Welcome to another edition of eWN Heat Index, wherein we discuss the interest level for the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events. This time around, we’re focusing on Evolve’s 10th anniversary celebration coming this Saturday.
The way this works is a pretty simple three-way breakdown of Hot, Lukewarm and Cold. If you like something and you’re very interested in how this program is being set up, it’s Hot (aka Good). If you’re a bit on the fence about it and see some problems, but it’s not awful, then it’s just Okay or Lukewarm. The ones that are the most problematic that you have no interest in are Cold (aka Bad).
Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section to let everyone know what your thermometer reads for each feud as I tell you what my thoughts are below!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
NXT Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) vs. Akira Tozawa = Hot
There is absolutely no way Akira Tozawa wins the NXT Championship here, but that shouldn’t stop this from being an awesome match. I’m a fan of both wrestlers as performers, this is something different from the norm, it’s a cross-branded setup, and I feel like they have a lot of potential to work very well together in terms of in-ring chemistry.
I’m sold. This won’t likely be a candidate for Match of the Year, but I see no reason why it can’t be one of the best matches I watch this whole week, including factoring in Fight for the Fallen and Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Adam Cole wins.
Catch Point Reunion Match: Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle = Hot
They previously referred to this in some promotional material as “non-title”, which pretty much goes without being said, as Matt Riddle isn’t under the 205 weight limit to be eligible for the Cruiserweight Championship. But even without that logic in mind, specifying non-title means that there’s a 99% chance Riddle was booked to win this from the start.
That goes without being said, because Riddle has a better track record of wins and losses than Gulak—even having beaten Gulak in the past—but despite their history and the likelihood that this is predictable and a repeat of what we’ve seen before, I’m still anticipating a fun match.
These two will probably have a different fire lit under them by performing under another banner, and they might pull out something special.
Prediction: Matt Riddle wins.
The Future is Now Showcase Match: Josh Briggs vs. Anthony Greene = Lukewarm
So at Evolve 130, Greene lost to Tyler Breeze and Briggs defeated Brandon Taggart.
I know nothing about either of these guys, so I have no idea what to really think about whether I should be excited about this match or who could win it, but I would have to assume they might have booked things that way because it’s the natural flow of things.
Based on their win/loss records of 2019, Briggs has won more matches than Greene in the past month or so, but they’re overall kind of even, at a glance. Basically, in my mind, this is a match between two guys I’m going in blind for, so I can’t be really too solid on a prediction, nor on a hype level.
Prediction: Josh Briggs wins because I flipped a coin.
Winner Take All: EVOLVE Champion Austin Theory vs. WWN Champion JD Drake = Hot
Austin Theory strikes me as the type of guy WWE would want to bring into NXT at some point, and after he specifically said he would take that title and go to a TakeOver event, I can’t help but lean in his direction. It would also be rather strange if the 10th anniversary of EVOLVE had the EVOLVE champion lose the title and merge it with the WWN Championship, right?
Then again, I’ll admit that I don’t know how WWN really works in that capacity, and how deep their ties to WWE are and will be. But if WWE has any influence over EVOLVE and will continue to use that as a supplemental federation underneath NXT going forward, they’ll probably want their EVOLVE Championship to be highlighted, unless Theory is getting called up and has to drop the belt.
Look at that. Out of nowhere, I’m suddenly invested in this, despite having never seen a single match from either of these guys and being pretty much in the dark. Very cool.
Prediction: Austin Theory wins.
EVOLVE Tag Team Championship Match: Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy (c) vs. AR Fox and Leon Ruff = Cold
Kingston and Gacy are supposed to be people to pay attention to, right? Am I right about that, or am I thinking of other people? I’m talking out of my ass either way, since I don’t know these 4, but I’ve seen one promo from Leon Ruff and that didn’t impress me, so… womp womp.
Like with everything, my lack of knowledge means jack squat. In another world, with some setup that I’m aware of, I could be looking at this match as the most anticipated. For all I know, this might be the best segment of the night. But if I’m judging it as fairly as I can, going in blind, and comparing it to the other things I’ve seen so far, this is on the Cold spectrum. Sorry, fellas.
Prediction: Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy win.
Grudge Match: Anthony Henry vs. Arturo Ruas = Lukewarm
I don’t know Anthony Henry, and I’m only a little familiar with Arturo Ruas through the handful of matches he’s competed in as Adrian Jaoude in NXT, but if he’s getting a spotlight here, WWE must be utilizing him much better in EVOLVE.
Classifying this a Grudge Match makes me think nothing extra of it, since it seems they like to put everything out there as some sort of classification, based on the other things on the card. But hey, maybe this is a bitter feud I’ve slept on, and these two plan on having a hard-hitting, brutal match, right?
I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and put them in the middle range and go with Ruas as the winner, since he’s the NXT guy.
Prediction: Arturo Ruas wins.
Special Challenge Match: Babatunde vs. Colby Corino = Hot
They got me. I’m curious. Why is this a Special Challenge Match? Why is Babatunde against someone so much smaller than him? Is this a means to have a tiny guy like Colby Corino get an upset victory? Or is he going to get absolutely wrecked beyond imagination?
I’m more inclined to think, and anticipate and be excited for, the latter, and even though a squash match isn’t normally something I’m super fond of, I’m oddly looking forward to seeing something like that happen here.