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Evolve 78 recap & review: Thatcher retains, Keith Lee rises to the challenge, ACH is halfway to a title shot, is Cobb with Galloway?

World Wrestling Network

Show kicks off just a few minutes past the advertised start time with Lenny Leonard in the ring. He welcomes us to our exciting night of first time matches and hypes up our Evolve World Championship match before kicking right to our first match of the evening.

Anthony Henry vs. Matt Riddle

We have a very "Bro!" crowd here in Joppa, Maryland tonight! Intense mat grappling to start, like you expect from these two men, jockeying for position. After Riddle takes him down, Henry fires up and pulls ahead for a sequence. When they get back into it, Anthony takes it up a notch with an enzuigiri and a snap scoop powerslam, and the time for grappling is over.

Hard strikes have Matt on the back foot, but he cuts Henry off hard on a dive with a knee lift and hits a German suplex to even the score. Big corner forearm, exploder suplex, high jump senton, soon Riddle is going for the rolling Karelin lifts and on into a Doctor Bomb!

But Henry ducks an elbow and throws hands, he's not backing down an inch. Chest kicks in the corner, catches him in a fireman's carry on an evasion, TKO over the ropes! A suicide dive, a tope con giro, the PWX World Heavyweight Champion is flying!

Blocks a knee from the Bro with a kick, Air Raid Crash gets him a nearfall, Henry goes to the high rent district but dives right into a Kimura lock! Reversed to a cross armbar but Riddle clasps his hands and rolls him up! Anthony rolls a tornado DDT through, butterfly suplex lifted and dropped into a cross armbar, Matt deadlifts him up, sitout powerbomb... NOT ENOUGH!

Trading overhand chops on their knees, the chops soon give way to forearms and they stand, where the Bro wins the forearm exchange only to get caught by a roundhouse! A German suplex just fires him up, Henry hits another, goes for the Kudo Driver, caught by a Pele kick, Bro 2 Sleep caught and countered with a HUGE violent leg hook back suplex!

Kicks into a northern lights bomb... RIDDLE KICKS OUT! Back to the chest kicks, Matt ain't don't yet, chops in return, slap rush on his feet, forearms against the ropes, then the two men trade charging elbows against the ropes. Anthony wins the exchange but the Bro the war with a jumping knee! Riddle connects with a Fisherman buster, holds on, Tombstone piledriver, he has Henry on the mat...

Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission.

Awesome opener. Bit shaky around the edges (the dive that got caught into a Kimura lock was pure flying nothing), but their first match (in PWX) was very good, this was great, and I can only imagine how a third will deliver.

Bro gets on the mic, he says 2017 is the Year of the Bro. He's already got one belt, the Progress Atlas Division Championhip, but he's not done. He wants the FIP title, he wants the Evolve title, and he wants the WWN Championship, but before all that fun stuff, Drew Galloway's been talking trash.

So, Drew, instead of talking, why not come back here so he can kick your ass, bro? Catch Point comes down. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams says he gets it, he's fired up, he wants titles, but he's had his match, his night's over. Tonight is Fred Yehi's night. He gets a shot at the Evolve title tonight..

Fred gets on the mic and says that this building is special, because the last time Evolve was here, he won the tag titles with Hot Sauce. And tonight will be magic all over again when he makes Timothy Thatcher tap out and brings the Evolve title to Catch Point.

Chris Dickinson has had enough of the talking and declares his intent to go right now.

And Larry Dallas comes out. (Fart noise.) He does his "nationally syndicated journalist" schtick and says that if Dickinson and Jaka win they should be #1 contenders to the tag titles and tries to drive a wedge. Hot Sauce asks if he has a hearing problem before reminding him that Catch Point is about competition.

Catch Point handshakes all around and they depart as Larry Dallas sticks around and puts himself over. (One of these days you're gonna go blind, Larry.)

Austin Theory vs. Darby Allin

Priscilla Kelly is ringside as they struggle early, Theory using his strength advantage but being confounded by Allin's unorthodox flying technique. Austin tries to throw him over the ringpost but Darby catches on a support beam and rebounds with a Coffin Drop for a cover!

