Tonight at EVOLVE 131: 10th Anniversary Celebration, NXT Champion Adam Cole and Akira Tozawa return to EVOLVE with the title on the line in the main event! Plus, WWN Champion JD Drake and Evolve Champion Austin Theory put it all on the line in a Winner Takes All championship match. All that and more at the 10th Anniversary Celebration on EVOLVE 131!
Video package recaps WWE alumni in EVOLVE.
We are LIVE from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pa. Lenny Leonard has the call for tonight.
Lenny Leonard in the ring to introduce the show. Leonard says this is the future of EVOLVE and the ring clears with Josh Briggs standing alone. Briggs says this is his opportunity and he tells his opponent Anthony Greene to get in the ring.
The Future is Now Showcase Match: Josh Briggs vs. “Retro” Anthony Greene (w/Brandi Lauren)
Briggs throws Greene around the ring. Greene makes him miss in the corner, but Briggs with a hip toss backbreaker across the knee back into the ring. Greene comes back with a hurricanrana. Briggs drops him for a nearfall and Greene moves to the apron. Briggs follows and lands a big boot from the apron, but Brandi Lauren grabs a foot and it allows Greene to kick the leg of Briggs against the ropes. Greene knocks Briggs off the apron and tries a suicide dive, but Briggs catches it for a chokeslam on the apron. Briggs spends too much time getting to the apron and it allows Greene to land a springboard cutter on the apron. Nearfall for Greene back inside and he works Briggs in the corner. Snapmare into the corner makes Briggs favor the left leg and Lauren sneaks in a cheap shot outside. Greene with a neckbreaker combo for another nearfall as Briggs continues to favor the injured left leg. Briggs with a release suplex to create space and a jumping clothesline connects to start the comeback. Briggs runs into a superkick, but he comes right back with corner big boots. Backbreakers from Briggs get a nearfall. Greene goes after the leg of Briggs, but Briggs with a big boot and sit-out piledriver for a nearfall. Greene stops a back body drop with a kick and enzuigiri, but Briggs fires up. Greene with another enzuigiri, a release suplex, and pumphandle driver for a nearfall.
Greene grabs a single-leg crab after the pin attempt. Briggs makes it to the ropes. Greene goes up, but Briggs avoids the 450. Briggs corners him and Greene counters with an enzuigiri and schoolboy into the second turnbuckle. Greene goes up top and Briggs meets him. Lauren grabs the foot of Briggs and catches an ejection from the referee. Greene with a victory roll off the top for a nearfall. Greene gets a superkick caught and Briggs with a Go to Hell. Greene fights off chokeslams, but Briggs gets the chokeslam into the powerbomb.
Winner by pinfall: Josh Briggs
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Video promo from Evolve Tag Team Champions The Unwanted.
Fatal Four-Way: “The Unwanted Savage” Sean Maluta vs. Curt “The Lonestar” Stallion vs. “The Leader of the Pack” Stephen Wolf vs. Harlem “Globetrotter” Bravado
Maluta and Stallion left in the ring to start and they exchange until Stallion lands a double stomp for a nearfall. Stallion with a forearm. Bravado knocked off the apron, but Maluta with a twisting neckbreaker. Wolf in with a dropkick on Maluta. Wolf with a head kick from the apron and a springboard crossbody. Bravado runs in and knocks Wolf down. Stallion chops Bravado. Wolf with a flip dive to the outside on Bravado. Maulta with one of his own off the top on Bravado and Wolf. Stallion with a Fosbury Flop on the field. Snap German suplex gets Stallion a nearfall on Maluta. Bravado in to take on Stallion and he works him down. Wolf in and Bravado with a two-for-one inverted DDT and flatliner that gets a nearfall. Belly-to-back suplex on Wolf gets Bravado another nearfall. Bravado gets knocked off the top by Maluta and Maluta with superkicks for everyone. Wolf with a jawbreaker on Maluta and the two run into each other on crossbodies. Stallion takess out Maluta with a German suplex and Bravado and Maluta dropped in the corners as Wolf and Stallion work together. Stallion and Wolf exchange strikes as the only two left in the ring and Wolf with a rolling elbow. Bravado runs in with a big boot. Maluta drops Stallion with an enzuigiri. Wolf does a 619 to reverse and take Maluta down with a lariat to put all four down.
Bravado with a Death Valley Driver on Wolf and he goes for Stallion. Stallion rolls through for a neckbreaker across the knee. Codebreaker from Maluta lands and he is left with Wolf. Wolf with a Blue Thunder Bomb and he goes up top. Bravado crotches him up top. Maluta meets him, but Stallion with a belly-to-back superplex. Bravado runs in with Straight Cash Homie and Wolf catches Bravado with a shooting star press.
Winner by pinfall: Stephen Wolf
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Video package for Anthony Henry.
Grudge Match: Arturo Ruas vs. Anthony Henry
Ruas with a double-leg takedown and he looks for an armbar, but Henry gets the rope break. Henry with a double-leg takedown of his own and he goes for an armbar of his own, but Ruas spins out and looks for his own. Henry with a bloody nose and Ruas with a bodyscissors as they continue to exchange armbar attempts. Ruas powerbombs out of an attempt and lands ground-and-pound for a nearfall. Ruas strikes Henry down in the corner. Henry with palm strikes back in and a victory roll to a double stomp. Spinning heel kick from Henry and he counters Ruas to land a missile dropkick. A pair of suplexes sees Henry go for the armbar. Ruas escapes and goes outside, but Henry with a flying knee off the apron. Ruas ducks under Henry coming off the top inside and capoeira kicks get a nearfall on Henry. Ruas gets Henry up and Henry goes to the sleeper. Ruas backs him into the corner over and over. Henry lets go and Ruas with a handstand kick and German suplex for a nearfall. Ruas with punches to the body. Henry catches a knee strike and lands a Buzzsaw Kick. They fight up top and Henry knocks Ruas down for a double stomp to the back. Tornado DDT sees Henry too far away from the ropes, but he goes for it again and gets it. Double stomp gets a nearfall for Henry.
Ankle lock in for Henry. Ruas struggles, but gets to his back and they look for heel hooks. They exchange slaps and get to their feet for a palm strike exchange. Henry runs into a spinning hook kick from Ruas that knocks him out.
Winner by pinfall: Arturo Ruas
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Video recaps the rivalry between Brandi Lauren and Shotzi Blackheart.
No Disqualifications: Brandi Lauren vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Natalia Markova runs in and Lauren asks if Blackheart wanted no DQs. Markova with a spinning X-Factor and she works Blackheart in the corner. Blackheart fights out and hits a 619. Missile dropkick lands and sends Markova out. Blackheart takes out both with a suicide dive. Markova taken back by a referee and Blackheart lays out Lauren. Chairs set up by Blackheart and she drops Lauren after she goes for a chair. Lauren rolled in and she lands a wrecking ball dropkick with a chair to the face of Blackheart, who falls back into the chairs set up ringside. Lauren works Blackheart down and runs her into the ring post. Blackheart knocks Lauren over into a chair and lands a running hip attack. Lauren and Blackheart to the apron. Lauren runs Blackheart into the post and powerbombs Blackheart on the apron for a nearfall. Blackheart comes back with a corner cannonball back inside and Lauren rolls to the apron. Blackheart looks for a shiranui, but it gets botched and they go out to the floor. Lauren thrown down on the chairs. Blackheart sets up a chair on the chair bridge to create a tower and Lauren gets put on it. Blackheart sets up for a dive and Anthony Greene gets between them. Greene knocked off the apron and Blackheart goes for a dive, but Lauren moves and Blackheart crashes into the tower of chairs. Lauren only gets a nearfall inside.
Greene brings Lauren a kendo stick and Curt Stallion runs out to chase Anthony Greene to the back. Lauren wears out Blackheart with the kendo stick.
Winner by pinfall: Brandi Lauren
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Video previews the upcoming events of Evolve.
Special Challenge Match: Colby Corino (w/Sean Maluta) vs. Babatunde
Corino says he doesn’t care who Babatunde is and chops him. Babatunde grabs him by the forearm and powers Corino down before throwing him across the ring. Corino moves outside and Maluta tries to distract. Corino gets caught and chopped against the ropes with the sweat flying off him. Babatunde tries to get inside and Corino dives at him full speed to knock him off. Maluta with a superkick and Corino with a springboard Swanton Bomb across the back of Babatunde. Corino gets rag dolled into the corner and hit with an avalanche. Elbow drop from Babatunde followed by a splash.
Winner by pinfall: Babatunde
Evolve Tag Team Champions Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy come out post-match and say it isn’t going down like that. Kingston introduces The Unwanted. Kingston says they have a beef with “Baba Booey” and says he gets everything handed to him because he is seven feet tall and played football. Kingston says he traveled the road and did it the right way and he says they are going to take him out.
AR Fox and Leon Ruff make their way out with Ayla and The Skulk to make the save. They hit stereo dives and the bell sounds.
