RADICAN’S EVOLVE 102 REPORT 4/5: Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Doom Patrol vs. The End, Keith Lee vs. Darby Allin, Ospreay vs. A.R. Fox

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


APRIL 5, 2018

(1) FIP Champion Anthony Henry vs. DJZ in a non-title match. DJZ won a solid back and forth opener with a roll through DDT. This snaps DJZ’s losing streak.

Winner: Austin Theory

Star rating: (**3/4)

Theory cut a promo after the match. He threw a tantrum and said he’s the future of the company. He said at EVOLVE 103 he would face Keith Lee, who is the WWN Champion. He asked Lee to put the title on the line. Henry said he’d put the FIP Championship on the line. He said they would do it in the opener tomorrow so everyone could see it.

(2) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Will Ospreay vs. A.R. Fox (w/The Crew) in a Non Title match. Fox’s crew got on the apron and distracted Ospreay to give Fox the upper hand. Fox’s posse celebrated on the outside. Ospreay fired back and then wiped out several members of Fox’s crew, but Fox caught him with a kick flip to the floor off the post. Fox hit a springboard code breaker for a near fall a short time later. Ospreay wiped out Fox and his entire crew with a space flying tiger drop and the entire crowd went nuts. Ayla distracted Ospreay later in the math and Fox cut him off up too and hit lo me in pain. He followed up with a 450, but Ospreay kicked out! Ospreay fired back and wiped out the crew with a dive to the floor. He then hit the Robinson special and the Os-cutter to get the win. This was really good and Ospreay overcame everything to get the win here. Hopefully they have a plan for him in EVOLVE this year because Fox has been really good with his new act.

Winner: Will Ospreay

Star rating: (****1/4)

The hosts of the Wrestlesplania podcast were introduce by the ring announcers.

(3) EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Doom Patrol (Jaka & Chris Dickinson w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. The End (Odinson & Parrow w/Drennen) vs. James Drake & Anthony Henry vs. Catch Point (Dominic Garrini & Tracy Williams w/Stokely Hathaway) in a Tag Team Scramble match. Either Dickinson or Jaka has to be pinned for the titles to change hands. Tags aren’t necessary in this match. The End took the match after hitting Hell on Earth on Henry. The story here was the implosion of Catch Point. Hathaway told Garrini to let Jaka pin him and he got down, but Williams broke up the pin. After the match, Drake wiped out the end with a chair. Jaka and Dickinson didn’t get pinned, so they are still champions.

Winners: Odinson & Parrow

Star rating: (***1/4) – disappointing to not see the champions involved in the finish here, especially during WM weekend.

(4) WWN Champion Keith Lee vs. Darby Allin. Allin went for a dive early, but Lee caught him. Lee went for a spirit bomb on the floor, but Allin slipped out and hit a tope and then a tope con Hilo to wipe out Lee. Allin went for a springboard back inside the ring, but Lee wiped him out with a pounce. Lee tossed Allin around the ring for several minutes. Allin fired back and hit a coffin drop on Lee’s back. He then hit an awkward code red variation on Lee. Lee fired back and told Allin to stay down before hitting a running crossbody for a near fall. Lee hit a big elbow and then a spirit bomb, it he didn’t make the cover. Allin crawled his way up Lee’s legs and eventually slapped him. Lee fired back with a flurry of blows and chops. He then hit ground zero for the win. This was really good.

Winner: Keith Lee

Star rating: (***3/4)

Lee got on the mic after the match. He agreed to a title vs. title match against FIP Champion Austin Theory. The promos have been hard to hear due to the echo on the mic.

Allin recovered and told Lee to keep kicking his ass. Lee dragged Allin up by his throat before letting go.

Allin was left alone in the ring and Candy Cartwright came out. Jarek 1:20 then ran into the ring and attacked Allin from behind. Jarek got on the mic and said he was taking a spot on the EVOLVE roster by eliminating everyone that’s above him. Several officials ran out to help Allin.

(5) Ring Kampf (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) vs. Sawa & Daisuke Sekimoto. Sawa and Sekimoto slapped each other before the match began. This is a huge match for Thatcher, who was heavily influenced by Sawa and BattleArts. Sawa and Thatcher kicked things off. WALTER and Sekimoto and WALTER then renewed their rivalry from WXW. Sekimoto and WALTER traded chops and you could see their chests turn deeper shades of red. They had another chop battle a short time later and Sekimoto obliterated WALTER with a clothesline. Sawa and Thatcher tagged in and Sawa caught him with a flurry of strikes. Sawa and Sekimoto hit stereo dragon screws a short time later on Ring Kampf. Sekimoto began working over Thatchers back and applied a Boston crab. Sawa baited WALTER and then put an arm submission on Thatcher before getting caught by the ref. Sawa discreetly kicked Thatcher over and over from the apron while Sekimoto kicked him inside the ring and the ref didn’t see it.

