EVOLVE Weekend Thoughts
This past weekend was a fantastic weekend for professional wrestling as a whole. While most people will be talking about the Royal Rumble and the events that took place on Sunday, the triple shot weekend from EVOLVE was some of the best shows I have seen in quite some time. I will say this right now before you even go to the end of this article, all three shows that took place, Evolve 53, Evolve 54 and Evolve 55 are all must watch shows.
Instead of writing about each separate shows I will talk about some key notes from all three shows. If you do want to watch the shows go to wwnlive.com and click on the Evolve logo and that is where you can buy them.
- The tag team title tournament to crown the first ever Evolve tag team champions, was a fantastic tournament. Each night of the tournament presented a different view of wrestling that must be seen. The first night was your grab bag of wrestling enjoyment. The first match, Caleb Konley & Anthony Nese against Harlem & Lancelot Bravado told a good story of an underdog team in the Bravado Brothers having to fight an arrogant tag team in Konley & Nese, with the Bravado Brothers coming out with the surprising victory. The second match, Trent Baretta & Rocky Romero against Dan Barry & Bill Carr was a very entertaining match. A lot of people have seen Baretta & Romero in tag team action but for those who have never seen Barry & Carr they are a team that you must check out. Don’t let their looks fool you they can wrestle and are a tag team to really check out. They’ve been successful in the last year winning tag team titles in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and CZW to name a few and must keep an eye on in 2016. Baretta & Romero are such a good tag team they can play the heel or the face and they get the crowd into a match. Baretta & Romero win the match after getting a low blow behind the referee’s back.
- The best match of the first night of the tournament and perhaps the best match of the entire weekend was Sami Callihan & Zack Sabre Jr. against Chris Hero & Tommy End was absolutely insane. One of the most hard hitting matches I’ve ever seen in my life these four men were fighting so hard, the kicks and chops were so brutal you would think that this was the finals of the tournament but it was only the first round. Tommy End will be a guy in 2016 that will take the wrestling world by storm and with Chris Hero guiding him he could have a breakout year. The final match of the first round saw Drew Gulak & TJ Perkins against Drew Galloway & Johnny Gargano. The match was fun for the fact that Gargano wrestled in NXT and had to drive to Ybor City to get in time for this match while he missed the opening of the match. Once he made it to the ring the momentum of the match changed and Galloway & Gargano got the win.
- Night two might have been the weakest of the three nights for the tournament but it’s not that they had bad matches, it’s how good the other nights were. Drew Galloway & Johnny Gargano against Harlem & Lancelot Bravado was sort of a forgone conclusion as far as we knew who would win this match. However, the Bravado Brothers made a good match out of this and really have the support of the fans, but it was the power of Galloway & Gargano that got the win and advanced to the finals. The other semifinals match saw Chris Hero & Tommy End face Trent Baretta & Rocky Romero and as expected this was a very good match. Not as psychical as the night before but Hero & End put in a fight with Baretta & Romero and in the end Hero & End advance to the finals. The finals of the tournament was an outstanding match. The beginning with Galloway & Gargano against Hero & End had them on the floor and they went all over the building even going into the crowd at one point. This was a very fun match to watch as you believed while watching this match that either one of those teams could really win the match and the tag team titles. At one point in the match, End accidentally hit Hero and then Hero accidentally hits End and they would have a fight between each other in the middle of the match. Watching the match you would think oh my gosh this team is going to break up in the middle of the final match of the tournament but they got themselves together and focused back on the match. With a lot of near falls in the end, Gargano locked Tommy End in his submission finisher, Gargano Escape and got the tap out to win the match and along with Drew Galloway become the first ever Evolve Tag Team Champions.
Besides the actual tournament itself, which to me was the drawing point of the three show weekend, there were some other very good stories developing during the weekend and talent that you all should keep an eye on in 2016.
- We had a tournament within a tournament with the 2016 Style Battle tournament. Peter Kaasa is a guy who has some potential to be a star in the wrestling industry, he has a muscular look but is also a highflyer and with him not being over six feet tall he can make it. As long as he can keep his cool and hit the moves he will be very good. Fred Yehi was one of my favorite new wrestlers that I saw over the weekend, while he didn’t win a match he has a great wrestling background and can mix it up with the best of them. It will take some time but once he has it all together there is a good chance he can become a total package. Tracy Williams, a protégé of Drew Gulak, is somebody that could be a breakaway star and he does remind me a little bit of Gulak as far as determination and wrestling ability. His submission background could be on par with a Kurt Angle or a Dan Severn who can take a body part and can make a submission out of it, he’s that good. Matt Riddle, the winner of the Style battle tournament, the former UFC star has the charisma to become a huge star in wrestling. With a wrestling background and this great attitude of I know I’m the best wrestler here, it wouldn’t surprise me if Riddle goes to WWE or TNA by the end of this year or early next year. He has the look, he has the desire and the ability to become a huge star in wrestling.
- A young man that I want everybody to keep an eye on in 2016 is Jason Cade. He had two matches over the weekend, a win on Friday against Joe Coleman and was a participant in a four way match on Sunday, Cade could be that undiscovered talent that breaks from the mold and skyrockets to the next level. There is always that one guy who when the opportunity knocks on the door, that person opens the door and takes that opportunity. I see Jason Cade being that guy for 2016 and I would love to see him more on Evolve shows this year and maybe work outside into other promotions this year.
- The development of Timothy Thatcher as Evolve champion and the series of men who want the title is just amazing. He couldn’t wrestle on the shows because of a staph infection on his leg but he made a fan out of me in one weekend from just being himself. At the beginning of Evolve 53, he said that he had goals for 2016 which included wanting a match against Davey Richards who won in the main event of the first Evolve show. He also wants to have a match with Chris Hero in which it looks like it could be a never ending feud. Then he said he would take all members of the group Catch Point out, he wants Drew Gulak, TJ Perkins, Tracy Williams and Matt Riddle. Setting his goals high but you could believe he will accomplish those goals. Meanwhile, Caleb Konley came out and asked Thatcher where is his title shot since he had been at the top of the Evolve rankings all throughout 2015. That would be the focus of Konley all weekend, then when Matt Riddle asked Thatcher for a title match for March in New York City which he got, Konley came out and was irate and kept asking about his title shot. Plus, with Sami Callihan coming out and attacking Thatcher this could be one of the best stories for one championship we could see in a long time. Can Timothy Thatcher hold off all these challengers and remain the Evolve champion, or will one of the men mentioned or even somebody not mentioned take the title away from him?
Like I said, all three of these shows are worth watching and you won’t regret buying these shows. Each show has very good matches with great stories developing, Evolve is a promotion who could be on the verge of a very big year in the world of wrestling.