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Evolve 73 recap & review: Catch Point wins the tag titles, Hero goes 2-1 over Riddle, Sabre and Gulak put on a clinic, and more

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Gabe Sapolsky

Stream starts up after a delay to accommodate Tommy End beating "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams in the dark match.

Lenny Leonard and Joanna Rose in the ring, Lenny says he has good news and bad news. He starts with the good, in that they have something very special planned for the tag titles later tonight, but before he can get to the bad news, Timothy Thatcher's music hits! Stokely Hathaway comes out with the Evolve World Championship title belt around his waist.

Stokely says he'll handle the bad news, and that's that Timothy Thatcher, the greatest champion of all time, is not here tonight. He wanted to be here, but Stokely told him to stay back and stay safe. He wanted to make sure the people could see the title, though, and he holds it up proud.

Darby Allin hits the ring and stares Stokely down before taking Lenny's mic. He says last night Jaka came out and told him he didn't belong, and yeah, he pinned him, but tonight he's challenging him, so get out here right now. Stokely says he'll let him have his moment but he's gonna give him a life lesson— don't get lost in the sauce.

Darby Allin vs. Jaka

Jaka charges in before the bell rings but Darby's able to maneuver around him and keep it from turning into a rout. He turns a kickout into a springboard splash, which is pretty sweet. The match continues fairly back and forth until Jaka cuts him off on the apron and traps him in the actual ring skirt for chops and a superkick.

Back in the ring Jaka continues to press the attack, a headbutt to the side of the neck feeds into a trapezius claw, good stuff. A flapjack hangs Allin chest first over the ropes but the ex-skateboarder remains resilient and ducks a spinning kick only to get caught by a brutal release German suplex. Darby keeps cracking openings, looking for pinning predicaments, but alas...

Jaka wins by pinfall with a spinning heel kick.

Solid opener, albeit one that felt like it never quite kicked all the way into gear.

Icarus vs. Jason Kincaid

My man Icarus! He starts off strong, punishing Kincaid in the corner but things level out quickly. Inverted Tiger feint when Icarus heads outside and the man with the worst back tattoo in pro wrestling clobbers Kincaid with a lariat for his trouble. Icarus continues the attack, kicking and choking until Kincaid nails the through-the-ropes clothesline into a slingshot neckbreaker, and a sunset flip buckle bomb into the Coast to Coast for two.

Icarus lands a Shiranui into a wheelbarrow German suplex for two of his own! Icarus slingshots right into a Stunner and Kincaid follows it up with a suicide dive blockbuster and climbs a support beam... DOUBLE STOMP FROM THE CEILING! IT'S OVER!

Jason Kincaid wins by pinfall with a double stomp off the support beam.

Very good sprint, Jason Kincaid's offense continues to be weird, varied, and wonderful, and I'm stoked to see Icarus in Evolve.

Chris Dickinson vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page

Chris Dickinson comes out wearing a Death Angel shirt, so that's automatic cool points from me.

Feeling out early, Dickinson bowling Page over with a shoulder block and Page taking a minute to catch his breath. Dickinson offers a test of strength and All Ego takes it, the results are inconclusive as Dickinson kicks his arm out and Page bails outside back to friendly territory with his Gatekeepers. Team Pazuzu jaw at the Gatekeepers and Page goes around back to cheapshot Dickinson before taking him pillar to post, barricade to steps.

Back in the ring, the attack continues, shoulder thrusts, snapmare into a low dropkick, hammer whips, you name it. Dickinson gets some room with a forearm, chop, and boot, but when he climbs up top Page is able to cut him off and take him down with a cross-arm Iconoclasm. Dickinson still keeps firing shots and Pauge replies in kind until Dickinson ducks a kick and gets him in the corner for mounted punches.

Page blocks a superplex attempt, elbows Dickinson to the mat, and when Chris climbs to the apron, Ego looks for a cutter. Cutter denied, Dickinson stands on the top rope... AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER?! Holy hell. Charging lariats and more mounted punches follow, step-up enzuigiri into the fireman's carry Michinoku Driver but it's not enough to put Ethan Page away!

Mafia kick on the apron, a second, Page is reeling but able to step away from a third and land a superkick into RKEgo for a nearfall. Dickinson blocks a package piledriver and fires a roundhouse to initiate another round of slugging it out before dropping Page for a nearfall with a 540 enzuigiri. Page gets another cutter off...

