March 27, 2015
Santa Clara Fairgrounds
San Jose, CA
Uhaa Nation vs. Drew Galloway: Nation started the match by controlling Galloway’s arm. Yeah, that really surprised me too. Uhaa’s surprising start rubbed off on Galloway who worked slower than usual as well. The sluggish start put a damper on the crowd’s enthusiasm which hurt the match.
The latter stages were made of what fans expect from these two, a couple of huge guys roughing each other up. Galloway got the win with the Future Shock and looked spent in victory. I thought that was a nice touch to put over Nation.
Solid opener that started slow and picked up at the end. ** ¾
Tommy End w/Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher: To the anti-grappling crowd, this is your time to go to the can or fix dinner. For us technical nerds, this contest was really special.
End vs Thatcher had a shoot fight feel in the contest’s opening stage. There was a lot of time on the mat, trading holds and countering those same holds. A brutal head butt by Thatcher spiced things up a bit and seconds later End cleaned his opponent’s clock with the stiffest kick I’ve ever seen. Thatcher sold it beautifully by almost getting counted out twice. From that point on the match was your standard stiff indie style. End’s reliance on his strikes cost him when he went to mount and slap Thatcher, seeing an opportunity the Englishmen countered into an arm bar for the submission victory.
The touches of realism made this the first stand out match of the weekend. A real technical masterpiece. **** ¼
Drew Gualk vs. TJ Perkins: In all Gulak’s EVOLVE contests he seems to content to go slow and steady. Against Perkins the former CZW World Champion came out swinging. What followed was the quickest technical contest I’ve ever seen. Perkins went after the arm while Gulak stretched the ankle. Each man quickly countered the other’s submission for much of the match until Gulak really cinched in the pressure on the ankle for the victory.
Another technical gem. *** ½
Ethan Page vs. AR Fox: The troll game is strong with one Ethan Page. Moments into the card’s fourth match he stole Fox’s doo rag, put it on and proclaimed it “hammer time”.
After the comedic interlude Fox and Page settled into a tango of trading big move after big move in a change of pace from the earlier mat classics. Fox was his usual dare devil self. Page showed a lot of energy and creativity with a few of his spots including a Lawn Dart/Cutter combo. A Lo Mein Pain/450 Splash combination by Fox handed Page his second loss of the weekend.
Pure fun. ***1/2
Chris Hero vs. Biff Busick: This was the most personal match of the weekend. Hero’s constant disrespect inspired Busick to vow to choke him out. For much of the match that was Busick’s singular focus and at one point he rode Hero all over the ring side area with the hold locked in. When that did not work Busick attempted to end Hero with multiple Half and Half Suplexes, including one from the top rope. Chris Hero survived but needed five elbows to Busick’s head and a Tombstone to finish off the Beyond Wrestling ace.
Wow, just wow. Go watch this match. A definite MOTYC candidate. **** 1/2
Ronin (Rich Swann & Johnny Gargano) vs. The Premier Athlete Brand (Brian Cage & Kaleb Conley): After four incredible matches a generic tag was just what the doctored ordered to cool the crowd and the audience watching at home down. Rich Swann appeared to injure himself during the match so the win was awarded to Cage & Conley even though Gargano got the submission. Weird. **
Ricochet vs. PJ Black: I just can’t get into high flyer vs. high flyer matches. Good effort from both men but this is not my cup of tea. Ricochet won with the 630 Senton. AR Fox on commentary was gold though. ***
Many, including myself, thought EVOLVE 40 would be a throwaway show. Well, we were wrong! This was a tremendous show that served as a love letter to technical wrestling. Timothy Thatcher vs Tommy End and Chris Hero vs Biff Busick are two of the best wrestling matches I have seen all year. Go out and buy the VOD the second it is released, as this is show is that damn good.