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Evolve 109 recap & review: WorkHorsemen pick up wins, Janela retains, AND STOKELY HATHAWAY STABBED HOT SAUCE IN THE EYE WITH A SCREWDRIVER

World Wrestling Network

The show begins just a few minutes after the scheduled bell time with Lenny Leonard and “Hardcore Giant” Ron Niemi in the ring to inform anybody that didn’t watch yesterday’s show that Shane Strickland won the Evolve Championship and hype up our double main event.

Anthony Henry vs. Jon Davis

Henry trying to slide in and take the big man down but Davis blocks and hosses him down. Big overhead belly-to-belly suplex out of the collar-and-elbow, but Anthony gets right back in with a guillotine choke. Jon reverses, knee blocks the suplex, pop-up victory roll into a cross armbreaker! Deadlift counter, Henry slips out, sunset flip, Davis goes to hoss him up again and Anthony wishbones his fingers!

Hamstring kicks, trying to take the big man’s base out from under him and Jon drops him with a boot! Big chops follow, pressing the attack, grinding the Lethal Lover down with strikes, into a backbreaker for a nearfall. Henry back into it with overhand chops and forearms, staggering Davis, who throws a straight right that knocks Anthony down! Rising right back up, full of resolve, and felling Jon like a redwood with a roundhouse kick!

Headed up top, Davis cuts him off with a right... DEADLIFT AVALANCHE JACKHAMMER CAN’T PUT HENRY AWAY! Anthony gets a dragon screw off, another one with his other leg trapped in the ropes, slide under for the step-up enzuigiri into the springboard tornado DDT... NOPE! Headed up top again, nobody home on the double stomp but a hurricanrana lands true for two!

Kick to the gut, jockeying for position on a suplex, small package can’t finish the match! Right hand, Argentine powerbomb... COUNTERED INTO A FOLDING PRESS! JACKKNIFE...

Anthony Henry wins by pinfall, countering an Argentine powerbomb into a jackknife pin.

Great opener! I had high hopes for this one and it absolutely delivered from the opening exchange (that wishbone!) to the finish. Just a tight, hard-hitting, borderline shoot-style affair in the finest Evolve tradition.

Post-match Henry offers a handshake but Davis drops him with a lariat!

Jon gets on the mic and says Anthony may have won the match but he won the fight.

Shane Strickland makes his entrance in street clothes and gets on the mic, talking about the classic main event match in which he won the Evolve World Championship. He says he Swerve Stomped the soul out of Matt Riddle and that caused irreparable damage to his ankle. He was looking forward to competing tonight, he’s a fighting champion, but he’s going to be responsible and rest up.

He looks forward to competing against and beating Saieve Al Sabah another day, saying maybe on his level it’d be okay, but he’s not on that level anymore, and maybe Al Sabah will get there one day.

This brings AR Fox and the Skulk out and Swerve is none too pleased. Fox says he hears all these excuses, and this ain’t Swerve’s house, it’s everyone’s house! AR calls himself the hardest-working man in the business and offers to take Strickland’s place against Saieve!

AR Fox vs. Saieve Al Sabah

Fox denying a handshake, they get into a shoving match, Al Sabah with right hands, a straight suplex and he kips right back up! Off the ropes, inside out corkscrew elbow drop gets one! Charging shoulder thrusts into the wicked turning out that takes him to the floor to stand off with Tommy Maserati of the Skulk! Back in, AR cuts him off with a boot, corkscrew neckbreaker through the ropes, stomp to the ribs and a big splash get two!

Corkscrew brainbuster gets a nearfall and Fox follows it up with a chickenwing chinlock. Two neckbreakers when Sabah looks to escape, he counters the third, trading small packages, rolling through, folding press can’t do it, scoop and a powerslam from Saieve! Off the ropes, standing corkscrew shooting star press but AR is too close to the ropes and rolls to the safety of the Skulk!

