April 22, 2017
From La Boom in Queens, NY
Your hosts are Trevin Adams and Timothy Barr. Lenny Leonard is not here tonight as we are later told that he is on assignment.
Barr lets us know the main event is Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page in a Last Man Standing match. Matt Riddle then comes out to the ring, announced as the WWN Champion. Riddle thanks the crowd and says winning the belt is not enough as you have to defend it and then says there is one person who has beat him three times, Timothy Thatcher. He calls him “Trashy Tim,” dating back to the Catchpoint vs. Thatcher feud last year and says he will start off his title reign by defending against Thatcher. The crowd starts a “Trashy Tim” chant but Stokely Hathaway comes out with a girl on his arm and says his client Thatcher is not trashy and his client will come out now and win the title so he can get out of here early as we have our first match.
WWN Championship Match: Matt Riddle (c) vs. Timothy Thatcher w/ Stokely Hathaway
These two start off on the mat and end in a stalemate. They are back on the mat in another struggle until Thatcher starts driving his knee into Riddle’s arm. Riddle reaches the ropes but Thatcher knees him in the ribs and then switches to a sleeper. Riddle gets to his feet and drives Thatcher into the corner but Thatcher stays on so Riddle drops him on the mat. Riddle kicks Thatcher in the back then starts peppering him with strikes. Thatcher escapes from an armbar and works the leg and eventually turns Riddle over for a single leg crab as the crowd boos. Riddle reaches the ropes but Thatcher follows with a gutwrench suplex for a two count. Thatcher goes back to the sleeper and turns it into a rear choke of sorts but Riddle flips over and applies an armbar until Thatcher is able to stick his foot on the bottom rope. Thatcher nails Riddle in the ribs and applies a triangle hold but Riddle deadlifts him with a powerbomb as both men are down as the crowd chants “Bro.” Riddle hits a corner splash and an exploder. He hits a senton but Thatcher caught it and puts Riddle in a rear choke. Riddle gets to his feet but Thatcher breaks and hits a butterfly suplex for a two count. He drapes Riddle over the apron and goes outside to beat on his neck. Thatcher is back in but Riddle fights out of a waistlock to hit a German suplex and starts to fire up but Thatcher counters the Bro to Sleep with a Fujiwara armbar. Riddle is in the center of the ring but flips over and pounds away then puts on the Bromission and gets the win (10:15) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Really good match. These two always gel in the ring and this time was no different as Riddle gets a credible win in his first title defense.
After the match, Thatcher and Hathaway have a staredown. Hathaway then tells Riddle he has managed champions in the past as Thatcher leaves. Hathaway tells Riddle he hangs out with the fans and signs autographs, unlike Thatcher who just chills in the back and wrestles while he takes care of everything else. Hathaway tells Riddle he should be like Thatcher but Riddle says he chills with the fans because its fun and can do whatever he wants and asks for his music to be played while the crowd chants “Bro.” He leaves as Hathaway shrugs his shoulders then leaves after Riddle. Its clear that there is a rift between Thatcher and Hathaway and that Hathaway is looking to add more clients.
Austin Theory vs. ACH
ACH backs Theory into the ropes but Theory is able to duck away from a chop. They take it on the mat where Theory holds his own and they end in a stalemate. They pick up the pace and trade arm drags and go into a pinfall reversal sequence. Theory gets kicked but comes back with a dropkick and beats on ACH in the corner. ACH stops an Irish whip in the corner with a baseball slide and hits Theory with an enziguiri. ACH connects with a dropkick then rams Theory in the corner. ACH uses his speed to his advantage and ends up catching Theory with an atomic drop but messes around and ends up getting kicked in the face. Theory hits a nice overhead suplex for a nearfall. Theory hammers away but ACH fights out of a fireman’s carry then fakes out Theory and whacks him in the nuts. ACH takes Theory outside with a hurricarana then dropkicks him off the apron a few times and connects with a running soccer kick. ACH drops Theory across the guardrail before tossing him inside. ACH gets two with a slingshot flatliner and starts getting frustrated as Theory keeps kicking out. We get a dueling chant now a ACH stomps Theory in the back of the neck. ACH now toys with Theory before hitting a corkscrew neckbreaker. He now puts Theory in a chinlock as the crowd rallies behind Theory, who fights out then blocks a slingshot flatiner and runs wild. Standing moonsault gets two. Theory lands a few shots in the corner and catches ACH with a boot to the face. ACH chops Theory hard in the corner but Theory comes back with a rolling Canadian Destroyer that was not quite pulled off as planned as that gets two. Looked more like a neckbreaker than anything else. ACH catches Theory with a fireman’s carry neckbreaker on his knee then places him up top but Theory escapes and hits a spinning powerbomb for a nearfall. They trade strikes now until ACH hits the Buster Call for the win (13:50) ***1/2. After the match, the crowd gives Theory a nice ovation.
