RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S "EVOLVE 47" iPPV REPORT 8/15 - Tremendous all-around show, Bailey vs. Chris Hero, Thatcher-Sabre for EVOLVE Title, more
Sep 4, 2015 - 3:13:50 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S “EVOLVE 47” REVIEW
AUGUST 15, 2015
AIRED LIVE ON WWNLIVE.COM
Lenny Leonard and Rob Naylor are your commentators for the evening. The lovely Joanna Rose is the ring announcer for the evening. This is a really cool venue in Queens and the ring is lit much better than it was last time EVOLVE ran a show there. There are video screens all over the place with the EVOLVE logo.
(1) Tracy Williams (w/Catch Point) vs. Biff Busick. Busick was painted as a top contender until his injury hit on commentary. Both men went back and forth on their feet trying to get a leverage advantage. Busick finally took Williams down with a leg sweep and made the cover for a 2 count. Busick briefly got the choke sleeper, but Williams got an ankle lock. Busick quickly got to the ropes to break the hold. The fans began chanting for both men. Both men went back and forth on the mat and Williams got an ankle lock once again. Busick was able to quickly get to the ropes to break the hold. Busick countered Williams and rolled through into an STF. He transitioned into the bank statement, but Williams quickly got to the ropes. Williams got the upper hand and worked over Busick for a short period of time, but Busick fired back and grabbed an abdominal stretch. Williams rolled though and grabbed an ankle lock, but Busick got to the ropes quickly. Busick went right on the attack and nailed Williams with a big uppercut and a chop in the corner. Busick flipped off Williams and he fired up. Both men began trading blows and Busick nailed Williams with a sick running European uppercut that sent him flying into the corner. The fans fired up and chanted for Busick. They went back and forth and Busick got a standing Fujiwara arm bar, but Williams countered it into a suplex and both men were down. Busick went for a springboard and Williams got a face lock. Busick struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Busick countered Williams and hit a half and half suplex and a diving European uppercut, but Williams kicked out at the last second. Holy s—t! The fans fired up and chanted “This is awesome.” They had a sick strike exchange and Busick went for the judo throw, but Williams countered it into a DDT. Williams got the face lock after Busick kicked out and then transitioned into the crossface for the win.
Drew Gulak ran into the ring and tackled Williams and both men celebrated. Busick recovered and Williams offered a handshake, but Busick bailed.
Winner: Tracy Williams
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a great opening match. Both men put on a really fantastic display of technical wrestling mixed with hard-hitting action. Williams is someone to keep an eye on. He’s really catching fire right now.
A voice came over the speakers and Rich Swann made his way down to the ring. He cut a promo on Gulak and began singing “All Night Long.” Gulak did not look impressed as he looked on from inside the ring while Swann sang and danced for the fans.
(2) Drew Gulak (w/Catch Point) vs. Rich Swann. The announcers pointed out the differences in the personalities of the entertaining Swann and the stoic Gulak. They had a fast exchange off the ropes. Both men then exchanged pinning combinations for a pair of two counts. They continued to go at it at a rapid pace before finally coming to a stalemate and the fans applauded. Gulak got the upper hand and went to work on Swann’s arm. He then got a crossface variation with one of Swann’s legs tied up. That is one nasty looking submission. Gulak released the hold, but continued to manipulate Swann’s arm. Swann countered Gulak and got a rollup for a 2 count. He eventually hit a big dropkick that staggered Gulak. Swann went for a head scissors takedown, but Gulak countered it into a powerbomb. That was sick. Gulak went back to work on Swann’s arm and locked in a nasty looking combination submission with a face lock. Gulak then released the hold and made a cover for a 2 count. Swann fired back suddenly with a handspring elbow. Gulak fired back and hit a huge clothesline in the corner for a 2 count. Gulak continued to work over Swann, who just can’t seem to get out of the blocks in this encounter. Gulak went onto the turnbuckles and Swann caught him by surprise with an enzuguri and then a jumping hurricanrana. Swann then went for a standing 450 and Gulak kicked him right in the head with both legs for the win.
