June 24, 2017
From the Memorial Hall in Melrose, MA
Lenny Leonard is your host
Austin Theory vs. Timothy Thatcher w/ Stokely Hathaway & Catchpoint
Thatcher takes Theory down and hammers away. Thatcher stays in control as hangs on to the leg as Theory keeps kicking him in the face. Thatcher works the arm as Priscilla Kelly strolls down to the ring. Theory finally fights back and grabs a front facelock but Thatcher backs him in the corner and hammers away. Theory hits a clothesline then slingshots in with a stomp. He gets two with a brainbuster but Thatcher cuts off a rolling DDT attempt then hits a deadlift gutwrench suplex for a two count. Thatcher hits Theory with mounted strikes before applying a kimura. They end up outside where Theory gets dropped by an uppercut. Theory then shoulder blocks Thatcher on the apron and rolls in with a dropkick as that gets two. Thatcher rolls away from a standing moonsault then locks on a rear naked choke. He then switches to a single leg crab as the crowd gets behind Theory then Thatcher hits some knee strikes. Theory tries to fight back and eventually hits an enziguiri then the two trade strikes with Thatcher getting the upper hand. He hits Theory with a butterfly suplex for a nearfall then lands puts on the rear naked choke once again and Theory ends up passing out as Thatcher gets the win (10:19) **1/2.
Thoughts: This was solid but more of a showcase for Thatcher than a competitive match. Theory looked good in his spots though but this was about re-establishing Thatcher as a threat in EVOLVE.
After the match, Priscilla looks worried as Catchpoint enters the ring. Hathaway points out Thatcher’s 596 EVOLVE Title reign and lets the current champion, Zack Sabre Jr., know that the title is coming back to him. Priscilla helps Theory head backstage as Hathaway quotes Puff Daddy in reference to Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. Chris Dickinson then starts screaming for a fight as ACH comes out for their match. A few things here. They seem to be setting up Priscilla & Theory as a duo with Priscilla leading Theory backstage. Also, Hathaway is having both Thatcher and Williams compete for the EVOLVE and WWN titles and have future matches with Lee.
Chris Dickinson vs. ACH
They go back-and-forth to start by using standing holds. They fight over the arm then Dickinson yells at ACH to show him what he has so ACH nails him low. Dickinson attacks ACH, who has playing up to the crowd, then hammers away. He gets two with a back suplex then pie-faces ACH, who fights back, but ends up kickng ACH down for a two count. Dickinson uses a reverse chinlock then challenges ACH to hit him. Dickinson kicks ACH down a few times until ACH sweeps the leg and hits a double leg drop as both men are down. ACH hits a double stomp then dropkicks Dickinson outside before flying out with a pair of topes. ACH then hits Dickinson with a running soccer kick from the apron as the fans are behind ACH. Back inside, ACH hits a bridging German suplex for a nearfall but has trouble lifting him up again. Dickinson catches ACH with a powerslam for a two count and follows up with a few clotheslines in the corner before hammering away. ACH fights him off and hits a German suplex and follows with a clothesline that gets two. He hits another clohthesline and celebrates but that allows Dickinson to fight back and hit a fisherman’s buster for a two count. ACH slips out of a Pazzuzu Bomb attempt and hits a clothesline then follows with the Buster Call before going up top with a 450 splash as that gets the win (14:15) **3/4.
Thoughts: The first half of this match went nowhere but they picked things up near the end. ACH got the win but he does not seem part of their long-term plans and has been a tad underwhelming in the company. You’d think since Dickinson is one-half of the Tag Team Champions he would get the win. Maybe they have a plan to give ACH a partner?
The remaining Gatekeeper comes out to the ring. He takes the mic and says he is sick and tired of being known as just a Gatekeeper and broke his back to do Ethan Page’s dirty work. He then talks about taking the opportunity with Page to become an EVOLVE wrestler as of right now he is on his own as the Gatekeeper is dead and he is going to be known as Thomas Sharp. Page comes out and does not care what he wants to call himself or even cares about him because he just wants to screw with what the fans love and will tonight when he defeats Keith Lee. Page then tells Sharp no one cares about him as someone will always be there to follow his plan then Sharp is attacked from behind by Nick Comoroto, who was called the “Dirty Gatekeeper” on commentary. Its fine they are giving Sharp a singles run but if they were going to split him from Page it should have been built up more than this. Page was once again excellent on the mic.
