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Csonka’s EVOLVE 98 Review 1.13.18

January 13, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s EVOLVE 98 Review 1.13.18  

Csonka’s EVOLVE 98 Review 1.13.18

Prelim Match – Four Way Freestyle: Jason Kincaid defeated Jarek 1:20 w/Candy Cartwright, Snoop Strikes, and Brody King @ 6:14 via pin [***]
– Timothy Thatcher & WALTER defeated Tracy Williams & Dom Garrini @ 15:10 via pin [***¾]
NO DQ Match: Chris Dickinson defeated Parrow @ 8:25 via pin [***]
– AR Fox defeated Matt Riddle @ 11:00 via pin [****]
FIP World Heavyweight Championship Anything Goes Match: Champion Austin Theory defeated Fred Yehi @ 14:25 via pin [***½]
Non-Title Grudge Match: Jaka defeated WWN Champion Keith Lee @ 16:20 via pin [***¼]
EVOLVE Championship Match: Champion Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Darby Allin @ 19:40 via referee stoppage [****½]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

– My Top 23 EVOLVE Matches of 2017.
– My Top 24 ROH Matches of 2017.
– My Top 8 Matches of December 2017.
– My NJPW WrestleKingdom 12 Takeaways.
– My Top 38 WWE Matches of 2017.
– My Top 25 Matches of 2017.

– You can catch up with EVOLVE by checking out reviews of EVOLVE 96 here and EVOLVE 97 here.

Prelim Match – Four Way Freestyle: Jason Kincaid vs. Jarek 1:20 w/Candy Cartwright vs. Snoop Strikes vs. Brody King: King takes out Strikes right away and Jarek then catches him with a cutter. Strikes returns with a missile dropkick, and then works over Jarek. Strikes is a Jay Lethal trainee. He follows with a backstabber on King, and then gets cut off by Jarek. Kincaid in with a RANA, and hits a powerslam into a double stomp, covering Strikes for 2. The Gory special follows, Strikes escapes and he and Kincaid both hit dives. King now hits a BIG LAD TOPE and wipes out the pile! Back in and he covers Strikes for 2. He then lays in chops, and they then work up top. Jarek back in and up with them; Kincaid returns and Strikes slips off the ropes. This all leads to a tower of doom spot. Strikes hits sliced break on King for 1. Strikes up top, King caches him and hits a sitout powerbomb for 2 as Jarek makes the save. Kincaid hits King with a stunner, and Jarek follows with a KO shot, covering King for 2. Jason Kincaid defeated Jarek 1:20 w/Candy Cartwright, Snoop Strikes, Brody King @ 6:14 via pin [***] This was a good opening prelim, with a ton of fun action and an invested crowd. Kincaid picked up a big win, and will likely get off the prelims due to that.

Tracy Williams & Dom Garrini w/Stokely Hathaway vs. Timothy Thatcher & WALTER: Thatcher and Garrini start things off, and they hit the mat immediately, working their grappling game. Thatcher starts working the leg, applying a half crab. Garrini escapes, but Thatcher just starts laying in strikes. Garrini rolls into a cradle, gets 2 and they separate. WALTER now tags in, and just stalks Garrini. Garrini manages to take him down and tags in Williams. Williams is full of fire. WALTER cuts him off with chops and tags in Thatcher, and he delivers uppercuts. WALTER tags back in, Williams fights back, but WALTER just starts tossing him around. Thatcher tags back in, hitting suplexes, and WALTER in as well for more suplexes. The quick tags follow, as Thatcher & WALTER isolate Williams. Williams hits a desperation suplex. Garrini tags in and starts laying in knee strikes on Thatcher. He and Williams now work quick tags, isolating Thatcher, and grounding the action. Williams locks in a kimura, but Thatcher makes the ropes. Garrini tags in, but Thatcher cuts him off with a belly to belly. Garrini stops the tag, Williams back in and continues to attack the arm of Thatcher. Williams busts a 619 and senton atomico for 2. Garrini tags in again, but Thatcher fights back but Williams blind tags on, knocks WALTER to the floor and double teams on Thatcher leads to a near fall. Thatcher hits a desperation enziguri and WALTER gets the hot tag, and lights up Garrini and Williams with chops. Clotheslines and boots follow. Germans to both follow as the big daddy WALTER runs wild! More chops by WALTER follow, another German and then a butterfly suplex gets 2. Powerbomb countered by Garrini countered into a triangle, Williams hits a big boot but WALTER then suplexes both men. Thatcher tags back in and lays in uppercuts. Thatcher follows with uppercuts, but Garrini and Williams work double teams, and Williams gets a brainbuster and crossface. Thatcher escapes as Garrini tries to atop WALTER. We get dueling submissions here, but WALTER powerbombs Garrini onto Williams to save Thatcher. WALTER now tags back in, and double-teams follow; WALTER powerbombs Williams and picks up the win. Timothy Thatcher & WALTER defeated Tracy Williams & Dom Garrini @ 15:10 via pin [***¾] This was a VERY hood match, a great mix of grappling, throws and strikes. Garrini continues to impress and felt like he belonged here, and so far, is the success story of the prelim system EVOLVE has set up. This was a really good way to kick off the main show.

