EVOLVE 125 (4.4.19) review

EVOLVE 125 (4.4.19) review

EVOLVE 125

 

I finally managed to actually locate the EVOLVE PPV section of their website. It’s taken me days to do so. The layout is painfully awful and user unfriendly, which is perfectly in line with the terrible product they routinely put out. Now let’s get this shit done so I don’t have to deal with them for another year.

 

April 4 2019

 

EVOLVE only has one good venue and we’re in it. EVOLVE has always been a big deal in previous years but this year? I did not care and it’s dropped into the back end of the week.

 

Adrian Jaoude vs. Harlem Bravado

Comms mentions Bravado’s experience in Europe over the last two years and I struggle to remember seeing him at all. He worked the camps but nowhere important. The match is just getting started when Jaoude taps Bravado out with his jujitsu shit.

Final Rating: *1/4

 

Kazusada Higuchi vs. Curt Stallion

EVOLVE are taking the piss here. They have Higuchi and they give him Stallion? Fuck off. At least he got to wrestle JD Drake on the Mercury Rising show and got to show what he could do. Higuchi mostly just murders Stallion and it’s an extended squash. An 11 minute long extended squash.

Evolve1Higuchi

Does anyone buy into Stallion hooking an abdominal stretch? Anyone? I do enjoy the match though because Stallion acts dumb and tries to fight Higuchi and gets repeatedly murdered for it. Doctorbomb eventually puts Stallion down for three after a battling performance. It was way too long but I appreciate Higuchi taking Stallion lightly and having Curt fire up and make it competitive.

Final Rating: ***

 

Promo Time: Josh Briggs

He’s here after dislocating his hip on EVOLVE 124. That looked nasty.

Evolve1Briggs

He promises to come back and win the title, which brings out Austin Theory. He kicks Josh’s leg out from under his leg and mockingly walks around on crutches. Briggs gets back up, hits the chokeslam and there’s a match set for when he’s healthy.

 

The Beaver Boys (John Silver & Alex Reynolds) vs. AR Fox & Leon Ruff

I really enjoyed the Beaver Boys in Beyond. Ruff caught my eye on Mercury Rising. AR Fox escapes another Cutter here. I saw him do that repeatedly all weekend. You’d think people would learn. The match is at its best when it’s Silver vs. Ruff. I want a singles match guys. Leon Ruff is a guy I didn’t know before this weekend and he’s really impressed me. They keep a great tempo here with Fox pulling out the best work he did all weekend. With the abundance of scrambles this weekend the spicy hot tag bouts have almost taken a back seat (thus allowing War Raiders to steal the show at NXT). They have some great false finishes here and superb team work. It’s a low key great match on a weekend loaded with good stuff. Fox’s 450 Splash finishes but this could have gone either way and gotten nicely over. Fun!

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Anthony Henry vs. Darby Allin

Darby, one of the biggest dropped balls in WWN’s history, is on his way out after this weekend. It boggles the mind that they failed to pull the trigger on him. It should be a lesson to everyone at WWN that if you get over you should leave. The only people who’ve left WWN on good terms area the ones who’ve directly signed for WWE (Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Donovan Dijak, Stokely Hathaway etc). This is supposed to be a match driven by hate but, despite a couple of sick dives, the hearts are not in it. Mainly because Darby is leaving and there’s nothing after this. Henry “stomps out” Darby and that’s the finish. Crowd are not happy. This could have been legitimately great but knowing Allin was leaving makes the result pretty obvious.

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Final Rating: **1/4

 

Colby Corino vs. Angelo Dawkins

Montez Ford finds Colby’s lack of size amusing and proceeds to make a mockery of the midgets that inhabit the indies.

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Dawkins just throws him around for a few minutes and finishes with a Spear.

Final Rating: NR (squash)

 

WWN Championship

JD Drake (c) vs. Angelo Dawkins

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Drake turns up with the WWN title and gives Dawkins a title shot right now.

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This legitimately gets a “holy shit” chant but the head band does land on the rope, which is pretty awesome. They have a solid match. It’s pretty hard-hitting. Dawkins isn’t a particularly good wrestler but he’s a decent hand. This is all part of his learning curve. Speaking of learning curves; if Drake could stop doing that corny looking Stunner then that would be great. Moonsault finishes. We’re done inside ten minutes. This was perfectly fine.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Promo Time: Stokely Hathaway

Evolve1Stoke

Stoke wanted to be added to the title match tonight but WWE told him he wasn’t allowed to. Hathaway puts EVOLVE over for putting him in a place where he could get signed by WWE. Pretty much the best thing EVOLVE has accomplished in their storied history.

 

Shane Strickland vs. Montez Ford

Evolve1Strickland

This is Strickland’s last match in EVOLVE (probably). This could potentially have been a nice goodbye but Shane is part of a heel group called The Unwanted so he’s working heel and it’s such a waste. Add Strickland to the list of guys who’ve been misused by EVOLVE and yet he’s also signed for WWE. Swings and roundabouts. This match is surprisingly flat. Strickland working purely heel doesn’t help. During the match I start to wonder why they didn’t just book the Street Profits in a tag match but hey, it’s EVOLVE. This goes well past the ten minute mark and feels a lot longer. Montez is not someone I have any desire to see wrestle in singles for 12 minutes. He finishes with a frogsplash and Shane takes another L on his way to Florida.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

EVOLVE Tag Team Championship

Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy (c) vs. Konosuke Takeshita & MAO

Evolve1MAO

MAO is extremely apologetic to Gacy every time he attempts something and gets overpowered. He’s such a polite boy. If MAO is the prince of entertainers then Eddie is the King(ston). His early sell of Takeshita’s heavy hands is a delight and he continues in that vein all match long. The champs do a good line in power offence while the challengers are creative and great at double teams. It’s a really good match but it’s not overly spotty like the earlier match so we have two different but equally good tag matches. When this one does break down they make a point of retaining the style and nature of the contest as a whole. The match is over just as I’m starting to really feel it and Gacy plants MAO for the pin.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

EVOLVE Championship

Austin Theory (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Evolve1Higuchi

This is very technically solid, as you’d expect. O’Reilly is a great mat grappler and always has been. I’m glad he’s getting his due. Of all the Undisputed Era dudes he’s the one that deserved a big career the most. Just a shade ahead of Roddy. Shame about the baggage they’re stuck with. Theory is fine. Good conditioning, good move set but not having that single defining characteristic to make me care about him. It doesn’t help that he feels rehearsed. He’s very safe looking. Which is fine in the WWE world. You want everything to be safe and pre-planned and organised but I like my wrestling to be a little more on the edge than that. There are signs of it here but it comes in bits and flashes and I don’t feel emotionally connected in the slightest. Luckily Kyle is such a great technician that I’m still mentally drawn into the work. The match has a bland template with Theory even going as far as to try and walk out with the belt. It’s like a meal where all the ingredients are really well cooked but there’s no sauce and me? I fucking love the sauce. At least Theory has a cool looking finish. The crowd lose their shit post match as Fish and Roddy run in.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Summary:

This didn’t need to be pushing three hours long and at times this show dragged, which has been a rarity this weekend. It was not completely without merit. There were some really good matches, especially the Fox & Ruff tag. It’s just that the weekend was rammed full of shows and this does nothing to stand out unless you’re a big old mark for NXT and in which case there was also an NXT show this weekend that was pretty spiffy.

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