5/19 EVOLVE 104 REPORT from Summit, Ill.: Riddle vs. Strickland, Keith Lee vs. James Drake, Theory vs. DJZ, A.R. Fox, Castro, Spade, Flex, more


May 19, 2018
Summit, Ill. at Summit Park District
Aired on WWNLive
Report by Butch Bowers (@teamshrink), PWTorch correspondent

This should be an interesting show.  With Zach Saber Jr.’s leaving and Keith Lee’s imminent departure, there will be several new faces trying to earn attention.  

(1) AR Fox (w/The Skulk) vs. Zachary Wentz. This is Wentz’s first match on the evolve roster and the announcers played up what a big deal it would be for him to win.  This was a good match. It was a little sloppy in spots, but the crowd was really into it.  Wentz looked good and I’m sure he’ll hang around a while.  They went about 20 minutes before Fox won with a Foxcatcher.  

After the match, Skulk member Tommy Mazerati cut a promo and made and open challenge to the back.. The challenge was answered by Josh Briggs!  Briggs squashed Mazerati in about 10 seconds. Mazerati was mocked by the Skulk until they eventually helped him to the back.

(2) Tracy Williams vs. Dominic Garrini (w/Stokely Hathaway). This is the revenge match after Garrini hit Williams with a low blow after Hathaway fired him during the last show.  The match started with Hathaway cutting a promo saying that they would be fighting by “Catchpoint rules:” no punches, 3 rope breaks, a twenty count out of the ring.  They went back and forth, with Garrini cheating on Hathaway’s interference.  The match ended when Williams caught Garrini in an armbar.  They teased Williams fighting the rest of Catchpoint, but they eventually all went to the back.  Kind of a let-down finish to an average match.

(3) Matt Knicks & Chris Castro & Isaias Velazquez vs. J.Spade & Bu Ku Dao & Jonny Flex. This match is part of the Freelance vs. Wildkats series.  The Freelance guys (Knicks, Castro, & Velazquez) got a big pop and were clearly the hometown favorites.  The announcers played up the rivalry between the two promotions. An entertaining match with everything from comedy spots to high flying moves.  Freelance went over on a straight pin by Castro on Flex.  The crowd was in this one the whole way.

(4) Anthony Henry vs. Stevie Fierce. Henry drew some pretty good heal heat at the start.  This is a continuation of a feud that’s been going on in Freelance, and the crowd was definitely into it.  They fought like two guys that don’t like each other.  A decent match, but nothing special.  Henry went over with an unprettier followed by the pin.  

After the match, they announced a match with two students of A.R. Fox’s. Before they could start, Austin Theory and Priscilla ran in and beat them down.  They cut a promo and called out DJZ to fight RIGHT NOW!

(5) WWN Championship: Austin Theory (with Priscilla Kelly) vs. DJZ. This was a really good match with both guys doing some excellent spots.  They brawled outside the ring early, but eventually got back and worked several false finishes.  DJZ got pinned after a low blow by Priscilla after clearly being in front most of the match.  Theory drew excellent heat after the match.  This definitely looks like it could be a good feud for the future. I’m not sure why they ran it in the middle, because it sure seemed like it would have made a good main event.

(6) EVOLVE Tag Team Championship: Chris Dickinson & Jaka (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. The End. This is a continuation of a long feud and these guys started brawling before the bell even rang.  They brawled all over the arena. I’m not sure a single chair was left standing.  Brutal match with chairs, barricades, and billy clubs all in play.  Jaka got the pin after a top-rope dive. I like both of these teams.  The End definitely looks like they’re ready to move up to a bigger promotion. After the match, they went to intermission.

(7) Four Way Freestyle:  Darby Allin vs. Trey Miguel vs. Myron Reed vs. Snoop Strikes. It sounded like the crowd was still at intermission because there was total silence as the teams were introduced.  Or maybe, since Miguel and Reed are new, no one reacted to them.  Darby Allin got a little more reaction as he returns from injury.  Very fast-paced match with lots of crazy moves.  Snoop Strikes looked great in this match and Trey Miguel had a fine debut.  The match ended when Allin submitted Reed. 

After the match, Candy Cartwright came to the ring saying that “Jarek is coming.”  Darby looked upset and left the arena.  

(8) Keith Lee vs. James Drake. This is the “hoss battle” of the show.  It was a pretty slow start with various tests of strength, but then the two big guys put on a luchador-style set that was really impressive for their size.  Unfortunately, after that it was just big men taking turns punching and chopping one another.  I’ve a Keith Lee fan, but I didn’t think this was one of his better matches.  It definitely checked the “hoss” box, though.  It seemed like the match went too long. The crowd kind of tuned out towards the end.  Lee went over with the Ground Zero.

(9) Matt Riddle vs. Shane Strickland. They announced this as a non-title match.  Not surprisingly, Riddle came out to a nice pop and the “Bro” chant.  They started off in a fast-paced technical match.  The announcers spent some time saying that Riddle is unpopular among the other wrestlers in the locker room, which was interesting.  Riddle sold that his left arm was injured and did a cool one-armed suplex.  They were definitiely setting up the injury to be an issue for tomorrow’s Keith Lee match.  Strickland worked the arm for the entire match.  Riddle won by DQ when Strickland wouldn’t break a submission when Riddle was on the ropes. Strickland continued to beat him down after the match. He trapped the arm in a chair and leapt off the top rope onto it.  The announcers pointed out that none of the other wrestlers came out to save Riddle.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, it was a decent show.  Nothing earth-shattering, but certainly entertaining and a nice set up for tomorrow’s 105 show.

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