Al Sabah on the apron, drawing Fox up, countered, fireman’s carry, slip out, superkick connects and the Skulk catch AR and celebrate, taking him on a victory lap of the ring. Off the ropes... SPACE FLYING TIGER GETS CAUGHT UP IN THE ROPES BUT HE MANAGES TO COMPLETE IT! Back inside, Lightning Spiral... NOPE! A dazed Fox gets himself caught up in the ropes and Al Sabah cuts him off, jockeying for position, superplex denied.

AR has him down, perches... KNEES UP ON THE SWANTON! Back elbow, springboard countered with a sunset flip powerbomb, Mafia kick, he sets Saieve in position...

AR Fox wins by pinfall with Lo Mein Pain.

Good match, a bit sketchy at points but they largely kept it together and kept it exciting. And the Skulk continue to delight simply by being the happiest gang on the planet.

Post-match, Saieve offers the handshake again and Fox accepts this time, inducting him momentarily into the Skulk to party.

AR Fox & the Skulk (Adrian Alanis & Leon Ruff) vs. the End (Drennen, Odinson, & Parrow) (Lucha Rules Match)

The End hit the ring and beat everybody down! All-out chaos! Fox runs into a chokeslam from Parrow! Adrian Alanis with a shotgun dropkick! Fox recovers and charges in... back body drop puts him over the post and into the Skulk! Parrow perches up top, Leon Ruff slips under him but he gets hossed up and Alanis and AR make the save... DOUBLE POWERBOMB! Ruff makes a cover so I guess this is the match!

ODINSON POUNCES FOX ACROSS THE RING! Neckbreaker from Drennen takes Alanis out! Leon looking for a double jump Frankensteiner... PARROW POWERBOMBS HIM TO THE FLOOR! Cover made.. RUFF IS ALIVE! Chokeslam into the buckles, body avalanche, charging uppercut, up in a press slam, toss him to Odinson for the fallaway slam! Drennen with a lateral press but Leon kicks out!

Slugging it out, Drennen with an overrotated back suplex into a running knee, implant DDT, Adrian makes the save! Strike combo finishes with a headbutt and a scoot Emerald Flowsion! Odinson with a dropkick and then a full nelson slam but Fox comes off the top with a diving Ace Crusher! Parrow with a fallaway slam into the turnbuckles! Ruff with a Meteora but Parrow rolls to the ropes!

Drennen hits the Death Valley Driver, AR catches him with a boot! Matrix evasion on a charge, sidestep the elbow, Alanis and Ruff get their licks in, Fox lines it up... OVER THE RINGPOST TOPE CON GIRO! ADRIAN WITH THE BLACK HOLE BACKBREAKER! LEON RUFF DOUBLE JUMP DIVE TO THE FLOOR! AR perches...

AR Fox & the Skulk win by pinfall with the 450 splash from Fox on Drennen.

Holy hell that ruled. A chaotic soup of brawling and high spots that worked perfectly.

Dominic Garrini vs. JD Drake

DRAKE WITH A SICK KICK AT THE JUMP! ONLY TWO! Charging chop, a huge biel, repeat the sequence but Garrini ducks the cannonball and hits a back suplex for a nearfall of his own! Kicks raining down, crossface strikes alternating left and right, a flying knee to the ribs and a double stomp to the chest all adds up to another two count. Another knee to the ribs but chops in the corner prove to be a miscalculation as JD returns them in kind!

Sidestep the charge, pick the leg into a heel hook, transition to a cross armbar but Drake has his hands clasped and rolls through. Dom grabs a hammerlock but JD is able to get a foot on the ropes for a break. Guillotine choke applied, sapping the New Age Enforcer’s energy and following it with a double chop. Back elbow to a northern lariat, and a Shining Wizard!

Into the corner, Garrini gets his back with a slap rush but Drake hits a huge knee off the second in return! Combo in the corner, Dom ducks a chop, knee strikes, whip blocked and JD takes his damn head off with a right hand! Leg pick, deadlift overhead cradle suplex! CANNONBALL... ONLY A NEARFALL! Stomp in passing, climbing the turnbuckles, Vader Bomb... COUNTER TRIANGLE CHOKE!