Theory with an Asai Moonsault and he impales himself on the barricade rib first! Allin with a slingshot cradle, he low bridges Austin but gets caught by a slingshot stomp into a running shooting star press for two. Repeat corner avalanches, Darby dodges the last and counters a press slam by springboarding because the laws of phyics do not rule Darby Allin

Coffin Drop countered into an Argentine backbreaker rack, Theory pops him up and over into a fireman's carry...

Austin Theory wins by pinfall with the Unproven Cutter.

Good match, but it never quite got a full head of steam going. Definitely the daily allowance of dives you expect from Darby Allin and a student of AR Fox, however!

"All Ego" Ethan Page vs. Jason Kincaid

Page puts Kincaid on the turnbuckles before mocking him with a crane stance. He throws Jason around like a sack of flour with a slam but lets the crowd goad him into mat wrestling, Kincaid escaping a side headlock with a handstand into a prayer position on the mat.

Jason snaps away to catch a boot and dodge a stomp and offers another prayer, Tiger feint sends Page to the apron and a forearm knocks him down onto it. Dodging and maneuvering, a headscissors sends All Ego outside, where he dodges a dive and huddles with the Gatekeepers until he sees an opportunity to suckerpunch Kincaid.

Release suplex on the apron, he throws Jason into the barricade before taking it back in the ring. The West Virginia wildman has some fight in him but gets his hand stomped in an attempt to keep him from praying.Page continues to dominate but Kincaid catches him with a jawbreaker and takes the straps down!

RKEgo countered with a cartwheel, springboard blockbuster... NO GOOD! Right hands, an uppercut, handspring facebreaker whiffs but he catches him with the kick and they trade charging blows before Jason gets a nearfall off a slingshot neckbreaker.

Kincaid trying his damnedest to throw a whip, ducks a charge, springboard tornado DDT... NOT ENOUGH! Page blocks a Dragon sleeper, catches him with the cross-arm Iconoclasm and Tan Sheamus but can't finish it yet. Both men looking for a finish but slipping away, All Ego catches him with the tilt-a-whirl slam.

Standing shiranui lift slingshot Stunner from Kincaid, slingshot X-Factor to the floor! Kincaid climbs the support beam but Page wakes up and runs over... RELEASE POWERBOMB FROM THE SUPPORT BEAM TO THE MAT! He readies himself on the apron...

"All Ego" Ethan Page wins by pinfall with RKEgo.

Good match. I always like All Ego best in all-out brawls and matches where he's wrestling a smaller, flippier guy, so this one hit the spot for sure. And that powerbomb!

Dickinson and Jaka run down, the match is gonna start right off!

Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. the Gatekeepers (Blaster McMassive & Flex Rumblecrunch)

Wild brawling to start, no respect for tags or anything. Catch Point boys isolate Flex and nearly finish him but Blaster gets back in it as order solidifies and Rumblecrunch goes for a pin off a huge lariat. They continue to work Dickinson over a while, Lenny observing that he doesn't know what to call them because they don't have names, which I very much sympathize with, but you can't stop me calling them by their Devastation Corporation names!

Doom Patrol back in it with tandem German suplexes, Jaka's fired up and dives but Flex catches him and abuses him with the apron and the steps! And so the Gatekeepers go back to punishing the Dirty Daddy, with a brief window of Chris out-maneuvering them in there.

Eventually he goads Rumblecrunch into trading strikes on even ground and that's a war he stands a chance of winning, especially with Jaka cheering him on! Off the ropes, double clotheslines twice in a row leave both men out and the grounds ripe for tags!

Jaka in, huge dropkick to knock Blaster off the apron, big exploder dumps Flex right on his head but McMassive breaks the pin up. A chain of strikes, Dickinson in, blazing roundhouse to the face, Jaka back in, busaiku knee, and again Blaster breaks it up.

The Savage into the post hard, Chris is in two on one, eats a Black Hole Slam, double chokeslam... DICKINSON LIVES! They set him up for a finish, but Dickinson dodges...