– The End (Odinson, Drennen, & Parrow) arrive and attack CatchPoint, Jaka arrives and makes the save. We get a big brawl on the floor as Williams works over Parrow in the ring. Dickinson gets a chair and attacks Parrow. Another chair shot follows, and we have an impromptu match…

No DQ Match Chris Dickinson vs. Parrow: They brawl and spill to the floor as Dickinson follows with more chair shots. Dickinson gets a broom, choking out Parrow. He breaks the broom beating on Parrow, but Parrow posts him a few times and then powerbombs Dickinson onto the stage. He follows, and slams Dickinson into the chairs. Parrow follows with chair shots, and then chokes out Dickinson with the chair. Parrow teases a tombstone, but Dickinson grabs him by the balls to escape and follows with a suplex on the stage. Back into the ring we go, Dickinson maintains control and now sets up chairs. Parrow fights back, powerbombing Dickinson onto he chairs, covering for 2. Parrow calls for chairs and the fans toss some to him. He beats on Dickinson with chair shots, makes a chair pile and lays Dickinson onto them and heads on top. Dickinson cuts him off and powerbombs him onto the chairs and picks up the win. Chris Dickinson defeated Parrow @ 8:25 via pin [***] This was a good and entertaining brawl, with good intensity and Dickinson picking up a win to get some revenge, and momentum ahead of tomorrow’s title match with Keith Lee. But The End vs. CatchPoint feud is far from over.

– Post match, the End attacks and lays out Dickinson.

Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox: Fox is accompanied by his crew (wife & students) as always. Both men are on winning streaks, and looking for WWN Title shots. Riddle tries to dance with Fox & his crew as the crowd chants for Riddle’s birthday. Fox mocks Riddle, laying on the mat and pulling guard. The bell rings and here we go. Riddle gets a takedown right away, and Fox scurries to the ropes. Riddle again takes him down, and works for an arm bar, but Fox makes the ropes. Riddle won his last two matches, which were no rope break matches, but he won’t have that advantage here. Fox grabs a headlock, but Riddle hits a Saito suplex to escape. Fox picks up the pace; hits arm drags and leg lariats to take control back. Fox follows with a twister suplex, covering for 2. Fox follows with a corner clothesline and corner dropkick, covering for 2. Riddle tries to fire back, and hits a huge knee strike and follows with corner forearms. Fox cuts off the XPLODER, flies off the ropes and jumps into an XPLODER anyway, Riddle follows with the senton, covering for 2. Riddle follows with kicks and another senton. Riddle now follows with rolling gut wrench suplexes, but Fox fights back and sends him to he floor and hits two suicide dives. Fox then catches Riddle with an apron DDT. Fox then hits the imploding 450 onto the pile on the floor. Back in the go, and Riddle hits bro to sleep and a bridging German for a good near fall. Fox counters the fisherman’s buster, but Riddle locks on a guillotine. Fox powers him up and hits a fisherman’s buster, covering for 2. Riddle fires up with strikes, but Fox hits a springboard cutter and heads up top but Riddle catches the swanton into the rear naked choke. The jumping tombstone, powerbomb and knee strike gets 2 as Fox makes the ropes. That was some murder, death, kill shit right there. Riddle follows with two sentons, sets Fox up top and follows him up. Fox fight him off, they trade strikes and Fox hits a DESTROYER off the ropes and then hits lo mein pain and the 450! Fox wins. AR Fox defeated Matt Riddle @ 11:00 via pin [****] This was a great match, that mixed the two styles really well, and kept Fox away from some of the shit that takes me out of his matches. The back and forth was great, the pacing was great, and it never overstayed its welcome, going home at just the right time.

