Lenny Leonard and Rob Naylor introduce the show and announce that it is the highest attended event in Evolve history. Johnny Gargano and Drew Galloway come out. Galloway takes the mic and notes the attendance and declares that this is not Wrestlemania Week, it is Wrestling Week. Gargano announces that their corner-man will be Kota Ibushi. The stream is not working well early on.
Evolve Tag Team Titles: Johnny Gargano and Drew Galloway (champions) vs Caleb Konley and Anthony Neese
Konley and Neese jump Gargano and Galloway right away. Conley hits a tope suicida but Galloway catches him and gives him a tilt-a-whirl on the apron. Neese throws a superkick but hits Conley when Galloway avoids him. Gargano hits Neese with a tope suciida. Conley and Neese take over. Gargano hits a headkick and a reverse neckbreaker on Neese who comes back to hit a leg lariat. Conley comes in and applies a body-scissors. Gargano hits forearms on both opponents but Conley throws him in the air and Neese hits him with an alarm clock dropkick. Gargano fights back with elbows. Gargano gets a spear on Conley and tags in Galloway who punches away at Conley and gives him an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. He gives Neese and overhead belly-to-belly followed shortly by a pop-up chokeslam. Gargano comes in and places Conley on Galloway’s shoulders but Conley gets out. Conley drapes Gargano on the ropes for a quebrada by Neese. Conley then tries to give Gargano a Michinoku off the top but Galloway rescues him and he and Gargano both hit head-kicks. Conly fights them off and hangs Galloway in the tree of woe. Galloway gives Conley a belly-to-back superplex. Neese hits Galloway with a coast-to-coast dropkick. Gargano vaults in for a DDT on Neese. Conley and Gargano trade punches and strikes and Gargano hits an enzuiguri. Conley hits an enzuiguri on Gargano followed by a superkick from Neese. All four men are in the ring with flurries of offense including superkicks and a spinning backfist. Gargano tees off on Neese and Conley with punches. Neese pumphandles Gargano into Conley’s neckbreaker. Neese gets a string that he is getting ready to choke Gargano with but Ethan Page runs out and grabs it from him. Conley lifts Gargano on his shoulders and throws him on Galloway’s back. He throws kicks at both opponents but then knocks Neese off the apron. Galloway and Gargano both boot Conley in the face. Galloway then wheelbarrows Conley into the Gargano Escape and Conley taps. There is no bell and everyone is confused. Galloway puts Conley in a submission but the referee breaks it up saying Conley already tapped and he gives the belts to Galloway and Gargano. As per stipulation, Conley and Neese can’t team again. Galloway then calls my good friend and podcast co-host Dylan Hales into the ring and gets him to lie face-down to play the part of Conley. Gargano puts his submission on Dylan and Dylan taps and everyone celebrates. Galloway puts over Dylan who shakes hands with Galloway, Gargano and Ibushi and leaves the ring. Yes, this just happened. What a wonderful world we live in. The stream kicked out while I was watching this but I caught this on vod.
Timothy Thatcher vs Matt Riddle
The stream kicks back in and Thatcher is working Riddle’s arm. Thatcher hits knees to the ribs but Riddle gets a rear naked choke and then applies a leglock. Thatcher gets control and they go to their feet where Riddle throws leg-kicks. Thatcher takes him to the mat but Riddle gets a cross armbreaker. Thatcher transitions into an ankle lock and Riddle gets the ropes. They get to their feet and trade kicks and strikes. Thatcher catches Riddle in a Fujiwara armbar then throws some strikes and tries a cross armbreaker. Riddle blocks it and gets Thatcher’s back but Thatcher grabs an ankle and gets a sick ankle-lock. Thatcher gets a judo throw (belly-to-belly) but Riddle gets a stretch muffler. Thatcher grabs a knee-bar and starts slapping Riddle who slaps him back. They get to their feet and Thatcher hits a clothesline, gets the half-mount and starts hitting knees and punches. Thatcher delivers knees to Riddle’s head and then hits an uppercut. Thatcher puts Riddle in a dragon sleeper then hangs him on the ropes and drops him on his head. They’re on their feet and they trade strikes. Riddle gives Thatcher a fisherman’s buster. Riddle hits kicks and a running knee. Riddle tries a gutwrench salto suplex but Thatcher counters with his own and floats over into a second one. Riddle blocks a third but Thatcher gets the Fujiwara armbar. Thatcher goes for another salto but Riddle gets the Fujiwara and then tries for a cross armbreaker. Thatcher blocks it and applies a Fujiwara that Riddle turns into a cross armbreaker attempt. Thatcher gets the cross armberaker but riddle gets out and applies his own with Thatcher getting the ropes. Riddle then applies a cross armbreaker in the middle with Thatcher getting the ropes. Riddle wrenches down on the elbow as the referee is breaking the hold. Thatcher rolls to the floor holding his elbow and the referee calls for the bell. Riddle grabs the belt and Gabe Sapolski runs to his aid. The referee takes the belt from Riddle and it is announced as a no-contest. Thatcher re-enters the ring and attacks Riddle but it is broken up by other wrestlers. Thatcher continues to hold his elbow.