Doom Patrol win by pinfall with their chokeslam Doomsday Device, now called Death Trap!

Really fun tag. Jaka, especially, with his cheerleading and general talkativeness here, was a joy to watch.

ACH vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams

Bit of a hesitant start into the lockup and some mat grappling exchanges. After a shoot off and shoulder block exchange Hot Sauce starts working him over, targeting limbs and trying to find a weakness, but ACH can play that game as well. Williams settles on the leg for now but ACH escapes and starts flying, nailing the Catch Point man right in the button with a dropkick.

Throwing hard chops, Williams catches him with a dropkick of his own, butterfly superplex gets a nearfall and now he's targeting the shoulder, stomp, wristlock armbar, just going to town. ACH throwing forearms, Hot Sauce catches him and dumps him right on the shoulder with a slam and tries to lock an armbar in to finish it.

ACH takes things outside with a fakeout, reverse STO into the apron! Pescado follows it up, he throws Williams back in the ring and climbs up top... but dives into a pair of raised boots! Hot Sauce locks an abdominal stretch on and turns it into a Russian legsweep as ACH shows signs of escaping.

Clubbing blows to the shoulder into a rear chinlock, when he gets out of it, Tracy counters forearms to shock the shoulder, ducking and diving in the corner-- Williams catches him with a boot, ACH returns a kick. Slugging it out forearm on forearm, chop on kick, ACH pulls ahead.

Going for a back suplex, Hot Sauce catches him with elbows to the bad shoulder, action spills to the apron, triangle dropkick takes the Catch Point man outside. Penalty Kick off the apron rocks Hot Sauce's world! ACH dives again, he's ready for the boot this time and chains a few kicks together to follow up.

Rock Bottom backbreaker into an exploder suplex, ACH sets Williams up top, looking for a superplex but gets blocked. Elevated armbar blocked, Tracy goes to climb down and gets blasted with an enzuigiri. Half-halch DDT into the top turnbuckle and a lariat levels ACH but Hot Sauce can't capitalize!

ACH collapses to the outside and Williams drags him to the apron by the bad arm. Bit of struggle, back suplex gets a nearfall, ACH is practically out on his feet as Tracy throws forearms but he fires up, trading slaps now, bicycle kick, a lariat of his own wipes Hot Sauce out!

Stiff one in the corner, a third...

ACH wins by pinfall with Buster Call.

Very good match. Nicely echoed Henry/Riddle in a lot of ways but with the opposite ending.

Larry Dallas confronts Hot Sauce in the entryway about the loss, asking if it'll affect Fred Yehi's chances of winning. Williams says he hopes it's the last time he sees him and says that Yehi is gonna be fine.

Drew Galloway vs. Jeff Cobb

Drew takes a knee to consider his opponent for a moment, collar and elbow and Cobb throws him right off. The Olympian continues to use his strength to do as he will with the incredibly large Drew Galloway, just swinging him around with a waistlock takeover.

Cobb catches him off a crossbody and turns it into a suplex, my god. Galloway takes a walk but it was a ruse, as he has a boot waiting for Jeff in the entry area! A whip goes south as Cobb reverses and Drew eats ringpost, however, and Jeff hammers him, chop and headbutt and chop and barricade.

In the ring again Drew takes advantage, big boot and he chucks the Olympian into the ringpost before heading back outside. Neckbreaker on the floor... CATAPULT UNDER THE APRON! Back in the ring, Galloway goes to work on Jeff's arm, kicking away, Divorce Court, going pillar-to-post before grabbing a modified London Dungeon.

Jeff out but he gets caught in the corner with an arm wringer and Galloway goes back into domination mode until Cobb catches him on a dive and throws him with a belly-to-belly suplex! Cobb fighting him off one-handed, dropkick, pair of standing shooting star presses but Drew kicks out!

Off the ropes, looking for Tour of the Islands but his arm is too weak to push it through and Galloway catches him with a double knee armbreaker into a nearfall. Looking for Future Shock, he can't clasp the hands and it turns into a slugfest, ending with headbutt for a headbutt, Claymore connects... NO GOOD!

