April 1, 2017
From the Orlando Live Events Center in Orlando, FL
Lenny Leonard is your host.
This show has an EVOLVE vs. PROGRESS series plus will crown the first-ever WWN Champion
Drew Galloway comes out to cut off Lenny Leonard as he was about to run down the show. He talks about how EVOLVE needed him to put eyes on the company as no one knew about the other guys in the company. However, he is no longer interested in saving EVOLVE from itself as it has grown so he will now save WWN from itself and will “break your fucking neck” if you try to take it from him, just like he did to Matt Riddle. However, Riddle runs out and attacks Galloway but does end up getting hit with a piledriver. Catchpoint runs out for the save now as Galloway heads out then grabs the mic and says all he cares about is the fact he has built this place as well as multiple others. Keith Lee walks out as Galloway says no one invited him and it does not concern him as he is the new guy. Lee keeps backing Galloway up as Galloway does not care how good Lee’s weekend has been then backtracks and says Lee is the type of guy he can build a company around and to trust his experience but Lee has backed Galloway into the ring. Galloway asks Lee if he stands with him as Lee ponders then gives the thumbs down. Galloway cheap shots him with a headbutt then Lee raises his head and catches Galloway with a Spirit Bomb then hits a slam before going up top with a moonsault. The crowd chants for Lee as Galloway is in a lot of pain on the mat. Galloway is being checked on by several officials then Lee grabs the microphone and wants to clear things up. He says that WWN is now his company rather the entire wrestling world belongs to him and EVOLVE is his home. After dethroning the supposed king in Galloway he will continue on his crusade so everyone can bask in his glory. He then wants his opponents to come out to start the opening match. Solid segment here but as we would find out later, there was a reason for Galloway to get destroyed like he did in this segment. Lee came off like a star here and they hyped up the WWN Title match later on in the show.
Jason Kincaid and Austin Theory come out for the opening Fatal Four Way. However, Stokely Hathaway comes out and says that Timothy Thatcher will not be wrestling in the opening match and after speaking to EVOLVE officials, Thatcher will not only get a rematch at the EVOLVE Title but also added to the WWN Live Championship match. Darby Allin then comes out and says WWN officials have not medically cleared him after last night’s match but that will not stop him as he will take Thatcher’s spot in the match. However, Ethan Page runs out and attacks Allin then has one of his Gatekeepers, the former Blaster McMassive, take Thatcher’s spot.
Keith Lee vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Austin Theory vs. The Gatekeeper
The Gatekeeper runs in and attacks Theory as the bell sounds. He knocks him off of the apron then Kincaid calls for peace between Lee and The Gatekeeper. Theory fights back outside and whips The Gatekeeper into the barricade then heads inside to go after Lee. Priscilla Kelly strolls around the ring as Lee overpowers both Theory and Kincaid. The Gatekeeper runs in and takes Lee down with a hurricarana then he teams with Theory to hit Lee with an assisted powerbomb. Gatekeeper now beats on Theory until getting hit with a bicycle kick. Theory flies out with three straight topes then tries the same with Lee but gets caught and driven into the post. Back inside, Lee smirks into the camera after chopping down Theory, who avoids a charge and comes back with a few strikes only to get caught with a pop-up chokeslam. Lee and The Gatekeeper slug it out until Lee hits the Spirit Bomb then the Ground Zero for the win (6:06) **1/2. After the match, Lee reiterates that WWN is his company and EVOLVE his home. He then welcomes Kyle O’Reilly to the company, which sets up their match at EVOLVE 82.
Thoughts: All action in this one and served it’s purpose of putting over Lee. Unfortunately, Kincaid got injured at the beginning of the match and went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He did make his return to action this past weekend though.
Originally, Su Yung was supposed to face off against Lufisto but she was apparently fired before the show. Yung is married to WWE Superstar Rich Swann and was a former WWE Developmental Talent back in 2010-11 and went by the name Sonia. Lufisto calls Yung out for no-showing and said she was scared and is a disgrace to the world of professional wrestling. She then says she is the greatest SHINE Champion of all-time and that no one can beat her. However, Toni Storm comes out from the crowd as Lufisto bails. Storm flies out with a tope then stomps away. They brawl outside then the bell rings.
