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Csonka’s EVOLVE 104 Review

May 20, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Shane Strickland EVOLVE MLW One Shot EVOLVE
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Csonka’s EVOLVE 104 Review  

Csonka’s EVOLVE 104 Review

– AR Fox defeated Zachary Wentz @ 11:50 via pin [***½]
– Josh Briggs defeated Tommy Mazerati @ 0:17 via pin [NR]
– Tracy Williams defeated Dominic Garrini @ 7:14 via submission [***]
– Team Freelance: Matt Knicks, Chris Castro, & Isaias Velazquez defeated Team Wildkat: J.Spade, Amarok, & Jonny Flex @ 9:40 via pin [**½]
– Anthony Henry defeated Stevie Fierce @ 9:30 via pin [***]
WWN Championship Match: Champion Austin Theory defeated DJZ @ 9:41 via pin [***]
Evolve Tag Team Title Anything Goes Match: Champions Chris Dickinson & Jaka defeated The End @ 8:40 via pin [**½]
– Darby Allin, defeated Trey Miguel, Myron Reed, & Snoop Strikes @ 8:31 via pin [***]
– Keith Lee defeated James Drake @ 20:15 via pin [****]
– Champion Matt Riddle defeated Shane Strickland @ 19:58 via DQ [****½]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

– You can check out my EVOLVE 104 preview HERE.

– There is no more 20-count on the floor, competitors can fight un-timed, but the ref has the option to make a DQ if they refuse to get back into the ring.

AR Fox vs. Zachary Wentz: Fox’s crew (The Skulk) are with him. With EVOLVE looking to replenish the roster; this is a big weekend for Wentz. They lock up and work into a series of counters and into a stand off. They lock up again, Fox takes control and Wentz cuts him off with a high cross. The knee strike and PK follows and a standing moonsault gets 2. Fox powders so Wentz follows and hits a RANA into the barricade. Back in and Fox dumps him and hits a double stomp to the apron followed by a moonsault to the floor. Back in and Fox covers for 2. The twister follows by Fox, and that again gets 2. Fox follows with an enziguri and blue thunder bomb for 2. Wentz battles back with a knee strike, kicks, and a German. He then wipes out the Skulk with a dive. Fox then ends up taking them out with another dive. Wentz hits a superkick, back in and Wentz hits a wheelbarrow flatliner and running shooting star press for 2. Fox battles back and hits a springboard cutter for a good near fall. They trade kicks and counters, superkick by Fox, but Wentz hits a German. Fox fights back with a destroyer for a good near fall. Wentz fights off the fox catcher, and hits a cutter for a great near fall. Wentz lays the boots to Fox, heads up top and Fox cuts him off. Lo mein pain and the fox catcher follows and that’s that. AR Fox defeated Zachary Wentz @ 11:50 via pin [***½] This was a very good match that allowed Wentz to shine against an established EVOLVE talent, losing in a hard fought battle. This was a good singles debut for Wentz.

– Skulk member Tommy Mazerati issues an open challenge. Josh Briggs answers.

Josh Briggs vs. Tommy Mazerati: Briggs destroys him and hits a chokebreaker, and that’s that. Josh Briggs defeated Tommy Mazerati @ 0:17 via pin [NR] SQUASH

– Hathaway runs down Williams, putting over the new Catch Point, without Williams. This match is now under Catch Point rules, which means three rope breaks, there is a 20-count, and no strikes to the face or you lose a rope break. Basically ROH Pure rules.

Tracy Williams vs. Dominic Garrini w/Stokley Hathaway: They work to the ground right away and Garrini gets a triangle and Williams burns a rope break. Williams follows with forearms and chops, and the suplex follows. The butterfly suplex gets 2, and then the crossface is applied and Garrini burns a rope break. Hathaway distracts the ref, allowing Garrini to punch Williams in the face. Williams quickly fires back, laying in kicks, but Garrini hits a belly-to-belly suplex and senton. Garrini slaps Williams, but Williams fires up and cuts him of with a missile dropkick. Williams hits a lariat for 2. Garrini fights back with knee strikes, covering for 2. Garrini takes Williams up top, follows him up and Williams fights him off and hits a DDT for 2. Williams blocks the low blow and gets an arm bar, and transitions to the crossface and Garrini taps. Tracy Williams defeated Dominic Garrini @ 7:14 via submission [***] This was good, they worked their style well and played to Hataway’s rules very well. The work also reflected the feud well, and Williams gets the first win in this battle in the war of Catch Point.

