The show opens just a minute or two past the advertised bell time with Trevin Adams in the ring to welcome us to the show.
AR Fox, DJ Z, & Trey Miguel vs. Austin Theory, Travis Banks, & Zachary Wentz
Austin and DJ to start and Theory demands the secret of the horns... only to use it as an excuse for a sucker punch! Fox in, O’Connor roll denied, blockbuster, Wentz comes in, jockeying for position, action fast and furious and Zema has Banks in a deathlock as he suplexes Theory! Up and over to the apron, Z with a diving splash to the floor! Trey Miguel with the tope con giro!
Back inside, we get a ridiculous chained inverted DDT with all six guys, followed by Travis throwing chest kicks two for one on DJ and AR. Snap German suplex on Zema, into charging uppercuts, stuff is moving super fast here bear with me folks! Trey with a crazy dropkick on Austin, there’s like four dudse in the ring at once, Fox with a rolling thunder senton, moonsault from DJ, diving Ace Crusher from Fox, Theory makes the save!
Austin passes him into the corner, back elbow up, springboard caught into the Argentine powerbomb! Zema in, powerbomb followed by a satellite DDT, Banks hits Slice of Heaven and the Kiwi Krusher, Miguel with Meteora! Zachary in, palm strikes, springboard Ace Crusher! Pump kick from AR, he runs into a boot from Wentz but hits Lo Mein Pain! DJ with the back suplex facebreaker, Trey with a rolling neckbreaker, Fox with a senton atomico, again the pin is broken up!
Superkick sets DJ up...
AR Fox, DJ Z, & Trey Miguel win by pinfall with a 450 splash from DJ on Wentz.
I say this in the best, most loving way possible, but this was the hardest match to recap I’ve dealt with in some time! Constant action, in and out, just chaos in the best possible way. A real hoot and a great way to open the biggest show of the year.
DJ Z issues a challenge to Theory after the match for his newly won WWN Championship.
Jason Kincaid makes his entrance for an unscheduled match and Jarek 1:20 attacks! He puts a referee into the steel steps for good measure before dismantling the barricade. He drops Jason across it and handcuffs him to the barricade! He has another set of handcuffs and uses them to strap Kincaid’s head to the barricade directly! Referees come down and Jarek takes his leave, but not before pulling a coin out of head referee Brandon Tolle’s ear.
Munenori Sawa vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Sawa hauls off and slaps Sabre in the face to start! Into the grappling, going hold for hold, Zack gets a Stretch Muffler for a split-second but Munenori gets away. Back at it, trying for an armbar, but Sawa rolls to the ropes and saves himself. To the floor, for a little bit of that Bati Bati action, trading slaps, back inside Sabre grabs an abdominal stretch but Sawa reverses to one of his own!
ZSJ back to one of his own, Munenori slaps himself in the face a few times to build up the will to break it and they keep struggling until they end up in the ropes. Trading leg kicks now, Sawa catches one and falls to the mat with a heel hook! Sabre with one of his own in return, wristlock into slaps but Munenori kicks him in the head hard and breaks. Off the ropes, elbow drop, strike rush in the corner, ending with a rolling solebutt!
Whip into a jumping leg lariat, they end up on the apron trading palm strikes and then leg kicks, Sawa with a headbutt and he grabs the ankle lock! Zack reverses with a guillotine choke, Munenori goes for a double wristlock, reversed to an armbar on the apron! Referee Brandon Tolle forces the break, Sawa with shoulder thrusts and ZSJ catches him into Hurrah!
Dragon screw over the ropes keeps Munenori into it, Sabre grabs an octopus hold, reversed with another dragon screw and the sliding knee lands true! Only a nearfall, Sawa gets fired up for the Irobu Punch and nails Zack with it! First kick misses and the second is caught, ZSJ has a Bromission in! Changing it up, armscissors Fujiwara armbar, into a crucifix, adding the headscissors, wrenching back... SAWA GETS THE ROPES!
Munenori fired up after the break, he gets the octopus hold but Zack hosses himself up and steps towards the ropes, falling into them for a break! Irobu punch countered into the cross armbar but Sawa keeps his hands clasped and reverses to his own armbar! ZSJ holds on, reversed again, a boot yanks Munenori’s arms apart but he’s able to reverse again and Zack has to turn it into a pin!
