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Evolve 99 recap & review: Theory moves past Kincaid, WALTER kicks Darby out of his ring, Dickinson and Lee abuse the ring

World Wrestling Network

The show opens just a few minutes after the scheduled bell time with Lenny Leonard and “Hardcore Giant” Ron Niemi in the ring to welcome us to the show. Lenny explains the new format and runs down the top couple matches on the card.

Brody King comes out for the first preliminary match and Darby Allin comes out with a microphone after. He says he put his heart and soul into his title match last night and it wasn’t good enough, so he deserves to start again at the bottom.

Brody King vs. Darby Allin

Commentary informs us as the match begins that Munenori Sawa will be making his return in New Orleans!

Darby baits King in, holding his hands behind his back and taking a few slaps before unleashing the fury on him! To the outside, suicide dive, brawling on the floor, back in, a dropkick sends Brody back out and into a chair and Allin throws a tope con giro at him! King hosses him around a bit and takes him back inside, German suplex, Darby lands on his feet, palm strike, springboard Coffin Drop... COUNTERED INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX!

Following it up with chops and forearms, just brutalizing Allin, going for that brainbuster but it’s reversed into a suplex and into the Fujiwara armbar in the middle of the ring! Brody gets to the floor but Darby stays on him, trying to reapply it on the mat and arm dragging King into the barricade when he can’t get it! Hanging him over the steel, breaking the count, off the ropes... SUICIDE DIVE INTO THE FOURTH ROW!

COFFIN DROP TO THE FLOOR! KING CHOKESLAMS HIM INTO A SUPPORT PILLAR BUT DARBY WON’T GIVE! Sleeper hold, Brody shakes him off and biels him over the barricade! In the ring, a cover gets two, Allin seemingly helpless but refusing to give up as King chops and stomps him. Boot up in the corner and Darby charges into a wild lariat... NOPE!

With one minute left on the clock, Allin with a drop toehold, the Fujiwara back on, King powers himself up, ends up crotching Darby on the ropes... cannonball! A back superplex, neither man can capitalize...

The match goes to a ten-minute time limit draw.

Great opener. Bombed-out Darby with nothing left to lose is great, just beating ass all around the ring, and Brody has very much returned my initial interest in spades. I look forward to seeing Darby crawl his way back to the main card and Brody sling dudes around until he gets there the first time himself.

Jarek 1:20 vs. Snoop Strikes

Feeling out with a bit of traditional mat grappling, shoot off, Jarek misses an elbow drop and Snoop turns the speed up, Shiranui denied, wheelbarrow bulldog connects and gets two! Yoshi Tonic denied, back body drop to the apron, big right from Strikes and his knee is bugging him enough that he fails to scout the Ace Crusher when he springboards in!

Blood in the water, 1:20 with the dragon screw, stomping away at the knee, Snoop with desperation chops but Jarek slams him leg-first into the ropes and right on the back of his neck! Calls for the ace up his sleeve but Strikes slips out, some standing switches, O’Connor roll denied but a German suplex hits on the other side of the ring!

Rolling thunder spear in the corner, back elbow, Snoop fired up, big uppercut, diving blockbuster, only two! Thinking about the Shiranui again, denied, Jarek with the hypnotic knockout, but it’s only a nearfall. Gutwrench lift countered to an arm drag, lungblower in the ropes and Strikes thinks he can end it! Up top, frog splash, slow to capitalize... NOPE!

Up top again, Jarek cuts him off...

Jarek 1:20 wins with the Canadian backbreaker rack dropped into a DDT.

Good match, I could maybe quibble and wish the leg stuff in the middle was a little more developed but really this was just fine as it is. Points to the Brooklyn crowd for chanting at Jarek to put some pants on while he was in his entrance coat.

Kyle the Beast vs. Wheeler YUTA

Speed vs. power early, YUTA having to be clever and chip away and get leverage to sling the Beast around... AND THEN KTB PRESS SLAMS HIM TO THE FLOOR! Right on him as he comes back in, huge release suplex gets one and Wheeler gets away. Snapmare to a wicked sliding forearm, this one gets two but YUTA again backs off and keeps fighting.