SHINE Title Match: Lufisto (c) vs. Toni Storm
Lufisto hammers away outside then rolls inside to break the count and goes after Storm. Lufisto dodges a chop as Storm hits the post then Lufisto rolls Storm into the ring and kicks her in the ribs. Lufisto beats on Storm then chokes her out in the corner. Storm comes back with a headbutt and starts beating on her with double chops. Lufisto comes back with a jawbreaker then hits a slam before hitting a curbstomp to the chest that gets two. The crowd chants for Storm as Lufisto puts on a chinlock. Lufisto misses a charge as Storm hammers away. She hits Lufisto with a running hip attack but misses her second attempt as Lufisto returns the favor then follows with a cannonball. She hits Storm with a running knee strike for two then almost puts her away with a reverse Death Valley Driver. Storm ducks a clothesline and hits a lungblower then heads up top but is cut off and Lufisto puts her away with the Burning Hammer (7:00) **3/4.
Thoughts: Good match here. Storm is an awesome talent and just 21 years of age. I have to imagine she is on the WWE’s radar. Lufisto is also a good talent herself and this went quite well for an impromptu match.
PROGRESS co-owner Jim Smallman heads out to the ring with Trevin Adams to kick off the EVOLVE vs. PROGRESS series. Smallman thanks the WWN for their hospitality and does the same to the crowd. Smallman asks the crowd to follow one simple rule, which is to enjoy yourself.
PROGRESS VS. EVOLVE Series Match: Ethan Page w/ The Gatekeeper vs. Jimmy Havoc
Page acts condescending towards Havoc, who responds with the middle finger. They are jawing with each other now but Havoc ducks a cheap shot then sends low-bridges Page and heads outside. He beats on Page for a bit but Page reverses a whip into the barricade as Havoc flies over the guardrail. Page heads in the crowd and whacks Page with a purse that he found. Havoc fights back and teases a big chop but ends up poking Page in the eye. They now head up in the bleachers where Havoc gauges Page’s face then takes a selfie with a fan who was sitting behind them. Havoc gets knocked on top of a plastic folding table as Page hits an elbow drop. Page squirts water in Havoc’s face as they are in front of the gimmick table. Page tosses Havoc on top of another table but Havoc fights back and drops Page crotch-first on the guardrail. They are now back to ringside where Page blocks a kick then tosses Havoc’s leg on top of the apron before hitting a super kick. Havoc comes back with a soccer kick on the apron then swigs a beer from a fan after hitting a running kick. The Gatekeeper grabs a hold of Havoc’s leg long enough for Page to hit an RK-Ego for a two count as they are finally back into the ring. Havoc escapes from a spinning Dwayne attempt then counters an Iconoclasm and takes Page off of the middle rope with a Codebreaker for a nearfall. Page avoids a Rainmaker but Havoc sends him into the corner with a drop toehold. Page comes back with a bicycle kick for a nearfall then they trade strikes. Havoc knocks the Gatekeeper off of the apron and gets kicked but comes back with a Pele Kick then they counter each other’s finishers until Havoc gets two with a double stomp. Havoc signals for the Rainmaker as the other Gatekeeper makes his way to the ring. Havoc is distracted by the Gatekeeper already at ringside but that allows Page to attack and hit the spinning Dwayne for the win (10:30) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match was fine although the finish came off really lame. Makes sense though as EVOLVE wants to keep Page strong as a heel and Havoc shouldn’t be getting pinned clean.
After the match, Page says to give it up for him and that since he is not in the EVOLVE Title match, he will end the EVOLVE and PROGRESS friendship as it is his company. He stomps Havoc’s hands and says PROGRESS can kiss his ass but Allin runs out with a pipe to save Havoc from Page and The Gatekeepers. Havoc finally hits the Rainmaker as they clear the ring with Havoc & Allin standing tall. They continued the Allin/Page feud, which should have ended after their Anything Goes Match at EVOLVE 81. The prospect of a Page & Havoc team sounds entertaining if they continue the relationship between both companies. And once again, Page’s work on the stick stood out.
