Evolve 80 Review

Evolve 80 – 3/30/17 #MoreThanMania

Lenny Leonard is in the ring to introduce the show and is interrupted by Drew Galloway who says this is no ordinary weekend. He says this is the biggest weekend of the year and the biggest shows in the company’s history. He says everything has to be perfect and he only trusts himself to get it right. He welcomes everyone, saying they know that the fans have a lot of options. He says that just like they are the evolution of wrestling, the fans are the evolution of fans. He says this is not Wrestlemania Week, this is Wrestling Week as fans from all over the world gather to watch and talk wrestling. He says he has been through war in the past year and there is one obstacle left before he can win the WWN title and that is Matt Riddle. He says that if Riddle is ever the face of the company it will crumble. Riddle’s music starts as Galloway tells him to get out here and fight him.

1) Matt Riddle vs Drew Galloway

They face off and Galloway headbutts Riddle to start. Galloway hits him with elbows and yells at him in the corner. Riddle fires back with slaps and kicks and hits an up-kick. Riddle charges with a forearm in the corner followed by an exploder suplex. Riddle follows Galloway outside but Galloway knocks him to the floor. Riddle gets up and they trade strikes until Galloway drops Riddle throat-first on the ring barricade. Galloway powerslams Riddle from the stairs to the apron. Galloway picks up Riddle on his shoulders and drops him on the barricade. They trade slaps and chops. Galloway hits a big boot but Riddle gives him the Bro 2 Sleep on the floor. Galloway sets up a table but Riddle knocks him down. Riddle sets Galloway on the table and goes for a kick from the apron but Galloway drops him face-first on the apron. Galloway stomps on Riddle on the apron and then piledrives him through the table. Galloway rolls Riddle inside and gets a two-count followed by a future shock DDT. Galloway then hits a short piledriver and pins Riddle. Galloway continues to attack Riddle after the match but Chris Dickinson and Jaka of Catchpoint make the save.

2) Chris Dickinson vs Timothy Thatcher

They tie up and Dickinson grabs a headscissors. Thatcher maneuvers into an ankle lock but Dickinson gets back to the headscissors. Thatcher rolls him into a single leg crab and Dickinson counters into a spinning toehold followed by an inverted Indian deathlock. Thatcher gets on top but Dickinson kicks him in the chest. They trade chops and forearms and Dickinson snapmares Thatcher and kicks him in the back. Thatcher takes some strikes but grabs a toehold and gets into the mount for ground and pound. Dickinson reverses into his own mount and then ties up Thatcher and curb-stomps him. Dickinson kicks Thatcher in the chest but Thatcher grabs him in an ankle lock and starts elbowing him in the ear. Thatcher gives Dickinson a gutwrench suplex. Thatcher lays knees into Dickinson’s back and forearms him against the ropes. They trade chops and forearms again and Dickinson starts throwing elbows. Thatcher hits a knee-strike and a butterfly suplex. Dickinson drops Thatcher on his head with a back suplex. Dickinson hits two clotheslines in the corner and picks up Thatcher who tries for a sleeper. Dickinson counters into a German suplex. Dickinson goes for a powerbomb but Thatcher escapes and they trade chops and forearms. Dickinson hits a step-up enzuiguri. Thatcher applies a choke sleeper into a Saka Otoshi for the submission win.

3) Jason Kincaid vs Jaka vs Lio Rush

Joanna Rose announces that the match has been made a three-way as Rush couldn’t wait until tomorrow to return to Evolve. Jaka throws Rush outside and Kincaid throws Jaka to the outside in a headscissors. Rush comes in and criss-crosses with Kincaid before hitting an enzuiguri. Jaka clotheslines Rush and then stops him on the mat. Rush rolls up Jaka and then rolls to the floor where Jaka hits he and Kincaid with a pescado. Jaka controls Kincaid with punches and hits him with a rolling kick in the corner. Jaka suplexes Kincaid and then hits a spinning headbutt. Rush takes him on and gets thrown outside and Kincaid clotheslines Jaka. Kincaid hits a rolling senton on Jaka and then he and Rush try to suplex each other only to have Jaka suplex both of them. At this point my brother-in-law calls me and the pause feature does not work on the live broadcast. As I return, Rush hits a Rush Hour on Kincaid and then hits a frog splash for the pinfall.

4) Façade and Michael Richard Blaze vs The Gatekeepers of Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch with Ethan Page

McMassive starts with Facade who this an enzuiguri that has no effect. Facade comes off the top with a kick and McMassive hits him with a truck-stop swinging side-slam. Rumblecrunch comes in with a clothesline on Blaze and then hits a chokeslam. Rumblecrunch then holds Black up in a backbreaker as McMassive hits him with a knee from the top rope for the pinfall. Page takes the mic afterward and demands to be in the Evolve title picture. Page then says for his opponent to come to the ring.