Forearms and chops, Kyle fires back, brainbuster connects, whip across and into a cover, no good. Fireman’s carry, Wheeler slips out, ducking and diving, double jump dropkick, springboard senton atomico! Diving crossbody... NOPE! Throwing kicks, KTB pops him up into a fireman’s carry front slam...

Kyle the Beast wins by pinfall with a quebrada.

Really good match to close out the prelims, classic David & Goliath stuff.

Timothy Barr welcomes us to the main show and brings Priscilla Kelly and Austin Theory out. Theory says he successfully defended his FIP World Heavyweight Championship last night and laid Zack Sabre, Jr. out, and talks about how he’s the platonic ideal of a wrestler and better than everybody in the locker room and that’s why he’s gonna be the next Evolve Champion.

That said, he can’t have any distractions on his way to the top, so he wants Jason Kincaid out here to have his last match in Evolve.

Austin Theory vs. Jason Kincaid

Kincaid’s not waiting for the bell! He clobbers Theory in the aisle and starts flying on him until Austin is able to put him into the apron and get himself a breather!

The bell rings, Theory puts a beating on him but the Gift is able to slip out of an attempt at the TKO and sling a few stomps! Austin returns the stomps, chucking him to the apron but Jason slingshots in for a Frankensteiner that sends Theory to the floor. Diving Frankensteiner countered into an apron powerbomb! Kelly berates Kincaid, back inside, straight suplex gets the FIP World Heavyweight Champion two.

Jawing at the Gift, disdainful slaps but Kincaid fires up and returns slaps and straight punches in the corner! Charging in, back body drop to the apron, face smash into the turnbuckles, looking to slingshot in and Theory knocks him loopy with a left hand! Drawing Jason up, looking for a suplex over the ropes, blocked with knees and turned into a counter Stunner over the ropes!

Roll under a lariat, one of his own, slingshot neckbreaker into a kip-up and Kincaid is rolling! Handspring knee drop, superkick blocked, catch the boot in return, hit the X-Factor, only a nearfall! Chop to the neck, short-arm lariats, headbutts, Austin throws something at him to distract him long enough for the left to stagger him and a cross-leg neckbreaker over the knee to get a nearfall.

Stomp to the solar plexus, Theory headed up top to mock Jason’s prayer and go for the stomp off the post but Kincaid cuts him off and catches him with a Falcon Arrow... NOPE! The Gift perching for his own stomp, again Austin clobbers him with a forearm, climbing after him this time, thinking about superplex to the floor! Jason counters with a superkick, hanging him up in the ropes but the double stomp comes up empty and Kincaid’s knee goes out from under him!

Screaming agony, referee Brandon Tolle has no choice...

The match presumably ends in a no contest because Kincaid was injured on his own move and couldn’t continue.

After the match Kincaid screams that he wants to keep fighting and Theory comes over to press the attack! Referees pulling him and Priscilla Kelly off but he can’t resist breaking free for a few more stomps!

That was all really good. Theory’s promo to start, Kincaid’s intensity, the actual match, which never let up for a second, the finish (well, as long as it’s not a legitimate injury, but going on the way Theory and Kelly immediately attacked it I’m assuming it’s not), the post-match beatdown. If this is the culmination of Priscilla Kelly’s corruption of Austin Theory and things continue to be like this going forward, I’m all for it.

Fred Yehi vs. Timothy Thatcher

Intense grappling to start, Thatcher going for the Karelin lift at one point only for Yehi to pick the leg as a counter and enter a control segment with a reverse chinlock. Blocking Tim’s leg pick, Fred heads out for a breather but comes right back in game to keep going. Thatcher takes his back, working towards a deathlock bow-and-arrow, falling back, shift to a double wristlock, shy of all of it and so he lays a few knees in and then wicked punches to the head!

Drawing Yehi up for an uppercut, whip to the corner, Flair Flip, leg pick takes the fighting outside and a chop raises Tim’s ire. Back in, stomping Thatcher’s hand when he tries to join him, back out, boot to the face and we full-stop head back in now. Fred catches a boot, stomps the foot, fist drop to the foot, leg trip into a double stomp and Tim is gasping now but still able to kick out at one.

