We go live just a few minutes after our scheduled bell time with Lenny Leonard and "Hardcore Giant" Ron Niemi in the ring, but before he can introduce the show properly, Stokely Hathaway yanks the mic away from him and runs down the matches that matter the most, which of course feature Catch Point. Tonight's theme is opportunity, because Stokely is a gracious man, and he invites Rayo to come to the front of the ring and introduces him, saying tonight he'll prove that he can make the marketable unmarketable when he goes one-on-one with his personal bodyguard Dominic Garrini!
Dominic Garrini vs. Rayo
Dom in hard and fast with a running knee, a spinebuster...
Dominic Garrini wins by submission with a Kimura lock.
That is literally the entire match, people. It's beautiful, isn't it?
Chris Dickinson vs. Jason Kincaid
Dickinson following the precedent set by his Dream Team stablemate Garrini, taking the fight right to Kincaid, struggle in and around a waistlock, and the action spills outside following a few of Jason's more unique maneuvers. Chris gains an advantage with a suplex from the floor to the stage, but some strikes and a stage-to-apron flying lariat keep the Gift in the fight.
Counter in the corner, powerbomb lift into a fireman's carry stampede into the turnbuckles and a Michinoku Driver as the Dirty Daddy puts the pressure on. A superplex gets a close nearfall, Kincaid's momentum rises again in the corner only to fall right back down with a kick from Dickinson. Trading chops, boots up in the corner, drop toehold, Jason just pummeling him in the corner and closing it out with a slingshot facewash.
Tornado DDT, Chris is on dream street but not goin' down. Nobody home on the double stomp, Dickinson lands a lariat, charging blows but the Gift evades the Mafia kick and hits his Coast to Coast! Lungblower, only a nearfall, going for a shiranui but Dickinson has his number and counters into an Oklahoma Stampede. Pazuzu Bomb...
Chris Dickinson wins by pinfall with a Pazuzu Bomb into a jackknife pin.
Fun sprinty match played out in a very back and forth way where advantages were gained and lost with ease as the match steadily built to its climax. Good stuff.
After the match, "The End" appears on the video screens... IT'S ODINSON, DRENNEN, AND PARROW FROM FIP! They wipe Dickinson out and lay an extended beatdown in on Kincaid and take their leave!
Austin Theory vs. Brandon Watts
Theory in charge to start but his lack of respect gets Watts hot and the action picks up the pace. Austin uses his size advantage and speed parity to dominate the proceedings, but Brandon eventually makes an opening with his arsenal of kicks, a DDT connects and gets him a nearfall. Diving crossbody, a closer nearfall, trying to eke out pinning predicaments, Theory counters a victory roll into a wheelbarrow half nelson backbreaker!
Austin Theory wins by pinfall with the TKO.
Solid little match, although it ended right as it felt like it was going to really get going.
Here come the End again! Theory and Priscilla Kelly head for the hills as they give Watts the same treatment they gave Kincaid earlier.
Darby Allin vs. Jarek 1:20
Mat grappling to start, Allin even somewhat surprisingly trying to stick to the grappling as 1:20 goes off the ropes. Pyrotechnics turn up, Darby making with the crazy flying moves but he comes back to a Fujiwara armbar, clearly having absorbed it Mega Man style when he beat Timothy Thatcher. Jarek out for a breather but a suicide dive nearly takes his head off!
A thumb to the eyes, he dumps Allin back onto the apron, springboard... SUPERKICK CRUMPLES DARBY IN MID-AIR! Smashing him into the barricade, and a horizontal pole dancer's lift elbow drop off the ringpost follows! Back in the ring, 1:20 grinding Allin down, countering a slingshot into an Ace Crusher and getting a nearfall out of the deal! Darby in with a slap rush, jockeying for position, O'Connor roll and he uses the momentum to propel himself into a springboard tornillo!
Jarek fires off a German suplex to keep the advantage from settling in, knockout left... NO GOOD! Putting Allin in the Tree of Woe, 1:20 climbs up top... TURNING SEATED SENTON! Standing him up... a superkick finds its mark but cannot end Darby Allin today! Gory Special, Darby reverses, dodges the corner knees, palm strikes, shinbreaker, into the figure four...
Darby Allin wins by pinfall with the Last Supper.
Well that was a hoot, especially the interplay between the stage and the apron. Also dig Darby's evolution as a character, where now that he's confident in his grappling skills he almost prefers to use them before being forced to turn the heat up and go flying.
Here come the End again! Darby is a step ahead with the Coffin Drop but Parrow catches him and powerbombs him from the floor INTO some chairs on the stage! Some crewmembers and referees get caught up in the crossfire as the End continue to sow chaos, wiping some poor dude out with a Doomsday Device.