"All Ego" Ethan Page wins by pinfall with the Spinning Dwayne.

A little slow to get going but once the avalanche Frankensteiner hit, business was good.

Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Grappling early, jockeying for position, but Sabre pulls ahead with a cravate. Gulak breaks free and they go right back to it, Sabre getting a foot this time, wrenching and tearing, but the originator of Catch Point is able to slip away again. A side headlock takeover grounds the technical wizard, who tries to escape with his leg but Gulak traps it!

A bit of wrist action breaks him free and Sabre grabs a headscissors, wrenching Drew by the feet until he's standing on his head. Gulak blocks a drop toehold, grabs a side headlock but Sabre gets away and we're back to even. Quick pins exchanged in series now, Drew nearly getting a fall off a sunset flip. Sabre gets the wrist but Gulak manages to block the inverted stomp armbreaker so Sabre goes to the legs, sitting on Gulak's back and twisting.

Inverted Indian deathlock on, ZSJ trying to free the arm up and gets it, putting the arm behind his back before wrenching Drew over into sort of a modified Haas of Pain. Back on their feet, Sabre gets a full nelson and Gulak goes to all fours to keep the pressure off and rolls him through but Zack won't break the hold. Drew manages to peel Sabre's hands apart but he just shifts to a double wristlock into a pin for one.

Snapmare, back to the full nelson, Gulak peels his hands away again into a wristlock and then a short armscissors. Sabre tries to roll out but Gulak gets the hold applied, rolling Sabre himself this time to disorient him. ZSJ gets a headscissors in but Gulak breaks it, so Sabre rolls him over and manages to get out, twisting his head something wicked with his feet.

Snapmare into the headscissors, Drew manages to wizard himself out and trap Sabre's legs, pressing his knees apart to force him to the mat but Sabre grabs the arm and back into the headscissors. Gulak gets out and goes to the arm, wrenching it something terrible with a stepover wristlock and transitioning to an arm-trap cloverleaf. Zack rolls around and into control of Gulak's arm, looking for the armbar but Gulak grabs the kneebar.

Sabre gets a heel hook and Gulak immediately breaks for the ropes. Drew Gulak back on the wrist, ZSJ picks the leg and rolls into an cross armbar but Gulak keeps his hands together and counters to an ankle lock! Sabre out of that into a headlock takeover, trapping the arm and shifting to a Japanese stranglehold. Gulak reverses to one of his own and sits way back into a Steiner Recliner style rear chinlock.

ZSJ back to wrist control, pushing Drew's arm behind his body. Gulak out and off the ropes for a crossbody and then into a cravate before separating the bad arm and wrenching. Arm-trap reverse chinlock in and wrenched so far back that Gulak has to pop up lest he lose by pinfall. Gulak with a waistlock, Sabre reverses into a victory roll, Gulak tries for a pin and Sabre catches him right into a sleeper!

The erstwhile Catch Point mainman out with a wrench of the toe and back to the arm. Sabre out and into a bodyscissors guillotine choke, Gulak is able to slip out and push his legs down again but Zack is right back on it before transitioning to a Kimura. Gulak struggling, Sabre shifts, looking for Ode to Jim Breaks and turning it into kind of a Rings of Saturn and back to the guillotine but Drew is able to turn it into a pin for a nearfall!

Sabre with a counter prawn hold for two as Gulak runs the ropes, drop toehold into a bridging Gedo Clutch, GULAK TURNS IT INTO THE GU-LOCK! He shifts to an armbar...

Drew Gulak wins by submission with a bodyscissors armbar.

What a clinic! So smooth it felt like one giant reversal, start to finish. Incredible match.

Chris Hero vs. Matt Riddle

Hero with a boot right out the gate! He whips Riddle with his ring jacket and stomps a mudhole in him! Slap for chops, Hero levels the Bro with an open right. Riddle gets a flying knee and some breathing room. Whip across, Hero with a big boot, Riddle right to his feet, defiant, before throwing the big man with a German suplex.

Senton follows but Hero's knees are up and the self-proclaimed Greatest of All Time goes to work on Riddle's kidneys with elbow and chop. Scoop and a slam into a senton of his own. Riddle back with a flurry of kicks and Hero clobbers him to the outside with an elbow! Another one on the outside and our Bro is gasping for air. Hero covers him with the pad and hits another senton! Riddle crawls back in the ring and Hero immediately levels him with a knee trembler.

