April 1, 2016 in Dallas, TX
Given the sheer amount of wrestling going on this weekend I’m going to try to write thoughts as/shortly after I watch live instead of the more detailed reviews I do when I have time to rewatch ippvs on demand.
A lot of interesting things on this card, including Ospreay’s debut, the return of Heroes Eventually Die, and a huge rematch for the Evolve Title.
Gargano and Galloway are out first to fire up the crowd big time. Guessing an interview, and indeed that’s what we get. Strong, energetic promo from Galloway. “This is wrestling week!” Gargano takes over and introduces their special corner man: KOTA IBUSHI! Nice surprise to use him in a non-wrestling role tonight. And it looks like we’re going right into their match to start.
Evolve Tag Team Title Match: Johnny Gargano & Drew Galloway (c) The PAB (Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley). PAB can’t team again if these lose. Big match to start out with. SoCal Val and Andrea are in the PAB’s corner. Champs beating the PAB all over ringside early. PAB a bit too methodical when on offense, but good double teams and showing shades of their performance in their match against Team Tremendous at Evolve 56.
… and the feed goes out until this match is over. Announcers don’t even recap for those who missed it. Read from live report that champs retained and PAB is done. This ippv live thoughts experiment isn’t off to the greatest start.
Riddle’s out to interrupt the introductions for the next match and the Evolve Title match is on second?! Well this won’t end decisively. Timothy Thatcher (c) vs Matt Riddle starts with Thatcher dominating, showing the promised aggression he said he owed Riddle after their last encounter. I was at that one live and it was fantastic until the abrupt finish. Same deal here, as they trade vicious holds and reversals until Riddle violently wrenches back on Thatcher’s elbow at five instead of breaking with Thatcher in the ropes. Ref throws it out. Great while it lasted. These two have great chemistry as opponents, and I hope this is all building to a definitive battle between the two.
Marty Scurll vs. Fred Yehi picked things up nicely after the previous flat finish. This is my first time seeing Scurll, and he makes an immediate impression with great charisma and presence. Yehi looked better here to me than in previous outings, and this was a fun match providing a strong debut for Scurll.
Another wrestler who keeps getting better is “All Ego” Ethan Page. He looked quite good trading blows with Sami Callihan, even in defeat. Needed win for Callihan going into his title match with Thatcher tomorrow.
The difference in Ricochet between the early Evolve volumes and now is incredible, and it was wonderful to see him back against TJ Perkins. Perkins isn’t a favorite of mine, but he can rise to the level of his opponents when motivated and they had a good match here. Perkins remembered to act like a heel about halfway through the match, which helped. Crowd was crazy for Ricochet. The People’s Moonsault needs to be a permanent part of his arsenal. Perkins with a rather shocking upset, singling big plans for him. The post match new manager just for him yet still in Catch Point was confusing, but we’ll see where it goes.
Best In The World Challenge Series – The Flyer: Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr. was the semi-main, surprisingly. Ospreay’s another debut tonight and another new to me wrestler, so I was interested to see what all the hype was about. Neither my memory nor words will do this justice. Sabre is on the roll of his life and Ospreay is everything advertised and more. Amazing stuff from start to finish and this really should have gone on last.
Hero comes out for the main event before Zach leaves, and congratulates him on his victories so far. But then reminds him Hero is the Greatest of All Time. “That changes tomorrow.” Great line that very simply builds up tension for their match.
I didn’t envy Heroes Eventually Die (Chris Hero & Tommy End) and Catch Point (Drew Gullak &Tracy Williams) having to follow Sabre vs Ospreay, but they did a good job of reviving the crowd by the end. It went a little long, but built well and all four men are experts at their respective styles. Extremely happy to see End back. His strikes look absolutely BRUTAL. HED’s double team knee strike into the release suplex was insane. HED is my favorite team in wrestling right now, but Catch Point’s victory was the right call going into their title match tomorrow. Hero goes to the back without End. Wonder if that might be foreshadowing. TJP taunts End in the ring about their match tomorrow.
There were a couple of hiccups (including the technical problems and the mind boggling decision not to put Sabre vs Ospreay last), but this show provided the usual high quality wrestling Evolve is known for and overall started off WWN’s weekend on a high note. Definitely catch the replay.