Yessir, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the World Wrestling Network to come back in to your home with Evolve 74 (live from Queens, New York) and Evolve 75 (live from Melrose, Massachusetts), and as always, I'm here to give you the low down on what's going down.
Evolve Mini-Doc: Catch Point Explodes!
Evolve Mini-Doc: The Downfall Of Zack Sabre, Jr.?
A Strange Glimpse Into The Psyche of Darby Allin
Evolve 72-73 Recap: An Impactful FloSlam Debut!
Evolve 74 (Saturday, December 10, at 6PM Eastern)
Catch Point (Fred Yehi & “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams) (c) vs. Peter Kaasa & Ricochet (Evolve Tag Team Championship)
Going back to before the tournament that crowned Evolve’s first tag team champions early this year, Evolve has had a different approach to the tag titles than most indies. Most promotions use established teams and end up with a tag scene that’s more than acceptable, but also kind of in its own bubble, separate from the rest of the roster.
Evolve, by contrast, has embraced the concept of the superteam, two singles stars coming together for tag team wrestling. Not to say that full-time teams don’t have their place, the Bravados and Team Tremendous have anchored the tag division, but if you look at the most successful teams, the pattern does emerge— Hero and End. Gargano and Galloway. Gulak and Williams. Galloway and DUSTIN. And now, Yehi and Williams.
But the Catch Point men have got their work cut out for them going up against former Open the Freedom Gate Champion Ricochet and Dragon Gate’s newest American sensation Peter Kaasa. It’s a classical matchup of high-flyers vs. grapplers and it is gonna be a hoot and a half, folks.
Cody Rhodes vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page
Cody Rhodes, whether he’s successful or not, has come to Evolve to build. Ethan Page, since revealing his true colors back at Evolve 69, is here only to destroy. Two ancient, primeval forces at war since the dawn of time, a creator and a destroyer, at war again inside the squared circle.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but it gets the point across. Cody, in his campaign up and down the indies, operates with a stated goal of enriching each promotion he visits. Whether that happens is up for debate, but he’s certainly trying. But Ethan Page, after failing to take the reins (and the title) through legitimate channels, has switched to tearing Evolve down hand-in-hand with his Gatekeepers. But not even like Drew Galloway, whose end goal is to rebuild Evolve in his own image, no sir...
Ethan Page wants to be king of a charnel heap where Evolve once stood, and he has to go through Cody Rhodes to make it happen.
Jeff Cobb vs. Matt Riddle
In a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated, Evolve booker Gabe Sapolsky let loose the mildly shocking revelation that Jeff Cobb nearly came into Evolve two years ago, at the same time as Evolve World Champion Timothy Thatcher (who’s missing these shows thanks to the concussion he suffered in the Squared Circle of Survival last month). At that time, a lack of funds caused him to choose Mr. Thatcher as his sole west coast import, and that choice surely bore out well, what with Thatcher’s amazing 2015 and all, but it speaks to Cobb’s natural fit for Evolve that it was close in the first place.
And so we close the circle two years later, as Mr. Athletic finally makes his debut against a man who wasn’t even wrestling when he was nearly brought in. Both men have taken the pro wrestling world by storm over the last year and change, and both men have formidable reputations. Matt Riddle is one of the least beatable men in Evolve, and some say Cobb is a literal monster in other promotions.
They’ve faced off once before in AAW, with Cobb picking up the win. Now they’re on Riddle’s home soil and you have to think it’ll be a tough row for Jeff to hoe.
And the rest
It’s a rematch ten years in the making when Chris Hero meets Dick Togo for the second time. When last they met, it was a losing effort for Togo as he attempted to claim Hero’s IWA East Coast Heavyweight Championship in a ladder match. But now, Hero is the nigh-unstoppable spine of Evolve and Togo is coming off a retirement of several years. The odds are stacked even higher against the Michinoku Pro legend, but he didn’t come to Evolve to fail.
