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EVOLVE 78

February 24, 2017

From the MCW Arena in Joppa, MD

Lenny Leonard is your host

 

Anthony Henry vs. Matt Riddle

Riddle offers a handshake then they go at it on the mat. Leonard talks about EVOLVE bringing us a lot of new, fresh matchups like this coming in the future. Henry counters an armbreaker as they roll into the ropes. Henry catches Riddle with an enziguri then gets two with a powerslam. He tries a springboard move but Riddle catches him with a knee strike in midair. Riddle hits a jumping forearm smash in the corner before hitting an exploder. Senton gets two as Riddle then follows with rolling gutwrench suplexes. Riddle gets a nearfall with a powerbomb then a bit after that Henry catches Riddle on his shoulders and dumps him outside. Henry flies out with a tope then slides back into the ring where he flies out with a tope con hilo. They head inside where Henry gets a nearfall with an Air Raid Crash. He comes off the top but is a bit short as that allows Riddle to put him in a kimura. Henry counters then hits an odd tornado DDT and comes back with a cross armbreaker. Riddle hits a Gotch lift bomb on Henry for two as both men are down. They trade strikes as Riddle wins that battle. Henry comes back with a spinning back kick. Riddle pops right up and screams after getting hit with a German suplex so Henry puts him down with a second one. The work a nice reversal sequence that ends with Henry hitting a Northern Lights Driver but that only gets two. Riddle gets up and fires away after being kicked in the chest then hits a springboard knee strike. Riddle comes back with a fisherman buster then picks Henry up for a tombstone before tapping him out with the Bromission (10:32) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match, although it did get a bit sloppy towards the end. Henry is also a former MMA fighter and that made him a good opponent for Riddle. Henry is also someone who has been getting buzz for his work but personally, I do not get the hype at all. I saw him live (granted, it was only once) and he failed to connect with the crowd and I find his facial expressions to be terrible. I will say he is at least solid in the ring though.

 

After the match, Riddle puts on his PROGRESS Atlas Title and declares 2017 the “year of the Bro” and wants all of the belts within the WWN Family of promotions. However, he first will address Drew Galloway’s trash talk and wants him to come out so he can kick his ass. The rest of Catchpoint comes out though as Tracy Williams tells Riddle he won his match tonight so now its Fred Yehi’s turn to wrestle for the EVOLVE Title. Yehi calls this building a special place because the last time he was here he made Tony Nese tap out to win the EVOLVE Tag Team Titles and says he will do the same to Timothy Thatcher tonight and become the EVOLVE Champion. Chris Dickinson cuts Yehi off as he has had enough talking and calls out their opponents, The Gatekeepers. But first, Larry Dallas comes out to stir up more trouble within Catchpoint about Dickinson & Jaka deserve a Tag Team Title shot. Williams tells Dallas Catchpoint is about competition and tonight its about Yehi. Dickinson seems a bit upset but Jaka calms him down as Catchpoint shakes hands then leaves. Nice segment here to set up some storyline stuff. Dickinson & Jaka getting more and more restless over not getting a title shot is intriguing while they have done a great job building up to tomorrow’s Galloway vs. Riddle match.

 

Austin Theory vs. Darby Allin

Allin goes in the crowd and tosses a chair over the guardrail before entering the ring. Theory backs Allin in the corner then slowly breaks. Priscilla Kelly is at ringside licking her lips as Allin takes Theory over with a monkey flip and after that engage in a reversal sequence that ends in a stalemate. Allin charges in the corner and gets launched over the post but grabs on to a team and jumps back to hit a coffin drop in a cool spot. Theory comes back with a shotgun dropkick as Allin rolls outside but overshoots a quebrada and lands on the guardrail as both men are down. That looked like it really hurt. Theory gets up and rolls Allin inside but Allin gets a slingshot cradle for two. Theory comes back with a double stomp and a shooting star press as he is in firm control of the match. Allin fights back and hits a dropkick and a springboard hurricarana but Theory catches a coffin drop attempt and hits the Unproven Cutter for the win (5:19) **. After the match, Kelly walks up the ramp and keeps looking back to the ring.

Thoughts: Not that bad for the time they had to work with although there was some timing issues. Theory is only 19 years old and has a great look. There is definitely some potential there. Allin is an incredible underdog character and is really starting to develop a following as he heads into his match tomorrow against Ethan Page with a loss.

