Evolve 56 Rewind 03/19/2016

Evolve 56
Queens, NY
All Photographs by Danny Baxter 
Century Versys

On Saturday March 19 2016 Evolve Championship Wrestling, as part of the World Wrestling Network (WWN), came to Queens NY at club La Boom. La Boom was a nice venue for this event. There was no food, but the bar was available which I thought was weird because I’d figured there would be at least snacks. Merchandise table was fully stocked with DVDs and evolve T-shirts, further to the left on the other side of the ring was more being sold by wrestlers. Johnny Gargano was one of the few that I was able to see selling his shirts at the time before the event began. The lighting was already preset for the show so it was hard to tell who was there selling merch.

But even before anyone was allowed to enter the venue and get to their seats, some of us got to do did a meet and greet with NXT General Manager William Regal. He was an absolute pleasure to meet and a delight to talk to in the few moments I had to talk to him.
Prior to the actual start of Evolve 56 William Regal came out and addressed the crowd. His main reason for being at Evolve 56 was to announce that Evolve Wrestling would be ground zero for the WWE Network's Global Cruiserweight Series qualifying matches. When and where these qualifiers will take place is unknown as of yet, but I’m sure once decided things will heat up in Evolve.

Photo by Danny Baxter

This was a great match to kick things off. Both men gave it their all and just wowed the crowd. This match really set the tone for the night.

Photos by Danny Baxter

The match began with Sami charging straight for TJ, but Perkins did not want any of that and avoids him with the quickness. Slowly but surely both men meet in the middle of the Ring, each getting a feel for each other out before things escalate. Sami being the constant aggressor in this match tries to tie TJ in the ropes and TJ does everything he can to not let Sami get a handle on him. Sami with the side headlock finally gets a grip on TJ and hip tosses him to the ground. TJ with a leg scissor counter breaks the hold, now both men are back on their feet. Perkins this time with a side headlock takedown, Sami counters with leg scissors and Perkins with the kip up runs for the ropes. Sami tries going for a leg takedown, but TJ with a counter and backs Sami into the ropes. A nice exchange of kicks, fists and elbows after TJ disrespectfully breaks from Sami. TJ into the ropes catches Sami with what looked to be a hurricanrana and goes into an octopus submission. Sami with a counter into a pin for a count of 2 followed by a leg stretch on TJ, Perkins counters back with the lebell lock, gets countered into a roll up for a count of 1. Still holding onto Callihan, TJ gets unceremoniously power bombed into the turnbuckle thus releasing the hold. Things spill to outside with TJ trying to buy himself time. Sami with a flying forearm to the outside taking out TJ. Sami rolls TJ back into the ring, but panders to the crowd for a bit not realizing TJ has climbed the top rope and hits him with a missile dropkick. Sami is back up rams TJ into guardrails hitting him with a series of running chops. Winding up for one last major strike that takes him all around the ring gets a kick to the midsection from Perkins who brings the match back into the ring. 

In the ring TJ hits Sami with a series of suplexes and goes for the cover for a count of one. Starting with a European uppercut from Perkins to Callihan, an exchange of fists begins to take place as both men showing signs of exhaustion. Callihan into the ropes takes down Perkins. Back into the ropes goes Callihan, but is tripped up by Perkins who holds onto the leg and goes into a half crab submission afterward floats over into an STF. Sami blocking Perkins' attempt to lock it in forcing Perkins to float over into a side headlock, into a leg lock that he turns into a pin for a count of 2. Still holding on to the leg lock, Perkins goes into a variation of the bow and arrow submission, but Sami manages to get a hand free and grabs the ropes. Driven into the corner by TJ, Sami gets Irish whipped into the corner and hits the ground hard. TJ attempts to prop Sami on the top turnbuckle, but Sami fights back; Lefts and rights are being exchanged by both men. TJ mounts the second rope and attempts to go the suplex, but Sami still has some fight left in him blocks him with head butts. Into a sunset flip power bomb goes Callihan, but TJ blocks the power bomb i by holding onto the ropes for dear life and counters with strikes to the head. Sami slips out and hits TJ with a superkick to the left hamstring leaving Perkins flat on his back as he had intended. TJ attempts to get back up but like a shark smelling blood in the water ties up Perkins’ legs in a deathlock and drops down on the weakened leg. Perkins makes it to the ropes while writhing in excruciating pain. Callihan continues to go to work on the left, but after going to well once too often gets booted out of the ring by Perkins allowing himself to gain some much needed space from Callihan. Back in the ring Callihan makes a beeline for Perkins and is met with an elbow, tries again for the second and this time he's met with a kick to the face. Perkins this time charges at Callihan and hits a dropkick to the thigh; now both men are down but not out. Perkins charges at Callihan in the corner, misses, Callihan counters with a jumping knee strike. Sami now charges at a downed Perkins with running boot to the face. Taking too much time to build up the crowd, Sami goes for another running boot to the face, but Perkins hits him with a flying elbow. 

