Yes indeed, ladies, gentlemen, and assorted nonbinary folks, it’s time for the World Wrestling Network to come back in to your home with Evolve 125 and WWN Supershow Mercury Rising 2019 (live from Queens, New York), and as always, I’m here to give you the low down on what’s going down.
Evolve 125 (Thursday, April 4, at 12PM Eastern)
Austin Theory defends the Evolve World Championship against Undisputed ERA’s Kyle O’Reilly. The challenge came down as a shock at Evolve 124 when the video package played but in retrospect it’s the most natural thing in the world. Adam Cole has said that 2019 will see the Undisputed ERA all hold gold, and why should all that gold be held strictly within in the confines of WWE?
Kyle is a former ROH World Champion, after all, and while Theory is no doubt talented far beyond his years, he’s lost almost every time WWE talent have come down to Evolve and stood across the squared circle from him. Almost... except for the match where he won the Evolve title in the first place, defeating champion Fabian Aichner and fellow challenger and KOR’s teammate Roderick Strong.
In any case, Austin’s been on quite a streak of good matches lately and seems to be overcoming my minor quibbles with his wrestling style nicely, so this match should be worth your while.
The Unwanted also have a challenge against competitors from abroad as they defend the Evolve Tag Team Championship against DDT’s Konosuke Takeshita & MAO. Unfortunately, his continuing immigration issues mean that MAO’s usual Moonlight Express partner and Evolve alumnus “Speedball” Mike Bailey has to be swapped out for Konosuke Takeshita, but hey, the reigning KO-D Openweight Champion ain’t a bad guy to get on your team! The Unwanted will be represented, as they were in the match where they won the titles, by Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the results!
After the events at the end of Evolve 124, Montez Ford gets a chance to put hands on Shane Strickland. Last month, Strickland did severe damage to Ford’s arm, wrapping a chair around it and hitting the Swerve Stomp off the top, but that’s not all. No, he was also the key to the Unwanted winning the tag titles, laying Dawkins out with a knee and chasing Montez to the back while Kingston and Gacy finished the Street Profits’ big man off.
Ford is out for blood, and while he’s not exactly a seasoned singles star, after he held his own with JD Drake a few shows back, Strickland best come loaded for bear and ready to finish breaking his arm.
Colby Corino steps up to Angelo Dawkins to round out the Unwanted’s night. Colby has found himself something of the junior member of the Unwanted in terms of his position on the card and the kinds of matches he gets, and given that he’s only 22 years old, it makes sense, but it’s gotta chafe at him.
Dawkins, likewise, comes off as second banana to the outrageously charismatic Ford in the Street Profits. So, two men, pent up with the desire to prove that they’re not the weak links in their respective groups? Sounds like a good time!
Darby Allin and Anthony Henry will tear each other apart in a match where there must be a winner. Their match last month ended in a disqualification when Henry walloped Allin with a chair to counter a dive and continued assaulting him after the bell, and the stage was set for them to meet again with the referee informed that there MUST be a winner.
Anthony has let himself be consumed by this need to destroy Darby Allin. Darby has been consumed by his drive to win gold in Evolve. When their fires meet, one or both may end up immolated on the pyre.
Curt Stallion has a special challenge match against DDT’s Kazusada Higuchi. Higuchi is an up-and-coming big lad and Stallion is Evolve’s newest, freshest roster member. Curt has impressed big in every match he’s had for WWN, and while I’ve never seen Kazusada in action, his sumo background has me stoked to see what he has to offer.
The Skulk take on the Beaver Boys in a match that will happen. The team of AR Fox and Leon Ruff is building momentum and they seem likely to clash with the Unwanted for a tag title shot sooner, rather than later. Alex Reynolds and John Silver are a top team on the northeastern indies right now. I’m not super excited for this one because the Beavers don’t do much for me, but it’ll have real implications on the future of the tag title scene, folks.
Adrian Jaoude is here to stay as he takes on former DGUSA Open the United Gate Champion Harlem Bravado. Jaoude is clearly here to stay. Bravado is hanging onto his spot by a thread. This is a match that neither man can afford to lose, and that’s when the magic happens!
And more featuring the likes of WWN Champion JD Drake, Priscilla Kelly, and Brandi Lauren!
WWN Supershow Mercury Rising 2019 (Friday, April 5, at 3PM Eastern)
It’s our first of two Evolve vs. the World double main events as the Unwanted take on the finest Germany’s wXw has to offer. wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion Bobby Gunns, Shotgun Champion Marius Al-Ani, and 2019 16 Carat Gold winner Lucky Kid will face off against the trio of Eddie Kingston, Joe Gacy, and Shane Strickland.
It’s a real cream of the crop situation, folks, as Gunns might be, pound for pound, the best wrestler wXw has had to offer since WALTER, Kid brings a real exciting high energy vibe, and Al-Ali is just a mean curmudgeon of a man who is very much at home on the mat. They match up exceedingly well against this version of the Unwanted and this match should be a proud continuation of WWN’s six-man tradition.
Our second Evolve vs. the World match pits the Skulk against a team of DDT’s best Japanese talent. It’ll be AR Fox, Adrian Alanis, and Leon Ruff taking on Tetsuya Endo, Soma Takao, and Daisuke Sasaki, who together form the nucleus of heel stable DAMNATION. So a natural choice to do battle with the happiest gang on earth, and I can’t imagine this not also ruling.
Kazusada Higuchi returns for his second WWN match of the weekend as he gets a shot at JD Drake’s WWN Championship. Two big boys doing big boy things, what’s not to like?
Austin Theory and Darby Allin meet in a somewhat inexplicable mixed tag match. Straight up, I try for unvarnished hype here in these previews, but this match just has me confused and a little disappointed. All signs were pointing towards Darby getting another title shot and using Priscilla Kelly’s advice to try and end Theory once and for all, but instead they’re tagging together and Austin has Brandi Lauren on his team to even the odds.
And what’s worse, Darby hasn’t been confirmed for Evolve 126 on April 13 yet, so any sense of “oh well they just wanted the story to breathe” is gone— if Allin is going to win the Evolve title, doing so in La Boom where he’s nigh-universally loved and treated like a superstar seems like it’d be the right call.
This match should be fine, and maybe it’s a smokescreen to cover a left turn in the plans that would have been given away by announcing it ahead of time, but mainly right now it’s leaving me scratching my head.
Anthony Henry defends the FIP World Heavyweight Championship against former wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion Absolute Andy. Andy is a 15-year veteran of the wrestling business and he knows every trick in the book, which is what brought him to his most recent title reign, cutting every corner at last year’s 16 Carat Gold until he had the belt around his waist.
Henry’s driven by his anger and frustration, but will he be able to keep that energy after his war against Darby Allin is over, win or lose?
Allysin Kay defends the Shine Championship against Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling ace Miyu Yamashita. Yamashita has held the Princess of Princess title for well over a year now and seemed destined for greatness from her debut, where Kay fought and scraped in Shine for five years before finally winning the title. The AK-47 isn’t likely to just get bowled over, but against the Pink Striker, she may not have much of a choice.
A WWN contract is on the line in six-way scramble action. Anthony Greene, Colby Corino, John Silver, Harlem Bravado, Barrett Brown and a sixth man yet to be named will compete elimination style until only one survives and signs on the dotted line. My personal favorites here are Corino and Brown, but in a match like this, anything can happen!
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