EVOLVE 49 (October 17, 2015)
EVOLVE 50 (October 18, 2015)
New York Area
EVOLVE Wrestling returns to Queens and Long Island this weekend for a double shot of loaded cards. Saturday night, in Queens, EVOLVE 49 is headlined by an I Quit Match between Johnny Gargano and Ethan Page. The match potentially features Johnny Gargano’s final appearance in EVOLVE. Sunday’s event, in Deer Park, will feature a showdown between Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Gulak or Trevor Lee in a bout for the EVOLVE World Championship. Somewhat overshadowing the main events are two newsworthy items that both involve WWE: NXT Star Sami Zayn appearing for the live crowd on both shows, and former UFC Star Matt Riddle making his wrestling debut for the promotion.
- WWNLive’s Gabe Sapolsky talked w/ Rob McCarron about EVOLVE 49 & 50, plus Sami Zayn, here.
- Rich & Joe talk WWN/WWE relationship news on a brand new flagship VOW Podcast.
- WWE put out a list of the Top 5 EVOLVE talents who could make a splash in NXT.
Matt Riddle vs. Jonathan Gresham
Riddle is best known for his time as a UFC fighter, but a switch to pro wrestling is now Riddle’s main focus. He’s had several solid outings for Monster Factory Wrestling and recently had a WWE tryout. It will be interesting to see what he does against indie veteran Jonathan Gresham on a bigger stage.
Gresham is a wrestler with whom you need to familiarize. He is an accomplished technician and works a gimmick where he comes to the ring dressed as a lobster! I’m sure he will be looking to impress the EVOLVE audience.
If both guys work hard and focus on wrestling a smart match, this will be an enjoyable undercard bout. Gresham is the likely choice to take the loss due to the sheer amount of time that WWNLive has put into hyping Riddle’s appearances. Prediction: Matt Riddle
Tracy Williams vs. Willie Mack
Since his debut in EVOLVE as Drew Gulak’s protege, Tracy Williams has turned in some excellent performances. Highlighting, a fantastic bout against Biff Busick at EVOLVE 48. Williams has another big chance this weekend against former PWG mainstay Willie Mack, who is making his EVOLVE debut.
Williams and Mack make for an odd pair in the ring, and this has the potential to be either an invigorating styles clash or an awkward ten or so minutes of two guys going through the motions.
This match is tough to predict. Both competitors could use the win going forward but a loss will not hurt either of them. In my opinion, giving Tracy Williams a victory against another big name will give him more storyline credibility going forward, perhaps a shot at the EVOLVE title will be in order in 2016. Prediction: Tracy Williams
Anthony Nese vs. Andrew Everett vs. Peter Kassa vs. Matt Cage
This match is booked as a “High-Flyer’s Freestyle” and I am certain that it will more than live up to its billing. All four participants are incredible athletes and if they push the tempo then this will be a true spectacle.
Everett and Nese are well known to the EVOLVE audience and Matt Cage is a known commodity on midwest indies, so the true wild card in this match is Peter Kassa. I saw Kassa wrestle on an FIP show this summer and he really impressed me with his strength and high-flying ability. He has the chance to be the breakout performer of the four way.
The Premiere Athlete brand is in the middle of a big program with Trent Baretta, so I see Nese getting the win to keep his faction’s momentum going forward into their match with Roppongi Vice on Sunday. Prediction: Anthony Nese
Trevor Lee vs. Drew Gulak
The winner of this match gets a shot at the EVOLVE World Championship on EVOLVE 50, challenging Timothy Thatcher.
Much like Williams vs Mack, this match features combatants with vastly different styles. Trevor Lee thrives in sprints with hard strikes and plenty of dives. His past outings in EVOLVE that went with slower paces were not well received and that is what I fear will happen here against Gulak.
The best bet for a good match is if Gulak picks apart Lee’s legs for most of the match and then Lee makes sporadic comebacks at strategic moments. It is a simple match layout and one that is tailored to do both men’s strengths.
Gulak getting the win here makes the most since because he and Thatcher have teased a title contest at several previous shows. Prediction: Drew Gulak
Timothy Thatcher & TJ Perkins vs. Roppongi Vice
Trent Barretta brought in his tag partner Rocky Romero to even the odds against the PAB.
The thought of charisma machine Rocky Romero interacting with Timothy Thatcher, a card carrying member of the Black Boots, Black Trunks Brigade, is bizarre to be honest, but Romero using his playful personality to infuriate Thatcher will be a real treat.
