clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Evolve 131 & 132 previews: The NXT Championship comes to Evolve!

Evolve 131 poster World Wrestling Network

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 131 (live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and Evolve 132 (live from Melrose, Massachusetts), and as always, I’m here to give you the low down on what’s going down.

Video Roundup

Evolve 129 Recap: Who Goes To The WWE Network Evolve Champion?

Evolve 130 Recap: Unfiltered, Uncut, Unedited

Evolve Mini-Doc: Anthony Greene & Brandi Lauren

Evolve Mini-Doc: The Champion of Champions

Josh Briggs Talent Profile - Evolve 10th Anniversary

Anthony Henry Talent Profile - Evolve 10th Anniversary

Anthony Greene & Brandi Lauren Talent Profiles - Evolve 10th Anniversary

The Unwanted Live On The WWE Network! What Are We Thinking?!

The Evolve Experience - Evolve 129 & Evolve 130

Evolve 131 (Saturday, July 13, at 8PM Eastern)

The NXT Championship is defended for the first time in Evolve as Adam Cole puts it on the line against Dragon Gate USA mainstay Akira Tozawa. While this show is billed as the 10th anniversary of Evolve, it’s really more the tenth anniversary of DGUSA, which ran its first show in July 2009, and so it’s only fitting that it’s Tozawa that gets the shot here. The Stamina Monster was THE breakout Dragon Gate star in the United States, owing in large part due to his killer excursion run that saw him form the Miracle Ultraviolence Connection with Kevin “Kevin Owens” Steen, and so it’s a thrill to see him return to WWN.

Adam Cole is a little less neatly identified with Evolve, but he did wrestle on four of the first six shows before moving full-time to Ring of Honor, and so in a lot of ways this is a fitting match to headline the tenth anniversary here.

It’s winner take all with the Evolve World and WWN Championships on the line. JD Drake’s issue with Austin Theory reignited like a spark from a careless camper lighting a vast forest ablaze on last month’s shows, and now all of Theory’s cockiness comes home to roost.

Drake and Theory are 1-1 in singles action, so this is the rubber match... except the Blue Collar Badass has beaten Austin twice in multi-man matches in Evolve, so the math is even harder for the Evolve World Champion.

The Skulk’s A-Team of AR Fox and Leon Ruff get a chance to take the tag titles away from the Unwanted. As good as this match is going to be, the more interesting part is what might happen before and after— Eddie Kingston, on the WWE Network, with a live microphone?! Evolve mainman Gabe Sapolsky has stringently denied any possibility of that on Twitter, but you just know that a denial strong enough to make Jayne “Rob Halford is not rejoining Judas Priest” Andrews proud means that it’s happening.

It’s a Catch Point reunion as Matt Riddle and Drew Gulak come back to Evolve to go toe-to-toe. His match against Drew back at Evolve 51 was the moment when I knew Riddle was the real deal and going to go to the top in pro wrestling, and his career has certainly panned out in the time since! This is going to be a technical wrestling tour de force the same as the rest of their matches, folks.

Speaking of technical wrestling tours de force, Anthony Henry and Arturo Ruas have a grudge match set. While both these men are amongst the best mat grapplers in the world, after the way their abortive match went last month, I got a strange feeling they’re just going to beat the paste out of each other, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

And speaking of grudge matches, after a social media campaign, Evolve 131 has a women’s match lined up as Brandi Lauren and Shotzi Blackheart go to war. While I still can’t help but feeling like Shotzi would be in the winner takes all title-for-title match in a perfect world, this battle to determine the ace of Evolve’s nascent women’s division is A-OK by me! Especially considering this show’s broadcast on the WWE Network, where the women’s revolution first took hold.

Blackheart is still campaigning as I write this for the match to be made a full-on no disqualification match instead of Evolve’s usual relaxed grudge match rules and if she does... Brandi best watch out, because the Ballsy Badass don’t mess around!

Babatunde gets an appetizer that may be more than he bargained for as he faces off with the Unwanted’s Colby Corino. Let’s face it, folks, Babatunde is going to win here, but Colby’s got nearly as many tricks up his sleeve as his dad had, and he’s going to make the Polish giant pay for every inch of ground he takes.

It’s a four-way fray as Curt Stallion, Stephen Wolf, Sean Maluta, and Harlem Bravado go at it. All four men are looking to make their impact made, and Harlem in particular seems to be on the bubble— a loss here might mean this is the last Evolve weekend we see the Globetrotter wrestling on for quite some time.

Anthony Greene tests himself and his new attitude against Josh Briggs in a special attraction match. Both men are in a bit of a holding pattern right now, with Briggs waiting for his scheduled match against Austin Theory in September and Greene looking for big wins to establish himself deep on the Evolve roster.

Evolve 132 (Sunday, July 14, at 7PM Eastern)

Matt Riddle stays returned long enough to face a man he hand-picked for Evolve, Curt Stallion. Riddle scouted Stallion early, but the two men only faced off twice in the indies, and never once in singles action. Now that Curt has started panning out exactly as the King of Bros thought he would, he returns to hand him his biggest challenge yet. This is gonna be a hoot!

It’s a weird flavor of dream tag team match as Austin Theory teams with Arturo Ruas to take on the superteam of Josh Briggs and Orange Cassidy. I... what? How? Ruas is signed to NXT and Orange is with AEW, how... is this even allowed?! And... why exactly are Briggs and Cassidy teaming? Austin and Arturo I get, same part of the alphabet, both cocky heels, but the Josh & Orange Connection, like...

I’m not against it, and the match’ll be great, but this is wonderfully, delightfully, impossibly 2019 pro wrestling at its finest!

JD Drake takes on WWN Icon and Evolve original AR Fox. Both titles will be on the line if Drake beats Theory at Evolve 131, and this is gonna be a beautiful contest, folks. Two men that are most comfortable in vastly different styles— Fox a flyer, JD a hard-hitting big man— but whom are versatile enough to keep up with anyone in any style going head-to-head? In a first-time-ever matchup, no less?!

The Unwanted’s campaign against Babatunde continues as Joe Gacy gets a shot. While Colby stands little chance of actually upsetting the Polish giant, the Unwanted Maniac might just be able to put him away, given his unorthodox and violent wrestling style.

Plus more that won’t be set until after the events of Evolve 131! Anthony Henry, Leon Ruff, Anthony Greene, Brandi Lauren, Shotzi Blackheart, Stephen Wolf, Sean Maluta, Harlem Bravado, and more will be on the show!

Like what you read?

Well mosey on over to...

(checks notes)


Yes, folks, this month, I’m not just directing you to WWNLive (where you can subscribe to Club WWN to get access to the stream for Evolve 132), but to WWE Network, which will be, for the first time ever, broadcasting Evolve 131 loud and proud! Be sure to come right back here to Cageside Seats to hang out in the live thread while you watch the shows!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats