8/8 Evolve 31 results: New Evolve Champion, former WWE wrestlers Evan Bourne and Drew McIntyre return to the ring, Ricochet and Rich Swann vs. Anthony Nese and Caleb Konley
Evolve 31 iPPV
Ybor City, Florida
Report by Dot Net reader Andrew Blum
1. Drew Gulak beat Timothy Thatcher in a Style Battle Round Robin match. Gulak won via ankle lock in about 20 minutes. Great technical match that saw both men trading submissions back and forth.
2. Biff Busick beat James Raideen in a Style Battle Round Robin match. Busick choked Raideen out in about 10 minutes. 3. Los Ben Dejos & Lince Dorado beat The Juicy Product & Jesus de Leon in a FIP Showcase match. Lince Dorado pinned Jesus de Leon after a reverse hurricanrana in about 12 minutes. Fun, fast paced 6 man tag match.
3. Matt Sydal pinned Johnny Gargano. Loud "welcome back!" chants for Sydal during his entrance and the first streamers of the night. Gargano drew good heat for proclaiming "This is my house!" in Sydal's face before the initial lockup. Gargano worked a slow and methodical offense early and was in control for the majority of the match. As the match shifted into second gear, Sydal started getting more offense in and ultimately hit the Shooting Star Press for a pinfall victory at around the 20 minute mark.
After the match, the ring announcer asked Gargano for his feelings on Sydal wanting a shot at Ricochet's Open the Freedom Gate Title. Gargano freaked out and cut a promo on Rich Swann for causing him to lose the belt to Ricochet. Gargano promised to end Rich Swann.
4. Anthony Nese and Caleb Konley (w/Su Young) beat Ricochet and Rich Swann (w/Ivelisse). Gargano was still at ringside when the teams made their entrance. Swann knocked Gargano off the apron with a right hand and the Premier Athlete Brand started brawling with the Inner City Machine Guns before the ring introductions could be made. Konley and Nese isolated Swann in their corner and worked his left knee before Swann made the tag to Ricochet about 15 minutes in. After some back and forth offense, the Premier Athlete Brand picked up the win after Nese hit the 450 splash on Swann at the 23 minute mark.
After the match, Swann grabbed a mic and told Su Young that she didn't have to "hang around with a couple of dicks" and should "come party all night long" with him. Konley flipped the bird to Swann as he and Nese took Young to the back.
5. Drew Galloway beat Chris Hero to win the Evolve Championship. After ring introductions, Hero grabbed a mic and said he was excited when he found out he was wrestling Drew in his first match back, but wasn't excited about the fact that the Evolve title wasn't on the line. "This belt means I'm the best and how can I prove that I'm the best without putting this belt on the line?" Galloway accepted Hero's challenge. The ref rang the bell and we now have a main event title match. Hero's physique seems to be getting worse every time I see him. Funny spot 12 minutes in where Hero played air guitar to the crowd, mocking Galloway's 3MB gimmick.
Hero hit a rolling elbow at ringside, and went for another one but instead hit a metal support beam. Galloway rolled him into the ring and started working Hero's arm. Surprisingly, Galloway hit a double arm DDT at the 17 minute mark to become the new Evolve champion. Hero refused to shake Galloway's hand after the match which drew boos from the crowd and walked out the front door. Galloway cut a passionate promo putting over Evolve to end the show.
Notes: All in all, a decent show to kick off Evolve's big weekend. The opening match was a technical clinic and my favorite match of the night. Sydal's match left a little bit to be desired, but it was still a solid effort from him and Gargano. It's disappointing to see Hero really let his physique go. Galloway seemed very out of breath towards the end of the main event and doesn't look as sharp as the majority of the Evolve roster. It was very interesting to see him win the title after an uninspiring match with Chris Hero.
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