Hero keeps punishing him with chops in the corner but Riddle Bros up and comes back with a slap rush! Corner knees and stomps take Chris Hero to the mat! Running knees, Bro ducks a rolling elbow and hits the exploder, a senton follows up for a nearfall. Chest kicks to a kneeling Hero now, shades of the American Dragon and Chris catches one and fires back, Riddle blocks Cyclone Kill, Hero ducks the Pele, BRO 2 SLEEP! HERO WITH A ROLLING ELBOW TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! That whole sequence, my god.

Both men on the mat, struggling to their feet in opposite corners. Hero charges in, swats a boot away, rolling elbow! A second! A straight elbow puts Riddle on the ropes and Hero looks for the Tombstone but Riddle reverses into his own leaping tombstone... not enough! Mounted elbows, Matt wrenching the arm back but Hero has the ropes. Riddle with another slap rush, springboard knee countered by an elbow strike and then into the short piledriver. Jumping piledriver, Hero holds the clutch! Gotch lift applied...

Chris Hero wins by pinfall with the Gotch piledriver.

Holy hell, that was awesome. Equal and opposite to the match that preceded it, a festival of striking. That sequence ending in the Bro 2 Sleep and the rolling elbow, folks. That was the truth.

Drew Galloway and DUSTIN come out, Galloway has a mic and tells everybody to bow down to Chris Hero. He demands the proper respect from the crowd when he talks, which of course just earns boos. Galloway says he sold his soul to the wrestling devil, moved to America at 20 and missed everything in the "real" world for this job.

He sacrificed his life to build an empire, and tonight Chris Hero, that big beautiful man vanquished Matt Riddle, so now he's finally saved Evolve from itself. The war is won, he claims, and DUSTIN gets on the mic. He says there's only one thing left at the end of a war, so he's gonna get out of here.

Fred Yehi and "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams head down. Hot Sauce on the mic, he says that's enough out of the three of them, and he doesn't care what Drew Gulak said, Catch Point is not dead and it's not a failure. They're owed a title match still, and he proved that they're not a failure by tapping Chris Hero out last night.

Galloway asks if the crowd would like to see Chris Hero knock somebody else out yet, and says clearly since he's not cleared to compete, maybe Hero takes the spot in the tag title match. He says he trusts Hero with his life, and Hero motions for the mic. Hero says he's nobody's soldier. He's had nine matches in the last ten days, he's flown all over the world, and his weekend's over. If Hot Sauce wants to brag about tapping him out, though, it'd be his pleasure to break this bottle of Hot Sauce one more time.

Drew Gulak comes out and says he needs Hot Sauce to get it through his head that Catch Point is a failure. Gulak says he wants in on the tag title match, and he brought his partner from Monday Night Raw, Tony Nese. Ethan Page;s music hits and the Gatekeepers come out stripped to the waist. Page says a king like Ego needs a crown, but Evolve doesn't have one, so gold will do. He tosses their name into the proverbial hat.

Catch Point (Fred Yehi & Hot Sauce Tracy Williams) vs. Chris Hero & DUSTIN (c) vs. Drew Gulak & Tony Nese vs. the Gatekeepers (Blaster McMassive & Flex Rumblecrunch) (Evolve Tag Team Championship Elimination Match)

Yehi and Nese start, engaging in a bit of grappling before Yehi puts him in BIG TROUBLE with some stomps. Nese lands on his feet off a back suplex, Matrix evasion, strike sequence, DUSTIN tags himself in and puts boots to Yehi. Yehi tags Gulak in, desperate for a breather, and the Gentleman's Club explodes.

The former Chuck Taylor tries to pull ahead going dirty, scraping the bone of his forearm across Gulak's eyes, but Gulak tags Nese in and Tony goes to work. Quick tags from the Monday night boys until DUSTIN gets Hero in. Hot Sauce convinces Gulak to tag him and last night's match of the night replays in miniature. Chop for chop, Hero levels Williams with a big elbow and throws knee strikes in the clinch.

Hot Sauce with a back elbow and to the top, Hero rolls away but Williams is right on him with a lariat. Hero tags Flex Rumblecrunch in and he and Blaster pound Hot Sauce with hammer blows. Yehi tags in and goes to town on the big men with chops and a low dropkick but Flex levels him. Yehi catches a boot and gets a two-for-one stomp on their feet! Off the ropes into a boot and Blaster finally leaves Flex to his business.