Photos by Danny Baxter

Perkins with the momentum hits Sami with an inverted double knee drop into the chest goes into the cover for only a count of 2. Perkins attempts to pick Sami up, but Sami isn't having that and pushes TJ away. An exchange of kicks shortly begins, each man doing their damned best to take out their opponent’s leg. Back and forth they go, each kick becoming more ferocious than last until both men take each other down. Perkins in the corner; Callihan with a running charge meets a boot, tries again and is met with an arm bar submission over the top rope. As Perkins releases the hold Callihan hits him with an enzuigiri. Sami now going for a springboard lariat catches a kick from Perkins. TJ with a leaping springboard of his own misses and recovers with a superkick to Callihan. Perkins brings Sami up onto his shoulders and attempts to do away with him with, but is countered into a leg stretch. Perkins rolls through and escapes. Callihan then tries to for a tombstone piledriver but is countered into a leg grapevine by Perkins for the submission victory. After the match TJ had words for William Regal saying that he’s a free agent.

Photo by Danny Baxter

Match #2 Ethan Page vs. Jack Gallow

This was a decent match, both men showed amazing talent in the ring. Both men hit some impressive moves and definitely got the crowd into it. It was the shortest match of the night, but still entertaining and hard hitting. Had a nice back and forth between the two that made it worth watching.

Photos by Danny Baxter
Ethan starts the match with some civility, both men shake hands in the center of the ring. Trapping Page in the corner with a series of strikes, Page ducks under and opens up a series of strikes of his own. With an arm wrench Page attempts to Irish whip Gallow into the opposite corner but is reversed and chased after by Gallow. Ethan with the leapfrog sends Gallow crashing into the turnbuckle. Gallow again charges after Page, but is back body dropped by Page. Ethan setting up for the suplex, impressively holds Gallow up for what seemed like a minute, but for Gallow it must have felt like forever, into a pin for only a count of 2. Gallow is backed into the corner, Page with another Irish whip attempt is reversed; Gallow charging in is tossed over the top, lands on the apron and hits an enzuigiri on Page. 

Gallow with an amazing La Plancha goes into the cover for a count of 1. Gallow sizes Ethan up and hits him with strikes to head and then the mid section. He goes in with a kick, Ethan catches the leg goes into a fall away slam. Gallow into the ropes gets caught with a huge clothesline from Page; Ethan follows it up with a huge splash in the corner. Into the ropes goes Gallow again and Page catches him with a gut wrench suplex. Both men on their feet Page attempts a T-bone suplex, but Gallow fights out of it. Page tries again and Gallow fights out of it rushing Page into the corner and unloads on him. Gallow with the Irish whip to Page to the corner, Page with a reverse leapfrog but Gallow expecting it waits and hits Page with a German suplex, followed by a running knee into a pin for a 2 count. Gallow signals for the end and hoist Page onto his shoulders, but Page escapes and from behind rushes Gallow into the ropes. Jack holds on and sets up for another running knee strike but is met with the big boot and a roundhouse kick from Ethan Page. With Gallow dazed Ethan seizes the opportunity, sets up Gallow for the Mia Yim special, package piledriver, and hits it for the 3 count.

Photo by Danny Baxter

Match #3 Fred Yehi vs. Drew Gulak

This match was about settling scores and it was amazing. It was a very highly technical grappling & submission match. Both men demonstrated high quality moves and abilities in the ring that left the crowd wanting more. Drew Gulak mainly dominated the beginning of this match up, never giving Yehi an inch of breathing room. For every opportunity Yehi got to turn the tide Drew closed the door on it.

Starting with an arm wrench Yehi takes down Gulak and tries his best to keep him there but Gulak counters by using his legs to throw Yehi off balance and goes into a leg lock. Yehi reach the ropes and both go back at it. Yehi with a side headlock is countered into an arm wrench and taken down by Gulak. Gulak goes into a wrist lock, wraps his leg around the arm of Yehi and slams it into the ground and goes for a pin for a count of 1. Yehi escapes and tries to go for an ankle lock but Gulak manages to reach the ropes in time. Yehi with a takedown, but Gulak again with the reversal but before he could lock in the arm bar Yehi reaches the ropes. Gulak with the side headlock, Yehi swings him into the ropes, shoulder block by Gulak on Yehi, Gulak into the cover but Yehi transitions it into a rear naked choke. Gulak wisely gets back onto his feet; Yehi into a waist lock now transitions into a single leg takedown and into an inverted Indian deathlock. Gulak impressively muscles out of the deathlock and into a submission of his own stretching out Yehi by the legs and goes into cross arm strangle hold on Yehi. As Gulak pulls back Yehi rolls through and has Gulak in the same spot he was. Both men get to their feet, Gulak with the reversal buries an elbow into Yehi followed by a series of springboard stomps into the cover for a count of 2. 