PROGRESS VS. EVOLVE Series Match: South Pacific Power Trip w/ Dahlia Black vs. Chris Dickinson & Jaka
Big reaction for the SPPT. Cooper and Jaka start things off with a reversal sequence that ends with Cooper hitting an enziguiri. Both men tag out as Dickinson & Banks end in a stalemate after some aggressive work. Dickinson wants the “pretty boy” to tag in as Cooper is back inside. Cooper pie-faces Dickinson but ends up getting destroyed in the corner as a result. Jaka is in now and hits a power drive elbow for two. Exploder gets two. Dickinson is back in and kicks Cooper in the back a few times before putting in him the Boston Crab as he runs his mouth at Banks. Cooper reaches the ropes but remains in trouble as Dickinson & Jaka cut off the ring. Jaka stops a comeback attempt then hits a suplex for a two count before taking a cheap shot at Banks. Dickinson stretches out Cooper with a painful looking hold as Cooper has been taking quite the beating. Jaka eats boot on a charge but is able to push Cooper down as he tried a crossbody. Dickinson tags in as Cooper avoids him and boots him down as both men are down. Cooper finally makes the tag as Banks kicks the crap out of both men. He trips up a charging Jaka and sends him into the corner on top of his partner and follows with a powerbomb. He hits Dickinson with a brainbuster for a two count. Jaka takes out Cooper on the floor with a tope then Dickinson drops Banks on the apron as the Catchpoint guys celebrate and roll Banks inside but Banks comes back to take them both out with a tope then Cooper heads up top and takes everyone out with a corkscrew senton. The action heads back inside as everyone is hitting rapid fire kicks. Dickinson & Jaka hit stereo German suplexes but the SPPT get back up and taken down with clotheslines as all four men are down on the mat with the crowd chanting “all these guys.” Banks chops both men but gets caught with some awesome double-team moves until Cooper makes the save. Banks is able to kick out of a powerbomb/top rope splash combo just in time as the crowd cheers. Dickinson puts Banks in the Torture Rack as Jaka comes off of the top with a stomp but Cooper makes the save. Dickinson floats over on a double team DDT and shoves the SPPT into each other. The SPPT come back and hit Jaka with super kicks but Dickinson comes from behind and hits them both with a German suplex. However, Dickinson misses a double clothesline and Banks hits him with a fisherman’s buster and Cooper follows with a springboard 450 but Dickinson kicks out at one and goes mental as the crowd is going insane, with the SPPT in a state of shock. The SPPT then come back with a double super kick and hit the assisted DDT for the win as Jaka was too late for the save (15:12) ****. After the match, the crowd gives a standing ovation and both teams shake hands as the EVOLVE vs. PROGRESS series is tied up 1-1.
Thoughts: Excellent match. Man, the SPPT have had themselves a great weekend. Unfortunately, both TK Cooper & Dahlia Black had their working visas expire and had to go back to New Zealand so it will be at least a few months before they can return. They got themselves over here and Dickinson & Jaka have been an underrated team, IMO. They work well together.
The company announces that Drew Galloway has been injured and unable to compete in the main event. This did not go over well with the crowd, although at the time it had not been known that Galloway signed with the WWE and would be in attendance for NXT Takeover, which was part of the last-minute deal he signed.
PROGRESS World Title Match: ACH vs. Pete Dunne (c)
This starts off on the mat as ACH works a front facelock. Dunne escapes and breaks the fingers but ACH is able to escape as they end in a stalemate. They now fight over an arm wringer as ACH takes Dunne down with a monkey flip then mocks Dunne’s signature taunts. Dunne gets a bit of revenge but ACH slides into the corner and catches Dunne with an enziguiri then goes for a running soccer kick on the apron but Dunne blocks that and yanks down ACH. Back inside, ACH backflips over Dunne and hits a dropkick as both men are down. They get up and trade strikes until ACH takes Dunne down and uses the Muta Lock. Dunne escapes by grabbing the fingers but ACH chops him hard. Dunne knock ACH into the ropes then hits a Pedigree for a nearfall and does the Triple H pose. Dunne stomps ACH’s elbow then uses a surfboard as he yanks ACH back by the ears then fishhooks him as he rakes the chest. ACH rolls outside as Dunne lays across the top rope in the corner. Back inside, Dunne claws at ACH then facewashes him as he’s firmly in control of the match. ACH gets up after getting knocked down and comes back with a chop but Dunne knocks him back down and starts laying in with elbow strikes. Dunne begs ACH to hit him but gets fooled as ACH goes low and hits a hurricarana. Dunne bails as ACH hits a running soccer kick from the apron then heads back in and rolls through a double stomp but hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Dunne knocks ACH into the corner with an elbow strike but ACH comes back with a Codebreaker then a Death Valley Neckbreaker that gets two. They fight up top then get down and headbutt each other. Dunne catches ACH with a clothesline and follows with a tombstone but that only gets two. ACH rolls out on the apron as Dunne measures him up but ACH slingshots in with an Ace Crusher then hits the Air Raid Crash for a nearfall as both men are down. Dunne tosses the ref in his way but ACH comes back and hits the Buster Call but Dunne is just able to kick out. He heads up top but misses the 450 splash then Dunne locks on the Regal Stretch and makes ACH tap (18:40) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Good match but far from a classic. The crowd also seemed flat and the news of Galloway being out of the main event took them out of it as another match originally planned had been switched. ACH lost two title matches this weekend and did not stand out in the ring much, either. A bit of a disappointing weekend for him.
