March 31, 2017
From the Orlando Events Center in Orlando, FL
Lenny Leonard is your host
Drew Galloway interrupts Leonard as he welcomes the crowd and orders him to leave. He tells us this is not an ordinary show as its the biggest weekend of the year for EVOLVE and it has to be perfect but can only trust himself to get the job done as he proceeds to welcome the crowd. He tells them they chose wisely by coming here instead of to other shows and how its not “WrestleMania Weekend” but rather a weekend where fans from all over the world meet and go to conventions and other shows as he dubs this “Wrestling Week.” Galloway puts over how the obstacle in front of his path to becoming the WWN Live Champion is Matt Riddle and says Riddle as the face of EVOLVE will cause the company to crumble as he rants and raves about his look and demeanor, causing Riddle to come out. Galloway wants to fight now as Riddle has a smile on his face while wearing the PROGRESS Atlas Championship belt.
Grudge Match: Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle
Galloway attacks Riddle before the bell and stays on the attack. Riddle fights back and hammers away in the corner. He then hits an upkick then an exploder but Galloway fights back outside of the ring. He slams Riddle on the apron from the top step then yells at the referee before dropping Riddle across the guardrail. Riddle fights back and they trade chops until he hits the Bro to Sleep. Riddle pumps up as the crowd chants “Bro” then goes back to hammering away. He drapes Galloway over a table but gets tripped up on the apron as Galloway rearranges the table before hitting a stomp. Galloway flips off the crowd then piledrives Riddle through the table in a crazy spot as we get a “holy shit” chant. He rolls Riddle inside after a minute but only gets the two count so he hits the Future Shock DDT then a short piledriver immediately after that to get the win (7:17) ***1/4. After the match, Galloway shoves the ref away and puts Riddle against the ropes until Chris Dickinson & Jaka chase him away. Galloway tries to sneak back in with a chair but Jaka was alert as Galloway smirks before heading backstage as Riddle is being helped to his feet.
Thoughts: Short, but a good intense match. This feud will end on Sunday when they face off in an “I Quit” match.
Chris Dickinson vs. Timothy Thatcher w/ Stokely Hathaway
Ring announcer was about to announce as the current EVOLVE Champion, something he lost to Zack Sabre Jr. in January. They start off on the mat as neither man can gain the advantage. The action picks up as they trade strikes with Dickinson gaining the advantage. Thatcher takes Dickinson down and tries to work the leg then Dickinson reverses and lands several mounted punches. He now works a pendulum swing but Thatcher once again takes him down and works the ankle. Thatcher hits a gutwrench for two then throws a few punches. Dickinson fights back as they trade strikes again until Thatcher cuts him off with a knee strike and hits a butterfly suplex for two. Dickinson breaks a headlock with a back suplex as both men are down. Dickinson hits a release German suplex after a reversal sequence but Thatcher blocks a piledriver attempt and they trade strikes until Thatcher locks in a sleeper and switches it to the Sakaotoshi for the win (8:58) ***.
Thoughts: Another good match. Dickinson got in a lot of offense as Thatcher gets a win to build him back up a bit since losing the EVOLVE Title to Zack Sabre Jr.
Jaka vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Lio Rush
Rush was added to this because he could not wait until tomorrow for his EVOLVE return. Jaka gets dumped as Kincaid and Rush work a fast-paced sequence ending with Rush hitting an enziguiri. Jaka cuts Rush off and drops an elbow for two. He now focuses on Kincaid and hits a fisherman’s suplex for two. Kincaid comes back with a rolling neckbreaker and gets two with a knee drop then Rush tries to suplex him outside from the apron as that fails due to Jaka suplexing everyone as all three men are down. Jaka chops the other two, who then team up against him. Rush cheap shots Kincaid with a spin kick but Kincaid comes back to take Jaka down with a hurricarana. Rush hits Kincaid with an inverted hurricarana then heads up top where Jaka cuts him off. Rush blocks a superplex as Kincaid now climbs up too and this ends with Kincaid taking both men off with a hurricarana. He drapes his arm over Jaka but is unable to pick up the win and does the same to Rush, who also kicks out. Jaka beats on both men until he gets dumped outside. Rush hits Kincaid with the Rush Out and takes Jaka out with a tope before the Dragon’s Call puts Kincaid away (9:09) **1/2. After the match, Kincaid takes his beads and seems to be struggling with the loss as he leaves outside with the beads placed to his head.
Thoughts: I like all three guys but came away from this feeling a tad disappointed. The double frankensteiner spot was really contrived and the pacing seemed off here.
