August 11th, 2018
Watch: WWN Live
ZERO1 USA World Junior Heavyweight Title – Jake Parnell (c) def. Gary Jay
So before getting into the primary portion of the card, EVOLVE presented a couple of title bouts from smaller promotions. The first of those was for the ZERO1 USA World Junior Heavyweight Title (which looks suspiciously like the old TNA X-Division Title). While I knew about the ZERO1 promotion in Japan, I had no idea that ZERO1 USA even existed. From what I was able to find out, it was formerly tied to ZERO1 in Japan, but I guess that relationship ended a long time ago. Anyway, Jake Parnell defended the ZERO1 USA World Junior Heavyweight Title here against Gary Jay in what ended up being a fine match. It only went about four minutes or so, and for what it was, it was decent. They got in as much stuff as they could, and the fans did seem to be into it at points. Parnell ultimately retained after hitting a powerbomb. **1/2
Freelance Wrestling Title – Isaias Velazquez (c) def. Matt Knicks
The second of the two showcase bouts saw the Freelance Wrestling Title up for grabs as Isaias Velazquez defended against Matt Knicks. Now seeing talent from Freelance Wrestling on EVOLVE cards in Chicago is nothing new, as they usually get a match whenever EVOLVE is in town. This was a solid contest that was a step up from the opener. There was a lot of back and forth action throughout, which wasn’t much of a shock, since these two know each other very well. The crowd was also more invested in this one, as they showed their support for one of their local Chicago promotions. In terms of length, this went just a hair longer than the previous match, and in the end, Velasquez retainted. A solid showcase from Freelance Wrestling. **3/4
Three-Way Freestyle – Anthony Henry def. Jon Davis & Josh Briggs
There were a couple of different issues coming into this one. Back at EVOLVE 108 in Philadelphia, Jon Davis and Josh Briggs brawled to the back after they were involved in a Four-Way Freestyle. Then, at EVOLVE 109 in Melrose, Jon Davis attacked Anthony Henry after Henry defeated him in a singles match. I wasn’t sure how this particular bout was going to work out, but when the dust settled, it ended up being an incredibly entertaining sprint. It only went about seven or eight minutes, and there was nonstop action throughout, with all three guys getting opportunities to shine. In many ways, it was very similar to the aforementioned Four-Way Freestyle from EVOLVE 108 (and I don’t think that’s a coincidence, considering who was involved). Towards the end of the bout, Davis hit a brutal combination of offense on Briggs, but his attempt at a pin was broken up after double stomp from Henry, who then got the pin on Davis. Again, this was a lot of fun to watch from start to finish. I’ve really been enjoying all three of these guys in EVOLVE lately. Anthony Henry is consistently good every time out, Jon Davis has been very solid since his return, and Josh Briggs continues to impress. ***1/2
DJ Z def. AR Fox (with The Skulk)
Believe it or not, this was the fourth time in eight months that these two have wrestled each other in EVOLVE. Their two previous singles encounters (at EVOLVE 97 & EVOLVE 106) were both won by AR Fox. They were also involved a Four-Way Freestyle at EVOLVE 103, which AR Fox also won. Now both guys are incredibly talented performers (as we all know), but you’d think that they’d run out of unique stuff to do after facing each other so many times. Well, they proved that hypothesis to be incorrect, as they had yet another great match. There was exciting back and forth action throughout, as you would expect, with AR Fox and DJ Z both busting out innovative offense (some of which I hadn’t seen before) at various points. There really isn’t much else to add, in terms of what we saw in the ring. These guys work very well together, and they had another exciting match. As for The Skulk (who apparently added a fifth member) continue to be awesome in their roles as seconds for AR Fox. They really are one of the most entertaining acts in wrestling right now. In the end, DJ Z managed to score the victory after catching AR Fox in a cradle. The result was somewhat of a surprise, since Fox came into this show on a three match win streak (two of those were on EVOLVE 109). He was also getting a shot at the WWN Title the next night at EVOLVE 111. That being said, it was nice to see DJ Z get this much-needed win. Great stuff from these two. ****
WALTER def. JD Drake (with Anthony Henry)
This was WALTER’s first appearance in EVOLVE since suffering back-to-back losses to Darby Allin at EVOLVE 106 and Adam Cole at EVOLVE 107 (the latter was a dark match for the NXT North American Title). Meanwhile, James Drake came into this bout with some momentum after getting two wins the week prior at EVOLVE 108 & EVOLVE 109. This was certainly a huge opportunity for Drake, as he was going up against (arguably) one of the best wrestlers in the world, and he made the most of it. This was just as great as AR Fox/DJ Z, but it was a totally different style of match. While that was a battle between two high flyers, these two just beat the crap out of each other for fifteen minutes. It took a minute or so to get going, but once it did, it quickly became a slugfest, with both men trading big blows. The second half of the bout was particularly strong, and Drake gave it everything he had, but ultimately, WALTER picked up the win via referee stoppage after choking Drake out. This was truly a hoss battle, and it was very entertaining to watch. Drake really took the fight to WALTER in this one, and although he ultimately came up short, this was another impressive outing from the former EVOLVE Tag Team Champion. ****
Afterwards, Anthony Henry got in the ring to check on the condition of his former tag team partner. WALTER then booted Henry in the face, and the two had a stare down before WALTER left.
