EVOLVE 10th Anniversary Celebration Special Recap (7/13): Adam Cole Vs. Akira Tozawa, Austin Theory

Welcome to EVOLVE Wrestling's 10th Anniversary Celebration special. The event will take place at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. You can watch it live at 8 PM EST on the WWE Network. Let us know what your thoughts are throughout the night by commenting below. Also, fill free to share the excitement of this event on your social media platforms. Make sure to click the REFRESH button to stay up to date with the matches that will be shown this evening!


EVOLVE Wrestling opened its doors in 2010, when former Ring of Honor booker and Dragon Gate USA Vice President Gabe Sapolsky decided to create another home base promotion for American and international wrestlers to come together and create what is now one of the biggest promotions out there. Many well named wrestlers have fought in the EVOLVE ring including WWE/NXT stars Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa,Aleister Black, Adam Cole, Cedric Alexander, El Generico (Sami Zayn), Kevin Owens, and Daniel Bryan. As well as other independent wrestlers including Sami Callihan (Impact/AAW), Jon Moxley (AEW/NJPW), Will Ospreay (NJPW), Marty Scurll (ROH/NJPW), The Young Bucks (AEW), Kota Ibushi (NJPW), TJP (Impact Wrestling) PJ Black (ROH), and many more.


Tonight, the men and women of EVOLVE will put on one of the most spectacular performances of their careers. Nine matches will take place tonight, they are the following:

NXT Championship Title Match
Adam Cole (c) vs. Akira Tozawa

Winner Take All – Evolve Championship/WWN Championship
Austin Theory (c) vs. JD Drake (c)

EVOLVE Tag Team Championship
Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy (c) vs. AR Fox & Leon Ruff

Catch Point Reunion Match
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle

Grudge Match
Anthony Henry vs. NXT Superstar Arturo Ruas

Special Challenge Match
Colby Corino vs. NXT Superstar Babatunde

No Disqualification Match
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Brandi Lauren

Sean Maluta vs. Stephen Wolf vs. Harlem Bravado vs. Curt Stallion

Anthony Greene vs. Josh Briggs

Lenny Leonard welcomes fans to the EVOLVE event! In the beginning, all the active EVOLVE roaster members are in the ring and they all scatter, leaving Josh Briggs to call out Anthony Greene to begin the first match of the night.


Anthony Greene vs. Josh Briggs

The bell rings and Briggs begins with several arm throws and a backbreaker to Greene. Briggs goes in for a pin and Greene kicks out at 2. Briggs tries to go for a chokeslam, but misses his opportunity. Brandi Lauren tries to grab Briggs so Greene can catch his breath. Briggs is able to get out. Both men are out of the ring and now on the apron. Briggs goes for a kick and Greene grabs his leg and goes for a superkick. Greene now goes for a few chest hits while Briggs is laying on the apron. Both men are now back in the ring. Greene goes to the top rope and lands it.

Backed into the corner, Greene puts in Briggs in the corner and attacks with a several kicks. With the referee's back turned, Lauren slaps Briggs right in the face. Briggs back up on his feet throws a chest slap. Greene is back into the corner of the mat and delivers another successful superkick. Greene goes for pin and Briggs kicks out at 2. Greene and Briggs hit several back and forth kicks. Greene now has Briggs in the half crab, Briggs is able to crawl over to the first rope to break the hold. Greene then goes for the 450 but rolls through. Greene goes for the top rope and Briggs comes in time to give him a strong right hand punch. Briggs goes for the victory roll and lands it! He goes for the pin but Greene kicks out at 2. Briggs goes for a chokeslam and Greene reverses with a hit. It does not register and Briggs is able to get the pin, and the win.


Winner: Josh Briggs

Backstage: The Unwanted discuss how they are the most powerful tag team and no one will stand in there way.

The next match of the night is announced:

Sean Maluta vs. Stephen Wolf vs. Harlem Bravado vs. Curt Stallion

Once the bell rings, Wolf goes right after Bravado and attacks him, which leaves Maluta and Stallion to go after one another. Neck breaker comes from Maluta to Stallion. Stallion rolls out and Maluta and Wolf begin throwing a few punches. Maluta goes up to the top rope and wipes out Wolf and Bravado. Stallion follows right behind with a suicide dive.

