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Evolve 70 recap & review: Thatcher retains, Catch Point remain united, and new talent impresses

Gabe Sapolsky

We’re live in the ring with Trevin Adams and Joanna Rose. Trevin runs down the three big main event matches ahead of us tonight and throws it right to our first match.

Anthony Henry vs. Darby Allin

Henry comes in hot with a boot right off the bat looking to make his name here in Evolve! He keeps the advantage for a bit but Allin cracks him with a wicked headbutt and follows it with a huge trust fall dive to the outside, the madman he is. Henry doesn’t let him capitalize on it and cuts him off on the top before throwing more kicks and dropping him with a hammerlock back superplex!

Henry keeps on the newly-contracted Allin, hammerlocking and kicking the arm before settling in for a top wristlock. A hammerlock DDT follows but Darby’s fighting spirit nearly keeps it from getting two. Looking for a hammerlock back suplex but Allin slips out for a rolling cradle that disorients Henry. Headbutts to the gut earn a knee to the face and Henry hits a TKO that hangs Allin neck-first over the top rope!

Frog Splash connects and Henry follows up with a Rings of Saturn but Allin manages to reverse it into a pin for a nearfall! German suplex, folding powerbomb into a Texas Cloverleaf, Henry’s looking to end it but he’s lost sight of the arm. A Roderick Strong-esque backbreaker keeps the opening wide enough to set Allin in the Tree of Woe, but one mistake is all it takes, a headbutt for separation later...

Darby Allin wins by pinfall with a trust fall senton, now officially named Coffin Drop.

Awesome opener, so stoked to see Anthony Henry deliver on his promise here in Evolve, and all the arm stuff made it clear that Allin will have no problem fitting in with Evolve’s grapplers as he continues to grow.

Jason Kincaid vs. Nathan Cruz

Nathan Cruz gets in Joanna Rose’s ear before the match begins and instructs her to introduce him as the first ever Progress Champion and the Show Stealer.

Grappling to begin, Cruz with an early advantage but Kincaid isn’t far behind. Cruz takes it hot with an uppercut and Kincaid does some awesome flipping into prayer position. That earns him a slap and it’s on because the mantle comes off and the straps come down. Spinning kick lays Cruz out and a triangle forearm puts him outside.

Inside-out Tiger feint kick takes Cruz back inside, looking for a springboard follow-up but Cruz is ready with a boot. Reverse chinlock sleeper gets a counter-stunner but Cruz is able to recoup with a slingshot back suplex. Stomping at Kincaid, Cruz takes a moment to soak in the disapproval of the crowd. Back to the sleeper, trying to grind Kincaid down but Kincaid is able to mount a comeback featuring a powerslam into a double stomp and a turning springboard dropkick for two.

Cruz looking for a springboard and Kincaid runs right up with him and counters with a springboard clothesline of his own! Codebreaker from Cruz gets a nearfall as things heat up, but when he goes for Show Stolen Kincaid ducks him twice in a row and lands a sunset flip buckle bomb! Coast to Coast dropkick, Cruz thinks he’s safe rolling to the outside but it connects! Awesome nearfall with a slingshot springboard stunner follows and Kincaid goes up top for a double stomp that comes up empty. Show Stolen connects...

Nathan Cruz wins by submission with an inverted cloverleaf Lenny Leonard dubs Cruz Control.

Maybe a little long, but good work from both men. Kincaid’s got some real impressive stuff in his pocket.

DUSTIN vs. Fred Yehi

DUSTIN in hot, stomping and choking but Yehi’s able to come back in fairly short order and take DUSTIN down a peg with the stomp to the foot. Slugging it out on more even ground, Fred presses the advantage with another stomp and the fist drop. Yehi going to the head, wrenching it hard to set up the Koji Clutch, and adding insult to injury with a stump puller that nearly puts DUSTIN’s knee in his mouth.

Legs grapevined, standing and stomping, DUSTIN looks for Sole Food, Yehi looks for the reverse STO, neither man gets what they want and they spill to the outside. DUSTIN takes full advantage of the terrain to turn the tide and uses Yehi’s own unorthodox stomps against him back in the ring. Butterfly suplex into a kip-up and DUSTIN soaks the boos in before dragging Yehi to his feet by an ear.

Yehi fights back with fists but DUSTIN’s on him. Enzuigiri, German suplex, Yehi reverses to one of his own! Fred catches hands and throws back his own, eats a Sole Food but comes back with Germans. DUSTIN is declared to be in BIG TROUBLE and eats a rolling elbow for a nearfall but a knee, a superkick, and a DDT return when Yehi charges in for a followup. Quick on his feet, Yehi to the apron and then to the top, DUSTIN right there with a belly-to-belly to send him crashing down to the mat.

