We’re live in the ring with Joanna Rose and Lenny Leonard and Lenny runs down the card, and announces that Joey Styles is commentating the main event tonight! Joey comes out and talks about how he talked to Gabe Sapolsky about wanting to call the match and how gracious Lenny is to move aside and do color for his rusty play-by-play. He adds that it might be the best commentary we hear all weekend and tosses to Joanna for our first match!
Ethan Page vs. Kobe Durst
Kobe is a pleasant surprise here, I’ve seen him work for Freelance a few times and he’s developing nicely.
Page in charge early on, a big back body drop and chops in the corner before dropping Durst with a tilt-a-whirl slam and a bicycle kick. Durst comes back fired up with a stiff forearm and a leaping leg lariat before climbing to the top and getting caught again.
Ethan Page wins by pinfall with the package piledriver. Standard entertaining “Page squashes a seminar guy” match, not much to it.
Page on the mic and he tells Johnny Gargano they have one weekend left until he says farewell. He wants every one of these people here to see him say that he forgives Ethan Page. One weekend left and he’ll do whatever he needs to do to make him forgive All Ego.
Peter Kaasa vs. Tony Nese
Some light grappling to start, but it’s not long before we get flips, with Kaasa escaping a knucklelock by way of a springboard Arabian press. They bring it back down a notch with some striking but we’re not done flying, Kaasa with a springboard headscissors takeover and a huge no-hands tope!
Back in the ring, running shooting star press for two and Kaasa follows up with a slam. Nese finally gets some air of his own with a pair of suicide dives deep into the entranceway! Back in the ring Nese works a bodyscissors shortly before hitting a wicked missile dropkick for two and back to the bodyscissors. Up to the top, Nese with a superplex that gets two and a half.
Trading blows when they get to their feet, Kaasa goes for a German and Nese lands on his feet. Double stomp from Nese misses, Brillante Driver from Kaasa! Pumphandle piledriver from Nese! Nese to the top, 450 but the pool is dry! Kaasa with a shooting star press in return but Nese rolls out of the way!
Tony Nese defeats Peter Kaasa by pinfall following a 450 splash. Solid match from these two, some good flips.
Matt Riddle vs. Tommy End
Feeling out with strikes early, End getting the better and Riddle turtling up but the Bro gets a takedown and starts a-grapplin’. Back and forth fighting and Riddle knocks End loopy before just dominating him in the corner. End lands a superkick but he’s still out of it, Riddle just laying knees in before the Karelin lifts.
Riddle looking for an armbar, End rolls to deny him and gets his chest stomped in for his trouble. Riddle with a triangle choke but End gets a foot on the ropes! End gets a hard shot to the side of Riddle’s head and turns things around for a moment before Riddle gets the fisherman buster.
Back to their feet and trading strikes, End’s knees win out, sending Riddle crashing back to the mat. Double stomp to the arm Thatcher destroyed last night! Just laying it in on the bad arm here, stomps, ramming it into the turnbuckle, before he looks for the seated armbar ala Yuji Nagata.
Riddle catches the next knee and counters it to an inverted heel hook before End escapes and lays him out with a roundhouse to the dome! Double stomp off the top but Riddle rolls out of the way and gets a few elbows before End drops him with another knee. Foot stomp connects this time and End lands a vicious spinning kick after!
End with those Daniel Bryan kicks on a kneeling Riddle but Riddle dodges the last one and gets the jumping tombstone! End with a leg submission of his own!
Matt Riddle wins the match by submission with the Bromission. Awesome match, with an excellent story of Riddle being pissed about losing to Thatcher and trying to take it out on Tommy End even with a bullseye painted on his arm.
Cedric Alexander vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match)
Sabre working a headlock early after some exchanges, Cedric tries to shoot him off and gets his leg picked for his trouble. Fast paced reversals and dodges before Cedric lands a dropkick. Indeed, Alexander takes charge from there, landing a snug stomp to Zack’s collarbone area along the way. Makes the mistake of going for a springboard maneuver and Sabre cuts him off hard, kicking his arm off once he’s in the ropes.
On the mat Sabre goes back after the feet, wrenching and lifting. Back on their feet, Sabre’s mean streak kicks in, trading chops and having a little of the ol’ “Twist and Shout” on Cedric’s neck when he goes to the mat. Cravate follows up, Alexander escapes and throws a dropkick at thin air as Sabre steps out the way to heavy boos. The Technical Wizard keeps it up, grinding on Cedric’s neck, stepping on his hands and just generally making Alexander’s life hell.
Sabre with an octopus hold in the ropes but Cedric catches him with a Penalty Kick and a suicide dive once he escapes. The springboard reverse STO is next, followed by a step-up kick out of the corner. Some whips but Sabre is up and over, tornado DDT into kind of a double-arm Stretch Plum.
Cedric leaves Zack dizzy with right hands but when he goes off the ropes for something else Zack jumps up and grabs a triangle. Wrenching on the hand but Cedric gets the powerbomb counter! Looks for the pop-up Michinoku Driver but Zack reverses to a pinning predicament! Cedric with a backslide driver! The Michinoku Driver lands this time and Cedric springboards right into a European uppercut! Penalty Kick gets two!
