RADICAN’S 4/22 EVOLVE 82 REPORT: Lee vs. O’Reilly, Page vs. Allin Last Man Standing match

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


APRIL 22, 2017

Trevin Adams and Timothy Barr opened the show. Lenny Leonard isn’t announcing tonight. They introduced WWN Champion Matt Riddle, who came out to a big applause. The ring mic seemed to be on the low side. Riddle said now that he’s the champion, he has to face everyone. Riddle said he has to face Tim Thatcher, who is someone he’s never beaten. He said the only way to start defending his title the right way was to defend it against Trashy Tim.

Stokely Hathaway came out with a young lady and told Riddle not to call him by that name. He said after tonight he would be managing the WWN Champion. Hathaway said Thatcher had no problem opening the show because if he had his way he’d open every show and get the hell out of there.

(1) WWN Champion Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher (w/Stokely Hathaway). Thatcher dominated a lot of the action. He worked over Riddle’s leg and ankle. At one point Riddle broke out of a cross arm breaker with a sit out powerbomb. The crowd fired up big for Riddle’s comeback attempts during the match, but Thatcher cut each off them off. Thatcher countered bro to sleep into a Fujiwara arm bar. Riddle countered it into the bromission and it was good for the win. Thatcher tapped out almost instantly. This was a good match, but it never went into third gear.

Winner: Matt Riddle to retain the WWN Championship

Star rating: (***1/2)

Hathaway got on the mic after the match and glared at Thatcher. They glared at each other and Thatcher went to the back. He said Thatcher wrestles while Riddle bangs out with the fans. He told Riddle he should be like Tim. Riddle said he doesn’t hang out with fans because it’s his job, he does it because it’s fun. He then asked for his music and the fans chanted bro as Hathaway smiled at him. I don’t know what they were going for with that exchange, but it didn’t make a lot of sense.

(2) Austin Theory vs. ACH. They had some nice fast paced counter exchanged dying the early going. Theory caught ACH with a drop kick, but ACH fired back with one of his own a short time later. Theory was in control; but ACH cut him off and hit a running kick from the apron to the floor and the fans chanted his name. ACH targeted Theory’s neck and hit a swinging neck breaker. ACH went for a slingshot, but Theory countered it and eventually hit a standing moonsault for a 2 count. They did a cool spot where Theory rolled through on ACH into a destroyer for a 2 count. Theory countered ACH in the coroner at one point and got him up on his shoulders before spinning him and hitting a powerbomb variation for a 2 count. They went back and forth and ACH countered Theory and hit a brain buster for the win. The match was just getting going when ACH got the win unexpectedly with a brain buster. The first half was a bit slow at times, but this picked up nicely down the stretch.

Winner: ACH

Star rating: **3/4

Drew Galloway came out next to boos mixed with some applause. Galloway got on the mic and the fans booed. He said he’s finished with EVOLVE. He said he’s been disrespected after giving everything to this company. He said he had been screwed by the company time after time from losing his title with his foot under the bottom rope to not tapping out to Matt Riddle. He said he didn’t have to be here and he was only there before for the greater good of the company. He said he was only here to burn EVOLVE to the ground.

He told the ref he knows he’s been told to screw him tonight. He said they’re friends and it’s them and not D.A. Brewer. He said tonight he would make Zack Sabre Jr. quit the business. He told Brewer they’re friends, but he can’t trust him. He then nailed Brewer with a big headbutt. He said he’s not going to have a wrestling match. He challenged Sabre to come out and fight him like a man.

Sabre came to the ring and they went right at it with no ref. They went to the floor and Galloway hit a sling shot on Sabre into the bottom of the ring on the floor. The fans fired up as they went back and forth on the floor. Galloway slapped Sabre hard across the face and he fired back and mounted a comeback. Galloway went for a two hand choke slam, but Sabre got a triangle. Sabre transitioned the hold when Galloway tried to lift him up. Sabre got a double arm submission, but Ethan Page and The Gatekeepers ran down. Page hit a powerbomb on Sabre.

