RADICAN’S 3/30 EVOLVE 80 REPORT – Riddle vs. Galloway, Lee vs. Ricochet, more

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


MARCH 30, 2017

Drew Galloway interrupted Lenny Leonard at the beginning of the show. He said he only trusted himself to get the job done of introducing the show. He then welcomed everyone to the WWNLive Experience. He said this is not WrestleMania week. He said it’s the week every year the most passionate fans in the world meet to talk about what they love, wrestling. He said this is not mania week, this is wrestling week. The fans chanted wrestling week. Galloway said he started a crusade last year. He said it was us vs. them. He said the last obstacle he had to overcome was Matt Riddle. The fans chanted bro. Galloway said nobody would understand what it takes to be the franchise player for EVOLVE. He said if Riddle became the face of the company, it would ruin it. Riddle’s music played and he screamed and yelled at Riddle to get into the ring.

(1) Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle. Riddle got into the ring and went face-to-face with Galloway and smile. Galloway nailed him with a huge headbutt and went to work on him. They battled on the floor and Galloway eventually ended up hitting a big slam on the apron. The fans tried to rally behind Riddle and he fired back. Riddle set Galloway up on a table and went for a knee strike of the apron, but Galloway popped up and tripped him. Galloway set Riddle up and hit a piledriver off the apron through the table set up on the floor and the fans went nuts. Holy s—t! He eventually rolled Riddle into the ring, but only got a 2 count. Galloway hit the future shock DDT and a short piledriver. He made the cover and it was good for the win. WOW!

Winner: Drew Galloway

Star rating: (***) – This was a truly dominant win for Galloway heading into the WWN Championship Elimination match at the WWN Supershow.

After the match, Galloway set Riddle up against the ropes, but Chris Dickinson and Jaka made the save.

The ring announcer screwed up and almost announced Timothy Thatcher as the EVOLVE Champion and Stokely Hathaway got in her face before his match with Chris Dickinson began.

(2) Chris Dickinson vs. Timothy Thatcher (w/Stokely Hathaway). They went back and forth trading forearms and chops. Dickinson dropped Thatcher and hit a big kick to the back, but Thatcher quickly grabbed him and went to work on his ankle on the mat. Dickinson fired back and got a reverse Boston crab. He then turned it into a pendulum. He walked Thatcher to the corner and began running his head into the turnbuckle. He then dropped him down and hit a curb stomp. They went back and forth. Dickinson eventually hit a German for a 2 count. They exchanged some big chops and forearms. Thatcher got a sleeper. He hit a Judo throw and held onto the sleeper on the mat for the win.

Winner: Timothy Thatcher

Star rating: (**1/2) – This was fine for what it was. There wasn’t much to sink your teeth in here, as both guys had some good hard-hitting exchanges, but the match was flat at times and ended suddenly.

Joanna Rose said the match would now be a Thee-Way FreeStyle match. It was supposed to be Jaka vs. Jason Kinkaid. Music played and Lio Rush came out to join the match. He was scheduled to return at EVOLVE 81 against Drew Galloway.

(3) Jaka vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Lio Rush in a Three-Way Freestyle match. Rush set up for a dive on Kincaid during the early going, but Jaka cut him off. Kincaid dragged Rush to the floor and acted like he didn’t want to fight him. Jaka then wiped them both out with a splash over the top to the floor. Kincaid hit a slingshot ace crusher variation on Jaka. He went at it with Rush near the apron a short time later. Rush got a Kincaid in the vertical suplex position, but Jaka pulled him down and suplexed both men back into the ring! All three men exchanged chops. Rush and Kincaid decided to work against Jaka, but Rush turned on Kinkaid and took him down. Jaka then wiped Rush out with a wheel kick for a 2 count. Rush hit a springboard poison hurricanrana on Kincaid a short time later. He went up top, but Jaka cut him off. Rush joined them up top, but Kincaid ended up hitting a double super hurricanrana and the fans fired up. He made the cover on Jaka for a 2 count. He got another 2 count when he covered Rush and the fans fired up. Rush and Kincaid blocked a double choke slam from Jaka, but he ended up bouncing off the ropes and he nailed them with a double clothesline. Rush and Kincaid sent Jaka to the floor with a double superkick. . Rush caught Kincaid with Rush hour. He wiped out Jaka with a dive through the ropes. He then hit the dragon’s claw frog splash for the win.

