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Evolve 69 recap & review: Thank you, TJ. Thank you, Johnny. Welcome to the family, Darby. Ethan, you suck. And in the end, Evolve is Bro.


We’re live in the ring with Lenny Leonard, referee D.A. Brewer, Darby Allin, Tony Nese, and a man who’s going to sing the national anthem. He does a lovely job, “USA!” chants go up, and we’re right into the first match.

Darby Allin vs. Tony Nese

Nese dumps Allin to the outside like a sack of potatoes and hits a wicked turning elbow on a dive. Nese continues dominating, Darby hasn’t even got his jacket off. Allin starts a comeback with a springboard trust fall but Nese nails him with a hammerlock slam and continues to lay into the arm.

Back outside for a moment and back in and Nese is taking Allin pillar to post. Allin stays in it, though, and Nese starts taunting him, asking him if he really wants to be here. Pinfall attempt off a bodyslam and a bodyscissors, Nese loses track of the arm and ends up missing a moonsault, giving Allin a window to land a big splash off the top to the outside.

Back in and Nese goes back to the arm with another hammerlock slam, follows it up with a diving splash that gets two. Looking for the pumphandle piledriver and he gets it but it’s not enough to put Allin away! A second try sees Allin slip out into the turnbuckle, trust fall, Nese catches him, looking for a German but...

Darby Allin wins by pinfall with a victory roll pin, earning an Evolve contract in the process.

Solid opener. Stoked to have Darby on the roster for real now and hopefully hear some Pentagram every month!

Joey Styles out with said contract and a pen. He says that after that performance, he doesn’t think anybody is going to forget the name Darby Allin. So on behalf of WWN, he offers the contract. Nese snatches it out of his hands and says on behalf of that entire locker room, he’d like to welcome Darby to Evolve. But remember one thing, this is the last time he gets this version of Nese.

Fred Yehi vs. Travis Gordon

Really cool sequence early where Gordon keeps doing matrix evasions to dodge Yehi’s stomps. Springboard lariat follows up and Yehi’s getting mad. They trade boot catches and Fred finally gets the fist drop to the foot and lays a big stomp in. Snapmare, stomp to the knee, off the ropes, dropkick to the head.

Forearm for forearm, chop for chop but Yehi comes in with the foot stomp and lays him out with a chop to the back of the neck and a forearm. German suplex, Yehi charges in and eats an enzuigiri but ducks the followup. Second German but Gordon lands on his feet! Gordon up top misses a dive but lands a California Roll into a flash kick to Yehi’s head! Cartwheel handspring back elbow, goes for a second Yehi sees it coming!

German suplex attempt, Gordon tries to counter with a victory roll but Fred deadlifts him back up and chucks him into the ropes. Gordon looking for a springboard...

Fred Yehi wins by submission with a Koji Clutch counter to a springboard lariat.

Hell of a finish. Really fun match, too. Gordon has some incredible timing.

Chuck O’Neil vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams

O’Neil right in with strike attempts, gets a waistlock takedown and goes to the armbar but Hot Sauce gets the ropes. Test of strength, Chuck tests the bad knee and Williams breaks. Suplex, knee drop to the elbow and Hot Sauce is in charge now. Hot Sauce continues to dominate, laying strikes in the corner but O’Neil takes him over with a judo throw and goes back to trying for the armbar.

Blocked chop, O’Neil comes back with kicks and charges in the corner only to get back dropped to the outside! Hot Sauce follows up with a suicide dive and strikes against the barricade before going up top. Diving forearm gets one, so Williams goes to stomps and kicks before setting him up in the corner and chopping. Tight suplex into a cover and Hot Sauce grabs a figure four wristlock before switching to a sort of half nelson abdominal stretch. Roll-through legsweep into a pinning clutch gets two and Williams follows with a dropkick.

A second and Chuck is feeling it but lands a hip toss fakeout knee and a German suplex for some breathing room. Straight suplex, knees in the corner, Hot Sauce shoves him away but ends up eating a dropkick to the back and grabbing a bodyscissors sleeper. Williams backs into the turnbuckle until O’Neil breaks and sets him up top for a snap superplex off the second! On their feet and slugging it out, Sauce going for the piledriver but Chuck comes back with slaps, huge lariat gets two for Hot Sauce!