Team Freelance: Matt Knicks, Chris Castro, & Isaias Velazquez vs. Team Wildkat: J.Spade, Amarok, & Jonny Flex: This is a Freelance vs. WildKat match with a bunch of guys I am unfamiliar with; the crowd is hot for them though. Team Freelance took control right away and ran wild, playing to the crowd well. They worked well together, working triple teams and frustrating the Wildkat guys. They worked in some light comedy, which played well with the crowd. Wildkat takes over, and work double teams, picking up some near falls. Freelance’s Castro gets the hot tag and runs wild until he’s dumped. This leads to the big breakdown spot/big move buffet. Team Wildkat runs wild, but Freelance sends them to the floor and we get some dives. Freelance hits a powerbomb/backstabber combo to win. Team Freelance: Matt Knicks, Chris Castro, & Isaias Velazquez defeated Team Wildkat: J.Spade, Amarok, & Jonny Flex @ 9:40 via pin [**½] This was a fine match, which I feel played much better to the live crowd as this was Freelance’s home base. To me it felt like any other basic, but fun, indie 6-man.

Anthony Henry vs. Stevie Fierce: These two have had a heated feud in Freelance, with Fierce winning both matches so far. They waste no time, brawling at the bell. Henry takes control and they work to the apron, with Fierce hitting a big double stomp. Henry powers up, sending him to the barricade. Back in they go, Henry lays the boots to Fierce and follows with kicks. They trade vicious open hand strikes and Henry then connects with a German; Fierce cuts him off with a short DDT. The flatliner follows for 2. They trade enziguris, but Henry hits the Saito suplex to cut him off. Henry heads up top, and the double stop connects, but Fierce rolls him up for 2. Henry then unloads with a head kick, which gets 2. Henry is frustrated, and hits a suplex as both men spill over the top and to the floor. They work to the apron and Henry hits an STO, and rolls Fierce back in and heads up top. He misses the double stomp and Fierce hits an unprettier for a really good near fall as Henry made the ropes. Henry hits a TKO and neck breaker for the win. Anthony Henry defeated Stevie Fierce @ 9:30 via pin [***] The combination of the work and commentary did an excellent job of making you feel welcomed in terms of understanding the feud. The match was good, the live crowd had an investment, and Fierce is a guy I can see EVOLVE using more in the future.

Leon Ruff vs. Liam Gray: This is an unannounced addition to the card. Austin Theory arrives and then attacks. Priscilla Kelly joins in and they beat these young lads down. No match; these are AR Fox students and Fox arrives to check on them. Theory gets the mic, but I can’t make anything out, because the house mic is shit. He gets a mic that actually works, and puts himself over. The title match with DJZ is now.

WWN Championship Match: Champion Austin Theory w/Priscilla Kelly vs. DJZ: DJZ runs wild at the bell, taking Theory to the floor and teases a dive. He then hits a suicide dive and sends Theory into the crowd. DJZ flies over the barricade, but Theory catches him and cuts him off. Back to the ring and Theory covers for 2 and then takes control, working over DJZ in the corner. DJZ fires up with strikes and hits a head scissors, Kelly grabs him leg and Theory dumps him to the floor. She distracts him again, and Theory continues to attack on the floor. Back in and Theory covers for 2. They work up top and DJZ hits the sunset bomb and starts to make his comeback. He dropkicks Theory to the floor and works him over. Back in and Theory counters the moonsault with knees. Theory counters the ZDT, and hits three seconds around the world for 2. They work up top and DJZ hits a SUPER RANA and follows with the ZDT, but Kelly puts Theory’s foot on the ropes. DJZ chase her, allowing Theory to hit a buckle bomb and TKO for 2. Theory gets the title, DJZ cuts him off and the ref takes it away Kelly low blows DJZ and Theory hits attacksia for the win. Champion Austin Theory defeated DJZ @ 9:41 via pin [***] This was a good match, which was hurt by the overbooking; I can see why this was changed from the main event spot.

