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Csonka’s Evolve 90 Review 8.11.17

August 11, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Matt Riddle Evolve EVOLVE 93
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Csonka’s Evolve 90 Review 8.11.17  

Csonka’s Evolve 90 Review 8.11.17

– Ethan Page & ACH defeated Chris Dickinson & Jaka @ 15:20 via pin [*]
– Darby Allin defeated Craig Mitchell @ 4:47 via pin [**]
– Austin Theory defeated Jason Kincaid @ 12:18 via pin [**]
EVOLVE Tag Team Championship Match: Champions Anthony Henry & James Drake defend defeated Tracy Williams & Rory Gulak @ 19:05 via pin [***]
– Keith Lee defeated Timothy Thatcher @ 10:55 via pin [**¾]
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Match: Champion WALTER defeated Fred Yehi @ 15:08 via submission [***¾]
Non-Title Match: WWN Champion Matt Riddle defeated Lio Rush @ 11:00 via submission [***½]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

Chris Dickinson & Jaka vs. Ethan Page & ACH: ACH & Ethan Page are being forced to team after “embarrassing the company in Atlanta. EVOLVE officials want them to take things seriously against the angry duo of Dickinson & Jaka, who are looking to pick up wins and earn a chance to regain the EVOLVE tag team titles. They have put them in the opener as punishment. ACH & Page have a custom entrance now, a riff off of “Bad Boys,” and Page has the mic and plans to do live commentary. Jaka and Dickinson have had enough of these shenanigans, attacking and beating them down. They beat down ACH, working quick tags and isolating him in their corner. Dickinson uses ACH’s shirt and pulls it over his head hickey fight style. The former champions work double teams, and continue with the quick tags. Page finally gets the tag, and he takes out Jaka with a lariat for 2. Jaka hits a head butt, but page hits the spinebuster and goes for a people’s elbow but misses. Dickinson tags in, they trade strikes with Page quickly tagging out to ACH. Dickinson keeps control, laying in kicks to ACH. ACH then bag tags Dickinson, Page tags in and eats a kick and Dickinson covers for 2. Jaka back in and he maintains control, more quick tags follow as they continue the heat on Page, scoring near falls. Jaka hits a DDT for 2. Jaka stomps the shit out of Page, lays in head butts and chops and then knocks ACH to the floor. Dickinson continues to work over Page as this is really dragging now. Page manages a big boot for the double down. Jaka in and knocks ACH to the floor again, but Page cuts him off. ACH gets the tag as does Dickinson. ACH lays in the jabs and then slaps Dickinson. ACH then works over Jaka, but Jaka hits a head butt and Dickinson covers for 2. ACH runs them together, but Jaka and Dickinson hit a high low and that gets 2. ACH fights off the double teams, does a bunch of out and overs, but Jaka side steps the cutter. The double stomp and Michinoku driver follows for 2. Page cuts of the death trap, hits RKEGO and ACH hits buster call for the win. Ethan Page & ACH defeated Chris Dickinson & Jaka @ 15:20 via pin [*] The ACH & Ethan Page “troll boys” act does nothing for me, the match was lethargic and has a big lack of flow and no drama at all. It’s one thing for them to do the comedy gimmick and then flip the switch to get serious, but that didn’t really happen here. This went to long and was not a good way to kick off the show. Jaka & Dickinson losing also felt like the wrong call ahead of their big tag match tomorrow.

Darby Allin vs. Craig Mitchell: Allin says Thatcher beat him last month, but now he’s training even harder so that he can beat him and become the best. No one cares as the fans tell him to shut the fuck up. Mitchell was part of the EVOLVE seminar earlier today. He slaps Allin around to begin, but Allin fights back and hits a sunset flip for 2. Allin hits arm drags, and gets a roll up for 2. More arm drags by Allin, but Mitchell fires back with strikes but Allin quickly battles back, heads up top and gets crotched. Mitchell hits a draping neck breaker and follows with a hammerlock slam and standing moonsault for 2. Allin battles back, but springboards into a German suplex. Allin fights back, but Mitchell counters out into a Samoan driver for 2. They trade strikes, Allin hits a code red and Gibson lock for the pin. Darby Allin defeated Craig Mitchell @ 4:47 via pin [**] This was a short and solid match, with Allin getting a win to get some momentum and Mitchell looking good in his debut.

