Yessir, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the World Wrestling Network to come back in to your home with Evolve 100 (live from Queens, New York) and Evolve 101 (live from Joppa, Maryland), and as always, I'm here to give you the low down on what's going down.
Evolve 100 (Saturday, February 17, at 6PM Eastern)
The Evolve World Championship is on the line as present and future collide when Zack Sabre, Jr. and Austin Theory go toe-to-toe. Theory’s alliance with Priscilla Kelly has finally started to bear fruit, earning him the FIP World Heavyweight Championship, but the Evolve World Champion is on a whole other level right now, riding one of the hottest streaks in wrestling. Complicating things further, Austin hasn’t had the greatest record against grappling specialists, with some of his rare losses in Evolve coming at the hands of Mark Haskins and Timothy Thatcher. But if Kelly could help him get past Fred Yehi to get the FIP gold, there’s no reason to believe she doesn’t at least have a fighting chance to help him get past Sabre for the Evolve gold.
Keith Lee defends the WWN Championship against AR Fox. After his long absence, Fox made one thing clear on his return to Evolve— he considers himself synonymous with the World Wrestling Network, and he considers the WWN Championship his property. It’s hard to argue with his credentials, too: He was the first Evolve Champion, he did win the first Style Battle, he’s held the Open the United Gate Championship alongside Dragon Gate stalwart CIMA, hell, he’s even won a Jeff Peterson Cup. And while the Limitless One has been on a roll since becoming WWN Champion, he remains perhaps a bit too tempted by the Doomsault, and AR capitalized on this to ensure Jaka got a W in his column against Lee at Evolve 98.
Discounting all that and just looking at these two men stylistically... boy this match might end up being crazy. Keith in addition to the obvious powerhouse stuff he does, can fly with the best of ‘em, and Fox remains one of the most innovative, unorthodox high flyers in the game. If I were a betting man... I wouldn’t bet on this one, folks.
Catch Point’s Doom Patrol of Chris Dickinson & Jaka face off against the End. The Evolve Tag Team Championship is on the line here, after months of pitched battles between the two factions. Indeed, the End made their debut in Evolve beating Dickinson down, and the Dirty Daddy has made a point of leading the charge against Odinson, Parrow, and Drennen at every turn, even when he was officially suspended in December.
The End have several high profile victories in WWN of late. They were able to take out Doom Patrol’s Catch Point allies Dominic Garrini and Tracy Williams last month, but that was under tornado tag rules. And just a few weeks ago they ended the Hooligans’ 900+ day FIP World Tag Team Championship reign, but again that match was contested in anarchic conditions given FIP’s “no rules” atmosphere.
Stripped of their preferred enviroment, can the End wrest the titles away from two men who have quickly become synonymous with them?
In our first of three matches billed under “The Future is Now” umbrella, James Drake will wrestle Matt Riddle. The New Age Enforcer is coming off a big tournament win in PWX that saw him overcome the likes of Juice Robinson, Corey Hollis, and Elijah Evans IV on his way to winning this year’s X16. The King of Bros, however, is a whole other proposition, especially here in his home promotion, and Drake had best be ready to bring it and not just coast on his momentum here. Regardless, with the amount of sheer bare-fisted violence these two can bring, this might be the match I’m most looking forward to across both cards here.
As “The Future is Now” rolls on, Anthony Henry will go head-to-head with “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams. Both men are quite similar in their wrestling outlooks, being immensely capable mat technicians who pepper their repertoire with hard strikes and head drops aplenty. It’s Kudo Driver vs. half-halch brainbuster and only one will prevail, but win or lose, there’s another dimension here. If Henry can earn Hot Sauce’s respect, could he see the Catch Point handshake extended in his direction? And more importantly, is he mercenary enough to leave James Drake behind to pursue membership in Evolve’s most notable faction?
Closing out the trifecta of “The Future is Now” matches, past and present iterations of Catch Point collide with Dominic Garrini wrestling Fred Yehi. Both men occupy a similar space in the stable, the young grappling-focused prodigy ready to show the world what he can do inside the squared circle. But Yehi has over a year as FIP World Heavyweight Champion and a reign with the Evolve Tag Team Championship on his resume that earned him the title of World Wrestling Network MVP for 2017 where Dom, by comparison, “only” has a streak of impressive victories over preliminary talent and hasn’t quite had the chance to show Evolve his best in singles action... until this match.
Our preliminary match for the night features Jason Kincaid, Darby Allin, and Jarek 1:20 in three-way action. All three men are eager to get a win and make their case for promotion to the main card, and in fact if either Kincaid or Jarek get the fall on Allin, they’ll take his spot in the four-way at Evolve 101.
Evolve 101 (Sunday, February 18, at 7PM Eastern)
The issue between Keith Lee and “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams have come to a raging boil in no holds barred action. Lee is one up on Hot Sauce in their only singles match that came to a conclusive finish, but in the three-way at Evolve 97 Hot Sauce had the Limitless One in his clutches, pulling back on the crossface until Darby Allin broke it up and scooped the win with Last Supper, so it’s a bit more even than it seems. The scale tips even further when you note that that first match was under twelve minutes long, a bum rush where Williams was overwhelmed by Keith. That was only Lee’s third match for Evolve, and Tracy, one of the most adaptive wrestlers in Evolve, has had plenty of time to study his style in the meantime.
Chris Dickinson takes on Zack Sabre, Jr. in a non-title match. Much like tag partner Jaka before him, non-title action against the Evolve World Champion is Dickinson’s place to definitively prove that he can hang with the Best in the World and, potentially, earn himself a title shot at a later date.
But he’s going to be coming into this barely 24 hours after wrestling the End in what is sure to be a brutal, physical war of a match, and if any of his body parts end up with a target painted on them as a result of that, the Technical Wizard will be quite ready to grab that handle and grind the Dirty Daddy into dust with it.
Austin Theory, Jaka, and Matt Riddle are set to meet in four-way elimination battle, but their fourth is potentially up in the air. Darby Allin is currently scheduled to fill the match out, but as noted above, if he’s pinned or submitted at Evolve 100, the man that does so will earn his spot in this match. In any case, this match serves as a snapshot of the upper card in Evolve right now, with Riddle as the well-established main event figure, Jaka as a guy who’s just climbed that mountain, and the other two as men looking to get a firm foothold with a victory here.
WorkHorsemen and the End took part in a wild pier six brawl with Catch Point at Evolve 96, and now the teams of Henry and Drake and Odinson and Parrow follow it up with an officially sanctioned match. WorkHorsemen have had a rough go of it since losing the tag titles, first Henry was taken out by Dominic Garrini and then as a team they were cost their rematch by the End on their return to Evolve. But WorkHorsemen isn’t just a name, it’s an ethos, and boy howdy the End are going to have to fight to keep them down.
The Iron Demon is featured in main card action against WWN MVP Fred Yehi. Shane Mercer has excelled in every spot he’s gotten on an Evolve card, and now he gets one of the traditional welcoming gifts here in the World Wrestling Network— a chance to wrestle one of the best and sharpen himself against Yehi’s iron.
Dante Cabellero and Ken Dixon have an opportunity to show Evolve what MCW’s talent have to offer in a showcase match. Maryland Championship Wrestling plays host to Evolve’s trips to Joppa and now two of their finest will look to impress in the kind of match that’s the lifeblood of the indies.
Plus preliminary action featuring the likes of Jarek 1:20, Jason Kincaid, and Kyle the Beast. Three matches in total are scheduled, and as noted above, Darby Allin will be substituted in for either Jarek or Jason if they replace him in the four-way.
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