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Evolve iPPV rundown for 3-8 in Deer Park, NY

Name withheld by request

1) Biff Busick d. Martin Stone by Submission with a RNC:  Solid opening match that was hard hitting.  Stone was solid, but not really impressive.  I thought his gear made him look indy.  Busick is quickly becoming one of the best workers on the indy scene. **

2) Team Tremendous (Bill Carr & Dan Barry) d. Jody Kristofferson & Earl Cooter when Dan Barry pinned Cooter:   Bad match.  Team Tremendous does do a lot of innovative moves, but their heat is really bad.  Earl Cooter is the same way.  His heat is horrible and he Dan Barry seemed off early.  Jody Kristofferson is getting huge and looks like a real ass kicker now.  I still believe he is best booked as a babyface, but he looked great doing power moves.  Bill Carr looks just like a young Ray Traylor and even dresses like Big Bubba Rogers.  The guy is impressive with his speed and agility for his size.   The highlight of the match was Carr doing a satellite head scissors on Kristofferson.  Carr's work has a comedy in it, but if he focused on being an ass kicker type, he would find himself getting over big time.  Too many indy workers get caught up being "tongue and cheek" out in the ring.  That is fine if you want to be a weekend warrior, but not if you want to work main events in my opinion.  Honestly, I really wish they could have just booked Carr vs Kristofferson in a battle of the big man. *

3) AR Fox pinned Matt Cage  with a 450 splash:  Total spot fest match.   AR Fox reminds me of Sabu in the way he throws his body with suicidal dives.  He is of course a lot more graceful with his flying compared to a younger Sabu, but he is equally as nuts.  Difference is though, Sabu had a unique charisma and look.   Fox needs to stop "clapping" every time he throws a kick.  It is the old "knee slapping" for sound, but it was just way too obvious here.   Matt Cage was impressive and has bright future.  He did an insane rolling tope and flew over the guard rail and into the front row ala Super Calo back in the late 90's.   Fox hit a springboard 450 and Cage kicked out, but they should have gone home there since that was the peak of the match.   Finish was Fox winning with a 450 splash off the top rope, but the springboard 450 was more impressive. *1/2

4) Chris Hero pinned Drew Gulak with a tombstone piledriver:  Match Of The Night.  Easily the best thing on the show.  After a spot fest in the previous match, these two came out and put on a believable match with grappling and strikes.   In the previous match, fans reacted to moves, but here with facial expressions and storytelling, these guys really had the fans emotionally invested. Gulak's facial expressions are great and also his fire in fighting back.  Hero played is role to perfection as he kept delivering the punishment.  I highly recommend this match. ****

Post match angle between Hero and Busick was also great.  It made you really want to see their match in San Jose.  In my opinion Hero versus Busick has the potential to be one of the best matches of the entire Wrestlemania weekend.

5) PJ Black pinned Caleb Konely with a spring board 450 splash:  The former Justin Gabriel now known as PJ Black looked good in his first post-WWE match.  Everything was solid and Caleb Konely really looked good here.   Lot's of action and high flying.  Konely did a spinning DDT off the ring apron and to the floor on Black.   That was a bit scary with the cramped ringside area.  During the match, AR Fox did commentary.  He was funny at times, but saying inside terms like "I thought they were going home there" was really eye rolling.  He was out there talking about his upcoming match in two weeks in San Jose.   They seems to be a battle of 450's.   PJ Black went over with a springboard 450, which really put more emphasis on that the springboard 450 should have been the finish of the Fox-Cage match earlier. ***

6) Davey Richards d Anthony Nese by submission:  This match was good, but it went nearly 20 minutes and dragged after about 10 minutes.  Giving guys too much time can hurt the match, especially guys with a fast paced style.  Honestly, 12-15 minutes is pefect for this style.  Since they followed a match with a similiar style, it hurt this match a lot.   Also, they did a lot of moves that we previously already had seen a few times earlier in the show.  ** 3/4

7) Steel Cage Match: Roderick Strong d. Drew Galloway by TKO:  I watched this event on demand and not live and apparently it took an hour to put up the cage.  When the IPPV started the first thing I thought was how would they fit a cage in there.  The cage was huge and instead of being on the apron, the cage went to the floor.  When the strapped the cages together, it bowed thus creating pace at all four corners.  Looked hokey, but it honestly did not hurt this match which was very good.   Both guys really put out an effort in which the match looked like a fight.  You really believed these two guys hated each other.  *** 3/4

The finish was interesting, but yet confusing.   First the finish looked great with Galloway stuck between the ring and the cage and Strong continuing to do running sliding dropkicks for the TKO finish.  I am only confused because Galloway has title matches coming up in two weeks and you would not want your champion beaten going in.  Plus the cage match was so brutal that it felt like the end of this program, but I guess it will continue.   After the match, PJ Black came in and ran Strong off, but then asked Galloway to make their match a title shot in San Jose in two weeks.  Galloway agreed, but it was in a way that it did not add any steam to their match in San Jose.  Galloway then cut a promo asking for a unification match with Johnny Gargano who is the Dragon Gate USA champ that same San Jose weekend at the WWN SuperShow.   Glad that is happening because I was always confused on which title was more important in Evolve.

Overall Thoughts: I ordered this event to catch up with Evolve  leading into the events in two weeks in San Jose.  It was a really good show for the fact of the great Hero/Gulak match and the Galloway/Strong cage match.  What really could have improved the overall show was if they cut out the tag team match and also cut some of the match times down, especially on the Richards-Nese match.   For the money,  would highly recommend this IPPV, especially the money is worth it for the Hero/Gulak match alone.