Photos by Danny Baxter
Gulak begins to twist and put pressure on multiple body parts of Yehi; from an arm extension to a cloverleaf, Yehi finally rolls through and reaches the ropes. Moving away from the submissions; Yehi attacks the abdomen of Gulak followed by a chop, whips him head first into the top turnbuckle, snapmare  takedown, followed by an inside kick to the jaw of Gulak and into a cover for a 1 count. Back into the corner Yehi attacks the abdomen followed by a series of strikes. Follows it up with a body slam into a step over and drops his weight on the leg of Gulak. Gulak with his right leg in one swift kick manages to get free and create some separation. Gulak back on the offensive with an arm wrench, followed by a shoulder strike, then rolls into the cover for a 1 count. Gulak goes into a stump puller, a maneuver that needs to be seen to be believed and can only be described as painful. Grabbing the fingers of Gulak, Yehi breaks free and stomps away on the hand. Followed by a German suplex, Yehi rolls into the cover for a count of 2. Gulak heads to the outside and Yehi follows circling the ring; Gulak back in the ring, followed by Yehi who is met with stomps from Gulak as he enters. 

Yehi Irish whipped into the corner gets hit with a clothesline from Gulak. Coming out from the corner Gulak hits a Northern lights suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. Gulak goes for an armbar but Yehi does his best to keep his hands together. Yehi manages to escape and float over into a submission of his own but Gulak makes his way to the ropes to break the hold. Gulak hits wasteland followed by a running senton splash into a cover for yet another 2 count. Gulak trying to go for the rear naked choke is met with resistance from Yehi who goes into an arm wrench followed by a hard chop to the chest. Gulak tries to reply back with a chop but is blocked by Yehi who responds with an inside kick. Yehi goes into the ropes and comes off with a discus elbow, shoots the half for a cover for only a 2 count. Yehi with a waist lock holding on relentlessly as Gulak tries to shake him off, goes into the ropes bounces back with a roll up but Gulak reverses it into a dragon sleeper for the submission victory.

Throughout the match you’re looking at moves that not many announcers would have an idea of what to call. There were definitely no boring chants going on throughout this match. After the match Yehi extends his hand out as a sign of respect, instead Gulak gets on the mic and says: “Mr. Yehi he sees much potential in you, but you have not earned my handshake just quite yet. You need to step back and find The Catch Point”.

Photo by Danny Baxter

Following the Yehi vs. Gulak match, Williams who is already in the ring calls out Chris Hero saying this time face me face to face and gets their match underway sending Gulak away. This was one of the hardest hitting matches on the card. With every strike you could feel the hate and the determination that both had to defeat the other. This definitely came in as my second favorite match of the night. It was both a hard hitting and technical match. 

As Chris Hero makes his entrance, both Gulak and Tracy Williams get into his face but Hero is unfazed. Center of the Ring both men lock up and it’s Hero with the takedown. Back into a lock up this time it's Williams with the takedown and a knee stomp on the arm of Chris Hero. Lock up again, Hero pushed into the ropes and is pulled into a single leg monkey flip followed by a stomp to the chest by Williams. Williams backed into the corner, Hero fires off with a series of chops, going from one corner to the next. Williams with a dirty head butt, breaks free and tees off with chops of his own. Williams with a side headlock is lifted off the ground momentarily by Hero, but counters into a headlock takedown. Hero rolls into a side headlock of his own bringing both men to their feet. Williams powers out of the headlock goes into arm wrench taking Hero down to one knee. Tracy tries to go for a roll up but Hero's weight plays an advantage allowing him to counter into a grapevine. Hero goes for the other leg of Williams essentially stretching him out, but Williams rolls into it while still grapevining the leg into a modified arm bar submission. Hero is able to roll into the ropes forcing the break. Both men on their feet, Williams slaps Hero taking him down to one knee and it's just a flurry of slaps until finally taken Hero down with a side headlock. Backed into the corner Williams hits Hero with a forearm shot, a chop to chest, a boot to the face, a slap to the side of the head and down goes Hero. Williams drags Hero out to the center of the ring, struggles to turn him over for the pin and only get a count of 1. Hero having trouble getting back to his feet, Williams shoves the ref to the side and continues the vicious onslaught. Williams Irish whips him into the corner, charging at him full speed, and is thrown over the top but lands on the apron. Hero into the ropes hits Williams with the big boot, causing him to collapse to the outside. Hero not letting up goes right after him and hits him again with a big boot. Hero now fired up strikes him with a forearm shot heard round the world. Williams fires back with some forearm shots of his own, but Chris responds back with another boot to the face, the third of the night. Hero rolls back into the ring and greets an incoming Tracy Williams with a baseball slide. 