Thomas Sharp vs. The Dirty Gatekeeper
The Gatekeeper hammers away to start. Sharp tries to fight back but ends up getting tossed outside where the two brawl. The Gatekeeper rolls Sharp inside but runs into a big boot then Sharp hits a Bossman Slam for the win (2:06) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Not much to this and neither man managed to impress. They both looked mechanical in the ring too but it sets up Sharp for a future match against Page.
Fred Yehi vs. Jaka
These two yell at each other to start. Jaka bites Yehi’s fingers then the two hammer away. Yehi takes control and gets two with a basement dropkick. Jaka blocks a suplex and gets a nearfall with a small package. Yehi stomps Jaka’s bare foot while pulling his ear. He hits a suplex but soon after that Jaka comes back with a thrust kicks then applies a chinlock. Yehi floats over in the corner but Jaka mistimed the move and ends up with Yehi coming down on his head as that could have ended up a lot worse than it did. The ref checks on Jaka as Yehi pulls him up and hits a chop. Jaka fights back then hits a basement dropkick of his own for two. Yehi fights back with bicycle kicks on the mat then hits a German suplex. Jaka gets out of a waistlock after a struggle then they completely f--- up a German suplex spot until Jaka hits one as Leonard chalks it up to it being hot in the arena. Yehi fights back but gets taken off of the apron with a super kick. Jaka flies out with a pescado then they head back inside where Jaka gets two with a t-bone suplex. Overhead suplex gets two. Jaka chokes out Yehi in the corner with his foot and hits a koppu kick for a nearfall. Jaka pops right back up after a suplex but Yehi chop blocks him down then hits a pair of basement dropkicks as both men are down. They trade strikes until Yehi hits a fisherman’s buster for a two count. Yehi then hits a German suplex and almost puts Jaka away with a rolling elbow. He locks on a full nelson then soon after that hits a suplex as that gets two. Jaka fights back with a flurry of strikes then takes Yehi down with a spin kick but Yehi counters a powerbomb with a hurricarana then catches Jaka in the Koji Clutch and that gets the win (16:12) **3/4.
Thoughts: They had two very noticeable botches in this match and it appeared they were unable to get back on track as a result. I expected better from both as I think they can have a good match together. It just was not their night.
Jason Kincaid vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams w/ Stokely Hathaway
Williams pie-faces Kincaid before the match so Kincaid immediately takes him down after the bell. They roll around on the mat until Williams starts working over the arm. Kincaid escapes but gets slapped down. Kincaid springboards off of the top rope with an arm drag then takes Williams off of the apron. Kincaid hits a rolling stomp then takes Williams outside with a 619 but back inside, Williams regains control. He suplexes Kincaid into the corner then hits a missile dropkick before getting two with a knee drop. They trade chops but Williams avoids a spin kick then drops an elbow for two. Williams works a chinlock then goes up top and gets two with a senton. He puts Kincaid in a strangle hold but Kincaid escapes and uses a cradle for a two count. Williams turns Kincaid inside-out with a double chop then they trade strikes until Kincaid hits a powerslam. He hits Williams with a springboard blockbuster then leaps backwards from the middle ropes with a stunner as that gets two. He places Williams up top then slaps him across the face but Williams comes back with a DDT on the turnbuckle then gets two with a clothesline. He tries for the crossface but Kincaid escapes then tries to springboard in but Williams catches him and hits a brainbuster for two. Kincaid is able to block a move and hits a tornado DDT then hangs on to hit a falcon arrow before applying the Compassionate Release. Williams is able to get out and hit a Death Valley Driver for two. Kincaid rolls out on the apron as Williams tries to suplex him back in but Kincaid turns it into a stunner mid-move. He then tries for a double stomp but Williams rolls out of the way and puts Kincaid in the crossface for the win (13:53) ***1/4. After the match, Kincaid starts shaking then gets into Williams’ face and shakes his hand and raises it before leaving.
Thoughts: Good match. Its clear they are building up Williams as a singles act and he is starting to live up to the push. Kincaid’s character continues to intrigue as they are building him up slowly until he snaps, which if done right can really get over.
