After being called out at EVOLVE 72 by Ethan Page, Cody Rhodes returns to EVOLVE Wrestling to face the man who trashed him. Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi defend their EVOLVE Tag Team Championships for the first time since claiming the gold at EVOLVE 73…
Drew Gulak was over with the crowd as he made his way to the ring, and this match opened as a much more technical affair than I expected, given the way Jaka has been built as a monster in his previous EVOLVE appearances. Things did get a whole lot more hard-hitting when Jaka failed with a submission attempt on Gulak, leading to the 205 Live superstar taking it to his opponent.
There was a nice dive to the outside from Gulak, wiping out Jaka, who hit the railings hard into the front row – some fans might have bruises on their legs after that. Gulak wasn’t in control for too long though, as Jaka came back, and quickly put an end to any comeback attempts from Gulak.
A few good moments followed, first when Jaka delivered some vicious chops to Gulak in the corner, and then when Gulak superplexed his opponent off the top rope into the ring. An exchange of slaps followed, leading to Gulak locking in his second Dragon Sleeper attempt of the match. This one was successful, with the referee calling an end to the match before Jaka could tap or pass out.
This was a very good opening match, and it got given lots of time. The crowd were eating it up, and it was a damn tidy wrestling match that continued to build Jaka whilst had Gulak build momentum ahead of his EVOLVE 75 match against Tracy Williams. Jaka has a bright future if he continues to take part in matches of this quality.
Lots of hard strikes from the offset, with Dickinson soaking up a lot of DUSTIN’s offence. A short brawl at ringside resulted in DUSTIN taking a t-shirt from a member of the crowd, and strangling Dickinson with it.
A few near falls followed, in Dickinson’s favour, after he delivered several power moves to the smaller DUSTIN. Unfortunately for Dickinson, having control over his opponent wasn’t enough, after DUSTIN slid out of a tight spot on the turnbuckle to plant Dickinson’s head into the mat, leading to the three count and the win.
A decent match, if not spectacular. Nothing to fault here.
A David vs. Goliath match for Darby Allin, who probably isn’t even half the size of Brian Cage. Knowing the odds were stacked against him, he dived to the outside during Cage’s ring entrance, wiping out his opponent. A few more high flying moves from Allin followed, which Cage couldn’t cope with. That is, until Cage caught him in mid-air, and then proceeded to simply beat up Allin.
Impressive moment when Cage dead lifted Allin up over the outside of the ropes, and into a suplex off the second rope. Allin still fought on though, leading to a “Holy Shit” moment from the fans when Cage literally picked up Allin and threw him out of the ring and onto the stage where fans had been sitting only moments before.
Allin wasn’t able to answer the 20 count from the referee, making one last ditch attempt to dive back into the ring at 19, but failing. Brutal finish, and a decent match for what it was.
Page got mic time before this contest, which is only a good thing, as he is gold on the stick. He cut a great promo to build the match, saying how disgusted he was to have Cody Rhodes wrestling on the indies with him and all the rest of the indie wrestlers. Strong words from Page, and they built up the match well.
The contest started with a few lockups interspersed with some playfulness for the crowd. Rhodes had a Bullet Club t-shirt with him, following the recent announcement that he will become the next member of the New Japan Pro Wrestling stable, and there were lots of “Too Sweet” hand gestures from Cody throughout, with chants of the same from the crowd.
There was a great moment where Rhodes lost it with a fan at ringside. Page then proceeded to take out Rhodes from behind, and then got the same fan to restrain Rhodes whilst Page delivered hard punches. The fan looked stunned, and went for a handshake with Page, only for ‘All Ego’ to give him the middle finger.
The match became a bit more of an even contest, following Page’s early control, which all led to a somewhat humorous spot where the referee got taken out accidentally, and then was on the receiving end of two more accidental hits in quick succession. This led to a Gatekeeper interfering on Page’s behalf, followed by Brian Cage with a run in, taking out Rhodes whilst the referee was down. Darby Allin made the save, continuing his rivalry with Cage from earlier in the show, and took out the big man. Rhodes appeared to show gratitude for the help, before taking out Allin himself by throwing him out of the ring.
Page looked to have it won, but with no referee to make the count, Rhodes recovered to deliver a low blow and a Cross Rhodes, leading to a three count once the referee had recovered. Interesting way for Rhodes to win against a heel.
More could’ve been done here. Time was wasted on the pandering for the crowd, which I always maintain doesn’t have much of a place on a live broadcast, and that took precious minutes away from the wrestling, which was good when allowed to be the main focus. The Cage and Allin run-in’s seemed a little unnecessary too. Hopefully there’s a rematch down the road, as I think these men could deliver a match of the night under the right circumstances.
Cobb’s larger size was a problem for Matt Riddle throughout, with the latter being physically dominated for large spells of this match. It also meant Riddle wasn’t able to lock in all of his move set, with Cobb’s frame just too big for Riddle. That size advantage was the difference maker, and Cobb soon got Riddle down for the three count and the win.
Ricochet & Peter Kaasa
Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi (C)
(EVOLVE Tag Team Championships)
Ricochet was very over with the crowd on his return to the company, but they had to wait a while to see him in the ring, as Kaasa and Williams opened this title match. When Ricochet and Yehi got tagged in, things really moved up a gear, and both men had some brilliant back and forth that set the tone for the rest of the match.
Great spot where Ricochet had Yehi wrapped around his back, and was bashing his head into the turnbuckle. For his part, Yehi delivered some stiff strikes throughout the entire match, looking like he was carrying the weight of a truck behind his punches and kicks.
The were multiple tags throughout, and this match got given a lot of time. After its relatively slow opening, it built up to one hell of a high tempo, and there were genuine moments where it looked as though there might be new champions crowned. All four men went in hard, and there was some innovative offence right throughout the contest.
Williams and Yehi retained their titles, after the latter was able to stop Ricochet from getting into the ring to break up Williams’ submission hold on Kaasa, who would then tap out.
This really built itself up as the minutes ticked by, and from the moment Yehi and Ricochet first locked up, it was next level. A great tag team match, and a wonderful way to start Williams and Yehi’s title run. There’s definitely money in a Yehi/Ricochet match at an upcoming EVOLVE show – both men have incredible chemistry.
Started out as a technical contest, as both men eased their way into the match. It wasn’t long before the stiff shots and power moves came into play though.
There were many chops delivered by Hero throughout, but his first set at ringside where intense, with his eyes locked firmly on his opponent. Unfortunately, the FloSlam live broadcast feed cut out for the middle of the match, which appeared to be a widespread issue looking at social media chatter, so a lot of the match was missed on this end.
When the feed came back to life, the match was moving at a quick pace, with Hero using his size advantage to continuously take down Togo. There was a great spot when Togo got hit with a piledriver, but as soon as he took the impact, he delivered a boot to Hero’s head, preventing his opponent from taking advantage of the piledriver.
The finish was a brutal succession of moves to Hero, after he’d already just kicked out of a pedigree at the one count, and shown the middle finger to Togo. Togo followed it up with three super kicks, another pedigree, and then a diving senton from the top turnbuckle. One. Two. Three.
A very good match, from what was shown on the live feed. There’ll be some disappointment from EVOLVE Wrestling and FloSlam that so many fans were affected by the disruption to the match, but it will be readily available On Demand so people can go back and watch what they missed.
Hero continues to dominate 2016, and this was just another fine match from him. A good bout to close the show, and it was followed by some build between Hero and DUSTIN, as we head toward EVOLVE 75.
Match of the Night:
Ricochet & Peter Kaasa vs. Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi
EVOLVE 74 Overall Rating: