Evolve 129 results: Pipkin’s review of Austin Theory vs. Leon Ruff for the Evolve Championship, Roderick Strong vs. Anthony Henry, Tyler Breeze vs. AR Fox, JD Drake defends the WWN Championship against John Silver, Sean Maluta, and Takuri

By Landon Pipkin, ProWrestling.net contributor (@pipkinbrand)

Evolve 129
Aired live June 28, 2019 on Club WWN and iPPV
Queens, New York at La Boom

Play-by-play voice Lenny Leonard opened the show and thanked the fans for all of their support. He mentioned that on Saturday, July 13, Evolve will make history and become the first Independent wrestling company to air on the WWE Network…

AR Fox, The Skulk, and Ayla made their way to the ring. Fox said they could not let Austin Theory go on the WWE Network as Evolve champion. The crowd began to chant “Ruff Ruff” and Fox said the Skulk has Ruff’s back and tonight is his time. Fox said it’s time for (Adrian) Alanis and Grey to take care business.

1. Adrian Alanis and Liam Grey vs. “Milk Chocolate” Brandon Watts and Randy Summers. While Milk Chocolate was making their way to the ring, Grey immediate went for a dive over the top rope and took out both Watts and Summers. Leonard mentioned on commentary that the winner of this match would be in a four-way elimination tag-team match the next night at Evolve 130. Summers and Watts regained control and made quick tags while keeping Grey away from his corner.

Grey hit a vertical suplex on Watts and both were able to make the hot tag to their respective partners. Alanis took control and cleared the ring. Grey gave a lung blower to Summers and then Alanis hit a discus lariat for a near fall. Watts threw Grey off the top rope and that gave Summers the opportunity to regain control and make the tag. Summers hit a top rope stomp onto Alanis’ back outside the ring. Watts held Grey on the second rope in a DDT position and tagged Summers back in. Summers hit a top rope stomp into a DDT combination and then pinned Grey…

Milk Chocolate “Brandon Watts and Randy Summers” defeated Adrian Alanis and Liam Grey in 5:06.

Pipkin’s Perspective: This was a decisive win for Milk Chocolate and not a bad way to open the show.

2. Harlem Bravado vs. Babatunde. Before either guy touched, the crowd began to chant “Baba’s going to kill you”. Early on, Babatunde no sold chops from Bravado. Babatunde then gave multiple chops to Bravado, which grounded him. The crowd was heavily behind Babatunde. On the outside, Bravado’s attempt at a crossbody was caught by Babatunde, but Bravdo countered and drove Babatunde into the ring post. Leonard pointed out that Bravado is currently in a slump. Babatunde hit a freight train in the corner into a big splash and then scored the pin.

Babatunde defeated Harlem Bravado in 6:11.

Pipkin’s Perspective: Babatunde has defeated all of his opponents in Evolve with easy and this was no exception. Bravado was able to get a little offense in, but Babatunde finished him off fairly quickly. At Evolve 130, Babatunde will face JD Drake for the WWN Title, so this was a good match to keep him looking strong headed into that championship match.

JD Drake interrupted Babatunde’s celebration. Drake came to the ring and thanked Babatunde for saving him from The Unwanted in New York. Drake said he fears no man. Babatunde then threw Drake into the corner and teased chopping him, but said he would see him at Evolve 130.

Drake said that if any of the other wrestlers pinned him in the upcoming four-way freestyle match, he would relinquish the WWN Title to them. But Drake stated he was going to be the one representing WWN on the WWE Network…

3. JD Drake vs. John Silver (w/ Alex Reynolds) vs. Sean Maluta vs. Takuri (if Drake gets pinned he will relinquish the WWN Title to that wrestler). Drake putting his title on the line if he gets pinned plays perfectly into his blue-collar badass character. As soon as the bell rang, all three wrestlers attacked Drake. Drake rolled out of the ring and Maluta hit a top rope senton onto Drake. Four minutes in the short-lived partnership of Silver, Maluta, and Takuri ended. Silver surprised Maluta with a heavy right hand and Takuri with a german suplex. Back and forth action began between Takuri and Maluta. It’s really hard to take Silver serious when on commentary, Leonard keeps saying he’s the meat man. But Silver used his strong style strikes effectively on all three wrestlers. Silver almost scored a victory when he gave a german suplex to Drake while Maluta was on Drake’s shoulders. This got a huge reaction from the crowd. Drake regained momentum and hit Drillbit on Takuri for the victory. Maluta attempted to break up the pinfall, but didn’t get there in enough time…

JD Drake defeated John Silver and Sean Maluta and Takuri in 9:15 to retain the WWN Title.

