June 25, 2017
From La Boom in Queens, NY
Lenny Leonard is your host.
Tonight, we will see Keith Lee vs. Matt Riddle for the WWN Title and Jaka vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the EVOLVE Title.
ACH vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams
The crowd is behind ACH for the most part. Both men shove each other then ACH tries to offer a handshake after some joking but Williams slaps his hand away. ACH fakes out Williams and hits him low but Williams blocks a slinsghot move and locks on a crossfacec. Williams works the neck after ACH reaches the ropes. The announcer lets us know that ACH told people he was unhappy on being in the second match on the card last show as he gets dumped outside. They fight over a suplex on the outside as that ends with Williams sending ACH to the floor. Back inside, Williams continues to target the neck. ACH tries to fight back but Williams hits a teardrop suplex for a two count. Williams then hits a basement dropkick before applying a chinlock. ACH escapes but Williams drills him with a few elbow strikes. ACH tries to fight back but Williams sends him back down. ACH sweeps Williams down after blocking a kick then hits a dropkick as both men are on the mat. ACH avoids a stomp and hits a dropkick then flies out with a pair of topes that slams Williams into the guardrail. Williams avoids a running soccer kick on the apron but ends up getting drilled on a second attempt. ACH then helps up a fan that fell over due to the impact of the tope and tells him he’ll buy his drink before heading inside and getting a two count with a suplex. He tries for a superplex but Williams counters and ends up chopping ACH down in the corner. ACH places Williams up top and tries for another superplex but Williams shoves him off then ACH springs up to the top where Williams DDT’s him on the top turnbuckle. Williams then hits a missile dropkick and a brainbuster for a nearfall. ACH counters a piledriver and hits a German suplex. Lariat gets two but cannot get Williams up for a brainbuster and clutches his neck. They have a reversal sequence where Williams counters another brainbuster and locks on the crossface for the win (14:17) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Good match. It started off slow but built up nicely and I did like the finishing sequence. Williams is now undefeated since aligning with Stokely Hathaway, who was not with him for this match for some reason.
After the match, ACH grabs the mic and talks about being a lot more important than the “first match” and hurt about this and says he is better than this before slamming down the mic and leaving. They are giving ACH some character direction here as someone angry about how he is being used. Seems like it could lead to a heel turn.
Jason Kincaid vs. Timothy Thatcher w/ Stokely Hathaway
They start off by trading holds as Kincaid is able to escape. Thatcher then works the arm in painful fashion but Kincaid surprises Thatcher with a trip then goes for the Compassionate Release then starts firing away after getting slapped in the face. Thatcher is up and starts stopping away as the crowd rags on him. He starts driving his knee in the back of Kincaid then goes back to the arm but Kincaid turns that into a choke. Kincaid takes Thatcher outside and hits his double stomp on the apron before he starts working the arm. Thatcher fights back and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two before going back to the arm. Kincaid fights back until Thatcher sends him down with an enziguiri. Kincaid blocks a butterfly suplex then sends Thatcher into the middle turnbuckle with a sunset flip. Kincaid follows with a coast-to-coast dropkick and a double stomp then locks in the Compassionate Release as Hathaway is flipping out. Thatcher is able to pick up Kincaid and slam him down on the hurt arm then puts on the Fujiwara Armbar for the win (12:36) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Very good match. This was more like a fight than a wrestling match with a good mix of submission work and brawling. The storyline of Kincaid coming up short in his matches and growing increasingly frustrated has been intriguing. When he finally snaps it has the potential to become something awesome.
After the match, Kincaid extends his hand. However, Thatcher puts his hands behind his back then leaves with Hathaway as Kincaid is distraught about losing while the crowd chants his name.
Fred Yehi vs. Chris Dickinson w/ Jaka
They start off on the mat then Dickinson taunts Yehi with the Catchpoint sign. Yehi wins a slugfest then hits a shotgun dropkick before getting a two count with a butterfly suplex. Yehi tries another pin then Dickinson escapes and works a sleeper. Yehi breaks the sleeper with a Saito suplex then hits some chops in the corner but Dickinson fights back. Yehi takes Dickinson down after an Irish whip sequence but Dickinson is able to knock him outside and hit a baseball slide. Dickinson heads out to suplex Yehi on the floor then beats him up before heading back inside where he hits mounted punches. Dickinson beats on Yehi in the corner and cuts off a comeback. He gets two with a suplex then both men get in each other’s face. Yehi grabs his arms from the mat and hits bicycle kicks. Dickinson boots Yehi down then they trade stuff for a bit until Yehi gains the advantage as the crowd chants his name. Yehi runs through a chop and hits a dropkick then hits a forearm in the corner. Dickinson catches Yehi with a Falcon Arrow for a two count but soon after that Yehi hits a lungblower for a nearfall then tries a few other rollups but still cannot put away Dickinson. He stomps Dickinson’s arms but Dickinson fights back and gets a nearfall with a running kick. Dickinson deadlifts Yehi with a wheelbarrow suplex but Yehi comes back with a dragon suplex then switches into the Koji Clutch and gets the win (16:27) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Another really good match. The hatred between Yehi and his former Catchpoint teammates remains strong as he beat both of them this weekend. This match was much better than what he had with Jaka at EVOLVE 86 too as I expect Yehi to move on from this feud and into something else.
