesn’t act for favors, but he said he was begging for a match against Chris Hero during the WWN Live Experience in March. The fans applauded and he thanked them for coming.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
Star rating: (****) – Another awesome match from Strong in EVOLVE. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this match, but they told a really good story with Strong avoiding Thatcher’s arm submissions throughout the match. Strong stayed one step ahead of Thatcher throughout the match and the fans seemed engrossed in the match firing up at the appropriate time. The finish was brutal with Thatcher mounting a quick comeback with some brutal strikes before catching Strong in the Fujiwara arm bar.
(3) Trevor Lee vs. A.R. Fox. They started out going back and forth at a quick pace. Fox hit a big arm drag and the fans applauded. Fox caught Lee coming off the ropes with a dropkick a short time later and began working him over in the corner with some punches from the mount. They went to a quick exchange off the ropes. Fox caught Lee with a dropkick, but he didn’t go down. Fox did a wacky move jumping up and down off the ropes before turning a wheelbarrow into a bulldog. Fox then hit Lee with a series of dives to the floor to wipe out Lee. Fox went for a third dive, but Lee nailed him with a forearm as he came through the ropes. The action continued at a crazy pace. Lee ducked a kick flip and nailed Fox with a running kick to the face from the apron. Fox was bleeding from the mouth and eye on the floor. Lee tossed Fox back into the ring and went after his face. The ref went back to the floor to check on Fox and he called for the bell.
Lee raised his hands in victory as the ref checked on Fox with Gabe Sapolsky. Several officials ran out to check on Fox. Several wrestlers also came out to check on Fox. The announcers couldn’t see that side of the ring. They put the cameras on the announcers, as several wrestlers and officials helped Fox to the back. The fans gave Fox a big ovation as he headed to the back.
Winner: Trevor Lee – This had the makings of a really good match, but unfortunately Fox suffered a major injury in this match when Lee hit him with a running kick off the apron to the floor. I’m glad the ref was able to quickly identify that Fox was unable to continue before he suffered any further damage.
(4) Uhaa Nation vs. Biff Busick. Both men shook hands before the match started. The pace picked up after an initial feeling out period and Nation nailed Busick with a dropkick off the ropes. Nation then hit a moonsault off the apron to the floor to take out Busick. Busick fired back and set up a pair of chairs. He went for a piledriver, but Nation backdropped him through the chairs on the floor. They ended up back inside the ring with Nation in control. Nation went for a big running kick against the ropes, but Busick dropped down and he fell over the top to the floor. Nation beat the ref’s count back into the ring and Busick began working him over. Busick targeted the mid-section as he worked over Nation. Nation countered a knee lift to the gut into a pinning combination for a 2 count, but Busick immediately got an abdominal stretch. Nation finally escaped with a big hip toss. Nation fired up and caught Busick with a leaping lariat as he came off the ropes. Nation sold his mid-section before hitting a series of German’s on Busick. Busick managed to fight out, but Nation nailed him with a kick and hit a release German for a 2 count. Nation went up top and got crazy height on a big splash for a 2 count. Good lord!
The fans fired up as Nation was slow to go back after Busick as he held his mid-section. Nation went for a delayed vertical suplex, but Busick slipped behind him and hit a half nelson suplex. Nation got right up and hit a huge clothesline and both men were down. Both men got to their knees and began exchanging blows. They eventually began exchanging strikes on their feet. Nation hit a huge forearm that sent Busick into the corner. They went back and forth and Nation caught Busick with a huge enzuguri. Nation went for the Uhaa combination, but Busick got his knees up on the SSP and rolled him up for a near fall. Busick then applied a rear naked choke. The fans tried to rally behind Nation. The ref checked Nation’s arm twice and it went down both times. Nation held up on the third attempt and the fans chanted for Nation. Nation got to his feet and tossed Busick to the mat. He caught Busick with a powerbomb and held on for a second one for a near fall. Busick rolled right to the ropes and the crowd gasped after Busick kicked out. Nation hit a dead-lift vertical superplex off the apron, but Busick rolled him up for a near fall. Nation went for a gorilla press, but Busick slipped behind him and hit a judo throw into side headlock with a bridge and Nation had to tap.