Fred Yehi vs Marty Scurrill
They lock up and do a number of quick exchanges. They trade chops and then Yehi stomps on Scurrill’s calf and drives him into the turnbuckle. Yehi hits some headbutts. Scurrill fights back and Yehi rolls outside where Scurrill hits a superkick off the apron. Scurrill takes him back inside and starts a Romero special but drives Yehi’s knees into the mat. Scurrill hits Yehi with uppercuts but Yehi gets a backslide. Scurrill hits another uppercut but Yehi takes him to the mat and stomps on him. Yehi hits two release German suplexes and throws a discus forearm. They jockey for position until Scurrill kicks Yehi in the knee. Scurrill hits a knee-strike but Yehi hits a forearm and a suplex. Yehi goes for a chicken wing but Scurrill stops him and manipulates his fingers. Scurrill hits some short clotheslines and then bends Yehi’s fingers again but Yehi fights back and hits clotheslines. Scurrill then catches him in a crossface chicken wing for the submission win. Scurrill is scheduled to face Thatcher tomorrow. Leonard notes that Thatcher possibly has a dislocated elbow.
Sami Callihan vs Ethan Page
Callihan hits a yakuza kick to start but Page responds with a lariat. They go outside and Page slams Callihan on the apron. Callihan hits a springboard clothesline and then a tope suicida. Callihan spits on his hand and chops and slaps Page. Callihan charges Page but gets a boot to the face. Page hangs Callihan on the guardrail and twists him into a backbreaker on the floor. Page hits a legdrop inside and also hits a high backdrop. Page grabs a chinlock but Callihan fights back with kicks. They trade bicycle kicks and chops. Callihan hits Page with elbows and a Death Valley Driver. Page hits a tilt-a-whirl and a Liger Bomb. Callihan then hits a Liger Bomb and transitions into a stretch muffler. Page gets out and they trade strikes. Page hits an Ace Crusher and an STO. Page goes a package piledriver but Callihan gets out and tries for a stretch muffler. Page blocks it but Callihan kicks away at him and hits a falling forearm and gets the pin.
Ricochet vs TJ Perkins
They do some quick exchanges early. Ricochet hits a flying headscissors and dropkicks Perkins to the outside. Ricochet hits a spinebuster in the ring and then does The People’s Moonsault. Perkins does a rolling leglock twice and applies an Indian Deathlock. Perkins continues to work the leg and hits a Knee-DT. Perkins double-stomps Ricochet’s knees and applies another leglock. Perkins hangs him in the tree of woe and gives him a low blow and then a dropkick to the knee. Perkins gets a modified cloverleaf into an STF and then a surfboard. Perkins does a necktie headscissors. They trade kicks and Ricochet hits a running diamond cutter. Ricochet continues with kicks and attempts a benadryller. Ricochet hits a flatliner and a running shooting star press. Ricochet attempts a Regal-plex but Perkins gets a kneebar. They trade more kicks and both get knocked to the mat. They get to their feet and Ricochet hits a blue thunder bomb and two suplexes. Ricochet goes for a shooting star press but jams his knee when Perkins gets out of the way. Perkins applies a knee-bar and Ricochet taps out to give Perkins the upset win. Stokeley Hathaway then comes to the ring and has Perkins sign a contract. Hathaway says that Perkins is now part of The Dream Team. Hathaway sends a message to Triple H that if he wants a top cruiserweight for the Global Cruiserweight Series he needs to look no further than Perkins. Hathaway says he should hurry up as they have options.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Will Ospreay
They work each other’s arms early including both doing hammerlocks and wristlocks. Ospreay hits a flying headscissors and a dropkick. Ospreay hits a corner dropkick and throws some forearms. Sabre starts working cravates. Ospreay does a leapfrog but Sabre catches his ankle and slams him to the mat. Ospreay hits an elbow but Sabre grabs him in a bridging German suplex. Sabre applies a headscissors and Ospreay gets to the ropes. Sabre hits him with a dropkick to the back of the neck. Sabre goes back to the cravate and then applies a nasty variation of an octopus hold. Sabre puts Ospreay in an Indian deathlock and bridges back and then gets back up and butterflies the arms. Sabre applies a Japanese stranglehold and falls back into a bow and arrow. Ospreay fights back with a handspring spinning kick. Ospreay hits a springboard flying aelbow and a shooting star press. Sabre goes outside and Ospreay hits a Sasuke Special. Ospreay rolls him back inside then hits a fall-away diamond cutter off the second rope. Sabre avoids a 630 splash by Ospreay then gets a wheelbarrow into a tiger suplex. Sabre applies a submission hold. Ospreay hits a corkscrew shooting star (I think) and a phoenix splash. They trade roll-ups. Ospreay does a shooting star press but Sabre catches him in an armbar. Ospreay powers out and gives Sabre a buckle bomb. Sabre avoids a knee-strike and Ospreay jumps to the ropes with Sabre kicking his knees out from under him. Sabre takes him to the second rope and tries a suplex but Ospreay fights out with elbows and hits a superkick and an Essex Destroyer (one-man Spanish fly). Ospreay does a phoenix splash but Sabre avoids it and hits a soccer kick. Sabre then puts Ospreay in a double arm lever submission for the win. Sabre is now 3-0 in the Zack Sabre Jr. Best In The World Challenge.