ZSJ goes through a sequence, into Orienteering With Napalm Death... IT’S OVER!
Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by submission with Orienteering With Napalm Death.
I wanted a worthy sequel to Bryan Danielson vs. Munenori Sawa from Evolve 5 and I got one. Hard hitting strike exchanges, intense submission exchanges, fantastic stuff. Great match. Please, please never spend eight years away again, Mr. Sawa. Pro wrestling needs you.
Catch Point (Dominic Garrini & “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams) vs. the End (Odinson & Parrow) vs. WorkHorsemen (Anthony Henry & James Drake) (New Orleans Street Fight)
Stokely Hathaway gets on the mic and says that a New Orleans Street Fight sounds a little unsafe, so since he’s a national treasure and an icon, he can’t be out here for the match. He wishes Dom and Tracy the best of luck and takes his leave.
The End come out and we’re off! Garrini wipes everyone out with a dive and Catch Point stand tall! WorkHorsemen are to their feet first, trading hard strikes. They have Garrini isolated but Williams goes and gets a table and sets it up at ringside. Drake with a whip, Dom out of Dodge and Catch Point clear the New Age Enforcer out just in time for the End to wake up.
Parrow and Odinson working Hot Sauce over as Drennen stalks ringside before getting involved with his baton. Drake catches his arm, Henry’s behind him, Drennen begs off but Anthony takes his head off with a roundhouse kick! Lariat from Drake and the WorkHorsemen beat the End’s third man down in the corner something fierce! Odinson and Parrow taking it to Catch Point, Williams slides out, looking for a powerbomb... AND PUTS PARROW INTO THE TABLE WHICH DOES NOT BREAK!
Cover made... Henry breaks it up! Assisted Emerald Flowsion on Tracy... NOT ENOUGH! Garrini with the Kimura lock on Anthony, James breaks it up... SICK KICK GETS TWO! A ladder is set up around Dom’s bare feet AND HAMMER THE LADDER WITH CHAIRS TO CRUSH HIS DAMNED FEET!
Stereo towers of doom into the Super Collider, stereo covers... NOT ENOUGH! Table set up in the corner... ODINSON POUNCES GARRINI THROUGH THE TABLE! Hot Sauce fighting two on one with the end, Parrow with the powerbomb but Henry breaks it up! Drake destroys Drennen with a chair at ringside and throws it at Odinson to sto a Doomsday Device! Crescent kicks on crescent kicks from Henry on Parrow into an assisted Ace Crusher, Drake heads up top, moonsault... HENRY STOPS THE PIN?!
HE WANTS TO FINISH IT! They hammer the End with the ladder and go and get more plunder! Chairshots on chairshots from the New Age Enforcer, another table enters the fray and Drake sets it up ON PARROW! They put Odinson on the table, Henry goes up top...DOUBLE STOMP ONTO THE TABLE! IT’S OVER!
WorkHorsemen win by pinfall with a double stomp onto a table set up around the End.
Like... just read the ALLCAPS bits, folks. This was WILD. So much painful, painful innovation. Shoutout especially to Dom for just taking all kinds of stuff with gusto and vigor. And of course, my dudes the WorkHorsemen deciding they wanted to end it definitively? Really good match.
Holidead vs. LuFisto (c) (Shine Championship)
LuFisto charging in, Holidead with a quick schoolboy pin, whips into a short-arm knees and a lariat, no good. Charging in with a boot, the champion ties her up in the corner, sliding kick to the head and a cannonball! Stomps to the hamstring, putting Holidead’s leg into the ringpost before taking her back in the center of the ring for a reverse chinlock to grind her down.
Charging forearms, back elbow into a neckbreaker and Holidead is rolling but she can’t capitalize. Blocking punches, throwing chops of her own, licking the champion’s face and running her over with clotheslines before dropping her with a side slam for two. Boot into a spinebuster, again just a nearfall and LuFisto comes back with a sequence into a facewash for a nearfall of her own.
Trading palm strikes, Holidead with a Samoan drop, slow to cover and it’s only a nearfall. Sidestep a dropkick, LuFisto with the spinning toehold into an inverted figure four leglock! Holidead clawing and scraping and she gets the ropes! Duck a backfist, scoop the champ up, swing her around and slam her down with a modified Air Raid Crash... NOPE!
Diving leg drop, LuFisto out of the way, into the backbreaker rack...
LuFisto wins by pinfall with the Burning Hammer, retaining the Shine Championship.
Not a huge amount to say about this one but it was a fun solid match and it’s nice to see Shine represented here as always, although I wish they’d just bring a full show out one of these years.
LuFisto gets on the mic and says last year she was promised a red wedding and brought us a black funeral. She’s the women’s revolution and everything else is marketing for little girls, and at Shine 50, it doesn’t matter who comes, she’ll beat them, because she’s gonna hold the title until she retires.
Kimber Lee is here! She squares up against LuFisto and the champion holds the title in her face before leaving!
Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Keith Lee
Testing their strength in a collar and elbow to start and neither man can budge the other! Side headlock from Sekimoto to no avail, trading shoulder blocks and Lee hits the Frankensteiner! Drawing him up, Daisuke with wicked forearms, Keith returns the favor and they just hammer the crap out of each other! Trying to tear Sekimoto’s head off with a neck crank, shifting back to striking, jawing at him and he gets the chop in return!
Trading chops, the Limitless One makes a cover for two and we go back to forearms. Lee opens up an exchange, backfist and a headbutt, Daisuke comes right back with forearms and chops! Looking for a suplex, Sekimoto blocks and turns it into a slam! Following that up with an abdominal stretch, Keith escapes with a hip toss but has to take a breather before capitalizing.
Jockeying for position, off the ropes... POUNCE! Only a nearfall! Lee calling for a brainbuster but it’s Sekimoto that gets him up for a suplex! The Limitless One staggered and stumbling, a missile dropkick knocks his block off and gets a nearfall! Off the ropes, Lee ducks a lariat and hits a high crossbody for two! Grabbing the powerbomb clutch, Daisuke blocks... BACK BODY DROP!
But Keith is fired up and right back on his feet! Stereo lariats, Sekimoto runs the ropes, another lariat... NOT ENOUGH! SPIRIT BOMB! NO GOOD! Digging deep, searching his mind to figure out what he can do to put the Big Japan man away, he drags him over and begins the climb for the Doomsault! To the second... SEKIMOTO ROLLS OUT OF THE WAY! Arm wringer into a short-arm headbutt, waistlock...
Daisuke Sekimoto wins by pinfall with the bridging German suplex.
HOSS FIGHT! This ruled, an excellent midpoint between the kind of wacky physics-defying matches Lee has with the likes of Donovan Dijak and the more buttoned down, traditional “two Goliaths colliding” matches he has against guys like Tomohiro Ishii.
Post-match, Nick Gage attacks Keith Lee and brutalizes all manner of dudes who run in to try and stop him, including Wheeler YUTA!
Nick gets on the mic and says he does what he wants because he’s that good at it. Nothing’s gonna stop him, and tomorrow at Style Battle he’s going to show us all why he’s the god. Anybody that has a problem with him, he’ll be in the parking lot and he’ll fight every one of them!
Lee gets on the mic after he leaves and quiets a heckler by pointing out that he’s at the top of the food chain in wrestling and he’s been getting his ass kicked all day long and he’s pissed off about it. At Style Battle he’s gonna show Gage exactly why he’s Limitless and make him bask in his glory!
Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) (c) vs. Ringkampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) (Evolve Tag Team Championship)
Thatcher and Jaka to start, immediately to the mat, Tim in control but the Smooth Savage keeping pace and preventing any definitive advantage being formed so early. Pick the leg, looking for the torture half crab, Jaka fighting back with upkicks so Thatcher drops down and starts throwing wicked elbows to the head! A kick clears Dickinson from the apron and Tim drags Jaka over for the tag!
Trading chops for forearms, the Smooth Savage holds his own but gets clobbered anyway, snapmare into a cover, no good, tag back to Thatcher. Kidney shot, snap suplex and into the double wristlock, passing it behind Jaka’s back momentarily before he squirms out and reaches the ropes. Kick to the ribs on the break, scoop and a slam, tag back to WALTER.
