Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Matches from EVOLVE 59 4/2/16

1. Drew Galloway/Johnny Gargano vs. Drew Gulak/Tracy Williams

ER: This started out more mundane than I was hoping for, but the second half was killer. Williams at this point seems like a guy with some high peak performances, whose floor usually falls somewhere in the bland territory. I did enjoy some of his rolling with Gargano, even if a lot of it looked a little too smooth and floaty. Galloway takes a nice post bump to the floor, but the first half of this really did drag. BUT the first half does set up some neat stuff that gets cashed in during the second half. Reversals, payoffs, longer term stuff. So you can't say the first half was a waste, at all. Gargano's hot tag run was fun, and when he hit the superman spear I was already thinking it seemed like something that shouldn't work. So when Williams caught it late in the match and planted him with a brainbuster, I was a satisfied customer. I also really liked Gulak and Gargano's strike exchange, Gulak especially. It started out with normal open strikes and then Gulak ramped up faster and suddenly he was blocked and going to the body and it looked awesome. Made it seem so much more special than a typical exchange. Gulak and Williams had some fun double teams, especially loved when Gargano was trying to lock the chickenwing onto Gulak, and Gulak made a blind tag and whipped Gargano off him and right into a nasty Williams lariat. Timing was impeccable on it. We get a nice run of well timed "I hit this guy, someone hits me, someone hits him" offense that can come off like something they rehearsed in slo mo in the back, but here came off much more like familiarity with opponents. Probably went too long, but also possible the first half made it seem longer than it really was. Still a quality tag.

2. Chris Hero vs. Fred Yehi

PAS: Really great bully performance by Hero he is totally contemptuous of Yehi making fun of his height, smacking him around really being an asshole. Yehi fights back with his nasty offense including stomping on his instep and ankle. Hero gets more and more frustrated and more and more violent. Hero is just unloading on Yehi landing some disgusting shots to the back of Fred's head. Meanwhile Yehi is doing an awesome job of dying on his shield. Overmatched but game youngster versus vicious veteran is a classic wrestling trope and both guys do it great. Wouldn't think that superman shirt IWA-MS Chris Hero would turn into Tenryu, but he is a great Tenryu.

ER: Phil knows how much I love the overmatched youngster against cranky veteran, so I was pretty amped for this one, and I gotta say it delivered. Dismissive Hero is a wonderful thing and while dismissive Hero never really gets total comeuppance, it's always a treat to see guys try. Yehi has a bunch of great little things to annoy opponents with, stomps to annoying places, strikes you don't expect, and annoyed Hero is fun for the viewer and rarely fun for the opponent. The mat stuff was cool and weirdly unexpected, as Yehi matches tend to be sub 10 and I didn't expect them to run with a bunch of cool reversals to start. But they work several cool things around arms, and my favorite early moment was when Yehi was up on the middle buckle and Hero was antagonizing him, and Yehi jumped off at him to grab a headlock in mid air. It looked like when one housecat is sitting on the back of the couch, and the other housecat is being an asshole and not letting him jump down, so he just wiggles his butt and jumps right down onto that asshole cat. And Hero was being a real asshole bully housecat here. Hero would do some signature offense, but in more aggravating ways, namely when he roughly grabbed his cravate. There was no finesse to it, he just kind of grabbed Yehi's head in his hands and wrestled them into cravate position and kind of yanked him down to the mat. It felt like he really wanted to show Yehi how domineering he was. Loved when Yehi did a Flair roll up the buckles and Hero was way ahead of him and met him with a pump kick, sending Yehi off the apron. They got crossed up during a couple strike exchanges, but it kind of made it look like both guys trying to fake the other out, trying to get the other to take the bait. All the shots to the back of Yehi's head looked pretty gross, and you assumed Yehi didn't have a chance, but both men are so damn good at their roles that they just take you along.

3. Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

PAS: Very cool clash of mat styles, I really loved the way Riddle would counter out of a wacky Sabre british hold with an armbar or ankle lock, and Sabre would flip out of a choke into a goofy wrist lock. It reminded me a bit of the early UWF matches when some one like Marty Jones would come in and work Maeda or Kido. Both guys are little rougher around the edges then true masters of their style, but I appreciate ambition in mat wrestling, and there was ambition in spades. Some of the stand up was a bit wonky, ZSJ needs to take that crappy looking penalty kick and bury it deep in the ground, and Riddle will still pull some stuff a bit when he should just lay out, still you watch this match for the grappling and that was a blast. Always loved the Twister in MMA, and it is a nifty move to bring into pro-wrestling.

ER: I also liked this, and Phil's "Marty Jones coming to UWF" was an apt comparison. This had plenty of cool escapes and subs which was exactly what I was hoping for. Sabre twists Riddle up a bunch, and does a bunch of neat little things like grabbing the opposite leg on a drop toe hold or all the ways he would try bending Riddle's arm. Riddle grabbing the Muto lock was probably my favorite moment, as Sabre was making faces as if he were actually being choked. It looked painful as hell, and Sabre grabbing Riddle's hand and bending it back to get him to break was worked as more of a desperation escape than normal. Usually the hand bending is more sadistic or show-offy, so I liked it as a last gasp. Riddle's throws were really impressive and Sabre always folds in fun ways when tossed. 10 minutes was the perfect length as we didn't devolve into silly strike exchanges and instead mostly went from mat stuff to throws to finish.

ER: I skimmed or skipped over the rest of the show, cherry picking the stuff that really interested me. And my instincts were pretty good as Yehi/Hero and Riddle/Sabre both landed on our 2016 ONGOING MOTY MASTER LIST, and that's always a good thing.



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