Page taunted Sabre with EVOLVE Championship. He put it in front go Galloway, who went to the back and got a sledgehammer. The Gatekeepers stood in the entranceway to block help from coming down. Page held Sabre. Keith Lee bulldozed through The Gatekeepers and glared at everyone in the ring. Everyone left, but Sabre went after Flex Rumblecrunch and used his feet to snap his arm. Lee smiled at Sabre and put the EVOLVE Championship on his shoulder.

Lee got on the mic and said Lee and Galloway weren’t in the mood to play. He said he doesn’t know what about him drove them away. He said he’s a friend fellow, which caused the fans to chant friendly fellow. He said he wanted to welcome Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly got a big pop coming out for his return to EVOLVE. He hasn’t been in the coming since EVOLVE 6.

(3) Keith Lee vs. Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly hit a flurry of strikes and kicks on Lee capped off with a slap to the face. O’Reilly blocked a kick from Lee and got a knee bar, but Lee managed to get the ropes. O’Reilly charged at Lee and he caught him and tossed him like a rag doll and the fans chanted for Lee. O’Reilly grabbed a leg submission, but Lee got to the ropes quickly. Lee taunted O’Reilly and he mounted a comeback, but Lee wouldn’t go down. O’Reilly finally took Lee down with a combination of strikes capped by a leg sweep. O’Reilly continued to have a hard time getting on track against Lee, as they played up his size advantage. O’Reilly finally took Lee down after getting him on a knee and then connecting with a knee to the jaw and the fans applauded. They both began trading. Lee no sold a clothesline and wiped him out with one of own. OMG! The fans went nuts with both men down on the mat.

Lee ended up sitting on the floor and O’Reilly nailed him with a double knee strike off the apron. Lee no sold a missile drop kick and hit a shoulder tackle. He followed up with a one hand slam for a near fall, but O’Reilly kicked out at the last second! Lee slowly climbed the ropes. O’Reilly got up and nailed him with a running kick. O’Reilly kicked Lee on the junk and the red called for the bell. The fans booed.

Lee got on the mic and couldn’t get his words out. He said the match wouldn’t end due to an accidental kick to the people’s anaconda. The match restarted and O’Reilly jumped Lee and nailed him with a series of kicks. Lee kicked out of a cover and the fans chanted Anaconda. O’Reilly got an arm bar, but Lee managed to roll into the ropes. Lee fired back and hit the spirit bomb for a near fall! Lee sold his leg and had a hard time getting up. O’Reilly eventually got the win with a brain buster. This was a really good match. I wasn’t a fan of the restart and the finish, but man was this great otherwise.

Winner: Kyle O’Reilly

Star rating: (***3/4)

(4) EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Fred Yehi & Tracy Williams vs. Jaka & Chris Dickinson. Yehi went for a foot stomp early on Jaka and he got his foot out of the way. That was clever showing that both men know each other being stablemates in Catch Point. Yehi finally hit a knee stomp to get the upper hand. Williams got isolated as Jaka and Dickinson took turns working them over. Yehi got the tag and went to work on Jaka. The action broke down and Yehi hit a footstool off the top on Jaka before eventually grounding him with a double drop kick. The announcers hammered home that Yehi and Williams had been working together in the ring illegally for a long time. Dickinson got the tag and wild. Both teams went back and forth as the pace really picked up. Yehi finally caught Dickinson with a Koji clutch. Williams had Jaka in a cross face. They then switched opponents and applied the same submission. Dickinson countered Williams with a Liger bomb and Yehi let go of his submission to make the save! Dickinson went for a piledriver on the apron on Williams, but Yehi nailed him with a running kick. Jake suddenly ran between them as they went at it on the apron and went flying over Williams with a dive through the ropes. Holy crap! Yehi took the death trap from Dickinson and Jaka, but he kicked out.

The fans didn’t really react to that near fall. Yehi managed to tag in Williams, who ran wild go boos. Dickinson finally hit the pazuzu bomb for the win! This was a bit slow to start, but it got going nicely during the second half of the match. Dickinson and Jaka remain undefeated in EVOLVE.

