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Evolve 81 recap & review: Lee and Dijak tear the house down, Darby Allin finally vanquishes All Ego


The show is live right on time with Lenny Leonard, Joanna Rose, and Zack Sabre, Jr. in the ring. Lenny welcomes us and passes the mic to Zack, who says last night ended with "big ol' Michael" punching him in the face, so he wants to go now!

Michael Elgin vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

ZSJ right into the lockup but Big Mike uses his strength to bowl the champ over. Sabre chopping him down, looking for the octopus early but he can't fold the big man up and Elgin ends up outside. Penalty Kick off the apron caught and Mike trips him on the apron before dropping him on it with a back suplex.

Working the Technical Wizard's back over, putting him into the ringpost and hitting a backbreaker in the ring. Slingshot splash comes up empty, Zack goes for the guillotine but Elgin just puts him in the corner and soon throws him around with a pair of German suplexes.

The trio blocked, but he turns the third into a pinning Tiger suplex for two! Punishing Sabre in the corner before setting him up, but ZSJ has the Jim Breaks Special and knocks Big Ol' Michael down with forearms. Uppercuts on the mat, Elgin staggered but in it with a series of clubbing lariats, front, back, and sides!

Zack blocks a few with kicks, jumps in for the Kimura lock with bodyscissors but Mike deadlifts out of it! Sabre dodges the suplex, Pele kick, charging uppercut, tornado DDT! Throwing kicks, Elgin catches one, but can't capitalize too much, as he's pounded with uppercuts and more kicks.

Penalty Kick! Elgin back in it with an elbow, a backbreaker, Falcon Arrow gets two! Sabre's busted open! Elgin picks at the cut and pounds it with an elbow before locking a Boston Crab on in the middle of the ring... Sabre has to bite the bottom rope to force the break!

Thinking Elgin Bomb, ZSJ slips out and they slug it out, uppercut and kick for chop and forearm. Big Mike lays him out with a lariat! Charging strikes exchanged, Elgin gets him up... SPLASH MOUNTAIN! NOT ENOUGH! Fireman's carry, Michael is climbing the turnbuckles but Zack slips out and locks a triangle choke on!

BIG MIKE COUNTER AVALANCHE POWERBOMB! The triangle is back on! Elgin trying to fight, struggling to his feet, he turns it into a pin before deadlifting Sabre up, but Zack shifts to a Kimura lock and through to the omoplata to set up the Ode to Jim Breaks but he can't get the arm before Mike breaks the plane of the ropes.

Struggle on the apron, Elgin with superkicks... APRON DVD! Big Mike climbing the turnbuckles, he hooks Sabre from the apron... DEADLIFT AVALANCHE FALCON ARROW! NOT ENOUGH! Rolling elbow, spinning backfist, Zack crumples, the buckle bomb connects, Revolution Elgin Bomb reversed, Zack bridges...

Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by pinfall with a bridging pin.

Awesome opener. The cut from Progress opening back up really added life to the early going, and Zack just outwrestling Elgin at the end was excellent.

Lio Rush comes down and introduces himself to Zack. He says he's noticed his match against ZSJ next month isn't for the title, and he wants to change that. Sabre asks him to hold his horses a bit because he's got a title defense tomorrow, but when he defeats Mark Haskins, it'd be his pleasure to give Lio a title match.

This brings Drew Galloway out. He says that as locker room leader, he has to educate these kids. Ten years ago he came to America, but he was building the UK scene before Zack was even a sperm in the wrestling scene. He tells Lio you don't just ask for title shots and Zack that you just don't give out title shots like beads at Mardi Gras.

He built Evolve into a juggernaut with his title reign and you can't replicate that, so all he asks is Zack carve his own path and respect her. He asks Rush if his priority is the Evolve Championship and then asks if he has the internet or can read, because he has a match against Drew tonight, and if he saw what he did to Matt Riddle last night, he should make Galloway his priority.