Evolve Tag Team Title Match: Champions Chris Dickinson & Jaka w/Dominic Garrini vs. The End (Parrow & Odinson) w/Drennen: This is supposed to be their final meeting. They brawl right away, this is anything goes. The fight goes to the floor, and into the crowd. The End takes control and carry Dickinson back to the ring. Dickinson fires up but they quickly double-team him. Parrow hits a Samoan driver and covers for 2. They look for weapons, but Jaka is back and brawls with Parrow. Parrow cuts him off and brings a barricade into the ring. They set it up in the corner but Jaka makes the save with chair shots but Drennen gets involved. The champions cut him off and kill him with a doomsday device. The End returns with chair shots, and hit chokeslams onto some chairs, covering for 2. They go for doomsday, but Dickinson makes the save and Parrow is slammed onto the barricade. Jaka & Dickinson up top and hit a top rope chair assisted elbow drop and splash for the win. Champions Chris Dickinson & Jaka defeated The End @ 8:40 via pin [**½] This was a fine weapons brawl to finally end a rather uninspired feud. The End have yet to impress me. In their EVOLVE run, they feel like a completely limited and one note act.

Darby Allin vs. Trey Miguel vs. Myron Reed vs. Snoop Strikes: Allin is making his return from his Mania week concussion. They waste no time, running wild at the bell. Snoop cuts off Allin & Reed, but Snoop follows with dropkicks. Miguel avoids the double stomp and reed files in and wipes out Snoop. Reed and Miguel work into some fun back and forth. Snoop cuts off Miguel and follows with dives. He cuts off Allin, and follows with a plancha to the floor. Allin cuts him off with a DDT, and Reed is back. The code red follows for 2. Allin up top with Miguel, and superplexes him onto Reed, covering for 2 as Snoop flies in with a frog splash. They all trade strikes, Reed takes out Miguel with kicks, Allin cradles him for 2. The high cross follows for 2. Snoop back and plants him with a tornado DDT and Allin rolls to the floor. Miguel cuts of Snoop, and hits a 619. Miguel then follows with a step up dive. He rolls Snoop back in and hits a neck breaker. To the floor and Allin heads up top, Reed crotches him and then wipes out Miguel with a suicide dive. Allin then flies onto the pile with a coffin drop. He rolls Reed back in and covers for 2. Reed hits a stunner, Allin cuts him off and gets a cradle for 2. The last supper finishes it. Darby Allin, defeated Trey Miguel, Myron Reed, & Snoop Strikes @ 8:31 via pin [***] This was a good and fun, balls to he wall spotfest of a match, exactly what it needed to be. Allin winning was the right call.

Keith Lee vs. James Drake: This is one of Lee’s final EVOLVE matches prior to reporting to WWE. They lock up, working power for power. We end with a clean break. They start to trade shoulder tackles, but neither man will budge. They keep colliding and pick up the pace, doing lucha rolls and Lee hits a RANA. Drake then answers with a RANA. Lee gets pissed and lays in strikes, but Drake cuts him off with an XPLODER and big lad senton. Drake finally grounds the action, Lee powers up and Drake cuts him off with a knee strike. The running kick follows for 2. Drake now lays in chops, and then works over Lee in the corner. Lee slowly fires up, and hits a head butt and overhead belly to belly. He starts peppering Drake with big time strikes, just throwing bombs. They now trade strikes and chops, Drake cuts off the big double chops, and hits a shining wizard for 2. Drake lays in more chops, Lee answers and they trade. Drake dares Lee to keep throwing and he does. They now light each other up, Lee hits a head butt and double chops. Drake fires up and Lee smiles, continuing to trade with Drake. Lee cuts him off with a back breaker and covers for 2. Drake fires back with an enziguri and leg lariat, covering for 2. They start to trade bombs again, Drake hits a back fist and lariat but Lee pops up and kills Drake with a lariat for the double down. Lee hits a big spinebuster, covering for 2. Lee is frustrated now. Drake fights off the spirit bomb, and follows with a spinebuster for 2. Drake follows with a cannonball, but Lee catches him and ends up hitting a short powerbomb for 2. Lee heads to the ropes, but Drake cuts him off. The powerbomb follows and Drake heads up top and the moonsault connects for a good near fall. Drake hits the cannonball but Lee counters back and hits the POUNCE; ground zero connects and Drake is finally done. Keith Lee defeated James Drake @ 20:15 via pin [****] This was a great hoss battle, with Drake putting in another quality high quality singles outing against a top star. This was hard-hitting, with a slow escalation of the violence, and Drake coming off on Lee’s level. This was a lot of fun and completely different than anything on the show. Lee winning makes sense due to his title match with Riddle tomorrow night; their final battle.