 

Jason Kincaid vs. Ethan Page w/ The Gatekeepers

Page mocks Kincaid’s meditation techniques then becomes frustrated as he cannot overcome them. Kincaid dumps Page onto the apron and takes him off with a springboard forearm. He takes Page down with a headscissors after a mistimed spot as Page rolls outside. Page walks away from a dive attempt as Kincaid heads out too. Page talks to the Gatekeepers and runs through them to knock Kincaid down. Page roughs up Kincaid on the outside then brings it back into the ring where he stays in control. He works a chinlock for a bit but Kincaid escapes and lowers his straps. He cartwheels out of a RK-Ego then hits a springboard blockbuster for two. He hits a neck snap then an overhead kick and gets two with a slingshot neckbreaker. Page blocks an Irish whip attempt but misses a charge in the corner as Kincaid hits a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Page blocks a Compassionate Release attempt and comes back with an Iconcoclasm. Page drags Kincaid up but Kincaid rolls through an uranage. Page catches Kincaid with an inverted gutwrench but Kincaid comes back with a stunner as Page rolls outside. Kincaid slingshots out with the X-Factor. Back inside, Kincaid climbs up the pole but Page gets on the apron and takes him down with a powerbomb into the ring then hits the RK-Ego for the win (10:38) **1/2.

Thoughts: This started out entertaining but much like the previous match there was some timing issues here. Page, while someone who can get great heat on the mic, struggles in the ring without the right opponent. I like Kincaid and he has a unique character and offense that gets him over but Page was a step slow on half of his offense.

 

Immediately after the match, Dickinson & Jaka run in and demand to face the Gatekeepers now and they all start brawling to lead into that match.

 

The Gatekeepers vs. Chris Dickinson & Jaka

The Gatekeepers are still without new names so I’ll refer to them as their old names, Blaster & Flex. They brawl outside then it Dickinson & Jaka double-team Flex until Blaster breaks that up. The Gatekeepers work over Dickinson for a bit until Jaka breaks up a double chokeslam. Dickinson & Jaka hit stereo German suplexes but Flex catches Jaka’s pescado attempt and tosses him into the steps. Blaster trips up Dickinson at boots him in the face for a nearfall as the Gatekeepers are back to beating down Dickinson. Flex and Dickinson trade strikes until clotheslining each other down. Jaka finally tags in and runs wild on Flex. Blaster breaks up a pin attempt after an exploder as the match breaks down after that. Blaster gets kicked off of the apron as Dickinson & Jaka beat down Flex. Blaster breaks up another pin attempt and ends up tossing Jaka into the post. He then catches Dickinson with a sidewalk slam and then Flex comes in for a double chokeslam but Dickinson is just able to kick out. Dickinson floats over on a suplex and rams Flex into the corner to cut Blaster down as Jaka gets up top where they put Flex away with the Death Trap (9:26) **3/4.

Thoughts: Started off hot but got a bit repetitive towards the end. Still, nice to see a power-based match in EVOLVE and it gives Dickinson & Jaka another win as they inch closer and closer to facing fellow Catchpoint members Yehi & Williams for the Tag Team Titles.

 

ACH vs. Tracy Williams

This is also billed as a first-ever match up. Both guys jockey for position to start. They trade holds on the mat for a bit then end up in a stalemate. They go back at it again then ACH hits a dropkick after a backflip as that gets two. They trade chops then Williams hits a shotgun dropkick. He places ACH up top and hits a butterfly superplex for a nearfall. Williams hits an elbow smash after blocking a chop as he is in control. Williams tries to work an armbar but ACH is able to maneuver himself to the ropes. ACH hits a headbutt then slides underneath Williams, who was in the corner, and drives him into the ring apron with a STO. ACH then hits Williams with a pescado. ACH takes his time before heading up top where but Williams gets his feet up on a dive attempt. Williams works the arm before applying a rear chinlock. ACH uses a few floatovers in the corner then takes Williams down with an upkick as both men are down. They get up and trade chops as ACH gets some momentum going. He takes Williams off of the apron with a springboard dropkick then hits a soccer kick from the apron. Back inside, ACH heads up top but this time blocks Williams’ feet and turns him over. ACH gets two after a backbreaker/exploder combo then puts Williams up top. Williams cuts ACH off and knocks him down but ACH comes back with an enziguiri. Williams takes ACH down with a DDT then hits a clothesline as both men are down. The crowd rallies behind both men as ACH rolls underneath the bottom rope. ACH tells the referee he is okay before collapsing to the floor. Williams brings ACH up to the apron then hits a back suplex for a nearfall. ACH comes back with a clothesline as the crowd gets behind him then he finishes Williams off with a brainbuster (18:14) **1/2. After the match, Dallas comes out to harrass Williams over losing and asks if Yehi is ready. Williams says not to worry about Yehi then pushes Dallas away and tells him to get out of his face. ACH is then shown being helped to the back by the referee.