So they're gonna have the match right now and he's gonna mess Lio up! Zack yanks the mic away and says he respects everything Drew has done for the title and UK wrestling, but when he's done with it, no one's gonna give a toss what Galloway has done!

Drew Galloway vs. Lio Rush

Rush trying to, well, rush Galloway and largely succeeding here, knocking Drew on his ass and to the outsde after some sweet evasions. Galloway dodges a slide and takes charge outside, he throws Lio on the apron but Rush lands on his feet, Frankensteiner blocked, back to the apron, kicks, moonsault off the apron, suicide dive!

Back in the ring, Lio throws a diving crossbody that Drew catches and turns into a backbreaker. Overhead belly-to-belly suplex throws Rush literally across the ring! A hard chop caves his chest in before Galloway throws him with another belly-to-belly and stomping his face in.

Lio throwing hands, desperate to get back in it, belly-to-belly but he lands on his feet and presses Drew in the corner only to get thrown THROUGH the corner to the outside. Chuck into the ringpost follows and Galloway takes a seat on the barricade to compose himself.

Dragging Lio up by the ear but the young man has fight left in him and throws hands, ducking Drew's haymakers in return, pass behind, leaping punch, Galloway out at one. Knee cuts of a charge, the leapfrog springboard poison Frankensteiner setup is caught and countered with the inverted Alabama Slam!

Set up in the corner, Lio slips under and catches the big man with a kick, frog splash misses, Claymore connects... NOPE! Jumping piledriver... NOT ENOUGH! Rush is fired up but the damage catches right up to him and he collapses. Galloway draws him up and jaws at him but Lio counters with a satellite DDT and a diving elbow drop for two.

Rush throwing hands, Drew on the defensive for once but he counters a charge with a goozle and snaps off a headbutt! Swinging Future Shock connects...

Drew Galloway wins by pinfall with the short piledriver.

Excellent match. Lio is having an incredible weekend here, and Drew plays the bully so well.

Feed died between matches but we're back quickly enough. One error in three shows ain't too bad, I suppose.

Donovan Dijak vs. Keith Lee (Keith Lee Challenge Series)

Lee in on Dijak but the former ROH Top Prospect is putting up a fight. Keith pops him up for the Spirit Bomb but Donovan forces him in the corner and monkey flips the huge man, who lands on his feet, because he is Limitless. Leapfrog, drop down, dropkick, Dijak spills outside!

Off the ropes, Donovan evades the dive but Keith Lee throws a damn slingshot tornillo because he is incredible. The crowd is 100% on fire with Lee here, my god. Struggle on the apron, Dijak gets a superkick off AND CHOKESLAMS LEE ON THE APRON! Keith looking for a powerbomb, Donovan lands on the apron, CORKSCREW ASAI MOONSAULT?!

Back in the ring, Dijak drops a springboard elbow drop, because why not, he follows it with the falling splash but Lee deadlifts him and goes for the Spirit Bomb... Dijak lands on his feet! In for the Cyclone Kill, Keith cuts him off with a huge Pounce!

No Keith, don't go for the moonsault! It misses, of course, and he goes for the Spirit Bomb... KEITH LEE COUNTERS WITH A FLIP PILEDRIVER! NOT ENOUGH! Fireman's carry, Lee escapes, Dijak connects with Cyclone Kill but Keith chops him away and drops him with that giant pop-up spinebuster!

Giant step, Lee adjusts his knee pads and climbs again but Dijak kips up and clips him with a superkick! Feast Your Eyes! KEITH LEE IS STILL IN IT! Lee outside, Dijak dives but Keith catches him... APRON POWERBOMB! Lee up top... THE MOONSAULT CONNECTS! DIJAK KICKS OUT?!

Keith orders Donovan to stay down and bask in his glory but he gets a goozle. Lee returns in kind, Dijak flips out of the chokeslam, Lee does the same! SPIRIT BOMB! IT'S OVER!

Keith Lee wins by pinfall with the Spirit Bomb.

That was, and I mean this in the absolute best way possible, stupid. Two behemoths flipping around like cruiserweights without once losing sense of their size. Everything had WEIGHT to it! Incredible match.

