Tremendous Tirades 5.09.14: EVOLVE 29 on iPPV
Posted by Larry Csonka on 05.10.2014
EVOLVE rebounds following a disappointing show over WrestleMania weekend…
As a reminder, this will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard. Remember, this is a review; and I am here to review the show. As always, I encourage discussion and even disagreement, just do so in a respectful manner. I will be doing the review for Raw and most PPVs and iPPVs going forward.
EVOLVE 29 iPPV
The ring they are using has the dirtiest mat I have seen in some time. Hope no one gets staph from that.
Blake Edward Belakus defeated JT Dunn w/Shelly Martinez (6:00): Both guys have made appearances on WWNLive events, and are looking to make a lasting impression and get booked more. I haven't seen a ton of either guy, but hope they deliver on the bigger stage. Both guys worked really hard, and the crowd was very receptive to what they were doing, which was nice to see. Both guys have a lot of potential to add something to the WWNLive shows going forward, and wouldn't mind seeing them both back. They got six-minutes and did well, not the smoothest of matches, but there is talent there. I really want to see some more from both, but the match was a good way to kick off the show. Match Rating: **½
Open The United Gate Tag Champions The Bravados defeated Ethan Page & Josh Alexander in a non-title match (14:00):
The Bravados have turned into a Midnight Express like team, with enforcer and grandmother supporting them. They refuse to use the "Dragon Gate" tag rules, instead using the traditional rules of tag team wrestling. The problem has been that while they are great in ring performers, too much have been put into the gimmick side, and while the Midnights were still having great matches, The Bravados have been not as exciting due to the gimmick being the main focus. When The Bravados are allowed to wrestle on top of their gimmick, they are great. I was very happy to see Ethan Page & Josh Alexander back. From the limited performances I have seen, they are a fun team and would be a great addition to the roster. Strong performances by all involved here, with the crowd really enjoying Ethan Page & Josh Alexander. The Bravados even stole some of the Young Bucks moves during the match, which was a nice way to keep that feud in the minds of the fans. Page and Alexander looked very strong here, but they fell to the Gentlemen's Agreement. The Bravados winning (and winning clean) is the right call as they are defending the Open The United Gate titles at the next event. The crowd got lost mid-way through, likely because they never actually build to a hot tag; it was a ton of fun back and forth though. Match Rating: ***½
Prior to the match, Su Yung extended an invitation to Uhaa Nation to join the Premiere Athlete Brand.
Rich Swann defeated Caleb Konley w/Su Yung and Mr. A (18:00):
Rich Swann is awesome and has done nothing but improve in all aspects of his game in the last two years. He's charismatic, does amazing moves, has learned when to do them and honestly the kind of guy that TNA should have picked up to build a revamped X-Division around. Konley is a guy that the WWNive family is high on, usually delivers good performances, but has never caught on. The Scene was a failure, his singles run after that was lackluster and forced, and now he is onto the premiere Athlete Brand. Konley is one of those guys that always has good matches, but you're just waiting for him to have that break out performance. They built this as if they were going really long, with a nice and deliberate pace at the beginning. The crowd actually stayed with them all the way through that process, and then exploded when Swann started coming back with all of his cool looking offense. Konley was working really well here, good in ring stuff, but his paced, mannerisms and aggression as a heel really clicked here. Part of that is having a great babyface to work with, part of that is that Konley is just getting it. After some great nearfalls, they got into this sick back and forth striking battle, which the crowd just ate up. They bordered on going too long here, sometimes 15 minutes is better than 20 for example; but the kept the crowd, and Swann won with the second rope Phoenix splash. Overall a great match from these two, maybe the best singles match I have seen from Konley. Swann has his big "I Quit Match" at the next show with Gargano, and should have won here, and did. So far the booking is strong, in that it is simple and makes sense. I am starting to like Konley more as he is finally developing into a more well rounded performer. Match Rating: ****
Swann cut a promo about tomorrow's match with Gargano. The mic stopped working, so he then yelled the final part of his promo. The crowd loves this man.
Biff Busick defeated Johnny Gargano (19:00): Gargano lost his Open the Freedom Gate Title over WrestleMania weekend, and then lost the next night to Low Ki. Things are not going well for the former champion, who came to the ring a sad panda, and even got a hug from a fan. Gargano was great in playing up the loss of the title here, as he went to pose in the corner and realized he has no belt to hold high. Here's what you need to know about Biff Busick. He's a Regal/Final style worker (a grappler), is awesome, and needs to be booked more by everyone. This was a damn fine professional wrestling match. Hard hitting, good grappling, and had a completely different feel to anything that was presented so far. Everything had its purpose, there was no bullshit, and it was tremendous. I also love when Busick does something that is usually flashy (like his dive to the floor) and it looks completely out of control and sloppy (but isn't) because he's a grappler that is just throwing his body out there, tossing caution to the win. Busick was relentless in the match with the sleeper/rear naked choke, but got the win with the side headlock takeover into a sort of crossface choke. Gargano was pissed post match. I am torn on the finish, on one hand this is an amazingly big win for Busick, who deserves it. But Gargano has the I Quit match the next show with Swann and just gave up and lost another match. The Swann vs. Gargano matches have been in large fine, but not awesome or anything. This may take away some of the heat for that match. This is my first real questioning of the show's booking thus far. The match went a little too long, as they lost the crowd as they were going towards the finish. Anyway, this was another really good match; your enjoyment will vary depending on how much you like the style. Match Rating: ***¾
Gargano reportedly injured his jaw in the match, and on Saturday afternoon as I was reviewing the show, Gabe Sapolsky announced that Gargano was off of the EVOLVE 30 show. Gargano stated that dislocated/partially fractured my jaw during the match, and EVOLVE pulled him with his best interests in mind. Buzz kill for sure, but completely understandable. Get well Johnny.
