LIVONIA, Mich. — EVOLVE 111 took place on Sunday afternoon, a standing-room only crowd hot at the Monaghan Knights of Columbus Hall. The passionate fans were rewarded with one of Matt Riddle’s final matches on the indy scene before he heads to WWE/NXT, and the finale for manager/wrestler Stokely Hathaway, who lost an “I Quit” bout with the stipulation that he leave the promotion.

First up was Riddle, in the show’s fifth bout. The Livonia crowd chanted during the JD Drake bout with Riddle, known as “The King of Bros,” knowing they were witnessing one of his final EVOLVE matches. The two put on a long, back and forth battle with very close near falls, until Riddle picked up the submission victory over Drake, in arguably the best match on EVOLVE 111.

The champ, Shane Strickland.

And Riddle wasn’t even one of three billed main events. In the first, a bout that followed Riddle-Drake, Shane “Swerve” Strickland retained his EVOLVE Championship against DJZ.

AR Fox leaps out onto his opponents.

The next match was a triple threat, where the WWN Champion, “Bad Boy” Joey Janela, had to be pinned or submitted to lose his title. Outside the ring, Janella had Penelope Ford in his corner, Austin Theory had Priscilla Kelly, and AR Fox was accompanied by the ever-popular Skulk. Before the match began, Darby Allin (who had wrestled earlier) declared that he would be added to this match as well. From bell to bell there were high-paced spots, dives, flips, you name it. All three valets at ringside got physical with each other as well. When it looked like Theory was going to get the win over Janela, Theory’s former trainer, Fox, let his emotions get the best of him, pinning Theory to win the match, but not the title.

Stokely Hathaway says “I Quit” to Tracy Williams’ sleeper hold.

EVOLVE 111’s final match saw Chris Dickinson and Stokely Hathaway of Catchpoint against Tracy Williams in an I Quit Handicapped match, where if Tracy won, Hathaway would leave EVOLVE Wrestling. Chris Dickinson wrestled for almost the entirety of the match against Williams in a brutal affair. The two other members of Catchpoint, Dominick Garrini and Jaka, interfered at different points to save Hathaway, but both were stopped by Williams, as Garrini was sent through a table, and Jaka through chairs. It was an overall hardcore match, with swinging chairs, ladder piledrivers, and thumbtacks as well. Hathaway said “I Quit” to Williams’ sleeper hold, ending Hathaway’s EVOLVE career. After the grueling match, Hathaway addressed Livonia, and thanked them, and EVOLVE management, for the two years of his time.

Jaka kicks Saieve Al Sabah.

The opening bout saw newcomer Saieve Al Sabah defeat Catchpoint’s Jaka with Stokely Hathaway.

Josh Briggs and Jon Davis battle

Darby Allin defeated Brian Idol, followed by a big hoss battle between Josh Briggs and Jon Davis, which ended in a no contest when both men refused to return to the ring while brawling in the crowd.

WALTER crushes Anthony Henry.

Things really started to pick up in the fourth match, when Anthony Henry faced WALTER. There was an immense size difference, but both men put on a hard hitting effort, which received a standing ovation from the crowd. When Henry went to shake WALTER’s hand after their match, the big man attacked Henry. But JD Drake, Anthony Henry’s former tag partner made the save, as WALTER retreated.

Matt Riddle heads to the ring. Photos by Brad McFarlin

Following the EVOLVE show, a Progress Wrestling show took place.


Matthew McFarlin has been contributing to SLAM! Wrestling, with the help of his dad, Brad McFarlin, for over four years now.