By Landon Pipkin, ProWrestling.net contributor (@pipkinbrand)
Aired live June 30, 2019 on Club WWN and iPPV
Brooklyn, New York at Saint Finbar Catholic Church Gym
As always, play-by-play voice Lenny Leonard opened the show and once again, thanked all the fans in attendance for their support. Harlem Bravado interrupted Leonard. He said when he got to the venue tonight he was informed by Evolve management that he wasn’t on the card, because of the loss he suffered last night. He demanded to be placed in tonight’s opening contest. Bravado also mentioned that if he lost tonight he would leave Evolve.
1. Adrian Alanis (w/ The Skulk) vs. Harlem Bravado vs. Stephen Wolf in a three-way match. Leonard mentioned on commentary that he felt a tension in the locker room before tonight’s show. About a minute in Alanis hit a suicide dive to outside taking out both Wolf and Bravado. Leonard also kept mentioning how there are limited spots left to be on the anniversary show on the WWE Network and that Bravado will do anything to be on that show. Alanis hit a powerbomb on Wolf for a near fall. Bravado intervened and hit an exploder in the corner on Alanis. Wolf hit a shooting star press on Alanis in the middle of the ring, but was unable to make the pin attempt. Bravado hit a low-blow on Wolf right in front of the referee, then he proceeded to kick Alanis below the belt. After the second low blow, the referee called the match…
Adrian Alanis fought Harlem Bravado and Stephen Wolf to a no-contest in a three-way in 9:17.
After the match, Bravado continued his beat down on the Skulk, Alanis, and Wolf.
Pipkin’s Perspective: FINALLY, Harlem Bravado is getting something to work with. This match was a solid opener which is something that Evolve usually excels in. It also established Bravado as a heel, which his character needed. WWN’s newest signing Stephen Wolf really stood out as well.
2. Brandi Lauren (w/Anthony Greene) vs. Natalia Markova. Before the match, fans chanted “You sold out” to Greene, the night before he turned on his tag partner, Curt Stallion. Markova got off to a fast start and hit a big boot for a near fall. Greene distracted Markova which gave Lauren enough time to recover and take control of the match. Lauren hit a middle rope neckbreaker to win the match…
Brandi Lauren defeated Natalia Markova in 4:21.
Pipkin’s Perspective: WWN seems pretty high on Lauren, but she does absolutely nothing for me. Her in-ring work is nowhere near acceptable for even WWN’s standards. This match was just sloppy and unnecessary.
3. Josh Briggs vs. Brandon Taggart. “Who are you” chants came from the crowd directed at Taggart. Briggs took control early on in the match with multiple hip tosses. Leonard kept putting over Taggart and his hometown of Mud Creek, Kentucky. Taggart hit a running shoulder tackle on Briggs which resulted in a near fall. Taggart hit a blue thunder bomb on Briggs which, once again, only resulted in a two count. Briggs regained control of the match and hit a chokeslam for the victory…
Josh Briggs defeated Brandon Taggart in 10:32.
Pipkin’s Perspective: Solid match early on in the show. Taggart really impressed me with his performance. At first, I was skeptical this match could even be average, but I was proven wrong.
4. Curt Stallion vs. Sean Maluta. Collar and Elbow tie up started the match. Stallion botched a standing head scissors early on, but the crowd rallied behind him despite that. Stallion executed a perfect German suplex into a bridge for near fall. On Commentary, Leonard, would not stop putting over the WWE Network show. I know he’s probably being told to put it over, but it’s already annoying and we’re only four matches in. Maluta and Stallion exchanged stiff strikes back and forth with Stallion getting the better of the two. After regaining control, Maluta hit a shining wizard for a near fall. Maluta attempted a codebreaker from the top rope, but there seemed to be a miscommunication and Maluta barely made contact with Stallion. Maluta hit a senton off the apron, then immediately landed a frog splash for a near fall. Stallion recovered and hit a diving headbutt on Maluta for the win…
Curt Stallion defeated Sean Maluta in 10:52.
Pipkin’s Perspective: By far the most disappointing match of the show. I was really looking forward to this match, but neither wrestler seemed to be on. The miscommunication throughout really hurt the match.
