About Us  |   Contact

EVOLVE 72 recap: The FloSlam era begins

The FloSlam era began at EVOLVE 72 with the promotion's first show on the new streaming service, but that didn't bring a change for the EVOLVE Championship.

Timothy Thatcher's reign continued as he picked up the win over Drew Gulak in a Squared Circle of Survival match. The ropes were deconstructed before the battle began and there were no holds barred in the match. The two had another good brawl to follow up their street fight at EVOLVE 71, and the stipulations greatly enhanced the last two matches of the feud.

They tore apart the ring as the match went on. Gulak seemed to almost have the win with a sick looking dragon sleeper, but Thatcher fought out of it. Thatcher retained his title in a somewhat flat finish with a back suplex on the exposed ring.

A dejected Gulak said that Catch Point had failed after the match and left his partners behind. Drew Galloway came out and said that the only mission he's concerned with right now is exterminating Matt Riddle, but Riddle only said "Bro" before leaving a furious Galloway and DUSTIN to close the show.

Unfortunately, what should have been a landmark night for EVOLVE was marred by comments made by Joey Styles on commentary shortly before the main event began. Styles was overbearing all night to the point where it became an annoyance, but an incredibly tasteless misogynistic and politically-themed joke he made was particularly heinous.

Gabe Sapolsky apologized for Styles' comments almost immediately and confirmed that they have parted ways with him. The quick action should be applauded, but it was really the only choice to be made. You have to trust someone to give them a live microphone and Styles failed in the worst way tonight. 

The high point in the show came right before Styles' comments as Chris Hero and "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams put on a genuine EVOLVE Match of the Year contender. The two have amazing chemistry, which was evident in their match earlier this year at EVOLVE 56. This might have been even better with Williams coming even more into his own since then, and Hero continues to show that he might be the best wrestler in the world. The sheer amount and variety of his great 2016 matches is becoming mind blowing.

Williams got the surprise win by getting Hero to tap out to the crossface. The match started hot with Williams taking it to Hero and they exchanged stiff strikes almost all match long. In a clever spot, Hero used Williams' own shirt against him and threw it at him for a distraction before hitting a strike. They traded massive near falls with Williams kicking out of a piledriver and Hero kicking out at one after a lariat and then at two after another before Williams finally got the win.

The FloSlam era kicked off with Matt Riddle as the first wrestler to pick up an EVOLVE win on the streaming service. Riddle figures to play a huge part in both EVOLVE and FloSlam's plans, and he started things off with a solid match against DUSTIN. Riddle won after hitting the Bro to Sleep and a fisherman buster into a cradle.

Catch Point was also successful with Fred Yehi beating Jason Kincaid in the next match. Yehi got the win with the Koji clutch, but Kincaid continued to impress in EVOLVE and would be a great addition to the promotion's roster. He hit a nice looking sunset flip powerbomb into the guardrail earlier in the match.

In a match that's likely to have future title match implications, Ethan Page stayed on the winning track by beating Zack Sabre Jr. The Gatekeepers were by Page's side for the match, but he surprisingly got a clean win over Sabre by hitting the spinning Dwayne after a good closing sequence. Page called out Cody Rhodes after the match.

Tony Nese wrestled twice in the night, first getting a win over NXT's Tommy End in a dark match that was added to the card after Galloway wasn't able to compete due to injury. Nese then appeared on the live show by turning a scheduled Darby Allin vs. Chris Dickinson singles match into a tag team affair. Dickinson teamed with Jaka in a winning effort over Allin and Nese. At one point earlier in the match, Allin botched a dive to the outside multiple times before just flipping himself onto a sea of bodies.

Dickinson complained about not having a permanent spot in EVOLVE before the match, and seemed to possibly move towards that goal with his team getting the win with Total Elimination.

Final thoughts:

It would be hard for me to recommend giving EVOLVE and FloSports your money if Sapolsky didn't come out so strongly against what Styles said, but they deserve credit for their quick action. I'm not sure if his failed joke will be edited out or not, but he was bad enough on commentary that his presence will still be unwelcome otherwise.

But it would be impossible for me not to recommend a show that had a match as good as Hero vs. Williams. Everything else was at least watchable, with Thatcher vs. Gulak, Riddle vs. DUSTIN, and Yehi vs. Kincaid as probably the other best bouts on the show.

EVOLVE returns tomorrow with a show from Joppa, MD with the third match in the Hero vs. Riddle trilogy, Nese vs. Thatcher for the title, Gulak vs. Sabre, and more.

UPDATE: Thatcher suffered a concussion on tonight's show and won't be able to compete tomorrow.

EVOLVE 72 results:

  • EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher w/ Stokely Hathaway defeated Drew Gulak to retain his title
  • "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams defeated Chris Hero
  • "All Ego" Ethan Page w/ The Gatekeepers defeated Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Chris Dickinson & Jaka defeated Darby Allin & Tony Nese
  • Fred Yehi defeated Jason Kincaid
  • Matt Riddle defeated EVOLVE Tag Team Champion DUSTIN
  • Tony Nese defeated Tommy End (dark match)