Both men dazed on their feet as they throw strikes. Lumbar Check dodged, Zack looking for the bodyscissors Kimura, Cedric out of that into the brainbuster for a nearfall!
Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by submission with a grounded octopus hold. Excellent match, especially once Zack started turning into the skid and playing to the boos.
Zack shakes Cedric’s hand and then gets on the mic. He asks the crowd to stay quiet for a minute and says that no matter who’s champion, whether it’s Thatcher, Gulak, or Stokely Hathaway in a mankini, he’s coming for it.
Chris Hero vs. Cody Rhodes
Some feed issues during entrances here, but when the feed comes back up, Cody denies Hero a handshake and gets the big man up for a delayed vertical gourdbuster! To the outside they go and Cody tries his best to turn Hero’s chest into ground meat. Hero with the barricade, Tenryu-style, but Cody blocks it and hands it off to a fan! Trading forearms back by the doors and Brandon Tolle desperately tries to get both men back to the ring. Up on the bar and Cody hits a right that knocks Hero off.
Around to the bathroom exit and Hero fires back with elbows before giving Rhodes a seat and firing a senton at him! Finally back in the ring and Hero keeps the punishment going, tying Cody in the ropes and tearing at his mouth. Cody fights back, sends Hero to the apron and the bad knee comes up lame. But it was a feint, Hero runs over for a big boot, posting on the bad knee!
He throws Rhodes out the ring, yelling that they don’t want him here, and he doesn’t belong here, firing kicks in the entryway but Rhodes clobbers him from behind, nearly taking out a camera! Back in the ring and Hero keeps the pressure on, boots and big rights. Cody tries to fire back but he’s on dream street, so to speak. Stomps at the knee but Hero just lays it in harder before going out to jaw at a fan and take his cutout out of Dusty Rhodes’ head. He clobbers Cody with it! Looks for a second time but Cody gets it away from him and follows with a superplex!
Hero makes like the knee got tweaked again and begs off but Cody refuses to believe, stomping and laying hands. Big moonsault but he doesn’t get all of it and Hero’s able to come up for a rolling elbow! Backslide for two, Hero pops out and gives it to Cody, stomping his head and following up with elbows. Ripcord rolling elbow gets ducked, Cody with the Side Effect in return. Hard punches to Hero’s ear, followed by a headbutt and slaps but it’s only making Hero angry. Bicycle kick, Cody comes back with a knee of his own and Beautiful Disaster!
Hero with the short piledriver for two, drags Cody to his feet for the ripcord elbow and connects. Not enough! Looking for Hero’s Welcome but Cody reverses it. Hero reverses again himself, Cody connects with Cross Rhodes! Three rolling elbows in the corner!
Chris Hero picks up the pinfall victory with Death Blow. Awesome match. Cody did fine last night, but he was even better here. Part of that is just Chris Hero’s insane 2016, but he held up his end of the bargain as well.
Drew Galloway comes out after with a bullrope around his neck. Hero on the mic, says Cody Rhodes got slobberknockered. Let that be a lesson, he says, to anybody from here on out, unless you’re the Greatest of All Time, don’t put his name on no silly-ass list.
Drew on the mic now, he says Cody thought he could be a success on his own. Drew is no longer just a man, he’s a verb, “to do a Drew”, to succeed in the face of adversity.
Gulak runs out and runs him off before calling Thatcher out for their match!
Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher (c) (Evolve World Championship)
Gulak riding Thatcher hard to start, trying to grab an arm, grab a leg, whatever he can. Thatcher comes back, looking for the armbar but to no avail. After the break they lock up and Thatcher takes Gulak down and grabs a short armscissor. Gulak out finally and grabs a crossface but Thatcher gets the ropes right away.
Back to the lock-up, Gulak in charge once they break this time with a headscissors. Thatcher slips out and works the feet but Gulak turns it around on him into a test of strength. Thatcher angling for the armbar but he can’t get it so he flips Gulak over. Mounted on the mat and Thatcher lays the right hands in for a moment before they break.
The champion looking for a Kimura, Gulak tries to block so Thatcher just lifts him up and over. Thatcher looking for the Karelin lift but Gulak slips out so he drops in on him with a chinlock. Gulak changes tactics, hitting pair of dropkicks and following it with a suicide dive that sends Thatcher into the barricade!
Strikes on the outside, Gulak tries to bring it back in the ring and Thatcher grabs the same armbar he beat Riddle with with Gulak in the ropes! Ref breaks the hold and Thatcher goes right back to it. More fighting on the outside before Thatcher works Gulak’s arm around the ringpost. Back in the ring again, Thatcher lays knees and forearms in in the corner until Gulak fires back up! But he cuts him clean off with an arm wringer and looks for the cross armbar again.
Gulak with a German suplex and both men are out on the mat. Gulak drags Thatcher to his feet and they ram into each other twice before Gulak busts out a back suplex. Gulak looking for a Gotch piledriver but Thatcher escapes and looks for the Fujiwara but Gulak slips around and hits a standard piledriver. Thatcher woozy on the mat and Gulak stomps at him as he climbs to his feet. To the corner, Gulak on the outside looking for a suplex but Thatcher wrenches the arm!
Second rope Karelin lift! Uppercuts for slaps and Gulak drops Thatcher. GuLock but Thatcher gets to the ropes! More slaps and Gulak lands the spinning backfist. Thatcher with the headbutts but Gulak kicks out at one! Another headbutt, another backfist, a third backfist, a fourth headbutt!
Timothy Thatcher retains the Evolve World Championship by pinfall with a headbutt. Well, the crowd ain’t happy about it but I don’t mind! Not the best match either man has had, and the crowd was fairly uninterested except for when they were pissed off, but I enjoyed it. Joey Styles on commentary was a real treat, too.
Gulak with a mic, he says that every time he had Thatcher’s number but he’s a man of his word. He promised that whoever won at the end of this, he’d give him the title. Thatcher goes right past him to get the mic. He says no one cares what Gulak says. He says he said he would hurt whoever touched that title, and he’s also a man of his word.
He kicks Drew Gulak in the head and chokes him out! Hot Sauce out for the save but DUSTIN, Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III are out to put the heat on!
Thatcher takes his title and walks to the back before Galloway gets on the mic again. Apparently there’s a hot free agent in the building and he’d like to talk to him... Joey Styles! They have an opening for a centerpiece, an inspiration, somebody who knows this business better than anybody on Earth. EC3 says they need a mouthpiece, and Yehi and TJP come down and the brawl is on!
Or not, as Galloway bails and demands an answer from Joey Styles right now! He doesn’t get one, and Yehi gets on the mic! He wants to play commissioner for a few minutes and change the match since Hot Sauce got carted off. He and TJP will take the match, but they want no DQ!
Now it’s on!
Catch Point (Fred Yehi &
TJ Perkins TJP) vs. Drew Galloway (c), DUSTIN (c), & Ethan Carter III (Evolve Tag Team Championship No Disqualification Match)
Chaos to start but Galloway and Perkins in the ring. Galloway drops Perkins with a jackknife powerbomb and just takes him to the woodshed. The Merry Men are setting up some kind of chair device on the outside to try and break Yehi’s neck when Ethan Page runs out! All Ego takes flight!
Perkins and Yehi working Galloway over while Page takes EC3 and DUSTIN on two-on-one. Galloway evens his odds with a chair! RKEgo on Galloway but Carter breaks it up. Yehi rolls in after them, but Carter takes him out with a Stinger Splash and an Angle Slam. Perkins in trying to grab a guillotine but Galloway knocks him down with a Sick Kick!
Diving DDT from Perkins to Taylor! Everything is happening all at once constantly, folks. Galloway counters a second RKEgo by tossing Page through a chair and follows with Future Shock! Awful Waffle on Perkins gets a super tight 2.99 count!
DUSTIN retains the Evolve Tag Team Championship for himself and Drew Galloway with a piledriver on TJP on the tag title belt. Wild brawl, lot of fun. Bit too chaotic at points, perhaps, but I’d rather an over-chaotic no DQ tag than one that’s too lawful any day.
Cody Rhodes out to even the score but Galloway and his Merry Men book it to the top of the entrance and demand the belts. Galloway yells about Rhodes, calling him a traitor and a no-good son of a bitch. Cody invites Drew to fight him here and now but Joey Styles is back out to give his answer.
He’s trying to figure out why the three of them are so angry— he figures DUSTIN got a cease-and-desist from Converse, Drew’s just glad to be somewhere where fans actually have to pay for tickets, and Dixie is a genius, getting Billy Corgan to buy in since an actual smashed pumpkin would be a better investment. They’re right that he’s got a pretty good mind for the business— he’s been an announcer, a manager, but now he wants to be a matchmaker. We were scheduled to see Cody Rhodes vs. Johnny Gargano on September 11th, but instead, he wants to see Galloway and Chris Hero against Gargano and Rhodes.
Galloway thanks him and they all head to back before Cody invites Joey back in the ring and introduces him as not to be confused with his beautiful wife, Eden Stiles. He was born a wrestler and he’ll sure as hell die a wrestler, but all the same, just like us, he was born a wrestling fan. This weekend is about wrestling and he will die a wrestling fan and he thanks the crowd and bids them a good night.
Much like yesterday’s card you got a show that’s maybe not the greatest front-to-back experience ever, but the high points are certainly high enough to recommend it, with Riddle/End, Rhodes/Hero, and especially Sabre/Alexander justifying the price of the VOD. The title match is going to be more a matter of taste to most folks-- if you love the grappling as much as I do, it’s a selling point, but to less invested fans and those who like a bit more seasoning to their wrestles, you may want to pass.
And of course, join me back here on September 10th and 11th for Evolve 68 and 69, folks. We already got some matches laid out (Gulak/Galloway, DUSTIN/Williams, Gargano/Sabre on 68, Gargano & Rhodes vs. Hero & Galloway and Sabre/Ricochet on 69), it should be great fun.
A big thanks to AmplifiedtoJosh on Twitter for the header image!