Fred Yehi vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams
Throwing hands like mad before taking it to the mat, leading into a super tight sequence of evasions that ends in Yehi firing the stomps off, to the hands, thigh, and midsection. A nuke follows, Karelin lift for a one count, stomp to the foot, grinding it in and throwing chops. Williams getting his licks in, trading chops, he catches Fred off the ropes with a lariat but it's barely good for one and we continue to be in the long haul.
Forearm for forearm, up and over, Tracy cold cocks him with a Mafia kick into an Olympic Slam but it's only good for two. Again slugging it out, the hate filling the air, Yehi floats over on a suplex and fires off Mongolian chops to set up the Liu Kang bicycle kicks, following those with a German suplex! Slow to capitalize but able to carry on, nuke into a lungblower, just a nearfall.
Reverse STO but Hot Sauce evades the Koji Clutch, crossface is on but Fred rolls through! Fisherman buster... NOPE! Struggle in the corner, Williams gets the half-halch DDT, holds on, brainbuster on the mat, he picks a leg and grabs a heel hook! Stokely running interference and keeping referee Brandon Tolle occupied as Yehi counters with the Liu Kang kicks! Putting hands on Hathaway, Garrini gets in Yehi's face and Hot Sauce attacks!
Big lariat, DDT into a guillotine choke...
"Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams wins by submission with a guillotine choke.
Hell of a match between two dudes who are very familiar with each other and have the slick counters and exchanges to prove it. Really loved the way they kept breaking back down into brawling whenever the scales leveled, the hate was very real. Fred's dedication to innovation stands out here as well, finding new spots for the Liu Kang kicks and new uses for his stomps. And, uh, I ain't mad if that ending means we're getting Garrini/Yehi soon.
Jaka gets on the mic and calls the End out for a straight fight right now! They don't come down, but Zack Sabre, Jr. does and it's on!
Jaka vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Jaka on the attack, stomping and choking before Sabre heads outside. Jaka follows but the champ pulls himself back into it with some uppercuts and a Penalty Kick off the apron, trapping the Smooth Savage's leg over the barricade for good measure before heading back in. Right on the leg, wrenching away in an ankle lock and stomping the back of the head. On their feet, a strike exchange, but ZSJ goes right back to the leg and keeps the pressure on!
The tag champion fires up and grabs a reverse chinlock, Zack leveraging his arm to break free and stomping the bicep for good measure. Jaka doesn't stay down for long, however, and manages to get a release powerbomb off. He wants a strike exchange again and Sabre's happy to give it him, trading kicks for every one of the Catch Point man's chops. Back to the leg, Jaka escapes with kicks to the head with the good leg but the Technical Wizard is right in the ropes and they have to separate.
Fireman's carry, Sabre reverses to a guillotine choke, turning it into a straight suplex! Jaka charging, spinning wheel kick, exploder, Busaiku Knee Kick... NO GOOD! Hooking another exploder but Zack reverses to the octopus hold! There to a sunset flip, Pele kick to the arm gets a rolling shotei and the Smooth Savage gets a nearfall. Two-handed choke... SABRE REVERSES TO A TRIANGLE CHOKE!
Transition to the omoplata, wrenching the far arm and Ode to Jim Breaks is in! Jaka gets a foot on the ropes to force the break and they proceed back to trading strikes. European Clutch nearly ends it and they trade kicks to the chest while seated on the mat! To their feet, trading forearms, Jaka with a headbutt, kick rush misses, firing slaps off, Penalty Kick but Jaka rolls through and hits the spinning wheel kick! He pops the champion up...
Jaka wins by pinfall with a sitout powerbomb!
Really good match, a worthy successor to their first bout. Jaka has a certain inexorable quality here, able to continue goading Sabre back into fighting his match, and it obviously paid off in the end.
Post-match, Priscilla Kelly comes to ringside after Catch Point finish celebrating. She gets in and touches Zack's chest before taking her leave.
Keith Lee vs. Matt Riddle (c) (WWN Championship Last Man Standing Match)
An electric atmosphere gives way to traded forearms, Lee with a side headlock, Riddle suplexes him but the Limitless One gets right back to his feet! German suplexes traded but with both men fresh they pop right back to their feet and face off. Exchanging chops and then back to forearms, Deep Waters is staggered and takes a knee, but manages to get the Bro 2 Sleep off and follow it with the German suplex!
Our first count of the evening, high jump senton... KEITH LEE CATCHES HIM! SPIRIT BOMB! Lee isn't content to sit and let the count come in, stomping away! Bro firing forearms but Keith drops him with just one of his own, struggling over a suplex so he settles for a body slam before climbing the turnbuckles. Doomsault denied, Matt plucks him off the turnbuckles with a release German suplex!
