EVOLVE 83 on April 23, 2017
Saint Finbar Catholic Church Gym – Brooklyn, NY
EVOLVE’s weekend in New York continued from Brooklyn, with EVOLVE 83, an outstanding show with a number of technical issues in the form of microphones cutting out, something that didn’t detract from the quality of the wrestling fans was treated to.
The action started with a rematch from EVOLVE 80, as Austin Theory went one on one with “All Ego” Ethan Page. Theory looked to take the fight to Ego and exact some revenge on behalf of his injured friend, Darby Allin, who fell at Page’s hands last night at EVOLVE 82. Despite a flurry of impressive offense early on from Austin and the presence of Priscilla Kelly, Ego proved to be just too much, catching him out of nowhere with a Spinning Dwayne for the win to polish off a perfect weekend for Ethan Page.
Stokely Hathaway hit the ring with “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams in tow for a special announcement, that being the confirmation that Hathaway is in fact, the new agent for Catch Point, as reported last night by Larry Dallas. This lead to fellow Catch Point members Fred Yehi and the new EVOLVE Tag Team Champions, Chris Dickinson and Jaka coming down and Yehi quitting the group. Dickinson told Williams that he’s in Catch Point for competition and that as long as the group is still about competition, he’s still in. Tracy told him they still have business, leading to a match between the two of them. Dickinson and Williams put on a pretty good showing with a lot of close calls, including a great sequence with Dickinson hefting Catch Point’s leader onto his shoulders, driving him into the top turnbuckle and giving him a sit out slam. After a lot of great action on the outside of the ring, Dickinson took to the skies with a springboard but got caught with a crossface from Williams, earning Hot Sauce a submission victory over his stablemate.
Jaka stayed out to make the challenge to his opponent, ACH, in a really good match. Watching Jaka wrestle at ACH’s incredible pace is a treat, and watching these two try to chop each other into submission is even more of one. To the surprise of a lot of people in the building, one-half of the new EVOLVE Tag Team Champions picked up the win after countering an attempted Buster Call into a powerbomb. Jaka is on the upswing this weekend and it should be interesting to see what the big man does next.
Darby Allin’s injury proved to be David Starr’s gain, as The Product took on Keith Lee in Darby’s stead. Every time I think I’ve run out of good things to say about Lee, he has a match like this and blows my mind all over again. Starr is superb as well, spending a lot of the match using his speed and peppering Lee with a barrage of strikes, outright telling The Limitless One that he “isn’t stupid” and won’t try and match his one of a kind power. However, Starr’s speed wasn’t enough to overcome Lee, but it was enough to earn a standing ovation from the crowd in Brooklyn.
Up next was a match that absolutely is the main event on any other EVOLVE show, with Kyle O’Reilly continuing his great return to the promotion against the now former member of Catch Point, Fred Yehi. This match was almost an inversion on the match O’Reilly had with Lee last night, as this time he was the one with the target on his leg. Not to be outdone though, O’Reilly took out the arm of Yehi, which paid dividends as he was able to pick up the win over the FIP Heavyweight Champion after locking in Armageddon.
The winningest man in wrestling right now, Zack Sabre, Jr. looked to once again successfully defend his EVOLVE Championship, this time against Lio Rush. Rush’s biggest strength is and always has been his incredible speed and agility, a stark contrast against Sabre’s unbelievable ground game, and both men working to make the other wrestle at their pace is a fantastic story to watch play out before your eyes, and once Rush is able to escape the champion’s virtual magnetic field of uppercuts and submission holds for a few moments, it really feels like we’ll see a new champion. Unfortunately for The Man of The Hour, Zack overcomes some brutal strikes and a beautiful frog splash and rolls him into a pretty cradle for the victory. ZSJ’s next challenger, Ethan Page made his presence felt in a big way, revealing the firing of the Gatekeeper who had his arm broken and the hiring of a brand new, equally gigantic one. The Gatekeepers put a beatdown on the EVOLVE Champion, while Ego gloating over him with the title, in what was hampered a bit by his microphone cutting out.
In the main event of the evening, Drew Galloway made his final appearance in an EVOLVE ring and looked to finish his quest to destroy it, when he challenged the first-ever WWN Champion, Matt Riddle, in an “I Quit” match for that championship. Galloway took a lot of the offense in this one, taking the champion to task up and down the ringside area and hitting four consecutive Future Shock DDTs and at one point giving Riddle a sledgehammer aided low blow after tying him to the middle rope. The former EVOLVE Champion’s anger at referee D.A. Brewer proved his undoing though, as he took his eye off Riddle for just a second too long, allowing him to lock in the Bromission and force Galloway to say the dreaded words, “I Quit”. After the match, Stokely Hathaway and Riddle’s Catch Point brethren made their way to the ring to celebrate with Riddle, only for the King of Bros to reject the handshake and seemingly leave Catch Point. This initially seemed to be a mistake, as Dickinson, Jaka, and Williams stood by and allowed Galloway to attack the champion, who just like Zack Sabre, Jr. yesterday, was saved by the mere presence of Keith Lee, to the delight of the crowd.
EVOLVE 83 ON APRIL 23, 2017
Excellent - 8.5/10
Just as expected, EVOLVE 83 was leaps and bounds ahead of 82 and beats out 80 and 81 to claim the crown of the best show the promotion has put on this month. Odd technical issues aside, this is a show I can't recommend enough.