Johnny Gargano came out to check on Rich Swann, who seemed to be knocked silly. Gulak said catch point was about being aggressive and not spending so much time dancing. Gulak told Gargano they owed him as well and he would fall to the catch point. Gargano got on the mic and told him anytime he wanted to face him again he was down. Leonard pointed out that Gargano & Swann beat Williams & Gulak when they had a tag match in this building at the last EVOLVE show there. The fans wanted to see the match, but the ref wouldn’t start the match.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good way to establish Gulak as a threat in the ring. Not that he hasn’t already shown that he’s dangerous, but Gulak was really good here working over Swann’s arm the entire match before knocking him silly with a double boot to the face when he went for a standing 450 to end the match.
Gargano said tonight was about him and Ethan Page. He said he was going to come back out later and beat the hell out of Page all over the building. Thatcher came out and went face-to-face with Gulak before getting into the ring Gargano continue to check on Swann. Thatcher came out with the DGUSA Championship. Thatcher said Gargano had asked for the title from Galloway. He said Gargano had held the belt twice and he had never wrestled in DGUSA. Thatcher said CIMA would problem think he was a terrible wrestler. Thatcher said he could retire the title if he wanted to. He then handed the belt to Gargano and shook his hand. Swann grabbed the belt from Gargano and put it around his waist. Swann then raised Gargano’s hand.
(3) Mike Bailey vs. Chris Hero. Hero was wearing a Christian Laettner Team USA throwback jersey to the ring with matching gear. Bailey offered a handshake, but Hero mocked him by patting him on the head. Bailey got a quick rollup after hitting a flurry of offense, but Hero sent him crashing down to the mat with a big chop. Bailey fired back and nailed Hero with a series of kicks. Bailey continued to kick Hero and eventually he slumped down to the mat. Bailey went for a dive, but Hero ducked under him and got back into the ring. He then nailed Bailey with a running boot as he tried to get up on the apron. Hero went to work on Bailey and mocked his karate stance. Bailey tried to fire back, but Hero caught a kick and flipped him over before nailing him with a running knee to the head. They went back and forth and Bailey eventually sent Hero to the floor before hitting an inside out quebrada that drew a big pop from the fans. Hero caught Bailey and went for a German, but Bailey landed on his feet and hit a standing corkscrew press for a near fall. Bailey tried to jump off Hero’s back and hit a SSP off the turnbuckles, but Hero got out of the way and nailed him with a rolling kick. He only got a 2 count, but oh man what a sequence that was. Hero went for a piledriver and Bailey blocked it. Bailey took a couple of chops and tried to fire up. Hero nailed him with an elbow and went for a piledriver, but Bailey blocked it and hit a rolling double knee strike for a 2 count. Holy s—t! The fans fired up and chanted for Bailey as he tried to regroup a short time later. Bailey went up top and the fans went mental. Hero rolled out of the way once Bailey got to the top rope and baited Bailey into charging right into a rolling elbow for a near fall.
Hero followed up with a sick Liger bomb for another 2 count and the fans went nuts again. The fans chanted “Speedball’s awesome” and “So is Hero” back and forth. Bailey blocked a tombstone and hit a shooting star double knees for another 2 count and Bailey sold shock. The fans then really fired up and clapped for both men. This match is f---king great. The fans lost their minds chanting for both men back and forth. Hero was on his knees and Bailey nailed him with his signature back and forth kicks. Bailey went for another kick, but Hero blocked it and hit a rolling elbow. Bailey didn’t go down and Hero went for another rolling elbow. Bailey cut him off with a kick, but Hero no-sold it and hit another rolling elbow. Hero then finished Bailey off with a ripcord Elbow off the ropes for the win.
After the match, Hero stalked behind Bailey as the fans chanted “That was awesome.” Hero then bowed to Bailey and offered a handshake. Bailey then shook Hero’s hand before leaving the ring. Hero left Bailey alone in the ring and he got a big ovation from the fans.
Winner: Chris Hero
Star rating: (****1/2) – This was just outstanding. Hero tried to be the bully once again and Bailey showed he was up to the task and mounted a furious comeback. These two had some insane exchanges down the stretch and the fans fired up huge before Hero eventually won the match.
The PAB interrupted the formal introductions for Rey Horus vs. Trent Baretta. Val said they wanted to see Baretta and Horus beat the crap out of each other. Val heeled on the crowd and said they were going to watch the match and be reminded why Trent was never up to the standard of the PAB. Val said they would have their fun tomorrow when Trent faced Caleb Konley. The fans chanted “Shut the f—k up” at Val. She said when Konley beat Trent, the whole world would know why the PAB ripped up his contract.