– Fox cuts a post match promo, running down Riddle, and challenges the WWN Champion to a match at EVOLVE 100.

FIP World Heavyweight Championship Anything Goes Match: Champion Austin Theory w/Priscilla Kelly vs. Fred Yehi: Theory beat Yehi for the title at the last set of shows. Yehi attacks right away, Kelly distracts him and that allows Theory to dump Yehi to the floor and Kelly hits a senton off the apron onto Yehi. Yehi fights back, and follows with a suicide dive. The floor brawl follows, as Yehi is in control and takes things back into the ring where Yehi hits a German for 2. Yehi follows with slams and stomps. The leg drop gets 2. Yehi then dropkicks Theory to the floor. Yehi avoids a belt shot, but Kelly attacks and bites Yehi. This allows Theory to attack and send Yehi back into the ring. Yehi hits a backstabber and koji clutch, Theory makes the ropes, but Yehi doesn’t have to break under FIP anything goes rules. Kelly tries to make the save by raking the eyes, and Jason Kincaid arrives, continuing his angle with Theory. Theory hits a rolling dropkick on Yehi, and then a basement dropkick. Back to the floor they go and Theory lays in knee strikes. Yehi throws wild strikes, still blinded from the Kelly attack. Theory now hit three seconds around the world (spinning sitout powerbomb) and covers for 2. Kelly is in with a chair, but Kincaid takes it away. She slaps him and Theory sends him to the floor. Yehi hits Theory with a shotgun dropkick, Kelly again involved but Yehi stomps on her hands to stop her. Yehi then hits a series of double stomps on Theory, covering for 2. Yehi hits the backstabber, and snapdragon suplex but Theory kicks out at 2. Yehi follows with chops, taking control and looking for a powerbomb. Theory fights out, but Yehi follows with chops and bicycle kicks. The powerbomb and destroyer follows, but Theory kicks out at 2. Yehi picks up Theory, sets him up top and follows him up. He teases a powerbomb, but Theory fight him off. Yehi hits kicks, but Kelly hits him with a chair-assisted dropkick. Theory hits attacksia and retains. Champion Austin Theory defeated Fred Yehi @ 14:25 via pin [***½] I was not a big fan of all of the interference, but considering the rules, it did make sense and plays into Theory & Kelly’s heel act. Overall it was a very good outing from both, as Theory continues to rise while Yehi loses again. It also continued the Kincaid vs. Theory angle.

Non-Title Grudge Match: WWN Champion Keith Lee vs. Jaka: Chris Dickinson, who challenges Lee tomorrow, and is Jaka’s tag team partner, is at ringside. Jaka tries leg kicks to begin, but Lee is completely dismissive of these attempts to attack. Jaka tries to work the am, but Lee tosses him aside with ease. Jaka now attacks with chops and strikes. Kicks follow, he tries to attack the leg but Lee shoves him away and follows with a shoulder block. Jaka powders to he floor. Back in and Lee hits a big corner splash, and huge chops follow. Lee catches a high cross, but Jaka escapes, but Lee follows with a RANA. Jaka fires up with strikes, but Lee cuts him off, slamming him to the buckles. Lee sets Jaka up top, follows him up but Jaka fights off Lee and hits the high cross. Jaka back up top, and hits a tornado DDT for 2. Jaka lays in kicks, and chokes out Lee. Jaka follows with elbow drops, covering for 2. Jaka now grounds Lee, working the knee of the big man. Lee fights to his feet, Jaka follows with strikes but gets caught with a shot-armed clothesline by Lee. Lee follows with chops and a great high angled spinebuster for 2. Jaka escapes the spirit bomb, and hits the running knee strike, covering for 2. Jaka follows with the rolling kick, and another. Lee sidesteps the third attempt, and hits a big German for the double down. Lee then destroys Jaka with the pounce. Period. Fox’s posse is in the crowd, distracting Lee. This allows Jaka to fire up with strikes, but Lee hits a huge overhead suplex. Lee now heads up top, but Fox is out to distract him. Lee drops down, and looks for a spirit bomb, but Jaka escapes and lays in strikes. Jaka hits the spin kick, covering for the win. Jaka defeated WWN Champion Keith Lee @ 16:20 via pin [***¼]

I get that the distractions were there to allow Jaka to pick up another non-title win, to make Lee look vulnerable for tomorrow’s title match, and to build to Fox vs. Lee at EVOLVE 100, but I really felt that it took away from the match’s flow and overall momentum.

