EVOLVE 61 5/7/16
Evolve has basically become a WWE territory, with talent showing up on NXT, and HHH directly promoting and showing up at their shows. Two matches will be taped for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic on this show, and as a result, EVOLVE has upgraded their production values since they will be seen on various WWE outlets.
Lio Rush vs Matt Riddle
I don't know anything about Lio Rush. Matt Riddle is a MMA wash out who got fired from UFC because he wouldn't stop smoking weed. He seems like a piece of shit based on his entrance. He also has an amanita muscaria mushroom tattoo on his ribs. Lots of amateur style wrestling, as you might imagine from a MMA fighter. Riddle looks like a fucking goof. Like the kind of guy who would definitely pass up 6 figures per year because he couldn't stop smoking weed 2 weeks before a fight. Rush is very, very tiny. I don't particularly understand why what I assume is a tiny flippy guy is able to get submissions on an actual MMA dude who is 4 weight classes bigger. Riddle won by countering a frog splash with an arm bar, but both guys were out of position for the spot and it looked terrible. Not impressed with either guy. It was pretty short, though. Post match, Riddle cuts a promo on Tim Thatcher, rubbing Tim's title belt on his dick and balls (and then smelling it, like a complete fucking weirdo).
Ethan Page/Chris Dickinson vs Bravado Brothers
I have heard of Ethan Page, but have not seen anyone involved in this match. I can't tell you who is who. Visually, none of them particularly stand out. Based on commentary, I take it Ethan Page was a heel who is trying to become a face. He hits a step up Kanyon Cutter OUTTA NOWHERE (BANG) that was called as a RKEGO, which disgusts me. Dickinson is apparently called "The Dirty Daddy", which is gross. He also does superkicks as a standard strike move. And a reverse rana as an apparently regular move as well. This is dumb and I don't like anyone involved. Lots of MOVEZ and spots (most of which aren't even done well), no story, no selling. This is the kind of match where a double team Burning Hammer isn't even teased as a finish to the match. The Bravado Brothers win with a Gory Special/Flatliner combo. It was needlessly "innovative" and looked bad. They also get a post match promo on Team Tremendous. This brings out Dan Barry, I guess a member of Team Tremendous. This is all very terrible indie promo stuff. "You guys are garbage", made me laugh, though. Mr. Barry agrees to a match, then gets attacked. SWERVE!
Some dude talks about the WWE Cruiserweight Classic and how big of an opportunity it is for the talent involved and EVOLVE as a whole...then he begs the fans not to be assholes and not to do anything that might get clips edited or cut from WWE Network/Youtube/.com. Lol. And indie fans being indie fans, they boo.
TJP vs Fred Yehi WWE Cruiserweight Classic Qualifier
Never heard of Yehi, but I am familiar with TJP from his time in PWG and TNA (as TJP, Puma, and Sucide/Manik). "Angry, pissed off, and short" Fred Yehi. Lol. What a terrible introduction. These two are teammates, but the opportunity to get a shot to be in the Cruiserweight Classic is more important than their team. Not knowing any of the results of this show, I have to imagine there is no way TJP isn't winning this match as the established talent. But then I see him dabbing while doing a head scissors and immediately want him to lose. Fred does a mean ass stomp to the knee. Beat the shit out of that leg, breh. But then TJP is immediately doing spinning head scissors and submissions that are primarily using his legs, which is really shitty after just getting your knee stomped and punched a bunch. Yehi then stomps on TJP's hand, so I'm expecting TJP to throw a bunch of punches now. I'm already annoyed at this point. Fred does a lot of BIG STOMPS. I like that. I don't like TJP no selling them. TJP ends up wining with a 450, which was almost entirely blocked in camera by the ref. Why didn't they just use the hard cam shot or something? Bizarre ass editing choice there. TJP is now entered into the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, but fuck him. I'm way more interested in Fred Yehi. I hope WWE gives him a look.
Drew Gulak vs Tracy Williams WWE Cruiserweight Classic Qualifier
This appears to be a match up of generic white guys in black tights with beards. Drew Gulak was easily the least interesting dude of all the grapple guys that I saw at BOLA 2015. These guys were also tag partners, as it turns out. "Hot Sauce" is such a terrible nickname, Jesus Christ. Based on that alone, I want Gulak to win this, even if he's a boring dude from CZW. Because fuck Dean Ambrose. Man...this is boring as shit. And it's not like I'm opposed to grappling matches or anything. I love 70s/80s slow paced matches, and even 50s-60s stuff. But when the announcer is calling these guys "throwbacks" and comparing them to Billy Robinson, you better be impressive. These mother fuckers ain't no god damn Billy Robinson. And as "throwbacks", why are they doing random dives and powerbombs as if they were body slams? At no point does this feel like an actual match. Instead, it feels like two guys who watched a couple of Billy Robinson or Karl Gotch in Japan matches and then worked with the Young Bucks. It feels so labored to make sure you know WE ARE GRAPPLERS AND THROWBACKS, even though they don't even do a good job of being grapplers or throwbacks. Throwback grapplers shouldn't be doing random dives and Superfly splashes as transition moves. Gulak kind of sucks, and Hot Sauce looks like a stretched up Finn Balor...and every bit as boring. I don't want to see either of these guys in WWE. Especially not in a cruiserweight tournament that already has a grapple dude in Zack Sabre Jr. This is SO aimless. Both guys will work a body part for about a minute, then move on to do spots for 5 minutes, then pick a different limb for a minute, then trade spots, and so forth. Gulak wins with a dragon sleeper that was not set up in the least.