Evolve Tag Team Championships: The Unwanted (Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy w/Colby Corino and Sean Maluta) (c) vs. AR Fox & Leon Ruff (w/Ayla & The Skulk)
Another pair of dives from Ruff and Fox. Gacy accidentally hits a dive on Kingston and Ruff with a flip dive off the top. Fox with a springboard inverted 450 onto The Unwanted. Ruff and Fox double-team Gacy inside for a nearfall that is broken by Kingston. Kingston shoves Fox into a springboard cutter from Ruff and Gacy with a Lethal Injection on Fox. Rolling elbow and belly-to-back suplex from The Unwanted and they work Ruff down with a double-team. Powerbomb on Ruff gets another nearfall and a double-team STO on Fox takes him out. Ruff fights back with forearms and he gets chopped in the corner by The Unwanted. Ruff sat up top and hit with a superplex and powerbomb combo for a nearfall. Fox saves Ruff and Gacy sat up top. Kingston drops Fox. Ruff kicks Kingston away and lands a jumping tornado DDT. Springboard Spanish Fly from Fox on Gacy off the top for a nearfall. Kingston with a spinning backfist. Ruff hit with a lariat and dragon suplex combo for a nearfall. Gacy goes for a table outside and sets it up. Kingston and Ruff up top. Fox hits coast-to-coast to knock Gacy outside. Ruff hits a Ruff Ride crucifix bomb off the top on Kingston. Ruff with a flip dive over the corner onto Gacy through a table outside and Fox with a 450 splash inside.
Winners by pinfall and NEW EVOLVE Tag Team Champions: The Skulk
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Video recaps the history between Drew Gulak and Matt Riddle in Catch Point.
Catch Point Reunion: “The Original Bro” Matt Riddle (w/Curt Stallion) vs. Drew Gulak (w/Catch Point)
Gulak avoiding the takedowns of Riddle early. They exchange submission attempts and reset. Riddle with leg kicks and Gulak grabs the ankle, but can’t get the ankle lock. They continue to feel each other out and Riddle gets a takedown and hammerlock on Gulak. Riddle fights up and Gulak falls back to look for the GuLock, but Riddle counters to an armbar attempt and Gulak gets the rope break. Riddle with roundhouse kicks in the corner. Gulak kicks away, but dives off the top into a jumping knee from Riddle. Riddle with a Broton for a nearfall. Bromission blocked by Gulak and they reset. Striking exchange sees Gulak get a snap suplex for a nearfall. Gulak chops the back of Riddle and goes to a headscissors. Riddle headstands out and looks for a PK. Gulak moves out of the way. Gulak with a side headlock and Gulak continues to roll him on the mat, but Riddle with a powerbomb. Knee blocked by Gulak for a powerbomb of his own. Riddle kicks out and Gulak transitions to a half crab. Riddle fights up and lands forearms and chops. Gulak tries a lariat and Riddle with a ripcord knee for a nearfall. Riddle up top and Gulak meets him for a belly-to-back superplex. Riddle with chops and forearms and Gulak goes for a single-leg takedown. Riddle with heel kicks to the back of the head and a Penalty Kick gets a nearfall.
Gulak and Riddle exchange chops and Gulak with headbutts to the body. Riddle blocks and drops down to the Bromission. Gulak slips out, only to get caught in a triangle choke. Gulak with a rope break and small package for a nearfall. Riddle hits a fisherman’s buster for a nearfall. Gulak moves to the apron and Riddle with a deadlift German suplex back into the ring. Phoenix Splash sees Riddle fall right into the GuLock. Riddle floats over and lifts Gulak to land a Gotch Neutralizer.
Winner by pinfall: Matt Riddle
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Post-match, Gulak with the microphone and he says Catch Point was founded on competition, opportunity, and respect. Gulak stands here as the WWE Cruiserweight Champion in the middle of an EVOLVE ring. Gulak respects Riddle and says it is an honor as they shake hands and share a Catch Point salute.
Video package previews the Winner Takes All match for the WWN Championship and Evolve Championship between Evolve Champion Austin Theory and WWN Champion James Drake.
Before the match, the lights go out and Paul Heyman takes ring announcing duties to announce that he is here to see what the future of wrestling looks like.
