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MAY 20, 2018
LIVIONA, MICH. AT KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HALL
AIRED LIVE ON FITE.TV
REPORT BY BUTCH BOWERS (@teamshrink), PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Last night’s show set up some interesting storylines, let’s see how they play out…
(1) N8 Mattson & Orlando Christopher vs. The End
Mattson & Christopher won by disqualification after Drennen used the collapsible baton on Christopher. I had problems with Fite, so I only caught the very end of this match. I’m not quite sure what they’re doing with The End. I understand they’re trying to get the new guys over, but this ending doesn’t really help either team. They need to be monster heels.
WINNERS: Mattson & Christopher.
(2) Tracy Williams vs. Odinson
This is a continuation of the Hot Sauce vs. Catch Point feud. This was an okay, but not spectacular, match. Hot Sauce won by submission with a crossface after he reversed an F-10. I assume he’ll continue to feud with Catch Point.
WINNER: Hot Sauce.
(3) A.R. Fox (With the Skulk) vs. Myron Reed
This was a “present vs. future” match. Reed didn’t impress me last night, so I wasn’t thrilled to see him again in this match. However, he had great chemistry with Fox and they put on a really good match. Each guy did some great spots Fox did an over-the-top rope dive that was nuts. Fox finally went over with a pin after the Foxcather stunner, but the Reed really raised his stock tonight, and the Skulk put him over huge after the match.
(4) Fray! (Royal Rumble type match)
This started with J. Shade and Matt Del Ray. Boku was the first in, adding a second Wildkatz. A.C. Mattson, Johnny Flex, and Garrinni all came in at one minute intervals. Josh Briggs followed and did his monster bit, beating up Shade and pinning Mattson and Flex in squashes. Garrinni and Briggs squared off and Garrinni got Briggs out of the ring by pulling down the top rope. Garrinni submitted Shade leaving just him and Briggs. Briggs pounded Garrinni and picked up the win with a chokeslam. They’re definitely giving him the Strowman treatment.
(5) Zachary Wentz vs. DJZ
Another “Present vs. Future” match. This was the expected fat-paced technical match. They fought outside the ring for a while, with both guys doing guard-rail spots. Lots of action and a good match overall. There wasn’t a ton of crowd reaction, but I assume that’s because there’s really no storyline and Wentz didn’t really grab heel heat. Not surprisingly, DJZ went over with the Rolling Thunder, but Wentz looked good and they definitely established him as a guy worthy of a roster spot.
(6) Shane Strickland vs. Darby Allin
Shane started with a promo putting himself over and burying WWE. He told the crowd he broke Riddle’s arm last night and that he’ll re-injure Darby tonight. Kind of a slow start, but Strickland finally got around to the heel arm breaking that he showed with Riddle last night. Strickland won with an armbar after another “arm-breaking” stomp. This was a long, weirdly-paced match. Strickland abandoned the arm thing about halfway through. They were trying to keep heat on Strickland while protecting Allin, but it didn’t really work for me. I think they could have had Strickland go over much faster. Like last night, Candy Cartwright came out and mocked allin after the match. Also like last night, Allin looked sick and walked to the back.
This led to intermission. So far, it’s been a good show. The last match was the worst of the night, but not terrible. The crowd hasn’t been anywhere near as loud as last night, but the match quality is definitely better.
(7) Austin Theory (w/ Priscilla) vs. Trey Miguel
The last of the “Present vs. Future” matches. I thought Miguel looked great last night, so I’m interested to see how he does. (Note: Miguel needs a new entrance, ASAP!). This was an okay match, definitely a power vs. high-flyer style clash. Theory won after an Ataxia. Miguel missed an over-the-top rope spot that could have been bad, but Theory broke his fall a little and avoided disaster. He had a couple of other missed spots but he also had some pretty strong moments. I’m not sure he got over quite as well as the other new guys, but certainly a solid performance.
WINNER: Austin Theory.
After the match, A.R. Fox came out with the Skulk. After a failed attempt to engage Priscilla in dancing they teased a catfight, but the whole thing broke up pretty quickly.
(8) Tag Team Championship: Doom Patrol (Jaka & Dickinson w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. Workhorsemen (Drake & Henry)
The long-awaited rematch (almost a year!) finally happens. This match was pretty much as expected, with Drake working his Hoss gimmick and the other guys working a more traditional style. Doom Patrol worked Henry over for most of the match. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams came out to fire Henry up and stand in their corner. Hathaway broke up the hot tag to Drake, leading to Williams chasing him around the arena. Drake finally did get the tag and worked both heels to a near fall. There was lots of back-and-forth action afterwards in a really good old-school tag match. Doom Patrol eventually won with a Death Trap on Drake. This was an excellent match and the first to really get the crowd engaged with a standing ovation at the end. I sort of think Drake will get a singles push as the Keith Lee replacement.
WINNER: Doom Patrol.
(9) Keith Lee vs. Matt Riddle – EVOLVE Title match
Before the match, Austin Theory came out and challenged A.R. Fox to a Championship Match on 8/12 (Apparently he didn’t appreciate the dance invite to Priscilla?) Seemed odd and out of place…
This is the main event, with the departing (to WWE?) Keith Lee fighting the Champion who was injured last night. Surprisingly, Riddle didn’t come out in a sling or anything, although he was favoring his left arm and it was wrapped at the elbow. This was clearly the match the crowd came to see, and they seemed evenly split between to two wrestlers. They started with grappling, Matt selling the arm injury hard. Lee dominated and the announcers once again talked about how unpopular Riddle is in the locker room. Riddle made a comeback and worked a few submission attempts. After that, there was excellent back-and-forth with near finishes both ways. This was an excellent rendition of the “injured underdog overcoming the odds” storyline. Riddle eventually won after a kick to the back of Lee’s head, which was sort of a weak finish for such a great match.
After the match, Riddle called out Strickland. Shane came out with a chair. After a painfully long time, Strickland teased a fight and eventually said he wouldn’t fight Matt until the title was on the line. After that, Riddle, put Lee over, which was nice. This worked counter to the “Riddle doesn’t respect other wrestlers” storyline that they’ve been selling, but it was very classy.
Lee paid respects to the crowd with a very nice promo and the show ended.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, this was a really good show. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a Club WWN member and can get it for free whenever it comes out.