Show begins with Lenny Leonard in the ring welcoming us to the show. He talks about the card a bit before being interrupted by Drew Galloway. Drew gets on the mic and says he doesn't ask for much, and he saw a great inspirational quote-- "All it takes to succeed is all you have got."
When he got here, nobody knew who Ricochet, Timothy Thatcher, or Zack Sabre, Jr. was, but he put eyes on them. Evolve needed a franchise player and Drew Galloway built Evolve. He talks about his mission to save Evolve from itself, but this morning he had an epiphany.
It's no longer about saving Evolve from itself, it's about saving WWN from itself, and he needs to become the champion. Any other guy wins it, they're just a cool wrestler, but if he wins it, he'll build the place up. Everybody stabs him in the back and that's fine, he'll be our martyr.
If anybody in that match tries to screw him around and take his kingdom, he will do them just as he did to Matt Riddle, he will break your neck. Riddle runs down! Double leg takedown into a slap rush and Drew bails! Around the ring and back in, Galloway snaps off the short piledriver! Matt is in agony, clutching his neck.
Catch Point hits the ring to tend to their Bro and Drew goes back to ranting in the entryway but Keith Lee walks down. Galloway says nobody invited him and this is nothing to do with him, but Lee keeps advancing and takes his hood down, backing Drew against the apron.
Galloway switches tactics, saying he can get behind Keith, build a company around him, and he just has to see things through Drew's eyes and trust his experience. Lee takes his jacket off and keeps advancing while Galloway pleads for him to walk over the line and stand with him.
Keith hesitates before giving a thumbs down! Drew throws a headbutt and makes the mistake of calling Lee dumb, so he runs into a Spirit Bomb! GROUND ZERO! MOONSAULT! Medics and referees check on Galloway after. Keith Lee gets on the mic to straighten things up.
WWN is now his company. Actually, screw that, the entire wrestling world belongs to the limitless Keith Lee. And now Evolve is his home and he had to dethrone the supposed king and claim the kingdom for his own. With that said, he's going to continue on his limitless crusade so everyone can bask in his glory.
Jason Kincaid and Austin Theory make their entrances, but when it's Timothy Thatcher's turn, Stokely Hathaway comes down and says Tim will not be wrestling in the opening contest. The Night of Appreciation has been canceled, oh no! But after a long day of negotiations, Thatcher WILL be getting his Evolve World Championship rematch and moreso, he's been added to tonight's WWN Championship match!
Darby Allin comes down and says he's not medically cleared, but that's not going to stop him, and he's taking Thatcher's spot in the match. "All Ego" Ethan Page attacks him from behind and puts his knee into the barricade!
Austin Theory vs. Gatekeeper Blaster vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Keith Lee
Blaster, well, blasts Theory and goes to town on him outside as Lee examines a praying Kincaid. Priscilla Kelly is prowling around outside again, Kincaid's praying on the top turnbuckle, stuff is happening. Jason and Austin double team Lee but he throws them off.
BLASTER FRANKENSTEINERS KEITH LEE! Theory and the Gatekeeper powerbomb him as a followup and then get into it on each other for a bit. Theory hits a suicide dive on Blaster, one on Keith, a third back to Blaster, a fourth but Lee catches him and sends him into the ringpost.
Gatekeeper with a black hole slam to take Theory out for a minute and Lee slugs him into next week. Speaking of next week, huge double overhand chop to Austin, and he counters a rolling thunder maneuver into the huge spinebuster! Blaster and Lee squaring off, Gatekeeper gets im on his knees and makes the mistake of taunting. Spirit Bomb connects...
Keith Lee wins by pinfall with Ground Zero on Blaster.
A fine, fast-paced opener, not sure we needed to jump through all those hoops to get there, though. I like the interconnected nature of it all, it's always cool when the wrestlers clearly live in the same universe, but even booking Thatcher in the match to begin with created an obvious plot hole that screamed "THIS IS NOT HAPPENING." Keith Lee remains the entire truth.
I was, at the time, wondering where Jason Kincaid ran off to, but I see from his Twitter that a suplex ended poorly for him and he is currently receiving medical attention. Naturally, sir, I wish you a speedy and complete recovery.
Keith reiterates that this is his home and kingdom, and he wants to be the first to welcome Mr. Kyle O'Reilly. When they meet, he will make sure Kyle gets the best opportunity to bask in his glory.
LuFisto comes out and cuts a promo about how Su puts on a big scene for attention but she didn't bother to show up tonight. She claims Su is scared of her and decided to stay home. But that confirms that LuFisto is the greatest Shine Champion of all time..