EVOLVE Championship Match: Champion Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Darby Allin: We have a lively and split crowd to begin. Allin attacks, looking to ground things and going for several pin attempts. Sabre powders to the floor. Back in and Sabre is taking things more seriously now, taking Allin to he ground and looking to work his submission game; Allin makes the ropes. They work some standing switches, and Sabre takes things to he ground before they separate. Sabre now grounds the action, tying up Allin and looking to finish things with his submission game. Allin now tries to grapple again with Sabre, likely a mistake as Sabre slickly escapes and takes control back. Allin gets to his feet, picks up the pace, but Sabre immediately grounds him again and takes control back. Sabre is just torturing Allin, making his appendages bend in directions they normally wouldn’t go as he works between the arms and legs. Sabre now lays in some kicks, and slaps Allin around. Sabre is entering his give no fucks, asshole mode here, just kicking away at Allin, and not really taking his challenge seriously. Sabre now lays in uppercuts, dropping Allin and covering with one foot. Sabre now works the arm, tying Allin up and ripping at his fingers, manipulating the digits. Sabre is attacking the left arm of Allin, which is the arm Allin previously broke. Sabre keeps Allin grounded, continuing the attack on Allin’s arm. I love asshole Zack Sabre Jr. Allin gets a desperation crucifix, but Sabre escapes. Allin fires up with forearm strikes, they trade now and Allin spikes Sabre with a DDT for the double down. Sabre now pulls Allin to the ground, working an abdominal stretch, but Allin makes the ropes. Sabre follows with kicks, keeping Allin grounded. He then stomps on the knee, just breaking the challenger down. Allin catches a cradle for 2. Sabre counters the last supper, and locks on a knee bar and lays in kicks as well. Allin just barely makes the ropes. Allin fires up, laying forearm strikes, but Sabre counters into a European clutch for a great near fall; that move usually beats everyone. Sabre is completely frustrated here, and starts slapping Allin around. Sabre hits the PK, but Allin survives another move that has finished a lot of guys, kicking out at 2. Allin keeps firing up, slaps himself and then starts laying into Sabre, counters and locks on the last supper but Sabre kicks out, the first to do so. Allin hits a code red, but Sabre kicks out at 2. Allin goes for a coffin drop, but Sabre counters, catching Allin in a choke ands then transitions into the double arm bar. Sabre also attacks the knee, and then stomps at Allin’s head and really cranks back on the double arm bar and the ref stops it as Allin cannot fight back. Champion Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Darby Allin @ 19:40 via referee stoppage [****½] This was an absolutely excellent main event, one that told an absolutely great story and served as a true star-making performance for Darby Allin. He’s had some great outings in the past, but this was his most complete performance to date. Allin got into Evolve through a tryout, and became a cult hero, basically Evolve’s Mikey Whipwreck. The fans fell in love with him, they followed his rise and his improvement as he grew organically into his role as a rising star. But with that being said, Sabre didn’t take this young man seriously, and was dismissive of him early on. Allin continued to fight, refusing to stop his quest, and this just pissed Sabre off, and flicked the switch as Sabre when into his “I don’t care about your well being, I will break you apart” mode, which he is so good at. Allin never quit, he kept fighting and had the fans believing in him, but at the end of the day, he just wasn’t ready for Sabre. Sabre broke him down, tied him in knots, and Allin went out on his shield, refusing to quit, and having to be saved by the referee. This was excellent stuff, great action, beautiful storytelling, and a match that will make Allin a bigger star than he was. That Sabre fella is also really good.

– Post match, Austin Theory arrives and lays out Sabre. Kincaid arrives to try and stop him, and they brawl. He connects with repeated double stomps and then leaves, looking shocked at his actions. Kelly checks on Theory.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
EVOLVE 98 was a great show, as there was nothing bad at all, and was an overall very consistent show starting with match one and through out the entire show. Kincaid picked up a big win, continued his angle with Theory, Timothy Thatcher & WALTER brought their brand of tag wrestling to the company, Chris Dickinson gained some revenge against the End and momentum ahead of tomorrow’s tile match. Theory & Kelly are rolling as a strong heel couple, Jaka continues to surprise with non-title wins to keep himself in the mix, and the show peaked perfectly with the excellent main event. Thumbs way up and a big recommendation from me as Evolve keeps the momentum from Evolve 97 & 98 going on the first show of 2018.