Photos by Danny Baxter

Tracy makes his way back into the ring; however Hero throws him back out like a sack of garbage. Hero catching Williams with a drop kick coming in sends him reeling into the corner. Hero pulls him out to the center of the ring and takes him down with a hard forearm strike, rolls into the cover for a 2 count. Hero in disbelief begins to just disrespect Hot Sauce, slapping him across the face, snuffing him in the head repeatedly. An irate Williams just unloads a furious flurry of forearms followed by a European uppercut, chop to the chest, slap to the face, and a running knee strike. Hero attempts to mount an offense but is blocked by Williams and sent into the corner. Williams pulling Hero out of the corner attempts a suplex, but can’t get Hero off the ground. Hero seizes the opportunity to unload on Williams with a huge right hand, sending Williams down but not out. Hero slowly stalking a now helpless Williams, positions him, and catches him with a deactivator. Hero goes after Williams with thunderous slaps to the back of the head, almost trying to revive him, but it only infuriates him even more, enough for Williams attempt a German suplex on Hero. Just when you think it’s about to happen Hero manages to rush him into the corner. Now trapped in the corner Williams is on the receiving end of some hard elbows from Hero and another slap to the face. Tracy barely able to stand up is taken down to the mat, Hero with the senton splash across the chest and into a cover for a count of 2. Backed into the corner, Hero with the Irish whip to Williams into the other corner; Williams bounces out and back into the corner. As Hero approaches Williams tries to catch him with a kick, but Hero catches it and gives Williams a taste of his own medicine with a hard boot the face. Hero picks up Williams and again hits him with a boot the face. Williams still on his feet, lets out a thunderous roar and Hero again makes him taste some boot. Williams just refuses to go down and receives another boot for his trouble. Williams refusing to say die goes after Hero with everything he’s got, attempts a single leg back drop, but Hero counters with elbow strikes to the head of Tracy Williams. Tracy playing possum finally lifts the mountain that is Chris Hero with the single leg back drop and the crowd goes wild for “Hot Sauce”. 

Both men slow to their feet, Hero with the spin kick misses, Williams into the ropes and explodes with a dropkick to the chest of Hero. Now surging with energy; Williams back into the ropes dropkick to the leg of Hero that flips him head over heels followed by a drop kick to the head. Hero dazed and in the corner, on the other side a still amped up hits a running dropkick to the chest of Chris Hero. Tracy from the second rope comes crashing down on Hero with a diving forearm into the cover for a count of 2. Shocked but not giving an inch, Williams goes into a side headlock submission, but Hero makes it to the ropes. Hero slow to get up is hit with a series of boots to face courtesy of Tracy Williams, each one harder than the next. Hero still has some life left in him, blocks Williams attempt to swing him into the ropes and for that is punished with another boot to the face followed by a European uppercut. Sent flying into the ropes, Hero goes up and over the top landing on the apron. Williams comes charging at him and receives a big boot for his trouble. Hero tries another big boot, blocked by Williams, but catches him with an enzuigiri. Hero catches his second wind hits Williams with spin kick to the jaw and rolls him up into a cover for 2. Both men slow to their feet now; Hero up first grabs Williams and hits him with a forearm smash, attempts a reverse neck breaker but is reversed by Williams into a back slide pin for a count of 2. Williams goes into the cover again for another count of 2. Both men on their feet; Williams hits Hero with a forearm, a big boot, goes for another forearm but is reversed into a pile driver by Hero spiking Williams onto his head. Hero slow to the cover only gets a count of 2. Both men are seemingly frustrated by this point. Hero with a thunderous elbow to the head of Williams sending him into the ropes, Williams fires back with an elbow of his own. Hero again with a thunderous elbow shot and Williams fires back with a boot sending Hero into the ropes, who comes back with a boot of his own. 

Photos by Danny Baxter
Back and forth these 2 warriors are going at it: Overhand chop, slap to the face, back hand chop. Both men reeling in opposite corners; Hero goes charging after Williams misses with the elbow, Tracy from behind hits him with a German suplex. Tracy charges after Hero and is met with an elbow to the face, but fires back with a clothesline that turns Hero inside out and follows it up with a pile driver into the cover for only a count of 1. The crowd is just stunned and going wild for this match. Both men back on their feet; Williams goes after Hero with a series of elbow strikes goes into the ropes, but is met by a big boot from Chris Hero. Hero attempts a reverse neck breaker, but is countered by Williams who catches him with a high angle DDT and a second pile driver. Into the cover, 1, 2 and up goes the shoulder of Chris Hero. Williams drags Hero into the corner and just unleashes an eruption chops up and down the body of Chris Hero. Then a slap followed by another disrespectful slap to the face of Hero by Williams. Williams with the headlock gets on the second rope, but Hero breaks free and attempts to rush Williams who counters him with a boot but is caught and dragged off the ropes and receives a booming rolling elbow from Chris Hero. Hero seeing Williams is down picks him up and sets him up for a flying elbow to the side of the head and Williams is down again. Hero rolls into the cover but can only manage another 2 count. Hero is left stunned and bewildered as to what’s it going to take to put Williams down for the 3. Hero picks up Williams and sets him up for a pile driver, but Williams sensing what’s coming blocks the attempt. That doesn’t stop Hero as he modifies the hold and spikes Williams on his head. Hero with the cover and 1, 2, 3! Your winner Chris Hero!  

After the match Hero calls for the mic and says: “It’s time for y’all to recognize not the best in the world, but the greatest of all time!”