5) Ethan Page vs Austin Theory

They trade moves and Page catches Theory on the top rope and hits an iconoclasm. Page gives Theory a high backdrop. Page takes out Theory’s leg and then drives knees into his spine. Page grabs a chinlock but Theory fights out and hits a head-kick. Page takes him up top for an attempt at an iconoclasm but Theory fights him off. Theory hits a dropkick and Page rolls outside. Theory hits a tope suicida. They’re back inside and Theory hits a nice blockbuster. Page hits a clothesline followed by an RK-Ego for a near-fall. Page goes for an STO but Theory hits knees to the head. Page hits a big boot to the face. Page hits an STO for the pin. Page runs down Theory on the mic after the match and then says he will continue to reign chaos in Evolve. Priscilla Kelly then comes to the ring and Page asks what she is doing and says “What is this, a circus?” Some extras in hospital scrubs and zombie make-up then come to the ring with a bodybag. They stand up the bodybag and Page has the Gatekeepers attack the zombie medics and they then attack the bodybag and carry it and throw it onto the zombie medics at ringside. They bring the bodybag back inside and the Gatekeepers open it to reveal Darby Allin who beats Page and the Gatekeepers with a metal pipe. Allin takes the mic and says there will never be an era of Ethan Page as long as his heart is still beating. He challenges Page to an anything-goes match for tomorrow at Evolve 81 and Page accepts.

6) Ketih Lee vs Ricochet

This is part of the Keith Lee Trial Series. They shake hands to start. They lock up a few times with Lee controlling. Ricochet hits a dropkick to little effect. Ricochet starts flying around and they criss-cross with Lee hitting a dropkick. Lee backs Ricochet into the corner and punches and then beel throws him. Lee is in control and stands on Ricochet’s chest. Lee hits a very high beel throw. Lee whips Ricochet into the corner and charges but Ricochet hits a dropkick and a hurracanrana. Ricochet gives Lee a drop toehold, a 619 and a springboard uppercut. Lee rolls to the floor and Ricochet does a tope con giro only to be caught by Lee. Ricochet stuns Lee with a kick and then hits a backflip tope. Ricochet takes Lee back inside and tries to pick him up on his shoulders but fails. Ricochet hits him with strikes. Lee floats over Ricochet in the corner and then hits a running shoulder-tackle. Lee goes for a powerbomb but Ricochet fights back with a dropkick and then a shooting star press. Ricochet goes the Benadryller but Lee fights him off and gets him to his shoulders where Ricochet does a reverse rana. Ricochet gets Lee up on his shoulders and hits the Benadryller and keeps kicking him in the head. Ricochet goes to the top and misses a shooting star press. Lee then hits a big chokeslam. Ricochet throws some punches but Lee knocks him down with a forearm. Ricochet throws forearms but Lee punches him down. Ricochet throws strikes but Lee punches him down again. Lee then does a Spirt Bomb for a pin attempt. Lee lays out Ricochet and does a top rope moonsault but Ricochet rolls out of the way. Ricochet hits a springboard 450 splash for a pin attempt. Ricochet goes up top and hits a shooting star press for a near-fall. Ricochet hits another shooting star press but Lee grabs him by the throat and stands up. Ricochet hits a knee-strike, a high kick and two spinning enzuiguris. Ricochet goes to the top and hits a 630 splash for the pinfall. Really great match, Keith Lee has quickly become one of my favorite wrestlers.

7) Evolve Tag Team Titles: Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi (champions) vs Michael Elgin and Donovan Dijak

