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Evolve 68 recap & review: Zack Sabre, Jr. lays claim to being the ace, Catch Point goes extreme, and more!


Ten minute indie start time delay but we’re eventually live in the ring with Lenny Leonard. He runs down the card real fast and we’re off to our first match.

Fred Yehi vs. Jigsaw

Yehi with arm control early, including a particularly neat overhead armlock. Jigsaw reverses, looks for a pin but comes up empty. Yehi starts jawing at him (He’s in BIG trouble!) and they trade strikes, Jigsaw gets a Gory Special but Yehi slips out. Foot stomp puts Jigsaw back on the defensive, they trade pinning predicaments and Yehi grabs the Koji Clutch but Jigsaw makes it to the ropes.

Big right hand leaves Jigsaw reeling but he’s able to fight back with a snapmare into a cool kick/stomp combo. Jigsaw jaws back and Yehi’s face is rage. Jigsaw works a bodyscissors but Yehi fights out with elbows. Looking for the rolling elbow, Jigsaw ducks and gets stomped in the foot and eats a big spinning backfist.

Another huge right into a folding powerbomb for two! Stomps the hand, shoves Jigsaw to the mat and stomps the leg, looks for another but Jigsaw grabs a schoolboy only to get the ol’ go-behind into another leg stomp. Rolling elbow connects, back to the Koji Clutch but Jigsaw’s lanky frame gets him to the ropes.

Jigsaw down and out on the mat but he wakes up after an exchange and gets a cross-leg Michinoku Driver. Yehi on the apron, enzuigiri from Jigsaw, looking for a diving stomp but Yehi takes him to Suplex City! Victory roll counter, mule kick, Jigsaw up top for a missile dropkick, corner Yakuza kick, sheerdrop brainbuster but Yehi’s still in it!

Up top again but Yehi rolls out the way. Chop for chop, fist drop to the foot, back to the Koji Clutch!

Fred Yehi wins by submission with the Koji Clutch.

Great opener, Jigsaw and Yehi work well together.

Dan Barry vs. Ethan Page

Barry in charge early, going to the mat and keeping control of Page until he makes it to the ropes to break. Test of Strength offered and Page is stoked to try, thinking he can easily out-power Barry but he gets out-strengthed. Page claims to not know this wrestling stuff, he can do a powerbomb, a jackhammer, a package piledriver but that’s it. Barry offers a bit of a lesson, just like on the WWE Network’s Holy Foley.

Once the lesson’s concluded we’re back to actual wrestling. Barry lands a slingshot plancha and wipes Page out. Page back with a powerslam and an axehandle. Bridging O’Connor Roll from Barry, Page looks for RKEGO and gets swatted down, Barry following up with a standing moonsault. Page ducks a second off the top and...

Ethan Page wins by pinfall with a float-over package piledriver.

Page helps Barry to his feet after and asks the crowd to give it up for his very first pro wrestling trainer and tells Johnny Gargano that he’ll see him tomorrow before helping Dan to the back.

Darby Allin vs. TJ Perkins TJP

Darby wipes TJP out before he even finishes his entrance! Trust fall off the top as the bell rings! Double jump shoulder block and a springboard arm drag off the top sends TJP outside! Just ramming Perkins into the barricades but TJ eventually reverses as the ref counts.

Back in the ring, Perkins turns it around, laying uppercuts into the rookie. Spinning armlock rear chinlock, Allin fights out and eventually does a crazy pumphandle straightjacket pin. Dodges a slingshot dropkick causing TJP to eat apron but when he goes to follow it up with a running boot off the ramp, Perkins ducks and Allin goes knee-first into the ringpost!

Darby digs deep and gets himself back in the ring but TJP smells blood in the water and starts working the knee something unholy. Spinning toehold, Muta Lock, Indian deathlock, you name it. Deathlock double underhook submission comes up empty and Allin springboards but lands back on the knee! O’Connor Roll, TJP throws him off, he lands on the ropes like a cat and springboards for a turning splash!

Reverses the double chickenwing gutbuster into a victory roll but it’s no good. Knockout roundhouse sends Allin into the ropes but he has enough in him to headbutt back and go to the top only to dive face-first into TJ’s outstretched foot!

TJ Perkins wins by submission with TJP Clutch.