Bravado goes for a pin on Stallion and Stallion kicks out at 2. Bravado puts in a few big kicks to Wolf while he is down and in the corner of the ring. Maluta goes back into the ring and superkicks Bravado and Wolf. Maluta goes for a pin on Wolf and Wolf kicks out at 2. Wolf now runs back and forth on the ropes and lands a take down on Maluta. Stallion German Suplexes Muluta. Both Wolf and Stallion pin their opponents and the referee counts both of them but only gets a 2 count.


Stallion and Wolf stare at one another before they go for a few chest slaps. Maluta breaks it up. Wolf goes for a reversal clothesline after Maluta thought he had the lead. Bravado throws Maluta out of the ring to take care of Wolf with a death valley driver. Now Maluta and Wolf are in the ring. Wolf climbs up the top rope and Bravado pushes him down. Maluta climbs up to the second rope, then Stallion. Wolf climbs down for shooting star press and wins the match.

Winner: Stephen Wolf

Next, a promo package of Anthony Henry is shown. He says that since tonight is a special night he is ready to make it even more spectacular!

The third match is announced.

Anthony Henry vs. NXT Superstar Arturo Ruas

The crowd goes wild for Henry as his name is chanted the loudest when he steps into the ring. The bell rings, Ruas goes for the arm bar, but Henry is able to break the submission by putting his foot on the bottom rope. Ruas tries to grab a single leg of Henry's but is met with a scissor leg lock. Ruas reverses hit and lifts him. A double stomp from Henry and then a dropkick. Next comes a missile dropkick from Ruas. Henry goes for submission and Ruas is fighting to break away. Ruas rolls out of the ring, and Henry goes to the apron and dives into Ruas. Ruas goes for an arm and knee strike. Ruas goes for the pin and Henry kicks out at 2.


Henry refuses to give up and is trying to put Ruas to sleep. Ruas reverses with a German Suplex. He goes for the pin and Henry kicks out at 2 again. Both men are now up on their feet. Several jabs are exchanged. Ruas goes for the knee strike and Henry counter attacks with a few knee strikes of his own. Henry climbs to the top rope. Ruas throws a right hand at Henry. Henry headbutts Ruas. He then goes for a tornado DDT. Ruas and Henry are trying to go for any type of leg submission they can. Both exchange chest slaps. Now back and forth punches are exchanged. Ruas goes for a knockout kick right to Henry's face and then goes for the pin. 1-2-3, Ruas walks out the winner.

Winner: Arturo Ruas

Fourth match of the night is announced and it's a no disqualification match.

Shotzi Blackheart vs. Brandi Lauren

As the match starts, Natalia Markova comes in from behind and attacks Blackheart. Markova is here to team up with Lauren now making this a two-on-one match, except Lauren is not doing any of the work. Blackheart goes for a top rope dropkick on Markova. Markova rolls out of the ring to be comforted by Lauren and while they're doing that, Blackheart comes out to get them with a suicide dive. With both women down, Blackheart is going underneath the ring to grab some chairs. The fans start to chant that they want tables. Lauren crawls into the ring and dropkicks Blackheart while she still has the chair in her hands.


Lauren now lines up the chairs. Blackheart is trying to distract her from her plan, she pushes Blackheart into the ring pole face first. Blackheart now fires back with a superkick. On the apron now, Lauren throws Blackheart into the post and then a powerbomb onto the apron. Lauren goes for a pin and Blackheart kicks out at 2. Blackheart is throws a rolling elbow to Lauren. Blackheart nails a cannonball on Lauren who is now in the corner.

Outside the ring again, Blackheart slams Lauren's face into the lined up chairs that Lauren arranged awhile ago. Blackheart goes underneath the ring to get another set of charis. Blackheart is now in control with several forearms to Lauren. She has her propped up on the chairs. Anthony Greene comes out to save Lauren. Blackheart then decides to go for a suicide dive on both Greene and Lauren. Once Greene is up he attacks Blackheart and rolls her into the ring. He tells Lauren to go in there and pin her, she does and Blackheart kicks out at 2. Greene hands Lauren a kendo stick. Stallion comes out to attack Greene. In the ring Lauren keeps swinging the kendo stick on Blackhearts' back. She goes for the pin right after and wins the match up.

Winner: Brandi Lauren


The next match of the night is the Special Match Challenge.