Busick got on the mic after the match and shook hands with Nation. The fans stood and applauded. The fans chanted for Nation as he left the ring. The fans chanted that they would miss Nation in reference to the news getting out that he had signed with WWE. Busick said he had to get something off his chest. A fan asked if this is the same promo that Thatcher cut. Busick said Thatcher should be talking about him and not Chris Hero. Busick said when Hero got in the ring with Busick, he put his tail between his legs and went home. Busick said just like he had one upped Thatcher in the ring, he was going to one up him in challenging Chris Hero. He said in San Jose he would make Hero his and then he paused and the crowd finished by saying bitch.
Winner: Biff Busick
Star rating: (****) – This was another really good match. Nation was able to maintain the advantage for a long period of time, but Busick had some great counters for his high impact offense, especially late in the match when he countered a dead-lift vertical suplex and then the second half of the Uhaa combination into a pair of pinning combinations for near falls. I like how Busick simply hit his finishing sequence and won the match. It’s nice to see that his judo throw/side headlock choke is being protected, as it will mean a lot down the line if someone ever breaks out of it. Busick’s post-match promo also hinted of more to come between him and Thatcher in 2015, which I’m totally fine with.
Galloway vs. Ricochet is up next. Leonard mentioned that Ricochet is ranked #2 in the EVOLVE rankings. Ricochet got a decent reaction coming out. Galloway seemed to get a mixed reaction coming out, although a lot of people were standing and applauding at ringside as he came out. There was a man at ringside with a replica EVOLVE title belt. Galloway paused to pose with him.
(5) EVOLVE Champion Drew Galloway vs. Ricochet. Ricochet jumped Galloway and the ref called for the bell right after the formal introductions and got a near fall right away. Galloway fired back and hit a big kick to Ricochet’s head before finally ditching his ring jacket. He did the Sheamus chest punch spot on Ricochet against the ropes and the fans counted along. Galloway lifted Ricochet onto his shoulders and tossed him over the guardrail. They continued to brawl on the floor. The announcers mentioned that Galloway had a nasty cut on his finger from the last show. His splint fell off as they brawled on the floor. Galloway tried to launch Ricochet into the wall, but he ended up grabbing a basketball rim and then he hit a hurricanrana on the floor that caused me to nearly lose my mind. That was ridiculous. The fans chanted for Ricochet as he posed on the floor. Ricochet went for a kick flip off the wall, but Galloway caught him. He then tossed him into the wall and the fans gasped. Galloway favored his finger after tossing Ricochet into the wall. They finally ended up back into the ring and Ricochet hit a kick to Galloway’s injured hand before nailing him with a dropkick. Ricochet continued to go after Galloway’s hand. Ricochet set up Galloway’s hand and hit a standing SSP on it. Ricochet then grabbed Galloway’s fingers and wrenched them apart.
Ricochet got cocky and told Galloway to suck it, so he popped him up and nailed him with a chop. Galloway then tossed Ricochet halfway across the ring into the turnbuckles before nailing him with a lariat off the top. The fans chanted for Galloway and he got a 2 count on Ricochet. Galloway missed a running boot into the corner and Ricochet nailed him with an enzuguri from the apron followed by a springboard meteora for a 2 count. Galloway countered Ricochet in the corner and hit a German into the turnbuckles for a 2 count. Galloway went for the double arm DDT, but Ricochet slipped out and hit a spinning kick and a Regalplex with a bridge for a near fall. He followed up with a SSP to Galloway’s back for another two count. Ricochet set up Galloway near the corner and went up top. Galloway popped up and crotched Ricochet on the top rope. Galloway nailed Ricochet with several strikes. He stood up top over Ricochet, but Ricochet tripped him. Ricochet nailed him with a slap to the face and Galloway ended up hanging upside down in the corner. He popped up and hit a belly-to-belly suplex while he was still hung up in the corner. The fans chanted for Galloway, who eventually hit a wheelbarrow toss over the apron and back into the ring on Ricochet. Leonard mentioned that Galloway had lost his splint again. He got it back on and continued to work over Ricochet. Ricochet countered the double arm DDT again into a pair of suplexes for a near fall. Ricochet went up for a SSP and Galloway got out of the way, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Galloway ended up hitting a punch after blocking the benadriller. Ricochet writhed in pain and Leonard said Galloway had connected with his splint. Galloway told the ref it wasn’t intentional. Galloway then nailed Ricochet with a running kick to the head followed by the double arm DDT for the win.
Leonard said Galloway was upset that some people thought the splint shot was intentional. Galloway tried to check on Ricochet after the match, but he didn’t want any part of Galloway and brushed him away while continuing to favor his eye. Galloway told the camera that Ricochet was Mr. 2014, but he is Mr. 2015.
