By Drew Ortman
Big things often times do come from small packages. While the card this evening was only stacked six matches high, Gabe Sapolsky and the boys still delivered an EVOLVE card consistent with their top quality action and an exciting way to kick off this double shot weekend.There are plenty of hot topics coming out of tonight’s action packed show. First the brutal main event title match saw champion Timothy Thatcher retain and given a trip to the local Queens hospital. Then we had a classic encounter between Tracy Williams and Chris Hero in which Williams shocked the EVOLVE world by tapping out the knockout artist Hero. Anyone with wagers on that match were pleasantly surprised. The last of the big news coming out of tonight happened outside the ring leaving tonight’s guest commentator without a job at EVOLVE. We will get into that and more! Live from EVOLVE favorite La Boom in Queens, New York, let’s get to the action!. Lenny Leonard and Joey Styles are on commentary.
Matt Riddle def. DUSTIN ***1/2
Fred Yehi def. Jason Kincaid ***1/4
Chris Dickinson & Jaka def. Darby Allin & Tony Nese **3/4
Ethan Page def. Zack Sabre Jr. ***1/4
Tracy Williams def. Chris Hero ****1/4
Timothy Thatcher def. Drew Gulak ***1/2
Before I get into the action, I must give a good word to FloSlam. This was the first live outing for the partnership between EVOLVE and this young online streaming service and I must say it was flawless. The stream stayed active for the entire show, was a fantastic picture and knowing that I can now pay for the service instead of individual shows is awesome. Tonight I watched on a Windows 7 PC using the Google Chrome web browser. Tomorrow I am going to watch EVOLVE 73 using my television and a Chromecast. I will give another update of my experience in tomorrow’s review.
Matt Riddle vs. DUSTIN
Kicking off the show strong with one half of the EVOLVE Tag Team Champions taking on EVOLVES biggest star of the moment. Matt Riddle has done such a great job in the relatively short time he has been in the professional wrestling business and his rise in EVOLVE has been the stuff of greatness. He is a member Catch Point, has amazing matches consistently and since Johnny Gargano “handed him the keys”, he has been the top star of the promotion, hands down. Riddle signing a new contract this week with EVOLVE only means good things for both parties. I also can’t say anything bad about the former Chuck Taylor’s work recently. I wasn’t really impressed when he returned, but with every match he has grown on me more and more. This match was decent and had the crowd excited start to finish working perfect as an opener. A back and forth match that both men getting in some impressive offense ending with Riddle delivering a Bro to Sleep followed by a Fisherman Buster to pick up the victory. No question Riddle was going over here and they did it in good fashion. The crowd chanting “bro” over and over just re-enforces the fact we are now in the “Era of Bro”.
Fred Yehi vs. Jason Kincaid
Jason Kincaid reminds me of Sheamus if he had followed around The Grateful Dead for a few years and went vegetarian. With that being said, I really like his style. Kincaid is someone who will consistently surprise you with something every outing. I find it awesome that Kincaid stands on the top turnbuckle with his arms crossed waiting for his opponents. Fred Yehi I feel, while still representing Catch Point well, is really starting to dig his heels in and make his own path in EVOLVE with every singles match. Fun and very athletic and fast paced match for both men. Kincaids big pop of the match was giving Yeh a sunset flip bomb of the apron to the floor with Yehi hitting hard into the barricade. Yehi scored a nearfall after a vertebreaker, but then put away Kincaid with his patented Koji Clutch. Two rising EVOLVE stars that are becoming more and more impressive.
Chris Dickinson & Jaka vs. Darby Allin & Tony Nese
If you are wondering how this went from Chris Dickinson vs. Darby Allin to a tag match, it is pretty simple really. Dickinson came to the ring with Jaka, Jaka gave Allin a tongue lashing due to his recent acquiring of an EVOLVE contract, Tony Nese came out to defend Allin and just like that, tag match. Take four angry wrestlers and just add water. With his look, I really want to just refer to Dickinson as “little Rusev”. Take a look and tell me I’m wrong. Fairly standard tag match with Allin and Nese being the babyfaces setting up a hot tag for Nese. With one of Allin’s best qualities being that he can take an awesome looking besting, he is made for the set up hot tag. Allin almost feel during the coffin drop and then nailed it which was almost just as bad. Twice during the execution of one move he almost bit the dust. It wouldn’t be a Darby Allin match unless he almost killed himself at least twice. Mick who? In the end, Nese went for a 450 to finish the match, but Allin tags himself in. After taking out Nese to the floor, Dickinson hit a dragon suplex followed by Total Elimination by Jaka for the win. Nothing to say coming out of this except Darby Allin is still one of my recent favorites.