High jump sentons, four in total, knuckle locks into the Bryan Danielson stomps and then a triangle choke! Lee posts onto one knee, stands up but Riddle floats out and fires a knee off! Keith keeps his composure... GROUND ZERO! Both men down as referee Brandon Tolle counts, as they get to their feet Lee clubs Matt back down, simply brushing our Bro's return strikes off.
Double chop off the ropes, the fireman's carry into the rolling elbow and Deep Waters is down and out! The Limitless One breaks the count and climbs again... DOOMSAULT! Drawing Riddle up for a big right hand, the champ fires back, slaps to the body, a roundhouse is ducked and Keith hits a backbreaker into a single knucklelock stomp of his own! Again he climbs, but this time Bro is up and at him... LIGER BOMB!
Riddle to his feet at six, Lee at nine, and Matt immediately begins throwing chest kicks to cut the big man down. Fired up, yelling for Keith to get up but he ducks the buzzsaw and fires off a German suplex! Bro on his feet, jumping knee, suplex reversed and reversed right back into a guillotine choke! Lee applies a bear hug to counter but Riddle holds on and hooks the leg for the fisherman buster!
Beating the count, off the ropes with forearms, Matt sets Keith atop the turnbuckles and climbs after. The struggle is real, Bro with a guillotine choke but Lee hoists him up... AVALANCHE SPIRIT BOMB! Riddle barely beats the count and immediately gets booted to the floor! To the apron, Lee draws him up for another Spirit Bomb. Bro tries to counter with a fireman's carry, denied with elbows, jumping knee... A FISHERMAN BUSTER ON THE APRON SO HARD THE RING SKIRT FELL OFF!
Keith to his feet at nine, Riddle puts him back in, ducks a lariat, ripcord knee strike and Matt climbs up top... diving senton! Again Lee beats the count, even if he stumbles right back down, the knee strike comes and Keith catches it! Fireman's carry into the rolling elbow and Matt roars in defiance! GO 2 SLEEP! Lee hoists him up in the corner, fireman's carry... AVALANCHE GROUND ZERO!
TOLLE COUNTS WITH BOTH MEN DOWN... LEE IS UP AT NINE! IT'S OVER!
Keith Lee wins when Riddle is unable to answer the standing ten count, winning the WWN Championship.
That was a war. It took Lee literally everything in his arsenal twice, but he did it. Fantastic match, and in particular I enjoyed how little "one guy does something big and waits around for the count" there was. For the most part it was either "big move wipes both guys out" or "dude knows it's not over this early and he presses the attack, breaking the count". Really well laid out as well as executed, I guess is the point I'm making. Real shocker with these two guys, huh?
Keith gets on the mic and starts off with an "ouch". He says this isn't scheduled, this is him taking the microphone to kneel (because he can't stand), and say, on behalf of Evolve, thank you. He said people told him he didn't know what he was getting into coming to Queens and La Boom hasn't failed one time. There's a reason this place is called home, and he wanted to thank them and bid they continue to bask in his glory.
A good but not great show from Evolve. The main event was absolutely killer, and Jaka/Sabre and Williams/Yehi were both really good in their own right, but the first half of the show felt like a collection of matches that, while enjoyable and certainly not bad by any means, never quite got the time to get going. Credit for a nice, concise run-time, though, at roughly an hour fifty-five, the show went down really easily and was a pleasure to watch.
Storyline-wise, the End. Oh man, the End. I have a whole bundle of feelings about the End. First and foremost, relief that the End is not just a pro wrestling angle, but a perfectly NORMAL pro wrestling angle. Evolve's stories, for better or worse, almost never get better the further they move away from in-ring competition and standard pro wrestling tropes, so for the End to "just" be an invading heel stable, well, I'm quite pleased with that.
Second, I am absolutely STOKED to see Odinson in Evolve. He's something special, folks, even in our current landscape rife with incredibly athletic HOSS action. Parrow is also pretty good in his own right and Drennen has proven to be a good mouthpiece / mastermind for them in FIP, but if I'm being totally honest, Odinson is the big one.
Third, well, it's kind of funny that in such a time of turmoil, Evolve's big invading angle turns out to be, well... a couple guys from FIP. Not a complaint, mind you! Could be a lot of fun, I'm excited to see where it's going, just a little underwhelming.
In other things that I'm interested in seeing where they go, Priscilla Kelly reaching out to Zack Sabre, Jr. is also unexpected and quite interesting. Her influence hasn't really moved Austin Theory up the card any, so I have to wonder, is she trying to sucker him into a title match or is she looking to upgrade?
Check it out on WWNLive.com, folks.