EVOLVE kicked off their first of two shows this weekend with an absolutely stacked card, main evented by Zack Sabre Jr. and Matt Riddle for the EVOLVE Championship. This show was nothing less than amazing. Let’s get this going!
DJZ def. Austin Theory @ 8:10 via ZDT – **1/4
Really smooth opener. Both these guys are super athletic and Theory really thrives when he’s able to cut down a likable face. To the surprise of many, DJZ was able to capitalize on a few mistakes and pick up the win.
Theory freaked out post-match, immediately looking to redeem him by challenging Keith Lee to a title versus title match. He then stated that WWN is only a stepping stone for him to get to WWE. What a heel.
Will Ospreay def. AR Fox @ 16:12 via OsCutter – ***1/4
If it weren’t for AR Fox, I very well may not be a wrestling fan today. He is the man who brought me back into being a fan once again. Ospreay has been a whole different level the last couple of month, putting together matches that will be considered classics if they aren’t already. Even with these two coasting, they managed to put together such a great, fluid display of high-flying wrestling. These guys are total eye candy in terms of what they bring to the ring. This was a dream match for me and they delivered something great.
The End def. Tracy Williams & Dominic Garrini, Chris Dickinson & Jaka, Anthony Henry & Jakes Drake @ 8:59 via Doomsday Device on Henry – **3/4
A complete train wreck in mostly good ways. At one point, Hathaway demanded Garrini to lay down for Jaka. Garrini accepted but Williams took exception, furthering the story between Hathaway and Williams. This was big dudes dropping other big dudes on their heads. Didn’t go too long to lose attention and was utter madness from beginning to end. The only blemish was Garrini, who noticeably got lost several times throughout the match. Total nonsense big moves the entire time, exactly what it should have been. Anthony Henry continues gaining mine, and the fans, support.
Keith Lee def. Darby Allin @ 10:25 via Ground Zero – ***1/4
The ultimate David versus Goliath match in the best possible sense. Lee continually rag-dolled Darby all across the ring, forcing Darby to dig deep to stay alive. Darby works the best when he’s fighting from underneath. He’s the ultimate under dog and his matches in EVOLVE work so well because of this role. Big heart from Darby but he just couldn’t match up against a man who is literally twice his weight. Very creative and so much fun start to finish.
Post-match Lee accepts Theory’s request for a title versus title match tomorrow. Darby asks Keith to continue beating him up but Keith declines. Instead, Jarek 1:20 attacks Darby and voices displeasure in no longer being welcome in EVOLVE.
WALTER & Timothy Thatcher def. Daisuke Sekimoto & Munenori Sawa @ 22:13 via WALTER Gojira Cluth on Sawa – ***1/2
Words can’t do a match like this justice. You could visibly see how much fun all four of these guys were having wrestling each other. Their styles match up together so well and it was such a blast to watch. They went a really long time and exhausted the crowd with so many great moments but they showed their respect for all four men after the match. This is one of those matches that is must-see for those who appreicate that traditional Japanese style each of these men provide.
Hathaway calls out Thatcher and WALTER post-match and Darby tries to get a shot on WALTER but is swatted away like a fly.
EVOLVE Championship Match
Matt Riddle def. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) @ 20:58 via Bromission – ***1/2
A great display of technical wrestling and the end of the ZSJ era. When it comes to wrestling on the mat, these two are on the top of the wrestling world. It’s a real skill to keep that style so entertaining for twenty minutes. Other than a few striking exchanges, they kept the match on the mat and attempted to out-wrestle one another. ZSJ has been on another level for years now but Riddle, in such a short time, is approaching similar levels. Fans of technical wrestling would be fools to disregard this match. Seek it out, they did a great job providing a memorable match worthy of a title change.
Post-match the two bump fists before Sabre heads to the back. Riddle says when he first debuted for EVOLVE it was only supposed to be for a weekend. Two years later he’s EVOLVE champion and he’s been having a blast. Nice feel-good moment to end the show.
Great show from EVOLVE tonight. Only six matches but no intermission seemed to burn the crowd out. Although it wasn’t a long show, there were just so many great matches one after another that they couldn’t catch their breath. Instead, EVOLVE decided to bash your head against the wall over and over with exhaustingly great matches. EVOLVE 102 very well has potential to be the best show top to bottom this weekend.
Matt Riddle vs Zack Sabre Jr.
WALTER & Thatcher vs Sekimoto & Sawa
Keith Lee vs Darby Allin
Will Ospreay vs AR Fox
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