The former leader of Catch Point takes on one half of the Evolve branch of Team Pazuzu as Drew Gulak goes one-on-one with Jaka. A win over a name like Drew Gulak would certainly catapult Jaka on the fast track to an Evolve contract, but Gulak will be taking no prisoners on his way to his match against his protege Hot Sauce.
It’s a real life David and Goliath situation when Darby Allin and a returning Brian Cage face off. If this match were taking place in the Orpheum, Cage would absolutely throw Allin into oncoming traffic, but we’re at La Boom, so he’ll have to improvise, but it’s almost certainly going to be a hoot.
Chris Dickinson takes on DUSTIN. Both men were on the first Evolve show but feel abandoned by Evolve. Where DUSTIN has been consumed by his own rage and has joined Drew Galloway’s crusade to collapse Evolve down to the foundation, Dickinson seems to be taking a healthier tack and channeling his rage into determination to get a contract, even when his tactics aren’t totally above the board.
Evolve 75 (Sunday, December 11, at 7PM Eastern)
Drew Gulak vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams
It’s a philosophy. It’s a wrestling style. It’s a stable. It might even be a way of life.
But most importantly to Drew Gulak, the man behind it all, it’s a failure. Broken against the rocks of Timothy Thatcher’s unstoppable title reign, Catch Point is done, or so he thinks. Mission failed— pack up, go home, he’s on to bigger and better things on Monday nights.
But Hot Sauce doesn’t quit. Indeed, Tracy Williams had perhaps the best weekend of his career last time out. He tapped the nigh-unbeatable Chris Hero out and overcame the odds to win the tag titles in a four-way elimination match alongside Fred Yehi.
The last time they met in competition, Gulak pulled ahead and secured his spot in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic (and arguably setting the stage for his disinterest in his own creation), but Hot Sauce is playing the hottest hand in his life. I’m not sure it’s gonna be different this time, but I know it’s going to be a hell of a match!
Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet
Johnny Gargano was the beating heart and soul of WWN right up until the day he moved to NXT full-time. Dragon Gate USA and Evolve both, he was called an icon for a reason. And these two, perhaps, are his right and left hand men. Ricochet, after all, was just as much of a backbone to DGUSA as Johnny was, and indeed was his conscience in living, breathing, kicking form when he finally ended Johnny’s reign of terror with the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. Riddle, of course, was the man he passed the torch to when he left Evolve.
We got a teaser of this one in three-way action with Tony Nese back at Evolve 68, but Nese scraped out the victory, so it’s not the most useful match to look at for precedent. But it is useful to see just how great this is gonna be.
Chris Hero vs. DUSTIN
Chris Hero ain’t nothin to mess with, or so the chant goes, paraphrased for propriety. Galloway and DUSTIN have learned this, recently. Hero’s been an ally to them, but they’ve been too familiar, too trusting that Hero will do their bidding.
And so, after Hero inadvertently elbowed DUSTIN in the head last month, it comes to this. It’s unlikely to affect their relationship in the long term, because they share enough enemies at this point that I can’t see uncircling the wagons. In the short term, however... let’s just say it’s a good thing the next Evolve isn’t until the end of January.
DUSTIN might need a little bit of time off after dancing with Chris Hero.
And the rest
“All Ego” Ethan Page continues leaving chaos in his wake as he wrestles Dick Togo. Remarkably, this is Togo’s first time in Massachusetts in nearly twenty years! He last appeared for ECW, and now he’s got to overcome All Ego’s damn numbers game. Maybe he can call some of his buddies from Kaientai DX to help?
Jeff Cobb squares off with another Catch Point man in the form of the other half of the tag team champions, Fred Yehi. Depending on how his match against Riddle goes, Cobb may end up in BIG TROUBLE sooner rather than later. But you have to think, with his excellent technical wrestling acumen, win or lose, Catch Point may be more interested in an alliance after this weekend than anything else.
Team Pazuzu (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) look to earn Evolve contracts by beating two of the most recent guys to earn said contracts themselves, Darby Allin & Peter Kaasa. It all comes to a head here, one shot at joining the roster full-time.
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