Slugging it out on their feet, forearm-for-forearm, chop-for-chop, a second rolling elbow but DUSTIN has a pop-up powerbomb for him! Awful Waffle attempt, Yehi slips out, reverse STO...

Fred Yehi wins by submission with the Koji Clutch.

Good match. Almost certainly the best DUSTIN has had here in Evolve since his return. Yehi’s coming for that title, folks.

Bunk 'n Funk (CT Brown & Rex Bacchus) vs. the Gatekeepers (Blaster McMassive & Flex Rumblecrunch)

The erstwhile Devastation Corporation come hard out the gate, laying CT Brown out before chucking him over to Bacchus for a tag. Bacchus comes in on Blaster throwing forearms and chops but the big man is unmoved and drops him with a black hole slam.

The Gatekeepers win by pinfall with a stalling back suplex/diving elbow drop combination.

Page takes issue with Joanna’s announcing for the win and does it himself with gusto. He says that he’s going to be Evolve Champion and reiterates his line about Thatcher being a failure for not being on social media with all of us ugly humans and not getting on the microphone to entertain us. But Page will always take the time to remind us how awesome he really is and tonight he’s going to remind Thatcher about his failure as well as show us how he’s going to carry Evolve to the highest it’s ever been.

Thatcher comes out with the title for a staredown. Page protests, but referee Brandon Tolle sends the Gatekeepers out of the ring, so we’re having the title match now!

“All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Timothy Thatcher (c) (Evolve World Championship)

Page taking full advantage of the ropes early on, refusing to get caught up in grappling. Page finally throws some hands but the champion grounds him with a front facelock before rolling him over and taking mount. Page breaks and heads outside, and when he comes back in he finally starts to pull ahead with forearms but Thatcher manages to grapple himself out of the corner.

Thatcher wrenching a foot, Page tries to push his face to break but Thatcher bites a finger! Thatcher throwing knees into a straight suplex to try and set up the Fujiwara but Page won’t roll all the way over, so he takes it into a Kimura a moment before trying for the cross armbar. Page reverses with a rollup for two, Thatcher looks to draw him back in again at which point Ethan declares he’s not going to play Tim’s game. Not sure what you’ve been doing up to this point then, chief.

Thatcher looking to play Inoki to Page’s Ali and Page bails. Back in, Thatcher goes right to knees to the ribs and then back to the arm. Ego gets back in it with a cross-arm Iconoclasm, following it with a scoop slam into an attempt at RKEgo but Thatcher cuts him off. Slugging it out on the apron now and Page hits a loose DDT on the apron, following it with an apron-hung double underhook backbreaker.

Fighting on the outside, Thatcher rolls back in after a strike combination looking for a countout win, but the Gatekeepers roll Page back in and earn a thumbs-up from the boss. Champ going to the Karelin lifts now, throwing them one at a time. Page rolls away and Thatcher goes for the armbar across the bottom rope only to eat a kick and RKEgo. A flurry of uppercuts eat a roundhouse in response, and they trade strikes a while longer until they’re both on the mat.

Struggle in the corner, both men jockeying for position but Thatcher wins enough to look for the Karelin lift off the second before Page fights out. Throwing strikes now, Page wins the day and lands an avalanche cutter! Looking for the package piledriver, Thatcher fights him back in the corner and they sandwich Tolle! Running uppercut, Page ducks and Tolle eats it again! A low blow and the Gatekeepers hit the ring. Page says he’s gonna send Thatcher packing but the champ has the wherewithal to fire a kick and escape, dumping the Gatekeepers.

But Page has the belt and nails Thatcher across the forehead! Referee DA Brewer runs out to make the count but Thatcher gets a shoulder up! Page levels Brewer for his trouble and goes for the tag rope choke but Thatcher fights out and drops him with the headbutt for a nearfall! Fujiwara armbar is in, Page gets to his feet for a schoolboy, Thatcher reverses...

Timothy Thatcher wins by submission with a Fujiwara armbar, retaining his Evolve World Championship.

Hot ending, but getting there was pretty rough. Page came in promising not to fight Thatcher’s match and he... fought Thatcher’s match. I mean, I generally like Thatcher’s match (aware as I am that I’m increasingly on an island on that one), but still, kind of a bummer.

Stokely Hathaway comes out now, microphone in hand. He says he’s not getting in the ring because Thatcher is dangerous and broke his hand for allegedly putting hands on the title. But he wants to let bygones be bygones, so it’s forgotten. Stokely says he’s well-read and educated, unlike most of Florida. He’s been studying Thatcher these past weeks, and he understands Tim. He doesn’t like talking, he doesn’t like negotations, he doesn’t like fame and fortune, but Stokely lives for those things!

He offers to take care of that stuff for Thatcher before saying he also likes the ladies and gestures to the girls he brought with him to gyrate and make it rain. That’s only a fraction of what’s in the Dream Team’s bank account, he says. They’re the best at what they do, and he takes credit for TJP winning the Cruiserweight Classic and going to Raw. Thatcher is clearly the best wrestler, and he appreciates that. So what if Timothy Thatcher and Stokely Hathaway were a team?

A... Dream Team.

Thatcher waves the offer off and heads to the back, which leads Stokely to say he didn’t say no.

"Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Feeling out early, Hot Sauce gets a bit of an advantage but Sabre’s the first to get a cover. Williams gets serious after, starting to go after the arm with a stepover armlock, rolling and wrenching. At one point both men stay locked up with each other, headscissors-for-can-opener but Sauce gets out and goes to the leg before re-committing to the arm.

Sabre comes back with a standing neck twist of the sort he usually does to arms. Snapmare, and another one but he finishes by sitting on Williams’ chest. Zack continues targeting the neck and shoulder, going for a one-armed version of Young Boy Killer into the Ode to Jim Breaks and then a standing surfboard. Hot Sauce back with a crossface chickenwing and hard chops before going back to the arm with a spinning armlock.

Deathlock the legs, grab the chin, a ridiculous bow-and-arrow variant but Sabre breaks free for the stomp to the elbow. Kicks in the corner, Zack’s fired up but Tracy ain’t far behind! Slugging it out, Sabre with a snapmare into a headscissors before adding an armbar to it and manipulating Hot Sauce’s hand. Break made but Sabre goes right back with a rear chinlock, scraping the bones in his forearms across Williams’ face.

Wicked abdominal stretch gives away to a cravate, Sauce with a back suplex counter, Sabre fires a knee to try and slip out but they tumble over and Zack takes a powerbomb bump out of the deal. Hot Sauce takes Sabre to the woodshed now, countering a running maneuver into a beautiful Fujiwara armbar and then dropping Zack with a back suplex when he tries to fight away.

Williams laying kicks in but Sabre sits defiant, begging for more. Sunset flip countered by Sauce into a kneebar, Zack tries to turn it around into an armbar but Tracy won’t give up the arm and manages a crossface of his own. Sabre reverses that to a Kimura but Williams makes the break. Great sequence.

Sabre stumbling, practically out on his feet, but he counters a German into the Kimura and then into a Tiger suplex nearfall, then into a Dragon sleeper but Williams has an ankle lock in return. Octopus attempt countered back into the ankle lock, World of Sport escape gets a backbreaker, German suplex, double lariats but Sauce gets the better and gets a nearfall out of the deal!

Piledriver denied, Sabre with the bridging wristlock pin but it’s no good. Back to strikes but Sabre pulls ahead with a brainbuster and then the Penalty Kick! NOT ENOUGH! Sauce with an abdominal stretch, Sabre counters but can’t settle on a hold so he takes Williams to the mat and grabs a heel hook. Williams with one of his own and they slap each other on the mat! Sabre wrenches the hook in hard and Tracy fires kicks to the face, which leads to Zack dropping the hold and throwing kicks of his own!

Running triangle choke from Sabre! Hot Sauce with the deadlift and down into a powerbomb that makes a sick thud on the mat. Armbar, Williams escapes, a NASTY piledriver... ZACK SABRE, JR. LIVES! Williams with heavy strikes but Sabre fights back, picks a leg, looking for a grounded octopus, stomps to the head...

Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by submission with a grounded Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness.

Hell of a match. Just awesome stuff from both dudes, near-constant escalation.

Chris Hero vs. Drew Gulak

Grappling early, with Hero using his superior size to try and counter Gulak’s greater mat wrestling acumen. Gulak stays in charge for a good long while but Hero gets the better of him in a double wristlock exchange. Gulak right back in it, though, working a side headlock takeover into a series of covers to Hero’s increasing frustration. And when he gets Gulak in the corner to escape, it boils over and Hero lashes out with an elbow strike!

Gulak back to the headlock, both men going after the other’s eyes. Gulak goes with the flow with forearms of his own, Hero looking for a piledriver but can’t get it, so he pummels Gulak with more elbows and a boot. Drew cutting the big man down with dropkicks but Hero sends him outside with a Mafia kick!

Taking Gulak pillar-to-post on the outside, sending him into the barricade time and again, but back in the ring Gulak has his wits and gets the Gu-Lock nearly immediately, leading Hero to bail. Drew follows him up the entry and eats more elbows for his trouble. Hero stands emotionless as Gulak pounds him with forearms but his ire goes up after the eighth or so and drops him with a HUGE rolling elbow!

