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Evolve 96 & 97 previews: A new format, WALTER returns, Sabre vs. Jaka III, and more

World Wrestling Network

Yessir, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the World Wrestling Network to come back in to your home with Evolve 96 (live from Queens, New York) and Evolve 97 (live from Melrose, Massachusetts), and as always, I'm here to give you the low down on what's going down.

Video Roundup

Evolve 94 Recap: "The End" Has Lead To A New Beginning

Evolve 95 Recap: A Chaotic Ending To Our East Haven, CT Debut!

The End Has Come To Evolve

Darby Allin Is Living In His Car, But Why?!?!

Evolve 4k Mini-Doc: The New WWN Champion Keith Lee

Evolve 4K Mini-Doc: Matt Riddle "Just Like We Are In A Cage"

Uncovered Footage: Keith Lee-WALTER Altercation @ Progress Wrestling

Jason Kincaid - Austensibly Ugly

Evolve 4K Mini-Doc: Fred Yehi - WWN MVP of 2017

The End Makes A Statement

Shoot Interview Gone Wrong?

Evolve 96 (Saturday, December 9, at 8PM Eastern)

It’s a clash of the titans with the WWN Championship on the line as Keith Lee and WALTER meet each other for only the second time in singles action. Their first meeting in the 2017 edition of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles saw the Limitless One prevail over the Ring General, but the Ringkampf style is strong in Evolve historically, as Timothy Thatcher’s 596-day reign with the Evolve World Championship shows.

But Lee has beaten Thatcher, he’s beaten Riddle, he’s beaten Sabre, in fact he’s beaten nearly every top shelf technical wrestler that Evolve has to offer. WALTER is an exemplary big man, his chops will peel the skin from your chest and his suplexes toss you across the ring, but his grappling is unmatched in men of his immensity and being across the ring from a man who can neutralize it may make the difference.

The WorkHorsemen of Anthony Henry and James Drake make their return to Evolve with a bang as they challenge Catch Point for the tag titles. But it won’t be the Doom Patrol defending them, as Chris Dickinson is serving out a suspension for taking undue liberties against the Ugly Ducklings. Instead, “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams will step in, and the obvious question arises— can this oddball version of Catch Point keep it together?

WorkHorsemen themselves were something of a team created by circumstances when they came together in Evolve, and you never know when lightning might strike twice. Furthermore, Hot Sauce is one of only two men to hold the Evolve Tag Team Championship with two separate partners, so if anyone is ready to substitute for another member of Catch Point and keep the gold, it’s him.

All that said, no doubt I’m pulling for Henry and Drake to get the win here.

Matt Riddle has asked for a very special spin to be put on his fourth match against Fred Yehi... no rope breaks will be allowed. It’s not quite no holds barred, there are still hypothetically holds that could get a disqualification, a testicular claw or suchlike, but the ropes will not be an obstacle here, and I don’t know about you folks, but that’s super exciting for me.

Their last match was a technical wrestling tour de force and to follow it up so quickly with such an escalatory stipulation, well, I think magic is gonna be made tonight.

It’s a battle of the three-letter short names as DJZ takes on ZSJ in non-title action. Sabre had two classic clashes earlier this year against Lio Rush and I have to think this match will end up a worthy successor to those battles. Grappler vs. flyer so rarely misses!

Two of WWN’s young guns clash as Darby Allin meets Austin Theory. Allin has sacrificed his entire life to pursue gold in Evolve, going to the point of living out of his car show-to-show to keep his focus razor sharp. By contrast, Theory has practically let Priscilla Kelly take up residence in his mind, shaping and molding him. Two approaches to pro wrestling success, and the result here may end up shaping both men’s 2018.

I am honestly afraid to recap the action as AR Fox and Jason Kincaid clash in a battle of two of the least orthodox men on the planet. Forgive me in advance if I’m unable to keep up with this one, folks, because it’s going to be a tornado of off-the-wall wrestling maneuvers.

Plus more as Evolve shows take on a new format! The idea is that in addition to the six matches you’re used to seeing from Evolve regulars, there will be three preliminary matches featuring some of the best up-and-coming talent on the indies. Evolve 96 will feature matches from Jarek 1:20, Shane Mercer, Stephen Wolf, & Joey Lynch as a result.

Evolve 97 (Sunday, December 10, at 7PM Eastern)

Jaka and Zack Sabre, Jr. close their trilogy out with the Evolve World Championship on the line. The Smooth Savage prevailed last time they met in non-title action, but gold is the great equalizer, and Sabre’s entire 2017 has been about digging deep and tapping the reserves we knew he had in him to leave the match with the gold still around his waist.

What makes this really interesting is Jaka’s win at Evolve 94 came in dominant fashion with a sitout powerbomb, but Sabre barely eked his victory at Evolve 87 out with his European Clutch pinning predicament. Surely the Technical Wizard won’t let lightning strike in the same way twice, but it creates a tension to the match all the same.

A rivalry born in Europe comes to Evolve as Matt Riddle and WALTER meet in singles action. Their matches are among the most visceral and hardest hitting contests in all of the indies and international wrestling, and now they meet in Evolve. It’s a match that has obvious championship implications, and it’s a match that’ll leave both men’s chests looking like ground meat.

It’s a unique high-stakes triple threat as Darby Allin, Keith Lee, and “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams do battle. The winner of the match gets a “golden ticket” to have any match of their choosing in 2018, or, in Keith Lee’s case, if he so chooses he can bar any one wrestler from challenging him for the WWN Championship for the duration of his reign.

Between the three of them they have all sides of the wrestling triangle of speed, striking, and submissions completely covered, making for, in a sense, the world’s most exciting game of rock, paper, scissors.

It’s a rare FIP World Heavyweight Championship defense in Evolve as Austin Theory challenges Fred Yehi for WWN’s oldest championship. Gabe Sapolsky has hailed Yehi as WWN’s MVP of 2017 and it’s hard to disagree, given that he’s been a defining part of Evolve, FIP, and Style Battle alike. Sunday marks 562 days with the FIP WHC for Fred, and so we ask two questions— can Theory take it from him, and what kind of FIP will the title return to in 2018?

Veteran high flyers clash as AR Fox wrestles DJZ. While this one will (hopefully) be a little less innovative than Fox/Kincaid, it should be no less action-packed!

Jarek 1:20 looks to work his magic and establish his name in Evolve with a victory over Jason Kincaid. He’s more of a card magic guy than the ol’ “rabbit out of the hat” but he’ll have to reach deep into his bag of tricks to beat the Gift all the same.

Plus Evolve 97’s preliminary matches will feature Shane Mercer, Stephen Wolf, Brandon Watts, and more!

Like what you read?

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