Pipkin’s Perspective: This was about as sloppy of a finish as you can get. It seemed like Maluta was supposed to break up the pin, but didn’t get there in time. One reason this came off awkward was the way the referee counted the pinfall. On three, it appeared he was trying to stop his arm going down but couldn’t. The crowd was silent and look confused (so did Drake). Other than the finish, this was a solid match for Drake. He was able to withstand three wrestlers and get the victory in under ten minutes. A strong build for Evolve 130’s co-main event between Drake and Babatunde.

4. Brandi Lauren vs. Shotzi Blackheart. Lauren and Blackheart threw fists at the start which weirdly turned into technical wrestling. They brawled to the outside and after ignoring the referees plead to get back in the ring they were disqualified. Fans began to chant “Ref, you suck”. More referees came from the back to help separate the two. Somehow Lauren escaped the referees and hit Blackheart with her own helmet…

Brandi Lauren fought Shotzi Blackheart ended in a No Contest in 4:59.

Pipkin’s Perspective: Lauren and Blackheart are okay wrestlers and the little in-ring work wasn’t bad, but this was an unnecessary match. It accomplished what Evolve wanted though, as Lauren had lots of heat after hitting Blackheart with her own helmet. I assume there will be a gimmick match in the future between Lauren and Blackheart.

5. Josh Briggs vs. Arturo Ruas. The left shoulder of Briggs was heavily taped. Before the bell, loud chants of “Josh Briggs” came from the crowd. Ruas went for multiple takedowns early on which got the best of Briggs. Ruas dominated early on using his speed on the much larger Briggs. The fans rallied behind Briggs and he was able to get a series of offense in. Briggs hit a butterfly suplex on Ruas for near fall. Ruas recovered and scored a near fall of his own with a bridge german suplex. The commentary really put over how dangerous Ruas is with his speed and extensive training in MMA. Briggs was able to give a chokeslam to Ruas, but he kicked out at two. Briggs attempted a chokeslam from the top rope, but Ruas rolled off as they fell down. Ruas locked Briggs in a kneebar and the referee called for the bell. Briggs was clearly upset with the referee’s decision to end the match.

Arturo Ruas defeated Josh Briggs by referee’s decision in 9:25.

Pipkin’s Perspective: For the second time, Ruas has defeated Briggs in Evolve. Ruas is another NXT wrestler who defeated an Evolve wrestler on this show. Briggs was somewhat protected as he didn’t “lose” because the referee stopped the match. But it still counts as a loss on the record books and Evolve is once again feeling like NXT 2.0.

6. “The Unwanted” Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy vs. Anthony Greene and Curt Stallion for the Evolve Tag Team Championship. Kingston and Greene started the match with a collar and elbow tie up. Stallion hit a tope suicida early on and almost went face first into the guard rail. Solid tag-team wrestling by Kingston and Gacy, making quick tags and cutting the ring in half. Greene rallied and hit a diving crossbody on Gacy for a near fall. The Unwanted hit a discus lariat into a german suplex combination, but Stallion just barely kicked out at two. The fans in Queens began to chant “This is awesome”. Gacy hit Stallion with a heavy right hand then Kingston finished him with a suplex for the victory.

“The Unwanted” Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy defeated Anthony Greene and Curt Stallion in 10:11 to retain the Evolve Tag Titles.