Winner: Lio Rush

Star rating: (***1/4) – The match was a bit dull at the start, but they built up to some nice exchanges between all three men before Rush got the win at the end. It was a nice surprise for the crowd for Rush to appear on the show.

Kincaid seemed to go into a trance after the match while holding his beads. The ref tried to get him to leave. Kincaid bowed to the ref before leaving.

(4) Black, Blond, and Neon (Façade & Michael Richards Blaze w/Danni) vs. The Gatekeepers (w/Ethan Page). I’m going to use The Gatekeepers names from CHIKARA, as they haven’t been named in EVOLVE yet. Blaster McMassive shook off Façade’s offense before wiping him out. He tagged in Flex Rumblecrunch, who was at it against Blaze. Rumblecrunch caught a kick and hit a big choke slam The Gatekeepers hit a tandem elbow drop off the top on Blaze for the win.

Winners: The Gatekeepers – This was a one-sided match. It was fine for what it was.

Ethan Page got on the mic after the match. The fans booed. He said this show was a part of the ear of ego. He said he was demanding to be put in the EVOLVE title picture. Page called out his opponent. He said he would get this over quick and cause more chaos.

(5) Ethan Page (w/The Gatekeepers) vs. Austin Theory. Leonard said Page was on a singles roll in EVOLVE. He mentioned that Theory is only 19 years old. Theory took Page down and hit a slingshot stomp. Page fired back and caught Theory with a big forearm up top before slamming him down to the mat. Leonard mentioned that Page and The Gatekeepers had put Darby Allin in a body bag at EVOLVE 79. Page went after Theory’s leg a short time later. Theory fired back and hit a kick, but Page was right back on the attack. He tried to slam Theory off the top to the mat again, but Theory fought him off and eventually hit a summersault dropkick. Theory favored his leg, but managed to catch Page with a tope. He then hit a standing SSP for a 2 count. Theory hit a running blockbuster a short time later, but Page kicked out at the last second. Page hit a clothesline from the apron. He then hit the RK-Ego for a near fall. They went back and forth and Page sent Theory into the ropes before nailing him with a kick. He nailed him with a big running kick followed by the spinning Dwayne for the win.

Winner: Ethan Page

Star rating: (**3/4) – This match did a good job of serving two purposes. It didn’t hurt Theory to lose a competitive match to Page, as Page is being set up for bigger and better things. The match also made Theory look good, as he was able to go toe-to-toe with Page, who has been on a roll lately in EVOLVE.

Page got on the mic after the match. He got on his knees to be on the same level as Theory. He called him a young boy and said congratulations for driving all the way to Orlando to have his big moment only to lose. He said he was guessing he wanted Page to help him up so the fans could chant for him. Page said the spotlight will always be on him. He told Theory to get out of his ring. The fans booed. Page said if EVOLVE won’t grant him his title match, he would gladly continue to chaos on this weekend. Page threatened to ruin EVOLVE’s relationship with Progress Wrestling.

