After nearly a month of radio silence since the last Evolve shows at the beginning of September, the World Wrestling Network is coming back to life with a lot of announcements in short order, so let’s take a look at them together, shall we?
First up, Evolve makes its return to the Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida on Oct. 28 for Evolve 114, with a tournament to crown a new WWN Champion after Joey Janela was forced to vacate the title due to his knee injury as the centerpiece of the show. It’ll be an eight-man single elimination tournament with a twist, as the four first-round singles matches feed into a four-way ladder match for the title.
While the participants in the tournament have yet to be announced, given that the confirmed talent list for the show includes the likes of Evolve World Champion Shane Strickland, Darby Allin, AR Fox, Anthony Henry, JD Drake, Austin Theory, Jon Davis, and Josh Briggs, this had ought to be a very enjoyable championship tournament.
Next up, what you likely clicked into this article for, Evolve returns to Livonia, Michigan on Nov. 9 and to Chicago, Illinois on Nov. 10, and they’re bringing 205 Live superstar Mustafa Ali with them. He’ll be wrestling two matches, which, in the grand and slightly confusing tradition of WWE talent being loaned to Evolve, will almost certainly be dark matches for the live audience only.
That’s a bummer, to be sure, but it’s still pretty cool that the Evolve/WWE relationship has blossomed to the point where guys are regularly being sent over to wrestle on these shows. And hey, it won’t be long before they’ve done enough of them that they could release them as a pay-per-view length show on the WWE Network! Confirmed talent for that weekend otherwise includes Strickland (11/10 only), Allin (11/10 only), DJ Z (11/9 only), Fox, Drake, Henry, Theory, and Briggs.
Last but certainly not least, WrestleMania weekend schedule announcements for the annual MoreThanMania extravaganza are here!
Thursday, April 4 (Queens, New York)
- Evolve (12PM Eastern)
- wXw (4PM Eastern)
- DDT Pro (8PM Eastern)
- Kaiju Big Battel (11:55PM Eastern)
Friday, April 5 (Queens, New York)
- Shimmer Women Athletes (12PM Eastern)
- WWN Supershow Mercury Rising 2019 (4PM Eastern)
Saturday, April 6 (Brooklyn, New York)
- MoreThanMania.com 2019 Wrap-Up Party (2PM Eastern)
The big obvious thing to note here is how small next year’s lineup is. No wall to wall shows for three days straight, just one Evolve show, no Progress, no Beyond, no Joey Janela’s Spring Break (although that’s very much still happening next year as part of GCW’s Collective), not even any evening shows on Friday or Saturday.
In a lot of ways this is a welcome move, as between WWN, WrestleCon, and the aforementioned collective, that’s a LOT of shows to worry about, and I for one am looking forward to being able to watch NXT TakeOver live on Mania weekend for the first time ever.
Plus we’ve got two very exciting new additions in the form of Germany’s wXw and Japan’s DDT Pro having full-featured authentic shows on US soil. As well, Saturday’s show is a new concept, a wrap-up party that will feature three hours of matches featuring WWN talent, including promotions that aren’t getting their own full show here like Shine, FIP, and ACW.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Oct. 22.
There you have it, folks
Mustafa Ali’s Evolve debut is all but guaranteed to be another dark match special, but at least we’ve got a new WWN Champion coming and the Mania weekend lineup looks pretty tight. Excited to catch any of this, Cagesiders?