LIVONA, Mich. — On Sunday night, an emotional “Limitless” Keith Lee wrestled his last bout in EVOLVE, his last “indy” bout, before heading off to NXT/WWE. After his loss to EVOLVE champion Matt Riddle, Lee took to the mic to say goodbye.

Part of the reason for the impassioned speech is the history between Lee and Riddle, who have battled for some time now, primarily in EVOLVE over the championship. The crowd, which packed the Monaghan Knights of Columbus Hall in Livona, just outside Detroit, certainly knew what they got to witness, billed as it was “The Final War.”

As soon as the ring announcer began to hype the main event of the evening, the crowd stood up on its feet, knowing the significance of Keith Lee versus “King of Bros” Matt Riddle. Throughout the match, the crowd was very vocal, chanting and singing for both Lee and Riddle, reacting to every move. This match was exciting, and brutal as well. Keith attacked Riddle’s arm, injured the night before, along with both men hitting each other with slaps, chops and knees. Plus, they stole each other’s finishers, and both men kicked out of their opponent’s signature moves at a count of one, which really popped the crowd.

Lee brings Riddle crashing down.


After the match, the victor Matt Riddle called out the person who injured his arm the night before, Shane Strickland. While Strickland came out with a chair, looking to attack Matt, he retreated shortly after. Riddle turned to Lee, giving a short, heartfelt send off, and then presented Lee with the open mic. The crowd gave him all the love, chanting all his catchphrases, and listening until the end.

“You know, it’s absolutely so much to say at this moment in time,” began Lee, as a male voice yelled out “I love you” from the crowd. “Detroit, that was some beautiful stuff right there.”

The crowd drowned out Lee, and a “you deserve it,” chant began.

Lee said they sounded “like a choir.”

“There’s a lot I don’t know about the future. Leaving this place is going to be more difficult than you can imagine. Because when I come here, to a place like Detroit, and I stand in front of people like all of you, this is something that is extremely special. I feel it in my heart, I feel it in my soul, I feel in my very feet,” Lee said to more fanfare. “You guys resonate with me.”

The big man, all 6-foot-3, 330 pounds of him, asked the crowd to “continue to support me, please continue to follow me … whatever happens.”

He encouraged the fans to return “every single time EVOLVE steps into Detroit. I want you to fill this place up just like that.”

Lee, whose catchphrase is “bask in my glory” obviously enjoyed his own moment, ending with “I love you.”

Keith Lee at the end of his time with EVOLVE. Photos by Brad McFarlin


The show, EVOLVE 105, marked the third time the promotion held a show at the KofC Hall in Livonia. This was the biggest crowd that EVOLVE has had at this location, selling out the hall with standing room only (at least 300). EVOLVE returns in August, though perhaps it’s time to look for a bigger venue.

Besides the main event. the crowd was most over for AR Fox, accompanied by The Skulk. AR and his squad came out to his hip entrance music and signature dance move, which really pumped the crowd. His match with Myron Reed was one the best of the night, showcasing high flying and agile offense, and reversals from the both. Throughout the match, The Skulk would rabidly cheer Fox on. One of the highlights of the show was when Myron Reed performed a plancha over the turnbuckle onto the squad. AR Fox would do the same stunt, resulting in “holy ****” chants from the crowd. When the match ended, AR and Reed received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Here are the results from EVOLVE 105 The Final War on Sunday, May 20, 2018:

– Orlando Christopher & N8 Mattson defeated The End (Parrow & Drennan) by DQ
– Tracy Williams defeated Odinson
– AR Fox defeated Myron Reed
– Josh Briggs won a fray match
– DJZ defeated Zachary Wentz
– Shane Strickland defeated Darby Allin
– WWN and FIP Champion Austin Theory defeated Trey Miguel in a non-title match
– EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Chris Dickinson & Jaka defeated Anthony Henry & James Drake
– EVOLVE Champion Matt Riddle defeated Keith Lee to retain his title

EVOLVE has done two short documentaries on the Matt Riddle vs Keith Lee battles, and the match described above, Lee’s finale with EVOLVE, is available at