Stokely comes out and tells Joanna Rose that because of her negligence last night, they'll no longer need her services in this match. He tells her to get to steppin' and says if he was everyone in this building he'd pay close attention, because this is gonna change the world forever.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Stokely Hathaway and the Dream Team. On that day, he called out Triple H and told him if he wanted the best cruiserweight, he'd call TJ Perkins, and lo and behold, TJP won the Cruiserweight Classic and became Cruiserweight Champion.

People ask him why he showed up to Evolve in the first place, and he's gonna answer that with one word, "opportunity". So he's gonna call someone else out, because they have something in common, they want the same thing. Every great agent needs great talent and vice versa, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

He's talking to Kyle O'Reilly! He needs Kyle in the Dream Team, so why not take a look at the latest career he's saved, at which point he calls for Thatcher's music! He introduces Tim with superlative on superlative, because he is a great agent.

ACH vs. Timothy Thatcher

Mat grappling early, back and forth, ACH hanging well with the former champion, but everything he has, Tim has a counter for. Thatcher throws him with the Karelin lift and goes back to grinding him down, cutting him off with an uppercut when he comes within inches of escaping.

Short-arm lariat reversed to a neckbreaker, ACH follows it with a second, Tim fighting from the mat as ACH probes with kicks before turning the tempo up. Tim back in it with the belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes and back to grinding him down, sapping his breath and generally trying to take the fight out of him.

ACH tries for a fireman's carry, Thatcher grabs a sleeper but it's broken against the turnbuckles. Springboard dropkick, the fighting spills outside and ACH lands the apron Penalty Kick! Diving stomp misses but the fireman's carry neckbreaker on the knee connects, but not enough to take Tim out, however.

Back to the sleeper, ACH gets the ropes but Thatcher does the Ringkampf break and takes him over with a butterfly suplex. Back to the sleeper once more, but ACH slips out...

ACH wins by pinfall with Buster Call.

Solid match. Bit of an abrupt ending and a bad position to be in following Lee/Dijak, but I liked the the structure late with the sleeper.

Stokely on the mic telling Thatcher that the Dream Team is still vibrant, but Tim yanks the mic away from him and tells him that if he doesn't get him into the WWN Championship eliminator tomorrow night, he'll have to find a new client.

Austin Theory, Jason Kincaid, & Sammy Guevara vs. Catch Point (Chris Dickinson, Jaka, & "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams)

Guevara and Dickinson to start, the flyer on the back foot and being thoroughly worked over. Theory in on Jaka, trading blows, Kincaid in, the Savage with a double chokeslam! Hot Sauce in, running combos on the eastern mystic, he take a moment to pray and fights them off three-on-one with a triple bulldog!

Quick tags from the flyers, keeping Williams isolated but Tracy knocks Jason outside with a dropkick and Catch Point go to work, which leads Guevara and Theory in as everything starts to break down. Dives countered with German suplexes, Dickinson lifts Kincaid up... PAZUZU BOMB ON THE APRON!

Catch Point's turn with the quick tags, Angle Slam from Jaka, Chris in for a Falcon Arrow, choking Jason in the corner before bringing Williams back in for clubbing blows. Doctor Bomb! Dirty Daddy back in with a wicked German suplex, up in the corner, thinking avalanche Pazuzu Bomb but Kincaid counters with a Frankensteiner!

Tags made, Hot Sauce isolated again, wheelbarrow double stomp into an spin-out Argentine backbreaker rack powerbomb! Strugglign in the corner, Williams knocks Sammy down but hits the half-halch DDT on Austin! Step-up shotgun dropkick, he's got the crossface on Theory but Jason breaks it up.

The press of humanity ends up outside, Guevara hits a shooting star press to the floor! Austin Theory hits an Asai Moonsault! Kincaid takes the straps down... FLIP STUNNER OVER THE ROPES! Catch Point huddled in the corner... TRIPLE COAST TO COAST! Big cover... no good!