Rumblecrunch puts the boots to Yehi and clobbers him with a big corner avalanche before making a quick tag. The abuse continues until Yehi slips away and declares both men to be in BIG TROUBLE but his comeback is cut short by a goozle into a fallaway slam from Blaster. Hot Sauce in and out, DUSTIN in and out, Nese in and out, the Gatekeepers make short work of everybody.

Hero in and they double-team him but the Greatest of All Time don't go down that easy and staggers 'em single-handedly. They manage to catch him with a double chokeslam, though, and Hero is forced to bail. Darby Allin comes down and clips Flex's knee!

Chris Hero & DUSTIN eliminate the Gatekeepers by pinfall courtesy of DUSTIN with an assist from Darby Allin.

Things break down for a minute and DUSTIN wipes Nese and Williams out with a tope con giro! Hero and DUSTIN work Fred Yehi over a little but Fred bridges out of a senton pin, a grimace of determination on his face. Hero knocks him back with an elbow, but he's still in it. DUSTIN choking Yehi against the ropes before throwing a back suplex and mocking the tag, biting Fred's hand.

Tag to Hero, the big man laying hammer blows in on Yehi as he fires up. Wicked stomps to the head and a tag back to DUSTIN follow, the erstwhile Chuck Taylor laying 'em in, stomping Yehi's back unmerciful before connecting with Sole Food. Fred catches him with a German suplex on the rebound, tag to Hot Sauce, who immediately throws a through-the-ropes dropkick at Hero! A dropkick levels DUSTIN and he follows with the half-halch superplex.

DUSTIN rolls outside and Hero takes the moment to yank Hot Sauce outside and drop him to the floor with an elbow before sending him back in. Looking for the Awful Waffle but Williams blocks and throws an elbow before chucking in the corner for the quick tag to Yehi. Snap suplex, running elbow drop, Hot Sauce comes back in and fires an elbow to the back of DUSTIN's knee. Stomping at it and DUSTIN ends up in Nese's corner, tagging the Premier Athlete in. Nese with a suplex and a big leg drop but Williams gets him in the corner and DUSTIN tags back in.

Hero cheers his teammate on before taking the quick tag. Nese misdirects DUSTIN into an elbow from Hero. Superkick to DUSTIN, suicide dive on Nese, and all three Catch Point men take DUSTIN out. Hot Sauce has the facelock in, DUSTIN taps! We're gonna have new tag champions!

Catch Point eliminate Chris Hero & DUSTIN by submission with the wrenching facelock from Hot Sauce on DUSTIN.

Galloway is apoplectic! He levels referee DA Brewer with a forearm! Nese with a quick pin attempt, going up top for a superplex but Williams knocks him down so he cuts him off with an uppercut. Half-halch DDT on the turnbuckle! Nese kicks out! Tony catches Hot Sauce with a Michinoku Driver but Yehi breaks the pin up and gets the tag. Right hands to the Raw man into a suplex, Nese reverses,

Yehi reverses in mid-air! Superkick to Yehi, scoop and a slam, Nese goes high risk and Yehi gets out of the way. Hard elbow when he lands gets a nearfall, Nese blocks a rolling elbow, wristlock, slides under, pumphandle, Yehi blocks, reverse STO, Koji Clutch! NESE TAPS!

Catch Point eliminate Drew Gulak & Tony Nese by submission with a Koji Clutch from Fred Yehi on Tony Nese, becoming your NEW Evolve Tag Team Champions!

YES! Very fun eliminator. The tag division is in BIG TROUBLE now! (Although I desperately need proper names for the Gatekeepers, guys, calling them by their Devastation Corporation names feels weird.)

Nese is quick to shake hands but Gulak hesitates. Yehi and Williams offer him Catch Point handshakes and he walks off to end the show.

Overall

A bit of a slow start to the show, but once it got going those last three matches were incredible. Gulak/Sabre II was one of the best grappling matches Evolve has put on, Hero/Riddle III was an absolute festival of striking, and the tag eliminator was a boatload of fun. Fire up your FloSlam subscriptions and catch it on VOD if you missed it live folks, Evolve 73 is a keeper!