Photo by Danny Baxter

Match #5 Team Tremendous (Det. Dan Barry & Det. Bill Carr) vs. The Premiere Athlete Brand (Caleb Konley & Anthony Nese) w/ Andrea

Team Tremendous comes out to the ring with by far the best ring music ever, a remix of the Magnum P.I. theme song. This was one the only tag team match on the card and it was absolutely fantastic. Both teams complete polar opposites of each other; Team Tremendous being more fun and lively while Premiere Athlete Brand took a more serious tone. Disappointed with the outcome, but it was a great match overall. Great tag team action by both teams.  

The P.A.B. comes out next and they mean business, no funny stuff here. As soon as the bell rings The Premiere Athlete Brand goes on the attack trying to gain the early advantage. Double team on Bill Carr sending him into the ropes, attempted clothesline, Carr breaks through into the ropes again and is met with a double super kick from Konley & Nese. Now staggered on the ropes P.A.B. comes at him with a double clothesline sending all three men to the outside. Barry alone in the ring goes into the ropes ducks under a clothesline by Nese trying to cut him off, hits a side-kick to the mid section of Konley dropping him on the apron, goes up and over the back of Nese, Nese goes charging after Barry who sends him flying to the outside. Barry now on roll hits a baseball slide on Konley that sends him back down to the outside. Barry attempts to go flying again sets off into the ropes, but is tripped up by Nese and is pulled to the outside. Nese sends Barry back inside the ring into the waiting hands of Konley; Barry and Konley are now the legal men in this match up. Pin attempt by Konley for a count of 2. Konley not giving Barry any space with a side headlock in the middle of the ring brings him into the corner of P.A.B. for a tag to Nese who continues the assault on Barry. Barry tries to fight out but to no avail, Nese brings him out to the middle of the ring throws a left, but is blocked and countered with a right from Barry followed by a spinning back kick to the mid section. Nese Irish whipped into the ropes holds on; Barry goes charging in and is sent over the top but manages to land on the apron. P.A.B. tries to go after Barry but both men are met with hard elbow strikes. 

Photos by Danny Baxter
Barry springs himself over Nese goes for a waist lock, blind tag is made to Konley, into a German suplex but Nese manages to land on his feet and hits a jumping double stomp on a downed Barry. Konley now the legal man comes in with a springboard moonsault into the cover for a count of 2. Konley goes over and spits at Bill Carr drawing him in allowing P.A.B. to work the double team on Barry. Konley drags him out of the corner into a cover for a count of 1. Tag made to Nese as they continue the double team and isolate Barry. Back in the corner Nese gives himself some running room and goes charging straight at Barry. Barry counters sending him up and over the top, but Nese lands on the apron and hits Barry with a forearm shot for his troubles. Nese now on the top rope now attempts to bring Barry up, Barry doing his best to block & counters with shots the abdomen. Barry now in control, from the top rope hits a superplex sending both men crashing down into the mat. Nese & Barry struggle to make it to their prospective corners for the tag. Nese gets to his corner first with the tag Barry gets the tag as well and in comes Detective Bill Carr with a head steam taking down both members of the Premiere Athlete Brand. Carr sends Nese into the corner hard, bouncing back into his arms for a back body drop. Konley goes charging straight into the arms of Carr and is with an exploder suplex and into the cover for a long 2 count. Carr hoist Konley in the air but is pulled down by his tag team partner. Carr takes swing at Nese, goes down but kips up immediately and retaliates with a series of kicks. 

Nese taking his focus off of Carr to go yell PAB at the crowd pays for it with a clothesline from Carr that turns him inside out. Konley goes charging into the arms of Carr and is greeted with a black hole slam. Barry seeing the opportunity goes to the top rope and hits a swanton bomb on Nese. Double cover on P.A.B. but both men kick out at the count of 2. Carr tags in Barry, sets Konley up on his shoulders, but Konley fights his way down the shoulders of Carr and sends him straight into Barry knocking him down awkwardly on the top turnbuckle. Barry now stuck upside down in the corner; Nese leaps frog over Carr and hits Barry with a drop kick. Konley hits Carr with a kick to the head then springboards off the middle rope for a tornado DDT on Carr sending him out the ring. PAB now focus their sights on Barry who’s still down in the ring. Double suplex attempt, but Barry lands on his into a front roll into the corner. Nese rushes the corner after Barry but is met with a boot the face. Konley follows suit and Barry goes up and over Konley ducking under a clothesline from Nese, charges back after him, but Nese counters with a full Nelson setting up Konley to hit a thunderous super kick to Barry’s head. Nese picks up Barry, but Barry rolls through taking a swing at Nese who ducks under and allows Konley to catch Barry with a strike to the face setting up Barry for the double team Air Raid neck breaker. Into the cover goes Konley, but is broken up by Carr for only a 2.5 count. 