Toni Storm hops the guardrail and throws a suicide dive and they brawl around the ring. This is the match apparently?
LuFisto (c) vs. Toni Storm (Shine Championship)
They keep brawling and LuFisto gets a solid advantage, taking her in the ring and beating her unholy. Storm turns it around and lays in a boot that gets a two count. LuFisto gets two of her own on an inverted Curb Stomp, jockeying for position on an Irish Whip and Toni hits the charging hip attack.
The champion dodges a second and hits one of her own, following it with a cannonball and a facewash. Storm back in with a snap German suplex and a running boot for a nearfall. LuFisto with a reverse DVD, Toni hits a lungblower and fires herself up! But LuFisto has her scouted...
LuFisto wins by pinfall with a Burning Hammer, retaining the Shine Championship.
That was a fine match, but damn I was looking forward to the originally scheduled Su Yung match, made it hard to enjoy. Would have really liked some communication ahead of time that a change was coming, is all. Or, rather, more than a promo the prospective villain of the match that made me think it might be some kind of mind games angle than anything. Oh well, "card subject to change" and all. Just a bummer.
Trevin Adams and Jim Smallman come to the ring. Trevin welcomes Jim and says how happy they are to work together and Smallman takes over with his own thanks. He does a version of his usual pre-show spiel from Progress, including the One Rule.
"All Ego" Ethan Page vs. Jimmy Havoc (Evolve vs. Progress)
They square off, face-to-face, jawing, Page backs off and charges but Jimmy takes things outside with a low bridge and throws him into a barricade. Ethan throws him into the crowd and the fighting follows... ALL EGO USES SOME LADY'S HANDBAG AS A WEAPON!
Havoc back in with a poke to the eyes, deeper in the crowd, he forces Page to take a seat and wrenches his face open. Ethan sets him up on a table and clobbers him with forearms and a jumping elbow! Catapult under the table! Running boot but Jimmy gets a handful of genitals and throws him into the table in return before taking a SPLX hat from the merch area.
Page in control, throwing Havoc across tables, but Jimmy crotches him on a guardrail before slapping the taste out of his mouth. Pump kick blocked, All Ego throws a superkick, suplex blocked with a knee and Jimmy hits a superkick that rings across the arena. He drinks some of a fan's beer and sets Page on the apron, when Gatekeeper Flex makes himself known.
RKEgo connects... nope! Chants for Jimmy go up and Page is beside himself. Spinning Dwayne blocked, cross-arm Iconoclasm countered with a headscissors! Codebreaker in the corner for a nearfall! Acid Rainmaker ducked, back elbow connects, drop toehold into the turnbuckles and a facewash put Havoc in firm control.
Whip across, up and over, Tan Sheamus! Slugging it out, Jimmy get a series of forearms, kicks exchanged, Pele kick, Acid Rainmaker hooked, Spinning Dwayne counter countered to a pin, no good! Double stomp off the top! Wristlock applied, the throat is slashed but Blaster comes down for the distraction.
Havoc sidesteps Flex, but Page is able to hook him...
"All Ego" Ethan Page wins by pinfall with Spinning Dwayne, making it Evolve 1, Progress 0.
Very good match. Bit of a flat ending, but every bit as brawly and wild as I hoped.
Page gets on the mic and asks that we give it up for him. He reminds us of his mission to spread chaos and says he's going to end Progress and Evolve's alliance right now. He stomps Jimmy's hand! Evolve is All Ego, this is the Era of Ego, and Progress can kiss his ass!
Blaster helps him pick Jimmy up but Darby makes the save with the pipe! ACID RAINMAKER! Havoc and Allin stand tall
Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. South Pacific Power Trip (TK Cooper & Travis Banks) (Evolve vs. Progress)
Cooper and Jaka to start, right in it with the striking and bull moose strength testing. Tight exchange, ducking and dodging, TK plants him with an enzuigiri and tags are made. Banks and Dickinson go grappling, roughly equally matched and Chris decides he wants "the prettyboy".
Tag made, Cooper's not taking him very seriously, so the Dirty Daddy slaps him into the corner and puts boots to him before tearing his shirt off him and chopping him hard. Tag to Jaka, slap rush, corkscrew elbow drop, TK is reeling but won't go down. Exploder suplex for two, and a tag made to Dickinson.
More corner punishment and a Boston Crab, sitting deep and taunting Travis Banks. Another tag, Jaka pounding him and they're really testing the limits of referee DA Brewer's patience here. Jaka clobbers Banks and Cooper is stuck deep in the woodshed but he won't stop fighting.
