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Evolve 89 recap & review: Allin falls short, Workhorses retain in a wild triple threat, and Sabre edges Yehi out


The show begins about fifteen minutes after the scheduled bell time with Lenny Leonard in the ring to talk the card up. Darby Allin hits the ring, calls Thatcher out, and we're ready to go!

Darby Allin vs. Timothy Thatcher

Thatcher right on Allin, taking him to the mat, Darby struggling to his feet and Tim throws him off. Struggle in the corner, Thatcher breaks dirty! Up and over, Allin thinking Coffin Drop... THATCHER CATCHES HIM INTO A SLEEPER HOLD! Tim drops him cold and goes to leave but Darby wasn't out and he didn't submit!

Dive on Tim, mounted forearms on the outside! Sidestep the charge and Thatcher goes shoulder-first into the ringpost! Brawling outside, back in the ring, torpedo headbutt from Allin, he goes for another but Tim just fends him off with an uppercut. Karelin lift, another, a cover gets two and the former Evolve World Champion considers his opponent for a moment.

Knee to the ribs, Thatcher has the back, wrenching the nose before drawing him up into a grounded rear chinlock. Darby escapes with a jawbreaker, the off-the-ropes belly-to-belly suplex comes in return and again Allin finds himself uncomfortable on the mat. Quick covers, Darby won't stay down and it's getting to Thatcher a bit.

Back suplex, Darby on his feet, chop block, O'Connor roll, only two, diving crossbody, another two, another chop block, basement dropkick, Yoshi Tonic, Allin is on a roll! Coffin Drop to the back! Rolling him over... OUT AT ONE! Tim back at it, to the sleeper, knees, forearms, starting to target the arm, kicking away, hammering, crucifix pin... Darby has the shoulder up! Thatcher re-applies...

Timothy Thatcher wins by pinfall with a crucifix pin.

Fun opener. Really dig the story basically being Thatcher not taking him totally seriously early until Darby got that huge flurry and just dismantled his arm, although I'm not one hundred percent sure what to make of that ending.

ACH vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page

ACH comes out all glum and gets on the mic to say it's nice to know that he's respected. He thought he was gonna be in the main event against All Ego, but somebody decided to make ACH match number two, and since he's match number two, and he gets paid to wrestle, you're gonna get match number two ACH.

Page takes the mic from him and says before they start wrestling he watched ACH's promo yesterday and it was really bad. But since he's apparently a really bad wrestler why not have an exchange, ACH will help him with his wrestling, Page will help him with his promo, become the best ever, get signed, get fired, and then come back and charge double!

ACH shakes on it! Page gives him some advice and ACH starts in, saying ROH wouldn't let him do this, and he does the Rock's "Finally..." gimmick, but All Ego cuts him off and tells him only the Rock can do that, so let's skip the promo, teach him how to wrestle, and get six and a half stars right now!

Bell rings, feeling out, trying a lockup, no good, so ACH grabs a wristlock and walks Page through a reversal. So it goes, progressing to a roll-through escape and a kip-up... or an attempted kip-up. Dodging strikes, kung fu stand-off, leading a "This is awesome!" chant, off the ropes, drop down, ACH does like five backflips in a row and All Ego throws money in the ring.

Ethan takes a breather in a fan's lap, baiting ACH into the dive, All Ego back in to cut him off and ACH lays him out with a knee but why cover, that would make sense. Up top, a little bit of vertigo, ACH climbs down and calls for the Chocolate Rainmaker! Ducked, reversed, ducked, reversed, and so on until both men are out on the mat!

Kneeling, looking for a forearm exchange, ACH acts like he's about to cry for a fakeout and it intensifies, to their feet, still sugging away, grinding down, slowly rebounding off the ropes, still trading until they both collapse again, this time in opposite corners. Missed pump kicks, big right from Page, knee from ACH, looking for a flip piledriver, blocked because Page is the smartest wrestler on earth, but ACH is ready...

ACH wins by pinfall with a schoolboy pin.

That was stupid as hell in the best way and I loved it. This kind of meta stuff is hard to do well, especially in a way that fits the very particular unreality of pro wrestling, but these two guys, where they're at in Evolve with their current characters, pulled it off. Lenny Leonard's absolute disgust at them acting like "children" went a long way to sell it, too. Great stuff.

They fistbump after and ACH talks about how good he is and how people actually like his matches, but he had to come wrestle Page because he's special. Page won't get caught crying on camera, but matches like that make him love this BUSINESS.

Jason Kincaid vs. Jon Davis

Davis in control early with a wristlock, strong enough to cold block Kincaid from getting out of it. Jason trying a side headlock, again Jon just throws him aside. Test of strength, to a headlock, thinking flying mare or a takeover but Davis is too strong, so he has to pop up for the old-school flying headscissors!