Grinding his foot into Thatcher’s hand, hooking his nose, shifting to a standing surfboard with a knee to the back of the neck, maintaining control through all of Tim’s effort to reverse. Foot on his back, Yehi with a back suplex that gets two, stomps but the powerbomb is countered with a back body drop. Trying again, clubbing blows to set it up but again Tim gets the back body drop.

Third try isn’t the charm, Yehi rolls through and falls prey to the belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes! Thatcher gets him in the corner, clubs and forearms, knees to the ribs, headed to the floor to smash Fred’s chest into the apron but followups are stymied by a strike rush. A single uppercut lays Yehi low, Karelin lift, making him think about it, only a nearfall.

Underhooks denied and Yehi slips out for the Tenryu powerbomb... NOPE! Thatcher right back at it, enzuigiri, back suplex, butterfly suplex, only a nearfall. Fred returns a German suplex but determination fills Tim’s face. Lungblower connects, Thatcher draws himself up the ropes and, after much cajoling from the fans, Fred finally puts Tim’s scarf on and nukes him repeatedly!

Fisherman suplex into a bridge, only a nearfall, waistlock, standing switch, another, Yehi with the German suplex, Thatcher gets the ropes, slips around, sleeper hold, Fred out of it, victory roll pin, nope! Reverse STO into the Koji Clutch, Tim slips through into an ankle lock! Yehi out, palm strikes, the Liu Kang bicycle kicks, pass him to the mat, Thatcher slips through, sleeper, Yehi steps up the turnbuckles to counter, only a nearfall!

Backslide, Thatcher slips out...

Timothy Thatcher wins by submission with the Fujiwara armbar.

Great match, but are you really surprised when you pit two of the best technical wrestlers in the world against each other like that? But what really made this was the difference in attitudes-- Tim comes in calm and collected, looking for a win to pick right back up where he left off, and Fred comes in hot, the loss of the FIP World Heavyweight Championship still fresh, leaving him desperate to keep a downward swing from turning into an actual slump.

Side note, and perhaps most important out of anything, Thatcher got his original Evolve music back, the guitar arrangement of Dvorak!

After the match they go face to face on the floor and shove each other a few times until a referee intercedes.

Catch Point (Dominic Garrini & “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams) vs. the End (Odinson & Parrow) (Tornado Tag Team Match)

Catch Point jump the End at their entrance! Drennen gets on the mic and says the End runs things now and makes it a tornado tag!

Parrow and Garrini in the ring, Williams and Odinson on the floor, all-out chaos reigns. Dom has a sleeper applied but Parrow counters and proceeds to catch Hot Sauce off a crossbody. Tracy slips out, big forearms, Parrow biels him away but runs into a boot and takes a missile dropkick without leaving his feet. Last Ride into the turnbuckles, whip across... ODINSON WITH THE POUNCE!

Williams isolated as the End work him over but he fights through it, whipping Odinson into the corner and isolating Parrow himself but the big viking comes right back and Parrow buckle bombs him again. Garrini looking to come back in, he’s knocked clean off the apron as a cover gets a nearfall on Hot Sauce. Fighting valiantly with forearms as Odinson heads out to take care of Dom again, Tracy slips out of the powerbomb!

Malfunction at the junction, Garrini in with knees, fireman’s carry on Parrow but he slips out, boxes the ears to counter a belly to belly, goes for a kick and Dom traps his leg and grabs an ankle lock! Wrenching it in unholy, Hot Sauce with a Poetry in Motion dropkick off of Parrow and he adds a crossface to the proceedings! Odinson knocks Dom off with a big dropkick!

Parrow deadlifts Williams up and dumps him on the floor! Half nelson driver from Odison on Garrini, Parrow has him lined up for the avalanche, whip into a pounce... DOM COUNTERS INTO A TRIANGLE CHOKE! HOT SUACE HAS A TRIANGLE ON PARROW IN THE ROPES! DRENNEN BARKS ORDERS FROM THE APRON... DEADLIFT SUPER COLLIDER! They hoist Hot Sauce up...

The End win by pinfall with Overkill.