Marty Scurll vs Zack Sabre Jr.
I assume I'm going to see something cool from ZBJ, but I'm definitely regretting watching this show. Fuck Marty Scurll. God, both of these dudes have the WORST music. Suitable for true Eurotrash. Lots of mat wrestling. Obviously. None of it seems to be going anywhere, though. Scurll's LOL I'M A PRO WRESTLER shit might even worse than the Young Bucks', because at least they're clearly ironic with it (as stupid as it is). Scurll somehow does it both ironically and straight at the same time and it's very not good. Another in a generation (or two) of guys more worried about you knowing how clever they are instead of actually working a match. Scurll wins with the chickenwing. I was not into this at all. Post match has Scurll saying he's better than ZSJ and will be challenging for the title the next time EVOLVE comes to NY. This brings Stokely Hathaway out, wearing the EVOLVE championship, talking up TJP. This brings Drew Gulak out. I thought that was Timothy Thatcher's title. Drew calmly takes it back and walks away.
ZSJ has already qualified for the the Cruiserweight Classic, but interestingly lost both of his matches this weekend. It kind of felt like a going away match.
Johnny Gargano vs Drew Galloway
Holy fuck Drew's music is the worst shit I've ever heard. Jesus Christ that's awful. I've really enjoyed Gargano's work in NXT, but haven't actually seen him in EVOLVE yet. Before the match, Drew cuts a promo about being the "last bastion of independent wrestling" left in EVOLVE, then shits on guys working to get into WWE. Now, is this a shewt? Gargano points out how big of an opportunity it is for EVOLVE and EVOLVE talents to get exposure with WWE. It's not a bad thing to be associated with WWE, breh. Look at the new ring and turnbuckles. Just fucking wrestle. There is nothing lamer than ex-WWE dudes doing anti-WWE angles, but it is especially weird to do it on an indie show associated with WWE, and WWE isn't even the heel in the situation. Shout out to them actually having a match that seems like guys that hate each other after that heated promo instead of doing chain wrestling. There is a huge size difference here, and thankfully, it comes into play. Drew is fucking boring, though. His "I'm so mean and crazy and angry and bitter" shit just ends up with him moving ultra slow and staring a lot. Wait...so he shits on WWE, and guys trying to be in WWE, but then he does Sheamus' moves for heel heat? Pick a side or get pooched, mother fucker. "I told you I was gonna fuck you up!" Gargano is good as the undersized underdog, although he does hit some moves that are a little unbelievable due to the size difference. He gives the suck it sign to someone in the crowd. "Paul says hello." ICU, Lenny Leonard. Finishers are kicked out of, super finishers are kicked out of, and just as Drew is about to tap out, EC3 hits the ring. BUT HE'S FROM TNA!
You see, EC3 took personal offense to Gargano saying Drew blew it in WWE, because that implies that EC3 also blew it in WWE, but he blew nothing (he repeats that joke at least 3 times during the promo when he gets lost). He then proceeds to shit on WWE and HHH, then attacks officials. Various members of the roster also get beaten up. EC3 threatens to piss and shit on the new ring, before shitting on NXT and storylines. So, this is a SHEWT. Oh, and now he's bitching about having short TV matches where he couldn't do any of his cool MOVEZ, which of course gets a pop from an indie crowd even though this is a worked shoot angle of bitter WWE guys (and current TNA guys) shitting on EVOLVE for working with WWE. EC3 says it is microphones that put asses in seats, not flips and false finishes. A very valid point, if it wasn't said during a wrestling promo. "I'm gonna shoot with ya real fast, buddy." Oh, HE'S SHOOTING ON HUGH MORRUS! So, if this is a SHEWT, does that mean EC3 just doesn't know how to throw a punch? Because those punches to the refs were dogshit, buddy. This is terrible. If you're going to go in on a worked shoot, GO ALL IN. Don't have your promo be all shooty and breaking kayfabe, but then do really terrible looking wrestling spots in the ring. Dudes aren't doing cross body blocks and powerbombs, then feeding their backs for chair shots in shoots you fucks. This is all to set up TJP/Johnny Gargano vs EC3/Drew Galloway at the next EVOLVE show, which is basically the closest you can get to WWE vs TNA, if that's something anyone in the world really wanted in 2016.
Man, there was no reason at all to turn this into a worked shoot. Cut out all the shit about storylines and SHOOTING and it would be a perfectly reasonable inter-promotional wrestling angle. What the fuck is the point of doing a worked shoot to a group of people that will obviously know it isn't actually a shoot? This wasn't even a worked shoot. It was like...a worked worked shoot. An actual worked shoot makes you believe that there might be a kernel of truth to it all at some point. This was clearly just a normal wrestling angle with needless SHOOTZ thrown in to appeal to the audience that already knows it is an angle. It's interesting because the last Gabe booked show I watched also had a very stupid worked shoot. At least this time, the commentators weren't screaming about throwing kayfabe out the window. After 14 years of training his audience that WWE and sports entertainment is terrible, Gabe now hopes his audience will support his company working with WWE, because WWE is so great. So great they have to send someone out to literally beg the fans not to be assholes while WWE matches are being filmed.
Main event was okay. I like Gargano, but Drew is so boring. I've seen him in multiple places since his WWE release, and he's been boring as shit in all of them. For the rest of the show, the only guy I had any interest in was Fred Yehi. He seemed cool. Rest of the show was very dull. On the positive side, Lenny Leonard is quite good as an announcer, and the whole show had a nifty, clean look to it that I liked. I just didn't like that talent or booking.