After the match, Brandi Lauren came out and entered the ring. She looked at Greene and Stallion and shook her head in disgust. Greene then attacked Stallion. “You sold out” chants came from the crowd as Lauren and Greene shook hands…

Pipkin’s Perspective: Match of the night, so far, but that’s not saying much. Let’s be honest, Greene and Stallion were never credible challengers to The Unwanted as this was their first time teaming together in Evolve. Yes, Greene and Stallion both have big singles wins over top names, but as a tag-team they weren’t credible challengers. Greene really stood out in this match and it appears his first high-profile feud will be against Stallion.

7. Tyler Breeze vs. AR Fox (w/Ayla, The Skulk). Huge pops for both Breeze and Fox during their entrances. Breeze genuinely looked happy to be there. Back and forth action to start with dueling chants for both wrestlers. The Skulk are so distracting at ringside, it really takes away from Fox’s matches. Fox doesn’t need a group of people chanting and dancing at ringside for him. Early on, Fox landed an ace crusher on Breeze for a two count. “This is awesome” chants came from the crowd as Breeze landed a series of superkicks. After a sequence of suicide dives by Fox, Breeze countered with a superkick and threw Fox back in the ring. Breeze hit an Unprettier for the victory.

Tyler Breeze defeated AR Fox in 11:55.

After the match, the fans chanted “both these guys”. Breeze and Fox shook hands as the crowd gave them a standing ovation…

Pipkin’s Perspective: Breeze and Fox put on a great match with the short amount of time they were given. Fox, as usual, worked a great match and Breeze had his working boots on. Fox has always done this, but after he loses a match why is he dancing to the back with the Skulk? He should be disappointed with the outcome of the match. I know most people love the Skulk, but their act is getting stale.

8. Roderick Strong (w/ Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Anthony Henry (w/JD Drake). Henry dominated early on with solid technical wrestling. On commentary, Leonard really put over how Henry is very similar to Strong. On the outside, Henry took control by giving back-to-back running knees to Strong. On the third attempt at a running knee, Strong caught Henry and threw him back first onto the guardrail. Really stiff chops from both guys on the outside which led to Henry falling into the first row. Lots of near falls as Henry hit back-to-back stomps on Strong. After regaining momentum, Strong put Henry in the Strong Hold for the submission win.

Roderick Strong defeated Anthony Henry in 14:18.

After the match, Strong put over Henry by saying, “… Evolve is in good hands with you my friend and that’s, undisputed.” The crowd chanted “Henry”, then Austin Theory’s music hit. Henry said he was tired of Drake saying he was the best champion in Evolve. He then said that this was Leon Ruff’s first main event and it’ll also be his last…

Pipkin’s Perspective: Henry mentioned earlier in the week that this was the biggest singles match in his career and this was by far the best match of his that I’ve seen. Both guys worked really hard and did a lot in only fourteen minutes. It was refreshing to see a member of the Undisputed Era have a match with no outside interference. Henry has a bright future and this was a great showing from him.

9. Austin Theory vs. Leon Ruff for the Evolve Championship. A fast start for Ruff, as he immediately attacked Theory before the introductions were made. Ruff hit a summersault off the top rope to the outside, but Theory caught Ruff and threw him onto the edge of the ring. The crowd popped hard when Ruff hit a DDT out of nowhere for near fall. The referee was distracted when Theory gave a low kick to Ruff and then hit Ataxia for the victory.

Austin Theory defeated Leon Ruff in 12:37 to retain the Evolve Championship.

After the match, Theory said he would be in the main event on the WWE Network defending his Evolve Championship. He said this was just a stepping stone on his path to main eventing WrestleMania. Drake came out and started yelling at Theory when Briggs hit the ring. Briggs said on September 21 (when Evolve returns to La Boom) he has set the date for Austin’s public execution…

Pipkin’s Perspective: This was a good main event match, but as with the tag-team title match, Ruff wasn’t a credible challenger for Theory. Theory will be the Evolve Champion going into the anniversary show on the WWE Network next month. It looks like they’re setting up a JD Drake vs. Austin Theory main event, which should be good. In Theory’s world title run, he hasn’t put on five-star matches, but he plays his character so well that it really doesn’t matter. This was a good show with lots of storyline development heading into Evolve 130.

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