Evolve 81 Review – 3/31/17 #MoreThanMania
The show starts with Zack Sabre Jr. in the ring talking about being attacked by Michael Elgin last night. He challenges him to come to the ring which Elgin does.
1) Non-Title Match: Zack Sabre Jr. (Evolve Champion) vs Michael Elgin
Elgin shoulder-blocks Sabre who fires back with a dropkick only to get shoulder-blocked again. Sabre starts kicking Elgin in the shoulder and then goes after the arms. Sabre knocks Elgin to the floor with an uppercut. Sabre does a running kick on the apron but Elgin catches him and powerbombs him on the apron. Elgin slams Sabre on the apron and then drives him into the ringpost. They return to the ring and Elgin gives Sabre a backbreaker and a bodyslam. Elgin goes for a senton but Sabre avoids it and puts on a guillotine that is broken when Elgin drives him into the corner. Elgin gives Sabre two rolling German suplexes followed by a tiger suplex. Elgin runs Sabre into the corner and gives him a forearm to the head. Elgin puts Sabre on the ropes for a superplex attempt but Sabre knocks him off with forearms. Sabre comes off the top rope and starts hitting uppercuts. Elgin responds with lariats and Sabre starts blocking with kicks. Sabre goes for an armbar, blocked by a suplex attempt by Elgin that is blocked with knees. Sabre hits a Tornado DDT. Sabre continues striking with kicks and uppercuts. Elgin tries a discus clothesline that Sabre blocks with kicks. Sabre continues with kicks to the chest but Elgin hits him with an elbow. Elgin hits a backbreaker and a falcon arrow. Sabre is busted open as Elgin continues with strikes and rolls him into a Boston Crab with Sabre getting the rope break. Elgin goes for a powerbomb that Sabre blocks with elbows to the head. They trade strikes including chops, uppercuts and kicks until Elgin hits a clothesline. Elgin hits another clothesline in the corner and Sabre hits an uppercut. Elgin gives him a splash mountain powerbomb for a near-fall. Elgin puts Sabre on his shoulders and goes to the top turnbuckle. Sabre maneuvers out and applies a triangle choke only for Elgin to give him a top-rope powerbomb. Sabre kicks out and applies another triangle. Sabre goes after the armbar but Elgin gets to the bottom rope. Sabre goes for an armbar on the apron and they trade slaps. Elgin hits a boot to the face followed by a superkick and a death valley driver on the apron. They roll back inside and Elgin does a deadlift top-rope falcon arrow. Elgin goes for a powerbomb that Sabre blocks. Elgin hits a spinning backfist and a buckle bomb only to get caught in a bridging cradle by Sabre. Really good match that I think would have been served well by being a title match. Lio Rush comes to the ring and notes that they have a match upcoming and asks for it to be a title match. Sabre shakes his hand and Drew Galloway comes to the ring and says that you don’t just give out title matches. Galloway said he built Evolve and for Sabre to do it his own way, but just not to disrespect the Evolve title. Galloway talks to Rush about being more concerned with the Evolve title than their match tonight. Galloway talks about what he did to Matt Riddle last night and says let’s start the match now.
2) Lio Rush vs Drew Galloway
Rush leaps over a charging Galloway. Rush throws a flurry of kicks and Galloway spills to the outside and avoids a sliding dropkick. Galloway chops Rush around ringside and throws him onto the apron. Rush hits an Asaii moonsault and a tope suicida. They roll back inside where Rush does a lateral press only to be caught by Galloway who gives him a backbreaker. Galloway throws Rush across the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex. Galloway chops him and then does another belly-to-belly. Rush throws strikes and lands on his feet after another belly-to-belly but gets thrown into the corner and falls outside. Galloway follows him out and throws him back-first into the ringpost. Galloway takes him back inside Rush fights back with strikes and a roll-up followed by a head-kick. Galloway throws him into the corner and Rush goes for a reverse hurracanrana only to be caught in a wheelbarrow slam. Galloway places Rush on the top rope and chops him. Rush goes to the apron and hits an enzuiuguri and misses a frog splash. Galloway hits a kick and a piledriver. Galloway picks up Rush who gives him a swinging DDT and hits a top rope elbow. Rush hits Galloway with elbows and slaps but Galloway gives him a headbutt. Galloway gives Rush a swinging future shock DDT followed by a piledriver to get the win.