Fire Ant & Green Ant defeated Jigsaw & Tim Donst (14:00): I have said it multiple times, I always love when the CHIKARA guys get on these shows. They work hard and always deliver a fun match. This was a good , but disjointed tag match at times. A lot of the usual spots you'd expect from the CHIKARA crew, but some of the early action felt off and. They picked it up as they went down the home stretch, hitting tons of fun stuff and delivering some great near falls. Green Ant locked in the CHIKARA special, but the referee counted a pin instead, because he's stupid. The crowd didn't appreciate that. Fire Ant & Green Ant have a tag title shot tomorrow against the Bravados, so a clean win here is what made sense, and exactly what they did here. Another good tag match, and we're looking good heading into the tag title match at EVOLVE 30. Match Rating: ***½
The Colony cut a post match promo, which brought out the Bravados. They congratulated the Colony on their victory, but then ran down their lack of proper rule following. This led to Moose sneaking into the ring and spearing both members of the Colony.
Drew Gulak defeated Chuck Taylor (16:00): This is fallout from the WrestleMania weekend events, where orange Cassidy and Drew Gulak left Chuck Taylor and the Gentlemen's Club. Poor Chucky T, he just can't maintain lasting friendships. Gulak is much like Busick, a straight-laced grappler type, who was sick of losing and Taylor's wacky antics. Ok, they did something here that completely annoys me. Gulak kicked Taylor's ass and left the Gentlemen's Club. So the first time that Taylor gets a chance to get his hands on Gulak, they just engage in a professional wrestling bout? No, start throwing fists and kicks and go wild, you are supposed to be PISSED OFF. Don't get me wrong, there was aggression in the match, but not the kind of thing you usually get when a stable breaks up. It was a hard-hitting wrestling match, like something contenders would have, not former friends turned enemies. I also have no idea how to take Taylor right now. He was a comedy guy, they tried to make him serious and then forgot/gave up and did more comedy. Now he loses his friends, because they always lost and Taylor was too wacky while they wanted to win. Why exactly should I support him when a guy like Gulak just wants to succeed? Also, Gulak wins clean here by submission, clean; he seems like a good guy here. This was good in the ring, but the points above about the booking were the issue; also the crowd didn't seem to care too much about this. This style of match didn't fit the performers or the feud, in my opinion. I appreciate the work, but it all has to go together to make sense. If the match had some better crowd involvement, or been something different feud wise it would have worked better. Match Rating: ***
Larry Dallas appeared, hopping the rail and waning his job back. As many expected, the announcement of his dismissal was bullshit. You're walking a line when you send out your alerts, which are supposed to be news, and then use that to "work" your fans. Since the beginning of this promotion, no one has done more to make me want to turn it off than Larry Dallas. I am sure they will tell me he is getting "heat," but getting proper "heat" shouldn't make me want to turn off shows. And don't tell me the live crowd loved it, they couldn't even muster up enough fucks to sing the "hey hey, goodbye song". This was the first really stupid thing on the show.
AR Fox and Uhaa Nation w/Ivellise defeated Anthony Nese and Trent Baretta w/Su Yung (17:00): Ivellise being out with Fox and Nation makes perfect sense, as they have used her in the past as Fox's friend to takeout Yung. It's the little things. Nation stated prior to the match that if he lost, he would join the Premiere Athlete Brand. Nation then added if he and Fox won, they would get the rights to book any match that the Premiere Athlete Brand won WrestleMania weekend in the six-man tournament. Yung agreed to the terms. I feel like they just rushed though about six-months of booking there. Christina Von Eerie appeared prior to the bell to attack Ivellise. I would guess that it will set up a SHINE title match. As for the tag match, Nese and Baretta continue to impress; they are damn good. Uhaa Nation is coming off of a great match with YAMATO in Dragon Gate proper, and is getting really good. He is a beat of a man with amazing athletic ability and is putting it all together as a performer. After a long heat segment on Fox, this went into overdrive with everyone going bananas and taking the match to that next level you want out of a main event. Some awesome action and great near falls, playing into the importance of the rushed stipulations. This was awesome, and the fact that it was all action with no bullshit just added to the great work they did in the ring. Match Rating: ****½
Thanks for reading.
EVOLVE started the year strong with three events (EVOLVE 25, 26 and 27), but then shot themselves in the foot with poor booking and bad finishes at EVOLVE 28. They needed to deliver here to make things right, because simply put EVOLVE 28 was an infuriating event. They promised to get back to basics (no interference, no ref bumps, "firing" Larry Dallas) and fix the events going forward.
Well they stuck to that for the most part, although the "Larry Dallas firing" was the work everyone thought it was unfortunately. I just do not see what the man brings to the company, and feel that they can use that spot to give someone else a chance. The mics in the building are still a BIG issue, as they either distort every promo, or do not work. It's hard to tell stories for feuds when the guys cutting promos can almost never be heard. The good news is that the VOD was flawless and looked great.
Overall this was a very strong show, the best of the year from EVOLVE, filled with great wrestling, almost no bullshit, and only a few questions booking wise. Hopefully they can continue the trend at EVOLVE 29.
Show Rating: 7.8
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9:Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
As a reminder, this is not a basic "how good was the show" number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.
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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.