photos by Danny Baxter
Nese back on his feet goes after Carr, but Carr fights back fending him off. Konley now going after Carr is met with the same opposition and taken down hard. Carr sets his sights on Nese who's now staggered on the ropes, rushes him and is countered being sent over the top as Nese drops down the pulls the rope. P.A.B. now back on their feet give each other a look and both men go diving to the outside right into Carr. Barry left alone again in the ring staggers to his feet, sees P.A.B. on the outside, goes into the ropes and hits both men on the outside with a diving corkscrew. All four men are laid out on the outside as the crowd goes wild chanting “Holy Shit”! Carr sends Konley back into the ring sets him up in a razor’s edge fashion, tosses him up and Barry brings him down hard with a falling reverse STO. Barry into the cover, the referee starts the count and Nese comes in with the chair. The ref stops the count trying to stop Nese, Carr goes after him taking it out to ringside. The referee still distracted; Barry takes Konley to the top rope, Andrea comes in and pulls Barry off from the top rope goes into the ropes and hits Barry with a flying Yakuza kick to the head. Konley hits a double jump moonsault from the top rope, goes into the cover 1...2...3! PAB steals a victory from Team Tremendous.

Photo by Danny Baxter

Entertainment Earth

Match #6 Johnny Gargano vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (Best in the World Series) 

This match was my match of the night! These 2 incredible wrestlers put on one of hell of a show, showcasing their technical expertise. The match between Yehi and Gulak only comes second to this match, with the quickness of each man it definitely made for a more exciting match. It showed you didn’t need to have a spot fest to put on a show and entertain a crowd. It was definitely reminiscent of a Kurt Angle vs. Benoit match, but this one I think definitely surpasses that.

The match begins as one would expect with a series of locks and counters until Gargano makes a clean break. Both men circling the ring, sizing each other up; Sabre with an arm lock into a sequence of twists and turn on the left arm of Gargano. Sabre in control, Gargano with a reversal into a single arm take down on Sabre, works the arm a bit. Sabre with a reversal breaks free, Gargano back on him with a front face headlock on Sabre. Down on the mat; Sabre spins out into an arm lock, into a hammerlock, and then utilizing the right arm turns Gargano over for a count of 1. Gargano goes into a front roll capturing the leg of Sabre taking him down, and then into grapevine submission. Sabre with ease overturns the hold onto Gargano, and then turns Gargano over for a modified Indian Deathlock with a bridge. Sabre comes up from the bridge and applies a front face double arm lock tries to roll him over. Doing so he gives up control to Gargano, but Sabre regains and goes into a hammer lock. Gargano trying to capture Sabre in a side headlock, but Sabre bridges out and continues to maintain control of the situation with the hammerlock. Gargano rolls through and both men are back on their feet with Sabre still holding on to the arm of Gargano. Gargano rolls through again and breaks the hold, takes down Sabre with a leg trip and proceeds to pull the left arm of Sabre as far back as possible while arching his back using Sabre’s head as leverage. Gargano tries to roll Sabre into a pin cover, but Sabre rolls out and both men are back on their feet giving each other space to recover. Both men lock hands; Sabre with a roll through into a leg take down goes into a grapevine turns Johnny over, but Johnny quickly and wisely arm drags Sabre over head giving himself some space from Sabre. 

Photos by Danny Baxter
Both men showing each other that respect circle the ring and lock up; Gargano trying for a cobra clutch, but Sabre immediately spins out of it and into a cobra clutch of his own and then into a standing straight jacket. Gargano powers out of it and reverses the hold onto Sabre, Sabre tries to do the same but Gargano is unyielding in not letting go. Sabre back on his feet bridges himself to reverse the hold back onto Gargano. Gargano with the toss, Sabre goes in for a single leg takedown but Gargano manages to turn it into a pin attempt. Sabre reverses and its pin attempt after pin attempt, reversal after reversal until both men reach a stalemate. Both men lock up in the middle of the ring; Gargano in control with an arm lock, Sabre tries to roll out but Gargano puts the brakes on and begins working on the arm. A few more rolls and a bridge and Sabre is now in control of the arm of Gargano. Gargano with the leg trip reclaims control and goes back into the arm bar. Both men are back on their feet, Gargano still in control with that arm bar; Gargano in tow, Sabre goes charging into the ropes and into a roll up. Reversed by Gargano goes into a seated surfboard stretch. Zack slips out legs first, but Gargano still holding on goes into a surfboard stretch. Sabre back to his feet uses his right leg to break the hold and goes into an arm bar takedown on Gargano. Propping up the left arm of Gargano, Sabre with a vicious stomp on the left arm of Gargano. Just something you never want to experience. Sabre now going after the arm twisting and turning in every possible direction, taking down Gargano and just dissecting it as the crowd is just both stunned and fascinated with the way Sabre just manipulates every inch of that arm until he stomps on it again. The crowd is loving every minute of it, just chanting Sabre’s name over and over again. Gargano now on the defensive trying to create some space between him and Sabre because he knows Sabre is just going to go back to work on that arm. Sabre catches him with a kick to that very arm sending Gargano down, and begins to stomp away at it. 

Gargano wisely hanging out on the apron keeping Sabre at bay, but that doesn’t last too long as soon as Gargano is up Sabre immediately attacks the arm with a Pele kick. Into the ropes goes Sabre but Gargano meets him with a middle rope launched shoulder tackle which probably wasn’t the best idea. Gargano on the offensive now with kicks to the mid section of Sabre, pushes him into the corner, Irish whip only to be reversed but Gargano wisely slides out of the ring and then right back in. Sabre losing sight of him for a moment ducks under the clothesline, Gargano in the corner avoids the shoulder tackle, rolls Sabre down to the mat and meets him with a kick to the head. Both men in opposite corners, Gargano charges full speed at Sabre but catches nothing but turnbuckle. Sabre returns the favor with a running knee, but catches turnbuckle as well. Gargano out on the apron launches himself catches Sabre with a DDT, and then goes into the cover only for a count of 2. Sabre a little dazed in the corner is woken up by a roaring chop form Gargano who’s still favoring that left arm. Gargano sets up Sabre on the top rope then onto his shoulders; goes for a running start but is stopped midway by Sabre into a submission maneuver. Gargano able to shove Sabre down rolls him up, but Sabre rolls through and stumbles to the opposite corner. Gargano follows and is met with a European uppercut from Sabre. Sabre climbs the middle rope and hits Gargano with a diving European uppercut, and then catches him with a running European uppercut in the corner. Gargano struggling to get up gets kicked in that left arm by Sabre sending him back down to the mat. Sabre with hard kicks to the left arm of Gargano, but Gargano just keeps asking him to bring it. Gargano back to his feet catches the leg of Sabre; Sabre slaps Gargano, who takes a swing with that left arm leaving him open for Sabre to counter into a cross arm breaker. Gargano tries to keep his hands together to block the submission, fails, but rolls through into the Gargano Escape submission. Sabre is able to roll him over for a pin and a count of 2 thus breaking the hold. 

The wear and fatigue can be seen on both men at this point, simultaneously they slowly back to their feet. Gargano with the elbow strike using the left arm, probably not the best idea as its still causing him pain. Sabre fires back with a series of uppercuts, but on the third uppercut Johnny goes for a backslide pin attempt. Sabre able to float over and goes into an octopus stretch now focusing on the right arm of Gargano. Sabre thinking he’s in control, slips up, and allows Gargano to launch him into the second turnbuckle lawn dart style. The crowd is now divided in their chants at this point. Johnny goes for a German suplex but Zack rolls him up with a bridge for a count of 2. Gargano hits him with a step up enzuigiri; Sabre responds with a flying European uppercut followed by a soccer kick and then goes into the cover 1…2 and Gargano kicks out yet again. The look on Zack Sabre’s face says it all, what more do I need to do to put him away. Sabre tries to go for a full Nelson, but Gargano counters it only to be countered by Sabre but catches him in an arm drag takedown. Gargano sends Sabre through the ropes to the outside, goes into the ropes hits him with a suicide dive to the outside. Gargano throws Sabre back in the ring, hits him with a spear from the outside but Sabre catches Gargano and goes for a Jim Breaks arm bar. Gargano quickly escapes and hits the Gargano Escape; Sabre rolls through but Gargano unrelenting and hangs on. Sabre with the reversal into a Gedo Clutch pin with a bridge but Gargano kicks out at 2. Both men meet nose to nose in the center of the ring; Sabre with an uppercut, Gargano with a superkick, tries to follow it up with a closed fist but Sabre using his feet counters with a bicycle kick. Gargano with a discus lariat and again Sabre catches him with a kick to the elbow. Super kick drops Sabre to one knee, Gargano with a discus lariat is countered into an octopus stretch by Sabre. Gargano tries reaching ropes, drops down to the mat, Sabre not letting go works the right arm pulling it back into a modified Jim Breaks arm bar for the submission victory!

Photos by Danny Baxter
After the match both men shake and hug it out. Gargano still in the ring is jumped by the Premiere Athlete Brand letting him know that they are still gunning for this tag team titles held by him and Drew. As Nese rambles on the mic about getting their hands on the Evolve tag team title, in comes Ethan Page with a chair and the save driving PAB out the ring. Page gets on the mic now and tells Gargano on nights when Drew doesn’t have his back, to remember than Ethan Page always has his back.

Photo by Danny Baxter

Main Event: Matt Riddle w/ Catch Point vs. Timothy Thatcher (Evolve Champion)

Now for the main event everyone has been waiting for; Former MMA superstar and #1 contender Matt Riddle with his stable Catch Point at ringside vs. The Evolve Champion Timothy Thatcher with the title on the line. Matt Riddle comes out first with his stable Catch Point consisting of Drew Gulak, Tracy “Hot Sauce” Williams, and TJ Perkins. Riddle comes out with a smile on his face and a very relaxed demeanor. Then out comes the champion Timothy Thatcher looking like he is ready for war. An epic stare down between Thatcher and the members of Catch Point takes place before Thatcher gets on the mic and warns Gulak, Perkins, and Williams that if they get involved in this match that it will be the last thing they do.