Jason Kincaid vs. Austin Theory w/Priscilla Kelly: Both went 2-0 on the last set of shows and looking to climb the ladder for a potential title shot. Kincaid looking to keep things friendly to begin; Theory looks to work the arm, and slaps Kincaid a few times. Kincaid picks up the pace, and grounds Theory, and picks up a few near falls. Theory avoids the double stomp, but Kincaid cuts him off and gets it on the second try. Kincaid stays one step ahead here, easily stopping Theory before he can get rolling. Kincaid hits a double stomp on the apron and then looks for a tornado DDT, but Theory hits a back breaker to counter and covers for 2. Theory takes control, laying the boots to Kincaid. Theory slows the pace down, lays in strikes and follows with a release suplex for 2. Theory lays in ground and pound, follows with a basement dropkick for 1. Kincaid then cuts off the springboard with a sling blade for the double down. Theory spits at Kincaid, which fires Kincaid up and he hits an arm drag into a double stomp. Leg sweep and another double stomp. The slam hits and so does another double stomp. Kincaid hits a blockbuster for 2. Kincaid runs into a boot, and Theory follows with a blockbuster for 2. Theory looks for a TKO, but Kincaid escapes. The kick follows and then a springboard x-factor hits for 2 as Theory kicks out. Kincaid heads up top, to the post and misses a double stomp. The superkick and last shot follows, but Kincaid rolls to the floor. Kincaid counters the dive and hits a stunner on the floor. Back in and Kincaid climbs the pole in the corner, Kelly screams at him to distract him, and Theory catches him and hits the TKO for the win. Austin Theory defeated Jason Kincaid @ 12:18 via pin [**] They tried and they certainly worked hard, but they never connected with the fans and it felt slow and just never had a great build to the end or got the crowd invested. This was ok.

– Post match, Kincaid tries to talk to Theory but Kelly pulls him away and to the back.

EVOLVE Tag Team Championship Match: Champions Anthony Henry & James Drake defend vs. Tracy Williams & Rory Gulak: Henry & Drake shocked the world and gave their home area of Charlotte a special moment when they became EVOLVE Tag Team Champions at EVOLVE 89. EVOLVE officials have decided to grant former EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi rematches this weekend since they never received a rematch, but since they are no longer a team, they have been given the option to choose a partner for shots against current EVOLVE Tag Team Champions. Williams picked the brother of Catch Point Founder (Drew Gulak) Rory Gulak. Fred Yehi has decided to give Jason Kincaid a shot. Jaka and Dickinson are out with Williams and Gulak. Henry and Gulak start things off with some grappling. Gulak outwrestles Henry to begin, but Henry fires back with kicks and takes control, tagging Drake in. Drake takes control right away, tossing Gulak around and Williams finally tags in, he looks very annoyed. He and Drake work some evenly played back and forth, until Williams starts to target the arm. Drake fires back with some big time chops, but Williams cuts him off with forearms and they trade now. Williams then hits the shotgun dropkick, hits a forearm off the rope and covers for 1. Gulak back in now, he and Drake trade chops but Henry tags in and they work double teams and score a near fall. The champions work quick tags and double teams to maintain control and pick up near falls. Nice work by the champions, working into another good series of double teams. Gulak finally hits a desperation back breaker, and that allows Williams to tag in and take control. He grounds Henry, working his submission game. Henry fights to his feet, but Williams hits the Saito suplex for 2. Gulak tags in working the arm and hitting a northern lights suplex for 2. Williams tags back in, he lays in strikes but Henry cuts off Williams but Williams gets the ankle lock to stop the tag. Henry escapes, hitting the powerslam and then tagging Drake back in. Drake works over Gulak, Williams in and accidentally hits Gulak allowing Drake to run wild on Gulak and picking up a near fall off of the XPLODER. Drake then springboards into a German suplex, and Gulak covers for 2 and tags in Williams, Henry cuts him off as they battle up top but Williams DDTs him on the buckles, hits the missile dropkick and lariat. The brainbuster connects, but Henry isn’t the legal man. Drake in and hits the spinebuster for 2. Blind tag by Gulak, he attacks Drake and cradles him for 2. Drake hits the northern lariat, Henry up top and misses the double stomp. The champs fight off Gulak; Henry hits a backstabber, and follows with a chaos theory. Drake hits the double arm DDT for 2. Drake and Henry finally take out Gulak with the TEK for the win. Champions Anthony Henry & James Drake defend defeated Tracy Williams & Rory Gulak @ 19:05 via pin [***] This was a good match, but also one that went too long. Henry and Drake are doing well and are becoming a good team, but no one bought Williams and Gulak winning and the near falls down the stretch were painfully silent. This needed cut time wise, and for it to be a bit more action packed. The crowd was just not buying the match that they were selling, and the performers refused to adjust things as the match dragged on.