Back in the ring Hero lays into Gulak hard, a right hand leaving him shaken and covering up before Hero instructs the Catch Point man to Catch the Point of his boot. Gulak, defiant, looks for a back suplex but Hero fights out with elbows and a nose rake, declaring there’s no way he’s going off his feet... BUT GULAK DOES IT!

Gulak back with slaps into an atomic drop, he ducks a rolling elbow and hits a second, and a third! Hero’s tailbone is feeling it! Lariats in the corner, whip across for more but Hero cuts him off with a boot. Gulak spits in Hero’s face and Hero fires another elbow off. Gulak trying to heat up, rolling elbow attempt but Drew’s just ahead of the curve with another lariat!

Hero eats a boot in the corner, lifts Gulak up but he turns it into the Gu-Lock, so Hero forces a break. Gulak looking for a piledriver, Hero blocks, Gotch lift added, Hero breaks out, short piledriver of his own! Back to the clutch, calling for the Gotch lift, and he spikes Gulak with it! Not enough! Rolling elbows in the corner, referee Brandon Tolle admonishes Hero to get him out of the corner but Hero doesn’t comply until after the third one. Gulak out on his knees...

Chris Hero wins by pinfall with a rolling elbow to the back of the head.

Very good match, maybe a little longer than it absolutely needed to be but I always love seeing Chris Hero play nice with the grappling before snapping and turning the knockout artist on.

Drew Galloway in the ring, he offers Hero a handshake but gets a shoulder pat. He congratulates Hero, not because of his victory or for making an example of Drew Gulak, but for being a guy who gets in the ring every night kicking ass as a true independent success story. He then addresses Matt Riddle, asking who the hell could like Matt Riddle. (Well, most of us, bro.) He says he knows better than the happy-go-lucky Bro, saying Riddle has no respect for authority and is only in it for himself. He says that as long as he’s around, Matt Riddle will never be the face of the company and says that Riddle treats the other men of Catch Point like children.

He then recounts the offer he made last month, playing it like Riddle’s knockout kick is why he can’t wrestle. He asks everyone to clasp their hands, saying we’re all the same, we all love the business, and he wants to thank God for the miracle he received, saying the doctor told him two inches higher and he’d be paralyzed. But instead he’s only out a few weeks and will be back here in November. He picked AR Fox as Riddle’s mystery opponent because along with Hero and Galloway, he set the stage for what Evolve used to be as champion.

AR Fox vs. Matt Riddle

Fox wipes Riddle out with a huge dive mid-entrance! Riddle with a spinebuster into mount as soon as the bell rings but Fox gets the ropes. Riddle keeps the pressure up, taking Fox to the mat and throwing stiff elbows in the corner. Fox hits a Sling Blade and grabs a rear chinlock as revenge for earlier.

The action heads outside after a springboard knee strike and the trademark baseball slide slap, but Fox intercepts it with a jumping knee and Lo Mein Rain! Diving guillotine leg drop on the apron follows for two as Galloway looks sternly on. Riddle punctuates a comeback run with the fisherman buster and Fox is moaning about his neck. Forearm-for-forearm on their knees leads to a slap rush from Riddle and then the Pele into Bro 2 Sleep!

It’s not enough, so Riddle goes to the rolling Karelin lifts, finishing with a deadlift German suplex for a nearfall. Knees and a snapmare, stiff kick to the back but Fox has a pump kick and a Shiranui. Riddle blocks and eats a springboard cutter into the Swanton... ONLY TWO! Fox back up top, 450 but the Bro is out of the pool! Elbows...

Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission.

Excellent match. AR Fox is one of the most intense guys on the planet, and Riddle, great as he is, continues to evolve (pun not intended but welcome) as wrestler everytime he goes out there. In particular I’m really glad to see the Pele/Bro 2 Sleep segment stick around after seeing it first in PWX last month.

DUSTIN hits the ring after and beats on Riddle, dropping him with a DDT and mounted punches. Fox slaps hands and rakes his forearm across the Bro’s face. Catch Point run out for the save and Galloway’s goons back off. Gulak taunts Galloway, begging him to get in the ring if he’s so tough, but they walk off.

Gulak gets on the mic, saying Catch Point isn’t about getting in each other’s way, it’s about competition, about respect. He asks Riddle if he’s with them, and Riddle replies that he never left. Catch Point handshakes are exchanged, Hot Sauce somewhat reluctantly. Catch Point stand tall, united, before Gulak, Williams, and Yehi leave Riddle a moment to soak in his public, and that’s the show.


A really good show from Evolve as usual, bordering on great. Riddle/Fox & Sabre/Williams run neck and neck for my match of the night, but Hero/Gulak and Allin/Henry were also top-shelf matches, with the only real low point being Page/Thatcher. Check it out on VOD, folks, you won’t likely regret it.

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