Ethan Page vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
The Gatekeepers are out again with Page for this match, but surprisingly stay out of the action. ZSJ is selling his arm from the beginning after Page attacked him at EVOLVE 71. Both of these men have made it well known that they have one interest and that is the EVOLVE Championship. Both have been building a good arguement for themselves, but in slightly different ways. ZSJ has been having great matches every show winning as much as possible and always putting on an impressive show. Page has also been on a streak of impressive wins, but his matches have been against less impressive opponents and could often be categorized as squashes. Regardless of their paths here, the tension has boiled over the they are both on the cusp of being number one contender. A really good match consisting mostly of ZSJ style match wrestling and Page working over the arm heavily. ZSJ continued to come back from Page’s punishment, but in the end, it was the arm that decided the match. After a powerbomb on ZSJ with the arm hooked, ZSJ tried a comeback but Page hit a Spinning Dwayne to pick up the surprise win. Page is on a major role and this win only furthers his case for a title shot. The “Era of Ego” continues. Page got on the mic afterwards and called out Cody Rhodes for a match next month in New York.
Tracy Williams vs. Chris Hero
This match was honestly a big surprise of the night for two big reasons. With the most anticipated match of the weekend being Hero vs. Riddle III tomorrow night, this one really fell into the shadows. I thought the match would be good and Chris Hero was sure to go over. The surprises were that this match was great and Tracy Williams beat Chris Hero. Not only did he beat Chris Hero, but he made him tap out! With everything that happened on the card tonight, this was the biggest to me. Who would have thought things would have went this direction. I love pro wrestling because of the unexpected excitement I get from a match like this. That and the fact that Williams coming to the ring to Sly Stone gets me pumped anyways. Another small thing you don’t see everyday is Williams attacked before the bell, but not with a punch or a clothesline, but a German suplex! When can you say you have ever seen that? A great match with fantastic bursts of offense out of both men. In the end, Williams hit Hero with a big lariat for a nearfall and then another lariat and crossface for the surprise submission. The thing I like about this also is Hero loses nothing here and will go on to have a great match with Matt Riddle tomorrow while Williams just gained a huge win sending him instantly up to the main event ranks in EVOLVE.
Squared Circle of Survival Match
Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Gulak
Now, before this match is when the Joey Styles incident took place, but I will address that after the match. Gulak came out in jeans and a t-shirt ready for this final war. The feud between Gulak and Thatcher has had its ups and downs but been intense as ever the last few months. We find out that The Squared Circle of Survival match means that you can only win via pinfall, submission or knockout. Before the champion comes out , Gulak calls for the ring crew to take all of the ropes off the ring. You knew at this point we were in for a fight. Lots of grappling out the gates and it would makes appearances throughout the match, but this was mostly a brawling fight. In and out of the ring they fought, even though I don’t know if you can call it “in and out of the ring” when there are not ropes. They tore the ring up and used the boards for offense and a way of trapping Thatcher underneath. In the end, there was a hole in the ring which Thatcher rolled down into. Gulak pulled him out, some back and forth, Thatcher escapes a piledriver and hits a backdrop suplex for the victory and to retain the title. This match was a lot of fun because it is something you don’t normally see in EVOLVE. Perfect example of EVOLVE pulling out a special card from their deck that works because it is not overused. After the match it was said Thatcher was taken to a nearby hospital and he is out for his title match againts Tony Nese tomorrow.
Timothy Thatcher was taken to the hospital after the match tonight. He's out for tomorrow's event in Maryland.
— FloSlam (@FloSlam) November 13, 2016
Catch Point comes out and Gulak said tonight was a failure. Drew Galloway and DUSTIN come out and they agree. Galloway says EVOLVE being “bro” is a disgrace and that RIddle was also a UFC disgrace. Riddle with his big smile tells Galloway to “chill and relax” and walks off. This pissed off Galloway to no end. I love Riddles chill demeanor and how it pisses off his foes.
Now before the match got started, Joey Styles left the commentary desk and met Stokely Hathaway in the entrance way. Styles then said he knows FloSlam didn’t want him making any political jokes tonight, but it was their fault they let him on a live broadcast. He then told a joke about the “soon to be president” grabbing the ring announcer Joanna Rose by the…He said “I didn’t say it Gabe”, stopped, looked at Hathaway and said “and now that brings me to you”. FloSlam and Gabe Sapolsky must not have been too pleased by this as is was announced that Joey Styles had been fired by EVOLVE. This is no loss to EVOLVE as the twitter reaction to Styles contributions to the promotion was negative all night anyways.
We do not support or condone Joey Styles' remarks tonight in any manner, and we support this decision 100%. https://t.co/ZHszatdXjl
— FloSlam (@FloSlam) November 13, 2016
What a night of surprises for EVOLVE. Normally we can maybe expect one, but with Williams going over Hero, Page going over ZSJ, Thatcher going to the hospital and Joey Styles getting fired, this was an exciting and unexpected night to say the least! This was an overall fun show that seemed to fly by really quick with the action never really letting up. The atmosphere at La Boom is always a treat for home viewers and that added to the great new streaming service experience made this an easy watch. While tonight was fun, tomorrow is looking even better with Hero vs. Riddle III and the possibility of Tony Nese taking the EVOLVE Championship to RAW. With Thatcher now out, can it still happen? Stick with KayfabeToday.com for all the results and follow @KayfabeToday for live graps banter during EVOLVE 73.