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ICYMI: Evolve Wrestling May 31 results: Drew Galloway vs. Strong, Richards vs. Gulak

From Queens, NY & submitted anonymously  

Ethan Page defeated Johnny Gargano by referee stoppage when Page chocked out Gargano with the "GargaNoEscape" along with a string a round Gargano's throat. 

The entire Johnny Gargano-Ethan Page program has been underwhelming.  After the two month build up, they basically had a just a regular match.   The art of a grudge match is something that is lost on the indies today.  Though workers today are more athletic, they are way behind the workers of the past in how to tell a proper story when it comes to being a grudge match. They should have made this match look like a fight.  Page clowned around in the beginning which didn't put me in the mindset that this was a grudge match.   It was just a regular match it would have been good, but since they are trying to sell this as a grudge it made this a poor match.

Trevor Lee pinned Rich Swan in 10:48 with a flipping belly to belly duplex 

Solid match by both.  The more and more I watch Rich Swann, the more I become a fan of this guy.  The guy is talented all around. My gut feeling it won't be long until the WWE signs him up for NXT.   Trevor Lee is definitely an up and coming talent on the indies who is getting a lot of hype.  He deserves it as he is good, but he just needs to work on connecting with the crowd.  His lack of facial expressions stands out.  He is still young, so it should come over time if he wants to step up his game.    Ten minutes of action was perfect as the match did not drag.

Rey Horus pinned Tracy Williams with a huracarana in 5:11

Way too short to develop into anything other then a quick TV match.  The more I see of Rey Horus, the more it stands out how green he is.  He definitely needs a veteran or a dance partner who is also good at the Lucha Libre style in the ring with him.  I am a fan of style clashes, so seeing Tracy Williams catch style countering Horus's lucha style was entertaining while it lasted.

After the match, the Premier Athlete Brand of Anthony Nese and Caleb Konely attacked Horus.   Tracy Williams and Drew Gulak (Williams's second) just left without helping Horus.  Which was weird since Williams and Horus shook hands before the match and Gulak worked as a babyface later on in the night.   TJ Perkins made the save and it set up.......

Premier Athlete Brand of Anthony Nese & Caleb Konely w/ SoCal Val defeated TJ Perkins & Rey Horus in 9:52 when Konely pinned Horus after a moonsault off the top rope. 

I hate impromptu matches.  They never make any sense.  TJP helped Horus because back at the Evolve shows in San Jose, CA in March,  PAB turned on TJP after a six-man tag.   They match was okay, choppy most of the match.  Horus took the heat, but later looked lost many of times as they worked towards the finish.  The standout again was Caleb Konely.  As I keep saying, he is one of the only guys on this roster who understands how to work heel.  Konely pinned Horus for the second time (he pinned him in a singles match at EVOLVE 41), so they maybe building to Horus beating Konely down the line. 

Biff Busick defeated "Speedball" Mike Bailey in 10:04 with a bulldog choke. 

At this point, Evolve 44 had been a so-so card, but these last three matches really made the show.  Biff Busick and Mike Bailey was a lot of fun.  Love how Bailey has created his style around his Tai Kwon Do or Karate style.   On the indies today, everyone works damn nearly the same, but this kid is standing out.  Busick is one of the top indies workers on the planet today and showed it here guiding Bailey through a great match.   They have worked together many of times in the past, so they have their story down.  Bailey at one point did a standing moonsault into a double knee drop that did not look fun for Busick.  He also did a top rope shooting star double knee drop as Busick was hunched over.  First time I had ever seen that and it was nasty.   Busick got the win with the bulldog choke and Bailey sold the choke perfectly.  I really hope Bailey works on his body and gear because he has so much potential.  Until then, he reminds of Mikey Whipwreck .

Davey Richards pinned Drew Gulak in 18:48 with a roundhouse kick. 

Loved this match, but the crowd didn't seem educated on the submissions both men put on each other.  The crowd respectfully clapped during the match, but there was no real heat.  Both understand submissions and how to sell them, so for me this was a lot of fun.  I always liked Davey Richards, but stopped paying attention to him when he went to TNA.  Seeing him back with Evolve has been a real pleasure and I look forward to seeing him versus Drew Galloway, Timothy Thatcher and Biff Busick in the future.  Gulak is always solid all the way around with his ring work.  He can do it all.   There was a fun little moment in the opening when both had leg locks on each other in the middle.  Each kept cranking on it, but neither would submit.  Both shook hands while still in the hold and agreed to release each other and start back up on their feet.  Gulak kept focusing in locking on the ankle lock for the submission throughout the match.  He always went back for that hold and told a great story.   The crowd picked up more towards the end with the bigger moves and Davey Richards won with his running roundhouse kick as Gulak was seated.   Richards has won four straight since returning to Evolve,  so a title shot should go to him in the near future.  Really looking forward to that title match with Galloway.

EVOLVE Champion Drew Galloway pinned Rodrick Strong in 22:55 with five double arm DDT's 

Another great match between these two.  The Galloway vs Strong program has been fun and each time they put on a great match.   Only thing I found weird was they did the cage match the meeting before instead of the final meeting.   Cage match used in a middle of the program always is ass backwards booking.  Galloway and Strong delivered another hard hitting match.   It was a lot of strikes with punches, knees, elbows and big clotheslines.   They made it look like a grueling fight unlike Gargano-Page did in their "grudge match".    Galloway finally put Strong away with five double arm DDT's.   It was a bit overkill, but Galloway's facial expressions and Strong's selling made it work.

After the match Galloway cut his usual rally cry for Evolve and pro wrestling.   He does it every show and honestly and I never get tired of hearing it.   I really hope he gets recognition in the upcoming WON Year End Awards for Wrestler Of The Year and even Comeback Of The Year.   Galloway put over Strong after defeating him.   During his promo the Premier Athlete Brand came out with their manager SoCal Val and attacked Galloway.   SoCal Val earlier said if Galloway retains the title, he should give a title shot to one of her Premier Athlete Brand stable members and Galloway agreed.  SoCal Val told Galloway that in July that Galloway will face Trent Baretta for the title in July.    I was hoping she would say Caleb Konely, but the announcement of Baretta was a letdown for me personally.  I think Konely should get the title shot based on his work over the last four shows for Evolve with his great heel work.

Overall Thoughts:

This was a good show . The last three matches are worth the price of the IPPV alone, especially if you are into submission wrestling matches as Richards-Gulak was great. I hated the location of the event as it was some fire station in New York.  It was weird seeing the fire fighter uniforms hanging in the background and some motor home in the background.   I would love see Evolve spend a little more on production.  They have a really good product and they should present it better.   You pay to watch this IPPV and then you see this low rent building they are in and you question what did youI just buy.  Luckily for me, I know the talent on the card and I know the effort in the ring will be great.  But, for a new fan, it could be a turn off.  I understand the struggles of the indy scene and venue's are tough to get, but they could have done better.