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EVOLVE 102: Sabre vs Riddle Preview



EVOLVE is making a splash on the opening day of Mania weekend with a huge card. Featuring not only a main event many months in the making, but also bringing in two imports from Japan in Daisuke Sekimoto and Munenori Sawa. There are multiple ways to order the show, Club WWN, FITE TV or bundle all nine WWN shows via the WWNLive Experience and save $45.

Start Time: April 5th 6pm PDT/9pm EDT/2am GMT

EVOLVE Championship Match
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Matt Riddle

For over 400 days and with thirteen successful defenses, Zack Sabre Jr. comes into the weekend as EVOLVE Champion. As these fourteen months have gone on, Sabre’s notoriety has only grown. He has made sure everyone is watching him, commanding attention from wrestling fans all over the world. Facing Matt Riddle, I think it’s fair to say this is Sabre’s greatest challenge to date. Their record in EVOLVE remains tied at one apiece. This will be the first ever meeting between the two for the EVOLVE Championship. When a reign has gone on as long as Zack’s, fans start clamoring for something new and Riddle is the perfect guy for the fans to get behind. He’s been a fan favorite for the better part of two years now thanks to great combination of in-ring wrestling and charisma that cannot be taught. Expect NOLA to be firmly behind Riddle as he is Sabre’s most formidable opponent in the biggest wrestling weekend of the year.

The Definition Of A Dream Match
Daisuke Sekimoto & Munenori Sawa vs Timothy Thatcher & WALTER

Both Thatcher and WALTER exude what’s commonly referred to as the Japanese style. Them facing off against two modern Japanese legends seems only fitting. Sekimoto and WALTER have had multiple matches in both Germany for wXw, and Japan for BJW. This will be a first time ever meeting between Thatcher and Sawa. Having been trained in the Battlearts style, Sawa’s adopted what’s commonly called the shoot-style of pro-wrestling. Thatcher looks up to Sawa and had molded his style around what was prominent in Battlearts. This is sure to feature a very intense mix of both strikes and holds and will be one of the more unique matches to take place this weekend.

High-Flyers Showdown
AR Fox vs Will Ospreay

Before we get too excited, I’m not 100% certain if this match is still going to happen. Ospreay took a nasty landing on his head in Japan over the weekend and has expressed concern about competing on Mania weekend. If the match does take place then I see no reason they don’t go all out. Ospreay is someone always looking to prove himself and a match against AR Fox is certainly one I would love to see. Both are next level innovators of the high-flying style and one can only dream about what these two will put together if the match is still taking place.

Tag Team Scramble – 2 In At A Time, No Tags Needed, 1st Fall Wins It (if Dickinson & Jaka lose the fall, they will lose the EVOLVE Tag Team Titles)
Chris Dickinson & Jaka (c) vs The End vs James Drake & Anthony Henry vs Tracy Williams & Dom Garrini

There are a lot of moving pieces in this match. The stipulation is an interesting one. This isn’t a tag team championship match but if the champions are pinned, they lose the titles. Drake and Henry defeated Jaka and Dickinson for the tag titles last July and have never been defeated by the current champions. The End have been this wildly chaotic team since their debut, constantly looking to be in the hunt for the titles. Williams and Garrini are fellow Catch Point members along with the tag champions. This can go all sorts of directions and is sure to be wildly chaotic.

Non-Title Special Challenge Match
WWN Champion Keith Lee vs Darby Allin

Darby Allin has been constantly looking to prove himself in EVOLVE. Despite being the smallest man on the roster, Allin is always looking for the biggest fights. Being matched up against the literal biggest man in EVOLVE will literally be Allin’s biggest challenge to date. This is a very interesting dynamic of the David versus Goliath variety.

Special Attraction Match
Austin Theory vs DJZ

Having yet to find his footing in EVOLVE, DJZ comes into this weekend with an 0-4 record. He’s matched up against the current FIP champion, Austin Theory. A big challenge for DJZ and if he were to win, he’d find himself a future FIP World Heavyweight Championship match. This would be a huge step forward in DJZ’s future in both EVOLVE and the WWN family.

Plus Stokely Hathaway, Jason Kincaid and others!!!

Want more? Check out EVOLVE’s series of promos previewing what to expect this weekend.

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.