After the match, Jaka tells Dickinson to get up then says it was a hard fight before shaking his hand. He then asks the crowd if they think he can walk out of the building as the EVOLVE champion as the crowd chants “no” as Jaka yells about being one-half of the Tag Team Champions and will prove everyone wrong before calling out Sabre for his match. Solid promo by Jaka to get himself over as a threat.
EVOLVE Title Match: Jaka w/ Chris Dickinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
They trade strikes to start. Jaka rakes Sabre’s eyes in the corner but Sabre fights back and takes him down with an uppercut. Jaka tackles Sabre then grabs a chinlock. Sabre escapes and fights through some strikes before working the arm. Sabre stretches Jaka out on the mat now then grapevines the leg until Jaka is able to reach the ropes. Sabre goes back to the arm but Jaka is able to reach the ropes then catches Sabre with a German suplex. Jaka beats on Sabre in the corner but Sabre takes him down and grapevines the leg until Jaka finally crawls to the ropes. Sabre charnges but gets decked then Jaka hits a running kick to the face. Jaka almost puts Sabre away with a shining wizard then takes some more punishment until he rolls through a Northern Lights suplex and puts on a cross armbreaker. Jaka escapes and they trade strikes until Jaka gets a nearfall with a super kick. Sabre comes back with a Penalty Kick then stretches out Jaka while kicking him in the head. Jaka inches towards the ropes and manages to get his foot on the ropes as that draws some cheers from the crowd. Sabre hits another Penalty Kick but Jaka kicks out of that too. They exchange forearm smashes then Sabre blocks a kick and works the legs. Jaka gets out and they start slapping each other then work a reversal sequence ending with Jaka kicking down Sabre as the crowd applauds that sequence but Sabre is able to go underneath Jaka and take him down with the European Clutch and the win (14:48) ****.
Thoughts: Excellent match. Jaka had one hell of a performance here and established himself as a singles threat, IMO. He’s someone who was improved a lot in 2017. Sabre was usual fantastic self as his run as champ remains successful with some stellar matches.
After the match, Hathaway appears in the ring. He tells Sabre the right thing to do is grant the “greatest champion of all-time” a rematch. Darby Allin comes in now with his arm still in a sling but Thatcher is in now and grabs the mic. He calls Allin a disgrace for thinking he is a wrestler because all he can do is crazy stuff and hurts himself for the pleasure of the crowd and once he stops, no one will care. Thatcher tells Allin he needs to leave this ring right now. Allin gets in Thatchers face then walks away while Thatcher tells Sabre he respects him for how he beat him to become the EVOLVE Champion but the next time they meet it needs to be for the EVOLVE Title and in a No Holds Barred match. Thatcher then cheap shots Sabre with a headbutt before attacking Allin’s injured arm and putting him in the cross armbreaker as Allin is screaming in agony. Good segment. Thatcher was effective on the mic and came off as a mega heel here with the attacks as they are building to a stipulation rematch for the EVOLVE Title.
Thomas Sharp vs. Ethan Page
Page gets in Sharp’s face then stomps his foot. Sharp comes back with a hurricarana and an avalanche before hitting a fallaway slam. The crowd cheers as Page rolls outside then Sharp heads out but Page powerbombs him onto the apron. Page taunts the crowd then tosses Sharp into the ring where he goes to work. Sharp comes back with a side slam for two then hits a chop in the corner. Page avoids a corner splash then hits an Iconoclasm but Sharp blocks a Spinning Dwayne and soon after that hits a chokeslam for a nearfall. Sharp heads up top but misses a frog splash then Page hits the RK-Ego but Sharp gets to his feet and catches Page with a sidewalk slam as that gets two. They slug it out for a bit until Page hits a super kick then the Spinning Dwayne for the win (5:43) **.
Thoughts: The match was fine but the clean ending signals Page’s feud with his former Gatekeeper is over. Sharp isnt bad but does need some improvement as what he does between his moves is not polished.
