Evolve 123 & 124 previews: Velveteen Dream returns to Evolve!

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Yes indeed, ladies, gentlemen, and assorted nonbinary folks, it’s time for the World Wrestling Network to come back in to your home with Evolve 123 (live from Melrose, Massachusetts) and Evolve 124 (live from Queens, New York), and as always, I’m here to give you the low down on what’s going down.

Video Roundup

Evolve 121 Recap: Putting the HOT in Hotlanta!

Evolve 122 Recap: Past the Point of No Return

The Unwanted

Evolve Mini-Doc: He Doesn’t Like You

A Demand From the WWN Champion!

Evolve 123 (Friday, March 15, at 8PM Eastern)

NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream returns to Evolve to face the inexplicable Orange Cassidy. Before Ricochet got called up to the main roster, this was to be his weekend back, and Cassidy was overwhelmingly selected over AR Fox and Shane Strickland in a fan poll on Twitter. Now it’s VD’s turn, and the match has been set, and oh boy, this one is going to be…

…well it’s going to be an experience. Both Velveteen and Freshly-Squeezed have, uh… unique… wrestling styles on some level, and when they meet in the middle I’d be shocked if it was anything but magic. Indeed, Dream’s self-assured and nigh-erotic demeanor are a natural counterpoint to Cassidy’s laid-back “do almost nothing until it’s time to do everything” approach.

(And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our man Henry T. Casey’s excellent oral history of Orange— if you haven’t read it and you’re reading this, get on it!)

The Street Profits go toe to toe with two members of the Unwanted. Evolve’s listing doesn’t make it clear whether the Evolve Tag Team Championship will be on the line nor which two of Eddie Kingston, Shane Strickland, Joe Gacy, and Colby Corino will be tagging up here, but it doesn’t really matter all that much— this will be a war.

The Unwanted made their initial splash at the end of Montez Ford’s match against JD Drake last month, beating down both Profits as well as the WWN Champion, and now it’s Ford and Angelo Dawkins’ turn to give them hell right back. No matter what the exact details of this match turn out to be, someone’s paying a price in flesh and leaving the night less than what they walked in.

Austin Theory defends the Evolve World Championship against John Silver. Cards on the table, folks, this is the least appealing Evolve World Championship match to me in some time. Theory is an incredibly talented young man whose matches nonetheless often leave me cold, and Silver is a guy who, while he no doubt works an exciting and hard-hitting style, has failed to connect with me, so it’s hard to pump this one up.

That being said I do hope they nail it and prove me wrong, and I’d be very happy to eat my words with a glowing review of their match if they do so.

Darby Allin and Josh Briggs meet in a rematch from last fall. Or, in the simplest terms, “David and Goliath, but both guys do flips.” This one had oughta be killer!

WorkHorsemen clash against the Skulk in tag team battle. To be more specific, Anthony Henry and JD Drake will be going head-to-head with AR Fox and Skulk front-runner Leon Ruff. Both teams have had stellar, if losing, showings against the tag team champions, and so a victory here could easily mean a WrestleMania weekend title shot. Henry’s new-look attitude may prove a detriment to his working together with the Blue-Collar Badass, however, leaving Fox and Ruff’s well-oiled machine an easy path to the winner’s purse.

And more featuring Curt Stallion, Harlem Bravado, Rory Gulak, Priscilla Kelly, and others yet to be announced! It seems fairly likely that whichever members of the Unwanted don’t end up in the tag match will end up in action as well.

Evolve 124 (Saturday, March 16, at 6PM Eastern)

It’s an only-in-Evolve trios battle as Velveteen Dream teams up with the Street Profits to take on the Unwanted! This should follow on directly from the Profits’ tag against the Unwanted the night before and should be even wilder with the NXT North American Champion involved. What’s more, we know the lineup for this one, with Colby Corino sitting it out, it’ll be Kingston, Strickland, and Gacy taking on the NXT superstars.

It’s champion vs. champion as JD Drake puts his WWN Championship on the line against Austin Theory. Originally set to be a simple champion vs. champion match, Drake insisted on putting his title on the line to show his commitment to working hard and impressing audiences by the toil of his sweat and blood in contrast to cocky, shortcut-taking Theory. Indeed, JD and Austin have clashed cultures before, and it seemed for a short time in the fall that they’d meet in singles action again.

It’s a bold move, given that the only time they’ve met in singles action, Theory defeated Drake, but a man’s pride is at stake here. And when that man is James Damn Drake, you can bet on the Blue-Collar Badass.

Darby Allin gets a chance to settle the score against Anthony Henry. Henry has grown increasingly frustrated and resentful over the last year, and he finally erupted at the end of Evolve 122, beating Allin down. He’s changed his hair to go with his new attitude, and now he’s the final boss on Darby’s path to his title shot against Austin Theory. With only three weeks to WrestleMania weekend, Allin needs to not only survive Anthony’s onslaught, but do so in a way that leaves him capable of recovering in time.

Josh Briggs has been calling him out for months and now he finally gets to fight AR Fox man-to-man. They got a taste of each other in tag team action back in January, and now there are no distractions. Fox has been on a hot streak all year and might be Evolve’s 2019 MVP whereas Briggs is one of Evolve’s most dependable young men. The end result— this one has “show stealer” written all over it!

Two of Evolve’s freshest and brightest stars collide as Leon Ruff takes on Curt Stallion. Both men are signed and unlikely to go anywhere, so this isn’t make or break in the way it might have been for either man six months ago, but this is still a titanically important match, positioned as it is on the cusp of WrestleMania weekend. A win here could mean the difference between being in a featured match at Mercury Rising or just ending up another face in the crowd.

Recent tag team specialist additions to the Evolve family Harlem Bravado and John Silver will face off in singles action. Harlem has been treading water for some time as a singles wrestler, while Silver has recently impressed WWN officials to earn this chance. This is potentially do or die for both men— a win could mean the difference between getting a chance to earn a full-time roster spot and fading away into the indie ether.

Plus Priscilla Kelly will be on hand, presumably still trying to offer her services to Darby Allin in his quest to dethrone Austin Theory.

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