Suplex attempts countered back and forth, Williams looking for the Kimura but O’Neil gets a Michinoku Driver and finally has the armbar! Hot Sauce struggles and turns it over into a pin for two and transitions...

“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams wins by submission with an arm-trap crossface.

Good match. Chuck definitely fits right in with the Evolve grappling spirit.

DUSTIN out with a chair to attack Hot Sauce! Drew Galloway follows and they Pillmanize his left leg! Drew Gulak and Fred Yehi out to run them off but the damage is done. Galloway and DUSTIN prowl ringside to “DELETE!” chants as officials check on Hot Sauce. Williams is helped to the back as Gulak waits.

Drew Gulak vs. DUSTIN

Gulak in like fire, punching and stomping DUSTIN unholy! Crazy springboard corkscrew back elbow thing like nothing I’ve seen Drew do before! DUSTIN gets back into and they spill to the outside. Grinds Gulak’s face into the barricade before chopping him against the ringpost. Gulak ducks a second, DUSTIN has the presence of mind to stop short but it’s all the opening Drew needs to unleash hell again!

Back in and up top, diving lariat gets two! But DUSTIN goes back to the claw vise before choking Gulak against the ropes. Gulak with big slaps, across the ring, charges in but DUSTIN evades and lands a German. Figure four headscissors, trying to grind Gulak down now. Drew fights out and gets a real cool omoplata cloverleaf only to see DUSTIN get the ropes.

Uppercut, looking for a suplex lift but DUSTIN blocks and goes for one of his own only for Gulak to slip out. DUSTIN mounts Gulak in the corner but wastes time taunting, getting caught in a folding powerbomb into the over-the-knee crab. DUSTIN rakes the eyes to get free before looking for a superplex off the second. Gulak blocks so DUSTIN takes it up top and lands it!

Gulak spent at this point, crawling to the apron and dragging himself up by the ropes but DUSTIN bites his hand and drags him up by the hand after. Gulak with strikes and then the Gu-Lock in the ropes! Neckbreaker over the top rope and a scoop slam on the floor gets Gulak fired up.

Galloway comes out with a chair and flips the ref off. He chucks it in to the ring and jaws with referee Brandon Tolle, giving DUSTIN enough time to...

DUSTIN wins by pinfall with a DDT on a steel chair.

Hot match right there, three-for-three on awesome Catch Point brawls..

Galloway calling for a mic. Every time he says goodbye he cries a little, he dies a little. It was always him and Gargano, he says. Johnny Wrestling brought Evolve as far as he could but Drew Galloway came in and made it mainstream. He stands for tradition but all the hypocrites jump to the machine. It all ends tonight, because they’re going to delete (his words!) Gargano and Rhodes for good. He’s actually making the delete chop hand sign!

Referees help Gulak to the back after that and we’re on to the next match.

David Starr vs. Ethan Page

Crowd loves David Starr and so do I! Cat bros gotta stick together, y’see.

They start the match riffing on Punk’s UFC debut as Page charges in and gets caught. Lot of comedy to this one. Page calls himself a body guy, Starr jiggles his pecs, Page says he doesn’t need help to do that and pops his pecs.

And there’s the dick bump from Starr, as is necessary. Ego levels him with a forearm for this, playtime is over! Big diving lariat and suicide dive from Starr, though, it’s a fair fight! Looks for a second but Page is out of the way and bicycle kicks him into a buckle bomb into a double barricade-hung underhook backbreaker!

Page tries to get back in and Starr cuts him right off and lands another huge dive. Strikes on the apron, Page gets a fireman’s carry but Starr slips out, RKEGO! Page looking for the package piledriver but Starr slips out and lays in with running chops. Big boot from Page but Starr reverses a suplex attempt into a neckbreaker on the knee!

Page trying to fight out up top, Starr gets the fireman’s carry but All Ego slips out, looks for a superplex of his own, David slips out looking for a powerbomb, Page jumps over...