I’d dare to say that’s Allin’s first standout performance here in Evolve. Really proved that he’s more than just crazy bumps and indestructability.

Well-deserved “Thank you, TJ!” chants as Perkins makes his way to the back.

DUSTIN vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams

Hot Sauce just laying in forearms to start. Back body drops DUSTIN outside and follows with the suicide dive! But Drew Galloway comes from behind with the chair!

Referee D.A. Brewer throws the match out.

Hey, it’s Joey Styles! (clap)(clap)(clapclapclap)

He says we didn’t come here to this sweatbox to watch a 30-second DQ, so he’s restarting the match. He tells Drew to go to the back or he’ll make him wear a snowsuit and do laps until he dies of dehydration and asks DUSTIN why he’s too cheap to buy new tights. He also sends Catch Point to the back, saying that if anybody interferes, they’re not getting paid tonight. And by the way, he wants the match to be... extreme.

DUSTIN vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams (Extreme Rules Match)

Right out the gates DUSTIN cuts Hot Sauce off with a chairshot on a dive and takes him around the barricades! Williams fights back with a suplex on a chair and sends DUSTIN back in the ring. Sets the chair up in the corner, goes to ram DUSTIN into it but ends up eating himself. DUSTIN follows with a big German suplex.

Big hammer whip and DUSTIN goes outside asking for a ladder. Hot Sauce blindsides him before he can do anything with it and slams his face into it. Looking for a whip after some brawling but DUSTIN reverses and Williams goes into the ladder and eats a superkick to boot. Back in the ring DUSTIN sets the ladder up and chokes Hot Sauce with a chunk of his wrist tape.

Looking for a powerbomb but Williams dodges, back body drop into the ladder followed by a sheerdrop brainbuster for two! Abdominal stretch on a chair, Hot Sauce switches to the Daniel Bryan MMA elbows, looks for a brainbuster but DUSTIN slips out and grabs a drop toehold into the chair! DUSTIN disappears momentarily and returns with a bag full of thumbtacks!

Hot Sauce immediately confirms the “He who smelt it, dealt it” rule of pro wrestling and back suplexes DUSTIN into the tacks! Sleeper hold, DUSTIN rolls Williams into the tacks to break it for a second but Hot Sauce fights through the pain!

“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams wins by submission with a sleeper hold.

Very fun hardcore match. Loved the finish.

Bit of a break to clean up the ring while Lenny Leonard does some plugs.

The three-way is next but Johnny Gargano’s music plays after the three competitors make their entrance, and he’s got a mic. If you’ll excuse him for a minute he’s got something to say, there some people he still needs to talk to. Ricochet’s a superstar, he says. They were on the first Evolve together, they’ve wrestled in New Orleans, in China, and he busts out shoot names before saying he’s proud of him and we’re honored to have him back here in Evolve.

Nese is up next, Johnny says he’s been in wars with him as well, and Nese is the best pure athlete he’s ever been in the ring with. Nese eats a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night and he still looks like that! He tells Tony that he’s got a very bright future ahead of him.

Now the Bro, who the crowd chants for immediately. They’ve never wrestled, but a lot of people he trusts say a lot of good things about him. He watched Riddle grow into the wrestler he is today. With his experience level and the stuff he can do right now, he’s amazing and the future of the company. Nese is the future too. Tomorrow night a big spot is opening up, and Johnny wants them to go out and take it. Johnny offers handshakes, Nese takes it but Riddle opts to only shake his finger.

Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. Tony Nese

All three guys trading stuff early, no two-men-in, one-man-out stuff. Really cool sequence of ducked roundhouses in there. Riddle with a hamstring kick on Ricochet and both flyers go after him, shooting star press from Ricochet into a nearfall from Nese. Ricochet with an inverted Indian deathlock, Neses throws him off and grabs a Muta Lock, Ricochet throws him off in turn and grabs an arm-trap rear chinlock.

They argue and Riddle fights to his feet and slaps the crap outta both guys before eating tandem dropkicks! Big capture suplex on Ricochet, exploder on Nese and the double-teaming ends.Nese to the outside and it becomes a Ricochet/Riddle singles for a bit. Nese wakes up, big moonsault off the ramp on Riddle into a crazy diving over-the-ropes DDT on Ricochet and a follow-up tope. Riddle does the fakeout dive into a slap!