Trent got on the mic and said he didn’t know what she was talking about. Trent said he quit and was polite about it. He said he quit because she’s a tuna scented husky and he hates her face. Trent said he wanted to team with Horus against Konley and Nese. The fans liked that idea. The PAB didn’t want any part of the match. Trent got on the mic and said Val is more man than him. The fans chanted “You’re a lady” at Konley. Konley finally charged into the ring and the match was on.
(4) Rey Horus & Trent Baretta vs. The PAB (Caleb Konley & Anthony Nese w/So Cal Val). Baretta sent Konley to the outside with a clothesline and Horus set up for a dive, but Nese dragged him to the floor. Nese wiped out Baretta with a superkick a short time later and the fans booed. Horus is wearing a new mask, which shows his long hair. Baretta eventually tagged in Horus, who went at it with Nese. Horus hit a pair of sick arm drags on Nese to send him to the floor. He went for a dive, but Konley nailed him with a kick from the apron. Horus nailed Konley with an enzuguri and set up for another dive, but Nese cut him off with a dropkick. Horus ended up getting worked over on the floor by Konley with the ref distracted. Konley and Nese began tagging in and out to work over Horus. Konley went after Horus at one point and the fans booed. Horus took a beating for a long period of time as The PAB took short cuts to maintain the advantage. Horus finally made the hot tag to Trent, who ran wild on Nese. Konley cut him off and The PAB went for a double team, but Trent took them both down. Trent went up top and hit a double stomp on Nese for a 2 count. Nese duked a running knee and nailed Baretta with a series of kicks. The PABA then went for a double suplex, but Baretta landed on his feet and tagged in Horus, who went after The PAB. Horus ducked a dropkick from Konley, who ended up hitting Nese. Konley checked on Nese and Horus jumped over him and wiped out Nese with a sick flip dive.
Horus hit a nice satellite DDT on Konley inside the ring a short time later, but Nese broke it up. Nese tossed Trent through the turnbuckles and he landed on the floor after connecting with the post. Horus went at it alone against the PAB. Nese held him up for a superkick from Konley. Nese and Konley then hit a lung blower/neck breaker combination for a near fall. Horus got out of the way of a moonsault attempt from Konley and Baretta ran into the ring. The action broke down with both teams going back and forth. Nese hit a one arm powerbomb on Horus, but walked right into the Busacki knee from Trent and everyone was down. The PAB hit a double team neck breaker on Baretta, but Horus broke up the pin. Nese and Konley placed Horus on the top turnbuckle, but he fought them off. Nese nailed him with a leaping European uppercut, but Trent cut him off a short time later and hit a German off the top. Horus then wiped out Konley with a dive on the floor. Trent hit a Busacki knee on Nese, but he kicked out at the last second. The fans fired up and chanted “This is awesome.” Baretta tagged in Horus and they set up for a double team on Nese, but Val got on the apron. Konley wiped him out and Konley crotched Horus. Konley then hit a 450 on Horus for the win.
Winners: Caleb Konley & Anthony Nese
Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a bit slow to get going and the match was a bit choppy after Horus made his initial hot tag, but after that, the match was quite good.
(5) Ethan Page vs. Johnny Gargano in an Anything Goes match. Leonard mentioned that Gargano would take on Ethan Page’s Mystery Opponent and Page would take on Gargano’s best friend Rich Swann. Leonard said Page hadn’t given any hints as to who would be Gargano’s opponent tomorrow. Both men came to the ring actually dressed for a street fight. The fans fired up with a chant for Gargano before the formal introductions. Gargano ran wild during the early going and caught Page with a big dive through the ropes. He then went after Page on the floor with a chair. Page fired back and tossed Gargano into the front of the stage, which was being used for seating. Both men continued to brawl around the ring and Gargano eventually caught Page with a big dive over the barrier. He then got a Guitar Hero guitar and played it before smashing it over Page’s back. The fans chanted one more time, but Page fired back. He tried to play to the crowd and they booed. He then nailed Gargano with the guitar. Page grabbed the mic from Leonard and went on commentary and did play by play while beating up Gargano> Gargano then fired back and spit water in Page’s face. They went up to an area that was taped off and Gargano went for a tornado DDT, but Page countered it and sling-shotted him into the wall. Page then dropped Gargano face-first over the bar. Page said it was time for a rink and he tried to go behind the bar, but Gargano kicked the door into him. Gargano then nailed Page with a flip dive off the bar and the fans went nuts! Wow!