Thoughts: The crowd got behind ACH here but I thought this match was a bit of a mess. I had trouble getting into it and the end was really anti-climatic. It did serve a purpose to give ACH a win heading into his title match at WrestleMania Weekend and for Dallas to come out and stir up more shit among Catchpoint. They also seem to slowly hint at Williams being stressed out over his duties as the leader of Catchpoint.

 

Jeff Cobb vs. Drew Galloway

Galloway moves around methodically here. Cobb shoves Galloway back then tosses him around. Galloway retreats to the corner and looks shocked at his powerful opponent. Galloway boots Cobb low then chops him in the corner. Cobb catches a crossbody attempt then turns that into a vertical suplex. Galloway bails as Cobb heads up the ramp to get him but gets kicked in the gut. Cobb sends Galloway into the post then hits a few chops. Cobb is on the apron after rolling Galloway inside but Galloway shoves Cobb into the post then heads outside to hit a neckbreaker. Back in the ring, Cobb tries to fight back but Galloway takes him down with the Divorce Court for a nearfall. Galloway uses a wrist lock to ground Cobb, who gets back to his feet. Cobb powers out Galloway takes him off of the top rope with an arm wringer for a nearfall. Galloway roughs up Cobb for a bit but gets caught with an overhead suplex coming off of the top rope as both men are down. Cobb is up first and runs wild. He gets two with a standing moonsault/shooting star headbutt combo as the crowd chants for Cobb. Galloway blocks a Tour of the Islands attempt and takes Cobb down with an armbreaker for two. They trade strikes until Galloway takes Cobb down with a kick that gets him two. Galloway stomps in the corner as Cobb slowly gets to his feet but gets caught with a sidewinder suplex. Cobb gets a nearfall with a German suplex then they fight over a backslide as Galloway uses the ropes to get himself over then hits the Future Shock DDT for the win (11:13) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match and the best on the show up until this point. Galloway needed the win as he has been out with an injury and needed a big win heading into his match tomorrow against Riddle. Cobb looked really good here too as he was tossing around Galloway, who is a big man himself.

 

After the match, Galloway asks for the mic. He talks about being shocked that Riddle had more words to say other than “bro” as the fans chant for Riddle. Galloway then tells us Riddle had the balls to call himself out for a fight and says we do not have to wait. Riddle heads out smiling then gets in the ring as they stare each other down before slugging away. Galloway shoves Riddle into Cobb then Cobb gets pissed and hits Riddle with the Tour of the Islands as he had no idea it was Galloway who caused this.  Catchpoint heads out as Jaka and Cobb get into it a bit as Galloway smiles from the outside. Jaka is calmed down as Catchpoint leaves with Riddle after staring down Cobb, with Jaka telling Cobb he will see him tomorrow. I liked this segment a lot too as we created more conflict and can possibly lead to a Jaka vs. Cobb match, which should be fun. Galloway smiling on the outside over the chaos he caused was also great.

 

Keith Lee vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Sabre tries to take Lee down from the ground but that fails. Sabre then bridges up with Lee pinning him down in an impressive spot. Lee no-sells some uppercuts then flattens Sabre with a clothesline. He hits a slam then roughs up Lee some more. Sabre escapes from Lee’s overhead slam attempt and uses a hanging kimura but Lee is able to turn that into a bearhug. Lee then tosses Sabre with an overhead suplex and talks some trash but Sabre grabs a hold of his leg. Lee shakes Sabre off as Leonard mentions how Chris Hero told Sabre to have the killer instinct before his final match in the company. Lee runs through Sabre as he toys with him for a bit before knocking him down with a double chop. Lee takes his time but misses a corner splash as Sabre fires away. Lee drives Sabre back into the corner and places him up top but Sabre boots him in the face and hits a diving uppercut. Sabre takes Lee’s knee out and follows with the Penalty Kick for a nearfall as Lee tosses Sabre off of him. Sabre works an octopus hold but Lee turns that into a powerslam for a nearfall. Sabre ducks a few attacks and tries a hanging armbar but Lee picks him up for a sitout powerbomb as that gets two. Sabre escapes from a second powerbomb attempt and hits some charging uppercuts then fires away in the corner. Sabre gets out of a wheelbarrow and uses a bridging rollup for two then uses a hanging armbar but Lee turns that into the Ground Zero for the win (12:20) ***1/2.