WALTER got the tag and cleaned house. WALTER and Sekimoto had another big strike exchange and Sekimoto got the better of it and hit a missile dropkick. They went at it again a short time later and they began obliterating each other with chops. Both men eventually did a double down and tagged out. Thatcher and Sawa went at it. Sawa hit some rapid fire kicks and strikes. Thatcher ducked a big punch and eventually got a Fujiwara armbar. Sawa got the octopus hold. WALTER tried to make the save and got put in the torture rack. Ring Kampf fired back with stereo sleepers. Ring Kampf ran into each other. Sekimoto hit a German on Sawa and Thatcher. He immediately apologized to Sawa. Saws rolled over onto Thatcher after a long time for a 2 count. WALTER got the tag and booted Sekimoto off the apron. Walter ducked a pinch from Sawa and hit a big clothesline for a near fall. Sawa ended up in the rear naked clutch from WALTER while Thatcher held Sekimoto back from making the save. Sawa eventually had to tap. This was really good, but the crowd just provided no atmosphere for the match. Ring Kampf gets a big win heading into their tag title match tomorrow.

Winners: Timothy Thatcher & WALTER

Star rating: (***3/4)

All four men shook hands after the match and posed for the crowd, who finally made some noise.

Stokely Hathaway came down to the ring. He said he and Thatcher go back. He said he’d give them 24 hours to back out of their title shot tomorrow or else Dickinson and Jaka would beat their ass. Darby Allin came out and grabbed the mic from Hathaway. He said he wanted WALTER. Walter tossed him out of the ring. Allin ran back in and took a big powerbomb.

(6) EVOLVE Champion Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Matt Riddle. Riddle is 0-3 in EVOLVE title matches. 11:00 Sabre had the advantage for the most part on the mat during the early going. Riddle fired back with a big running senton for a 2 count. Riddle had the upper hand and was dominating with strikes until Sabre blocked a kick and grabbed an angle lock. Sabre began working over Riddle’s ankle. Sabre began manipulating Riddle’s toes, but Riddle managed to fend him off with a couple of big chops. Sabre got the arm/leg combination submission that he best Riddle with at EVOLVE 86, but Riddle managed to get to the ropes. Sabre tried to strike with Riddle a short time later, but Riddle wiped him out with an up kick.

Sabre mounted Riddle and tried to get him in a submission, but Riddle countered it into a fisherman buster for a near fall. Riddle slipped out of an armbar and grabbed a cross-armbreaker. Sabre slipped out of it and got a grapevine ankle submission. Riddle managed to escape and he eventually hit a one-arm German. WOW! They went back and forth and both men were down after Riddle hit a big powerbomb. Sabre went for a bridging pin, but Riddle grabbed a choke. Sabre kicked out and got a bridging pin for a near fall. Sabre hit 2 PKs and got a pie of near falls. Sabre then grabbed a double leg submission and worked over one of Riddle’s ankles, but Riddle managed to crawl to the ropes.

Sabre and Riddle exchanged blows and Sabre kicked Riddle’s leg and then stood on his head and knee. Sabre continued to stomp on Riddle’s knee. Riddle hit a big slap and hit a rainmaker knee strike. Riddle hit bro to sleep and a German with a bridge for a 2 count. Riddle went for a senton off the top. Sabre caught him and went for a cross-arm breaker. Riddle has his hands clasped. Sabre then got it, but Riddle rolled on top of him for a 2 count. Sabre got the octopus hold. Riddle tried to counter, but Sabre got out of a tombstone and got the octopus again. Riddle got out of it and hit a Gotch tombstone for a near fall. Riddle went for the bromission and got a double leg submission. Riddle rolled through and got he bromission for the win! WOW!

Winner: Matt Riddle to become the new EVOLVE Champion

Star rating: (****1/4) – Fantastic match that was Riddle pull it out when it looked like Sabre really had him dominated on the mat.

The crowd sold shock at the outcome of the match. The fans applauded. Sabre sold disappointment ton the apron and the fans chanted for Sabre lightly. Sabre’s 404 Day reign is over. Sabre came back into the ring and honored the tradition of the former champion presenting the new champion with the belt in evolve. The fans applauded as Sabre kneeled in the ring. Sabre then offered a handshake. Riddle said no because he wanted a fist bump. Sabre did it and left the ring.

Riddle cut a promo and said he’s the new EVOLVE Champion. Riddle thanked he fans and did they make this possible. He said the fans made this happen and a big bro chant started.

Overall thoughts: (8.0): The mic issues hampered all of the promos on the show and the crowd wasn’t the best for a WrestleMania weekend show, but Ospreay vs. Fox and Riddle vs. Sabre were both great matches worth checking out on replay.

Email Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @sr_torch.

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