EVOLVE 41 was a show that grabbed you by the neck during the third match and never let go. Following an event as captivating as EVOLVE 41 is no easy task, but with the roll EVOLVE is on in 2015, it was hard to rule out EVOLVE 42.
April 18, 2015
Barnett Park & Gym
Shine Championship Match, Andrea w/So Cal Val & Su Yung vs. Santana Garret ©: Andrea dominated Garret from start to finish. When the champion started to gain a little momentum and went for her finish Su Yung got involved. Playing into the secretary’s story of ongoing mishaps, her attempted interference backfired and provided a distraction for Garret to role Andrea up for the win.
This was the worst kind of championship match. The focus was on the angle instead of the in-ring action and the finish made Garret look like a chump champion. *¼
After the match, So Cal Val screeched her disapproval at Secretary Su. Yung had enough and looked to lay Val out. Andrea held Yung back and hit her with a weak Power Bomb.
Ethan Page vs. Martin Stone: Martin Stone has not impressed me with three outings in EVOLVE and was misused in this contest. The point of the match was to get Page over as a heel and “All Ego” played his role beautifully. The problem is to make the arrangement work, a sympathetic baby face is needed — Stone does not fit that description. His personality and offense are dry as toast and that makes it hard for the crowd sympathize with him. Honestly, this would have been better as a squash. *¾
Andrew Everett vs. Rey Horus: For a little over nine minutes Horus and Everett put on a ballet of athleticism I know I’ve seen many times but never tire of. Rey Horus picked up the win with a Top Rope Frankensteiner to cap off a good match. I would love to see these two tangle again on a future show. **¾
TJ Perkins vs. Tim Thatcher: TJP and Thatch worked a technical match with each man focusing on the arm. As with all Thatcher matches the grappling and reversals were well done. I enjoyed how both competitors tried to work around their opponent’s advantage. Thatcher nullified TJP’s speed with several well timed European uppercuts. Perkins negated Thatcher’s size with repeated use of leg scissors to keep the Brit grounded.
Perkin’s insistence on staying on the mat was a severe tactical error. A technician of Thatcher’s ability will always find a window of opportunity on the canvass and his chance came during an exchange late in the match. TJP desperately was trying to hang onto to his arm bar and in the nip tuck battle for advantage found himself locked in a Thatcher Arm Bar. Seconds later he submitted.
Good technical matches are becoming the norm for these two. Fans of both men will want to seek this bout out. ***½
After his victory, Thatcher requested the microphone and simply stated he challenged the winner of the Drew Galloway vs. Roderick Strong.
Biff Busick vs. Roderick Strong: Busick came into this match a frustrated man on a losing streak. The avatar of his aggression was number one contender Roderick Strong. After a confrontation with Strong in Ybor City the night before, Busick’s main objective was to maim Strong but this put him at a disadvantage. On two occasions Busick’s rage compelled him to gamble with un-sound risks. Each time Roddy made him pay and Strong held the high ground for much of the match. Busick doled out just enough punishment every so often to soften Roderick Strong up and in the end that turned out to be enough when Busick stopped his slide by choking Roddy out.
What made this match work so well was the inclusion of Busick’s storyline into the overall narrative. It made sense for Busick’s anger to cost him time and time again. The finish felt out of nowhere but does not detract much from an outstanding contest. ****
The win, however, did little to quell Busick’s bad mood. His post-match promo focused on his hatred of Tim Thatcher and his perceived notion that EVOLVE screws him on a consistent basis. Thatcher did not take kindly to Busick’s insult and the two men brawled until security hit the ring.
Davey Richards vs. Trevor Lee: This was criminally short but man did Lee vs. Richards cram a lot of action into roughly ten minutes of pure fun. Davey won with his Spinning Buzzsaw Kick. ***
DGUSA Open the Double Gate Championship – Ronin vs. The Premiere Athlete Brand ©: Since the match was a street fight everyone involved showed up in cut off tees, jeans, gratuitous crowd brawling, lots of weapons and dangerous spots.
I did not think this match was bad but I’ve seen it so many times before. In general, I think stipulations are so overdone and at this point they have lost all their meaning. Ronin (Rich Swann & Johnny Gargano) are your new tag champs and hopefully their reign is not filled with a never-ending stream of gimmick matches. ***
Final Thoughts: As a rule I think EVOLVE shows that end with tag matches are not the company’s best. This show fits that example perfectly. The first match and the main event were angle heavy, a throwback to the days when the company was unwatchable. Thankfully, sandwiched in between that were several excellent matches featuring the company’s bright young stars. Watch the show for Busick/Strong and Thatcher/Perkins. Skip it for the two title matches.