Suplex lift on the escape, Kincaid rolls away into prayer position! Ducking a kick, whip reversed but Jason stops himself going out the ring and throws an uppercut! Pop-up headscissors, Jon swats him down, elbow drop, but he gets caught by a double stomp! Blockbuster connects, only two, Arabian Press into a headscissors but again Davis blocks and swats him away!

Big chokeslam connects and the West Virginia wild man rolls outside. Kicks and chops on the outside, back in, a cover only gets one. Capture exploder suplex, Kincaid's down but not quite out yet, throwing desperate forearms, off the ropes, handspring stunner wobbles the big man, off the ropes again but Jon absolutely wipes him out with a big boot for two.

Headbutts to the midsection but Davis cuts 'em off with a single chop. More chops against the ropes, Jason throwing 'em back but Jon is unmoved and again throws a big one back at him. Whip, low bridge takes Davis to the apron, he throws a headbutt but catches the triangle forearm, the rolling stomp to the apron, slingshot neckbreaker, but the cover is just a nearfall.

Looking for a shiranui, Davis throws him off at the top of his arc, springboard crossbody, Davis plants him with the STO backbreaker / reverse STO combination! A nearfall of his own, more chops in the corner, Kincaid out, to the apron, a kick to the leg puts Davis into the middle turnbuckle, springboard tornado DDT, he hangs onto the facelock, Falcon Arrow... NO GOOD!

On the ringpost, nobody home on the double stomp, Jon with a rolling elbow and a huge one-arm powerbomb... NOPE! German suplex follows but Kincaid is saved by the ropes! Argentine backbreaker rack, spinning out, countered into a Frankensteiner, sunset flip powerbomb into the turnbuckles, Jason starting to rally.

Looking for Coast to Coast, Davis looks to escape... KINCAID GOES COAST TO APRON! Back in, Jason climbing but Jon is to his feet before he's fully perched and lands an enzuigiri. Forearm, backbreaker rack in the turnbuckles, Kincaid fighting a desperate struggle with elbows and knees, he balances on the ropes, diving stunner! To the ringpost again...

Jason Kincaid wins by pinfall with the diving double stomp off the ringpost.

Really good match, dug the hell out of Davis's strength making things SO one-sided early on but Kincaid having the heart and the innovation to keep fighting and find opening after opening until one worked.

Keith Lee vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams

Lee right in with a forearm and Williams is only happen to return them, but it takes him four to match one from the Limitless One. Hot Sauce well on the back foot as Keith clubs away, knocking him down in the corner with a headbutt before bieling him across the ring. The directive to bask in his glory follows, charging in, Tracy with the boot up.

A second boot caught, a straight left, Hot Sauce rallies, dropkick, forearms, knocking him down, mounted punches into a double stomp to the gut. Trading chops, back and forth action, Williams ducks a charge and gets so aggressive in the corner that the ref has to back him off. Keith in, same deal... THEY SANDWICH THE REF TRYING TO GET AT EACH OTHER!

Forearm for forearm, Williams gets knocked outside and the fight continues! The locker room clears out to pull them apart! Keith Lee gets back in the ring by himself... LIMITLESS TOPE CON GIRO! THATCHER AND LEE GET INTO IT, TRADING BLOWS AROUND THE RING AND FIGHTING TO THE BACK!

The match goes to a no contest, one presumes.

Short but not so sweet, these two beat the crap out of each other and it was great while it lasted. Plus the mini Thatcher/Lee brawl at the end there was a hoot, very much looking forward to those two meeting "for real".

Stokely Hathaway and the Doom Patrol hit the ring, ready to claim Anthony Henry and James Drake's open contract for the Evolve tag titles since they're all already out there. Dickinson cuts a promo about reclaiming the titles and it seems we have a match, but the Ugly Ducklings come out!

Coach Mikey cuts a promo about how Atlanta knows who they are, he introduces Rob Killjoy and Lance Lude for those who don't know, before producing the open contract. The Ducklings signed it! Jaka takes it and brings it to Stokely, but they had it notorized! Jaka declares a three-way!

Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy) vs. Workhorses (Anthony Henry & James Drake) (c) (Evolve Tag Team Championship)

All hell breaks lose, the Ducks dumped as the Doom Patrol attack the tag champs! Jaka with headbutts, Drake ducks the spinning wheel kick, lands a straight right and a German suplex but the Savage is fired up and lands the kick this time! Headbutt for Henry gets an STO in exchange, to the apron, thinking diving Frankensteiner on Dickinson on the floor, counter powerbomb blocked double stomp, Lude looking for a sunset flip powerbomb to the outside, double stomp for him too!

Powerbomb into the apron followed by the pop-up haymaker from Drake! Killjoy with a tope con giro! Jaka with a plancha! Dickinson dives as well! Back in the ring, Doom Patrol running roughshod on Rob, charging blows, double powerbomb, Lance is awake, dives in, avoids the same fate, up and over, tornado DDT on Dickinson but Jaka takes his head off with a Sick Kick!

