EVOLVE 34 was live on iPPV on September 13th 2014 where the main event was billed as Drew Galloway defending the EVOLVE Championship against Rich Swann.
Johnny Gargano came out to a decent pop to cut an in ring promo about how he admits that when Caleb Konley pinned him and told Gargano that he wasn’t the man he used to be, it was a moment of clarity. He said he and Rich Swann beat the hell out of each other at EVOLVE 33 and said that even though he doesn’t like Swann, he still saved him from a further beat down from the hands of Tony Nese and Konley to prove he was still the man. He announced that all weekend he has demanded to put on the opening match to prove he still has it and to be able to climb the EVOLVE rankings.
Johnny Gargano vs Anthony Nese (w/The Premier Athlete Brand)
Gargano looked to dominate in the early going but Nese managed to cut him off and started working over Gargano for good chunk of the match. Eventually Gargano managed to get back some momentum after Nese went for a dive but Johnny countered it with a nice spear through the ropes. The match ended with Gargano countering the one arm powerbomb into a roll up for the win.
Winner: Johnny Gargano – Match Rating: 2.5/5
After the match PAB went for the attack on Gargano until Swann came out to help Johnny but eventually the numbers game caught up as Gargano was still laid out and then PAB hit a sick DDT on the outside where there was no padding. Gargano hit a dive onto PAB and the segment ended with the trainers helping Swann to the back and the commentators questing if he’ll be able to compete in the main event.
Overall solid opener, nice to see where Garganos baby face turn is heading and it does seem like it won’t be too soon before we see him the EVOLVE Championship picture again.
Zack Sabre, Jr vs Timothy Thatcher
The match started with each man trying the get the advantage but neither one could gain momentum as each one kept exchanging holds. Sabre eventually started working over Thatchers arm and both men eventually locked legs and went into a pair of headstands but Sabre quickly got Thatcher into an armbar. Sabre tied up Thatchers arm in his legs at one point and wrenched it back several times.
Thatcher eventually gained some momentum and started working on Sabres arm and locked in a Fujiwara arm bar but Sabre got to the ropes and eventually hit an armbar of his own on Timothy. Thatcher however was able to keep his hands locked so Sabre wasn’t able to fully lock it in and countered to put Sabre into a variation of the STF but again Sabre got to the ropes. The ending of the match came when Sabre tied up one of Thatchers arms in a hammerlock with his leg and then extended his other arm, this move seriously looked painful to watch and Sabre started kicking Thatcher in the head and the referee called for the bell. Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. – Match Rating: 4.25/5
This was an awesome technical match, probably one of the best I’ve seen since a Bryan Danielson match, I honestly hope there’s a rematch for these 2 very soon.
Roderick Strong vs Uhaa Nation
Strong started off the match gaining the early momentum by working over Nation’s mid-section and started showboating after hitting a nice dropkick and kept preventing Uhaa from gaining momentum. Nation finally caught Strong and hit a fall away slam to start gaining momentum and hit Strong with a series of rolling German suplexes and covered Strong for a 2 count. Nation dominated for a long time in the match until Strong lit up Nation with a series of running forearms in the corner and hit a jumping knee strike. Strong fended off the Uhaa combination for a while and tried to go for the Stronghold but Uhaa managed to push him off and hit the Uhaa combination for the win. Winner: Uhaa Nation – Match Rating: 3/5
Solid match and some nice high flying spots to help keep the crowd alive, Uhaa gets some momentum heading into his match at EVOLVE 35 against Ricochet.
DGUSA Champion Ricochet vs Caleb Konley (w/The Premier Athlete Brand)
Ricochet went for his signature knees on the rope senton early on in the match and began working on Konley but Konley managed to get some momentum back and started beating on Ricochet. Konley hit a big kick to the back of Ricochet’s head for a 2 count but after a while Ricochet started to come back and went for the ace crusher but Konley countered an ace crusher attempt and hit a German for a two count.
Ricochet started to come back and hit the alarm clock on Konley and then hit a running SSP for a 2 count. Ricochet went for a benadriller but Konley countered and hit a Regalplex, Konley then went up on the top rope to hit a double jump moonsault but Ricochet got out the way. Ricochet started to fight back and hit a springboard 450, he then went for a springboard up top, but Konley caught him and hit a falcon arrow off the top rope and then covered Ricochet for the 1, 2, 3. Winner: Caleb Konley – Match Rating: 3/5
For these guys, I expected tons of highflying and for the energy to be high in the match, unfortunately that wasn’t the case and I’m not sure why Konley got the win especially for someone like Ricochet so we’ll see where this goes.
AR Fox came out to a big pop. Fox said after basically accomplishing almost everything including being part of one of the best tag teams in EVOLVE history, he said he wants to finally become the DGUSA Champion. The Bravados made their way to the ring as they took exception of him saying he’s one of the best tag team champions of all time. The Bravados said Cima & Fox were nothing compared to them and a Young Bucks chanted broke out. They told Fox they had something in store for them and Moose came out and it looks like we now have A.R.Fox vs Moose.
AR Fox vs Moose (w/The Bravados)
Fox started off using his speed and agility to hit some dives on Moose but with the strength and size of Moose he was able to catch Fox and powerbomb him onto the ropes. Fox continued trying to use these high flying moves but Moose refused to go down and Moose blocked a Lo mein pain and hit a sick buckle bomb. Fox avoided a charge in the corner and connected with the Lo mein pain but The Bravados interfered which caused the match to end. Winner: Moose via DQ – Match Rating: 2.75/5
Solid match considering how green Moose is in the ring, the main aim here was to make Moose look strong and I believe they achieved that aim without making AR Fox look weak.
DGUSA Tag Team Champions The Bravados (Lancelot & Harlem Bravado) vs The Colony (Fire Ant & Silver Ant) for the DGUSA Tag Team Championships
The Bravados managed to get the momentum early on in the match by working over Fire Ant, Harlem tossed Fire Ant to Lancelot and he hit a nice back breaker. Fire Ant finally got the hot tag after hitting doule stunner and Silver Ant went crazy and started beating down The Bravados. Both teams continued to go back and forth but The Bravados hit Silver Ant with the total elimination for the near fall, Silver managed to lock in the Chikara special in Lancelot but countered it into a roll up, Silver managed to lock in the hold again but Lancelot went for the mask and Harlem hit a low blow and rolled up Silver for the win. Winners and still Tag Team Champions The Bravados – Match Rating: 2.5/5
Match was quite fast paced but I honestly don’t know why The Bravados retained, all in all I just couldn’t get interested in this match and I don’t think the fans cared much for the ending either.
EVOLVE Champion Drew Galloway vs Rich Swann for the EVOLVE Championship
The story behind this is that Swann is less than a 100% after the attack earlier on in the event. Swann ran wild early on in the match as it looks like he knew he wouldn’t be able to carry a long match with Drew due to his injuries so best to end it early but Galloway managed to counter with a rolling forearm. Galloway seems like he doesn’t want to fight Swann when he’s less than 100% but Swann is insisting the match goes ahead. Swan mounted a comeback and hit a chin breaker, but Galloway slammed Swann into the mat for a two count. Drew is begging the ref to stop the match but Swann mounts a comeback by hitting a big jumping DDT off the second turnbuckle for a nearfall.
The action broke down and Swann hit Drew with a big flip dive on the floor then he went for a dive off the top but Galloway caught him and slammed him over his knee. Galloway went for the double arm DDT but Swann countered into a roll up for a two count.
Eventually the PAB came down to ringside when Swann was on the outside but Galloway quickly wiped them all out with a nice dive on the outside. Galloway sold his frustration about not being able to beat Swann so he hit him with a cradle piledriver and again Swann kicked out. Swann managed to come back and went for the handspring ace crusher but Galloway countered into a choke sleeper. Swann desperately tried to get to the ropes but eventually started to pass out, the ref checked on Swann and decided that he was out cold and could no longer continue so gave the win to Galloway. Winner and still EVOLVE World Champion Drew Galloway – Match Rating 3.5/5
Crowd didn’t seem to care too much about this match but the story told throughout the match was really good and really showed me that Rich Swann will be a big player in the future of EVOLVE, not sure why PAB ran out as they really didn’t do anything but all in all a solid main event.
After the match Galloway told how he’s never had to choke anyone out to beat them before and since he was injured, Swann deserves a rematch. He said that he wants to make EVOLVE and the EVOLVE World title known around the world and that he’s speaking from the heart. He said he doesn’t want to lead the fans but walk side by side with them.
All in all an OK show for EVOLVE, told some good stories with Rich Swann never giving up and Drew getting frustrated with not being able to beat Swann, Moose had a good showing and I’m looking forward to seeing Johnny Garganos rise back to the top to challenge for the EVOLVE Championship and I would highly recommend people check out Zack Sabre, Jr vs Timothy Thatcher, technical wrestling at its best.
Overall rating 6.5/10