Card changes be damned, EVOLVE chugs along with another show after a great outing last night at EVOLVE 102. Three championships on the line and various international matches support what looks to be another strong show from EVOLVE. Both Travis Banks and Darby Allin were unable to compete due to injury and were replaced by Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams. Chris Brookes took Williams spot as he moved up to face off against WALTER.
WWN Champion vs FIP Champion
Austin Theory def. Keith Lee @ 10:42 via TKO – **
Theory takes the WWN Championship from Lee by hook or by crook. After a ref bump, he low blowed the big man and scored the win. Impressive feats of strength from Theory as he muscled Keith Lee around a couple times near the end of the match. A good, not great, opener and possibly Lee’s final EVOLVE match.
Post-match the crowd chants ‘thank you Keith’ as he bows and heads to the back.
Timothy Thatcher def. Dominic Garrini @ 5:46 via Butterfly Suplex – *1/2
As I said in my preview, Garrini hasn’t impressed so far in his wrestling career. Pairing him with Thatcher and keeping it short was a good idea. Nothing too notable other than Thatcher getting busted open, leading to an intense finish. Really cool to see Thatcher end a match with the Butterfly Suplex, a callback to his idol, Billy Robinson.
AR Fox def. Chris Brookes, DJZ & Jason Kincade @ 8:31 via Small Package Driver on Brookes – *3/4
Jarek 1:20 tried to jump Kincade before the match but was turned away with ease. The match felt really slapped together. Brookes filled in for the originally scheduled, Tracy Williams, who was filling in for the injured Darby Allin. Some nice spots but a lot of miscommunication.
Chris Dickinson def. Mark Haskins @ 16:47 via Kneebar – **3/4
These two deserve a lot of credit. This show was dying a slow death but they put their work boots on and went all out to bring the show back to life. Travis Banks was originally scheduled but had to pull out due to injury and was replaced by Haskins which is a fair trade in my book. This match deserves a nod for going out there and trying to bring the crowd back after several disappointing matches. They went out and had the longest match of the show, doing their damnedest to give the fans a show.
WALTER def. Tracy Williams @ 8:52 via Gojira Clutch – ***1/4
Williams replaced Darby Allin who was injured and unable to wrestle. This change in opponent resulted in a completely different match than I had expected going into the show. Very physically impressive as these two went out there with intent to hurt. WALTER is next level and Williams never backs down, going even harder when pressed up against the wall. Brutal match, short but sweet. Very sweet.
Munenori Sawa def. Jaka @ 10:43 via Octopus Hold – ***
Both nights now, Sawa has radiated fun. You can tell he’s having blast out there wrestling his style. He’s beating guys up and loving every minute he’s in the ring. Jaka was beating the hell out of him and Sawa laughed it off in his face. Really great energy from Sawa while Jaka looked perplexed, having no clue how to keep him down. The crowd cringed at the headbutts they delivered but Sawa didn’t care, he was in the zone. You can’t help to have fun watching a wrestler have fun.
Post-match The End came out to attack Jaka but were run off by all members of Catch Point.
Matt Riddle (c) def. Daisuke Sekimoto @ 15:19 via KO – N/A
Unfortunately, my stream cut out the first five minutes of the match so I can’t give an accurate rating. From what I did see, this was fun but not a super serious tone I want out of an EVOLVE main event. Sekimoto took his shoes off to mirror Riddle and in response Riddle made this a title match but declared as long as he’s champion, every match will not have rope breaks. Another match where you can tell they were having fun and I can’t fault them for that despite it not going at the level I’d have liked. This is both of their first matches of the day so I get why they didn’t go all out. Disappointing but still fun. Riddle knocked out Sekimoto and the crowd chanted him name until he regained consciousness and that’s how we ended the show.
While not as great of a show as last night, EVOLVE 103 managed to have a couple of great matches. Dickinson and Haskins brought back to life just when everyone felt as if they were about to turn on the show and leave. WALTER and Williams attempted to murder each other and Sawa laughed away the pain. I wish the main event had more of a fight feel rather than being goofy but it was still a fun match. This may very well have been Keith Lee’s final EVOLVE show and Austin Theory is now double champ. Solid, but unremarkable, show.
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