Thoughts: I really liked this match. It was a good big man vs. little man match as Sabre tried to use his technical ability to overcome Lee’s power but at the end he failed. Lee got a big win here too as he is someone EVOLVE looks to be establishing as a major player.

 

After the match, Stokely Hathaway comes out wearing the EVOLVE Title belt. He tells us all to listen to “Confessions” by Usher so we can have something good to listen to after we cry. Hathaway does not care about the new talent in EVOLVE then tells Sabre he is on his street and in his spot, taking his spotlight, before welcoming Timothy Thatcher for his title match. Sabre then tells Thatcher not to forget that he will become the EVOLVE Champion tomorrow and after that he can give him a kiss on the cheek before walking away. Hathaway managing a heel Thatcher has definitely been for the best and having Sabre still act confident after a loss shows his determination.

 

EVOLVE Championship Match: Timothy Thatcher (c) w/ Stokely Hathaway vs. Fred Yehi

They start off on the mat then begin aggressively trying to slap each other. Thatcher knees Yehi in the ribs then takes him down with a big boot for a two count. Yehi fights back uses his stomps before taking Thatcher down with a dropkick. He hits a snap suplex for two then grabs a chinlock. Thatcher comes back with a back suplex as the crowd gets behind Yehi, with the rest of Catchpoint slapping the ring apron. Thatcher beats on Yehi in the corner then starts stomping away. He goes back to roughing up Yehi, who begins to fight back. Thatcher cuts off his comeback with an elbow smash for two then works a chinlock. Yehi escapes and takes Thatcher down with a pair of basement dropkicks as both men are down. Yehi gets up and starts throwing knee smashes at Thatcher’s head before applying a bodyscissors. Yehi goes back to laying into Thatcher on the mat then traps the leg. Hathaway is worried as Yehi puts on a leg submission hold. Thatcher is able to slap Yehi across the face but Yehi comes back with a forearm smash. They counter gutwrench suplex attempts then Yehi hits a German suplex for a nearfall. Thatcher blocks a piledriver then hits a forearm smash before getting a nearfall with a belly-to-belly suplex. Thatcher hits a few more suplex variations for nearfalls but Yehi blocks a reverse rollup attempt and knocks Thatcher down with an elbow for two. Yehi hits a dropkick after a reversal sequence and follows with a German suplex. He gets two with a powerbomb then puts on the Koji Clutch as the crowd chants for Thatcher to tap. Thatcher makes the ropes then ducks a rolling elbow and applies a sleeper. Yehi escapes and tries again for the Koji Clutch but Thatcher reverses and puts on the Saka Otoshi for the win (18:50) ***1/4. After the match, Catchpoint checks on Yehi, who is disappointed. Dickinson & Jaka then hand over the belts to Williams & Yehi and gives them the Catchpoint handshake as the crowd starts up a Catchpoint chant.

Thoughts: I thought the work here was good but no one was buying Yehi winning this match. To his credit, he did get the crowd into it towards the end but it lacked that main event feel. The end also had a good moment with Dickinson & Jaka handing over the Tag Team Titles to Yehi & Thatcher as this seems like a match destined to happen.

 

Final Thoughts: They set up some stuff for tomorrow’s show and have an interesting storyline going on within the Catchpoint stable. However, as a whole, the show was a bit underwhelming. There was not a great match on the card and the atmosphere was far from electric. Tomorrow’s show (EVOLVE 79 on 2/25/17) is a loaded lineup though and should be better.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with George Steele

Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/10/89

Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 7/1/82

Sunday: WWF Prime Time Wrestling  9/11/89

Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/16/89

Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/17/89

Wednesday: EVOLVE 79 2/25/17