Doom Patrol end up set up in the corner, and the Ducklings hit the monkey flip cannonball for a nearfall! Drake in, a meeting of the minds, Sick Kick of his own, Killjoy ducks a chop and hits a Poison Frankensteiner! Flip piledriver from Henry, only two! Anthony up top, Lude cuts him off but it's the champ that's in control, putting him in the Tree of Woe. Killjoy over, same result, double stomp on both men! JAMES DRAKE COAST TO COAST! HENRY WITH A FROG SPLASH, DICKINSON BREAKS IT UP WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX! SPRINGBOARD FLIP PILEDRIVER! Jaka with a cannonball, Pazuzu Bomb connects, a German suplex to follow, lariat, chokebomb... UGLY DUCKLINGS BREAK IT UP!

Ducklings on Doom Patrol, trading shot for shot, sidestep the charge, tandem enzuigiris but they get dropped with stereo German suplexes and then lariats! Dickinson has Lude up... AVALANCHE PAZUZU BOMB! DIVING SPLASH FROM JAKA! HENRY BREAKS IT UP WITH A DOUBLE STOMP! TOPE CON GIRO! JAMES DRAKE IS UP TOP...

Workhorses win by pinfall with a diving moonsault from James Drake on Lance Lude, retaining the Evolve Tag Team Championship.

Awesome match, mile-a-minute action, and it's awesome to see the Ugly Ducklings get a shot here in Evolve.

Post-match, Doom Patrol attack the Ducklings to the point where Coach Mikey has to bodily carry Lance Lude out.

Austin Theory vs. Trent Baretta

Priscilla Kelly comes out to cut a promo about how people came to see Austin but he's not the person they once knew, gullible and boring. But now, he's with her, and they only have themselves to blame, stuck there and failing, but now that he's under her persuasion, there's nothing he can't do.

Baretta right in with a Busaiku knee kick! The action spills outside, hard chop, brawling in the crowd, trading trash can shots. Trent throws him into the stage, climbing the steps, Theory pulling ahead, brawling in front of Lenny Leonard. Baretta thinking piledriver but he throws him away after Kelly gets involved and Austin runs him over with a lariat!

Back through the crowd to the ring but not into it, Theory hits a Crash Landing on the apron! In the ring, mounted punches, rapid-fire, just caving poor Trent's skull in and telling referee Brandon Tolle to ring the bell because he's ready to fight. The bell rings, kick to the gut, hammer whip puts Trent hard into the corner and he flops down.

No cover, stomping away, basement superkick, standing moonsault but Baretta gets the knees up! Trent rallying, backing him off with a kick, corner knee into a tornado DDT, only a two count. Theory sets him up in the corner, charging forearm, Baretta returns an elbow, another charge and the infected elbow goes into the ringpost when Austin sidesteps!

Retrieving Trent, not content to just take the count, Theory choking him over the ropes, haymaker, up-and-over forearm into a slingshot stomp to the bad elbow! Kimura lock in the middle of the ring but Baretta gets a foot on the ropes! Fireman's carry, TKO blocked and Trent snaps off a half nelson suplex in return.

Running kick to the arm, wheelbarrow life to the backbreaker rack and spinning it out into the powerbomb... NO GOOD! Back to the Kimura lock, Baretta fighting for his life and he makes the ropes! Disdainful shoves and kicks, Trent with a big slap in return and we got a strike exchange.

Austin with a snap suplex, Trent back in it, another Busaiku knee, Jerry Lynn (explosion noise) piledriver... NOT ENOUGH! On their knees, trading shots, Theory back to the arm, wrenching away, cross-leg brainbuster on the knee, only two. Thinking TKO, Baretta slips out, Dudebuster connects but he can only hook one leg... STILL NOT ENOUGH!

Struggle in the corner, Trent with a Hurricanrana, Austin holds on, rolls through, pulls him up...

Austin Theory wins by pinfall with the TKO.

This was a real tale of three matches-- the brawl before the bell rang was a real hoot, the final stretch with Theory going after the arm and Baretta desperately trying to muster the energy to throw the one bomb that would end the match was great, but it drug in the middle something fierce.

Fred Yehi vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (c) (Evolve World Championship)

Grappling to a stalemate, back at it, Yehi takes Sabre's back and locks bodyscissors on but ZSJ escapes by picking the leg. Fred at the arm in return, again a stalemate. Zack grabs a cravate, wrenching it in, but Yehi is out with a snap suplex. Test of strength, Sabre quickly picks an arm and wrenches away, grabbing a standing surfboard and stepping over momentarily before putting a foot between his shoulder blades and wrenching further.