They continued to brawl around the venue and ended up on the stage. Page blocked a superkick and hit a clothesline. Gargano landed on the couch and didn’t sell it. He then nailed Page with a superkick. Page fired back and caught Gargano with a bicycle kick. Page went for a suplex, but Gargano blocked it. He then hit a superkick and Page crotched himself on the barrier in front of the stage. Gargano followed up with a knockout kick and the fans gasped. Page caught Gargano going for a dive off the stage and hit a lawn dart into the ropes. He then hit a slingshot ace crusher, but Gargano managed to kick out. They went back and forth and Gargano absorbed a pair of boots off the ropes before nailing Page with a discus clothesline. Gargano went to hit Page with a chair, but Page ducked. Page got a rope and choked Gargano with it. Leonard said Gargano had used the rope against Shingo. Leonard reminded the people watching that Page had learned everything from Gargano in reference to the rope. Gargano nearly faded, but managed to drive Page into the corner. Page climbed the ropes and held onto the rope with leverage. Gargano finally fought out of it and hit a lawn dart, but came up short of sending Page into the turnbuckles. Both men were down on the mat after the previous sequence. Both men got up and grabbed a chair. They had a chair joust. Gargano knocked the chair out of Page’s hands, but Page nailed him with a low kick and posed next to Gargano. Gargano told Page to bring it. Page was about to nail him with the chair, but Swann ran into the ring and got in the way. Swann then nailed Gargano with a superkick. The fans booed and Leonard sold outrage. Gargano looked at Swann and tried to drag himself up on Swann’s legs. Page then nailed him with several chairshots. Swann came off the top with a frog splash for the win.
Page sat in the chair and shook Gargano’s hand after the match. Swann left the ring and returned with the DGUSA Championship. Page got on the mic and said for a lion Page sure has a lot of courage. Page told Gargano that his mystery opponent was Rich Swann. The fans booed. Swann then got on the mic. Swann said he had gotten a call earlier in the week from page. He said Page had reminded him about what type of a person Gargano really is. Swann said Gargano is a slimy worm and a scumbag. Swann said Page reminded him about how Gargano was DGUSA Champion and he acted like he cared about the fans. Swann called the fans pieces of trash and said Gargano acted like he cared about the company and children with cancer. He said Gargano only cares about himself. Swann says Gargano only wanted Swann to be in the background singing and dancing. He said Page reminded him how when he, Gargano, and Taylor came into DGUSA they were hungry and wanted to be on top. Swann said the only person from Ronin that’s on top is Rich Swann. The fans booed Swann. Swann then put the DGUSA Championship around Page’s waist. Swann then nailed Gargano with a running kick. Leonard sold outrage on commentary and said if you thought the feud between Gargano and Swann was over at Evolutions End last year, you were mistaken.
Winner: Ethan Page
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good anything goes match. It went all over the building and the heel turn from Swann on Gargano worked well. Some may say it’s too soon for Swann and Gargano to feud again, but the last time they feuded, Gargano was the bad guy leading into the blow off match to their feud before turning face. This match was a big deal for Page, who continues to establish himself as a big deal while feuding with Gargano.
(6) EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Zack Sabre Jr. Sabre got a big reaction coming out for the main event. Thatcher got a good reaction as well. Leonard mentioned that Sabre rocketed to the top of the rankings with wins over Strong and Perkins at the last set of EVOLVE shows. This is a rematch from the EVOLVE MOTY last year at EVOLVE 34. Sabre won that match. Both guys went back and forth on the mat and Sabre did a neck bridge to get out from under Thatcher and they came to a stalemate. They went back and forth on the mat again and Sabre got an ankle submission and worked it over. Thatcher nicely countered it into a leg submission of his own, but Sabre quickly got the ropes. Leonard painted Thatcher as a bit of a loner and said it had made him successful in WWN. They went back and forth again and both men had strangle holds, but they eventually came to a stalemate. Sabre countered Thatcher and got a cross-arm breaker, but Thatcher quickly got to the ropes and the fans applauded once again. Thatcher got more aggressive and went to work on Sabre’s hand and wrist on the mat. Sabre tried to fight it and clasped his hands together. Sabre finally backed Thatcher into the corner and gave him a clean break. Sabre rolled through on Thatcher and briefly had a double leg submission, but Thatcher countered it into a quick ankle submission. Sabre quickly got to the ropes and sold his ankle.
