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Evolve 65 Recap & Review: Thatcher retains again, Galloway vanquishes Gargano once and for all, Catch Point Open Tryouts and more!

Adam Cardoza a.k.a on Twitter

Bit of a delay again, which our Storage Man on the scene puts down to audio issues. Feed goes live with Joanna Rose and Lenny Leonard in the ring. Lenny runs down the card as usual with no interruption today and we're off!

Cedric Alexander vs. Tommaso Ciampa (WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight match)

Feeling out to start as Ciampa tells Cedric that he looks like a real TV star and they have a little sitdown chat that ends in a Ciampa rollup nearfall. Cedric gets control with a side headlock and we roll with that a while before Cedric turns it up with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a pair of arm drags.

Ciampa absolutely demolishes Alexander with a dropkick counter to a handspring and starts leveraging an armbar and narrating his effort, point out that he needs to face the hard camera, but not look at it, but rather beyond it. Breaking free, Cedric starts firing off chops and Ciampa for some reason decides to riff on MVP's Ballin' Elbow.

Hard knee on the outside and Ciampa breaks the count early, slamming Alexander's head on the apron and hanging him over the barricade for another running knee, this one with a full revolution around the ring for windup! Back in the ring trading chops for slaps and forearms and Cedric gains the advantage enough to try for a superplex. Ciampa attempts to counter with a sunset flip and Alexander springs out, lands on his feet, and throws a dropkick! Amazing.

Another knee, Ciampa runs the ropes like he's winding up for a big one and grabs a reverse chinlock instead, declaring himself the "Chinlock Master, Jr." Chops from Alexander, Ciampa cuts him off with a boot but eats a headscissors and a suicide dive that sends him hard into the barricade! Alexander dives into grappling back in the ring and after the struggle goes for the 360 enzuigiri, misses, and then hits that huge Michinoku Driver of his!

Ciampa back with an Air Raid Crash, Alexander goes for another headscissors but slips and turns it into a pin! Suplex, Ciampa slips out and hits a discus lariat before nailing him with Project Ciampa! Sets Cedric up in the corner looking for the Avalanche Air Raid Crash but Cedric flips out, tucks Ciampa's head in against the turnbuckle ala Will Ospreay, hits a few running dropkicks, follows them with a buckle bomb, and the spikes Ciampa with a brainbuster!

Alexander to the top, whiffs on the Frog Splash and flash pins ensue! Roundhouse kick, goes for Lumbar Check but Ciampa counters by rolling through and drills him with the running knee! Strikes exchanged, Lumbar Check!

Cedric Alexander wins by pinfall following Lumbar Check.

Another awesome opening match from Cedric Alexander. Hope he gets something meaty to chew on soon feud-wise, because he's doing great work.

Ethan Page vs. Travis Gordon

Page dominating the new guy early again, of course, showing off with a fallaway slam into the turnbuckle! Gordon nails a 540 enzuigiri and a springboard corkscrew uppercut to try and make an opening for himself but when he charges into the corner Page gets a boot up and Jackknife Powerbombs him.

Ethan Page picks up the win with a package piledriver.

Basically the same as the Yuta match yesterday, to no great surprise.

Ethan Page on the mic to let us know that Evolve will return to New England, and he's gonna throw his gym shorts on and take a seat to see his (hopeful) buddy Johnny Gargano destroy Drew Galloway in the main event. At which point, as if on cue, Drew Galloway hits the ring and blindsides All Ego before dropping him with Future Shock.

Galloway on the mic to say that he's the only one who's sane around here. It's reached a boiling point and you're either with them or against them. If you against them, they'll prove you wrong, but if you're with them, you're just on the bandwagon and they don't want you anyway. Tonight Drew Galloway vs. Johnny Gargano is the most important match in Evolve history. The winner dictates the direction of the company, dictates the morale of the company. He's gonna rip out the heart of Evolve, he's gonna destroy the WWN Icon, and all the boys are gonna look to him to be a leader, and he's gonna teach them how to survive on their own without begging for an opportunity. It's a good thing, he says, and he's simply trying to save Evolve from itself.