Winners: Chris Dickinson & Jaka to become the new EVOLVE Tag Team Champions.

Star rating: ***1/4

After the match all four members of Catch Point shook hands. Larry Dallas with The Big C came out to boos. Dallas said he had he scoop of the century. He said according to his sources in the back, Hathaway is in discussion with Williams to become the agent of Catch Point. Williams acted like Dallas was crazy. Hathaway came out and yelled at Dallas. Williams left the ring and Hathaway followed him. Yehi then attacked The Bjg C. He then mule kicked Dallas. The fans chanted thank you Yehi. Yehi hit a German suplex and the fans chanted one more time. Yehi hit another German suplex. The announcers said Dallas was a human that had been attacked. Trevin said it was well deserved. Dallas took a third German. Yehi nailed Dallas with a running kick as the fans applauded.

They rolled up Larry Dallas in the ring mat and carried him away.

The announcers set the stage for the Last Man Standing match better Darby Allin and Ethan Page.

Darby Allin came out for the main event with a body bag. This has been one of the more compelling storylines in EVOLVE over the last year. Ethan Page came out with a shovel. Only Blaster McMassive was with Page.

(5) Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page (w/Blaster McMassive) in a Last Man Standing match. Allin head a flying headbutt off the top to the VIP stage on Page. They brawled all over the building and Page took control. He hit a slam with a chair on Allin, but he got up at 6. Allin finally mounted a comeback and hit a trust fall with a chair off the top to the fall onto Page and McMassive. Page came up bleeding. Page went after Allin with the shovel and Allin actually did a springboard flip to avoid it. He then tossed his chair at Page. Allin slipped coming off the turnbuckles and Page hit a powerbomb and a package piledriver. Page picked up Allin who looked to be out of it and nailed him with the shovel. Allin did a crazy flip bump for that spot.

Allin appeared to be in a ton of pain and held his arm. The ref tried to stop the bleeding on it, but Page put Allin in the body bag. Page dumped some tacks into the bag and zipped it up before giving Allin a powerbomb. Just brutal. Austin Theory ran down to help after Page stopped the 10 count and teases putting cuffs on Allin. Page ended up hitting him off the apron to the floor. Pricilla Kelly came down to the ring and Page turned his attention to her. Allin had time to recover and he charged at Page, but got backdropped into Kelly. Page powerbombed Allin through a chair. Page piled a bunch of chairs on Allin and hit him with several chair shots. Theory ran down to help, but Page nailed him with a spinning Dwayne. He put Theory on top of Allin and the chairs with Pricilla Kelly. He put his foot on top of the pile and the ref counted to 10. Page posed with the shovel before leaving.

Winner: Ethan Page

Star rating: (***) – Allin took a lot of crazy bumps and it’s becoming worrisome that he’s allowed to work this style of a regular basis in EVOLVE. All it takes is one mistake to end his career. The match was very one-sided and Page just kept punishing Allin when it was clear the match was over and he wasn’t getting up. The crowd fell flat for most of the second half of the match.

If this is designed to actually do something with Ethan Page and have him win a big match, I’m all for it. If this is another big push of Page only for him to fall short of winning the EVOLVE Championship, this will feel like a waste.

After the match, Gabe Sapolsky came down and checked on Allin. The fans changed for Allin and he eventually got up and was helped to the back.

Overall thoughts: (7.0) – There were no bad matches on this show, but it dragged in parts. The matches were mostly in the three star range with O’Reilly-Lee being the best match on the show. Lee is getting a big push and him making the save for Sabre during his brawl with Galloway, who was joined by Page and The Gatekeepers was a really cool moment.

The Page-Allin Last Man Standing was good, but it went on a bit too long and was very one-sided. Hopefully this builds Page up for a run with the EVOLVE Championship because Allin winning this feud, especially during WrestleMania weekend, would have made for a great moment. If this catapults Page, it’s a great move. Thumbs up show. As a whole it was an entertaining two plus hours of wrestling. Larry Dallas getting killed by Yehi was great as well.


Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com

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