SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican continues his series presenting top picks for the various Black Friday sales for wrestling DVDs. In Part 3, Radican look at the must-have picks for WWNLive’s sale.
RADICAN’S BLACK FRIDAY GUIDE (Pt. 3) – Top picks for WWN’s Black Friday Sale (EVOLVE & WWN Supershow)
FYI: WWN’s Black Friday sale is live and runs until Nov. 29 at Midnight. At DGUSA.TV, all EVOLVE, Shine, and Misc. DVDs are on sale for $7.50. EVOLVE, WWN Supershow, Shine, and ACW Blu-rays are on sale for $10. Most PWG DVDs are also on sale for $10. At WWNLive.com all EVOLVE, Shine, WWN Supershow, FIP, and ACW PPVs are on sale for $9.99. Everything in the DGUSA.TV Gear section is also on sale for 50% off.
TOP EVOLVE Blu-ray & iPPV picks
Radican’s Note: I have watched several EVOLVE Blu-ray releases. WWN has taken their production in-house to produce Blu-rays as they catch up putting out their shows on physical media and are no longer making DVDs for their events. The picture and sound quality for the Blu-rays that I’ve watched is spectacular.
Before we get into my top picks for WWN’s Black Friday sale on EVOLVE Blu-ray’s and iPPVs, it is worth noting that EVOLVE has had an incredible rebound since they rebooted in August 2014 with shorter shows built around six or seven matches. The reboot began with EVOLVE 31 where the promotion introduced rankings, which would determine who got title shots.
Although the promotion continues to iron out some kinks when it comes to how the rankings play into which wrestlers get title shots, the important thing is that EVOLVE booker Gabe Sapolsky has made nearly each and every match feel important since the reboot. Wins and losses mean something in EVOLVE now, which makes the shows easy to invest in.
Drew Galloway debuted during the weekend of the EVOLVE reboot and won the EVOLVE Championship from Chris Hero on his first night in the promotion. Galloway quickly became the babyface centerpiece of the EVOLVE and took on all comers. Most notably, he feuded with Strong without the EVOLVE Championship on the line due to Strong being new to EVOLVE and not being ranked heading into the EVOLVE events in September 2014. Their feud continued into this year and built to a satisfying conclusion.
EVOLVE has become a place where people can count on seeing a wide-variety of different wrestling styles on each show. Chris Hero has had some incredible matches in his king of the hill role in the promotion taking on the likes of Timothy Thatcher, Biff Busick, Mike Bailey, and Trevor Lee and putting on incredible matches. Hero has done the best work of his career since returning to EVOLVE in 2015.
EVOLVE has also become a place to see great technical wrestling with current EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher and frequent guest import Zack Sabre Jr. out of the UK leading the way. With wrestlers like Biff Busick and Drew Gulak thrown into the mix, there have been some fantastic technical wrestling matches in the promotion in 2015.
The best thing about watching EVOLVE is that the promotion is consistently good and often great. Below I’ve picked some of the best offerings from 2014 and 2015. If you haven’t been following EVOLVE and waiting to catch up, I suggest as picking up as many shows as you can beginning with the reboot in 2014, which is available on DVD and VOD. For those that need to pick and choose, I’ve listed the essential shows below.
– ”WWN Live Supershow: Mercury Rising 2015,” March 28, 2015. (9.5) – This is one of the best indie shows of 2015. Although it was branded as a WWN Live Supershow, it was very important to ongoing EVOLVE storylines in 2015. The show featured two incredible matches with DGUSA Champion Johnny Gargano vs. EVOLVE Champion Drew Galloway (****3/4) bolstering the undercard and delivering an incredible war and Thatcher-Hero (****3/4) having an incredible atmosphere that saw the fans go crazy for their entire encounter.
It’s clear that EVOLVE made a star out of Timothy Thatcher during WM weekend. He had some fantastic performances, but his match against Hero is well-worth going out of your way to see. Hero was portrayed as a badass cocky heel throughout the weekend, but Thatcher always lurked in the background as the person that wasn’t intimidated by him and wouldn’t engage in verbal warfare. They had an incredible match and with the rest of the card delivering solid action this show was amazing.
You can purchase “WWN Live Supershow: Mercury Rising 2015” on Blu-ray by clicking HERE or by visiting DGUSA.TV. To buy this show on VOD, visit WWNLive.com. For more information on EVOLVE, visit DGUSA.TV.
– EVOLVE, “EVOLVE 45,” July 10, 2015. (9.5) – EVOLVE has put on some really good shows in 2015, but this one event gets the last slot in my top five shows of 2015 currently due to the incredible match between Zack Sabre Jr. and Roderick Strong (****3/4). Hero-Lee on the undercard (****1/4) and The main event of Galloway vs. Thatcher (****) with the DGUSA and EVOLVE Championship on the line cemented this as one of the more memorable events of 2015.
EVOLVE decided to go all-out with the injuries to Biff Busick and Davey Richards, which forced them to reshuffle the card. Due to the shuffling of the card, EVOLVE was able to present a match between Zack Sabre Jr. and Roderick Strong before Strong signed a contract with ROH that prevented him from working
They gave away a ton on this show and the big matches delivered in spades. Lee-Hero was another excellent match in the ongoing series between them on the independents. They have incredible chemistry in the ring. Strong vs. Sabre, Jr. is one of the best matches I’ve seen all year and you should go out of your way to see it as soon as possible if you didn’t watch the show live. The main event, with Galloway putting up the DGUSA and EVOLVE titles against Thatcher in a match that was originally supposed to be non-title, was excellent. They managed to follow the Sabre-Strong match, which was a monumental task in itself. Thatcher and Galloway went to war and the match produced a surprise title change that shocked the fans in attendance.
You can purchase “EVOLVE 45” on VOD by clicking HERE or by visiting WWNLive.com. For more information on EVOLVE, visit DGUSA.TV.
– EVOLVE 47, Aug. 15, 2015 (9.5) – This was another killer show from EVOLVE in what has been an incredible run in 2015 for the promotion. The first half of the show was tremendous and concluded with an incredible contest between Mike Bailey and Chris Hero (****1/2). These two have great chemistry in the ring together and this was a memorable encounter between them. Hero has had a great run in 2015 in EVOLVE and this match with him playing his king of the mountain role was fantastic.
The second half of the show featured the continuation of the Gargano-Page feud in a very good Anything Goes match (***3/4). The main event was a treat with Timothy Thatcher defending the EVOLVE Championship against Zack Sabre Jr. in a fantastic technical showcase (****1/2).
You can purchase “EVOLVE 47” on VOD by clicking HERE or by visiting WWNLive.com. For more information on EVOLVE, visit DGUSA.TV.
– EVOLVE 35, Sept. 14, 2014 (9.5) – This makes the list because it has just been released on Blu-ray recently for the first time and it was one of the best shows I saw in 2014. This show was the key show in the reboot of EVOLVE, which began in the summer of 2014, as it showcased a wide-variety of wrestling styles and introduced the technical wrestling that remains a staple of most EVOLVE to this day.
It also started one of the better feuds in EVOLVE in recent years with EVOLVE Champion Drew Galloway facing Roderick Strong in a blazer of a match (****1/4) that saw Strong take the loss and turn heel afterwards. WWN toured China in November and EVOLVE didn’t run another event in 2014 after this show, but the promotion picked right back up with this feud in 2015.
Elsewhere on the card was a great technical showcase between Sabre Jr. and Busick (****), A wild Three-Way DGUSA Tag Title match with The Bravados defending against Fox & Swann and Konley & Nese (****), and the main event featuring Ricochet defending the Open the Freedom Gate Championship against Uhaa Nation.
You can purchase “EVOLVE 35” on Blu-ray by clicking HERE or by visiting WWNLive.com. For more information on EVOLVE, visit DGUSA.TV.
Other top EVOLVE selections for 2015: EVOLVE 37 (Blu-Ray & VOD) (8.0) – Busick-Nation (****), EVOLVE Champion Galloway-Ricochet (****), EVOLVE 40 (Blu-ray & VOD) (9.0) – Great card top to bottom w/Thatcher-End (****), Hero-Busick (****), Black-Ricochet (****), EVOLVE 51 (VOD only) (9.0) – EVOLVE Champion Thatcher vs. Gargano (****3/4).
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