– Post match Williams is upset that catch Point has become weak. They then kick the shit out of Gulak for being the weak link and losing the match. Dickinson about kills him with a buckle bomb.

Keith Lee vs. Timothy Thatcher w/Stokely Hathaway: The issue has been growing between Keith Lee and Timothy Thatcher, and Stokely Hathaway wants nothing more than to rid EVOLVE of Lee. They brawl right away, throwing bombs and lighting each other up. There is no fucking around here, just pissed off men throwing hands. Lee battles back, hitting a slam and elbow drop. Thatcher tries to attack the knee and work for a takedown. Lee manages a suplex and tries to shake out the knee. He follows with chops, but Thatcher cuts him off with uppercuts and then drops into a knee bar. Hathaway talks shit as Thatcher keeps Lee grounded, working the knee. Thatcher then lands knee strikes to the body. Thatcher locks in the sleeper, Lee fights to his feet and breaks it. Thatcher follows with clothesline, but they are doing nothing to Lee. Lee then hits the POUNCE to put a stop to Thatcher’s attack. Thatcher manages to hit a belly to bell, and then transitions to the arm bar. Lee powers up and hits a side suplex to escape. Thatcher hits an enziguri, locks in a sleeper but Lee slowly escapes and they trade strikes and Lee hits the pop up punch for the win. Keith Lee defeated Timothy Thatcher @ 10:55 via pin [**¾] This was a pretty good back and forth match that lost steam and crowd interest after the opening flurry of striking. Lee picked up a definitive win, but one that came with a flat finish.

– Post match Darby Allin arrives and checks on Thatcher they face off tomorrow. Thatcher attacks Allin, locking in the arm bar and tries to take him out before tomorrow’s match.

PROGRESS Atlas Championship: Champion WALTER vs. Fred Yehi: WALTER makes his EVOLVE debut and defends the PROGRESS Atlas Championship (the big lads belt) for the first time in the Baltimore area; he’s a great big lad and I had called for him to work EVOLVE this year, so I am glad to see it happening. Yehi has had a great year, but is still underrated by many who haven’t had the chance to really dig into his work. They work the power vs. speed battle early, with WALTER controlling with ease. WALTER plays monster until he misses an elbow drop, allowing Yehi to work stomps and a basement dropkick. Yehi picks apart the legs of WALTER, grounding him and finally putting some sustained offense together. WALTER gets pissed, fires up and drops Yehi with a big boot, sending him to the floor. The fight goes to the floor with WALTER laying in big time chops. Yehi goes back to the attack on the knee, stomps on WALTER’s hand on the steps but then gets slammed onto the apron. Back in the ring and every time Yehi tries to fire up, WALTER cuts him off with strikes or power moves. WALTER takes Yehi down again, and follows with a big lad senton and that gets 2. Yehi hits the up kicks to the chest, and finally stops the assault of WALTER and takes him down. WALTER is back up, works a sleeper and then transitions into a series of suplexes, which gets him a near fall. Yehi escapes the powerbomb, hits a standing double stomp and then another. Yehi then hits the dead lift German for a near fall. WALTER fights off the koji clutch, they trade chops and Yehi attacks the arm but WALTER kicks out the leg and hits the powerbomb and press for a near fall. WALTER back to the sleeper, Yehi fights but drops to a knee. Yehi fights back to his feet and slams WALTER to the corner and sets him up top. He follows, but WALTER head butts him; Yehi hits the up kicks as he hangs off the ropes and hits a huge superplex for a near fall. Yehi transitions into the koji clutch, but WALTER powers out and hits another powerbomb. The running boot and German follows. The lariat gets a near fall for WALTER. WALTER locks in the choke sleeper and Yehi is done. Champion WALTER defeated Fred Yehi @ 15:08 via submission [***¾] This was a very good match that thrived off of its simplicity. It was the resilience of Yehi trying to overcome the monster WALTER. The crowd was rough early but they did a good job of getting them invested by the end. This was a good EVOLVE debut for WALTER, who looked like a legit beast.