Clearing Chris out, big senton and Dickinson runs in to beat on the Ring General before referee Brandon Tolle orders him to back off. Tag back to Tim, uppercut in the corner, Jaka kicks him away, thrust kick connects, German suplex gets him that breathing room! Tag to the Dirty Daddy, charging lariats, an elbow knocks WALTER down and he hits a straight suplex for two!
Kick to the back, chop in the corner, trading strikes but now it’s Doom Patrol’s turn to work quick tags. Snapmare into an elbow drop from the Smooth Savage for two, looking for an armbar but Thatcher covers up and leaves Jaka no choice but to throw forearms at his head. Tag back, snapmare, kick to the back into a seated pin, only two and Tim picks the ankle looking for an answer only for Chris to get a figure four ankle lock.
WALTER breaks it up, this time Thatcher has the leg and takes mount for strikes. Cross armbar from the Dirty Daddy, Tim immediately gets a foot on the ropes to force the break. Jaka back in, headbutt and a DDT, only two, another headbutt, a chop, tag made, double back suplex but Thatcher lands on his feet and gets the belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes to make the tag!
The Ring General in hot with chops for both champions, waistlock, standing switch, Jaka with the save, off the ropes, a lariat, a boot, a lariat, a German suplex, a lariat, a butterfly suplex and Doom Patrol are down and out! Chop for kick with the Dirty Daddy and I think Dickinson’s turned on by the whole thing! Off the ropes, a chest kick puts WALTER down but he’s right back up for the boot!
Jaka and Thatcher in, T’Challa ducked, sleeper applied, broken, double chop to the back, uppercut and this time T’Challa connects leaving all four men down and out! WALTER and Chris up, boot in the corner, thinking about the Falcon Arrow, reversed, floated over, a boot, running enzuigiri lays the Ring General out... DICKINSON HIT THE FALCON ARROW ON WALTER!
Big chop, block a kick, powerbomb into a folding press, Tim has Jaka under control... NOT ENOUGH! Dickinson ducks a lariat, hits a tornado DDT and he needs a tag badly. He gets it, but WALTER takes it to Jaka, lariat... NOT ENOUGH! To the corner, setting the Smooth Savage up top, chopping him, underhooks, Jaka holds on and Dickinson is over for the electric chair.
Tim climbs to cut Jaka off, WALTER falls back in the Gojira Clutch, smothering the life out of Chris! Jaka knocks Thatcher down and breaks it up with a splash! Tag back to Tim, enzuigiri, back suplex, fired up, underhooks, Dickinson in, cuts him off, electric chair, goozle...
Doom Patrol win by pinfall with Death Trap on Timothy Thatcher, retaining the Evolve Tag Team Championship.
This was really good but not quite the show-stealer I was hoping it would be. Maybe that’s just disappointment from my dudes not taking the titles speaking, though. In any case, even if it’s a click lower energy than I was hoping, it’s still quite a good tag match in the tradition that Evolve’s tag division has set over the past year or so, to be sure.
Hot Sauce comes down to congratulate his allies and tell them they did exactly what Catch Point is all about, standing toe to toe with two of the best wrestlers in the world and they won. He’s kept his mouth shut long enough but they need to address the elephant in the room. Stokely questions this idea and Tracy says ever since they hired him to manage Catch Point’s business he’s run it into the ground!
Hot Sauce tells Stokely his services are no longer needed and he wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors! Hathaway takes the mic and is clearly shocked. He says Williams doesn’t understand contracts or business, because last time he checked, he bought Catch Point, he owns Catch Point, and they can’t fire him, but he can fire Hot Sauce effective immediately!
Jaka and Dickinson speak with Hot Sauce... DOM FROM BEHIND WITH A LOW BLOW! DOOM PATROL SELL HOT SAUCE OUT! Catch Point take their leave and Williams is left in the ring to contemplate his torn t-shirt as he leaves.
Matt Riddle (c) vs. Will Ospreay (Evolve World Championship)
Riddle in with the killer knee at the jump but Will sidesteps and takes it to him with forearms! A German suplex, Bro pops up, the knee connects this time and he hits a German of his own, to the floor, Ospreay with a dive! Up on the apron, thinking Spanish Fly... RIDDLE DUCKS OUT AND HITS A GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE APRON! Back in the ring, charging forearms, Matt getting comfortable in his routine, exploder suplex follows as always.