Pricilla Kelly came down to the ring. Page asked who she was. He asked Kelly who she is. She looked a Page and touched his check. She then began circling around him. Kelly left the ring. A bunch of men dressed in scrubs with red streaks that looked like blood on them came to the ring. Their faces were painted like Darby Allin. They were carrying a body bag. They rolled the body bag into the ring. They then got into the ring and stood in front of Page and The Gatekeepers. They dragged the body to an upright position. They went to open it, but Page began attacking the men in scrubs with The Gatekeepers. They launched one of the men in scrubs over the top to wipe out all the other men in scrubs. The Gatekeepers lifted the body bag up and slammed it down to the mat. They then lifted the body bag up and tossed it onto the pile of men on the floor. It appeared whoever was in the bag came close to hitting his head on the guardrail. Page asked for The Gatekeepers to roll the bag into the ring. They propped the body bag in the corner. Rumblecrunch began to unzip the bag. Allin was inside the bag. He popped out of the bag and went to town on Page and The Gatekeepers with a pipe. Allin asked for the mic. He called out Page’s name. He told Page to stare at his eyes. He said there will never be an era of ego as long as his heart is still beating. He told Page to do something about it. He challenged Page to an Anything Goes match at EVOLVE 81. Allin said he would feel alive tomorrow.

Angle reaction: I liked the angle, but it dragged a bit and didn’t much of a reaction. The Gatekeepers and Page were out there a long time to set up Allin’s challenge. Allin is crazy for taking bumps like that in a body bag.

(6) Keith Lee vs. Ricochet – Keith Lee Trial Series match #3. Lee placed Ricochet up top and smiled after he backed away. Lee told Ricochet to bask in his glory and Ricochet collapsed into the corner. The fans started chanting for Lee. Lee brushed off a couple of dropkicks from Ricochet. The pace picked up as they went back and forth and Lee caught Ricochet with a dropkick as he came off the ropes and the fans fired up big time. Lee hit a huge tip toss that sent Ricochet into the corner and the fans fired up again. Lee hit another huge throw on Ricochet that sent him across the ring and the fans gasped. Ricochet fired back and hit a hurricanrana out of the corner. He tripped Lee into the turnbuckles a short time later and hit a 619 followed by a springboard uppercut. Lee rolled to the floor and Ricochet went for a flip dive but Lee caught him! Ricochet managed to get on the apron. He nailed Lee with a kick and wiped him out with a big inverted dive over the top. The fans fired up after that big spot. Ricochet struggled, but got Lee back into the ring. He made the cover, but Lee kicked out right at 2. They went back and forth off the ropes and Lee ran right through a clothesline before wiping out Ricochet with a shoulder tackle. Lee started out into the crowd before making the cover for a 2 count. Ricochet took at Lee’s leg and hit a short ace crusher followed by a running SSP for a 2 count. Both men were down as the fans applauded. Ricochet slid around Lee and hit a poison hurricanrana.

Ricochet went for the benadriller and the fans gasped, but Ricochet hit it! Lee stayed on his feet and Ricochet hit a pair of kicks. Lee went down to a knee and Ricochet hit an axe kick that sent Lee down for a near fall! Wow! The fans fired up as Ricochet went up top. It looked like Lee was supposed to get his knees up and he didn’t when Ricochet went for a SSP. Ricochet floated over Lee. They went back and forth and Lee hit a huge choke slam that left both men down on the mat. That was an awesome choke slam, but the previous spot seemed to take a bit of wind out of the match. They exchanged blows in the middle of the ring. Lee sent Ricochet down a couple of times. Lee waited for Ricochet to get back up. They went at it again in the middle of the ring. Lee no-sold a rolling elbow and hit a huge forearm and a clubbing blow. He then told Ricochet to bask in his glory. He hit a huge spirt bomb, but Ricochet kicked out! Lee sold shock and the fans fired up. Lee stepped on Ricochet’s chest before going into the corner. He laughed and began climbing the turnbuckles slowly. Lee got up top and went for a moonsault, but Ricochet got out of the way! Ricochet connected with a springboard 450, but Lee made a big kick out at 2. Ricochet went up top and hit SSP, but Lee kicked out again! The fans went nuts as Ricochet sold shock. Ricochet went up top again and hit another SSP, but Lee caught him by the throat. Lee went for a punch, but Ricochet hit a knee strike and a series of kicks. Ricochet went up top again and hit a 630! It was good for the cover.