Non-Title Bonus Main Event: WWN Champion Matt Riddle vs. Lio Rush: These two broke in with EVOLVE at around the same time and faced off at EVOLVE 61 (Riddle won that match in under 5-miniutes); Rush is calling this his “Final Hour” weekend as he’s about to report to NXT. This is his home building and he looks to make it a memorable performance. They work a fast paced opening stretch, with Rush avoiding the takedowns and grappling of Riddle. Rush picks up the pace, hitting the running kick for a near fall. Riddle fires back with elbows and forearms, but Rush again picks up the pace, but gets caught in an ankle lock. More running forearms by Riddle connect, the XPLODER follows and the running senton hits for 2. Riddle lays in knee strikes, hits the gut wrench, rolls into another and that gets 2. Rush tries to fire back, but Riddle follows with kicks and keeps Rush grounded. Rush now fires back with kicks, fires up and Riddle cuts him off and hits bro to sleep, and a bridging German for 2. Rush counters out of the tombstone, hits a head kick and sends Riddle to the apron and kicks him to the floor. Riddle back in but runs into the Spanish fly for a near fall. They trade strikes, bug knee strike by Riddle but Rush rebounds with a superkick. Riddle hits a fisherman buster, rolls into a second and then looks for a tombstone but Rush counter, but Riddle counters and hits it and Rush kicks out at 1. They trade, and Rush hits a twisting unprettier for a near fall. They trade chops and strikes, but Riddle counters the Spanish fly and hits the Gotch tombstone and lays in elbows and locks in the bro mission for the win. WWN Champion Matt Riddle defeated Lio Rush @ 11:00 via submission [***½] This was a very good and fun main event, with Rush picking up enough near falls to make for some fun drama down the stretch. It had good back and forth action, but just didn’t get to great, but was a strong main event.

– WALTER hits the ring for a stand off with Riddle. Catch Point arrives to beat down Riddle. WALTER tries to make the save but here comes Keith Lee and he cleans house as the brawl spills to the floor. Lee and WALTER watch Riddle and Williams brawl on the floor and to the back. Lee and WALTER now come face to face. BIG LADS about to do big lad things? WALTER doesn’t want lee to touch his title, and so Lee grabs the mic. Lee welcomes him to EVOLVE, and says he is the king and that this is his ring. He respects WALTER as a big man, and says he will leave WALTER alone for tonight, but tomorrow, WALTER, Riddle and Williams will bask in his glory. WALTER offers a handshake, and Lee accepts. Big lad respect. Good closing angle.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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

The final score: review Average
The 411
EVOLVE 90 started out rather rough, with the first three matches failing to deliver and the crowd not feeling the show at all. Thankfully things turned around, but I wouldn’t saw that there was anything must see on the show. The EVOLVE tradition of the first weekend show being solid but unspectacular continues, but the good news is that they tend to follow up well and knock it out of the park the next night, and I expect that to happen tomorrow.