Ethan Page wins by pinfall with the package piledriver.

Fun match, with the early shenanigans into all-out war.

Matt Riddle vs. TJ Perkins TJP

Drew Gulak on the mic before these two square off. He knows they’re about to have a match, but he just got his head caved in by Galloway and DUSTIN, his neck is injured. He and Fred are about to take Tracy to the hospital, he might have got his knee blown out. So where were Riddle and Perkins? They’re a team.

Stokely responds by saying that Perkins is going to Raw, so he’s not worried about any war. He’s sorry, but Perkins’ concern tonight is making Riddle tap.

Riddle responds, saying he’s here to wrestle, bro. So TJ, let’s wrestle. Gulak gets in his face but Brandon Tolle warns him and he leaves after he feels his point is made.

Bell rings, grappling to start, naturally. Riddle looking for an armbar early, Perkins keeps going back to the headscissors. Perkins eventually tries wearing him down with a headlock and the Bro looks for a variety of escapes. Absolutely insane sequence in here with TJP looking for a headstand headscissor escape, Riddle counters directly into an armbar, TJP slips out and grabs a leglock and then Riddle breaks.

Riddle feeling it with the springboard knee into the rolling Karelin lifts. Snapmare into a kick, forearms back on his feet, charges TJP in the corner and lays slaps and shoulder thrusts in but TJP ducks one and grabs a wicked half crab when Riddle rams shoulder-first into the ringpost! Blood in the water, Perkins going after the left leg now, wrenching and grabbing holds. Riddle manages to escape on with an armbar but Perkins is right back on it with a Muta Lock.

Perkins with a bodyscissors guillotine but Riddle finds the strength to land the fisherman buster. Ducks a springboard knee, chickenwing gutbuster gets two! Jumping tombstone! Not enough! Riddle looking for Bromission but Perkins fights out with elbows. Catches a kick, dragon screw, looks for a second but Riddle gets a Pele kick! More kicks and both men are out.

Riddle charges in and eats a low dropkick. Detonation Kick! TJP Clutch but Riddle rolls through into a waistlock. TJP denies the German, roll-up atempt, Bromission is in but Perkins slips out and back to TJP Clutch! Riddle fighting for his life! Rolls it again and lays elbow up on elbow into TJP’s ribs!

Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission.

Holy shit, hell of a match. I’m gonna miss having TJP on these shows every month.

Riddle soaks the “Bro!” chants in for a minute and leaves. TJP and Stokely hug as “Thank you, TJ!” chants go up.

Stokely on the mic, saying a week ago he promised Queens something. But first, TJP showed the world that he’s special, and now it’s time for the TJ Perkins Farewell Celebration. Two ladies come out fistfuls of cash and make it rain.

Stokely continues, saying that when they first met in April, he doesn’t think they would have the success they’ve had, so it’s hard for him to articulate how he feels. He quotes James Baldwin, “The world is before you and you need to not take it or leave it as you came in.” Not sure that’s the right quote, Stoke. He can’t imagine pro wrestling without TJ Perkins. He can’t imagine Evolve Wrestling without TJ Perkins, and he can’t imagine WWE Raw without TJ Perkins. So on behalf of everyone here, everyone that’s watching live, everyone watching backstage, and Gabe Sapolsky, he’s not going to say goodbye, but he’s going to say “thank you.”

“Thank you, TJ” indeed.

Trevin Adams announces November 12th as a return date for Evolve in Queens.

Ricochet vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Ricochet trying to out-grapple Sabre right away and gets caught but still manages to win the first exchange by strength. Zack goes to wrist control after but Ricochet’s able to reverse after a while. Double wristlock sequence ends in a stalemate, so Zack goes to a side headlock. Ricochet tries to escape by grapping an ear but Sabre just doubles down.

Ricochet finally shoots him off, does some flips, before they trade side headlock takeovers and Sabre gets a headscissors in. Ricochet gets out but Sabre just grabs his head and puts him back in, this happens a few times before Sabre adds underhooks. World of Sport flip escape into a standing shooting star press! Ricochet with a Penalty Kick, Sabre out at one and Ricochet transitions to a Lotus Lock.