Black, Blonde, and Neon vs. The Gatekeepers w/ Ethan Page
BBN consist of Facade & Michael Richard Blade along with a female valet whose name was never mentioned. The Gatekeepers stay in control and brush off any offense their opponents give until Facade a double-team move for the win (2:00).
Thoughts: Quick match to put over The Gatekeepers and nothing more.
After the match, Ethan Page cuts a promo demanding to be part of the EVOLVE Title picture but since that does not seem to be happening he demands his opponent comes out to start their match.
Ethan Page w/ The Gatekeepers vs. Austin Theory
Page shoves Theory against the ropes after a break. He then hits the Iconoclasm and now targets the leg. Theory fights back but runs into a boot. However, he comes back with a blockbuster for a nearfall. Page is able to hit the RK Ego but Theory kicks out. Page cuts off a comeback with a boot to the face then hits the spinning Dwayne for the win (6:58) *3/4.
Thoughts: Not much of a match to be honest. However, it was more to set up the following segment.
After the match, Page gets down on his knees, to get on Theory’s level, to make fun of him for losing. He doesnt care about Theory being a young prodigy with a good body that can do flips because the spotlight does not shine on losers as he orders him to leave. He talks about the EVOLVE friendship with PROGRESS as Priscilla Kelly comes out. Page stops talking about his match against Jimmy Havoc at the PROGRESS show and asks Kelly who she is as she runs her finger down his chest. She doesnt talk as Page does not know what is going on as Kelly then leaves. Several guys in scrubs them come out with a bodybag, the one he put Darby Allin in last month, as Page freaks out and along with The Gatekeepers take out the men as one of them gets launched outside. Page orders The Gatekeepers to get the bag and “kill him” as they slam it on the mat. Page wants them to do it again as they launch the body bag outside. Page wants The Gatekeepers to get the bag again as he calls it to the brought back inside. They put the bag in the corner and open it up as Allin pops out with a lead pipe and clears the ring. He then tells Page there will not be an “Era of Ego” with him around and challenges Page to an “Anything Goes” match as he will feel so alive when Page lays dead in front of him. Interesting segment here. I have enjoyed the Page/Allin feud a lot and Page is great on the mic. Adding Prsicilla Kelly as a possible romantic interest of Allin could help him out too and their match is something I look forward too but I must say, getting tossed around in a bodybag like that will easily take time off of your career. Allin needs to tone down the craziness when its not needed.
Keith Lee vs. Ricochet
Lee shrugs Ricochet off as the latter tries a headlock. Ricochet comes back with a dropkick as Lee brushes off his chest after taking a few steps back. Lee is barely fazed after a second dropkick then he dropkicks Ricochet down after an Irish whip sequence as the crowd applauds. Lee toys with Ricochet a bit then overpowers him but Ricochet gets his feet up on a charge and comes back with a rana. He sends Lee into the corner with a drop toehold and comes back with a 619 before a springboard uppercut sends Lee outside. Ricochet flies out with a somersault senton that Lee catches but he lands on the apron and flies out with a spaceman plancha as the crowd chants for Ricochet. Back inside, Lee blocks a Benadryller attempt then runs Ricochet over after a reversal sequence as that gets two. Ricochet comes back with an Ace Crusher and a standing shooting star press that gets two but fails at another Benadryller only to hit an inverted hurricarana then the Benadryller and a roundhouse kick. He hits more kicks but still cannot put the big man away. He rolls through a shooting star press and gets pancaked as both men are down. Lee comes back with the Spirit Bomb that gets two as the fans go nuts. Lee tries and misses a moonsault as Ricochet comes back with a springboard 450 and a shooting star press but Lee kicks out as Ricochet is in a state of disbelief. He hits the 630 splash after that and that gets the win (17:00) ****1/4.
Thoughts: Excellent match. This was a blast to watch and Lee really looked great. Easily the match of the night and something you should track down and watch.