Drake posts to his feet, deadlift... POWERBOMB! Dom gets on his back for a sleeper but gets thrown off, jumps right back into the guillotine choke only for JD to get the ropes once more. Chest kicks, palm strikes, Drake passes him off the ropes and gets caught with a knee! Back into the guillotine, JD reverses...

JD Drake wins by pinfall with Drill Bit.

Another match that lived up to my hopes for it very well, Dom and JD are two of my favorite dudes on the regular Evolve roster right now and they made some real magic with a couple of really excellent exchanges in here. Really good match, all told.

Stokely Hathaway gets on the mic and reminds Dom that it’s his job to protect him, but where was he last night? He says their relationship is very similar to the 1992 Kevin Costner / Whitney Houston classic The Bodyguard, only it’s real, and if he can’t do his job he might as well go to the back. He then introduces the tag team champions.

He tells Dickinson to watch what Jaka does to Josh Briggs and then do the exact same thing to Tracy Williams, before telling Jaka that Briggs threw away a contract last time, so he needs him to get revenge and to kick his ass right now!

Jaka vs. Josh Briggs

Shoving before the bell, Jaka takes it to him with forearms and Josh gives ‘em right back in kind! Headbutts from the Smooth Savage, into the corner for the spinning wheel kick, exploder suplex denied but Jaka gets a release northern lights suplex off all the same! Strikes in the corner, clubbing overhand, whip but Briggs stops short and fires back at him with chops and a boot!

Big elbow, scoop, sitout powerslam... NOPE! Clubbing away at the tag champion in the corner, hard whip across, big back elbow but a dodged charge crotches the big man and Jaka lands a superkick that sends him to the floor! Following after, clubbing away, back inside and a cover comes up empty. Overhead elbows into a top wristlock as Dickinson coaches from the apron.

Can’t keep Josh down for long, body blows and a goozle, countered with an elbow, leaping Frankensteiner into a cross armbar! Stomps to the face to break the hold! Jaka stays on the offense, clubbing and tearing Briggs’ shoulder brace off before applying the armbar again but Josh’s long frame gets him to the ropes in fairly short order. Slugging it out, Briggs runs through a lariat and hits a huge leaping corkscrew uppercut!

Charging elbow, the “I Don’t Like You!” Mafia kick and into a side slam... NOPE! Goozle blocked by a Shotei, the Smooth Savage gets him up for a German suplex... ONLY TWO! Jaka heads up top, cut off with a boot, climbing to meet him and knocked down with palm strikes and a headbutt for the diving crossbody! No cover, back to the armbar and Josh has nowhere to go!

Slipping through, a pin for two and into the deaflift powerbomb... JAKA’S SHOULDER COMES UP AT THE LAST FRACTION OF A SECOND! Goozle, the bum arm gives out, Jaka gets on him but T’Challa gets ducked. Off the ropes, swinging backbreaker, goozle...

Josh Briggs wins by pinfall with the M5.

Another really good grappler/power guy match in much the same vein as Garrini/Drake with the added benefit of the arm work story. Really like Jaka shifting to a more submission-based approach, too, it suits him well.

After the match Dickinson runs in with a German suplex and a lariat before clubbing Josh’s head in with mounted forearms! Big Stoke drops the elbow but here’s Hot Sauce! He and Dickinson brawl and the match is on!

Chris Dickinson vs. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams (No Holds Barred)

To the floor, charging boot from the Dirty Daddy, back inside the tide turns right back with Williams throwing forearms with abandon. In the corner, Dickinson turns him around, putting boots to him. Tracy with hard stomps and slaps, drawing him up, suplex denied and Chris gets his own off instead! Buzzsaw roundhouse kick knocks Hot Sauce loopy and Dickinson heads to the back for a trash can!