Chris Hero and Tommy End come to the ring. Hero notes that Sabre is 3-0 but says he has still not beaten him, the best of all time. Sabre says that changes tomorrow and taps Hero on the face.
Chris Hero and Tommy End vs Drew Gulak and Tracy Williams
Leonard gives an update that Thatcher has refused medical attention and that his status is up-in-the-air for tomorrow. Williams and End start and trade wristlocks. Williams works the arm and gets a Fujiwara. Williams grabs a toe-hold and they go back and forth. Hero and Gulak tag in and Hero grabs a wristlock stopped by a Gulak armdrag. Hero throws some chops, an elbow and they trade some armdrags. Gulak gets a crucifix into a roll-up and tags Williams who hits uppercuts. Hero kicks him in the face. Gulak runs in and Hero hits him with an elbow. Hero knocks Williams to the outside where End puts him on his shoulders for a big boot from Hero. End tags in and hits a back elbow. Hero tags in and hits a senton. End tags in and hits a big boot and continues with kicks and strikes. Hero is in and hits an elbow to Williams’ face. Williams gets a German suplex on Hero who rolls outside. Williams goes for a tag but Hero pulls Gulak off the apron. End is in the ring and he kicks away at Williams. Hero comes in and starts slapping and elbowing Williams. They trade slaps and chops. Hero hits elbows to the back of Williams’ head but Williams grabs him and hits a teardrop suplex. End tags in but Gulak gets the hot tag. Williams gets a belly-to-back suplex assisted by Gulak who covers End and then places him in a leglock/Japanese stranglehold. Williams and Gulak make frequent tags working over End. Williams works his arm. Gulak does a senton on End and then continues to work his arm. Williams gives End a back suplex and applies an STF and then a bow-and-arrow-like submission. End avoids a charge by Gulak and hits him with elbows and a kick and then hits strikes on Williams. Hero tags and gives Gulak a yakuza kick. Hero hits Williams with elbows and goes for a suplex but Gulak interferes. Hero throws Williams into Gulak and hits a leg kick/DDT combination. Hero hits Williams with a kick and goes for a neckbreaker but Gulak interferes again. Hero fights them off and gets a release suplex on Williams combined with a knee-strike from End. Williams stops a suplex by End with a knee-strike. Williams gives End an inverted atomic drop and an uppercut and Gulak gives him a clothesline off the ropes. Williams puts End in the sleeper and Hero suplexes Gulak onto Williams. End hits Gulak with kicks and then all four men are in the ring trading strikes. Hero gives Gulak a piledriver while End gives Williams a brainbuster and they both go for covers. Hero and End both go for Gotch-style piledrivers but Williams and Gulak counter into Fujiwara armbars. Hero goes a rolling elbow on Williams but takes a lariat. Williams is on offense against End but Hero hits Williams with a rolling elbow. Hero then gives Williams a Gotch piledriver spiked by a double stomp from the top rope by End. They throw Williams to the floor and try to finish Gulak who fights back and catches End in a dragon sleeper for the submission win. TJ Perkins was out with Gulak and Williams during the match but he left with Hathaway.
Early technical issues aside, this was a very good show. I saw most of Riddle vs Thatcher and it was amazing technical wrestling. Scurrill vs Yehi and Page vs Callihan were both quite good. Perkins vs Ricochect was great as was the main event and Ospreay vs Sabre was the match of the night and set a great tone for the weekend. Evolve likely has the best in-ring action in the U.S. right now. They also promised a make-good for technical issues as people who just ordered the live viewing will get the VOD for free and people who ordered both (like me) will get their choice of a previous show for free. Yay!!! What a great start to the weekend.