Very enjoyable match here, especially everything from about when Dom came back in like a house afire and full of knee strikes. And that finishing run, holy crap. I was kind of okay with the idea of the End getting defanged in short order after Dickinson took care of Parrow last night, but seeing him and Odinson work as a team here, let’s keep it running!

After that, we take our intermission.

Jaka vs. Matt Riddle

Test of strenght into mat grappling, neither man having a real advantage but Jaka getting the ropes for the break anyway. “Bro!” vs. “YEOW!” for a good minute, Riddle with the initiative, Karelin lift comes through and Matt follows it with forearms in the corner. Shift to the charging forearms, to the well one too many times and the Smooth Savage sidesteps and hits the spinning wheel kick for two!

Headbutts to the back, biting the forehead, stomps into a choke under the ropes, in the middle of the ring, looking for a submission but Bro gets the ropes immediately. Kick to the back, straight suplex, snapmare, corkscrew elbow for one, knees to the back into a rear chinlock. Riddle to his feet, palm strikes to force the break but Jaka stays on him with a backbreaker for another two count.

Double leg, stepping through into a Sharpshooter but Matt is right in the ropes and forces a break. Double chop forces Riddle to cover up, exploder suplex, another two, jockeying for position in the turnbuckles, headbutt knocks Bro to the mat, Jaka dives right into a dropkick! Forearm strikes beget a boot, Matt comes off the ropes with a knee, fisherman buster, only a nearfall and he holds onto the facelock but the Smooth Savage turns it around into a gourdbuster!

Off the ropes, Jaka runs into a roundhouse kick... NOPE! High jump sentons, the third gets the knees up! Bro 2 Sleep scouted, German suplex, Jaka rises, throws one of his own, Riddle rises, and we repeat the whole deal a second time! Strikes, big kick misses but the legsweep finds home, Matt keeps it together, Bro 2 Sleep, the Smooth Savage gets a kick off and both men are down!

Both men fired up and kneeling at nine, trading forearms, rising to their feet, Jaka ducks a roundhouse, catches the Pele kick and bites his foot! Sliding knee, superkick... NOT ENOUGH! Jaka wants him up, going for the chokebomb, Matt breaks, sleeper, Jaka escapes, gets him up, chokebomb... NO GOOD! Folding the legs, rolling through, the Sharpshooter is on in the middle of the ring!

Bro posts on his hands and crawls for the ropes but Jaka repositions and forces him to roll through! Ankle pick, kicks to the midsection to separate, back on their feet, ripcord knee strike, gutwrench into the jumping tombstone... JAKA KICKS OUT! Overhead elbows to soften him up but Jaka blocks one and bites his wrist! Riddle catches a kick, powerbomb, rolling him through, knee strike... JAKA CATCHES IT!

He goes for the spinning wheel kick but Riddle takes his back, elbows and crossfaces, down to the mat...

Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission.

Jaka rules, ‘nuff said.

...alright, alright, I’ll say a little more. First off, I really like the biting, it’s unique and really gives him an edge. Anyway, this was really interesting in terms of the way it leaves both guys positioned-- Riddle hasn’t had the greatest luck of late, but he still gets a win over Jaka, who’s managed to take out both singles champions in non-title action of late.

WALTER vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Feeling out, Sabre trying to keep his distance but WALTER backs him right up. Front chancery into an underhook, the Ring General just yanks his foot out from under him and ZSJ scurries away. Huge side headlock throw, just wrenching Zack around with a wristlock, using his natural size and leverage. Judo throw into a kneeling keylock, Sabre reverses but WALTER maintains control and slings him away!

Front chancery, Sabre gets him in the ropes and fakes out, trying to carve out an advantage. Starting to juke and jive a little, knucklelocks, leg kicks, trying to knot WALTER’s hamstrings up, back heel trip into a bridge and ZSJ gets his legs up and a few kicks in to break the bridge! The Ring General returns the favor, breaking the bridge with his sheer weight but Zack bridges right back up!

Dodging a few shots, he throws an uppercut and WALTER pastes him with a chop! More uppercuts, and again a single chop knocks him down! Slap for slap, Sabre is staggered but still fighting and WALTER absolutely pastes him with a boot! Scoop and a release bodyslam, stomp to the side of the head, leg pick, looking for the half crab but Zack counters, picking a leg before going after the hand, posting the arm to the mat and stomping the bicep!