5. JD Drake vs. Babatunde for the WWN Championship. Drake got a massive pop when his music hit. Lots of “Drake” chants came from the crowd during introductions. Austin Theory joined Leonard on commentary for this championship match. Babatunde got the best of Drake at the start with heavy chops. Drake’s chest looked like raw meat, five minutes into the match. Drake attempted a crossbody from the second rope, but Babatunde caught him in mid-air. The crowd popped pretty hard for that. Drake hit a cannonball in the corner and then followed up with a Drake bomb from the second rope, which resulted in a near fall. Babatunde and Drake were exchanging chops in the middle of the ring when The Unwanted interfered, resulting in a no contest.
JD Drake fought Babatunde to a no-contest in 6:21, Drake retains the WWN Championship.
After the match, The Unwanted continued their beat down on Drake and Babatunde. Eventually, Drake and Babatunde would get both members of The Unwanted separated and gave them chops, simultaneously. The Unwanted ran to the back as Babatunde chased them. Drake remained in the ring, as Austin Theory left the commentary booth and made his way onto the stage. Theory said Drake just had a throw-away match. Theory also reiterated his statement from last night that Drake doesn’t look like a superstar (He’s already using WWE terminology…). Drake then chased after Theory as he ran to the back. The fans began to chant “Drake, Drake, Drake”…
Pipkin’s Perspective: When ring announcer, Trevin Adams, announced the next match would be for the WWN Championship, I knew there wouldn’t be a clean finish. Well, I assumed Theory would interfere, but it was actually The Unwanted. Sort of a disappointing finish, as the match we saw before the interference was great. But this does protect both guys heading into the anniversary show next month.
6. Anthony Gutierrez vs. Steven Pena. Gutierrez is making his Evolve debut tonight, he has an extensive background in MMA. Early on, Gutierrez dominated the match with solid MMA style strikes. Pena hit a brutal looking suplex which resulted in a near fall. Gutierrez hit a standing Spanish fly, then locked on a triangle for the submission victory…
Anthony Gutierrez defeated Steven Pena in 4:54.
Pipkin’s Perspective: Evolve has a great prospect on their hands with Anthony Gutierrez. Even in this short match, Gutierrez showed a lot of potential. He is still very green, but he’s in a great place to develop as a wrestler. This was a good match to open up after intermission.
Arturo Ruas vs. Anthony Henry was up next. Before the match, Ruas grabbed the mic and told Henry to go home that he’s not on his level. Ruas attacked Henry and locked him in a kneebar. The bell never rang and Henry was escorted to the back while the fans booed. Josh Briggs came to ring. Ruas said he was confused because he already beat him last night. Fans began to chat “He didn’t tap.” Briggs did lose the night before, but it was by referee stoppage. Ruas said, “let’s do it, he will tap out”.
7. Josh Briggs vs. Arturo Ruas. Ruas immediately went for the kneebar, but Briggs was able to get to the bottom rope. Leonard reminded us that Ruas is undefeated in Evolve (Too bad he’s not under a WWN contract). Ruas hit a Capoeira kick which resulted in a near fall. Ruas seemed very frustrated after Briggs kicked out. Briggs hit his signature powerbomb for the victory.
Josh Briggs defeated Arturo Ruas in 6:36.
Pipkin’s Perspective: Even though this was Briggs’ second match of the night he didn’t show any fatigue. Ruas has been booked very strong throughout his Evolve run. His winning streak ended by losing to a guy who already wrestled a match that night, in seven minutes. It makes zero sense to me. If Evolve didn’t want Briggs losing to the same guy three times, then why even put him in the match? Anthony Henry was banged up after his match against Strong the night before, so I understand they needed a replacement, but why Briggs?
8. Tyler Breeze vs. Anthony Greene (w/Brandi Lauren). For the second night in a row, “You sold out” chants came from the crowd as Greene made his way to the ring. Greene mocked Breeze’s turnbuckle pose which resulted in the crowd chanting “That was awful”. Breeze landed an enziguri in the middle of the ring, but Greene was able to kick out at two. Lauren distracted Breeze which allowed Greene to gain control of the match. Greene hit a side-slam into a cradle pin which led to a near fall. Breeze was thrown into the ropes and when the referee wasn’t looking, Lauren hit Breeze, Greene rolled up Breeze for a near fall. Breeze regained control by landing a superkick which let to an Unprettier for the win. Fans in attendance chanted “Please come back” as Breeze made his way out…
Tyler Breeze defeated Anthony Greene in 11:08.
Pipkin’s Perspective: This was a solid match with decent in-ring work and character development for Greene. Breeze and AR Fox had a better match last night, at Evolve 129, but this wasn’t bad by any means. I really like the pairing of Greene and Lauren, both come off as incredibly unlikeable and I can’t wait for their feud with Stallion.