Fred to his feet, a surfboard of his own, soon chopping away and backing the champion into the corner. Pulling him out, snapmare, stomp to the knee, nuke, half-halch suplex into a cover but it's only good for one. Stomp, Zack picks the leg, kneebar, Yehi gets the ropes before too much damage is done.

Wristlock, stepping on his challenger's head before going after the leg only to find Fred in the ropes. Uppercut and a boot, stomp to the back, the champion starting to get mad! Torture half-crab, shift to a stepover toehold, wrenching the free foot, deathlock, stamping the back of the head and picking the arm.

Crossleg STF applied but Yehi's right in the ropes and able to force a break. Probing, disdainful kicks, Sabre draws him up for an uppercut, Fred back in stomping away to the hand and the arm! Neck crank, ZSJ scissors the leg, Yehi thinking armbar but the champion rolls through into a double leglock of some variety.

Shifting to a toehold, Yehi counters with double wristlocks, kicking the ribs in to force some separation. Boot caught, stomp to the foot, the nuke, jockeying for position almost in the ropes, Fred rains forearms down and stomps away at the leg! Ali/Inoki kicks from the champion, challenger returns a knee stomp and repeated headbutts.

Big chop, waistlock, standing switch, again, O'Connor roll blocked, Koji Clutch outta nowhere but ZSJ has the ropes! Arm wringer, shoulder block, short-arm elbows, thinking fisherman buster but Sabre coutners into a Kimura lock. Fred muscles his way out, Zack picks the leg, flying triangle choke, Yehi in the ropes!

Standing twist of the arm, the champion feeling the wear and tear from the match and settling in for some joint manipulation, the Jim Breaks Special but Fred snaps off a German suplex! Yehi wants him on his feet and they go uppercut for slap, boot on boot from the champion, charging in, Dragon suplex denied, shifting hands, another German suplex connects.

Powerbomb denied, Pele kick to the arm, a roundhouse follows, octopus hold applied! Fred gets out, dragon screw, chop block, stomp to the knee, cross-arm lift into a bridging German suplex... NO GOOD! Both men taking their time to their feet as Brandon Tolle applies the standing ten count. Yehi charging forearms, met with an uppercut, dodging kicks, tight exchanges here, Mongolian chops into the Liu Kang kicks!

Penalty Kick, both men out on the mat once more. Spent, slowly rising to seated, trading kicks and then slaps, to their feet, chest to chest, Yehi throwing forearms and staggering the champ. Rolling elbow countered with an arm drag, half bow-and-arrow from the champ but Fred is right in the ropes and forces a break.

Probing kick from the champion, a second clips Yehi right across the jaw, thinking Penalty Kick but Fred takes his leg out! Lungblower into the dragon suplex, rolling elbow... NOT ENOUGH! Wristlock elbows to the neck, firing away and Sabre crumples. He's in BIG-- TRIANGLE CHOKE! OVERHEAD ELBOWS! FRED TO HIS FEET, SABRE BRIDGES BACK FOR MORE PRESSURE! YEHI GETS THE COUNTER POWERBOMB!

Another powerbomb attempt, Sabre lands on his feet, knee strike, reverse STO, the Koji Clutch is on but he doesn't quite have all of it! Repositioning but Zack is one step ahead...

Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by pinfall with the European Clutch, retaining the Evolve World Championship.

Hell of a match, especially in the framework of Sabre's matches this year, where he has a tendency to get mad and go a little nuts, and the story here was one of him essentially keeping his cool in the face of Yehi's excellence and being able to capitalize on a single mistake late, like, say, not quite getting all of the Koji Clutch on your first try.

Very glad to see the bridge in the triangle make a repeat appearance after how great it was at the New Japan USA shows, too.

Sabre polls the crowd and they seem pretty pleased with the show. He tells Yehi he'd be happy to give him another title shot because he's clearly worthy of being champion, and he takes his leave.

Fred gets on the mic and says the only reason he's had the year he's had is because of the fans. There's no shame in losing to Zack Sabre, Jr., one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the world today, but he guarantees that he's gonna train harder, work harder, come back bigger, stronger, faster, more unstoppable, and the next time you see Fred Yehi in Georgia his hand will be raised in victory.


Not as thoroughly consistent as last night's Evolve 88, but the high points here were still quite high and it was a good show as a whole. Sabre/Yehi and the three-way tag ruled, two out of three acts of Theory/Baretta were really good, and ACH and Ethan Page threaded a hell of a needle.

Storyline-wise we have some interesting stuff to chew on, with Allin showing his chops but being laid low by his still-injured elbow, ACH and All Ego, if not quite forming an alliance, at least finding some common ground, Lee's feud with Hathaway spreading to Thatcher, and Theory's mean streak developing under the careful oversight of Priscilla Kelly.

Check it out on VOD on FloSlam, folks.

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