Reviews

EVOLVE 54 Review

Air Date: 23/1/16

Tonight the second of the three tournaments this weekend begins, with all of the teams eliminated from the tag title tournament last night are entered into a second chance tournament with the winners getting a shot at the new champions at some point. We also see the continuation of the aforementioned tag title tournament and the Style Battle.

Team Tremendous (Bill Carr and Dan Barry) vs. Premier Athlete Brand (Anthony Nese and Caleb Konley w/SoCal Val and Andrea)(Second Chance Tag Team Tournament First Round)

These two teams tried to work a southern tag at first which didn’t at all work, mostly due to PAB not being dynamic or interesting enough to really pull that off. However, the last five minutes were worked in a far more exciting back and forth indie style and that’s when these guys really shone and this became the fun opener it needed to be. Dan Barry pins Anthony Nese ***

PAB attack Team Tremendous after the match until Caleb Konley walks out declaring that he doesn’t care about the tag titles and only wants a shot at the heavyweight title. Nese continues the beatdown until Peter Kaasa comes out to make the save.

Fred Yehi vs. Matt Riddle (Styles Battle 2016 Round Robin)

This was another match built around Riddle’s impressive grappling. Yehi impressed with some pretty good grappling of his own, keeping up beautifully with Matt. One thing that really impressed me about Riddle here is he already seems to really grasp selling well, at one point not being able to run properly after escaping a leg submission from Yehi. Short, but fun match. Riddle submits Yehi ** ¾

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Ethan Page

A few times in this match both men got into a slapping exchange and pissed each other off, bringing a lot of intensity to the match. Unfortunately this intensity was always very short lived and we ended up getting a pretty mediocre, plodding match that went far longer than it needed to or anyone wanted it to. Ciampa pins Page with a running knee ***

Catch Point (Drew Gulak and TJ Perkins w/Matt Riddle and Tracy Williams) vs. Zack Sabre Jr and Sami Callihan (Second Chance Tag Team Tournament First Round)

Zack and Sami had an incredible match last night against Heroes. Eventually. Die. and this was another good match. This was a much more successful use of the formula the previous tag tried to pull off, with Zack and Sami working over Gulak until Perkins gets a hot tag and then chaos ensues. I am surprised that Catch Point won since this really felt like a showcase for Sami and Zack, although they were very strong in the finishing sequence. Perkins submits Sami with an Armbar *** ¼

Sami gets on the mic after the match and challenges Zack to a match, blaming him for the loss. This is actually pretty good storytelling since there were several miscommunication spots between Zack and Sami.

Peter Kaasa vs. Tracy Williams (w/Drew Gulak)(Styles Battle 2016 Round Robin)

This was an exceptional little match, Kaasa brings such a wonderful mix of high flying and power moves with a little bit of technical wrestling. He’s not quite a complete performer yet but there is so much raw potential there it’s insane. Williams was awesome as well, with some really good selling and awesome fiery comebacks. Williams submits Kaasa *** ¾

Williams gets on the mic after the match and talks about how he and Riddle are both 2-0, and he will be the first person to beat Riddle in EVOLVE tomorrow.

Bravado Brothers (Harlem and Lancelot Bravado) vs. Drew Galloway and Johnny Gargano (EVOLVE Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Final)

After a short feeling out period, this quickly broke down into an awesome chaotic match. I don’t love the idea of a makeshift team beating one of the top tag teams in the company, but these two teams took each other to the limit so I can’t complain too much about it. Drew and Johnny had a fine match last night, so a strong match like this heading into the finals was needed and much appreciated. Gargano submits Lancelot Bravado **** ¼

Heroes. Eventually. Die. (Chris Hero and Tommy End) vs. Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent Barreta)(EVOLVE Tag Team Championship Tournament Sem-Final)

Hero and Tommy had an incredible match last night against Sami and Zack, so I am very excited for this match on paper. Unfortunately this match didn’t deliver on anywhere near the same level. It fell back into formula and was way too bloated for my liking, five to ten minutes could have been shaved off of this easily. The back and forth in the last section was fun, but I don’t think it was enough to transcend this match to the level of last night’s insane tag. Again I am a little upset that the established team lost to the makeshift one, but I am willing to accept it. Tommy End pins Rocky Romero **** ½

Overall: 6.5

Everything on this show was at least good, with the weakest part being the short Riddle/Yehi match but even that was fine for what it was. I am not sure it’s quite as good as the previous show but it is still a must watch show.

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