Jaka with a rolling shotei into a kick, we're into the "everybody does something cool" part of this tag. Theory with a standing shooting star press but Tracy breaks up the pin. It's down to him and Jason again, he snaps off a brainbuster that nearly ends the match before setting him up in the corner.

Struggle, superplex blocked, Jason knocks him down with a cross chop and Guevara cuts Dickinson off with a stomp. Diving stomp on Hot Sauce, shooting star press on Dickinson, Compassionate Release is in on Hot Sauce but Doom Patrol are on point...

Catch Point win by pinfall with the Doomsday Device Chokeslam from Dickinson and Jaka on Sammy Guevara.

Good trios match, lot of fun spots and another great “friction in Catch Point” finish. Got a little wild and wooly there, though, not much concern for who was legal and whatnot.

Jaka gets on the mic to demand their tag title shot and Hot Sauce tells them to focus on tomorrow first, all while Kincaid freaks out with his prayer beads again. Yehi asks them if they want their shot, and he thinks they deserve the title shot and gives it to them.

Again, Larry Dallas comes out when he is surplus to requirements, which is always. He says Catch Point have been signed to defend the tag titles and threatens to withhold his news if the crowd doesn't stop booing him. He says the intra-Catch Point defense will happen on April 22.

He then asks where Riddle is, asking if his neck is more hurt than thought or maybe he's scared of Fred Yehi's Koji Clutch. Larry then notices Kincaid and asks what's up with him, as if he cares and isn't just trying to stir the pot for another story. Big C touches his beads and Jason explodes on him, standing up and forcing him back.

Larry and Cooter depart, thank god, as Matt Riddle comes to ringside. He's here, he wants to go.

Fred Yehi vs. Matt Riddle

Right in it with the grappling, Riddle with a waistlock takedown but Yehi stays out of danger. Fred with a front chancery, he takes the Bro's back for a cradle but Matt escapes and grabs a hammerlock momentarily before picking the leg and stretching him with an STF.

Trying for the armbar but Yehi's hands are clutched and he turns it into an ankle lock, reversed but Fred is in the ropes and safe. Bro waistlock reversed to Fred armbar, bends him over his back to boot, just torturous. Triangle after the escape, Riddle shifts to an omoplata but Yehi has the ropes.

Side headlock, shoot him off, shoulder block, dropdown begets a stop, pick the leg and work it. Stepover leglock, Bro trapped and Fred stomps the leg! Back to the front chancery, floats around, looking for a neck crank of some kind here but Matt escapes and makes the ropes.

Bro hits a back suplex, follows it with kicks but Fred catches on, stomps the bare foot, adds a fist drop, and nukes him! Back to the neck crank, Yehi just trying to detach head from shoulders but Riddle makes the ropes easily. Backbreaker gets a nearfall and Fred grabs a stump puller!

Crossleg stump puller to a deathlock, kneeling on the legs to force them apart, Matt throwing forearms but Yehi nukes him once more with the dropkick. Rebound German suplex, Riddle pops to his feet! Yehi under the roundhouse, another German, Matt lands on his feet, fisherman buster into the small package, Fred kicks out!

Exploder suplex, high jump senton, into slugging it out, forearm for chop, Bro with knees, Karelin lift, holds on, transitions to the knees to the ribs, back to the Karelin lift, hangs onto the gutwrench, Doctor Bomb! Senton gets two, firing forearms but Yehi catches a kick into a dragon screw leg whip.

Riddle tries the Pele but Fred has it scouted and starts laying the stomps in. Off the ropes, Matt picks him, looking for the Tombstone, blocked, Bro 2 Sleep into a German suplex for a nearfall! Wristlock stomps, Yehi counters with Liu Kang style up-kicks and declares him to be in BIG TROUBLE!