Galloway charges in and gets caught with a swinging back suplex, then a swinging bridging German suplex nearly ends it, into the ropes but Drew catches himself. Maneuvering around each other, Galloway looking for a backslide, he can't power Cobb over but he uses the turnbuckles to flip over him, he's got the butterfly on...

Drew Galloway wins by pinfall with a Future Shock DDT.

Very enjoyable HOSS FIGHT. Jeff Cobb throwing a man of Drew Galloway's size like that is insane. Love that finish, too.

Drew gets on the mic and says it's hard to say you're in a feud with somebody when you're expressing yourself, making your mission statement, and all the other guy has to say back is "Bro." Tonight he actually had a few words for once and laid out his plan, thinking he's gonna win the WWN title.

He had the balls to call Drew Galloway out for a fight? Mate, you don't have to call down the thunder, it's been waiting for you the whole time. He bids Riddle come down and fight him and what do you know, the Bro answers the call. He squares up with Galloway and they get into it!

Galloway shoves Riddle into Cobb... TOUR OF THE ISLANDS! IS COBB WITH GALLOWAY?! Catch Point hit the ring for the save and get into it with Cobb themselves but it never breaks out into a full-on fight.

Keith Lee vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (Keith Lee Challenge Series)

Lee using his size and strength right out the gate but Sabre counters him with speed. A test of strength breaks out, Lee doing the traditional "put your weight on the guy to break the bridge" spot but Zack doesn't budge! Big lariat wipes him out, and the big man keeps the press on.

Sabre reverses a fireman's carry, looking for a submission, uses a sleeper to get the Kimura but Keith turns it into a bear hug! I can hardly bear it! He ends the hug by turning it into an overhead belly-to-belly suplex! ZSJ back in it with a kneebar in the ropes but Lee yanks him back in and goes back to the bear hug.

Technical Wizard throws elbow on elbow to escape, uppercuts square to the jaw, he shoves the big man in the corner but Lee pops up to evade him and Pounces him on the rebound! Zack manipulating the wrist for an advantage now but Keith throws him aside and absolutely clobbers him with a corner avalanche.

A second is dodged, Sabre firing a volley of forearms but Lee crams him in the corner anyway and sets him up top. Zack with a boot up, diving uppercut, low dropkick takes the big man's knee out, Penalty Kick for two! Sabre nearly wiped referee Brandon Tolle out when Lee threw him off!

Pele kick to the arm, he's got the octopus in, Lee reverses to a powerslam for two! Throwing kicks, ZSJ looking for a flying armbar and Keith blocks him, deadlift style. Trying for a triangle, Lee reverses... SPIRIT BOMB! NO GOOD! Looking for a second, Zack slips out, charging hard on uppercuts!

Wheelbarrow, Lee tries to take him over, Sabre reverses to his bridging pin, Keith kicks out! Armbar perched on the big man's shoulder! Lee reverses...

Keith Lee wins by pinfall with Ground Zero.

Awesome, awesome match. Keith Lee is the truth, and sometimes Goliath wins. And so much bear hug!

Stokely Hathaway comes down to talk about change. People tell him that lightning will strike twice, and Fred Yehi is going to leave the building with the Evolve Championship. He asks everyone who thinks Yehi will win to raise their hands, and then asks them to look up Confession by Usher, because they're all gonna need something good to listen to when the show's over. (May I recommend the new Mystery Weekend album? A straightforward punk record from two of the five guys in Protest the Hero, I've been digging it a lot.)

Every time the Dream Team steps in a ring, it becomes his street. He tells Zack that he's in his spot, taking his spotlight, and he introduces the champion. Timothy Thatcher comes down, and Zack promises that when he wins the title, if it's from Thatcher, he'll hand him the title and Stokely'll give him a nice little kiss on the cheek.