Ricochet with an inverted Indian deathlock but Sabre gets to the ropes. Double slingshot senton atomico and Ricochet is pumped up but Sabre cuts him off with uppercuts. Thrust spinebuster, Ricochet looking for the People’s Moonsault but Sabre‘s out of the way before he lands. Headscissors takeover into a triangle choke but Ricochet gets the ropes!

Just stepping on Ricochet’s wrist now before clobbering him with another uppercut and going to the armwork full time. Stepover armlock and a twist before Zack steps on Ricochet’s knee and wrenches a wristlock in. Zack lets Ricochet throw some chops and then trips him low into the stomp to the elbow.

Ricochet looking for a handspring, ZSJ charges in to kick his arm out of his arm and follows with a Penalty Kick! Charges into a Ricochet back elbow and a 619 into a diving crossbody but it’s not enough. Ricochet looking for the Regalplex but Sabre gets out,into an awesome sequence where they duck a bunch of stuff from each other until Ricochet gets a snap Regalplex off. Suplex attempt countered, Sabre with the Pele to the arm and a strike combo into a sheerdrop Bloody Sunday!

Back to the wrist, just bending Ricochet’s hand in wrong ways. Ricochet hits an uppercut but he’s in pain. Up top, dives into an uppercut for two. Criss-cross, Ace Crusher but Sabre kicks out. Benadryller attempted ducked, Zack with the bridging Gedo Clutch but Ricochet kicks out. Dueling boots into dueling uppercuts, backslide attempt, discus lariat, both men out on the mat!

Trading uppercuts again but both men are badly out of gas, the sort of situation where the next mistake has to end it. Sabre looking for an octopus, Ricochet slips out but Zack turns him right back around into the bodyscissors Kimura, Northern Lights suplex counter into a straight suplex. Ricochet up to the top, shooting star press, Zack catches him into a triangle! He’s wrenching the hand! Ricochet to his feet, trying to deadlift, he gets the powerbomb! Jumping knee! Fireman’s carry Emerald Flowsion!

Ricochet wins by pinfall with a 630 senton.

Awesome match, always great to see Ricochet dig a little deeper in his arsenal against a guy like Sabre.

Chris Hero & Drew Galloway vs. Cody Rhodes & Johnny Gargano

Joey Styles on commentary here.

Galloway and Rhodes to start but Drew tags out almost immediately. Some pizza themed chants from the crowd delay the procedings but Hero gets wrist control for a moment. Cody with American Nightmare early but Hero’s right to the ropes. Back and forth with Cody and Hero, including another delayed gourdbuster on the big man.

Gargano finally in and Hero drops him with a single elbow for a nearfall! Gargano lands a bit DDT into stereo dives from both him and Rhodes. Gargano taking to to Galloway with hands but he eats a Claymore and takes a bunch of abuse in the corner. At this point my feed dies for a minute, switching over to the laptop.

Feed back with Hero getting a nearfall on Cody before he sends Rhodes outside to Galloway. Drew tosses him into the barricade and then the apron. Back in the ring, big belly-to-belly sends Rhodes halfway across the ring and Galloway lays stomps in. Just taking Rhodes pillar to post with quick tags now. Sick stomp to the head rolled into a leg drop from Drew before he puts him in the tree of woe. Cody’s able to get a foot free and cut him off on the charge, though.

Gargano finally back in, hands to Galloway, roll-through enzuigiri, up and over in the corner, superkick on Hero, Superman Spear gets two! Gargano signals for the end but Galloway lands a hard headbutt and gets the tag! Superkick counters the rolling elbow but Hero isn’t fazed, rolling elbow! Rhodes in, superkick party takes the big man down! All four guys in the ring now, utter chaos.

