EVOLVE 69 Review

Added by Gary Ward

Farewell to an icon.


The show opened with a moment of silence for the anniversary of 9/11 and a lovely reminiscion of the national anthem, the action started right away, no messing about here.

Tony Nese vs. Darby Allin

If Darby Allin wins this match over another EVOLVE Icon Tony Nese then he gets his EVOLVE contract after impressing at the latest Dallas events.  I’ve said before how much I enjoy Tony Nese’s work and its refreshing you see these type of matches, it makes wrestling for this company mean more, knowing you have to win the contact.

Nese started with the upper hand as you would expect but Darby just wouldn’t go away, clearly the contact means alot too him.

Darby had a few amount of support in the crowd here which lead to Nese playing the villain throughout, Nese while in control of the match started to taunt the EVOLVE hope full with little slaps the head while Darby was on the ground, nice heel moves.

The finish came as Nese missed a moonsalt, allowing Allin to hit a high cross body block to the outside, Nese took control back in the ring and hit the pump handle driver for a 2 count to the shock of Nese. Nese went for it again, Allin escaped and scored the win with the cradle.

Big crowd reaction to this win for Darby, I really like Tony Nese and hope he gets pushed more, as for Darby, my first viewing of him and he’s impressive, look forward to seeing him again.

Nice post match segments with Joey Styles coming out to present Darby with his EVOLVE  contract, I’m really enjoying the role Joey Styles is playing in EVOLVE, as Joey handed the contact to Darby, Tony Nese grabbed it and welcomed him to the Evolve locker room.


Fred Yehi vs. Travis Gordon

Up next is a new talent test match as the FIP World Champion faces Travis Gordon, I recently saw Yehi, Conley and Martin Stone wrestle a excellent triple threat match so it’s nice to look back onto another of his matches.

Travis Gordon is another relatively new talent to me, again this is why I love the WWN Live, they keep bringing out new wrestlers and allow them to showcased their talents, ones thing’s for sure Travis has the look.

Nice back and forth action this one, both showcasing some excellent high flying and agility, some lovely moves from Gordon as he jumped onto the ropes and hit a side kick to Yehi who was sitting there before hitting a death valley driver into a superkick for a near fall, the finish came as Gordon went for a spring board from the outside but got caught in Fred Yehi’s koji clutch, Travis taps, this was an excellent fast paced match showcasing alot of raw talent. Be really keen to see alot more of Travis Gordon.


Tracy Williams vs. Chuck O’Neil

Another new talent test match as Hot Sauce faces a former MMA fighter previously fighting for Bellator and the UFC, could he take to wrestling the same way Matt Riddle has recently ? Time will tell on this one.

If you read my last EVOLVE review then you’d know how much I like Tracy Williams, so this should be a classic for me,

Chuck right away attempted to take the match to the ground with some nice MMA moves; Williams managed to hit several dropkicks, but O’Neil hit a big knee into a German suplex. Williams hit a superplex for the near fall, both men were in the centre trading strikes, Williams hit a big lariat for a near fall, the finish came as Williams worked for a Komura, but O’Neil was able to counter into a Michinoku driver, before moving beautifully for an arm bar, Williams though escaped and sinked in the crossface for the win.

Nice match here, both showing good ground work, again EVOLVE giving its fans variety to the matches they put on, we’ve has a nice high flying match then into this more striking and ground game, I like the depth to the product.

Post match Galloway and DUSTIN attacked the leg of Williams with the chair before Gulak and Yehi made the save.


Drew Gulak vs. DUSTIN

I absolutely love Drew Gulak, I really believe he has everything to be a huge star in the wrestling industry, the recent change in DUSTIN has been really good to see aswell, his recent ties with Drew Galloway have been excellent.

Drew Gulak is in the ring all fired up, they brawled to the floor, trading chops and Gulak kept the advantage. Back in and Gulak hit a lariat off the top for the near fall.

Overall a nice back and forth contest between two of the company’s biggest stars in my opinion,  Gulak sunk in the dragon sleeper in the ropes but only breaks at 4. The finish came as they again went to the floor, Drew Gulak slammed DUSTIN and rolled him back into the ring. Galloway arrived with a chair and tossed it to DUSTIN, A Low blow by DUSTIN on the ropes as the referee was seeing to Drew Galloway, DUSTIN then hits a DDT on the chair for the win.

Post match Galloway says it’s has always been about him and Johnny Gargano. Gargano did well but he took EVOLVE mainstream while listening to the machine, Drew says he’s better than that and  it will end tonight. He promises to DELETE Gargano and Cody for good tonight.


