EVOLVE 81





EVOLVE 81

By Big Red Machine
From March 31, 2017

EVOLVE 81
While waiting for the stream to fire up we got a little recap of some things from last night. This included a Zack Sabre Jr. promo from after last night's show where he said that Elgin is no longer getting a title match tonight because of his very dishonorable conduct last night. Zack also said he would take this experience as a lesson that being champ really does mean there is a big target on your back.

ZACK SABRE JR. vs. MICHAEL ELGIN - 7.5/10


Elgin worked over Zack's back with all sorts of power moves and dominated most of the match, but Zack got the win via roll-up. Zack bled a lot from right around his eye.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Great! Lio Rush comes out and notes that he has a match against Zack Sabre Jr. coming up at Evolve 83. Lio suggests that that match should be for the Evolve World Title. Zack agrees, provided, of course, that he retains his title against Mark Haskins tomorrow night.

Then Drew Galloway came out and said that "as a locker room leader" he feels it is his duty to educate "the kids." And he made sure to tell Zack that he meant him, too, saying that he has been building up the British wrestling scene since Zack was just "a sperm in the wrestling world's sack."

Drew was condescending to both guys, scolding Zack for giving out title shots "like beads at Mardi Gras" and scolding Lio for looking past their match tonight. Zack had a great response to Drew, saying that when he was done with the Evolve World Title no one would even remember that Drew was champion. Zack suggested that whoever wins Drew and Lio's match tonight should get a title shot when Zack faces them next month in New York. Drew said he wanted to have the match right now.

WINNER GETS AN EVOLVE WORLD TITLE MATCH NEXT MONTH IN NEW YORK CITY:
Drew Galloway vs. Lio Rush - 7/10


Drew was the big bully while Lio was the underdog babyface that his body and moveset were made for him to be. Lio had a great showing for himself but Drew got the win after dumping Lio on his head a bunch of times in a bunch of different ways, paying off the match-long story of Drew working over Lio's head.

KEITH LEE vs. DONOVAN DIJAK - 8.5/10


You want to stop Roman Reigns from beating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Title in the main event of next year's WrestleMania? Then all you have to do is show Vince this match and your new WrestleMania main event will be Keith Lee vs. Donovan Dijak. These men are large, they are muscular, they hit each other very hard, and they are athletic beyond belief. You have never seen so many flips in a singles match where the average weight of the two competitors is around 300lbs.

I can see some people thinking I've overrated this, but some of the stuff they did just looked so mind-blowing that they didn't need to go any longer or do anything more than they did (but don't get me wrong, they did do a lot).

STOKELY HATHAWAY SEGMENT - Good. ACH entered for his match against Timothy Thatcher. Then Stokely came out and said that, due to Joanna's screw up last night during Thatcher's entrance, she would no longer be needed for this match, and he rudely told her to get to the back.

Then Stokely Hathaway cut a promo putting himself over for getting TJP on WWE's radar and using that to make a pitch to Kyle O'Reilly that Kyle should join the Dream Team.
Then he finally got around to introducing Timothy Thatcher and we finally got down to...

ACH vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER (w/Stokely Hathaway) - 6/10


ACH works over Thatcher's head and gets the win in surprisingly short fashion. It wasn't like this went three minutes or anything, but it went nowhere near the fourteen I think most people were expecting when the match was announced. After the match Stokely tried to cut a promo but he was cut off by Thatcher who told Stokely that if he doesn't get him into the match to crown the first ever WWN Champion tomorrow night, he can go find a new client.

JASON KINCAID, SAMMY GUEVARA, & AUSTIN THEORY vs. CATCHPOINT (Tracy Williams, Chris Dickinson, & Jaka) (w/Fred Yehi) - 7/10


Matt Riddle is not at ringside with the rest of Catchpoint. Again. This wasn't the sort of six-man insanity we're used to from Dragon Gate and PWG, but it was still quite great, and on a show where it is the only such match on the card, it doesn't have to be ridiculously fast-paced and spotty to stand out.

During the match Lenny Leonard brought up Jason Kincaid's odd behavior after last night's match, where he took out some prayer beads and sat in the ring, meditating very intensely for quite a while even holding up the intros for the next match for a short time. He mentioned that Kincaid had had a "violent upbringing" and that meditation had helped him focus and calm himself and overcome his issues, and Kincaid had explained last night's behavior to him by saying that sometimes he just needs to meditate and calm himself or else he might slip back, and when he has to do this, he has to do it, no matter where he is, because he doesn't want to slip back.

Catchpoint won, as Jaka & Dickinson managed to hit their finisher on one of their non-Kincaid opponents and get the pin while Kincaid had Tracy Williams locked in the Compassionate Release. Kincaid didn't quite let up after the bell so Chris Dickinson came over and broke it up.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Dickinson demanded to know when Williams & Yehi were going to give him and Jaka their shot at the Evolve World Tag Team Titles. Tracy Williams insisted that Jaka & Dickinson should be focusing on their match tomorrow night at the WWN Live Supershow against Travis Banks & TK Cooper from PROGRESS Wrestling. Yehi, on the other hand, said they would give Jaka & Dickinson a title shot. There were Catchpoint handshakes all around and everyone was happy.

Then everyone ceased to be happy because Larry Dallas (and his bodyguard, "The Big C" Earl Cooter) showed up.

Larry announces that Jaka & Dickinson will get their title shot at the next show in Queens on 4/22. He then tries to stir crap up involving Riddle saying that maybe he is afraid of Yehi's Koji Clutch, which is why Riddle hasn't been seen since his match with Drew Galloway last night, and the claims that Riddle might have injured his neck in his match with Galloway last night (where Galloway worked it over a lot, including a piledriver through a table) were really just a smokescreen.

This whole time, Jason Kincaid has been sitting quietly in the ring, fervently meditating to try and ward off his dark thoughts or control his impulses or whatever. Larry Dallas sees him and starts to make fun of him and The Big C gets in Kincaid's face and Kincaid almost snaps but doesn't actually hit him. This scares Larry Dallas and The Big C off, then Kincaid left as well. Meanwhile, Matt Riddle has made his way out to the ring so it's time for...

MATT RIDDLE vs. FRED YEHI - 8.5/10


The other three members of Catchpoint watched this from ringside, which mean that they got a great vantage point for one hell of a battle! There were lots of great mat-wrestling and submissions and all of that other great grapple-f*cky stuff, as well some GREAT struggles to get to the ropes. Yehi eventually got the big win, making Riddle pass out in the Koji Clutch. Afterwards there were Catchpoint handshakes all around as a united Catchpoint headed to the back.

ANYTHING GOES MATCH:
Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page (w/the Gatekeepers) - 8.75/10


Darby Allin as "Ethan" written all over his body. As you might have expected based on what we've seen from this feud, most of this match was spent with Page brutalizing Darby and/or Darby taking some very scary-looking bumps. As usual, Darby refused to stay down no matter what Page did to him. So long as he was physically capable of getting up, he did. Once again Priscilla Kelly came out to do nothing. Austin Theory also came out but he actually did something. Namely, he tried to even things up when the Gatekeepers got involved in order to get some revenge on Ethan Page for the disrespect Page showed him after their match last night. This was brutal and bloody and crazy and vicious. If this is the blow-off to this feud, it will have certainly lived up to expectations, and if it isn't then I can only shudder at the thought of what craziness is yet to come.

Final Thoughts
This was one f*cking hell of a show from Evolve, with excellent wrestling from top to bottom. It will almost certainly be a strong contender for the best Evolve show of the year, and possibly for all of wrestling.

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