EVOLVE Tag Team Title Match: Michael Elgin & Donovan Dijak vs. Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi (c)
Elgin and Williams start off trading strikes then Williams goes for the arm. Elgin powers out and hammers away but Williams works a hanging armbar. They end up in a stalemate as Leonard talks about the Williams struggling with the pressure as the leader of Catchpoint. Yehi & Dijak are in now as Yehi chops away. Dijak tosses Yehi but misses a charge and gets drilled with a dropkick. Yehi gets two with a missile dropkick as Catchpoint is in control so far as they take both men down with double-team suplexes. Elgin takes Williams off the apron and drops him then Dijak tosses Yehi outside before flying out with a Fosbury Flop. Back inside, Elgin tags in and splashes Williams for a two count. Williams is in trouble as he is getting overpowered by his larger opponents. Williams gets his knees up on a splash by Dijak and takes Elgin down with a dragon screw before making the tag. Yehi runs wild on both men. Williams is back in and Elgin hits him with a Falcon Arrow. Dijak is in and knocks Yehi off of the apron and goes to work on Williams. Dijak gets knocked off the top trying a superplex then Williams hits a DDT on the turnbuckle and hits a suplex as Elgin breaks up the pin as the match breaks down. Dijak fights out of an ankle lock but Williams turns a chokeslam into a crossface in midair. Elgin breaks up the crossface with a super kick then shoves Yehi into the barricade. Elgin gets back in and surprises Williams with a lariat after shoving Dijak away. Yehi makes the save after a powerbomb/chokebreaker combo but he gets destroyed. Williams is able to barely stay alive then Yehi makes the save on a Feast Your Eyes attempt and even hits Elgin with the Canadian Destroyer. Dijak kicks out of a double-team powerbomb then Williams puts on the crossface but Dijak gets to his feet. Yehi takes Dijak’s legs out then prevents Elgin from coming back in as Dijak ends up tapping out as Catchpoint retains (18:26) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Another good match. I liked the Elgin & Dijak team and would like to see more of them in EVOLVE going forward. The finish was creative here too.
After the match, Dickinson & Jaka come in to celebrate. However, Larry Dallas also makes his way down and calls out Catchpoint for not helping out Matt Riddle and his injured neck as he thinks Yehi wanted Riddle not at 100% for tomorrow night or the advantage in Saturday’s WWN Championship match. Williams says this is false as Dallas leaves. Dickinson & Jaka then ask for a Tag Title shot as they’ve been patiently waiting. Williams says they have to focus on their matches this weekend as Jaka says they know Catchpoint is all about competition and know the match is coming as they leave. They continued on two storylines here with Williams struggling to lead Catchpoint and Dickinson & Jaka waiting for a title shot. It seems like the future of Catchpoint is rocky to say the least.
EVOLVE Title Match: ACH vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
Sabre bails after getting hit with a dropkick and gets dropkicked off of the apron too. ACH hits a running soccer kick from the apron and rolls Sabre inside and rolls through a dive and hits a spinning neckbreaker for two before working the neck. Sabre comes back and tries for the Octopus Hold as ACH falls into the ropes. Sabre starts kicking ACH around then works the arm. He uses his technical skills to stay in control then ACH fights back. Sabre puts his hands behind his back and lets ACH chop him a few times as ACH is weary but Sabre spits in his face and stretches out ACH as he is displaying a mean streak. The crowd starts a mild “fuck you, Sabre” chant as ACH tries to fight back but gets hit with a butterfly suplex. ACH trips Sabre up as both men are down. ACH catches Sabre with a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two then they go back-and-forth for a bit until Sabre hits a Penalty Kick followed by a half-nelson suplex that gets two. ACH fights out of a hold on the top and fires away. He hits a few clotheslines then counters a rollup and gets two with a German suplex. The fans boo as both men sit on the mat and stare at each other. ACH lands a few strikes then Sabre comes back with some uppercuts. Sabre manages a guillotine but runs into a lariat then ACH hits the Buster Call for two. He heads up top and tries a 450 but Sabre catches him with the triangle hold. ACH tries a deadlift but Sabre turns that into a double arm bar and that gets the win (17:19) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Pretty good match although I think it stumbled a bit towards the end. Might have also been better if a few minutes shorter but still had good time.
After the match, both men shake hands then Sabre grabs the mic to talk about EVOLVE and how its wrestling for everyone and has some fun with the crowd as he says the company welcomes everyone and anyone. Elgin comes out and asks since the shows are for all fans, are the title shots too? Sabre says he will defend against anyone but Elgin drops him with a back fist and walks out to a scattering of boos as they’ve hyped up tomorrow night’s match.
Final Thoughts: A decent show here. Lee vs. Ricochet was awesome but nothing else really stood out and they did hype up tomorrow’s show a lot.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Thursday: Highspots Shoot Interview with Bobby Eaton
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/11/89
Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 8/12/82
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/12/89
Monday: WWF Survivor Series Showdown 11/12/89
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/18/89
Wednesday: EVOLVE 81 3/31/17