EVOLVE Title Match: Mark Haskins vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
Both guys trade off working the arm to start. They end in a stalemate then Sabre works a headscissors on the mat until Haskins escapes and works the legs. Haskins blocks a sunset flip by stomping on the wrist as he goes back to working the arm until Sabre reaches the ropes. Both guys once again are back to going after the arm, using multiple until we get another stalemate. Sabre yanks Haskins down in midair and uses a bridging pin for two. Haskins comes back with a basement dropkick then works the legs for a bit until Sabre counters with a kimura. They are trading more stuff on the mat until Sabre reaches the ropes. Haskins goes back to the leg then kicks it hard and follows with a knee drop. They roll around on the mat some more until Haskins stomps the leg then follows with a dragon screw. Sabre fights back and goes after the arm then both men trade strikes until Haskins blocks a soccer kick and tries for the Star Armbar. Haskins has to switch to a cross armbreaker but Sabre slips out of that too as they are back to their feet. Sabre lands some strikes but Haskins comes back with a clothesline as both men are down. They get up and trade more strikes then start firing away until Haskins catches Sabre with a powerslam for a two count. He puts Sabre in a crossface as Sabre eventually gets his foot on the bottom rope. Sabre manages a rollup but Haskins comes back and picks up Sabre with a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall in a neat sequence. Sabre escapes from a Star Armbar and puts Haskins in the Octopus Hold but Haskins counters that with a stretch muffler then almost gets rolled up. Sabre tries for a cross armbreaker but Haskins comes back with the Cradle to Grave for a nearfall as both men are down as the crowd starts a mild “this is wrestling” chant. Sabre gets up and hits the Penalty Kick but misses a second attempt but escapes from a sharpshooter and they work a reversal sequence that ends with Sabre putting on a painful looking stretch as Haskins has no choice but to tap out (19:52) ***1/4.
Thoughts: They had some good back-and-forth stuff here but the match didnt really seem to kick into the next gear. Then again, these guys all work multiple shows per night at WrestleMania weekend and were probably feeling exhausted so I can understand.
After the match, Sabre says he is done for the weekend and jokes he will try to double his workload next year because he is a sadist. He then reflects on his career and puts over his friendship with Haskins and how they started out in wrestling together and how cool it is to defend the EVOLVE Title against him here at WrestleMania weekend. Sabre then says while the real world is a mess at the moment, the pro wrestling world is doing great and puts over the EVOLVE and PROGRESS relationship and how its genuinely special and that professional wrestling, including Independent wrestling, is for everyone then leaves to cheers.
Candy Cartwright brings out Andrew Lazarchik, the owner of Wildcat Championship Belts and designer of the new WWN Live Championship belt, which is draped over Cartwright’s shoulder.