Non-Title Match: EVOLVE Champion Matt Riddle vs. Shane Strickland: Strickland is the current MLW champion, beating Riddle in the finals to win in a great match. They work a fun, counter filled opening stretch. Strickland grounds things and Riddle quickly fights out and hits a German. Strickland quickly fights back, grounding Riddle, but Riddle works into a guillotine. The suplex from that follows. The Riddle senton follows, and then lays in kicks and hits another senton. The rolling gut wrench suplexes follow. Riddle follows with chops and kicks. Running forearms follow, but Strickland cuts him off with a 619 and code breaker. Strickland lays in kicks and looks to keep Riddle grounded, working the arm. Riddle fires up with strikes and kicks, but Strickland cuts him off with a double stomp to the arm. Strickland is going into Riddle’s world, working for submissions and focusing on the arm. Riddle tries to fire back with one arm, but Strickland keeps cutting him off, attacking the left arm. Riddle finally starts working kicks, and hits a one armed German to finally cut of Strickland. They trade rights and chops, Strickland counters the up kick and hits a head kick. Riddle hits a desperation knee strike, sending Strickland to the floor. Riddle follows, laying in strikes and kicks. Back in and Riddle hits a senton and another. He then hits the second rope senton for 2. Riddle’s selling of the arm here is really great. Strickland fights off bro to sleep, attacking the arm and works a kimura. Riddle keeps fighting and escapes, laying in chops but Strickland hits the rolling cutter for 2. Strickland now takes Riddle up top, follows him up, but Riddle knocks him back to the mat. Strickland pops back up and hits a superplex and transitions into the key lock. Riddle counters and stomps away on Strickland to escape. Strickland fires back with a huge knee strike, heads up top and the double stomp connects and gets a great near fall! Strickland back to the arm, Riddle seascapes but Strickland kicks him to he floor. The bicycle kick connects and Strickland then hangs Riddle on the barricade and hits a double stomp off the apron. Back in and Strickland heads up top, but jumps into a knee strike. Riddle hits another and a powerbomb. One more knee strike and Strickland kicks out. Riddle fires up, and lays in elbows, and beats on Strickland. Strickland catches the left arm, and escapes. He then counters bro to sleep with a double stomp and does a Pentagon style arm bream spot. Riddle is screaming in pain, Strickland gets the arm bar, but Riddle makes the ropes but Strickland won’t break the hold. The ref waves it off, DQing Strickland. Champion Matt Riddle defeated Shane Strickland @ 19:58 via DQ [****½] This was an absolutely awesome main event, a hell of an angle and a huge vote of confidence for Strickland in his return to the company. The story was great, with Riddle controlling early and just delivering a beating, but Strickland survived the onslaught, which led to his attack of the arm. His work was great, crisp, clean, and focused, while Riddle’s selling ruled and his fight spots came at exactly the right time. They had a hot crowd that was invested into the story that they were telling, reacting to Strickland’s dickish punishment and Riddle’s comebacks, adding a ton to this. This main event was excellent, and an overall huge success in terms of making Strickland a player on night one, and on top of that, he comes off as a much needed heel and legit threat to Riddle.

– Post match, Strickland demands a title shot and then gets a chair and Pillmanizes Riddle’s arm with a double stomp from the top. Strickland poses and celebrates to close the show.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

 photo fe36ffd0-0da4-4e3b-a2d3-b026b341dd87_zps41ef5d61.jpg
“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
EVOLVE 104 was the latest reboot/start of a new chapter for the promotion with Yehi & Sabre gone and Lee about to leave. The show involved a lot of new talent, many unproven on a bigger stage, and the show could have really gone the wrong way. But to their credit, EVOLVE delivered a high-quality show, with several different styles of matches, and a little something for everyone. There was a lot to enjoy, and the final two matches delivered big time and also created a new, viable star and challenger in Shane Strickland. EVOLVE arrived at their latest destination and kicked down the door, delivering a great event. Now they have to follow it up tomorrow night.