The Technician and The Tiger: McNEILL previews WWNLive’s EVOLVE 80 iPay-Per-View! (w/ Wrestling History Lesson)

Zack Sabre, Jr. (art credit Matt Charlton & Sam Gardiner)


By Pat McNeill. PWTorch Columnist


Wake the pets and call the neighbors. It’s time for our FloSlam pay-per-view preview column!

DISCLAIMER: Projections are made by myself and for myself with absolutely no assistance from Gabe Sapolsky or Sal “Rhymes With Amway” Hamaoui. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up, and the points don’t count. No one knows the contents of these projections, but I, in my divine and mystical way, will ascertain the finishes to these matches despite not being caught up on my Evolve shows on FloSlam. Some of our departing contestants will receive a supply of Wizard air fresheners. Light, fresh fragrances in aerosol, solid and wick air fresheners. Wizard, the natural way to freshen your home. Remember, this is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing.

Why preview this show? Well, of all the WWNLive events airing during WrestleMania weekend, which one are you most likely to see? That’s right. The one that airs tonight and isn’t going against the Hall of Fame, NXT Takeover or ROH’s Supercard Of Hardy. And let’s be honest. The lineup is loaded. Plus, nobody is injured yet. There are guys working eight or nine different shows this weekend, and some of them will be dragging by the time FIP’s Brother Matt’s Broken Tailgate Party hits the airwaves.

Before we get to our picks, let’s do today’s Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s what we do. On March 15th, 1997, Extreme Championship Wrestling held its annual “Hostile City Showdown” event at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia. On that show, The Eliminations defended the ECW World Tag Team Titles against The Dudley Boyz. Good times. Joey Styles had the call.

Ten years ago, Total Nonstop Action wrestling was a completely different promotion than what Impact Wrestling is presenting in 2017. Here’s an example. On March 11, 2007, TNA Wrestling held its annual “Destination X” pay-per-view in Orlando, Florida. That show featured a dream match of sorts as former WWE champion Kurt Angle battled former WCW champion Scott Steiner. Mike Tenay & Don West had the call.

As your free gift for viewing this column, let’s take you back to April 2, 2016 and the “WWN Mercury Rising 2016” event in Dallas, Texas. The opening match here saw Chris Hero battle Zack Sabre Jr. No, really. Lenny Leonard & Rob Naylor had the call.

Enough of that. Now on with the projections!

Austin Theory vs. Ethan Page: Yes, WWE will have scouts in attendance at all the major shows this weekend. They will be taking a long look at young Mr. Theory. They should also have their eye on All Ego. Projection? Page wins with the Package Piledriver

Jason Kincaid vs. Jaka: Last month at Evolve 79, Jaka had what some consider his breakout match against Jeff Cobb. Kincaid has been working the undercard on these shows and hasn’t really peaked yet. Projection? Mr. Kincaid hits the epilogue and scores the upset victory to set up tomorrow’s six-man tag team match.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Chris Dickinson: After almost 600 days as Evolve champion, Timothy Thatcher is back at the middle of the card. Dickinson is a member of Catch Point and as good a person as anyone for the British Messiah to face tonight. Projection? Thatcher by submission with the Fujiwara Armbar.

Ricochet vs. Keith Lee: This match will either be a classic or a mistake. Keith Lee can go, and he is incredibly agile, but he can’t match King Ricochet in an aerial war. Projection? Keith finally wins with an old-fashioned powerslam.

Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle: Last month’s matchup in Queens ended with Riddle winning by referee stoppage when Galloway could no longer defend himself. The Chosen One took offense to that finish and attacked Riddle after the match. Projection? One way or another, this is Riddle’s weekend. Another intense match, and Matt is victorious with the Bromission.

Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi vs. Michael Elgin & Donovan Dijak (Evolve Tag Team Titles): This should be quite a matchup, to say the least. Happy birthday to me. The question is, would Gabe Sapolsky put the Evolve Tag Team Titles on Elgin & Dijak, knowing that neither of them are scheduled to be on the New York shows next month? Projection? Actually, Gabe WOULD do that. I just don’t think it happens tonight. Yehi submits Dijak with a Koji Clutch

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. ACH (Evolve Heavyweight Title Match): We have another collision of styles here. Given everything Sabre still has coming this weekend, my choice would be for Mr. Hardie to Make Sabre Look Strong. Projection? The champ retains with a Sabre Driver in a match we’ll still be talking about…tomorrow, anyway.

Aftermath: We go to Evolve 81 on Friday (same venue), where Sabre defeats Michael Elgin in the main event, and Yehi upsets Riddle in the semi main. Then the Bro Of All Bros captures the WWN Unified Title on Saturday night while Sabre successfully defends the Evolve belt against Mark Haskins. I expect to be in a wrestling coma by that point. Join us, won’t you?

Pat McNeill of Greenville, SC. has been a Torch columnist since February 2001. He’d take Cleveland to beat Chicago in tonight’s big NBA game. You know, if gambling were legal.

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