EVOLVE 99 (14/1/18, New York) Review

Added by Matt Seese

Austin Theory def. Jason Kincaid

This match was used to fuel the fire between Kincaid and Theory while temporarily putting the story on hold as Theory rises in EVOLVE and did a very good job in doing so. Kincaid appeared to be regaining control of the match when he went for a double stomp on a rope hung Theory on the apron. However, Theory got out of the way, causing Kincaid’s knee to come crashing down onto the edge of the apron. Kincaid began to scream in agony, and the ref called for the stoppage. In the midst of medical help coming out to assist Kincaid, he could be heard shouting “I want to keep fighting!” Theory took this as a chance to continue the beatdown as he and Priscilla Kelly stomped away at the battered body of Jason Kincaid **¼

Timothy Thatcher def. Fred Yehi

This was a really well paced technical bout between two very good technicians. If you’ve ever seen one match by either men, you know exactly what you’re getting into. They make their strikes and holds meaningful and waste no motion. However, this style has almost become an acquired taste to many, and it took the match a bit of time to really get over with the fans. Thatcher ended up getting the win when he reversed a Yehi pin attempt into the Fujiwara Armbar, forcing Fred to tap ***½

The End (Odinson & Parrow) def. Catch Point (Tracy Williams & Dominic Garrini)

This was a very passable match that was very hard to follow. Personally, I really don’t like Hot Sauce and just can’t connect with him on any level, so his matches are usually a chore for me to watch, and this was no different. For a tornado tag, it lacked a lot of things that should make a chaotic team like The End thrive, but instead it didn’t. It felt very clunky and not very fluid whatsoever. Definitely expecting better next outing *½

Matt Riddle def. Jaka

Jaka had a chance to do something that no man has ever done in EVOLVE. With wins over both Keith Lee and Zack Sabre Jr., if Jaka got a win over Riddle here, he’d be the only man to defeat each of EVOLVE’s Big Three. However, Riddle had different plans. Although quite upbeat as he entered, the anger from defeat at the hands of AR Fox the night before quickly made itself prevalent. Every strike seemed stiffer, every hold appeared tighter. Riddle wasn’t about to lose in two consecutive nights. Jaka fought with everything, even countering the Bro To Sleep, Bro-Mission and Riddle’s knockout knee strikes. However, Riddle’s resiliency powered him through, allowing him to counter Jaka’s Sharpshooter and lock in the Bro-Mission, forcing Jaka to tap out. This match was absolutely terrific. We all know how great Riddle is, but PLEASE keep your eyes on Jaka. He is a constant match of the night machine who keeps getting better as each show passes ****¼

Non-Title Match: WALTER def. Zack Sabre Jr.

These two are a match made in heaven. With their all-time classic at All-Star Weekend 13 in PWG followed by this tremendous match, I swear both men are impervious to anything less than legendary bouts. This one sang a different tune than their PWG match, but with the same ending. Here, Sabre Jr. was so insistent in matching WALTER strike for strike, but what he fails to realize is that no one in the world can do that. It ultimately is what cost Zack the match because as soon as he’d hit a big move, he wasn’t able to cover WALTER because he had to take time to recover. WALTER ended up winning after hitting a pair of massive powerbombs on Zack, dominating the champion like no one has ever done in EVOLVE. Hopefully this sets up a second EVOLVE one-on-one between these two, but maybe this time for Zack’s title ****½

Following the match, Darby Allin comes out, demanding one more match from Zack. This prompts Thatcher to step in front of Allin which leads to WALTER backing up his teammate and verbally dressing down Darby for not acting, appearing and wrestling like a true professional wrestler like himself. We just may be getting WALTER vs. Darby Allin, and I had no idea how bad I wanted to see that until now.

WWN Championship: Keith Lee (c) def. Chris Dickinson

I really enjoyed this match a lot, and the overall match itself was a near 20 minute personification of the show it fell on. Much like this show, it took the match a bit to kick it into gear, but once it did, these two never slowed down. The spots grew bigger and bigger, and Lee’s infatuation with the top rope nearly cost him his title on two separate occasions. However, because he is Limitless and apparently bulletproof, nothing could keep Keith Lee down. Not even a Pazuzu Bomb that had just defeated Parrow the night prior could keep the champion down for the count. However, Lee was able to overcome the conflicts of Hathaway and Jaka at ringside and his mostly one-sided relationship with the top rope and hit Ground Zero for the win. Dickinson set out to do exactly what Stokely Hathaway wanted him to here. Sure he lost, but to Stokely, that was secondary. He had one goal in mind for Dickinson. Soften up Keith Lee. The belt never felt like the priority for Stokely, but it was undoubtedly all Dickinson had on his mind. Stokely wants Tracy Williams, the leader of Catch Point, to be able to pick the bones, as he did tonight after the match, of Keith Lee and take his belt at EVOLVE 101, so in Stokely’s mind, the Dirty Daddy was merely a spoke on the wheel in getting what he wants.

Show Grade: C+ (7.3/10)

Another really strong showing from EVOLVE here. It took the show a bit to truly kick it into gear, but when it got cooking, it never slowed down. Admittedly, I missed the prelims on the show and wasn’t able to review them, but I saw the results and I like what they’re doing with Darby. If there’s three things to take away from this show, one is that Jaka is really REALLY good at pro wrestling, two is WALTER and Zack Sabre Jr. are perfect opponents, and three is that Keith Lee is tired of getting his ass kicked. This was Matt with your EVOLVE 99 Review. See you all next time!