WWN Championship Elimination Match: Timothy Thatcher w/ Stokely Hathaway vs. Parrow w/ Drennen vs. Jon Davis vs. Matt Riddle vs. Fred Yehi vs. Tracy Williams
Everyone goes after each other as Trevin Adams has joined Leonard on commentary. Parrow is the ACW Champion and a big man. Davis won episode three of WWN Style Battle and has been in EVOLVE in the past, including their debut show. Thatcher and Williams fight outside then we have the Catchpoint guys square off against the others but Thatcher bails. Davis & Parrow team up briefly then Parrow clotheslines Davis but Thatcher comes in to put him in a sleeper. Everyone gangs up on Parrow as Thatcher puts him back in the sleeper and ends up passing him out for the elimination (4:30). Davis takes Williams down with the pounce then chops him outside. Thatcher and Yehi go at it in the ring as Yehi get two off of a neckbreaker. Davis and Williams fight inside then Yehi joins his partner but Davis fights them off. Davis’ nose is bloody and he hits Yehi with a buckle bomb then a spinebuster for a nearfall. Thatcher and Davis stare each other down until Williams attacks Davis from behind. Thatcher grabs Williams in a sleeper then Riddle comes in and hits Thatcher with a tombstone and Williams hits a brainbuster then makes Thatcher tap with a crossface (9:13). Catchpoint is in the ring as Davis stands outside. Davis slowly gets up onto the apron then gets inside and starts fighting everyone. He catches Yehi on his back then a crossbody from Williams but Riddle yanks Williams down and kicks Riddle across the chest. Davis fights back and powerbombs Yehi on top of Williams as that gets two. Davis blocks a Bro to Sleep from Riddle and hits him with a spinning powerbomb for two. Catchpoint takes over and hits Davis with a barrage of moves but Williams puts him in the crossface as Yehi puts Davis’ free arm in an armbar as Davis gives up as we are down to the three Catchpoint guys (13:22). Riddle fights off his two stablemates until Williams is able to knock him down. Williams & Yehi target the neck of Riddle as they use the Catchpoint philosophy of attacking and exploiting a weakness as Riddle mounts a comeback. Yehi does his big trouble routine on Riddle but Williams rolls him up from behind for the surprise win as Yehi is pissed off at his partner (17:40). Williams tells Yehi its just business then destroys Riddle in the corner. Williams continues to work the neck but Riddle fights back. Williams dodges a corner splash then an upkick attempt but Riddle comes back with the Bro to Sleep then a German suplex but unable to hold the bridge on the suplex due to his neck. Williams DDT’s Riddle on the turnbuckle but Riddle comes back with a fisherman’s buster for a two count as both men are down on the mat. Williams comes back with a spike DDT for a two count then puts on a crossface but Riddle is able to make his way to the ropes. Williams then hits Riddle with a piledriver but Riddle is just barely able to get his shoulder off of the mat. We get a mild chant for Riddle then Williams locks on the crossface once again but Riddle reaches the ropes. Williams stomps the back of the neck then beats on Riddle against the ropes until Riddle catches him with a triangle hold. Riddle climbs up top but Williams cuts him off and takes him down with a butterfly superplex for another nearfall. Williams is in a state of shock then reverses a crossface and locks on the Bromission and gets the win and is now the WWN Champion (28:07) ***3/4.
Thoughts: Good match with better storytelling. I really liked it when it came down to Riddle and Williams at the end. Williams came off heelish here too, which fits in with the storyline that he is cracking as the leader of Catchpoint. Riddle should have won as he is the star of the WWN family. The ending felt a bit abrupt though. A good way to send the crowd home happy at least and they seemed to need that to happen.
After the match, Riddle lays the belt down on the mat next to his PROGRESS Atlas Championship and poses. He grabs the mic and talks about how this is surreal to him and one year ago was so green and new to everything. He is glad for the opportunity and promises to defend the belt all around the world to make it a legit World Title and defend it across all WWN promotions. He will fight Thatcher, his boys from Catchpoint, and Kyle O’Reilly then thanks the fans for their support and says he loves them all.
Final Thoughts: I thought this was a good show but paled in comparison to the other WWN shows that took place, such as EVOLVE 80 & 81 and the PROGRESS show. They did a good job at building up Kyle O’Reilly to prepare for his return to EVOLVE, where he has not wrestled since 2010. The tag match was the best on the show and the WWN Title match was another good one. I’d recommended this show still as there was a lot of talent on the show. Fatigue seemed to be setting him for some of the performers and the crowd. However, last year’s Mercury Rising blew this one away.
Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Dan Spivey
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/9/89
Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 9/9/82
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/10/89
Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/16/89
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/17/89
Wednesday: RevPro Live in Orlando 3/31/17