Stereo boots from the big men but Rhodes and Gargano fight to their feet and trade shots until Hero changes partners and wipes ‘em out. Tombstone on Gargano, Galloway hands him to Hero for a piledriver of his own! NOT ENOUGH! Hero with the Gotch lift, Galloway going up top but Rhodes cuts him off. Hero looking for Hero’s Welcome but Cody reverses to Cross Rhodes. Gargano Escape, Hero rolls it into a pin for two! Strikes all around, Cody picks the leg, American Nightmare! Gargano Escape on, Rhodes breaks his hold to knock Galloway off the apron...

Cody Rhodes & Johnny Gargano win by submission with Gargano Escape on Chris Hero.

Solid match, nice moment for Johnny to go out on. Could have done without the pizza shenanigans early but folks love a pizza party, I ain’t complaining.

“Thank you, Johnny!” chants ringing out. Rhodes on the mic, says the people are saying what it’s all about. He’s going to remember being in the ring with Gargano forever. Everybody knows Gargano busts his ass and he’s gotten to the pinnacle of this business. He thanks Johnny for the privilege and they hug.

Johnny points at the mic on the mat and makes folks work for the speech. ETHAN PAGE BLINDSIDED HIM! YOU SON OF A BITCH, YOU NEVER CHANGED!

Mounted punches! Page picks the mic up, says Johnny thinks he’s smarter than everybody here because he didn’t fall for Ethan Page. Boom, mic to the head. He was too smart to forgive Ethan Page, another mic shot. The smartest man in the room will always be him, he claims. Because he planned this whole thing out, he waited and waited for the perfect moment, the snake! When everybody thinks of Gargano, they’re gonna think of his last moments here, and they’re gonna think about Ethan Page.

Now for step two of Ethan Page’s glorious plan, he calls his “gatekeepers” out. It’s Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch in shirts and ties. He asks them to make sure nobody interrupts his alone time with Ethan Page. Darby Allin runs out and they press slam him to the outside into the refs!

Back to Johnny and Gargano fights back but he doesn’t have much left in the tank and eats a package piledriver. Page is gonna give the people everything they paid for, a farewell speech. His goons drag Johnny in front of the hard camera and he asks Johnny for his thoughts. He works Gargano’s cheeks like a puppet and runs through a mockey of a farewell before hitting him with the mic again. He continues, “finally forgiving” Ethan Page and thanking the fans

Page says he has one more thing to say and eats “Asshole!” chants from the crowd. He says he’s spent all this time protecting Gargano from the animals in the Evolve locker room, but now he doesn’t need to, so anybody that wants a piece of Johnny Wrestling should come down now and get it.

Galloway and DUSTIN come out and tear down the Evolve banner before laying it over Johnny’s unconscious body. Matt Riddle comes out behind them, slingshotting into the ring. Galloway offers a hand and Riddle shakes it. Say it ain’t so, Bro!

IT AIN’T SO! He drops Galloway with a roundhouse and dumps DUSTIN out as well before helping Johnny to his feet! “Gargan-Bro!” the crowd chants and Riddle joins in. Johnny spreads the banner out on the mat as the crowd chants for Evolve. Riddle accepts his handshake and they hug before Johnny drops to his knees and kisses the Evolve logo on the banner.

Johnny grabs the mic, saying he’s been looking for a guy to carry this company after he’s gone— “Bro!” chants intensify— and he thinks he’s found him. “She’s all yours, Bro!” and Johnny’s gone.

Riddle on the mic, Evolve is Bro, he says and he soaks in the adoration of the crowd before heading to the back himself.


I mean, how can you even judge a show with an ending like that. It almost doesn’t matter whether or not it was any good because the torch was passed and passed effectively. Ethan Page showed his true colors, perhaps more importantly, Matt Riddle showed his, and we said farewell to two of the best performers to grace an Evolve ring, TJ Perkins and Johnny Gargano. They’re gonna be on Raw every Monday, so it’s hardly goodbye, but it’s still a farewell.

That said, I still do try to judge these, so... Great show, probably the best of the last couple. Best match was Riddle/Perkins (shock), but all the new talent delivered, Gulak/DUSTIN was heated as all hell, and Ricochet and Sabre tore it down.

Thank you, TJ. Thank you, Johnny. Ethan Page, you can rot in hell.

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