Fred Yehi vs. Timothy Thatcher (c) (Evolve World Championship)

Jockeying for position on the mat to start. Tim goes right for the arm, Fred gets a ride in return so Thatcher switches to a foot. Yehi looking for the arm, backs into a Gedo Clutch for less than one and we get our first break. Back into it, Fred ties the champion up and ends up in guard, fending slaps off.

Situation flipped, Yehi lands a few shots but Tim gets out and lands a few good shots to the ribs before trying for the arm again. Fred looking for a German suplex but the champ gets the ropes and throws slaps and a kick to knock him back down. Grinding the challenger down with a rear chinlock and cutting him back down with chops once he escapes here.

Yehi throws a chop which begets an uppercut and then back to the ribs with a knee. Yehi catches a boot, stomp and a fist drop to the foot and he nukes the champion with a dropkick! Straight suplex gets two, into a reverse chinlock to do some grinding off his own.

Throwing strikes, taking the champion off-guard, looking for maybe a powerbomb but Tim escapes and goes back to the arm. Rolling elbow ducked and Thatcher catches him with a back suplex! The champion takes Yehi down in the corner for forearms and stomps right in front of his Catch Point fellows.

Taking it outside now, chest to apron, straight suplex back in the ring for two and into a sleeper hold. Shortly broken for a hook of the nose, then slap for slap as Fred fills with determination. Yehi giving back as good as he gets, but he runs into a back elbow off the ropes.

Half nelson neck crank applied on the mat, Fred clasps his hands to break free but Thatcher butterflies him. Yehi blocks the suplex, shoulder armbreaker, low dropkick to the leg and one right to the side of the head! Hammer blows and knees to the head while the champ desperately turtles up but it's not enough to end it just yet.

Bodyscissors applied, Tim picking at the legs and elbowing the knees but Yehi turns it around for more clubbing forearms to the head! The last couple just blast the champion hard across the back of the head with no protection, forcing him to get the ropes.

Stomp to the foot, Fred grinds it in, stepover toehold and a stomp to the knee to boot! Spinning toehold to an Indian deathlock, really wrenching it in. Champ fights back, Yehi stands up for more and Thatcher clobbers him with a slap and a forearm to force the break.

Uppercut in the corner, whip across, Yehi evades, forearm strike off the ropes and he's going for a Karelin lift, Tim reverses the lift, Yehi slips out and hits a German suplex for two! Piledriver lift blocked, champion with a short-arm forearm and a belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes for two!

Karelin lift connects this time, only good for two as the champion fills with rage. Butterfly suplex into a pin, still only two, looking for a German, Yehi tries for one of his own on a reversal, dodged, rolling elbow connects... NO GOOD! Jockeying for position, Thatcher sends Yehi in the corner, Flair Flip, dodging, nuked him!

German suplex connects, folding powerbomb... NOT QUITE! KOJI CLUTCH IS APPLIED! A FOOT ON THE ROPES! Yehi charges in, forearm, tries for a rolling elbow but Tim ducks and locks the sleeper on! Fred out with arm leverage, riding him, looking for anything, Thatcher has a reverse chinlock applied, takes him over...

Timothy Thatcher wins by submission with a Saka Otoshi, retaining the Evolve World Championship.

Holy hell what a match. Especially once Yehi started working the legs, that was non-stop thrilling for me.

After the match, Catch Point tend to their man. Dickinson and Jaka have the title belts, considering them, and hand them off to their owners after a moment. Catch Point handshakes all around to close the show.


Not a show I'm willing to hurl superlatives at, but a very good show all the same. Match-wise Henry/Riddle, Galloway/Cobb, Lee/Sabre, and especially Yehi/Thatcher are all worth taking the time to seek out, and as far as angles go, the Catch Point vs. Catch Point title defense is developing nicely, and Jeff Cobb's introduction to the Galloway angle is quite exciting. I hear Mr. Cobb can be quite a monster sometimes, after all.

My only real issue with the show is that I still have to look forward to the day I get to enjoy my man Thatcher in a match without hoping he finally loses the title, but we're setting the stage for Mania weekend. Hopefully then!

Catch the replay when it goes up on FloSlam, if it isn't up by the time this goes live.

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