Rolling elbow staggers Riddle, a folding powerbomb nearly puts him away! Laying grounded forearms in, shifting to stomps, hits the nuke, snap German suplex, Bro is on dream street here. Looking for the Tombstone of his own, Bro counters and hits it... YEHI OUT AT ONE! Another Tombstone leads to a tighter nearfall, he's got the Bromission but Yehi rolls it around, KOJI CLUTCH! Square in the middle of the ring! Bro is stretching, fading...

Fred Yehi wins by submission with the Koji Clutch!

Really good match, just two dudes who are a joy to watch doing their thing, and a huge win for Fred!

Darby Allin vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page (Anything Goes Match)

Page with a chair, trying to exterminate Darby from the jump! Coffin Drop disarms him but the Gatekeepers give him a window to get back at it and wallop Allin with the chair! HE THROWS DARBY FROM THE RING INTO THE FIFTH ROW! Fighting in the crowd now, as Allin struggles to get to his feet and All Ego throws a table on him.

LAWN DART INTO THE WALL! Darby is busted open something fierce here, and Ethan doesn't help matters by introducing his face to the business end of a ladder. Page wraps a chair around his neck and throws him into a ringpost! A second time! All Ego goes under the ring for plunder and gets another ladder out, sending Allin in the ring.

Darby crawling up Ethan's legs and he gets the ladder slammed across his back for his trouble. He's going for the press slam but Allin slips out and throws dropkicks to take him off ballance. O'Connor Roll right into a springboard crossbody on the kickout and Darby brings the ladder down on Page a few times.

Climbing in the corner, Page clips him with an elbow and hits the cross-arm Iconoclasm into the ladder! All Ego sets a chair up before deciding it's not good enough to sit on and putting it into Darby's back. Second try gets a usable one but Allin comes off the ropes and sends Page into it with a headscissors takeover!

Chairshots to the back, step-up tornado DDT, Darby is going on instinct but he's going. He climbs up top and gets a chair thrown in his face, leaving Ethan free to look for plunder. He comes up with a table, sets it up leaning in the corner but takes a sidetrack to hang Allin in the ropes and clobber him with forearms.

Overhead chair shot, Darby ducks and the rebound catches Page. Running boot cuts Allin off and a chair is set up once more, this time Ethan lays Darby in it to set up RKEgo but Allin blocks and Page goes through the chair! He hurtles his body through All Ego and they go crashing into the table together!

Darby setting a huge ladder up in the corner, Flex and Blaster try to stop him but he kicks them away. Ethan comes over and catches him with a low blow to stop his ascent... PRESS SLAM THROUGH TABLES ON THE OUTSIDE! All Ego throws him back in the ring, and he sets two chairs up together. Page drags him over... PACKAGE PILEDRIVER THROUGH THE CHAIRS!

DARBY ALLIN IS UNBREAKABLE! Ethan has another table and he's directing the Gatekeepers. Priscilla Kelly is in the ring and she's looking for a friend, I guess. Austin Theory crotches Blaster and takes Page and Flex out with a dropkick! Unproven Cutter on Blaster!

Senton Atomico on both Gatekeepers! He cracks Page with a left but the Gatekeepers hunt after him. Darby is in the crowd with a trash can and I do not know why. He's climbing the bleachers, but Page is at ringside. He's on a balcony... he's wearing the trash can... BALCONY DIVE ONTO THE GATEKEEPERS! Darby Allin is a madman.

He's bringing the can back to the ring with him, he clobbers Page over the head with it again and again! Page is on the table at his mercy and Darby's climbing the ladder... SPLASH OFF THE LADDER THROUGH THE TABLE! DARBY DID IT!

Darby Allin wins by pinfall with a diving splash off a very tall ladder.

Well that was wild. I swear, Darby is made out of rubber, some of the bumps he takes and walks away from.


Another good entry in the Evolve catalog, albeit a bit lesser compared to Evolve 80, seeing as this one had a bit of a dip in the middle. But Lee/Dijak was incredible, Sabre/Elgin, Galloway/Rush, and Riddle/Yehi were all really good, and the main event is full-on crazy Darby Allin greatness.

Check it out when it goes up on VOD on FloSlam.

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