Coming off their first night in Dallas, Evolve looked to put on a great early show befor their massive Mercury Rising event later that night. Evolve 59 was branded as USA vs. Europe as a series of matches would be taking place pitting the best of Europe against the best of the US.
During the live stream of the show WWN experienced a massive iPPV failure that left fans unable to fully watch the first 4-5 matches. This explains the lateness of this and all other Evolve 59 reviews.
EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Johnny Gargano & Drew Galloway vs. Catch Point of Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams
Gargano and Williams started out the match, going back and forth with float over mat wrestling. Both men are reversing each other’s holds often and quickly during this time until Galloway and Gulak enter the match. They had a stare down and Galloway oftened overpower Gulak whenever he tried to latch on a hold or land a hit. Gargano and Williams cameback in, but Gargano found himself outmaneuvered by Williams and worked over by Catch Point. When Galloway got back in with a hot tag he threw Williams around, hitting an overhead Belly to Belly Suplex, and then brawled with Gulak on the outside. Williams regained control off the Gulak distraction and Gallow spent the next portion of the match isolated from his partner. Galloway eventually fought back with a surprise Powerbomb on Gulak and brought Gargano in to the match. Once in Gargano did a number on Gulak. But once again Catch Point regained control for bit. Gulak and Galloway ended up in the ring and after hitting Gulak with the Claymore all men were in the ring and both teams traded Stereo Submission holds! Gargano went for a Tope Suicida but accidently hit Galloway, and back in the ring was hit with a Brainbuster and forced to tap to a Front Facelock by Williams!
After the match Galloway told Catch Point they deserved the win and cut a scathing prom. He spoke about how he came to Evolve to put it on the map and how NXT has come around and stepped on his and Evolve’s glory. He than gave Gargano a low blow and locked him in the Gargano No Escape before Ethan Page made the save. But Galloway hit him with a low blow and Future Shock DDT. Galloway finished by telling the fans to screw themselves, he’s the hardest working man in independent wrestling.
Great way to get the show started with brand new tag team champions. Catch Point always felt like they had this match under control and were very methodical with how they took down Galloway and Gargano. Williams and Gulak are not flashy in any way, and this was an example of how they are just so good at keeping people down and forcing them to make mistakes. The post match promo by Galloway was sensational; he came across like jaded star who was trying to build the Evolve brand just to see them cozy up with the competition. I will be very interested to see the path of Galloway from here on out.
Winners: Catch Point
Special Attraction Match: Chris Hero vs. Fred Yehi
Yehi denied a handshake offer from Hero to start the match. The size difference came into play immediately as Yehi tried going for the legs of Hero but was tossed to the side. Yehi came right back with a go behind pin attempt that failed. After a couple of failed Shoulder Tackles and chop by Yehi, Hero laid in a stiff chop. We got momentary Yehi control after targeted stomps to the limbs of Hero, but was met by an Elbow and Bicycle Kick to the outside. On the outside Yehi ate some Hero Elbows, Boots, and Chops. At this point Hero kept bullying the outsized Yehi. No matter the offense Yehi tried delivering, Hero came back with a harder shot. We got a great sequence where Yehi began countering the Hero offense, gradually wearing him down with his own offense. But Hero came back with his patented offense of boots and elbows. Amazingly enough Yehi didn’t go down, every time Hero hit him he connected on his own Suplexes or Elbows that kept bringing Hero down. Yehi really showed his toughness by kicking out of a Piledriver and KO shot. But this only served to annoyed Hero, who pulled out another bare elbow KO shot for the win.
This match was such a delight. Yehi was fighting for respect against one of the best wrestlers in the world, and even thought he was completely outmatched he kept coming back after taking some stiff hits. Hero played the role of the confident veteran exceptionally, challenging Yehi to hit him harder and landing Hard shots to show him how it’s really done.