Back in the ring, fisherman buster on Nese but Ricochet comes back in with the suplex combo and Riddle can’t follow up. All three back in, Ricochet sets up one of his two-for-one neckbreaker/DDT combos but can’t get more than two off it. Looking for Benadryller but Nese fires a big slap. Roundhouse from Riddle, discus lariat from Ricochet and all three men are out on the mat.

Back to their feet they trade chops and uppercuts until Ricochet gets a two-for-one roundhouse kick. Whips Riddle to knee Nese, looking for Benddryller but Riddle counters it into the leaping tombstone! Bromission locked but Nese goes up top and lands a 450!

Tony Nese wins by pinfall with a 450 splash on Matt Riddle.

Best three-way I’ve seen in a while. Not a lot of “two guys having a singles match while one sells on the outside” stuff, just nonstop three-way action.

Drew Galloway out after with a non-functional microphone. He finally gets it working and says he’s wearing a hoodie to block these morons out and he’s here to talk to Riddle. He’s had time to think about his offer, to learn how this business really works, to learn about the evil that lies within this business. The injustice, must like the injustice he faced in UFC, is constant. He puts Riddle over as the uncrowned Evolve Champion and asks where Thatcher is? He’s in Germany, defending the title and putting it out there, just like Drew did.

Riddle’s different, he says. Instead of being in his shadow, Matt can stand by his side and help him save Evolve from itself, when Drew Gulak blindsides him! Riddle and Gulak face off as Riddle heads backstage and Gulak takes Galloway pillar to post on the outside.

Drew Galloway vs. Drew Gulak

Back in the ring Gulak stomps Galloway’s injured ribs something fierce. Big suplex against the ropes and Gulak wrenches a rear chinlock in. Galloway comes back out of the corner and does the suplex lift hotshot to ruin Gulak’s night further. Galloway with a neck crank but Gulak fights out only to get clobbered with a lariat.

That’s the story of the match here, Galloway dominates until Gulak makes an opening and then Galloway fires right back and the cycle continues. Big suplex sends Gulak under the bottom rope to the outside. Suplex on the apron, Galloway breaks the count and flips referee D.A. Brewer right off. Big whip into a support beam gets Gulak some time. Slams Galloway rib-first into the apron and they start trading blows before Galloway lands a tilt-a-whirl slam of his own on the apron.

In the ring Galloway gets in Brewer’s face while Gulak struggles to his feet. Palm strike to the ribs and a series of chops get Gulak back into and he lands a series of back suplexes! Discus lariat for two and Gulak ties the legs up for a deathlock bow-and-arrow. Galloway gets a short piledriver and Gulak kicks out at one! Big slap but Gulak is fired up! Slaps off his own and he dumps Galloway onto the apron! GU-LOCK IN THE ROPES!

Scoop slam into the ropes, Gulak’s hurting but still in charge. Sets Galloway into the tree of woe and the Scotsman begs off before slapping him and flipping him off. So Gulak lays a pair of springboard stomps right into his face! Dropkick and another pair of stomps! Gulak up top but Galloway has the wherewithal to snap off a spider German!

Claymore kick and a sitout powerbomb get nearfalls and both men are spent. Galloway sets Gulak up top and lays a chop in before following. He’s looking for the second rope Air Raid Crash but Gulak slips out and lands a folding powerbomb! Galloway kicks out so Gulak turns it into the over the knee crab! Another Claymore and both guys are down.

Back to their feet and they trade punches and chops. Slaps and a backfist, Gulak gets the Gu-Lock but Galloway makes it to the ropes. Gulak to the second, waiting for Galloway to get up and he jumps into a kneeling tombstone! Galloway holds on, switches his grip...

Drew Galloway wins by pinfall with the Future Shock DDT.

Really good match, excellent brawling early and the hate was palpable. A no DQ rematch would be off the charts, I think.

Johnny Gargano vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (Battle of the Aces)

Joey Styles is joining us on commentary, because the wrestling is good to us.

Johnny cautious to start, he remembers what happened last time he locked up with Sabre— he gave up his arm and got annihilated. Sabre wins the first exchange and when he offers a test of strength Gargano won’t take it at first, so Sabre offers the leg. They poll the crowd, Johnny goes for the leg and Sabre wins the exchange but they end up in a double pin situation!