Winner: Ricochet

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was an awesome match. They had a couple of awkward spots, but Ricochet had to hit everything in his arsenal to put away Lee. I thought it was a bit of an overkill at the end that Ricochet had to hit so many of his book moves to put Lee away.

(7) EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Catch Point (Fred Yehi & Tracy Williams) vs. Michael Elgin & Donovan Dijak. Elgin actually wrestled at EVOLVE 11, which I was unaware of. This is Dijak’s EVOLVE debut. Dijak tossed Yehi helicopter style over the top to the floor. Elgin then held Catch Point in place and Dijak nailed them with the Fosbury flop! Elgin hit a delayed vertical suplex on Williams a short time later. Dijak hit a standing flip senton on Williams for a 2 count. I hadn’t seen him do that before that I recall. Dijak went for a splash, but Williams got his knees up. Elgin quickly got the tag, but Williams hit a dragon screw on him. Yehi then got the hot tag and went to work on Elgin with some big chops. Yehi caught a kick from Dijak and made him stomp on Elgin’s hand. That was a fun spot playing on Yehi’s unorthodox hand stomps and foot punches. Yehi and Williams hit a combination missile dropkick/German combination on Elgin for a near fall. The fans fired up with Catch Point in control. Elgin and Williams went back and forth. Elgin countered a suplex from Williams right into a falcon arrow and both men were down. Dijak got the hot tag and ran wild. The action broke down and Elgin nailed Yehi with a big boot to knock him off the apron. Both teams continued to exchange until Dijak hit a springboard moonsault onto Williams for a near fall! Williams blocked feast your eyes and hit a dragon screw on Dijak. He got an ankle lock, but Dijak fought him off. Williams countered a choke slam attempt into a crossface, but Elgin broke it up with a superkick to Williams’s face. Elgin and Dijak hit a tandem powerbomb into a choke breaker on Williams, but Yehi made the save! Yehi took a combination of moves from Elgin and Dijak. Dijak fed Williams to Elgin for a super Elgin bomb. Elgin hit it and fed him to Dijak for a sit-out choke slam, but Williams kicked out. These near falls are getting ridiculous. Dijak fed Williams to Elgin, who hit a buckle bomb. Dijak went for feast your eyes, but Yehi broke it up. Elgin accidentally clotheslined Dijak when Yehi got out of the way.

Yehi then hit a code red on Elgin that fired up the crowd. Elgin rolled to the floor as the fans continued to go nuts. Catch Point isolated Dijak, who took a double team powerbomb. Dijak kicked out right into the crossface from Williams. Dijak tried to get to his feet, but Yehi kicked his legs out. He then held Elgin back and Dijak tapped out.

Winners: Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi to retain the EVOLVE Tag Team Championship

Star rating: (***1/2) – This took a while to get going and the crowd was flat, but once it broke down into a standard Texas Tornado style match, it got really good. I thought Dijak went overboard with the high-flying stuff here and some of the near falls were a bit much.

After the match, Larry Dallas got into the ring and said he was here to ask some tough questions. Jaka and Dickinson joined their Catch Point partners in the ring. Dallas asked why Riddle was in the back with a trainer when Catch Point was nowhere to be found. Dallas said deep down Fred didn’t want Matt to be healthy for their match tomorrow. He said it could also be three of them didn’t want Riddle to be healthy for the WWN Championship match on Sunday. Williams said they weren’t out there with Matt because they were getting ready for the tag match. Williams said Dallas doesn’t know where Riddle really is. Yehi said he hopes Riddle is ready and not injured for their match. Dallas had some muscle with him. Williams told Dallas nobody wants him on the shows. Dallas left the ring and Dickinson got on the mic. He asked Williams and Yehi when he would get a title shot with Jaka. Williams told them to focus on their other matches. Jaka got on the mic and said he knows their shot is coming. Dallas got back into the ring and said he’s a nationally syndicated journalist at Sirius XM. HE said he’s the straw that stirs the drink in EVOLVE. Dallas offered to help Kyle O’Reilly get his story out next month when he returns to EVOLVE. Lenny Leonard encouraged everyone to write someone at Sirius XM to get rid of Dallas.