Winner: Chris Hero
Special Challenge Match: Sami Callihan vs. Anthony Nese w/ So Cal Val & Andrea
Once the bell rang Callihan immediately charged at Nese but was hit with kick to the side of the head and sent to the outside. Nese than connects on an Over the Rope Planche, but mouthed off to the fans too long as Callihan was back up and nailed him with a Lope Suicida. Callihan spent too much time showboating, allowing Nese to comeback with a Tope Suicida. And guess what, Callihan came back with another Lope Suicida! Back inside the ring Nese missed a 450 Splash and was laid out with a Death Valley Driver. Calliahn went to the top rope but was cut off with a boot, Nese than landing a Frankensteiner from the tope rope. Both men traded Superkicks and elbow shots, reversing finisher attempts until Nese caught Callihan with a Deadlift German Suplex. After a Running Knee by Nese, Callihan came back with a Superkick and the Cuerno Killer. A Callihan Armbar followed this as Nese tapped out for the win.
Really quick match, but it was so eventful! It was a nonstop pace that showed of the athleticism of Nese and the tough style of Callihan. Anthony Nese really doesn’t get the respect he deserves, the man is very gift in the ring. The match served its purpose to build Callihan as a threat for Thatcher’s title. I honestly have no idea what comes next for Nese, can’t buy a win.
Winner: Sami Callihan
Bonus Match: Ethan Page vs. Darby Allan
Both men lock up in the ring and Allan shows of some impressive acrobatics. Page cuts him off quick, delivering a Hip Toss and Fallway Slam to show off his power advantage. After landing an RK-Ego Page delivered a MASSIVE Package Piledriver to Allan for the win.
And I thought the last match was quick, this was literally under 3 minutes with 6 total moves.
Winner: Ethan Page
USA vs. Europe Series Match: TJP vs. Tommy End
End squares up in his signature stance while TJP takes a defense stance, constantly backing away and moving along the ropes. In their first strike exchange TJP gets End to the ground and fails to lock in an Armbar and almost gets caught in a Triangle Hold. End gets back up and lands a kick in for the first pin attempt of the match. End went back to laying in kicks to TJP. TJP gets back in to a strike stance and is able to hold his own against End, even pushing him to the ropes for an Armbar. End gets hit with a Suplex floated over in to a Belly to Back Suplex and is kept on the ground by a grapevine. End somehow gets TJP in to a Cross Armbreaker, but after he got to the ropes was able to lock End in a creative submission hold using his legs. TJP doesn’t let up on the leg, placing End in a Rolling Kneebar repeatedly. The pressure was kept up by an STF by TJP, which afterwards End’s leg kept giving out when running. End didn’t let this stop him as he put together some quick stikes to get back in to the match. TJP was on the receiving End of a number of hard kicks and both men went back and forth for the remainder of the match. End would win the match after a Brainbuster and Bicycle Knee to TJP.
Really good match to kick off the USA vs. Europe Series. Tommy End is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in all of wrestling; his ability really came across here. But I’d be remised if I didn’t mention how great TJP was in this match. He not only got in to a stance and trade hits with End, he also mixed in his mat wrestling and highflying ability to keep End largely at bay. I’m of the belief TJP could have any style of match with anyone in the world and make it look good.
Winner: Tommy End
USA vs. Europe Series Match: Best In The World Challenge Series – The Fighter: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Matt Riddle
Riddle powered Sabre down to the mat immediately, but Sabre quickly eluded him. This quickly became a match of Sabre constantly countering the Riddle grappling because of his elusiveness. Riddle at one point nearly locked Sabre in a Cross Armbreaker, but Zack reversed it in to a Guillotine, but Riddle countered it in to a Muta Lock for Sabre only to counter it as well in to an extremely unique Bow and Arrow Lock that was turnes in to a Riddle Ankle Lock! Riddle followed up with a nice Vertical Suplex and a Capture Suplex. Sabre didn’t stay down long, and latched on an Octopus Hold, but Riddle broke out and put Sabre in to another Ankle Lock. We saw additional Riddle Suplexes, this time they were Back & Deadlift Germans. When Riddle went for another German Suplex he got caught in to a Kimora but powered Sabre in to a Death Valley Bomb! Sabre kicked out and rebounded with stiff slaps and the Penalty kick for a 2 count. After the failed pin attempt Riddle sprang up and tapped Sabre with the Bromission!