Thoughts: Another very good match. Theory impressed here and he definitely has a future in wrestling. His look is great and he can go in the ring at just 19 years of age. ACH also did a fine job as he continues to wrestle a more grounded style in EVOLVE.
Drew Galloway comes out for his match against Zack Sabre Jr. He then asks for the mic and says he is finished with EVOLVE. He talks about giving everything to this place and got nothing but disrespect as a few people chant “you sold out” non stop as Galloway flips out on him and the referee for being against him and that’s why he is leaving. He’s sporting a nice black eye too as he talks about not being a sheep like everyone else and will decide where his career goes. Galloway says everyone here smells and his feet stick to the floor when he walks around and chose to be here today in order to close the chapter on EVOLVE. He then tells referee DA Brewer that he will have to be killed in order to say “I Quit” in his match against Matt Riddle then says tonight, Sabre will burn his boots after his match because he’ll always live in his shadow. Galloway then knocks Brewer out and says it will not be a wrestling match tonight, it will be a fight as long as Sabre has the balls to come out. Sabre comes out and they start beating each other.
Drew Galloway vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Galloway tosses Sabre in the corner but they head outside where Sabre fights back. The fans are fully behind Sabre here but Galloway comes back with a tilt-a-whirl slam onto the ring apron. Sabre now works an octopus hold on the guardrail until Galloway fights him off. Back inside, Sabre works the arm for a bit. Galloway catches Sabre with a short piledriver and soon after that Sabre catches Galloway with an armbar while being lifted up in midair. Sabre brings him down and this ends when Ethan Page and The Gatekeepers run out. Page powerbombs Sabre as the crowd boos. Page then hands the EVOLVE title to Galloway and stomps Sabre’s hand as Galloway heads to the back while Page hammers away. Galloway comes back with a sledgehammer as The Gatekeepers block the entrance. Page holds up Sabre as Galloway taunts Sabre with the title then stands up with the sledgehammer but Keith Lee’s music plays and he runs right through The Gatekeeper as Page and Galloway bail. Sabre takes one of The Gatekeepers and “breaks” his arm then Lee gives Sabre a slow clap before smiling and giving him back the EVOLVE title. The fight between Sabre and Galloway lasted about six minutes.
Thoughts: Not really an official match and they made sure not to have Galloway risk injury here as he was signed with WWE and just finishing up dates here. They also put Lee over as he will likely be having a future match against Page as well as a title shot against Sabre.
Lee is now alone in the ring. He talks about being in the mood to play but Page and Galloway were out. He then welcomes Kyle O’Reilly out for their match.