Trent Baretta vs. Austin Theory
Trent plays to the fans after hitting a shoulder tackle. Theory gets the advantage and hits a few nice moves as the fans applaud. He gets two with a dropkick but Trent fights back and hits a double stomp in the corner. He follows with a back suplex as that gets two then boots Theory down as he is no longer taking his opponent lightly. Trent cuts off another comeback attempt but Theory is able to land a rolling dropkick as both men are down. Theory runs wild briefly until Trent got his knees up on a standing moonsault attempt. Theory is then able to deadlift Trent for a twisting suplex as that gets two. Torture Rack Bomb gets two as Trent rolls outside. Theory heads out and a fan gives him a chair where he sits Trent then runs around the ring only to have Trent catch him with a clothesline. Trent piledrives Theory on the floor then rolls him inside and hits a Gotch piledriver but Theory is just able to kick out as Trent is shocked. Trent starts pie-facing and trash-talking Theory and ends up getting slapped. Trent takes Theory on the apron and tries a piledriver but Theory blocks that and they try to suplex each other onto the apron as Theory wins that battle in a really painful looking spot that draws a “holy shit” chant from the crowd. Back inside, Theory hits a cross-legged brainbuster on the knee but Trent is able to kick out. Trent starts fighting back and they trade strikes. Both men are down again then Theory heads up top but Trent leaps up after slipping the first time and hits a belly-to-belly then gets a nearfall with a running knee strike before the Dudebuster gets the win (16:22) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Good match. Trent helped Theory look good and Theory himself stepped up with a strong performance. His offense is strong and he is improving in all other areas too.
After the match, Trent pats Theory on the back and raises his hand. Priscilla Kelly comes out and starts stalking Trent then touches his chest but Theory comes from behind to hit him low then hits the TKO as the crowd boos. Priscilla then bites Trent before leaving with Theory. Trent gets up as the crowd chants “please come back.” Theory always coming up short and now turning to align with Priscilla, who has been after him for the past several shows, makes sense. Theory has potential and they are now giving him something more than a young kid with potential.
WWN Championship Match: Keith Lee vs. Matt Riddle (c)
Both men play up to the crowd before slugging it out. Riddle hits a few running forearm strikes in the corner but Lee comes back with an overhead suplex into the turnbuckle. Riddle tries to fight back but ends up getting tossed halfway across the ring. Lee hits a slam and covers with one foot as that gets two. Power drive elbow gets two. Riddle floats over on a suplex and takes Lee down with a elbow strike then hits a deadlift gutwrench suplex. He tries for another one but that fails as Lee drills him with a rolling elbow for a two count. Lee toys with Riddle, who comes back with a bridging German suplex for a two count. Riddle hits a few strikes but Lee catches him with a sky high slam then hits the Pounce for another nearfall. Lee tells Riddle to bask in his glory but is caught with a guillotine choke. Lee deadlifts Riddle, who hits knee strikes while up in midair and gets back down to hit a fisherman’s buster for a two count. Riddle hits four sentons but that still only gets two. Riddle looks possessed as he hits a running kick for a nearfall. Riddle tries another senton but Lee catches him and hits the Spirit Bomb but Riddle is just able to get his arm up on a pin attempt. Lee starts lighting up Riddle with elbow strikes then charges but Riddle catches him with the Bro to Sleep. However, Lee does not fall down and both guys slug it out and refuse to go down then Lee headbutts Riddle as both men fall down but Riddle falls on top and gets the win (14:45) ****1/2. The crowd chants “that was awesome.”
Thoughts: Tremendous match. The loss also protected Lee in defeat. The story of the big man vs. former UFC fighter going all out and beating each other up was fun. These two are the stars of EVOLVE at the moment and special talents in their own right.
After the match, Page comes out and sarcastically claps. He then asks the crowd if this was awesome then tells both guys he hates them as they are still on the mat. He then stomps then and says FloSlam management favors them while he beats on them as the crowd chants “Fuck you, Ethan.” Williams is out now with Hathaway as he picks up the microphone. He then congratulates Riddle for defending the WWN Title and picks it up before saying he has not lost since they stopped doing business together and that he is coming for the title on August 12th. Williams says he is a patient man but will let Hathaway slap the shit out of him as Hathaway lands a few slaps as Page is beating on Lee. Hathaway then lands a few stomps. They leave as Page sees both Riddle and Lee get up then bails. Riddle and Lee are now up as the crowd applauds then Riddle gets all excited and wants a fist bump as Lee does it then he celebrates as Lee looks disappointed in losing this match. Great stuff here. Page was tremendous as a complete dick of a heel. Williams also gets his match against Riddle with the story being he is undefeated since the two stopped doing business together. I also liked how they should Lee disappointed at the end as he will remain in the title hunt.
Final Thoughts: Great show. The quality of matches up and down the card were tremendous and they built things up for future shows too. The creative direction for EVOLVE is strong with several talents getting a chance to rise up the card. I’d definitely seek out both title matches and the whole show if you can. It was one of the best EVOLVE offerings this year.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Thursday: Kayfabe Commentaries Presents: YouShoot with Jim Cornette
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 3/11/90
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 11/11/82
Sunday: WWF Prime Time Wrestling 3/12/90
Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/17/90
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 3/18/90
Wednesday: RevPro British J Cup 2017 7/8/17