Ethan Page vs. David Starr

Another new talent match as The Product David Starr faces EVOLVE main stay Ethan Page, Starr has been getting alot of hype recently and been wrestling everywhere including TNA, I recently read a description on him “Every decade a wrestler comes along that revolutionizes the industry as we know it. David Starr is the perfect hybrid of professional wrestler and sports entertainer. And now that he has been given his opportunity, he is beginning a renaissance the likes of which this industry has never seen” Really hoping that Starr is the next man in EVOLVE.

We had this is awesome chants, you got tea bagged and Ethan shouting “I FEEL LIKE CM PUNK RIGHT NOW! .  This was an excellent match from two superb wrestlers, the contest had everything from stiff strikes, high flying and ground work, the depth in skills these two have are incredible to see.

The finish came as they brawled on the apron; Starr escaped a death valley driver attempt and then ran into the RKEGO for a 2 count, Ethan Page hit a bicycle kick but David Starr hit the brainbuster onto the knee for a really close 2 count, they both went to the top rope and countered back and forth before Starr went for a finisher, Page managed to escape, Starr then slipped down to the canvas and attempted a powerbomb, Ethan managed to block and jump over Starr into a Package Piledriver for the three count, an excellent match, I’m hoping that David Starr has found a new home and EVOLVE push him to the moon.

Ethan Page post match helps up David Starr to the delight of the crowd chanting “Please Come Back” Page is showing his good guy side still…….


TJ Perkins with Stokely Hathaway vs. Matt Riddle

If there is a more loved and over wrestler in EVOLVE right now than Matt Riddle than I’ve certainly not seen him, this has a “This Is Awesome” Chant written all over it.

Before the match started, the crowd chanted “Thank You TJ” as this is also a goodbye to him as he’s off to WWE Monday Night Raw, I’ll certainly miss seeing him EVOLVE.

Drew Gulak arrived and said that he’s just had his head caved in and that him and Yehi are about to take Williams to the hospital and wondered where these two were , He thought they were a team, Stokely Hathaway interrupted and said that TJ Perkins was going to WWE Monday Night Raw, and he’s going to make Riddle tap; Riddle then grabbed the mic and said that he’s here to wrestle.

Some excellent ground work by both men to start this match going back and forth with various locks and holds, TJP can work any skill wrestling requires and this is a massive reason why he’s going to be a big success in the WWE.

Perkins quickly targeted the knee of Riddle and grounded him as he went to work to set up for the knee bar. He worked effortlessly on the leg of Riddle. Riddle tried to fight back as TJP worked a hanging guillotine; he turned it into the fisherman’s buster, Matt Riddle missed the springboard knee and TJ Perkins caught him with a version of the gutcheck for the near fall. Riddle caught Perkins out for the corner and hit the jumping tombstone for a great near fall. The finish came as TJP hits a pop up kick and then rolled into the knee bar, but Riddle rolled out and transitioned into the twister, Perkins escaped and sinked into the knee bar himself; Riddle though eventually rolled out and landed some hammer fists to the back of TJP’s head, before putting Perkins again in the twister for the win.

An excellent match from two of my favourites right now, really excited to see how Matt Riddle develops as at this rate every major wrestling company around will be dying for him (If they aren’t already)


Post match Stokely Hathaway and TJ Perkins had a moment in the middle of the ring. Hathaway then told Perkins he showed the world that he is special. It’s now time for the TJ Perkins celebration with some ladies and alot of cash being thrown around. Hathaway says he can’t imagine wrestling without Perkins or EVOLVE without TJ Perkins. Stokely also said that he couldn’t imagine WWE Monday Night Raw without TJP aswell, overall a brilliant match and a farewell to another outstanding professional wrestler.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ricochet

This could main event any wrestling show in the world, these two are the hottest wrestlers in the world not signed to a WWE contract, Ricochet is easily the best lightweight in the world and ZSJ is a technical wizard. Bravo EVOLVE for being able to showcase this one, price of the event is paid for with this alone.

Lovely fast paced counter wrestling to begin with, the normal ZSJ holds and posing for the fans throughout, Sabre Jr works the arm of Ricochet during the entire match.

Ricochet made several comeback attempts and kicked the match into lightning pace before Sabre brings the pace right down into locks/holds. I really enjoy these type of matches from truly gifted wrestlers in Ricochet and Zack Sabre Jr, the ability to slow down and then go 100 miles an hour is something really special to watch.

The match was a really nice back and forth contest, both using some excellent ground work and then upping the pace at the drop of a hat, as the match progressed Ricochet landed a series of kicks, but ZSJ locked in the octopus. Sabre managed to transition into the hanging arm bar, but Ricochet turned this into a beautiful northern lights suplex and then a dead lift suplex for a two count.