Keith Lee vs. Kyle O’Reilly
This is O’Reilly’s first appearance in EVOLVE since show #6 when he faced Chris Hero. O’Reilly lands a brief flurry of strikes that were half-blocked by Lee then we get some power vs. speed stuff that looked pretty good. Lee then tells O’Reilly to bask in his glory but has his arm attacked. They work a fast-paced Irish whip sequence but Lee falls short on a dropkick as O’Reilly grabs an ankle lock on the mat. O’Reilly tries a suplex but that fails so he grabs an arm wringer. Lee lifts O’Reilly up but O’Reilly fights that off and sends him to the mat where he works a hammer lock then attacks the ribs. Lee fights O’Reilly off and tosses him halfway across the ring with an overhead suplex. Lee hits clubbing forearms to the back of O’Reilly then stretches him out. O’Reilly wraps himself around Lee’s leg but Lee walks over to the ropes and breaks the hold. Lee tosses O’Reilly into the corner after they traded strikes then hits an avalanche. O’Reilly gets knocked down with a double chop but wastes too much time and eats boot on a charge. O’Reilly fights back and takes Lee down with a leg sweep after a flurry of strikes. He once again tries to hit a suplex but Lee fights him off. O’Reilly tries for a back suplex but Lee falls on top of him. Lee gets a nearfall with a belly-to-belly suplex but O’Reilly is resilient and continues to fight back and hits a Shining Wizard as both men are down. O’Reilly tries to turn Lee over for a single leg crab but Lee shoves him off and then they trade strikes until they drop after clotheslining each other. They end up outside where Lee is knocked into the chair and O’Reilly runs off the apron to hit a running double knee strike that takes down the guardrail and collapses the chair. What a crazy spot. Back inside, O’Reilly hits a missile dropkick but Lee pops up and runs him over before getting two off of a slam. Lee heads up for a moonsault but O’Reilly is able to cut him off. Lee knocks O’Reilly down but O’Reilly inadvertently kicks Lee in the crotch so the ref rings the bell as the crowd boos. The ref grabs a mic and Lee takes it and said an accidental kick to the “People’s Anaconda” will not stop his match and it restarts. O’Reilly immediately attacks Lee after the bell and then works the arm. Lee rolls over to catch his foot on the bottom rope then O’Reilly starts kicking the quads of Lee. O’Reilly charges but Lee catches him with the Spirit Bomb as O’Reilly kicks out just in time as Lee is in disbelief. Lee struggles to get up as his leg is hurt then does and asks O’Reilly to bask in his glory but O’Reilly grabs a hanging Dragon Sleeper. Lee tosses O’Reilly off but runs into a boot then O’Reilly hits Lee with a brainbuster for the win (19:54) ****. The crowd boos as they were really into Lee.
Thoughts: Excellent match. However, I think a DQ finish would have been the way to go as it doesn’t make sense for Lee to lose, as he is being built up strongly as a title contender, nor did it make sense for O’Reilly to lose in his return to the company. Lee was incredibly over with this crowd too and has turned himself into a major name on the Independent scene. Just think, these two could have been wrestling for Ring of Honor if the company had not let them go.
EVOLVE Tag Team Title Match: Chris Dickinson & Jaka vs. Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi (c)
Jaka and Yehi start yelling their trademark stuff at each other then run into each other a few times and end up in a stalemate. Jaka catches Yehi with a headbutt then hits a chop. Yehi takes Jaka down and hits some stomps before sending him back to his corner with a dropkick. Dickinson and Williams are in now as they go back-and-forth on the mat. Williams slips out of the Pazuzu Bomb to start another reversal sequence until Dickinson backs Williams into the corner. Dickinson & Jaka cut off the ring for a bit but Yehi is able to tag in as he lights up Jaka. He hits a basement dropkick then tags out as Jaka gets hit with headbutts by both men but is able to roll underneath a double clothesline and run wild on both men until Williams decks him and Yehi comes off the top with a stomp to his bare foot. Yehi beats on Jaka now but Jaka fights back and tags out as Dickinson is now running wild. Williams gets hit with a super kick/wheelbarrow suplex combo but soon after that comes back with a missile dropkick. Yehi then puts Dickinson in the Koji Clutch while Williams has Jaka in a crossface then they trade off. Dickinson powers out to powerbomb Williams as Yehi breaks that up but gets tossed outside. Yehi saves Williams again as Dickinson attempted a piledriver on the ring apron. Dickinson and Yehi trade strikes on the apron now then Jaka flies out with a tope and dumps into the first row as he nearly killed himself in the process. He was completely out of control with that move. Williams is down then back inside, Yehi is hit with the Death Trap but Yehi is able to kick out as Dickinson & Jaka are shocked. Yehi fights off both guys and makes the tag as Williams hits a double dropkick. Dickinson breaks up a piledriver attempt then hits the Pazuzu Bomb for the win as we have new EVOLVE Tag Team champions (15:06) ***.