3) Donovan Dijak vs Keith Lee
Dijak shoves Lee to start and they trade punches. Lee misses a clothesline and goes for a hiptoss but Dijak cartwheels. Dijak throws forearms and Lee picks him up for a powerbomb but Dijak takes him into the corner. Dijak monkey-flips Lee who lands on his feet. They criss-cross with Lee doing a leapfrog and a dropkick. Dijak rolls to the floor and Lee does a corkscrew plancha. Lee takes Dijak to the apron and goes for a powerbomb but Dijak gets out, kicks him in the stomach and chokeslams him on the apron. Dijaks jaws at the crowd allowing Lee to try a powerbomb but Dijak lands on the apron and hits a dive. Dijak rolls Lee inside and hits a springboard elbow. Dijak does a splash off the second rope but Lee catches him and rolls through and goes for a powerbomb with Dijak again escaping. Lee hits Dijak with a pounce and then misses a second rope moonsault. Lee goes for another powerbomb but Dijak gets out and gives him a code red. Dijak gets Lee up on his shoulders but Lee escapes only to take a discus kick. Lee chokeslams Dijak and steps on him. Lee goes to the second rope but Dijak kips up and hits a superkick. Dijak then gets Lee on his shoulders and gives him a death valley driver into a knee-strike. Lee rolls to the outside and Dijak does a rolling planch off the top rope only to be caught by Lee who powerbombs him on the apron. Dijak rolls back inside and Lee hits a top rope moonsault for a near-fall. Lee grabs Dijak by the face and taunts him but Dijak grabs him in a choke. Lee escapes and attempts a chokeslam only to have Dijak escape and do his own chokeslam. Lee lands on his feet and hits a spirit bomb to get the pinfall. This was a fun hoss battle, both guys have some really impressive moves and worked them well together.
4) ACH vs Timothy Thatcher
Stokely Hathaway comes out and says that due to Joanna Rose’s botch in announcing Timothy Thatcher as champion last night her services are no longer required. Hathaway says that last year he called out HHH and said if he wanted the next cruiserweight to look no further than TJ Perkins who went on to become the first champion. Hathaway says that people ask why he is in Evolve and he said it is for opportunity. Hathaway says he is going to call out someone who needs an opportunity and that is Kyle O’Reilly. Hathaway says he needs O’Reilly in the Dream Team and to look no further than the latest career he has just saved and Thatcher comes out. ACH and Thatcher tie up and trade wristlocks. ACH grabs a headscissors but Thatcher ties him up in a bow and arrow. ACH gets out and grabs a hammerlock and stomps on the elbow. Thatcher gets ACH on the mat and knees him in the spine. Thatcher knees him in the gut and gives him a gutwrench suplex. Thatcher applies a chinlock and then gives ACH an uppercut. Thatcher continues with knees to the spine and goes for a clothesline but ACH grabs him in a neckbreaker. ACH hits another neckbreaker and Thatcher responds with leg-kicks. ACH hits Thatcher with fist-drops and a knee-drop. Thatcher responds with a belly-to-belly suplex and then a chinlock. ACH goes for a fireman’s carry but Thatcher applies a sleeper. ACH runs him into the corner but Thatcher continues with the sleeper in the ropes. Thatcher is on the apron and ACH hits a springboard dropkick followed by a penalty kick from the apron. ACH rolls Thatcher inside and misses with a leap from the top but catches Thatcher with a knee. Thatcher again goes for the sleeper and then does a knee to the gut and a butterfly suplex. Thatcher is back to the sleeper and hits a boot but ACH counters with a buster-call to get the pinfall. These two matched up well and although some might not like the chinlock work I think it adds well to Thatcher as a heel. After the match Hathaway says the Dream Team can’t stop and Thatcher tells him that if he doesn’t get him in the WWN Title match tomorrow he can find another client.