Ricochet following a Peoples Moonsalt attempt went for the shooting star but landed right into the triangle choke! The finish came as Ricochet desperately tried to power out of a triangle choke, he managed to finally with a single arm powerbomb and went up to the top rope to his a sensational  630 for the win.  What an outstanding match this was, a beautiful modern day wrestling match where they worked several holds, went at a 100 mile hour pace, slowed down, sped back up, hit some stiff punches/slaps and kicks, just an excellent wrestling match.


Johnny Gargano & Cody vs. Drew Galloway & Chris Hero

Farewell to an EVOLVE Legend.

As everyone made their ways to the ring, a lovely “Thank You Johnny” chant started, Gargano looks like he’s trying to soak in all this, one last time.

Cody and Chris Hero started things off; they worked back and forth with both men having the opportunity to shine. Cody then hit the delayed suplex on Hero and tagged Gargano in. He and Cody hit stereo dives to the floor, back in the ring Johnny Gargano worked over Drew Galloway, DUSTIN manages distract Gargano, allowing Galloway to take control of the match.

Drew Galloway pulled Cody to the floor and slammed him to the barricade and apron; he then tagged in and continued the beat down on Cody. Galloway was just kicking away at Cody over and over again. These four are so incredible good inside a wrestling ring, having this as you main event is a fantastic example of how good your product is and how Tag Team wrestling works with the correct people in it.  I really enjoyed the match as I knew I would, never did i think Johnny Gargano’s last EVOLVE match would be anything but excellent, this didn’t disappoint me at all.

The finish came as Cody fought him off and sent Chris Hero to the floor before tagging in Mr EVOLVE, he ran crazy, hitting the roll through kick and then super kicking Chris Hero and then hitting a spear on Drew Galloway for the near fall. Galloway managed to fight back with a  head butt and then tagged Hero in, Gargano’s managed to tag Cody and they both double teamed Chris Hero with something like 10 superkicks and then hit Galloway with duel superkicks before attempting the win, as Galloway kicked out, all four men traded strikes, Galloway hit Gargano with a tombstone and Hero then grabbed Gargano and spiked him with big piledriver, Cody made the save as Gargano was up for another spike piledriver, Cody then managed to hit cross Rhodes on Chris Hero, Gargano then got the Gargano escape but Hero managed to escape, as Cody then locked in the American nightmare with Gargano locking in the Gargano escape, Cody then sent Galloway crashing to the floor, while Hero tried to power out but eventually had to  tap out.

A outstanding Tag Team match and a nice send off for MR EVOLVE Johnny Gargano, I’ve really enjoyed his work on the independents and while it’s a shame he’s leaving I can only feel more excited about his future in WWE & NXT, Cody is looking great since leaving the WWE and I’d like to see more of him in EVOLVE, Chris Hero is a big favourite of mine, I’d like to see him go after gold in EVOLVE soon enough, as for Drew Galloway, this bad guy persona is truly excellent, he’s such a good heel, I really believe this is he’s best work ever right now.


Post match Cody talks and hypes Johnny Gargano, Gargano looks to address the crowd before  Ethan Page arrives and attacked Gargano!

He took the mic and then hit Gargano with it, calling Gargano so smart because he wouldn’t believe Ethan Page, because he never believed him and never forgave him. Page declared that he would always be the smartest man in the room, because he planned this whole thing, he plotted and waited for that perfect moment, which is right now, Page says that everyone will remember this as his last moments in EVOLVE.

Ethan Page then introduced his gatekeepers, they stood guard and tossed anyone trying to make a save, Johnny Gargano tried to fight back, but Page hit him with the package piledriver. Page promised to give the fans their money’s worth, and had his men hold Gargano as he “interviewed” Gargano, moving his mouth and mocking a Gargano farewell speech.

Ethan Page left Johnny Gargano in the middle of the ring with DUSTIN and Drew Galloway laying the Evolve banner over him, Matt Riddle came in and while it looked like he was about to join Ethan Page, he attacked and made the save for Johnny, Johnny Gargano managed to regain his composure and announced that Matt Riddle is the guy to carry EVOLVE from now on.

An excellent ending to a very good PPV event, I really enjoyed the depth of matches which has something for any wrestling fans, if you like high flying, ground/mat game or just a nice stiff match then EVOLVE consistently cater for you.

Really keen to see where they go from here in replacing Johnny Gargano as the poster boy, Matt Riddle is the right person for me with other fresher talents coming in like David Starr filling the mid card up, EVOLVE is in a really beautiful place right now.

Until next time


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