A baseball slide cuts him off and Tracy takes him back in the ring and sets the can up in the corner. Front chancery, Dickinson fights out and smashes his face into the turnbuckles and starts working his arm over the top rope. Up and over, dropkick puts Chris into the trash can and he follows it up with the half-halch suplex also onto the can!

Up top, Dirty Daddy cuts him off and throws the trash can at his damn head! A direct shot to the back follows, Dickinson puts the can on his head and superkicks it! Again Chris and Stoke head to the back for plunder and this time they return with a sheet of plywood! Again throwing the trash can at his face, grinding him down, setting the sheet of plywood up atop the turnbuckles.

Hot Sauce recovers, big forearms, trash can into his shoulder and over his head! Dickinson fires off a low blow to stay in the game and sets him atop the plywood, perched to join him... AVALANCHE PILEDRIVER THROUGH THE PLYWOOD! THE SHEET UNBROKEN HE LEANS IT IN THE CORNER... PAZUZU BOMB INTO THE PLYWOOD! IT AUDIBLY CRACKED BUT DID NOT BREAK AND HATHAWAY STOPS THE DIRTY DADDY FROM MAKING THE PIN!

He brings another sheet of plywood out and slides it into the ring, leaning it across the gap between apron and barricade. Williams slips out of another Pazuzu Bomb attempt and decks Dickinson with a lariat! Distracted by a chance to get at Stoke, Chris is able to roll him up for a nearfall and hit a lariat Hot Sauce recovers on the apron... PILEDRIVER THROUGH THE PLYWOOD TO THE FLOOR!




Holy shit. Holy shit. I don’t know what to do with myself after that. If this was THIS wild, how wild is the handicap “I Quit” Match going to be next Sunday?! As for the match itself, I can quibble a little, it started feeling a bit saggy and drawn out before it got COMPLETELY NUTS, but anything that makes me feel like the end of this match did is great. Fantastic work all around.

Dickinson cuts Williams off from leaving and takes him back in the ring, Stoke’s got the screwdriver out, they’re holding him down... JOSH BRIGGS MAKES THE SAVE!

Austin Theory vs. Matt Riddle

Riddle with a big knee right away, into palm strikes in the corner, off the ropes, charging forearms and the exploder suplex. Pressing the attack, stomps, a Karelin lift and the action goes to the floor where Theory tries and fails to come back, ending up popped up on the apron for repeated chest kicks. Chops follow, Austin ducks one and Matt’s injured left hand goes into the post!

Theory capitalizes, wrapping his arm around the post, heading back inside with a rolling thunder dropkick and working the fingers. Riddle fires back with a slap but a heel trip sets up a standing moonsault for two. Wrenching his hand over the rope, kicks to the midsection give way to stomps, hammer whip with the bad hand and a cover gets another two.

Dropkick to the hand! Bro fights back into it, fisherman buster... NOPE! Chest kicks follow, Austin ducks the roundhouse, TKO denied and the Bro 2 Sleep lands true! Bridging German suplex can’t put Theory away! Penalty Kick comes up empty, sidestep the knee, Argentine powerbomb... NOT ENOUGH! Riddle catches a boot, rolls through, Pele kick caught, rolling thunder blockbuster but Matt won’t stay down!

Buckle bomb, brainbuster over the knee, still not enough! Ataxia denied, jumping knee connects, Tombstone Piledriver can’t quite do it! Ripcord knee strike, powerbomb, roll through into the knee and Austin is staggered. Roaring at each other, repeated knees, mounted punches to the back of the neck... Referee Brandon Tolle calls it!

Matt Riddle wins by referee stoppage with repeated punches to the back of the neck.

So following HOT SAUCE GETTING STABBED IN THE EYE WITH A SCREWDRIVER was a hard spot to be put in, but Riddle and Theory managed the job admirably. Much like last night’s match against Darby Allin, this was a stronger-than-average effort from Austin with no sagging midsection or weak control segment, just all action with a smart story of working Matt’s injured hand baked in. Good stuff.

Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela (c) (WWN Championship)

Allin right in with a cradle but he can’t finish Janela off that easy! Throwing haymakers, Joey ducks and grabs a waistlock, standing switches and the whole thing ends with a release takedown that plants Darby into the mat. O’Connor roll blocked, drop toehold into a crucifix pin for two! Collar and elbow, struggling across the ring, turning the heat up, quebrada misses but a springboard arm drag hits the spot!

Fujiwara armbar after a cover, shift into a guillotine choke when Janela escapes, monkey flip out of the corner, crucifix gets two and right back to the armbar! Back body drop to the apron, Allin slingshots back in for a headscissors but Joey throws him off and knocks him to the floor with a forearm! Off the ropes, suicide dive, following it with chops.

Darby slips back in, suicide dive of his own, back inside... COFFIN DROP COUNTERED INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX! Putting boots to Allin, chopping him in the throat and that gives way to slugging it out. Pass into the ropes, O’Connor roll, tornillo on the kickout for two! Gourdbuster hangs Joey on the top rope... COFFIN DROP ACROSS THE BACK OF HIS NECK!

To the floor, looking for a back elbow or something of that order but Janela moves away and Darby takes the barricade hard! Clearing the mats from the floor, straight suplex on the hardwood! Perched up top... SOMERSAULT SENTON TO THE FLOOR! Austin Theory is here and he puts Joey into the post?! Allin won’t take the help, Coffin Drop off the top to the floor!

Back inside, Janela meets him with a superkick... NOT ENOUGH! Jawing at Theory before returning to Darby, inside cradle gets a nearfall but Joey hits a superkick and the package piledriver... DARBY ALLIN LIVES! Crawling his way up the ropes, Janela lines him up but charges into a boot! Shotgun dropkick, charging back elbows, arm drag and that standing Diamond Dust!

Joey rolls to the floor, Allin perches up top but the Bad Boy cuts him off... INVERTED BRAINBUSTER ON THE APRON! Pulling him back up, fireman’s carry... DEATH VALLEY DRIVER ON THE APRON! Back in the ring for the cover... DARBY WANTS IT TOO BAD TO STAY DOWN! Kneeling punches to the head, Joey’s fired up, straight rights but Allin catches his off arm into the Fujiwara armbar!

Wrenching it in, bridging, wishboning the fingers and Janela manages to rush the ropes to force the break! Yoshi Tonic gets two and he goes right back to the armbar! Shifting positions, punching the wrist before reapplying, wrenching at the fingers... JOEY FORCES THE BREAK BY BITING THE BOTTOM ROPE! Trading forearms with abandon, into the corner, a wicked punch from the Bad Boy connects and he sets Darby up top.

Jockeying for position in the corner, big Shotei, blow after blow and Janela gets the superplex but can’t put him away! Joey heads back up top...

Joey Janela wins by pinfall with a diving double stomp, retaining the WWN Championship.

So that was absolutely nuts. A crescendo of absolute intensity, Darby leveraging all of his three sort of stylistic faces-- the flash pin guy, the technical wrestler that can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world, the daredevil high flyer-- against the one man in Evolve who might have less in the way of self-preservation instinct than he does.


Holy crap y’all, Stokely Hathaway stabbed “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams in the eye with a screwdriver. TWICE!

Still can’t get over that. Anyway, it almost goes without saying, but this was a fantastic show. Every match delivered at a very high level relative to expectations, everything had some aspect that really set it apart from the other matches on the card... This show’s just a blast from start to finish.

Did I mention that Hot Sauce got stabbed in the eye? Twice?!

Storyline-wise, holy hell his feud with Stokely just turned up another notch. Also, Shane Strickland showed us what kind of “fighting champion” he’s inclined to be (to be fair, injuries are injuries and sometimes you have to pull out of a match, but the way he handled the whole situation was... revealing), Jon Davis revealed where his priorities lie, and JD Drake is slowly but surely making his case for being a top contender to Strickland’s title.

Check it out on VOD when it hits shortly, folks, it’s a good one.

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