Williams and Elgin start and trade several forearms after locking up. They exchange holds and then shoulder-block each other and go back to duelling forearms. Williams gets to the top rope and ties up Elgin in an armbar in the ropes. Elgin goes for a powerslam but Williams escapes. Yehi and Dijak tag in and trade strikes with Yehi taking control and hitting a dropkick. Yehi stomps on Dijak’s foot but Dijak takes control and throws him. Yehi hits another dropkick followed by a missile dropkick. Williams tags in and they give Dijak a double vertical suplex and then a double back suplex. Dijak backdrops Williams to the apron. Williams keeps control with strikes but Elgin drops him face-first on the apron. Dijak throws Yehi outside and hits Yehi and Williams with a Fosbury Flop (running moonsault). Elgin then does a slingshot splash onto Williams and gives him a delayed vertical suplex. Dijak tags in and gives Williams a cross-knee backbreaker followed by a senton. Dijak controls Williams with strikes and bodyslams him. Dijak does a second rope splash but Williams gets his knees up. Elgin tags in and Williams gives him a dragon-screw and tags Yehi who geos back-and-forth with Elgin before hitting dropkicks on both opponents. Elgin hits an enzuiguri and Yehi tags Williams who missile dropkicks Elgin into Yehi’s German Suplex. Williams and Elgin hit each other with clotheslines. Dijak tags in and knees Williams in the corner and throws him in a release suplex. Dijak hits a big boot in the corner and takes Williams to the top. Williams punches Dijak off but Dijak fights back only to get DDT’d into the turnbuckle. Williams suplexes Dijak and Yehi and Elgin enter. Dijak hits a discus big boot and a moonsault on Williams for a pin attempt. Dijak goes for Feast Your Eyes but Williams counters with a  dragon-screw. Dijak goes for a chokeslam but Williams counters into a crossface. Elgin makes the save and throws Williams outside. Yehi throws strikes at Dijak and Elgin pulls Yehi outside. Dijak and Williams square off and Elgin enters and clotheslines Williams. Elgin and Dijak hit a double-team chokeslams/powerbomb. Elgin and Dijak take out Yehi and then give Williams a top rope powerbomb and a sit-out spinebuster for a near-fall. Elgin gives Williams a buckle bomb and Dijak goes for Feast Your Eyes but Yehi makes the save. Yehi hits the Code Red (Canadian Destroyer) on Elgin. Yehi and Williams give Dijak a double-team powerbomb. Williams applies a crossface but Dijak gets up only to have Yehi dropkick him back into the crossface. Dijak taps out and Catchpoint keep the titles. Larry Dallas then enters the ring and asks Catchpoint where they were when Matt Riddle got his neck injured earlier tonight. Dallas says that deep down maybe Yehi didn’t want Riddle to be 100% for their match tomorrow or for the WWN Championship match on Saturday. Williams says it is insulting and they don’t know where Matt is half the time and they were preparing to defend their titles. Yehi says he looks forward to an amazing contest with Riddle tomorrow and that hopes Riddle is ready and not injured. Dickinson takes the mic and asks when he and Jaka are getting their tag title shot. Williams tells him to focus on their matches this weekend. Jaka says he knows Catchpoint is all about competition and he knows it’s coming. This match was fun but perhaps went a little too long and certainly most matches would have trouble following Lee vs Ricochet. But Elgin and Dijak seem like they belong in Evolve.

8) Evolve Title: Zack Sabre Jr. (champion) vs ACH

ACH starts with a dropkick and Sabre rolls outside only to have ACH dropkick him off the apron. ACH hits a running kick from the apron and rolls Sabre inside. ACH goes up top and jumps over Sabre and hits a neckbreaker. ACH grabs a cravat but Sabre grabs a wristlock and goes for an octopus but ACH falls into the ropes. Sabre keeps on him with kicks and forearms. Sabre ties him up in an armbar and ACH rolls outside. ACH returns to the ring and Sabre continues to work the arm and applies a kimura crossface. Sabre wrenches ACH’s neck. ACH gets up and chops Sabre who goes for a single leg crab and twists the ankle. Sabre goes after ACH’s wrist and then kicks him in the chest. ACH fights back with chops and they trade strikes. Sabre suplexes ACH who fights back with a double stomp and a basement dropkick. ACH comes off the second and gives Sabre a jawbreaker. Sabre throws forearms and ACH gives him a neckbreaker. Sabre goes for headlock but ACH drives him into the corner. ACH slingshots into an ace cutter but Sabre counters into a triangle attempt with ACH escaping. ACH armdrags Sabre and goes for a backslide but Sabre hits a penalty kick followed by a half-and-half suplex. Sabre charges ACH in the corner but takes an elbow to the face. Sabre takes ACH to the top rope but gets knocked off. Sabre slaps ACH and then grabs him in a guillotine. ACH drops him to the mat and hits a double stomp to the back. ACH hit a discus lariat. They trade roll-ups and ACH does a deadlift German suplex for a near-fall. Both men are sitting on the mat and they trade strikes and then do so on their feet. Sabre hits a big slap and then some uppercuts. Sabre gets ACH in a guillotine but ACH hits a lariat and a buster bomb. ACH does a 450 splash but Sabre catches him in a triangle. Sabre then grabs ACH in a nasty double armbar and gets the submission win. This was another great match that is one of the best ACH performances I have seen. Sabre continues to be the world’s premier technical wrestler. Sabre takes the mic after the match says that Evolve is for everyone, wrestlers and fans. He hypes his title match this weekend with Mark Haskins. Michael Elgin comes out and asks if Evolve is for everyone, are Evolve championship matches for everyone. Sabre starts to respond and Elgin hits him with a spinning backfist.

This was a great show and a perfect start to Wrestling Week. It built well on recent storylines and leaves a lot more that can happen this weekend. Evolve is probably my favorite promotion right now.

Author: Dave Musgrave