TK makes some separation with a sweet boot and gets Banks in! 2-for-1 sale at the beatdown party, he can handle 'em both. Cannonball on both men, sheerdrop brainbuster on Chris, no good! To the apron, roundhouse kick lays Travis low, Jaka with a suicide dive on Cooper and Dickinson hits an inverted DDT on the apron!
Banks dives on both men! Cooper up top... CORKSCREW LEG DROP TO THE OUTSIDE! Four-way brawl back in the ring, the "everybody does a cool thing" part of the match. Stereo Germans, stereo clotheslines, and all four men are laid out! Travis fighting 'em off, Catch Point have a double team combo I can't even describe except it ended in a German suplex and it was awesome.
Up for the Pazuzu Bomb, Jaka with a dive, bridging pin... TRAVIS BANKS LIVES! Argentine backbreaker, Jaka with the stomp but Cooper comes in to break it up! He tosses Dickinson into a cutter from Banks... NOT ENOUGH! Chris evades, charges into a boot, Jaka with the wheel kick, Banks with a springboard roundhouse!
Jaka throwing headbutts, gets rolled through into a superkick, TK adds another but the Savage is fired up! In stereo! Dickinson over, BACK SUPLEX ON BOTH MEN! Leg lariat from Cooper, fisherman buster from Banks, springboard 450 splash... DICKINSON UP AT ONE! SUPERKICKS! ASSISTED DDT! IT'S OVER!
South Pacific Power Trip win by pinfall with the assisted DDT on Chris Dickinson.
That ruled. Awesome, awesome match. Had an inkling of an idea, just based on the work both teams have been putting in, that this could be great, but this great was a bit of a surprise.
Joanna Rose announces that Drew Galloway has suffered an injury to his ribs and will not be able to compete in the main event.
ACH vs. Pete Dunne (c) (Progress Championship Evolve vs. Progress Match)
ACH going for grappling early but Peter's not having it and just knocks him down to break before going after him on the mat himself. Fingers wishboned, that gets two. Headlock takeovers flying fast and furious, and I'm sorry but I lost the plot for a second because Drew Galloway is apparently at NXT? 2017 pro wrestling is weird.
Anyway, strikes exchanged, an enzuigiri gets ACH two, and he locks a Muta Lock on! Dunne goes to bite the finger but ACH fights out. Pedigree connects... NOT ENOUGH! Low pump kick, Penalty Kick to the bicep! Romero Special, fish hook, chest rake, Pete is playing real dirty here and he splits ACH's hand again before stomping the knees.
ACH forced outside, when he comes back in Dunne chokes him. Chop for forearm, ACH is fired up! Peter clasps his hands behind his back and offers a shot... ACH distracts referee Brandon Tolle and chops him in the dick! Frankensteiner sends the champion outside, Penalty Kick from the apron folows!
Swinging neckbreaker gets two but Dunne is gasping. ACH throwing forearms, Peter wants more! ACH gives him a few but Dunne hits him with one of his own so hard he flies in the corner! Drop Dead countered into a Codebreaker, fireman's carry neckbreaker over the knee... NO GOOD!
Struggle in the turnbuckles, ACH going for a sunset flip, Peter flips away, pump kicks exchanged, headbutt for headbutt! Off the ropes, Dunne wipes him out with a lariat! Jumping Tombstone piledriver... ACH KICKS OUT! Back to the fingers, biting, ACH slips out of Drop Dead and bites the fingers in return.
Big chop sends ACH to the apron... slingshot Ace Crusher! Air Raid Crash! NOPE! Up top, he dives right into a straight right hand, Drop Dead... NO?! Regal Stretch applied in the middle of the ring, ACH slips out into a pin, Peter kicks out! German suplex off the ropes, Dunne throws the ref in the way and kicks a low blow.
But ACH is fired up, Buster Call... DUNNE KICKS OUT! 450 comes up empty, Regal Stretch is back on...
Pete Dunne wins by submission with a Regal Stretch, retaining the Progress Championship and making it Evolve 1, Progress 2.
So that started off a little slow and I admittedly had attention issues because the wrestling world decided to blow up, but it ended very well indeed.
Mark Haskins vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (c) (Evolve World Championship Evolve vs. Progress Match)
Grappling early, as is to be expected. Zack has the edge but Mark is in it and fighting, at one point escaping into a jackknife pin for two. More grappling, Haskins pulls ahead with an elbow stomp and starts working an arm triangle. Sabre reverses to a hammerlock, turns it into a pin, way too early to end it.
Off the ropes, ZSJ picks a leg, but the bridging pin can't do it. Mark with hamstring kicks, spinning toehold to a kneeling figure four, but Sabre picks the arm and floats over into a kneeling armbar but he can't get all of it, Haskins wrenching the leg.