WALTER pops up with a chop with the good arm! Disdainful boots, trying to cover for the injured arm, ZSJ with the leg kicks again but WALTER holds his ground and turns him inside out with another chop! Forearm for forearm and Sabre goes down! More leg kicks into a pick, kneebar applied but the Ring General finds the ropes! WALTER heads to the floor and clobbers Zack with a chop when he follows!

Back suplex onto the apron, another chop, uppercut but Sabre comes back with the Mafia kick! Trading strikes, Zack finds himself on the wrong end of ‘em and referee Brandon Tolle actually goes and checks on him after a particularly violet boot. WALTER then press slams ZSJ back int othe ring! Charging into a boot, Sabre hits a corkscrew uppercut to literally zero effect but a tornado DDT does the trick!

Penalty Kick connects, but WALTER catches a second and draws him up for a slap! Sabre gets an abdominal stretch but WALTER slings him aside! Kick, uppercut, trying to put it together... WALTER DROPKICK! Toying with him, waiting for him to wake up and Zack obliges, throwing slaps that lead to a huge boot! Gojira clutch, Ringkampf rope break, butterfly suplex into a pin, only two!

Zack slips out of a powerbomb and grabs the octopus hold but WALTER nearly stands clean up in it until he works his wrist over! The Ring General reverses, Tombstone clutch, Sabre slips out, palm strike and he sidesteps the dropkick! Penalty Kick, ZSJ can’t really capitalize but he takes a moment to plan his next move, roundhouse kicks to the hand!

WALTER LARIATS THE BOOT! Sabre ducks a lariat, goes low, European Clutch, reversed to the Gojira Clutch, reversed back, no good, WALTER with a lariat! Up for a powerbomb, Zack reverses to a guillotine choke! WALTER reverses to a butterfly suplex but can’t go right to the pin this time! Sabre up first with a chest kick, trading slaps, both men staggered and running low.

HUGE chop hits the Evolve World Champion like a shotgun blast but he gets back up and fires another slap off all the same! Slap for slap, neither man giving any more than their body is forcing them to, WALTER off the ropes with a lariat and ZSJ grabs a flying armbar! WALTER keeps his hands clutched as Sabre adjusts, shifting to a triangle choke but the Ring General rains palm strikes down and hits the counter powerbomb!

Tenryu powerbomb... SABRE OUT AT ONE! Underhooks...

WALTER wins by pinfall with the two-stage Tiger Driver.

WALTER could hammer nails with his bare hands, by god. There’s so much to love here but I want to particularly shout the sequence where Sabre threw two roundhouse kicks to WALTER’s hand to try and deny the chops only to get his kicking leg DESTROYED by a lariat on the next one. I absolutely love that kind of targeted counter striking, and you get that kind of thinking early and often with the likes of Sabre and WALTER. Excellent match, one of the best, if not THE best match of the weekend.

Darby Allin comes to the ring to ask Sabre for one more match but Timothy Thatcher gets in his face. WALTER pulls his teammate back and keeps the peace, telling Darby this is a pro wrestling ring and asking him what he’s doing here. WALTER knocks his block off with a boot and puts him to sleep with the Gojira Clutch as Tim looks on smiling! WALTER dumps him out of his ring!

Chris Dickinson vs. Keith Lee (c) (WWN Championship)

Dickinson immediately in and throwing hands but Lee knocks him back and stands over him, looming. Big forearm, a straight left, going chop for chop and laying Chris out with a forearm! Chops and slaps, taking the champion off guard a little but he straightens up and again levels him with a forearm! Lee up top, Dickinson cuts him off, Pazuzu Bomb... NOPE!

Big chop, kick to the back, short knee drop into a choke, stomp to the back of the head, palm strikes and the Limitless One rises to his feet. Dirty Daddy stays on him, cravate knee lifts, snapmare, kick right between the shoulder blades but it’s only good for a one count. Body blows in the corner, a leg kick takes Keith to the mat and Chris continues along these lines, grabbing a stump puller pin and following with an inverted cloverleaf.