Marty Scurll vs. Matt Riddle

Introductory grappling gives way to a test of strength sequence and some hold-for-hold action before Marty bails to the outside for a moment. A springboard knee from the Bro sends the Villain to the outside but when he goes to follow up Scurll nails him with the superkick off the apron. Back in the ring Scurll starts dissecting Riddle's arm, stomping and wrenching.

Riddle lands on his feet off a back suplex and throws a successful German of his own in return before doing the rolling Karelin Lifts. Knee strikes set up a snapmare and Riddle lays kicks into the Villain's chest Daniel Bryan style. Scurll with the fakeout superkick but Riddle stays aware enough to come back with a knee and the fisherman buster.

Scurll back with a superkick, high knee, and a piledriver for two, leaving Riddle convulsing but still in the fight. Calling for the chickenwing but Riddle breaks out looking for a piledriver of his own, getting it, leaping tombstone style, after a few more reversals. Scurll dodges a springboard knee and looks for the chickenwing again, choosing to grab the foot and break a toe when he can't get it.

Follows up with a finger, but Riddle manages the springboard knee this time and sets up the neck crank with elbows. Scurll tries to fight out by gouging the eyes but it's over!

Matt Riddle wins by submission with a leg-trap neck crank.

Great match. Little slower than the pace I've come to love Riddle for, but almost certainly Scurll best in Evolve so far.

Catch Point (Drew Gulak, Fred Yehi, & "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams) vs. Chris Dickinson, Darby Allin, & Jonathan Gresham (Catch Point Open Tryout Match)

Gulak and Allin to start, Gulak absolutely grappling the crap out of the rookie daredevil and nearly submitting him with GuLock out the gate. Dickinson in with a Pazuzu Bomb right off as well, so everybody's in this to win it. Dickinson piledrives Allin onto Gulak! What even?!

Gresham in and Catch Point start in with the quick tags, Hot Sauce going to work on Gresham's leg. Settling on Yehi/Gresham for a bit and they trade shoulder blocks like superheavyweights before Yehi wins and knocks Gresham down for the stomp to the foot. Chops trade and Yehi again gets the advantage by stomping the foot.

Running powerslam on Yehi by Dickinson and Dickinson calls to see what Allin can do. Snap suplex for one, and Yehi tags Gulak who immediately chucks Allin with a powerbomb. Scoop slam, tag on Hot Sauce who starts stomping Allin's ribs and drops him with a release suplex. Allin with an old-school headscissors takeover but Williams levels him with dropkicks.

Back to Gresham/Yehi and they're just laying into each other. Release fisherman suplex and Gulak makes the tag going back to Gresham's leg. Tag to Dickinson and he cuts Gulak off with a press slam for one. On the second looking for a superplex but Gulak grabs a Kimura for a moment before knocking Dickinson down with a headbutt and following with a diving lariat.

Gresham on Sauce now and he's got wrist control, looking for a crossface but Williams deadlifts him into a backbreaker and drives knees and elbows across the back of his head. Waistlock reversals, Sauce steps over an arm and starts hammering Gresham's knee into the mat. Dickinson breaks it up and it's the tryout trio running quick tags on Hot Sauce. Allin back in looking for a dropkick but Sauce makes the tag and Catch Point rotate through assaulting Allin in the corner.

Springboard crossbody takes 2/3rds of Catch Point out and Dickinson wants the tag but Gresham pulls him off the apron and steals it! More Gresham-on-Yehi violence including a quebrada right before Allin does his trust fall senton onto Gulak on the outside. Diving crossbody but Yehi rolls through. Stomps the hand, rolling elbow but Gresham ducks, discus lariat gets an armdrag and a crucifix gets a nearfall.

Dickinson attacks Gresham, powerbombing him and dragging him in the corner for a tag and goes bull moose on Gulak once he's legal! Gresham makes a blind tag but wastes time yelling at Dickinson, leading to Hot Sauce taking them both out with a suicide dive! Back in the ring, Gulak rolls through an O'Connor Roll into the GuLock and it's over.

Drew Gulak wins for Catch Point by submission, tapping Jonathan Gresham with the GuLock.

Was unsure of the trios format for this one initially but it turned out to be a lot of fun and hopefully set up a Gresham/Yehi feud for the future.