Bodyscissors but Haskins wrenches the leg and escapes, another hamstring kick, cross kneelock, Zack picks a leg in return but can't shake him. Dragon screw, shinbreaker, Sabre Pele kicks the arm and gets some separation only to run into a superkick.
Haskins trying for an armbar, Zack gets out, full nelson, broken, uppercut connects but Mark clobbers him with a lariat! Squared up, slugging it out, giving it their all with each shot as the pace intensifies. Haskins starts throwing hamstring kicks but ZSJ's adrenaline carries him through the pain.
Scoop powerslam sets up a crossface but Sabre gets the ropes! Trading pins, Haskins with the sweet roll-through DVD... NOPE! Zack seated, inviting Mark to kick him but he doesn't flag. Up and at 'em, he runs into a tilt-a-whirl that sets up the bridging Fujiwara armbar but escapes!
A sleeper sets up the octopus but he doesn't have both arms and Haskins tries for a Stretch Muffler, reversed to a small package, not over yet. Cross armbar, Haskins won't let him sink it in, goes behind, pumphandle... CRADLE TO GRAVE! SABRE KICKS OUT!
Mafia kick in the corner, Zack returns it with a vicious charging uppercut, Penalty Kick follows. Mark ducks a second, up and over, roll-through into the Sharpshooter but ZSJ blocks, roll-through for the DVD, Sabre turns it into a triangle choke!
Transition to the omoplata, arm back for Ode to Jim Breaks with a struggle, Zack traps the leg...
Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by submission with the leg-trap Ode to Jim Breaks, retaining the Evolve World Championship and making it Evolve 2, Progress 2.
That was awesome. Technical wrestling Mark Haskins is best Mark Haskins, and his odd transitions and roll-throughs are an extra delight when the match is focused on grappling as it was here.
Zack get on the mic and says he's done with his weekend, but he'll try and double it next year. He's had a good career and he doesn't like to crow about it, but he and Mark are good friends. And so it was a pleasure to defend against a friend and we have to appreciate that pro wrestling is doing alright even as the world is a mess in general.
He says he thinks it's the best wrestling has ever been, and that Evolve and Progress could share this is proof of that. He reminds us once again that wrestling is for everyone and bids us have a good rest of the week.
We are presented the brand new WWN Championship title belt, and it is very attractive indeed.
Fred Yehi vs. Jon Davis vs. Matt Riddle vs. Parrow vs. Timothy Thatcher vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams (WWN Championship Battle of the Champions Elimination Match)
All-out chaos to start, all six-men brawling. Yehi and Davis at it, Fred passes him outside while Thatcher and Hot Sauce jockey for position and Riddle sends Parrow outside with a kick. Williams drops Tim with a back suplex and they spill outside, brawling.
Catch Point square off against the other three but Thatcher takes a powder and leaves Davis and Parrow hanging. But the two big lads take care of business themselves and Parrow hits a Fire Thunder on our Bro! Huge lariat on Davis and Thatcher comes in to choke the ACW Champion. Yehi nukes 'em and Catch Point come to help take the giant down.
Slap rush from Riddle, Parrow fading but Tim keeps the hold in...
Timothy Thatcher eliminates Parrow by submission with a sleeper hold.
Davis Pounces Williams outside and follows for the brawl. Tim hits a German suplex on Riddle but Yehi comes in on him before he can capitalize. Up and over, Fred nukes his leg and stomps his hand! Charging forearms, jawbreaker, neckbreaker, not enough to put the longest-reigning Evolve Champion away.
Jon in with Hot Sauce and Catch Point double-team the two-time Style Battle winner but he fends them off and dumps Tracy outside again. Yehi lays a stomp in, chop to the neck, but Davis pops him up and drops him before release powerbomb him into the turnbuckle and planting him with a spinebuster... YEHI LIVES!
Thatcher and Davis square off but Williams comes from behind with a lariat for Davis and gets caught in a sleeper. The sleeper passes to Fred and Matt but Catch Point shrug him off, Tombstone piledriver, half-halch vertical drop brainbuster, the crossface is locked in...
"Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams eliminates Timothy Thatcher by submission with a crossface.
Catch Point square off against Davis together, but the big man from the Dark City isn't going to back down. He swats Riddle and Williams away but Yehi climbs on him. He catches Hot Sauce on a crossbody but our Bro dislodges his allies. Jon has Yehi and Riddle in a fireman's carry, Tracy saves 'em!