Winner: Drew Galloway to retain the EVOLVE Championship
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was a really great back and forth match. They had some great physical exchanges early and the spots on the outside near the wall when Ricochet used the basketball hoop to hit a hurricanrana and then a short time later went for a kick flip moonsault only for Galloway to catch him and toss him into the wall were insane. The last half of the match was really good with Ricochet working over Galloway’s injured finger. Galloway made a fiery comeback and managed to avoid Ricochet’s signature finishing offense. I liked how the finish was setup with Ricochet accidentally getting poked with Galloway’s finger splint before Galloway nailed him with a huge kick and then a double arm DDT for the win.
The ring announcer told the she had been alerted that A.R. Fox is alright and he wanted to thank the fans. The fans chanted for Fox before the main event started.
The Bravados & Moose came out to jeers from the crowd. Ronin then came out to a pop from the crowd as Swann rapped their old entrance theme. The fans chanted for Ronin once Swann finished.
(6) The Bravados (Harlem & Lancelot) & Moose vs. Ronin (DGUSA Champion Johnny Gargano & Rich Swann & Chuck Taylor) – Losing Trio Can Never Team Again Six Man Tag match. All six men immediately began brawling and ended up on the floor quickly. Leonard mentioned there was an issue in China with the Bravados attacking Swann and Gargano making the save and then the Bravados attacking Gargano at EVOLVE 36. The action continued at a rapid pace as both teams ended up back inside the ring. Ronin took care of the Bravados, but Moose managed to hit a double clothesline on Gargano and Taylor. Moose popped up Swann, but he came down and nailed Moose with a dropkick. Swann went for a flip dive to the floor, but Moose caught him and powerbombed him into Taylor and Gargano. Swann got isolated as The Bravados and Moose began working him over near their own corner. Swann tried to mount a comeback on Moose, but Moose popped him up and nailed him with a huge clothesline. Gargano quickly made the save for Swann when Moose went for the cover. Swann rolled up Harlem, but he got right back up after kicking out and obliterated Swann with a huge kick. Taylor and Gargano finally ran in and cleared the ring of the Bravados. Taylor wiped out the Bravados and Gargano wiped out moose with stereo dives on opposite sides of the ring.
The fans roared with Ronin in control of the match. Ronin worked over Lancelot and nailed him with a combination of moves, but Harlem made the save. The Bravados fired back and whipped Swann into a backdrop from Moose. The action broke down inside the ring once again. Gargano and Taylor nailed Moose with several kicks before nailing him with stereo kicks to the head. The Bravados ran into the ring and got the upper hand. They nailed Gargano with a combination of moves, but they only got a two count. The Bravados went for the Young Bucks powerbomb/enzuguri spot in the corner, but Gargano countered it and Harlem ended up kicking Lancelot. Moose ended up holding Swann and Gargano. He tossed them both over his head and the fans applauded. Moose is freaky strong. Moose set up for a dive, but Harlem made a blind tag. Moose grabbed his shoulder and Harlem slapped him across the face. Harlem offered to shake hands, but Moose lifted him up and tossed hit a DVD to the floor to take out Gargano and Swann. Moose set up for a big flip dive to the floor, but ended up connecting with the Bravados. Leonard mentioned there had been no signs of problems between Moose and the Bravados until now. Moose isolated Swann inside the ring and set up for a spear, but Swann leaped over him. Moose went into the ringpost through the turnbuckles. Moose tried to fire back with a springboard, but ate a triple team kick. Harlem ate a combination of moves capped by a frog splash from Swann for the win.
The fans chanted for Ronin after the match as Gargano kissed them goodbye. Lancelot was shown on the outside looking upset. The Bravados walked right past Moose to the back. Leonard said they were telling Moose it was his fault that they lost.
Gargano got on the mic and said The Bravados can never team again according to the stipulation. The fans chanted thank you Ronin. Gargano said he had said yesterday he had said he was the face of WWN Live. Gargano said he isn’t the face of WWN, but he was wrong because everyone is the face of WWN. Gargano told the fans they are the face of WWN because they wouldn’t be here without them. Gargano said he was challenging the world in San Jose during WM weekend. He went on to say he wanted to make his title the most prestigious title in the world.