EVOLVE Tag Team Champion Jaka (with Stokely Hathaway & Dominic Garrini) def. Tracy Williams
After the events of EVOLVE 109, Williams came out with his head and left eye all wrapped up in bandages. He honestly looked like a mummy, which was a little odd, because it’s not like he was a bloody mess after the screwdriver attack from Stokely Hathaway. Anyway, Williams took on Jaka here in what was a pretty solid singles contest. It clocked in at just under nine minutes, and while it wasn’t anywhere close to the previous two bouts on this card, it still featured some good action. Williams was on the verge of victory when Stokely Hathaway jumped on the apron to distract the referee. This distraction allowed Jaka to go after the injured eye of Williams, and he followed that up with a Jaka Bomb for the win. A fine match as a whole, though it was by no means a standout. Jaka’s role was to soften Williams up for the Handicap I Quit Match the next night at EVOLVE 111, and he fulfilled that role perfectly. ***1/4
Catch Point continued to attack Tracy Williams afterwards. Stokely Hathaway tried to go after the eye again, but the referees had to pull him off. We then got a promo from Hathaway, who said that the next night would be the biggest day of his life. He noted that because American Airlines lost his luggage, he’s wrestling in street clothes tonight, and called out The Skulk for their six-man tag.
The Skulk (Adrian Alanis, Leon Ruff, & Tommy Maserati) def. Catch Point (EVOLVE Tag Team Champion Chris Dickinson, Dominic Garrini, & Stokely Hathaway)
Stokely Hathaway said beforehand that he was treating this as a “warm up” in preparation for the aforementioned Handicap I Quit Match against Tracy Williams. Unfortunately, this bout didn’t go the way he planned it, as The Skulk picked up the win after Leon Ruff managed to roll up Chris Dickinson. For what this was, it was pretty decent. It only went about six minutes or so, and there was fine action throughout. Hathaway showed off some of what he could do in the ring, but it was really his hubris (going for the People’s Elbow and missing) that allowed The Skulk to mount a comeback. I mentioned in my review of EVOLVE 109 that The Skulk could be future contenders for the EVOLVE Tag Team Titles. With Leon Ruff scoring a pinfall on Chris Dickinson, it looks like that possibility is going to become a reality, which is good for EVOLVE’s tag team division. **1/2
After the loss, Chris Dickinson argued with Stokely Hathaway & Dominic Garrini as they made their way to the back.
EVOLVE Champion Shane Strickland & FIP World Heavyweight Champion Austin Theory (with Priscilla Kelly) def. WWN Champion Joey Janela (with Penelope Ford) & Saieve Al Sabah
So this “dream” tag team match had the three title holders in WWN….and Saieve Al Sabah. All kidding and funny match titles aside, these four put together a really strong semi-main event. There was entertaining action right from the opening bell, and all four guys had moments to shine throughout. Something that stood out to me was how well the respective teams worked together. We saw some good teamwork from Joey Janela & Saieve Al Sabah early on, but Shane Strickland & Austin Theory showed off some great teamwork as well. If you didn’t know any better, you would’ve thought they were a regular duo. After the opening exchanges, the heels isolated Sabah until he was finally able to tag in Janela, which led to a fun closing stretch. Priscilla Kelly and Penelope Ford would also get involved, but neither played a role in the finish. The great teamwork between Strickland & Theory proved to be the deciding factor, with Theory ultimately getting the win for his team after hitting Janela with Ataxia. This tag team bout didn’t quite reach the level of AR Fox/DJ Z or Drake/WALTER from earlier in the night, but it was still very good. While Saieve Al Sabah seemed like the obvious guy to take the fall here, Theory pinning Janela did made sense, since Theory was involved in the Triple Threat Match for the WWN Title that was scheduled for EVOLVE 111. ***3/4
Darby Allin def. Matt Riddle
This was originally scheduled to be for the EVOLVE Title, but that all changed after Shane Strickland won the title from Matt Riddle from EVOLVE 108. Even know there was nothing on the line, it was still a massive opportunity for Darby Allin, and he definitely made the most of it, as he scored the upset victory after trapping Riddle in the Last Supper. This was easily the match of the night. Riddle was great, as he always is, and Allin (once again) excelled in his role as the underdog. What really made this bout work was that Riddle got to show off his heelish side a little bit. We saw in his phenomenal match with Will Ospreay during WrestleMania Weekend that he can be a vicious heel in certain situations. He didn’t quite reach the levels of heelishness that he did in that match, but did act like a dick towards his much smaller opponent on a few occasions. Riddle beat the crap out of Allin, and became increasingly frustrated over the fact that he couldn’t put him away. Despite being at a size and power disadvantage, Allin fought with everything he had, and put his body on the line as he strived to defeat one of the top stars in EVOLVE. He’s so great at gaining sympathy, particularly in matches like this, and when he does manage to win, it’s such an awesome moment.. While his win over WALTER at EVOLVE 106 is probably the defining moment of his EVOLVE career (up to this point), this victory over Matt Riddle isn’t that far behind. ****1/4
Afterwards, the commentators pushed the fact that Darby Allin could’ve won the EVOLVE Title here if Matt Riddle was still champion. Riddle then took the mic and put over Allin, giving him a ton of credit for never giving up. They then shook hands as the show came to a close.
EVOLVE 110 didn’t have that one truly stellar match, but it was an entertaining show to watch from beginning to end. Darby Allin had another great main event, and there were plenty of strong bouts on the undercard, particularly AR Fox vs. DJ Z and WALTER vs. JD Drake. Other undercard highlights included the semi-main event and the Three-Way Freestyle (which were both really good), along with the continued build towards the blowoff of the Catch Point/Tracy Williams feud. This was a very solid in-ring show that also set the stage well for what would take place the next night.