High jump senton, cover gets a nearfall. Into the rolling Karelin lifts, Will kicks out but he’s clutching his neck in agony all the same. Chest kicks, the champion practically begging Ospreay to get up as he continues throwing disdainful kicks and slaps. Will catches a kick but gets clobbered with an elbow, into the ropes, handspring kick to the face!
Dragging himself up, Ospreay right in with a charge, big hesitation dropkick, springboard forearm connects and right into a running shooting star press for two! Inverted suplex lift, countered, Pele kick countered, Dragon suplex denied, crescent kick, he gets a lifting inverted DDT... NOT ENOUGH! Robinson Special ducked, Matt with a powerbomb, he rolls it through into the knee strike... OSPREAY FINDS THE WILL TO KICK OUT!
Going for a forearm, Will hits an uppercut, up top, Riddle cuts him off, Ospreay sets up Cheeky Nando’s but Bro pops down and grabs a sleeper hold! Knees to the ribs... SLEEPER SUPLEX CAN’T QUITE PUT HIM AWAY! Crucifix elbows to the side of the head, into the Bromission, Will has nowhere to go! Ospreay manages to lever a hand off, Riddle turns him around for more elbows but Will posts to his feet!
To the ropes, no safety but Ospreay climbs... HE HITS A MOONSAULT WITH RIDDLE ON HIS BACK! BRANDON TOLLE CALLS FOR HELP! Referees hit the ring and check on him, Riddle heads over but they back him off. WILL GETS TO HIS KNEES AND RIDDLE KNEES THE BACK OF HIS HEAD! UP FOR IT... TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER... WILL OSPREAY WILL NOT GIVE UP!
BRO RIPS HIS TAPE OFF! HIGH JUMP SENTON TO THE BACK OF THE NECK! RUNNING KNEE... WILL KICKS OUT AT ONE?! PILEDRIVER CLUTCH, GOTCH CRADLE... WILL COUNTERS WITH A TRIANGLE! OVERHEAD ELBOWS! HANGING ON WITH EVERY OUNCE OF WILLPOWER IN HIS BODY BUT DEEP WATERS POSTS UP... OSPREAY POPS OUT AND HITS A LARIAT!
BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! WRISTLOCK, TRADING KICKS FOR LARIATS, MATT BREAKS HIS GRIP BUT WILL FLOATS OVER AND HITS A POWERBOMB... RIDDLE AIN’T LOSING LIKE THAT! OSCUTTER... CAUGHT INTO THE BROMISSION! IT’S OVER!
Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission, retaining the Evolve World Championship.
So... I think that’s pretty handily the best match of the weekend so far, folks. Were I a lady inclined to hand out star ratings, I think I might go for the fiveski. Fantastic storytelling out the gates, from Riddle going right for his knockout knee after seeing Will clearly in distress and holding his arm somewhat awkwardly through to the Spanish Fly tease and onto Ospreay’s never say die finishing stretch.
And the beating heart of it all, the moment that took this from very good to incredible, the moonsault counter to the Bromission. I can admit I thought Will really broke his neck for a moment-- the thing about Ospreay is you can never QUITE tell whether he’s just doing some really next-level long-term selling or if his self-admitted nerve damage is already catching up to him at the tender age of 24.
But when he got to his knees and Bro clobbered him in the back of the head with a running knee and I knew all was intentional, it became an all-timer, one of the best matches in Evolve history.
Riddle gets on the mic with a trademark “Bro” and says he wasn’t expecting all of that. He puts the crowd over for making his dreams come true and takes his leave.
This was a great show. While not every match maintained the exact same high standard, it had a real high-end grappling exhibition in Sabre/Sawa, a crazy hardcore three-way tag, a HOSS WAR, a very good tag title defense, and the main event was one of the best in WWN history.
Story-wise, now we begin to set things up for the future with Sabre taking his leave from Evolve for the time being, Hot Sauce being expelled from Catch Point, and WorkHorsemen definitively winning the feud with the End. Not all of that is immediately super compelling, but we’ve got some interesting places we can go.
And one last special mention for play-by-play man Lenny Leonard, who started losing his voice during Evolve 103 but gutted it out doing his usual excellent job on commentary.