Colby Corino vs. Babatunde

Corino goes for a chest slap and Babatunde grabs his hand and twists it. Babatunde hits Corino with a strong chest slap outside of the ring. Corino climbs back into the ring to recover quickly before he goes back for an attack. Both men are now in the ring and Corino goes for a flip. Corino with a cover and a kick out from Babatunde. Corino now climbs to the top rope and as he is about to land, Babatunde grabs him by his neck. An elbow lands on Corino and then a mixed splash from Babatunde. He goes for the pin and gets the win.

Winner: Babatunde

Post Match: Eddie Kingston and Joe Gacy come out. Kingston says that they did it the right way to get to the top of the wrestling business and Babatunde has not.


This leads into the next match.

Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy (c) vs. AR Fox & Leon Ruff for the EVOLVE Tag Team Championship

Chaos abrupts as all four men are attacking one another. Fox and Ruff are able to get double kicks in to Kingston. Kingston and Gacy double team to take out Fox. Now Ruff is on his own with another double team impact. Kingston goes through with a powerbomb on Ruff and he goes for a pin. Ruff kicks out at 2. Ruff is now firing back on both Kingston and Gacy. Both men take turns chest slapping Ruff in the corner. Next comes the headbutts from Kingston to Ruff. Now on the second rope, Kingston grabs Ruff to slam him down onto the mat with the help of Gacy, they go for the pin and again another cover and Ruff kicks out. Ruff is now connecting several right hands on Gacy on the top rope. Fox is now back in the ring and picks up Kingston, Kingston comes back with a strong hit. A double team again on Ruff occurs. Coast to coast from Fox and then a Ruff Ride from Ruff. Ruff takes care of some business from the outside. Fox goes for the pin and him and Ruff become the new EVOLVE Tag Team Champions!


Winners and new champions: AR Fox & Leon Ruff

Post Match: Fox and Ruff live it up with a celebration dance in the ring!

A promo package is shown to introduce the next match that is highly anticipated by the fans.

Catch Point Reunion Match
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (accompanied by Curt Stallion)

Both men try to lockup but Riddle goes underneath to try and grab Gulak's leg. Riddle then goes for a kick which then leads to back and forth submissions. Gulak is about to put Riddle in an ankle lock, but Riddle is able to maneuver out of it. Gulak wants to lock up again, Riddle goes for Gulak's leg again is able to go for a take down. Gulak is now on his feet but not for long. Riddle now has Gulak in a submission, Gulak is able to reverse it, but Riddle then tries to reverse that with an arm lock. Backed into the corner of the ring, Riddle is able to get in some kicks.


The knowledge of each other is very strong in this match, as both men are putting forth the best that they have only for multiple reversals. Gulak suplexes Riddle and then goes for a pin. Riddle kicks out at 1. Gulak back chops Riddle and goes for the head scissors. Fans are clapping to help Riddle break out of the hold. Riddle gets out and goes for a penalty kick, Gulak misses it by an inch. Gulak is hanging on with a chin lock on Riddle. Riddle is able to get back on his feet. Riddle powerbombs Gulak, Gulak then puts Riddle in the half crab. Riddle is crawling over to the bottom rope and is able to reach it, which breaks the submission hold.

Riddle now on the top rope, Gulak is one step ahead and goes for the superplex, putting Riddle him down onto the mat. Gulak goes for the cover and Riddle kicks out at 2. Both men are now laying on the mat and the referee begins the count. By 7, both men are exchanging chest slaps. Riddle tries to put Gulak down with several hand and foot kicks to the back of Gulak's back, then he goes for the penalty kick. Next, back and forth exchanges of chest slaps and headbutts to both men. Riddle now has Gulak in a submission, Gulak gets out and heads for the bottom rope.


Gulak goes for the small package and Riddle kicks out at 2. Then a fisherman buster from Riddle and Gulak kicks out of that at 2. Gulak on the apron, Riddle tries to go for the sleeper hold. It then follows with a suplex. Riddle on the top rope and lands right into Gulak with a submission hold. Riddle reverses and goes for the BroDerek, cover 1-2-3 and The Bro wins.

Winner: Matt Riddle

Post Match: Gulak asks for a microphone and says that he respects Riddle and he is "one hell of a competitor." He then proceeds to shake his hand. Gulak introduces himself to Stallion and tells him that he hopes he is up to the task to take on Riddle tomorrow night.