ZSJ works a cravate to the mat but Johnny escapes and they trade escapes for a moment. Johnny with a World of Sport escape on a full nelson! Finally Sabre gets his knucklelock but Gargano wins the test and takes Sabre to the mat, working the arm for a moment. Back to the test of strength, Johnny pushes him down but Zack bridges and slips out, going for the legs now.

Johnny countering with a figure four half-crab but Sabre stays cool and reverses it again. Leglock on the bad knee and Gargano scrambles to the ropes! Sabre goes for the elbow stomp but Gargano counters! Setting up the Superman Spear but Sabre has it scouted and stops short. Gargano with the roll-through enzuigiri into a jumping neckbreaker, sets Sabre up in the corner and chops him to the mat.

A second chop, Gargano calls for one more and lands it hard. Snapmare into the running kick, stepover armlock on the left, and goes to the right, working the fingers! Bodyscissors butterfly lock from Sabre into Ode to Jim Breaks and from there into a pin attempt! Sabre back on the knee, stomping the pit of it and sending Gargano into the corner so quickly that referee Brandon Tolle has to check and see if he wants to continue.

Stomps and kicks and ZSJ follows up with the sitdown can opener. Cravate over the ropes, Gargano fires back but Sabre catches him with an octopus in the ropes! Sabre in for a Mafia kick but Gargano lands the Superman Spear! Overhead belly to belly and a suicide dive follow up! Slingshot DDT, Gargano’s making a real run of it here. Sabre up top, Gargano superkicks his knee and hits a lungblower!

Looking for Hurts Donut but Sabre reverses to a pin, Gargano reverses to a pin of his own, handful of tights but Sabre kicks out! PENALTY KICK! NOT ENOUGH! Back and forth, both guys are out of it now, sitting on the mat and staring at each other. Sabre blows a kiss and Johnny draws a line in the sand. They sit across from each other and start throwing slaps! Hard and heavy, Sabre to his feet, half nelson suplex for two!

Gargano with a big powerbomb and then a Lawn Dart, superkick gets two! Johnny looks up, wondering what the hell he has to do here. Sabre rolls a tornado DDT into a modified Dragon slepper and a pin but Johnny reverses to Gargano Escape! ZSJ in the ropes, Johnny’s getting frustrated here, draws himself to his feet and they trade slaps for uppercuts. Picks the leg, bridging Gedo Clutch but Johnny reverses into a waistlock pin!

Sabre with the octopus but Johnny slips to the mat...

Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by submission with an armlock leg-trap half-crab.

What a match. A fitting end to Johnny Gargano’s singles career here in Evolve.

Sabre on the mic to say how distracting it is that Johnny’s so handsome. He talks about how he hit a point in his career where he had to make a decision about his future and he’s chosen the independent wrestling scene. He thanks Johnny for his part in establishing the company that he calls home and says he’s gonna carry that torch and he’s coming for Timothy Thatcher.

Ricochet comes out and gets on the mic. He says that Johnny said some really nice stuff about him earlier and they had some real battles. Johnny is one of his favorite people, in the ring, out of the ring, just to be around. This locker room has so much talent that it’ll be fine without Johnny, he says, but he will be missed. Johnny’s always been the face of Evolve, he says, but Ricochet has been the ace of Evolve, so tomorrow Sabre’s just gonna be another in the long list of accomplishments he’s done.

Sabre charges in for a hug and Ricochet ducks him but when Johnny goes in they share a moment. Ricochet asks the crowd to give it up for Johnny Wrestling and they certainly oblige. Ricochet and Zack head to the back and Gabe Sapolsky actually shows his face! Johnny waves him down to the ring and gives him a hug before soaking in a little more of the crowd’s adulation and closing out the show.


Great show. Darby Allin stepped up in a big way, the three-way was great, both Catch Point vs. Galloway’s Goon Squad matches were good brawls, Yehi and Jigsaw killed it in the opener and Johnny Wrestling and Zack Sabre, Jr. sent us home with an epic. Certainly worth your time and money on VOD.

And of course, join me here again tomorrow night for Evolve 69 and be sure to bring some tissues, because I already started rolling tears at the end of this one and I can only imagine how much more are gonna fall once Johnny’s actually done.

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