July 11, 2015
Barnett Park Gymnasium
If you read my EVOLVE 45 review, you already know how spectacular that show was. Its sequel was going to have a hard time matching the quality of the previous night’s event.
Regardless, EVOVLE 46 featured some excellent matches that were important for the futures of the talent involved. Zack Sabre Jr. looked to continue his winning ways against the always dangerous TJ Perkins. A win against TJP would firmly establish Sabre Jr. as a title contender. Drew Galloway looked to rebound from his surprise title loss against Trent Barretta. In the main event Timothy Thatcher looked to prove that his title win in Ybor City was not a fluke. His challenger was the seemingly unbeatable Chris Hero.
Trevor Lee vs. Anthony Nese
I like the Premiere Athlete Brank gimmick but there are times the outside activities during their matches drive me nuts. Lee vs. Nese is a matchup that does not any shenanigans so when Kaleb Conley and Andrea started putting the boots to Lee early in the match I lost interest pretty quickly.
The in ring action was fine as expected. One touch I did like was Andrew Everett, who has had problems with the PAB, came out to back Lee up. But Everett really did not do anything to level the playing field and actually hurt Lee more than he helped. Lee got the win with a small package.
The outside booking of the opener really hurt what could have been a fun match. **
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. TJ Perkins
The first time I watch ZSJ wrestler he goes out and has a five star classic. That is a preamble for a letdown. Not this time.
Sabre Jr. and Perkins wrestled a very slow pace and a lot of was in the very controversially grappling style. They were able to use a lot of creative counters to keep the mat work interesting. Even the most ardent #GrappleFuck haters will not be able to criticize this contest.
ZSJ really impressed me with how he was able to keep his holds and counters fresh. The ending of the match illustrates that point perfectly. Sabre Jr. was battling to lock in his Arm Bar finisher on Perkins. TJP continually blocked it so that Sabre Jr. kneed Perkins in the opposite arm to open him up and moments later he had another victory. Excellent stuff.
This was a fantastic technical match that concluded an impressive weekend for the British sensation. Consider me firmly on the Sabre Jr. bandwagon. ***3/4
Drew Galloway vs. Trent Baretta
Drew Galloway loves to cut pre or post-match promos and he a good one here admonishing Baretta for his attitude. Galloway’s speech was compelling enough for Baretta to send So Cal Val and Andrea to the back.
Baretta had the early advantage and soon wasted it by taunting the former champion. That woke Galloway up and he proceeded to kick Baretta all over the arena culminating in an impressive Black Hole Slam into the gym wall.
After surviving the early whipping Baretta was able to even the odds and push Galloway to the limit. That pushed Galloway even further and he amped up the aggression. Honestly, this match was sneaky competitive because it felt like Galloway completely squashed Baretta. By match’s end Galloway got back to his winning ways with a lifting/spinning version of the Future Shock.
This was the perfect match to start Galloway’s ascent back up the card. Kudos to Baretta for making him look good. ***1/2
The PAB did not take Baretta’s loss well and hit the ring post-match to exact retribution. A fired up Galloway level the PAB and an EVOLVE referee.
EVOVLE World Champion and DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Championship Match, Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher ©
The early stages of this match were a draw. Thatcher opted to ditch his normally pensive style to attack Hero right out of the gate. The shocked challenger was able to fight back after conceding the advantage momentarily. Hero took a page from Thatcher’s playbook and took things to the mat hoping to stretch the champion. Back in his natural habitat Thatcher eventually caught Hero in a few holds and staved off the early danger.
Hero’s strikes caught up with Thatcher as the match went along. The challenger was much more methodical than usual and he targeted Thatcher’s injured ear. A dazed Thatcher managed to stay in the match but not by much. In the world of wrestling all any competitor needs is one chance to put the match away. An opportune moment presented itself to Thatcher when grabbed Hero’s arm in the middle of the ring and forced him down to the mat. Seconds later Hero submitted to Thatcher’s Fujiwara Armbar to retain his titles.
Tim Thatcher is not going to be your typical champion. He is not going to carry the promotion with his charisma or storylines. This is a man who will put on wrestling clinics and tell his stories with body language, a thinking man’s champion if you will. Anyways Chris Hero was an excellent first challenger for Thatch. Hero has been built up as the one man who can the new guard of EVOVLE cannot take down and now Thatcher has beaten him twice. A very subtle way to establish Thatcher as the new gold standard in the WWNLive family.
This was an extremely good title match that went a long ways to establishing what kind of champion Thatcher will be. ****
Zack Sabre Jr. came to the ring after the match and asked for a title shot against Thatcher in New York. The champion agreed and I squealed like a teenager at a Taylor Swift concert.
EVOLVE 46 was an odd show to review. It was a very short and the card only featured four matches. However, three of the four were ***1/2 stars or above. ZSJ vs. TJP and the main event were great matches and are worth seeking out.
I do think that this weekend is a testament to the dedication of the talent and backstage officials of EVOLVE. Loosing talent like Biff Busick and Davey Richards can be hard to overcome. But good on the on the fly booking and tremendous work rate combined to produce one of the best weekends the promotion has had all year.