Drew Galloway came down to the ring and applauded. He got on the mic and said he was listening to what Gargano said and he was exactly right. He said he feels the same as Gargano and so do the fans and the wrestlers in the locker room. He said he didn’t agree with wrong thing. He told Gargano the DGUSA Championship isn’t the most important title around. Galloway told Gargano that Dragon Gate is dead. He held up his title and told Gargano it’s the most important title in wrestling right now. Gargano then held up the DGUSA Championship and the fans applauded. Galloway and Gargano argued. Galloway told Gargano to look at the marquee because it says EVOLVE. Taylor and Swann pushed Gargano away from Galloway. Galloway and Gargano continued to hold their titles up in the air saying EVOLVE and DGUSA. Leonard said that question would have to be tabled for a discussion in a more physical capacity between Gargano and Galloway during WM weekend. Galloway ended up leaving the ring as Gargano stared at him to end the show.
Winners: Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann. The Bravados & Moose can never team again as a result.
Star rating: (***) – The action was chaotic throughout and the fans were into the match. Once Harlem turned on Moose during the late stages of the match, things got really flat leading into the finish. The dissention between Moose and The Bravados seemed to come out of left field and took the match down a notch, but the post-match interaction between Gargano and Galloway ended the show on a high note.
Overall thoughts: (8.0) – This was a very good offering from EVOLVE, as the reboot continues to unfold. There are still some issues that need to be ironed out, as the PAB seems to be back to being a cold act once again, which led to a flat opening to the show. The strength of this show is three excellent matches that are well-worth going out of your way to see with an underwhelming ending to the Ronin-Bravados & Moose main event.
This show featured three excellent matches in Strong-Thatcher, Nation-Busick, and Galloway-Ricochet. Strong vs. Thatcher was a really good hard-hitting contest with Strong managing to dominate most of the action by staying one step ahead of Thatcher when the action went to the mat. Strong is doing some really good heel work in EVOLVE and he shined here once again by stalling to frustrate Thatcher and eventually mocking him later in the match with some light kicks, which built to Thatcher’s comeback before he put Strong away in the end. They cooled off the Strong-Galloway interaction on this night and Strong took the loss here, but I don’t think it will hurt him heading into his match against Galloway.
Nation vs. Busick was another really good match. Busick was able to stay one step ahead of Nation several times during the match. They worked in a couple of really nice spots late in the match with Busick countering Nation’s dead-lift vertical suplex attempt from the apron and then a short time later he got his knees up on the second half of the Uhaa combination. The finish was sudden, but effective, as Busick countered Nation and hit his signature judo throw before tapping out Nation with a side choke.
I continue to be really impressed with Drew Galloway and he really shined defending the EVOLVE Championship against Ricochet. The match started with Ricochet jumping Galloway and nearly getting the win early in the match. The brawling sequence on the outside really fired the crowd up and Ricochet countering a catapult attempt from Galloway by grabbing onto a basketball rim and then hitting a hurricanrana was pure insanity. Ricochet went for a kick flip off the wall a short time later and Galloway caught him and tossed him like a ragdoll into the wall. Galloway’s work in EVOLVE is well-worth going out of your way to see if you haven’t seen it.
The main event between The Bravados & Moose and Ronin with the stipulation that the loosing team can never team again got off to a good start and the fans were into the rapid-fire action. Moose fit in really well in this environment hitting some nice power spots. The match fell apart late and the crowd fell flat after Harlem and Moose began arguing out of nowhere after there hadn’t been any signs of dissension between them before the match. Overall the match was still good, but the end of the match was a flat way to end the in-ring portion of the show.
They did a good job of beginning to build towards the WWN Live Experience during WM weekend this year. Both Biff Busick and Drew Galloway indicated they wanted a shot at Chris Hero. Gargano and Galloway had a back and forth exchange on the mic at the end of the show about whether or not the DGUSA or EVOLVE title was the most important title in wrestling, so it looks like a Gargano-Galloway match could happen during WM weekend as well.
Overall this show is well-worth seeking out. The big singles matches all delivered with the exception of Fox-Lee, which was unavoidable due to Fox suffering a concussion due to a kick to the head from Lee just when the match was getting going. The simplistic storytelling in EVOLVE is enjoyable and the rankings continue to be incorporated into the storytelling, although it would help if EVOLVE ran more shows to help push the rankings into motion to give the wrestlers on the roster a chance to build their resumes. That being said, the variety of matches on the card and the quick pace make EVOLVE a very enjoyable promotion to follow and you’ll be hard pressed to find an independent card with three matches as good as the best matches on this show.
You can purchase EVOLVE 37 on VOD by clicking HERE or by visiting WWNLive.com. For more information on EVOLVE visit DGUSA.TV
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