Winner Takes All for the WWN & Evolve Championships: Austin Theory (Evolve Champion) vs. JD Drake (WWN Champion)
They go face-to-face and Theory slaps Drake. They both look for finishers and Theory with a forearm. Drake blocks an Irish whip, but eats a dropkick from Theory. Drake with a dropkick of his own that sends Theory out. Drake tries a suicide dive that is stopped by a Theory forearm. Theory tries an elbow on Drake, but he misses and hits the ring post. Drake drops Theory with a chop and lands more ringside. Theory stops Drake with a back body drop on the ramp. Theory with a nearfall back inside and Drake lands a chop. Theory pummels him into the corner, but a chop just makes Drake angry. Drake drops him with a chop. Theory clubs Drake down and stomps him down. Cobra Clutch in and he lands a belly-to-back suplex on Drake. Standing moonsault gets a nearfall for Theory. Drake chops out of the corner and Theory hits a running forearm to the lower back. Theory with forearms and Drake challenges him to hit harder. Drake with a chop and Theory tries short-arm clotheslines that knock Drake to a knee. Drake catches one from Theory and lands one of his own that knocks Theory down. Theory runs into a tilt-a-whirl slam from Drake that puts both down. Theory with a rolling thunder dropkick that knocks Drake into the corner. Double stomp misses and Drake pulls Theory into a right hand outside. Drake rolls Theory in, but Theory rolls back out and Drake follows him outside with a suicide dive.
Running corner chop inside for Drake and he slams Theory. Drake up top with a Vader Bomb that gets a nearfall. Drake goes back up top and Theory meets him. Drake back elbows him away and lands a flying leg lariat. Corner cannonball to follow misses and Theory with a rolling blockbuster for a nearfall. Theory has his nose busted open and looks for the finish, but Drake runs him into the corner for chops. Drake looks for a superplex, but Theory falls under and gets Drake on his shoulders for Three Seconds Around the World. Drake able to kick out. Theory looks for Ataxia and Drake with a back body drop. Theory kicks out of the corner and rolls, but Drake with a stunner and corner cannonball. Drill Bit from Drake lands. Theory kicks out. Moonsault from Drake lands. Theory kicks out again. Drake and Theory nose-to-nose on their knees and they exchange strikes. Drake with chops and Theory with a back elbow and superkick. Drake spins out of Ataxia and hits a lariat. Drake goes back up top and the moonsault hits the mat. Theory with a trio of superkicks and Ataxia.
Winner by pinfall and NEW WWN & Evolve Champion: Austin Theory
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Post-match, Theory with the microphone and he says everyone will chase their dreams and realize that the Evolve Championship symbolizes their dreams must go through him. Theory says he is the measuring stick and standard of Evolve. The lights go out and Josh Briggs appears behind Theory to hit a chokeslam.
Video package for Josh Briggs.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
Cole pushes Tozawa into the corner. Cole takes a bow. Tozawa to an arm wrench and Cole spins out to a wristlock. Tozawa to a side headlock and Cole tries to work out of it, getting to one of his own. Leapfrogs, ducks, and counters exchanged until Tozawa gets an octopus in. Cole gets the rope break and Tozawa with a head kick from the apron. Cole drops Tozawa off the top rope and lands a big boot to put Tozawa down. Cole works Tozawa down in the corner and drops him with an Irish whip. Rear chinlock applied and Tozawa fights up, only to get dropped by a back elbow. Cole toys with Tozawa and Tozawa gets up with forearms. Tozawa with Cole on his shoulders and he fights off the elbows for a fireman’s carry drop. Sliding kick and a suicide dive on Cole outside. Tozawa with a flip dive from the apron. Tozawa goes to the top back inside for a missile dropkick that gets a nearfall. Standing switches exchanged until Cole hits an enzuigiri and backstabber for a nearfall. Cole with a head kick and neckbreaker across the knee for another nearfall. Cole with forearms and Tozawa comes back with forearms of his own. Cole with a pump kick and Tozawa shakes it off. Pump kicks exchanged and Tozawa with a jab. Cole with a superkick and it puts both men down.
Tozawa up first and he goes up top. Cole meets him and they fight for position. Tozawa comes down into a superkick from Cole and another neckbreaker across the knee gets a nearfall for Cole. Cole looks to bring in the NXT Championship belt and Johnny Gargano comes to ringside. Cole distracted and Tozawa with a schoolboy nearfall. Snap German suplex gets another and Tozawa with a cyclone kick. Cole down and Tozawa up top. Senton lands on the knees of Cole and Cole with a Panama Sunrise and Last Shot.
Winner by pinfall and STILL NXT Champion: Adam Cole
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Post-match, Cole and Gargano get face-to-face and Cole walks out with the title. Gargano with the microphone post-match and they continue the Evolve tradition of asking the fans if they enjoyed the show to end it.
Nolan Howell can be reached at [email protected] for any questions or comments.