Ethan Page vs. Keith Lee
Lee sidesteps a bicycle kick then hammers away. Page tries a clothesline but Lee runs through it and knocks him down with a pounce. Page backdrops Lee onto the apron and catches him between the ropes where he hits a draping backbreaker. Page then mocks Lee as the crowd boos and kicks away but Lee fights back. Page is able to take down Lee and hammer away as the crowd chants how much he sucks. Lee avoids a charge in the corner and comes back with a pair of clotheslines. Lee fires up as Leonard tells us before this match, EVOLVE officials made Page vs. Sharp tomorrow night in Queens. Lee almost puts away Page with an elbow strike then places him up top but Page leaps off with a hurricarana then gets two with a super kick. He sets up for the RK-Ego but Lee blocks that then the Spinning Dwayne before Lee gets two with a slam. Lee heads up top for a moonsault but Page gets up and takes him off with a powerbomb as that gets two. Page then hits the RK-Ego but Lee is able to kick out of that as well. Page yells at the referee for counting slow then yells at Lee but takes too long as Lee picks him up for the jackhammer and gets the win (10:30) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Another good match. Page’s heel work was very good here and Lee is one of the most over guys on the EVOLVE roster. This gives Lee a big win heading into tomorrow’s WWN Title match against Matt Riddle.
After the match, Lee asks for the mic. He puts over EVOLVE and the fans but has a humble request, which is asking Joanna Rose permission to announce the competitors of the next match as he has a vested interest in what happens.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Matt Riddle
These two last faced off at EVOLVE 59 (You can read that recap here)Lee did a funny job with the announcements here and showed off his natural charisma. Both guys start off on the mat then end in a stalemate. They go back to trading holds and end up in the ropes then go back on the mat as Sabre is able to work the arm. Riddle ends up behind Sabre after a struggle and hits a German suplex. Riddle follows with an exploder then a senton for just a one count. He tries another senton but Sabre catches him in a cross armbreaker. Sabre nearly puts Riddle away with a bridging pin then the two trade strikes until Sabre catches a kick and ends up hitting Riddle with a Penalty Kick. Sabre rolls through a tornado DDT then comes back to hit a dragon suplex as that gets two. They trade strikes again as that ends with Riddle hitting an upkick. Riddle hits a fisherman’s buster then hangs on for another one as that gets two. He hits a kick then connects with the Bro to Sleep but didnt get it all and follows with a German suplex for two. Riddle hits three straight charging forearm smashes but tries it again as Sabre knocks him down then goes for the cross armbreaker but Riddle blocks the move and lifts him for a powerbomb as that only gets one. The crowd applauds as both men are down on the mat. Sabre manages to put on the octopus hold but Riddle counters and hits a jumping tombstone. Riddle tries to put Sabre in the Bromission then locks it on but Sabre rolls through and ties up Riddle in a knot as Riddle has no choice but to tap out (12:24) ****.
Thoughts: Excellent match that could have been a classic if given more time. A great back-and-forth contest here that saw Sabre retain, like he did when they first wrestled.
After the match, Stokely Hathaway comes out to the ring. He tells Sabre his title reign will be coming to an abrupt end as either Jaka beats him tomorrow night or Thatcher at the next show. Darby Allin then comes out with his arm still in a sling as he tells us about needing the EVOLVE Title more than anything to prove he’s the best wrestler. Sabre then tells Hathaway he has the belt and will see him tomorrow before leaving. Riddle grabs the mic and congratulates Sabre then says he is the WWN Champ and here to fight anytime, anyplace but Williams runs in and attacks from behind. Allin looks on as Williams tosses Riddle outside for more punishment. Allin then looks at his arm and gets up on the top rope and flies out with a coffin drop to take out Williams & Hathaway. Riddle smiles and is shocked over what Allin just did then raises his good arm before going back into the ring and saying “I forgot my belt” as he picks up the WWN Title and leaves. Good way to end the show. They are building up to Williams vs. Riddle it seems based on the sneak attack and having Allin try to prove that he can be the best wrestler sounds intriguing.
Final Thoughts: The action was a bit disappointing but they had solid storyline advancement and built up the guys they are trying to push, making it an enjoyable show. They set up nicely for tomorrow night’s show here as EVOLVE continues to put out a quality product.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Thursday: Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1990 WWE as told by Bruce Prichard
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 2/25/90
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 11/3/82
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/3/90
Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 3/4/90
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/10/90
Wednesday: EVOLVE 87 6/25/17