5) Austin Theory, Jason Kincaid and Sammy Guevera vs Tracy Williams, Chris Dickinson and Jaka
Dickinson and Guevera start and jockey for position until Dickinson grabs a hammerlock and works the arm. Guevera hits a dropkick and lands on his feet out of a back suplex. Dickinson hits a clothesline and tags in Jaka who drops an elbow. Guevera fights back with a rolling elbow. Theory tags in takes a headbutt but hits an enzuiguri and then trades dropkicks with Jaka. Kincaid tags in but Jaka does a double-chokeslam on he and Theory. Williams tags in and gives Kincaid a backbreaker. Kincaid maneuvers out of a back suplex. Theory tags in and gives Williams a snap suplex. Theory hits a senton and Kincaid tags in and suplexes Williams. Williams hits Kincaid with elbows and a dropkick and Kincaid rolls outside. Guevera and Theory go for stereo dives but get caught with German suplexes by Williams and Jaka. Dickinson is on the floor and powerbombs Kincaid onto the apron. Kincaid is back inside where Jaka gives him an overhead suplex and a headbutt. Dickinson tags in and gives Kincaid with two falcon arrows. Williams tags in and elbows Kincaid and gives him a doctor bomb. Dickinson tags in and gives Kincaid a German suplex. Dickinson goes to the top rope and goes for a razor’s edge but Kincaid reverses into a hurracanrana. Jaka tags as do both Theory and Guevera and everyone comes in. Theory gives Williams a rack bomb. Jaka takes a dropkick from Guevera who then attempts to superplex Williams who fights him off. Theory goes for the superplex but Williams DDT’s him on the top turnbuckle and dropkicks Guevera. Kincaid breaks up a pin attempt. Guevera dropkicks Catchpoint off the apron ad this a shooting star press. Theory hits an Asaii moonsault and Kincaid does a dive. Everyone is back in the ring and Catchpoint get piled in the corner where Guevera, Theory and Kincaid all hit them with coast-to-coast dropkicks. Everyone’s hitting move too fast for me to document until Kincaid and Williams square off with Williams hitting a dropkick and a brainbuster. Williams takes Kincaid to the top for a superplex but Kincaid fights him off with chops. Guevera gets a charging Dickinson with a double stomp. Kincaid hits a double stomp followed by a shooting star press by Guevera. Kincaid puts Williams in compassionate release while Jaka and Dickinson hit a double team chokeslam on Guevera for the win. I hate recapping matches with this many guys but they can be fun to watch. Jaka takes the mic and asks Williams and Fred Yehi about when they get their title shot. Williams tells them to concentrate on their match tomorrow. Yehi says that he thinks they deserve tag title shots and tells them “You got it”. All of Catchpoint shake hands and Larry Dallas comes to the ring. Dallas says that Williams and Yehi have been signed to defend the tag titles on April 22 in Queens, NY. Dallas says the biggest question out there is where has Matt Riddle been and is his neck injured worse than we’ve been lead to believe or is he just scared of Yehi’s Koji Clutch. During all of this, Kincaid is meditating in the ring. Matt Riddle then comes to the ring and agrees to start the match.