(8) EVOLVE Champion Zack Sabre Jr. vs. ACH. ACH was out first. Sabre came out next to a good ovation. ACH sent Sabre to the floor during the early going and nailed him with a running kick from the apron to the floor. ACH got to the ropes a short time later to break an octopus hold attempt. Sabre then nailed his arm with a huge kick to get his hand off the bottom rope. Sabre tied up ACH in a nasty combination submission a short time later. ACH hit a big chop and Sabre put his hands behind his back. ACH hit another chop and Sabre went to his knees. ACH spit in Sabre’s face. Sabre got on top of him and began twisting his ankle around, but ACH managed to get to the ropes. Sabre went back to work on ACH’s arm and began twisting it around. He set it up on the mat and stomped down on it and ACH sold pain. ACH told Sabre to bring it and Sabre nailed him with a big kick to the chest. A light “F— you Sabre” started. ACH fired back and hit a flurry of offense capped by a sliding dropkick. The fans fired up with ACH in control. ACH hit a neck breaker over his knee for a 2 count. ACH went for a springboard, but Sabre caught him in a triangle. ACH was too close to the ropes and Sabre was forced to let go of the hold. Sabre hit a penalty kick and a half and half suplex for a near fall.

They went at it on the corner and Sabre nailed ACH with a huge slap. He then got a guillotine up top, but ACH dumped him to the mat. ACH then came off the top and hit a double stomp to Sabre’s back. ACH hit a huge clothesline and went for a suplex. They went back and forth and ACH slipped out of a pinning combination and hit a dead lift German with a bridge for a near fall! The fans applauded with both men down on the mat. Both men eventually got to their knees and began exchanging blows. Both men got to their feet and ACH hit a big slap to Sabre’s face. He grabbed Sabre and pulled back before hitting another big slap to Sabre’s face. Sabre fired back with a big slap of his own. Both men were slow to get up after that exchange. The fans were mixed in their support as chants for both men started and stopped. Sabre floated around ACH and got a guillotine choke. He let go and went for the PK, but ACH popped up and nailed him with a clothesline! He then hit a spinning brain buster, but Sabre kicked out at the last second. The fans fired up and ACH went for the midnight star, but he landed in a triangle from Sabre. That seems like such a cliché spot on the indies. ACH tried to lift Sabre, but Sabre floated over him and go a nasty double arm submission while on top of ACH’s back for the win!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the EVOLVE Championship

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was pedestrian during the early going, but both guys brought the intensity as the match progressed and built to a nice finish. Sabre brought the heat here with some nice hard-hitting exchanges and ACH looked really good during the second half of the match.

Sabre shook ACH’s hand after the match was over. He then asked for the mic. Once the music died down he got a mixed response from the fans. He said today was the first day of a busy week. He thanked the fans for coming. Sabre said independent pro wrestling is for everyone and anyone. He said tomorrow he had Elgin in a non-title match. He said his next title defense after that would be on Saturday against his old mate Mark Haskins. Elgin came down to the ring. He said if EVOLVE is for all wrestlers and fans alike. He asked if EVOLVE Championship matches are for anyone as well. Sabre began to respond, but Elgin laid him out with a spinning backfist. The fans booed. Sabre recovered and was helped to the back. Leonard said the Elgin-Sabre match had just gotten very interesting.

Overall thoughts: (7.5) – This felt very much like a setup show to set the pace for the rest of the EVOLVE/WWN offerings for the rest of the weekend. That being said the action was very good up and down the card. Lee-Ricochet and Sabre-ACH were both very good matches that were surrounded by several other good matches. The show left me looking forward to EVOLVE 81 to see Page vs. Allin and Sabre vs. Elgin in a potential EVOLVE Championship match. Thumbs up.


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