Major upset! Zack Sabre Jr. is the best technical wrestler in the world, and his elusiveness really through Riddle off his game during the first portion of the match. But Riddle made adjustments, utilized his power more and showed off his own technical ability. Riddle is still new to this industry, and to watch him out grapple Sabre in any way really was a testament to his growth.
Winner: Matt Riddle
EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Marty Scurll
Thatcher came in to the bout with an injured elbow from his match with Riddle the night before. Scurll immediately went for the elbow, but Thatcher worked his way out of it, powering Scrull to the ground. The two were in the midst of a mat exchange, but Scrull got in an eye poke for a quick advantage. During this time Scrull talked a lot of trash, resorting to slapping Thatcher, but this only served to piss off Thatcher who came back with a Butterfly Suplex transitioned in to a Fujiwara Armbar. Thatcher then got in to back-to-back Ankle Locks before heading back to the Armbar, forcing Scurll to the ropes. Scurll slapped again, but when Thatcher went for the Headbutt he walked right into to a knee to the head and a superkick to the elbow! But Thatcher connected on a big Headbutt that knocked Scurll down. Than out of nowhere Marty popped back up to his feet and latched on the Crossface Chickenwing, forcing Thatcher to the ground and to submit.
What an upset! Scurll played up the villain role perfectly, going after the arm and being very sly with his movements in the ring. He did things to infuriate Thatcher, which would usually lead to Thatcher kicking someone’s ass. In this case however, an injured Thatcher played right in to hands of Scurll. Quality match that could set up a future title confrontation between the two.
Winner: Marty Scurll
USA vs. Europe Series Match: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay
Back and forth flip exchanges began this match in a hurry. Ospreay took an early advantage with some hard chops and kicks, and than the two got in to a headlock exchange that went back and forth. Ricochet assumed control, pulling out some unique holds during this time that reminded me of Pentagon Jr. He caught Ospreay with a Spinebuster but missed the People’s Moonsault. Ospreay than went for the People’s Moonsault himself but Ricochet countered it into another Spinbuster and finally connected with the People’s Moonsault. Ricochet started bullying Ospreay, asking him “you wanna be like me?” Ospreay landed a Handspring Heel kick and than a Springboard Forearm in to a Standing Corkscrew Splash! Ricochet came back with a Jumping Cutter and followed it up with a Standing Shooting Star Press. Lightening quick exchanges between the two men who traded Inverted Frankensteiners! Both men got back to their feet and exchanged chops, leading them to knock each other down with high kicks. The match seemed over after an Apron DVD by Ricochet followed by a 450 Splash for a 2 count. Not to be outdone Ospreay fought back, he delivered a Springboard Cutter followed by a Standing Shooting Star Press and a Phoenix Splash by Ospreay for a 2 count! Ricochet cames back with a Regal-Plex for a 2 count! Ospreay then hit a Standing Spanish Fly and the Essex Destroyer for a 2 count! Ricochet delivered two hard kicks and after delivering a Northern Lights Suplex floated over in to a Deadlift Brainbuster won the match with a Benedyller.
This match was amazing. From bell to bell it was a spectacle between arguably the top two highflyers in the world. The athleticism here was on another level, with crazy sequences only these two can pulloff. More importantly, this was the story of the next generation coming in and trying to dethrone the established star. Ospreay lost, but in defeat his stock blossomed even more. Match of the Weekend candidate, and a soft Match of the Year candidate.
A damn good show. My first viewing was a disaster because of the iPPV problems, but the final 3 matches I saw were so good I already knew this could have been a show of the weekend. After watching the whole card that is still on the table. Ricochet vs. Ospreay lived up to the hype while Riddle vs. Sabre was a match I hope more people revisit for its quality. Chris Hero continues to put on the best overall matches for Evolve on a consistent basis, and Yehi’s growth before our eyes has been tremendous. Evolve has been on a massive roll, and this is an example of how great this promotion is when they have all things clicking.
Match of the Night: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay
Wrestler of the Night: Will Ospreay
Personality of the Night: Drew Galloway & Chris Hero
Final Rating: 9/10