Gresham and Yehi stare each other down on the outside after and Drew Gulak gets on the mic. He says what you just saw was Catch Point at its peak. Tracy Williams I guarantee you has been banged up worse, and next month he and Yehi are gonna take care of Galloway and his cronies. But Perkins, Riddle and himself are focused on Evolve World Champion Timothy Thatcher, and he'd like Matt to come out right now. Gulak feels like Riddle's been ignoring Catch Point, to which Riddle counters that he's just been focusing on Thatcher himself. When all is said and done, Gulak says, they have to agree that he'll be the man to present the title to whoever wins it.

Thatcher comes out asking for the mic but Stokely runs out and grabs it first. He asks Thatcher to look at what he did, he broke his thumb! Yes he touched the Evolve Championship but he didn't hurt Thatcher! And nothing will make him happier than seeing TJP beat him for the title tonight. Everybody's here in Evolve for a reason, whether it's winning the Evolve title or going to WWE and main eventing WrestleMania. But tonight that's all on hold, because Stokely's main goal is to force Thatcher out of this company. And after he loses the title, why would anybody keep a liability like Thatcher around? So his life's work is now to erase Timothy Thatcher from Evolve.

At that, Thatcher and Perkins try to go at it but Catch Point, officials, and some of the guys who wrestled for Beyond earlier in the day break them up.

Timothy Thatcher (c) vs. TJ Perkins TJP (Evolve World Championship)

Frenetic brawling to start! Perkins grabs an armbar but Thatcher makes it to the ropes. Knee strikes to the champion's face on the outside but Thatcher gains control and gets it back in the ring. TJP cracking the arm with his feet and going for the neckscissors armbar. Really laying into the arm with stomps before chaining a straight suplex into a back suplex.

TJP trapping the bad arm with his leg and applying a reverse chinlock shortly before going for Ode to Jim Breaks. Kneeling on Thatcher's face he wrenches the thumb, surely thinking an eye for an eye for Stokely. Camel Clutch follows, but Thatcher's able to get to the Fujiwara for a moment!

Perkins with the armbar in the ropes and he lays kicks into the bad arm but Thatcher comes back with the headbutt! European uppercuts but Perkins gets a foot up. They trade kicks, TJP laying a roundhouse unmercifully into the bad arm. Back to the armbar but Thatcher keeps his hands locked and does the counter powerbomb when Perkins manages to break his grip.

Thatcher looking for the Karelin Lift but his arm gives out so he switches grips and nails it. Perkins with an ankle lock but Thatcher slips out and gets the Fujiwara so Perkins rolls through and gets a small package. Looking for the Detonation Kick but Thatcher elbows out and goes back to the Fujiwara.

Timothy Thatcher retains the Evolve World Championship by pinfall, reversing a rollup into one of his own.

Bit of an abrupt ending but it fits the slump Thatcher's been fighting to get himself out of, and the match leading up to it was excellent.

Post-match Thatcher aims his gun finger at Drew Gulak, making a silent promise that the maestro of Catch Point is gonna get his.

Tony Nese vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight match)

Trading legwork to start, Sabre getting the better but Nese not too far behind. Soon to the arms and Sabre does the ol' Twist and Shout before tying Nese's legs up and wrenching at the wrist. Nese slips out with a military press but his respite is short-lived as Sabre goes back to the foot.

Nese jumps back into it, dropping repeated legs across Sabre's throat and backing him into the corner with chops. Deadlift German suplex gets two and he keeps Sabre down with a reverse chinlock, the Technical Wizard only escaping by kicking himself bit-by-bit to the ropes. Going for a springboard and Sabre kicks his leg out of his leg!

Strikes and dodges culminate with a Penalty Kick from Sabre, who charges in with a European uppercut and tries for the Dragon Suplex only to end up on Nese's back with sort of a bodyscissors surfboard before the Premier Athlete backs him into the turnbuckle.

Nese trapped on the apron and Sabre lays him out with another Penalty Kick! Back in the ring he gets the Dragon Suplex finally. Nese takes his legs out and goes for a moonsault and Sabre catches him in the armbar only to eat the one-arm powerbomb! Rolling Thunder uppercut, Sabre looking for a tornado DDT but Nese just hosses him back onto the turnbuckle and hits the Frankensteiner, only for Sabre to roll through into a sunset flip.

