EVOLVE’s New York double dip was sandwiched between the ROH to Destination America story and the spectacle of #ShootWeek. It is a shame the card did not get the hype it deserved because the announced line was tremendous.
Drew Galloway was set to defend the Open the Freedom Gate belt against Biff Busick in the main event. A solid undercard featured Davey Richards, TJ Perkins, Chris Hero and several other indie standouts. After a turbulent week in the wrestling community a good show is exactly what the doctor ordered. The question is, was medicine the right dose or a bitter pill to swallow?
May 30, 2015
La Boom – Queens, New York
The show opened with So Cal Val lamenting the Premiere Athlete Brand’s loss of the Open the United Gate belts. She also told Roderick Strong to stop by her hotel room later…to talk business.
Rey Horus vs. Anthony Nese: Nese and Horus opted to keep the pace conservative most of the match. Nese kept Horus grounded with holds and eventually the luchador got the hot comeback. There was nothing wrong with them going with this strategy but it is one I’ve seen before and one you guys have seen before too. I have a feeling we will see it used again too. The closing stretch flowed a little more freely and in a bit of an upset Horus got the win via pinfall. **½
Anthony Nese teased dissension with Conley after Conley failed to jump Horus from behind. Konley demanded Davey Richards get out to the ring and so began the next match.
Davey Richards vs. Caleb Konley: Konley has risen like a phoenix from the dumpster fire that was The Scene and has become a solid professional wrestler. He was on offense for most the match and I think his measured methods really helped the quality of the match. Richards often blows through his offense so fast that bout loses a lot of believability, the slower pace ensured that his flurries actually meant something.
Down the closing stretch the moves got riskier and the strikes got a lot harder but the selling became non-existent. If the match stayed at Konely’s pace I think it would have been of much higher quality. Anyways, Richards got the win via a Spinning Buzz Saw Kick. ***1/4
Richards grabbed a mic post-match and verbally petitioned for an EVOLVE title shot.
Mike Bailey vs. TJ Perkins: I loved the unique feel of this match. Bailey focuses on using well timed strikes to soften TJP up and tagged him good quite a few times. Logically, Perkins took the match to the ground to negate Bailey’s striking. TJP also blocked quite a few of “Speedball’s” kicks. The whole contest was a terrific shoot match which are hard to pull off, the closing sequence defied wrestling logic and combined high flying moves with crisp grappling. The end result was TJP getting the win with a bridge off of a Bailey ankle lock attempt. ****
Trevor Lee vs. Chris Hero: Hero was rocking a sweet Seattle SuperSonics jersey during his entrance. Speaking of Brother Hero some fans are not feeling the man from Metropolis anymore. Now this reviewer still digs the slow burn beat downs he delivers. The “KO Artist” used his elbows, fists and weight advantage to ensure Lee would hurt tomorrow morning. Lee did not go into the night silently and put up a spirited comeback that was squished out by back-to-back piledrivers from Hero, still Lee looked gutsy and earned Hero’s respect. ***1/2
DGUSA Open the United Gate Championship Match, Drew Gulak & Tracey Williams vs. Ronin ©: “Hot Sauce” Tracey Williams is Gulak’s new protégé. I’d heard good things about the Canadian export online and was impressed with his technical acumen. He will make a good addition to EVOLVE.
Gulak and Williams were a great choice to be Ronin’s first challengers. They presented a stiff challenge with their combined submission based offense. Neither Swann nor Garagano is used to spending that much time on the mat so they were at a disadvantage and really had to dig deep to hang on. Gulak abandoned his faux grappling in this match and focused on submission holds. I hope he keeps that up because this is the best he has looked in an EVOLVE ring. Williams did not look outclassed at all in this match and was shown to be his opponent’s equal which went a long way in getting him over. Ronin retained after Gargano submitted Williams. ***1/2
In a surprise move Ronin vacated their titles and announced that EVOLVE needed to have its own tag team champions.
DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Championship Match, Biff Busick vs. Drew Galloway ©: Biff Busick in a brawl? Well, there is a first time for everything. I am still shocked because I thought this would be a technical battle. Instead, Galloway and Busick went to war on the outside very early in the match. Galloway flat out destroyed Busick by dumping him back first on some chairs and then throwing him through a door.
Once the match was back in the ring a clear pattern developed. Galloway or Busick one would level the other with a big move and then stagger around the ring. They really spent too much energy while they fought in the crowd because you could tell they were gassed in the latter sections of the match. The closing moments were neat as Busick did everything he could to hold onto his Sleeper/Choke combo. until Galloway finally reversed it into the Future Shock for the win. ***1/4
Busick shrugged off a handshake from Galloway after the bell. To close the show Galloway gave a speech praising the fans, his challengers and also hyping his title match against Roderick Strong on Sunday.
Johnny Gargano came out to try and convince Galloway to retire the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. Galloway said he would not but he would give Gargano a rematch for the title before heading to the back. Gargano ended the show by telling Ethan Page he would send him packing from EVOLVE.
Final Thoughts: It is starting to sound like a broken record at this point but EVOLVE delivered another fantastic show. Five of six matches were *** stars or better. Almost every EVOVLE show I have reviewed this year has been the same. That kind of consistency is hard to find in modern professional wrestling. True me, you will not feel any guilt dropping fifteen dollars on an event that flew by and was filled with good wrestling.