Thoughts: The match was good but certainly not memorable or anything. They did not tease much conflict after the match but Dickinson & Jaka finally got their title shot and won the belts.
After the match, Williams & Yehi offer the Catchpoint handshake to the new champions and they accept. However, Larry Dallas & Big C and come into the ring. He claims to have the “scoop of the century” as his sources tell us Stokely Hathaway is in discussions with Williams to be the agent of Catchpoint. Williams says this is crazy then Hathaway himself comes out to the ring. Williams now leaves and Hathaway follows him as the champs leave too but Yehi stays and tosses out Big C then drills Dallas with a shotgun dropkick as the crowd thanks him. Yehi then hits a release German suplex and stands in the ring while the crowd chants “one more time” and he does in fact do it again. Very interesting segment here. And notice how Yehi was the only one who stayed in the ring.
Last Man Standing Match: Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page w/ The Gatekeeper
Page comes out to the ring with a shovel as he promises to bury him tonight. The other Gatekeeper whose arm got hurt by Sabre is not here. The rules are that you win if your opponent cannot answer the ten count. These two roll around on the mat to start. Allin dropkicks Page outside then flies out with a tope but Page fights back. Allin gets rammed into the apron then climb into the crowd were Page follows. They are on the stage where Allin nails Page in the back with a chair. Allin asks the fans to move as he goes back into the ring and flies across to the stage and nails Page with a headbutt. They are at ringside where Page rakes Allin in the eyes then tries to go into the crowd but Allin jumps on his back. Page then takes Allin down onto the chairs with an Iconoclasm and slams him back down onto the chairs again. Allin is tossed over the guardrail as they are now back at ringside where Page powerbombs him onto the apron. They are in the ring now where Page tapes a chair around Allin’s back but that fails so he slams him down on the chair instead. Allin blocks a kick and hits a senton onto Page’s back. He hits a springboard coffin drop then grabs a chair and hits both Page and The Gatekeeper with a coffin drop as the crowd starts chanting for him. Page is busted open now and furious as he heads inside with the shovel. Allin comes in with a chair and avoids a few swings of the shovel and beats Page with the chair. Allin now grabs the body bag that Page put him in a few months ago. Allin slips off the top rope and Page hits a powerbomb then a package piledriver then grabs the shovel and turns him inside out with a swing to the arm. The ref is now trying to stop the bleeding as Allin’s arm is pouring blood but Page shoves him away and puts Allin inside of the body bag. The Gatekeeper then hands Page a container of thumbtacks and pours them all inside of the bag then zips it up completely then hits a powerbomb. The crowd is in shock now as Page opens the bag halfway up and shows off the marks on Allin’s back then brings out the handcuffs but Theory runs out for the save. However, Theory gets tossed now Priscilla Kelly comes out and gets into the ring and distracts Page, who wants to know her deal. Kelly backs herself into the corner then Allin tries to attack Page but gets backdropped into Kelly as she is out. Page grabs a chair and sets that up and powerbombs Page into the chair. The Gatekeeper keeps tossing chairs inside that Page uses to beat Allin. Theory comes back for another save but Page hits him with the Spinning Dwayne. Allin is under a pile of chairs and Page tosses Theory on him and stands on top and wins (18:49) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match itself was nowhere near as good as the match they had on the last EVOLVE show. Plus, this feud should have ended at the last show too. Also, there was too many unnecessary spots. I get the story is that everyone tells Allin to not act this crazy and he’ll end up seriously hurting himself but watching his elbow get smashes with a shovel and powerbombed while inside of a bodybag filled with thumbtacks was not enjoyable to watch even in that context. They took things to far here, IMO.
After the match, Page is helped to the back as Gabe Sapolsky comes out to see how he’s doing. The crowd gives Allin a standing ovation.
Final Thoughts: O’Reilly vs. Lee was excellent and there was no match I’d consider bad. Plus, they did some interesting stuff with Catchpoint. The main event was disappointing in a few different ways but overall a solid show.
Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Lanny Poffo
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/7/90
Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 9/30/82
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 1/13/90
Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/14/90
Tuesday: WWF Madison Square Garden 1/15/90
Wednesday: EVOLVE 83 4/23/17