Bodyscissors guillotine choke and Nese turns it into a Falcon Arrow! Long struggle for the pumphandle piledriver but it's only good for two. Up top for the 450 but Sabre moves out of the way!

Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by pinfall with a bridging Gedo Clutch.

A fine showcase for both men, this one.

Drew Galloway vs. Johnny Gargano (THE FINAL SHOWDOWN)

Gargano nearly wins with a superkick right off the bat! Ground and pound on the outside and Gargano gets Galloway tied up in the apron before laying another superkick in! And a third! Galloway's eyes are rolling back in his head! Runs in for a third and Galloway grabs a goozle but Gargano shakes free, gets on the apron, and runs back and forth kneeing Galloway in the head.

Galloway again with the catapult under the apron and Johnny takes a nap. Back in the ring Galloway takes him pillar to post, chucking him like a sack of potatoes on a belly-to-belly suplex and a release suplex. But Johnny ain't dead yet, kicking from the mat and keeping his wits enough to cover up as Galloway starts pounding on him. He can't stop the stomp to the face, however, and Galloway takes him to the corner and starts a-choppin'.

Galloway starts yelling at Johnny that he wants him to quit, to give up, but Gargano shrugs him off. Slaps bring Johnny back to life and he starts clubbing on Galloway until Drew lays him out with a lariat. Up to the second for a superplex but Gargano manages to sandbag and turn it into a sunset flip attempt. Galloway's strong enough to block it, so Johnny just superkicks his knee and hits a lungblower instead.

Ducks a lariat and lays punches in on the Scotsman before doing his trademark roll-through enzuigiri and following with the Superman Spear! Double knees in the corner but Galloway cuts him off on number two and Jackknifes him. Galloway looking for a Lawn Dart on the outside but Gargano shoots him into the ringpost and hits a tornado DDT. Slingshot DDT gets two!

Looking for the inverted Alabama Slam but Johnny fights out with punches and lands a kick only to get caught by the slam anyway. Gargano Escape by Galloway! And one from the guy who actually wins with it! Galloway fights out but gets caught again! Drew deadlifts out but Johnny reverses into Future Shock!

Galloway caught in the ropes and Gargano pounding but Brandon Tolle separates them. Two Future Shocks can't put Johnny Wrestling away! He puts Gargano up top and spits in his face. Gargano with a crossbody but Galloway catches him and tombstones him not once but twice! Just dragging Johnny back to his feet, he informs the NXT superstar that he's going to kill him. Superkick for Claymore and another leaping tombstone ends it!

Drew Galloway wins by pinfall with a jumping tombstone piledriver.

Knock-down drag-out pillar to post pier 6 action right here, folks. Awesome brawl.

Drew on the mic to remind us that he told us so yet again. Who cares about Independence Day, because July 17th is Independent Wrestling Day. He tells Johnny he's going to finish this right now and Ethan Page runs out with a right hand and RKEgo! He dumps Galloway to the outside like so much garbage and helps Gargano up but Gargano pushes him away. C'mon, Johnny, don't be like that.

Page asks him not to end the show like this, says this isn't the Johnny Gargano he knows. This is their first time here in New England, and they need the real Johnny Gargano. Johnny snatches the mic away and says he doesn't know how much longer he can do this. He thanks everybody for coming and apologizes if he let anybody down before rolling out of the ring and walking to the back.

Page back on the mic tells Johnny that he didn't let anybody down and asks the crowd if they had a good time, to applause. He's got some more good news, saying that Evolve will be back in Melrose, in this building, on December 11th.


Another fine Evolve show, although the first one in a while that didn't improve on the last one. Even so, Galloway/Gargano, Alexander/Ciampa, Riddle/Scurll, and Thatcher/Perkins were all good times to be had, and nothing on the card was bad, as such.

Next up on the Evolve schedule we'll have previews for SummerSlam weekend shows Evolve 66 and 67 next month, but in the meantime check out Sermon on the Mat weekly and all of our G1 Climax coverage. Biggest month in pro wrestling, folks, don't miss a minute of it.

Thanks to Adam Cardoza a.k.a. on Twitter for our header image!

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