By Big Red Machine
From January 14, 2018
BRODY KING vs. DARBY ALLIN - 6/10
Darby cut a promo explaining to us that he put himself in the preliminary matches because he feels that after his loss in his title match last night he "deserves to start at the bottom." He got thrown around on the outside, and when he wasn't getting thrown around onto the outside, he was diving onto the outside. More than anyone else in wrestling, Darby is the guy I'm most worried about winding up in a wheel chair before he's thirty. This went to a time-limit draw, and while he did go for some submissions, the announcers made sure to point out that during the entire ten minutes, Darby did not go for one single cover. I'm not quite sure what to make of that, but it definitely seems significant in some way.
The big talent announcement for WrestleMania weekend that Lenny Leonard hinted at last night is the return of Munenori Sawa, which certainly qualifies as a surprise because I was pretty sure he retired in the early 2010s. It does feel underwhelming, though. Maybe I'll use this as an excuse to get off my butt and watch his match with Danielson at Evolve 5.
SNOOP STRIKES vs. JAREK 1-20 (w/ Candy Cartwright) - 5.75/10
Jarek worked over Strikes' knee and got the win. Strikes could have done a better job of selling.
WHEELER YUTA vs. KTB - 3.5/10
Yuta's face apparatus for his entrance looks really cartoony. He got beaten by KTB when KTB basically landed on his head with a Lionsault.
AUSTIN THEORY PROMO - Good. He says he's the guy everyone wishes they could be; young, athletic, talented, and has a great body. He brags about laying out Evolve World Champion Zack Sabre Jr. last night and says that he can't afford to have any distractions while he's chasing the title so he calls out Jason Kincaid to fight him right now so he can end Kincaid's career. Kincaid did come out, and Theory immediately charged at him, meeting him in the aisle to start off...
JASON KINCAID vs. AUSTIN THEORY (w/Priscilla Kelly) - 6/10
They went for about ten minutes until Kincaid missed a knee drop from the top rope to the apron. He was rolling around on the floor and screaming in pain, so the ref stopped the match and gave Theory the win. Kincaid was so good here that I wasn't sure if this was worked or not until Theory and Kelly came over and gave the injured knee some stomps before referees pulled them away.
FRED YEHI vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER - 7.25/10
This was a great wrestling encounter that saw tensions between the two men escalate to the point where they even got in each other's faces after the match.
CATCHPOINT (Tracy Williams & Dominic Garrini) (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. THE END (Odinson & Parrow) (w/Drennan) - 6.75/10
Catchpoint dive onto their opponents right away to start things off. Stokely ran away to the back. Drennan grabbed a mic and declared this to be a Tornado Rules match, and everyone just kind of went along with it. They had a fun, exciting, chaotic match, with The End picking up their first win. Drennan then ordered The End to leave and they all walked right out the door.
MATT RIDDLE vs. JAKA - 8/10
These two had one hell of a fight. Jaka worked over Riddle's leg and back, which had been worked over earlier today during the Style Battle show, but Riddle was able to pick up the hard-fought win.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. WALTER - 9/10
Zack's old music is back. Maybe I hallucinated last night's change, or maybe it was just a mistake on the part of the sound guy.
This match was insane, with both men displaying lots of pride and some subtle things being done to make the size discrepancy play into that. If this sounds familiar to you, it's because that was a big component of the match these two had in PWG last year. As I have reflected in my rating, that match was better than this one (because they weaved more little stories into it), but I'd say this match is more important due to Zack being the Evolve World Champion here, so WALTER is now in line for a shot at that prestigious belt.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Darby Allin comes out and asks Zack Sabre Jr. for another match. Thatcher gets in his face for stealing WALTER's moment. WALTER tries to calm Thatcher down. Darby doesn't want to back down so WALTER gently pushes him back. Darby still won't back down so WALTER told him that he doesn't even belong in a wrestling ring (which got quite the reaction from the crowd). This caused Darby to shove WALTER so WALTER booted Darby in the head and choked him out while Thatcher watched in amusement. WALTER then tossed Darby out of the ring like the proverbial sack of sh*t.
WWN TITLE MATCH:
Keith Lee(c) vs. Chris Dickinson (Stokely Hathaway & Jaka) - 7.75/10
This matched was kind of odd, as the story seemed to revolve around the fact that while Lee had the power advantage, he would try to go for top-rope stuff that would never work out for him. One time he missed his moonsault, one time he hit it but Dickinson kicked out anyway, and other times Dickinson would cut him off and use the fact that Lee was on the top rope to help himself hit something big like his Pazuzu Bomb or even a freakin' POISONRANA. Lee would eventually pick up the win to retain his title.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Lee was about to finally get his hands on Stokely Hathaway but Tracy Williams attacked Lee from behind and saved Stokely. Tracy shouted "that's how it's done!" which seems like a bit of a rebuke at his own stablemate Dickinson for being unable to put Lee away, but that might be me reading too much into things.
KEITH LEE PROMO - Good build to the next weekend of shows. After the heels left, Lee declared "I'm tired of getting my ass kicked!" He vowed retribution on both A.R. Fox (who distracted him and cost him last night's match) and Tracy Williams (for his attack tonight), saying that he didn't care if he had to take them on one at a time or separately. My bet is that it will be separately, as they already announced Lee vs. Williams for Evolve 101, and Fox getting a WWN Title shot at Evolve 100 feels more poetic than him getting it in a random three-way with Williams at 101.
Another excellent show from EVOLVE. While not as good as last night's fantastic outing, this was still a show worth going out of your way to see. Zack and WALTER both deliver at a high level once again, and the stories are moving along with some decent speed. Next month's Evolve 100 should be one heck of a show!