Hard whip in the corner, the big man throws Williams down with a big Rock Bottom and powerbombs Yehi onto Hot Sauce! NOT ENOUGH! Bro 2 Sleep blocked, the big spin-out powerbomb connects... BRO LIVES! Headbutt for Fred, Davis heads over to Tracy for a chop, Bro blocks a right, Pele kick, nuke, charging lariat from Hot Sauce, they pass him over... BRO 2 SLEEP!
German suplex from Yehi, Tracy has a sliding forearm... NO GOOD! ALL THREE CATCH POINT MEN HAVE SUBMISSIONS IN!
Catch Point eliminate Jon Davis with tandem submissions!
Catch Point three-way brawl! Yehi has a huge stomp to Riddle's foot! He and Hot Sauce are double-teaming our Bro, wicked forearm! He's down but not out yet as Fred throws the Catch Point sign up. Riddle fired up, fighting them both off! Yehi up, Hot Sauce saves and Fred drops him with a German suplex.
BACKDROP DRIVER! ANOTHER GERMAN! OLYMPIC SLAM! FISHERMAN BUSTER! Williams directs traffic and Yehi declares Riddle to be in BIG TROUBLE... HOT SAUCE SCREWED HIM!
"Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams eliminates Fred Yehi with a schoolboy pin.
Hesitation dropkick, clobbering Bro with punches before dragging him up with a cravate. Snapmare into an elbow to the neck, a knee drop follows up. Riddle to his feet and they're slugging it out! Bro with a slap rush, kicks, Pele kick staggers Williams!
He dodges a charge, catches another Pele kick, going for a piledriver, Bro 2 Sleep into a German suplex but Riddle can't hold the bridge on his injured neck! Matt with a charging uppercut, he sets Williams up top. Half-halch DDT into the turnbuckles connects but Bro has his wits about him and hits the fisherman buster... NOPE!
Springboard knee dodged, Hot Sauce hits the northern lariat, snaps off a DDT and locks the crossface in! FIGHT IT BRO! FIGHT IT! HE'S CRAWLING FOR THE ROPES BUT TRACY ROLLS HIM THROUGH! BRO ROLLS OUT, WILLIAMS CATCHES HIM... PILEDRIVER! RIDDLE LIVES!
Hot Sauce hooks another piledriver but Riddle is blocking for dear life. up for Bro 2 Sleep but Williams counters to the crossface. Find a counter, Bro! Dig deep! HE HAS THE ROPES! HOT SAUCE STOMPS THE BACK OF HIS NECK! AND AGAIN! Seated abdominal stretch locked on and Tracy pounds Riddle with elbows over and over before going back to the crossface.
He's wrenching it in but Bro is fighting, crawling, he makes the ropes again! Beating Matt against the ropes but Bro fires up. TRIANGLE CHOKE IN THE ROPES! Up towards the corner, a struggle... AVALANCHE HALF-HALCH SUPLEX... RIDDLE GETS A SHOULDER UP!
One the mat, Riddle gets Bromission, shots to the ribs...
Matt Riddle wins the WWN Championship, last eliminating "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams by submission with the Bromission.
That was excellent. The first half was impeccably booked, making Parrow look like a threat but getting him out of the way early, clearing the specter (as much as I'd love it) of another Thatcher title reign out right after, and making it all Catch Point.
I could quibble about the end, but really, the Williams/Riddle part was one of those matches where intellectually I'm thinking this is probably a few too many laps around the track, but on an emotional level I was totally invested and I mean, you can look at the recap-- how often do I end up cheering a guy on in text, right?
The right choice, well-booked, and the kind of ending that can wash the taste of a bad beginning out of your mouth. But more on that later.
Riddle is presented the WWN Championship title belt and lays it out on the mat next to his Progress Atlas Division Championship. He gets on the mic... Bro. If you would have told him last year that he'd be crowned WWN Champion, he wouldn't have believed you for a second, he was so new to everything still. So this is surreal for him.
He's really glad he got this chance to represent the title, because he can do something other wrestlers can't do. He's gonna take that title and defend it around the world and make it a legit world title. He's gonna defend it in every WWN promotion, he's gonna fight Timothy Thatcher, the rest of his boys from Catch Point, and especially Kyle O'Reilly.
Riddle says he's gonna bring the title everywhere, he thanks us for the opportunity and the support and says he loves all of us. We love you too, Bro.
So, a shaky start marred by some unfortunate "card subject to change" business (really wish a "neutral" figure could have announced Su's absence, and that opening segment could have jumped through a few less hoops), but especially once we got to the SPPT/Catch Point tag, things heated up pretty well. That tag, Haskins/Sabre, and the WWN Championship Eliminator are all very much worth seeking out later.
Please do so when the VOD goes up live on FloSlam, hopefully soon.