15th Jul2019

‘EVOLVE 131: 10th Anniversary Celebration’ PPV Review

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this review of EVOLVE Wrestling’s 10th Anniversary show, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and this is a special occasion event that is being aired on the WWE Network, likely to combat All Elite Wrestling’s “Fight For The Fallen” card that is airing at the same time. Let’s get right into this show, which has plenty of big matches to get to.


Match #1: Josh Briggs beat Anthony Greene

This was a nice match that didn’t do much for me, but did show both athletes vast potential, so I’d say that this was success, even with the low score.

My Opinion: 2 out of 5

Match #2: Stephen Wolf beat Sean Maluta, Curt Stallion and Harlem Brovado – Fatal Four Way Match

This was a nice way to get these four on the show, but it also just felt like a cheap way to get them there as well. All four athletes worked hard to show their stuff in a match that mostly worked as a demo reel for what they could do. It seems like it would have been better to make this a Gauntlet Match with more people in it, so you can actually show what their wrestling skills look like. Overall, all four wrestlers came out of this unscathed, so that is a big victory.

My Opinion: 2.5 out of 5

Match #3: Arturo Ruas beat Anthony Henry

This was a hard-hitting fight that felt like it was a real fight. These guys practically struck gold with the way they fought each other here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both become big stars here within the next five years.

My Opinion: 3 out of 5

Match #4: Brandi Lauren beat Shotzi Blackheart

This was pretty much a Hardcore Match, but it never got announced that way (not from what I heard, any-way). This was a mean, nasty match where they went for glory by kicking each other in the guts as many times as you can get away with on Pay Per View. I bet they would have run each other over with their cars if they could have gotten away with it. The match felt a bit messy much of the time, but the passion was there, so you can’t go wrong there.

My Opinion: 3 out of 5

Match #5: Babatunde beat Colby Corino (with Sean Maluta)

This was not very much, but it was gloriously not very much. That doesn’t make sense, but it is appropriate. Colby took some fine bumps and sold like a pro, but the match just wasn’t enough to be up to snuff.

My Opinion: 2 out of 5

Match #6: AR Fox and Leon Ruff beat Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy – EVOLVE Tag Team Titles Match

Too short for a title match, this still managed to be a real thriller when it mattered most. This had an edge to it that came from attitude rather than content, which is refreshing in this day and age. This was a match that was lit to light a powder keg to explode and it did that. Try that line in 1st grade English. Over-all, this should have gone far longer, because it was already running on all cylinders by the time it came to an early end.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5

Match #7: Matt Riddle beat Drew Gulak

This was excellent stuff. I seem to recall these guys had a better match at an NXT show, but this was pretty damn close to it. This felt like an old glove still fitting like it should. Matt and Drew have become one of the best pairings in all of wrestling and you’ll get a taste of that here. This was a lovely wrestling match that did more showing how skilled wrestlers are, rather than how daring they can be.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5

Match #8: Austin Theory beat JD Drake – Winner Takes All Unification Match For The EVOLVE and World Wrestling Network World Championships

This was a great match that delivered a big prize fight for the crowd. Theory was the star here and he lived up to the hype he has already gotten in his career. The action was every bit of what it needed to be to make a mark in what is easily the biggest show in EVOLVE history. Drake did great for his part, essentially serving himself to Theory in the name of establishing him as the big star for EVOLVE. With riveting action all the way to the end, this was a fabulous fight that crowned a new king in EVOLVE and his name is Austin Theory.

My Opinion: 4 out of 5

Match #9: (Main Event) Adam Cole beat Akira Tozawa – NXT Championship Match

This was a pretty good way to end the card, with two of the best having an excellent title match. As prize fights go, this one delivered a consistently exciting match that had as much back and forth offense as you can handle. Akira looked invigorated being some-place other than the WWE and Cole didn’t seem to mind being in the house that Bryan Danielson built (Daniel Bryan is his WWE slave name and wasn’t in use when he named EVOLVE). The wrestling was light and breezy, but not without heft or…I feel like I’m talking about that marshmallow spread. This was a fine main event and I would love to see these two guys have another title match in NXT.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5

News of The Night:

  1. Paul Heyman cut a great promo on his love for wrestling, Philadelphia and the Austin Theory/JD Drake match.
  2. Johnny Gargano showed up after the main event to talk to the crowd.

Final Verdict: 4/5

This got really good in the second act of the card and kept of thundering through until the triumphant end.


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