9. “The Skulk” AR Fox and Leon Ruff (w/Ayla) vs. “The Unwanted” Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy vs. “The Beaver Boys” Alex Reynolds and John Silver” vs. “Milk Chocolate” Brandon Watts and Randy Summers in a non-title, four-way elimination tag team match. Kingston and Silver started the match. Silver and Reynolds made quick tags early and took control. Watts and Summers hit simultaneous suicide dives to the outside, onto The Unwanted. While Milk Chocolate and The Unwanted were outside the ring, Silver then picked up Watts and thew him to the outside.
Both members of the Skulk decided to take part in this dive party and landed stereo sentons off the top rope onto the other competitors. Silver and Reynolds hit their finisher to eliminate Milk Chocolate. Kingston jumped in and got a near fall on Silver after a double team STO. The Skulk were tagged in and after taking advantage, Ruff hit a rough ride on Reynolds to eliminate The Beaver Boys. The final two teams were The Unwanted and The Skulk. Kingson and Gacy jumped in the ring and quickly took control of the match. The Unwanted hit a suplex into a powerbomb for a near fall on Ruff. The crowd began to chant “Ruff, Ruff, Ruff”. After regaining control, Fox landed a perfectly executed coast-to-coast onto Gacy. With Kingston alone in the ring, Ruff hit a rough ride, which set up a 450 splash by Fox for the victory.
“The Skulk” AR Fox and Leon Ruff defeated “The Unwanted” Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy, “The Beaver Boys” Alex Reynolds and John Silver, and “Milk Chocolate” Brandon Watts and Randy Summers in 12:26 to win a four-way elimination match.
After the match, Kingston and Gacy attacked the Skulk from behind. Babatunde’s music hit and he made his way to the ring. Babatunde had Kingston and Gacy set up for a double chokeslam, but Colby Corino and Sean Maluta made the save. All four wrestlers attacked Babatunde. As Babatunde recovered the fans began to chant his name…
Pipkin’s Perspective: Having the Skulk beat the current tag-team champions is obviously setting up a match in the future between the teams. Honestly, it’s not a match I really care to see, but it’s what we’re going to get. Overall, the match was a decent four-way tag team elimination match. This was not a match I would suggest you go out of your way to watch, but it was a fun twelve and a half minutes.
10. Roderick Strong (w/Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Evolve Champion Austin Theory in a non-title match. Loud “Undisputed” chants came from the crowd, as the two locked up. Not even two minutes into the match, Theory put Strong in a headlock which resulted in boos from the crowd. Strong reversed into a headlock of his own, which really lost the crowd. On the outside, Theory took control and beat down Strong in front of the Undisputed Era. Theory hit a standing moonsault for a near fall. Strong made a quick comeback, but Theory countered and hit a neckbreaker for another near fall. Theory went for a rolling thunder dropkick, but Strong countered it, into a Strong Hold. Theory hit three seconds around the world, but once again, Strong kicked out at two. Strong recovered and hit a tiger bomb into the Strong Hold which resulted in Theory tapping out.
Roderick Strong defeated Austin Theory in 12:02.
After the match, O’Reilly grabbed the microphone and asked Strong how he felt after defeating the Evolve Champion. Strong said, “That’s what happens when you talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk, my friend.” He went on to claim that all members of the Undisputed Era will be champions this year, and finished by saying “This era is undisputed’’…
Pipkin’s Perspective: Why is Evolve’s Champion being introduced first during in-ring introductions? Who cares if these NXT guys are drawing and selling merchandise. While wrestling in Evolve, the Evolve Champion should be treated like the top act. When things like this occur it diminishes the value of the promotion and champion. The match started very slow with lots of headlocks which quickly lost the crowd’s attention. Having to follow a match like the previous one, they needed to come out firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately, they didn’t and it really hurt this match. The top NXT guys are always going over on shows like this, so why put them in a match with your champion? Theory will be showcased on the WWE Network show and he has no momentum now. The Evolve Champion has no momentum going into the biggest Evolve show in history. This is mind-boggling to me. Overall, this show was good, but not great. The undercard was solid, but I was disappointed with the uppercard. If you’re wanting to catch up on Evolve leading up to the anniversary show, I would just watch the Mini-Docs on WWNLive’s YouTube channel instead.
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