6) Fred Yehi vs Matt Riddle
They tie up and trade waistlocks. Yehi grabs Riddle in a cradle but Riddle grabs a hammerlock and then a leglock. Riddle goes for a cross armbreaker but Yehi gets him in an ankle lock and they get tied up in the ropes for a break. Yehi grabs a wristlock and stretches out Riddle who goes for the cross armbreaker again and attempts a triangle. Yehi gets out and stomps Riddle and works the leg and then cranks Riddle’s neck. Yehi grabs a headlock but Riddle gives him a back suplex. Riddle kicks Yehi in the chest. Yehi catches a kick, stomps on Riddle’s foot and hits a shotgun dropkick. Yehi hits a butterfly suplex and cranks the neck again. Yehi chops Riddle in the corner and gives him a backbreaker. Yehi puts Riddle in a stump-puller and then ties up his legs. Riddle fights back but Yehi hits a dropkick. Yehi hits a German suplex but Riddle pops up. Yehi does another German but Riddle lands on his feet and catches Yehi in a fisherman buster. Riddle does a stinger splash and an exploder suplex followed by a senton. They get to their feet and trade elbows and Riddle starts throwing knee-strikes. Riddle hits two gutwrench suplexes and a doctor bomb followed by another senton. They trade strikes and Yehi does a dragon-screw legwhip. Yehi stomps on Riddle’s ankle and then on his hand. Yehi hits the ropes but Riddle grabs him for a tombstone attempt. Yehi fights out but Riddle hits the Bro 2 Sleep and a German suplex. Riddle starts stomping Yehi’s chest but Yehi fights back with rapid up-kicks. Yehi hits a clothesline in the corner and a rolling elbow followed by a folding press. Yehi drops left punches on Riddle who throws up-kicks and then stomps on him. Yehi hits a dropkick and two German suplexes. Yehi goes for a tombstone but Riddle counters and hits it. Yehi kicks out but Riddle hits another tombstone for a pin attempt. Riddle goes for the Bro-mission but Yehi counters into the Koji Clutch. Riddle tries to get to the ropes but passes out and the referee stops the match. This was a great submission and suplex battle and easily the match of the night at this point.
7) Darby Allin vs Ethan Page
Allin comes out with his zombie medics and Page comes out with The Gatekeepers. Page brings in a chair and starts swinging it at Allin who avoids and hits a back elbow. Allin dropkicks the Gatekeepers off the apron but Page hits him with a chair. Page press slams Allin out of the ring onto a bunch of empty chairs and he hits the floor. Page sits Allin on a chair and boots him in the face. Allin throws a table onto Allin on the floor. Page picks up Allin on his shoulders and does a long run to lawndart him into the wall. Allin is busted open and Page charges with a ladder hitting him in the face. Page takes the ladder into the ring and then ties up Allin’s head in a chair at ringside and whips him into the ringpost twice. Page throws the chair into the ring and grabs another ladder and throws that in the ring. Page takes Allin inside and then slams the ladder across his back. Page presses Allin again but Allin escapes and hits two dropkicks and a battering ram. Allin does an O’Connor roll and a springboard press. Allin starts beating Page with the ladder. Allin goes to the top but Page grabs him and gives him an iconoclasm through the ladder. Page then hits Allin in the back with a chair. Allin fights back and beats Page with the chair and hits a tornado DDT. Allin goes to the top and Page throws a chair into his face. Page goes to the floor and brings a table into the ring. Page sets up the table as Allin climbs toward him. Page elbows Allin against the ropes and then swings a chair but Allin gets out of the way and the chair bounces into Page’s face. Page hits Allin with a knee-strike and a big boot. Page goes for the RK-Ego but Allin counters and then drives Page through the table. Allin sets up the ladder in the corner and starts climbing it but Page stops him with a low blow. Page climbs the turnbuckle and press slams Allin through tables at ringside. Page rolls Allin back in the ring, sets up chairs and gives Allin a package piledriver through the chairs. Allin kicks out and Page sets up another table. The Gatekeepers pick him up for a double team as Priscilla Kelly enters the ring. Austin Theory enters the ring and dropkicks Page and gives Blaster the Gatekeeper a TKO. Theory does a rolling plancha on Page and Flex the Gatekeeper. Theory punches Page and then fights to the back with the Gatekeepers. Allin grabs a trashcan and goes to the balcony, places it over his torso and drops onto the Gatekeepers and Theory. Allin goes back to the ring with the trashcan and hits Page over the head with it repeatedly. Page ends up on the table and Allin climbs to the top of the ladder in the ring and does a big splash for a pinfall. This match was a fun brawl until after the package piledriver when it became more of a cluster. Allin apparently wants to be the next Drake Younger, which is probably not a great idea unless your goal is NXT referee.
This show was not as good as Evolve 80. There were good matches but the order was strange. But it is hard to complain too much about a show that had Yehi vs Riddle and Sabre vs Elgin as I loved both matches. Galloway vs Rush was really fun too.