Sabre got on top of Thatcher and nailed him with several forearms and open hand slaps. He went for an arm bar, but Thatcher blocked it and got on top of him. They went back and forth and Sabre got the upper hand and went after Thatcher’s arm. Sabre slowly climbed the ropes and went for a jumping knee on Thatcher’s arm as he held the top rope, but Thatcher got out of the way and hit a dragon screw. He then got an ankle lock, but Sabre managed to get to the ropes. The fans fired up as Thatcher began nailing Sabre with big strikes. The announcers said Sabre was trying to get Thatcher to punch himself out. Sabre countered a running European uppercut up top and transitioned into a cross-arm breaker. The fans went nuts with Sabre in control with the cross-arm breaker, but Thatcher managed to get to the ropes. Sabre really went after Thatcher’s arm and set it up before nailing him with a big kick to his triceps. They went back and forth and Sabre got decked with a big strike. The ref checked on Sabre and said he was good to continue. Thatcher got caught in a great pinning combination from Sabre a short time later for a near fall. Thatcher got up and aggressively nailed Sabre in the back with a big knee strike and then an uppercut. He then nailed Sabre with several big knee strikes to the mid-section in the corner. Sabre fired back and went for a running strike in the corner. Thatcher almost had the Fujiwara arm bar. Sabre countered it into a guillotine, but Thatcher slipped around and nearly got the Fujiwara arm bar. Sabre slapped Thatcher several times and had the cross-arm bar. Thatcher went for the Fujiwara arm bar again. Sabre tried to block it, so Thatcher transitioned to a knee bar. Sabre nailed him with several open-handed strikes, but he couldn’t escape the hold and tapped out.
Leonard said Thatcher would meet Busick in a no holds barred match in Long Island the next night. Thatcher got on his knees and bowed to Sabre as they shook hands. The fans applauded after the match was over. What a match that was! Thatcher put over Sabre before bowing to the fans.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher to retain the EVOLVE Championship.
Star rating: (****1/2) – This was an amazing match between Thatcher and Sabre. They had a really good technical war with both guys picking each other apart. Both men went back and forth going after each other on the mat with arm and leg submissions. The transitions and counters on the mat were awesome and they picked up the pace nicely down the stretch with some hard-hitting action. The finish was fantastic with Thatcher being unable to get the Fujiwara arm bar on Sabre, so he transitioned and tapped him out with a nasty knee bar.
Overall thoughts: (9.5) – What a show! Everything on this card delivered from start to finish. The commentary was fantastic putting a bow around the whole thing. Lenny Leonard is tremendous on commentary and deserves way more credit than he gets. It was great to hear him back on commentary with Rob Naylor. They make a fantastic pairing, but Naylor stepped to the side a bit during this show and let Leonard do the heavy lifting. The Hero-Bailey and Thatcher-Sabre matches are must-see from this show and that’s just the start, as the rest of the show was high quality as well.
The show started with a pair of really good matches with Williams getting a big win over Busick and Gulak continuing the technical wrestling theme early in the show with a win over Swann that featured a brutal finish.
The show really picked up from there with Hero and Bailey tearing the house down in an excellent match. Hero has been tremendous in 2015 and if you haven’t seen his work yet, this is a great place to start. Bailey did a great job of playing the underdog here and Hero really has been tremendous working against the younger talent in his king of the hill role in EVOLVE.
I enjoyed the entire match/angle between Page and Gargano. The match itself was a really good brawl that went all over the venue and included some creative spots. Swann turning on Gargano might seem too soon since they just made up, but it made sense to do it to add some steam behind Page. The situation with retiring the DGUSA Championship was handled about as well as it could have been.
The main event between Sabre and Thatcher was awesome. Sabre is always a treat to watch and he had a great match with Thatcher at EVOLVE 34 last year and he did it again here. The crowd watched intently during the early stages of the match and Sabre and Thatcher had a heck of a technical battle that had great pacing. The fans got hotter and hotter as the match built up to a great finish. I could watch Sabre and Thatcher wrestle all day.
EVOLVE has put on consistently good show in 2015, but they’ve also put on some TREMENDOUS shows. This show was tremendous and is well-worth your time and money.
You can purchase “EVOLVE 47” on VOD by clicking HERE or by visiting WWNLive.com. For more information on RPW visit DGUSA.TV.
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