Evolve 93 (9/23/2017)- Summit, IL
FRED YEHI vs. A NAMELESS JOBBER- squash
The announcers (Lenny Leonard and Ron Niemi), who had started the show off in the ring doing the big welcome, put over just how dominant of a win this was for Yehi by pointing out that they hadn’t even had time to get to the broadcast position before Yehi got the win (via referee stoppage).
ANTHONY HENRY vs. JASON KINCAID- 6.25/10
Hmmm… Gabe’s e-mail specifically said no apron spots or anything that drops you on your head… so I’m going to guess that these guys are going to get in trouble because Henry gave Kincaid a powerbomb on the outside in which Kincaid’s head slammed into the apron. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. I was shocked he could move afterwards, never mind wrestle for another eight minutes. Henry grew frustrated with his inability to put Kincaid away and Kincaid eventually pulled out the win via Compassionate Release.
JAMES DRAKE (w/Anthony Henry) vs. AUSTIN THEORY (w/Priscilla Kelly)- 5.75/10
Theory once again picks up a win after Priscilla Kelly causes a distraction by screaming, but this time she added to the distraction by also nailing Henry with a running senton off of the apron. The victim of a similar distraction last month, Jason Kincaid, came out to say something quietly to Theory as Theory headed to the back but Priscilla Kelly pulled Theory away.
FOUR-WAY MATCH FOR THE FW TITLE: Stevie Fierce(c) vs. Bryce Benjamin vs. Matt Knicks vs. GPA- 4.25/10
“FW” stands for “Freelance Wrestling” which is a horrifically dumb name for a promotion. There were spots in this match. That’s really all I got from it.
DARBY ALLIN vs. DJ Z- 7/10
Speaking of spots, this match had quite a few crazy dives. It seemed to signal Darby returning to his more “crash test dummy” style of offense after last night’s loss, which I didn’t like because it makes Darby a quitter on his quest to prove his abilities as a technical wrestler after just one loss. Darby did still get the win with his “Gibson Lock” roll-up, though, so who knows what’s up with any of that. Also, DJ Z’s entrance was… a thing you need to see (unless you’re epileptic). He has had quite the good showing this weekend, so I’d like to see him return.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Jarek 1:20 came out and did the same spiel he did last night with Fred Yehi, claiming he had a bonus for Darby from EVOLVE management with the bonus scaling based on how the crowd reacted but then he used his skill as a magician to turn the $500 into $5 and throwing them at him. Like Yehi last night, Darby just stood there and allowed himself to be disrespected. Maybe there is no actual bonus and Jarek is just doing this on his own? That seems to make the most sense, but in that case he’s losing $5 a night and I assume he’s not getting paid anything because he’s not booked in any matches, so that just makes him an idiot. These segments are dumb and I hope they don’t continue after this weekend.
EVOLVE WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Troll Boys (Ethan Page & ACH)(c) vs. Catchpoint (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) (w/Stokely Hathaway)- 6.5/10
Another odd match where things felt structured for the Troll Boys to be the babyfaces. Lenny Leonard even played up Jaka crotching ACH on the ropes as a major act of cheating to help them win (likening it to Tracy Williams poking Darby Allin in the eye last night as a sign of Catchpoint heading more down the heelish path).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Anthony Henry and James Drake, who just lost the tag titles to the Troll Boys last night, came out to challenge the new champs to a match, pointing out that Jaka & Dickinson have never been able to beat them. Stokely told them to get themselves and agent and call him if they want to get a tag title shot. Dominic Garrini then came out of the crowd and jumped Drake & Henry from behind in what definitely looked like something Stokely had planned in case Jaka & Dickinson needed help against the Troll Boys. They played up that Henry’s arm could be badly injured.
EVOLVE WORLD TITLE MATCH: Zack Sabre Jr.(c) vs. Keith Lee- 8/10
They told two stories here. The first was the obvious story of the size disparity between them, but the second (and more interesting) story was that Lee spends just a little bit too much time enjoying having the fans bask in his glory and thus doesn’t follow up on his moves as quickly as he should. As Lenny Leonard pointed out, this idea dates back to his first night in the company, when Chris Hero told him he needed to find his “killer instinct.” Zack managed to pull out the win with a roll-up to retain his title in an awesome match.
(For those wondering why this title match was added to the show when they had previously announced that Evolve World Title and the WWN Title would not be defended on the same show, Lenny Leonard would later explain that this was part of a make-good to the fans who would not be getting the advertised Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Davey Richards match due to Davey’s injury.)
ANYTHING GOES MATCH FOR THE WWN TITLE: Matt Riddle(c) vs. Tracy Williams (w/Stokely Hathaway & Dominic Garrini)- 8.75/10
Both men worked over the other’s head and neck with vicious submissions and weapon-use. This match also featured a run-in by Tracy’s Catchpoint teammates Chris Dickinson & Jaka, which is the first time I can remember interference in a world title match in EVOLVE. Anthony Henry & James Drake came out to chase them off. This definitely had that big blow-off feel to it, but between this run-in here and Dickinson pinning Riddle last night, I can’t imagine that these two will be able to be kept apart for too long (a six-man tag next month seems natural, and it would feel special because it’s something EVOLVE rarely does [plus this is my chance to once again express my disappointment that we didn’t get a big eight-man tag this spring or summer pitting Stokely’s Catchpoint & Thatcher group against the combination of Lee, Riddle, Yehi, & Zack]).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Riddle calls the whole locker room out to the ring, and they all come out. Even Jaka, Dickinson, Drake, and Henry, who were brawling with each other just a few minutes ago. Riddle then gave a speech putting over the roster, and reminding us all that “EVOLVE is about wrestling,” no matter what controversial thing might pop up in the news. This was a lot like Zack Sabre Jr.’s speech at the beginning of last night’s show, but the framing of this one with Riddle calling out the whole locker room made it a lot more awkward and forced. It seemed like Riddle called out the locker room because he wanted to talk to them, but then instead he just talked to us the fans.
AH! Here is some actual meat! Keith Lee is kind of annoyed at Riddle calling everyone out like this, saying that he is acting like he is the leader of the locker room but he didn’t act that way last night after their tag match. Lee wants one more shot at Riddle’s WWN Title, and, in light of the finish of their previous singles match, he thinks it should be a Last Man Standing match. Riddle responds by getting in Lee’s face so Lee shoves him. Riddle then delivers a big overhand slap to the pec and now we’ve got ourselves a brawl… except that the locker room is unfortunately already out here to stop it. The way they got the necessary pieces into place here made sense, but the set-up still felt a little clumsy to me.
Another awesome show from EVOLVE. The top of the card continues to deliver big, which managed to make up for a sub-par (by EVOLVE standards) undercard. This weekend as a whole, but especially tonight in particular seems to have been a moment of people stepping over the threshold. Things have been said and done that now can’t be undone, and the repercussions for Riddle, Lee, Dickinson, Jaka, and Williams will be quite interesting to watch unfold.
PWG, EVOLVE, AAW, WWN, etc
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