I expect this to be a fun tag team match and believe that Roppongi Vice will take home the victory. Barretta or Romero getting a pin on Thatcher to set up a future title match is not outside the realm of possibility. Prediction: Roppongi Vice
I Quit Match – If Gargano Loses, He Leaves EVOLVE
Johnny Gargano vs. Ethan Page
A few days ago on Twitter, I wrote that the feud between these two has flown under the radar which is a shame because it has delivered both in the ring and outside of it. Ethan Page has done everything possible to make Johnny Gargano’s life hell the last few months. “All Ego” has mocked his integrity and turned his best friend against him. Gargano is so desperate for revenge that he chose to put his WWNLIVE career on the line to get the match.
Folks, that is exceptional storytelling and I promise that the match will be exceptional as well because Gargano and Page have excellent in ring chemistry.
With rumors of Gargano being Orlando bound I see Ethan Page getting the win and establishing himself as one of the top heels in the company. Prediction: Ethan Page
Ethan Page vs. Matt Cage
On a stacked card this is the match I am looking forward to the most. Ethan Page and Matt Cage are two of my absolute favorite wrestlers and this will be the first time I’ve seen them tangle. I expect an excellent match, with some potentially tremendous banter included. Page will get the win to cap off a big weekend. Prediction: Ethan Page
Andrew Everett vs. Peter Kassa
This will be the one match of the night where the audience can turn their brains off. There will be no psychology or storytelling in it, just action. Either man could take the loss and come out smelling like roses. Just for the sake of seniority I see Andrew Everett picking up the 1-2-3. Prediction: Andrew Everett
Matt Riddle vs. Chris Dickinson
In a weekend full of matches with strange bedfellows, I believe this one takes the cake. Chris Dickinson is the polar opposite of Matt Riddle. He’s a brawling machine and is in his element when the rules are thrown out. If either man caters to the style of his opponent then this contest has the potential to be dull as dirt. I really hope that does not happen, however. It is hard for me to see Riddle going 2-0 in his first EVOLVE weekend so I am taking the “Dirty Daddy” in this one. Prediction: Chris Dickinson
TJ Perkins vs. Tracy Williams
EVOLVE Wrestling’s bread and butter in 2015 has been technical wrestling and this match has the potential to carry that forward. Williams and Perkins are going to stretch each other into submission, no pun intended. I don’t anticipate this being a ton of grappling and think it will the match will genuinely surprise many folks. I’m going out on a limb and predict that Tracy Williams will get another huge upset. Prediction: Tracy Williams
Willie Mack vs. Trevor Lee or Drew Gulak
I have a lingering suspicion that Mack’s opponent will be Trevor Lee. If that is case, than this match will be a lot of fun if the two keep a quick pace. A Gulak vs. Willie Mack match just does not appeal to me. The difference in their styles would be too difficult to overcome for the contest to be any good. Regardless of who Willie Mack faces, I think he is going to do the job. Prediction: Trevor Lee or Drew Gulak
Roppongi Vice vs. The Premiere Athlete Brand
The tag team grudge match between these teams has the potential to be good. Trust me, that potential is not going to be realized. Anytime the PAB is involved in a big match that is early in the feud they wrestle an agonizingly slow style that is heavy on interference. Based on previous experience I see a So Cal Val distraction allowing for her boys to take home the victory. In turn, that interference will lead to a blow off at the EVOLVE shows in Florida with some kind of stipulation thrown in the mix. Prediction: Roppongi Vice
EVOLVE World Championship
Trevor Lee or Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher ©
Trevor Lee’s athleticism poses a challenge to Thatcher. I’d like to see him in a match where he is out of his element and has to find a creative strategy to win. A contest with Lee will do just that.
Gulak vs. Thatcher would be a more gently paced bout, with more matwork. For the majority of the fans reading this, I know that is not what you want to see. There is a very real chance that this goes the way of faux grappling which Gulak cannot pull off at all. The best solution to make a match between he and Thatcher work is for each man to pick a body part and work it all match long.
The result of the either scenario will be the same though, Thatcher will retain his title. Prediction: Timothy Thatcher
EVOLVE Wrestling will return for events in November, with Drew Galloway coming back into the fold. Keep it with VoicesofWrestling.com this weekend for results of each EVOLVE event!