Stepping on the champion’s throat after that doesn’t pan out, chest kick, shifting to the arm proves to a bad decision as Lee runs him over in the corner and fires off that wicked double ham hock overhand chop of his. Following it with a biel, Dickinson with a boot up, missile dropkick, headed to the high rent district again for another and Keith is stumbling, up top again for a turning crossbody but Lee catches him and hosses him up!

Chris slips out but runs into a knee ot the midsection and a backbreaker. Roundhouse kick connects in return, the champion straightens up after a moment and they go face-to-face. Forearm gets a kick, Lee levels him with a lariat! Trading strikes, Dickinson fired up, chest kicks, backing Keith into the corner, charging lariat, Lee out of nowhere with the pop-up spinebuster... NOPE!

Up top... THE DOOMSAULT CONNECTS BUT CANNOT PUT CHRIS DICKINSON AWAY! Fireman’s carry, Ground Zero countered into a pin and he follows it with an enzuigiri! But he wastes time throwing up the Catch Point handshake and Lee hits the Spirit Bomb... NOT ENOUGH! Going after the Doomsault again, Chris cuts him off... SPRINGBOARD AVALANCHE POISON FRANKENSTEINER WHAT IN THE WORLD?! KEITH LEE KICKED OUT!

Dickinson with the fireman’s carry, Lee slips out, elbows on elbows, counter a lariat with a lariat, headbutt connects... NOPE! Back up top, Chris gets to his feet, cuts him off with a kick, climbs after him again, what evil has he got in mind this time? Jockeying for position... A SUPERPLEX SHAKES THE RING BUT WILL NOT END THE MATCH!

Dickinson fired up, palm strikes into kicks, duck a lariat, off the ropes, Lee gets him up...

Keith Lee wins by pinfall with Ground Zero, retaining the WWN Championship.

So that took a little while to get me invested, especially given that the show already had two other “chip the big man down” matches, one of which was both incredible and right before this, but once it got going it was really good. And I swear, if you had wide-angle footage on the superplex, you would have seen the ring physically leaving the floor, it shook so much. Good times.

Stokely gets in the ring to jaw at Lee, who backs him into a corner... and Hot Sauce makes the save! He and Stokely get him up top... RELEASE POWERBOMB! Williams gets on the mic and says that’s how it’s done, throwing up the Catch Point handshake.

They leave, Keith Lee gets up and says he didn’t have anything to say but now he has something to say. Earlier today he said something on camera and did what he said he was going to do. And now he says to you he’s the Limitless Keith Lee and he’s tired of getting his ass kicked. There will be regret and retribution, and it will come. AR Fox, Tracy Williams-- one after the other, both at the same time, he’s coming for them, and soon.

Until then, he thanks Brooklyn and wishes them a good night because he’s probably gonna pass out once he leaves the ring.


I think Evolve 98’s peaks were a little stronger, but Evolve 99 was a better show match-to-match, which is an impressive feat given that it was several matches longer. Sabre/WALTER was a tour de force, Thatcher/Yehi was also great, the remaining main card matches were all very good to borderline great, and Allin/King in the prelims was a hell of an opening bout.

Storyline-wise, we have a couple things to be excited about here. Darby Allin seemingly having his cake and eating it too by willingly heading back down to the prelims but still wanting another title shot and ending up on the wrong side of WALTER should make for an excellent couple of matches, Austin Theory’s alliance with Priscilla Kelly has finally fully clicked with me (and Kincaid’s vengeance upon his return should be most righteous!), you got Keith Lee out here swearing revenge, good stuff all around.

Last but not least I want to make special point of celebrating Munenori Sawa’s return to Evolve. It’s an incredible and welcome surprise given that he’s been mostly retired the last couple years. If you have Club WWN and you haven’t, check out his two previous matches, against TJ Perkins at Evolve 1, and against Bryan Danielson at Evolve 5, which are two of the finest examples of the technical wrestling style Evolve was reaching for but (mostly) couldn’t achieve in those early days before the Thatchers and the Riddles of the world became available.

Check the VOD out when it goes up on, or in about two weeks at no additional charge with your Club WWN subscription, folks.

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