Photos by Danny Baxter
Riddle testing Thatcher with kicks to the leg, they finally lock up and it’s a showcase of holds and counters each men gaining the advantage. Riddle on top starts a barrage of knees to the ribs of Thatcher, and then follows it up with elbows to the side of the head. Thatcher manages to block the barrage of elbows, pulling in Riddle closer to counter with elbows of his own. But Riddle is back at it with the elbows to the ribs, but Thatcher is able to able to transition into an STF submission. From there Thatcher goes into side guard; hit riddle with a knee to the ribs, front headlock applied and both men are in the ropes. Not the cleanest break but both men got their shots in. Both men lock up in the middle of ring, Thatcher goes in an arm lock taking Riddle down to the mat. Riddle reverses it into an armbar, but Thatcher with the wherewithal to keep his hands together. Rolling through Thatcher makes his way to the ropes. Riddle paces the ring waiting for Thatcher to get up. Thatcher goes for the leg taking down Riddle, leg lock applied, but Riddle maneuvers his way to the back of Thatcher and starts dropping bombs on the back of his head. Another shot to ribs of Thatcher before he picks him up and sets him up for a fisherman’s suplex for a count of 2. 

Riddle with a swift kick to the back and then to the chest of a still downed Thatcher, then attacks the ribs with a series of elbow shots. Riddle attempts a gut wrench suplex but Thatcher reverses into an armbar taking Riddle down to the mat, but Riddle able to make his way to the ropes. Both men on their feet; Riddle tries to go for a high knee, but Thatcher wraps him up in the ropes then goes for a belly to belly suplex into a cross arm breaker. Riddle keeping his hands clasp tight to prevent a full extension of the hold, tries to kick his way out of the hold but to no avail. Instead Riddle rolls through breaking free and starts a bombardment of fists to the head of the Evolve champ. Riddle now dropping an onslaught of elbows, the champ trying to protect himself giving Riddle the advantage as he picks up Thatcher by the waist and goes into gut wrench suplex. Still holding on; Riddle attempts to go for another one but is blocked by Thatcher, who showing off his amazing strength, carries Riddle around the ring before hitting him with a suplex of his own. Jumping knee strike to the face the champion sending him down hard, Riddle goes into the cover for a 2 ½ count. Riddle with the look of shock as if it was going to be that easy. Riddle back to his feet first hits Thatcher with a series of roundhouse kicks to the chest, each one the champ just absorbs and lets out a loud roar as if he’s asking for more. Thatcher catches the leg and answers back with a succession of European uppercuts, Riddle with a flurry of slaps to the face of Thatcher. Both men lock up jockeying for position with knee strikes. Thatcher with a knee that may have been a low blow or a shot to the inside, but either way Thatcher follows it up with a head butt, rolls into the cover 1,2,3 the winner and still Evolve Champion Timothy Thatcher.

Photos by Danny Baxter
After the match all members of Catch Point immediately come into the ring, fuming, claiming there was a low blow; Gulak getting into the referee’s face and arguing with him. Gulak then gets into the face of Thatcher most calling him a disgrace, a cheater, and unworthy of the title. Tracy Williams tries to separate the 2 men and calm Gulak down, then out of nowhere Sami Callihan’s music hits and so does he. Bicycle kick to the face of the Champion and down goes Thatcher. Callihan motions to Gulak and Williams to clear the ring as he grabs the title holding it up in the air indicating that he he wants his shot in Texas for the WWN Live Experience. As he holds that title high in the air an unforgiving Tracy Williams comes from behind with a rear naked choke taking Callihan to the ground putting him to sleep with ease. Gulak is now the guy trying to calm down Williams so they can leave the ring. And as they leave the ring Thatcher is down and Callihan is down. As both men get up Callihan leaves the ring points to the Dallas event sign and then the title saying “That’s mine”!

Photo by Danny Baxter

As this was my first live Evolve event it was a fantastic show. The wrestling in every match was superb and just an edge of your seat ride from start to finish. My favorite match of the night was hands down Zack Sabre and Johnny Gargano for the being the most incredibly technical and just all around entertaining match. It was great seeing a show in Queens; La Boom was a great venue but while they had drinks they had no food of any kind available. Seats were good but the actual chairs were not that great. One of the fans in attendance had a chair fall apart on him midway through the first match. That chair might have been broken already from the previous event that was taking place, but I can’t confirm that for sure. Some of the wrestlers were on hand for autographs and merch, but the lighting in that place was already preset for the show so you couldn’t really tell who was there unless you went walking around the area to the left side. I had a great time and will definitely continue to watch more Evolve events especially with the Global Cruiserweight series qualifying matches that will be taking place at Evolve.  

A big shout out to Danny Baxter for allowing me to use his photos from that night. These were amazing and really helped a lot. And a big thank you to Gabe Sapolsky for putting on this amazing show and for putting me in touch with Danny. 

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