APRIL 6, 2018

Watch: WWNLIVE.com


I love six-man tags. Every company in the world should be running more six-man tags. I know that was FIP’s claim to fame when they rebooted, but if it happens in FIP, does it really even happen?

Everyone got a chance to shine here. Zach Wentz and Trey Miguel, who I’ve seen for a long time in AAW, stepped into the WWN Universe and immediately looked comfortable. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future. The real star of this show, however, was DJZ, who continues to mix consistency with an insane amount of talent. Every time I see him, he stands out more than anyone else. It looks like he’s going to get a push in WWN this year, so let’s hope he stays healthy. I might be higher on this than most, but it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Z pinned Theory, setting up, of course, an FIP Title match.  ****

Jarek 1:20 and the lovely Candy Cartwright handcuffed Jason Kincaid to a barrier and then beat him senseless. I think it is fair to say Jarek was looked at as a joke when he first debuted in EVOLVE, but there is no questioning the fact that he has worked his ass off to be taken seriously. I look forward to seeing him and his new edge take form in EVOLVE.


This Dream Match was exactly what it needed to be. Sabre was titleless, and only had to worry about defending his honor, which he did rather well against the pride of BattleArts. Sawa slapped Sabre in the mouth to start off, which seemed to have given the New Japan Cup winner the motivation he needed to win this match.

Every strike these two gave one another, whether it be a slap, kick, or uppercut, made me wince. These two really went after each other. The striking appeared to have worn them down, as the submissions these two have mastered took focus in the second half of the bout. It became a battle of who could survive. Perhaps it was Sawa’s ring rust that gave Sabre the edge, as while Sawa has been either sitting at home or doing comedy matches, Sabre has been wrestling (and defeating), some of wrestling’s top names in Japan. There was no escaping Napalm Death once Zack locked it in. Excellent match. ****1/4

For now, this looks like it will be the last match in ZSJ’s WWN career. Zack’s first EVOLVE show was EVOLVE 34, a show where the Open the United Gate championships were being defended in the semi-main event. Practically from his debut, he put EVOLVE on his back and became the face of the promotion. This became evident at EVOLVE 45 when he and Roderick Strong put on a MOTYC, and then in the same building at EVOLVE 53, teamed with Sami Callihan to battle Chris Hero and Tommy End in one of EVOLVE’s best matches ever. Zack leaving is a huge blow to the EVOLVE roster. I’m not saying EVOLVE will fold and crumble without him, but his presence is going to be missed.



This started really, really slow, but turned into a chaotic brawl that was well worth everyone’s time. I was afraid that this was just going to be a lesser version of the tag match we saw at EVOLVE 102, but this match eventually got going and it got going in a big way thanks to Dominic Garrini.

Garrini put his body through hell here. He wrestles barefoot, and at one point had both of his feet sandwiched in a ladder and then crushed by repeating chair shots. He would recover from this, and right as it looked like he was about to put the Workhorsemen away, he ate a pounce out of nowhere by Odinson and went through a table. One of the nastiest spots of the weekend.

Henry and Drake are really coming into their own in EVOLVE. They’re not over, but they’re really, really talented. They had Parrow pinned, but Henry stopped the ref’s hand from counting three. He said they needed to do more. They set up a big contraption of weapons, which included setting Odinson on a table, and then Henry double stomped Odinson. The table didn’t exactly break, but more fell down, which really prevented this match from being “great”. They pinned The Endn and picked up the win after a groan from the crowd. Still, they all worked hard and redeemed themselves after a slow start. ***3/4



This was A Match. I think I cared more than most people in the audience, but that doesn’t count for much. They didn’t embarrass themselves, but this didn’t exactly sell me on checking out SHINE 50, despite Kimber Lee coming out after the match to challenge Lufisto. **


Keith Lee came into this match with something to prove. Earlier in the afternoon he fell short in a Title vs. Title match with Austin Theory, meaning that he came into this match with Sekimoto without a title, but with a mind of frustration.

These two, much like Zack and Sawa, delivered the match that I was hoping for. Lee hit a big hurricanrana early, but with the exception of that flashy move, this was all substance. Chop after chop, headbutt after headbutt, these two matched each other step for step along the way and it was glorious.

Sekimoto was able to put Lee away with a giant German suplex, giving him his only win of the weekend. I loved this match. It wasn’t shocking. They did everything I was hoping for and it worked. This is one of my favorite matches of the weekend so far. ****1/2

Nick Gage jumped Keith Lee immediately after the match to set up their encounter at the Style Battle finale



I wanted more out of this. I wanted a little more action, a little more stiffness, and a hotter tag between the Catch Point team. They were beaten down a lot in the early goings of this match, and I didn’t feel like they ever nailed their comebacks. Perhaps that was the point, as Ringkampf is so strong, but by the time this match broke down, Catch Point was hanging in there and it eventually led to a victory.

I did really enjoy this match once it broke down. Seeing Chris Dickinson trade blows with WALTER will always impress me. WALTER’s chops and Dickinson’s middle kicks had a different impact than the strikes that Sabre Jr and Sawa were throwing earlier in the night. Whereas those two were throwing kicks that made me want to yell “Ow”, Dickinson and WALTER’s exchanges simply looked like they were knocking the wind out of each other.

This match failed to hit the next level. It was really good, as any match is going to be when there’s this much talent involved, but I just wanted something a little bit more out of it. Thatcher ate the pin following a Death Trap. ***1/2

After the match, Catch Point held a very public discussion about their future. Tracy Williams announced that he was firing Stokely Hathaway, but Stokely reminded him that he owns Catch Point, and therefore fired Williams. Williams then looked for support from Dickinson & Jaka, but was met with a low blow from behind by Dominic Garrini. Dickinson & Jaka followed suit, and then they all left with Stokely.



Ospreay vs. Riddle will surely go down as one of the most intense matches of the weekend. I groaned at the idea of this match when it was first announced, as I was incredibly excited to see Ospreay back in the WWN Universe, and I did not think that his talent was being used to its full potential against Riddle, who I’ve criticized for becoming too routine with his work. My criticism turned out to be invalid.

This 12 minute match was one of the hottest, most engaging matches of the weekend. Ospreay, who is nothing short of brilliant in the way he is handling his neck, took a big apron bump at the start of the match. Riddle took control and it looked like they were going to squash Will, which would’ve been a bold move to kick off Riddle’s title run.

It looks like the referees are going to stop the match after a flurry of Riddle’s offense, but Ospreay refuses to quit. He eats a knee and a giant tombstone, but he kicks out again, thus beginning a run in which I fully believed Will Ospreay was going to win the championship. He nailed Riddle with a Rainmaker, countered a Gotch Piledriver with a Triangle Choke, and folded Riddle up with a huge powerbomb. Right when it looked like Riddle had had enough, he countered the Oscutter with the BROmission, cranked back on the neck, and forced Ospreay to tap.

THIS was the juice that the WWN Universe needed; it’s a shame it came in the main event of their third show. I mentioned in my preview that these two had a killer sprint a few years ago, and this was no different. One of the best matches of the weekend. ****3/4


Watch this show. With the exception of the SHINE match, everything on it was, at the very least, very good. That has become the running theme with the Supershow. Every year, a bunch of matches deliver, a few of them are really good, and a few angles are sprinkled in along the way. Will Ospreay vs. Matt Riddle was a special kind of match, the dream matches delivered, and there is a whole lot to be hopeful for in the future of EVOLVE, as the opening six-man tag illustrated. Huge thumbs up for Mercury Rising 2018 – buy this show!