Up next is the Winner Takes All –Evolve Championship/WWN Championship

Austin Theory (c) vs. JD Drake (c)

Before the match starts, Bryan Idol comes in to announce the match, but has a hard time saying anything. He can't stop coughing and clearing his throat. The lights go out and when the lights come back on Paul Heyman is standing in the middle of the ring. Heyman goes on to announce himself and says that he is honored and privileged to be back home. The fans begin to chant "thank you Heyman," and then "ECW." He then talks about how he invited himself to this event, even though a lot of events he's invited to he turns down. The reason why he asked to be at EVOLVE tonight is because he wants to be a part of the future and wants to know those who are going to change the wrestling industry. He believes this upcoming match is going to be the one that people say is going to "evolve" into what's to come in wrestling in the future.


The action is about to begin with Theory and Drake!

Drake pushes Theory to begin the match. Theory goes for a dropkick. Drake repeats it back to Theory, which puts him out of the ring. Drake joins Theory outside of the ring and Drake goes for a chest chop on Theory. Now up on the ramp, Theory belly drops Drake. Theory then goes for a forearm and then pushes Drake into the ring. Theory goes for the kick out and Drake kicks out at 2. Backed into the corner, Drake is getting several chest chops. He fires back on Theory to move out of the corner. Theory is trying to slow down Drake by putting him in a submission. Drake is throwing a few hits to break the submission and does so successfully. A standing moonsault follows from Theory, putting Drake down. Theory goes for the cover and a kick out at 2 for Drake.

Theory goes for several forearms and Drake gets back on his feet. He tells Theory that he can't hit him harder then life has for him. Theory continues with the arm hits and Drake is down on a knee. Theory then goes for a clothesline and that officially puts down Drake. Both men are now back on their feet. Drake goes for a slam on Theory and now both men are down on the mat again. The referee starts the count. Now outside of the ring, a strong right hand from Drake puts Theory down. Theory in the corner, Drake goes for a chop and a slam. Drake goes up to the second rope and Theory comes up from behind. Drake hits a back elbow and Theory falls off the rope.


Drake lifts up Theory and slams him into the corner. Drake goes for a chest chop and then lifts him up to the top rope, and hits him with another chop. Theory now has Drake on his shoulders and goes for the three seconds around the world. It lands successfully, goes for the cover, Drake kicks out at 2. Drake body drops Theory. Drake runs to the opposite corner to attack Theory, Theory is able to sneak in a kick, then a stunner, and a drill bit from Drake. Drake on the top rope, moonsault and a cover, Theory kicks out at 2.

Back and forth forearm hits and chops between the two men are exchanged. Drake goes to the top rope with another moonsault. Theory escapes and lands a superkick to Drake. He goes in for the pin and comes out a double champion.

Winner of both the Evolve Championship and WWN Championship, Austin Theory

Post Match: Theory asks for the microphone. He says that EVOLVE is where it's at and that wrestlers are going to come there and chase their dreams. Then he says that those who want the dream of the Evolve Championship will have to go through him. The lights turn off and Josh Briggs is right behind him once the lights turn back on. Briggs chokeslams Theory. He picks up the Evolve Championship and raises it.


It is now time for the final and main event match of the night!

Adam Cole (c) vs. Akira Tozawa for the NXT Championship

Both men are in their corners as the match begins. The both walk around the ring. Fans are split down the middle with "Undisputed" chants followed by "Tozawa." Cole takes a bow after attacking Tozawa. Cole grabs hold from behind and now Tozawa takes hold of Cole's arm. Tozawa goes for side headlock . Tozawa wrenches down on the side headlock. Cole is able to get back up. Cole now has a headlock set in, but Tozawa is able to get out of it. Tozawa now has Cole in the octopus submission. In the corner, Tozawa Irish Whips Cole. He then goes to the top rope, only to slam him down for a whiplash effect on Tozawa. Cole now in charge Irish Whips Tozawa into the corner. Cole picks him up and goes for two back kicks. Cole now has Tozawa in a headlock who is trying to make it to the ropes. He is able to get out, but Cole slams him back down onto the mat.

Tozawa has Cole on his shoulders. Tozawa took a high risk and ran right into Cole outside of the ring, getting his foot stuck in the guard rail. Tozawa brings Cole back into the ring for a cover and Cole kicks out at 2. Cole lifts up Tozawa for a neckbreaker, goes for a cover and Tozawa kicks out at 2. Both men square off with back and forth strikes. Next are several kicks between the two. A superkick connects and both men are down on the mat.


Tozawa on the top rope, Cole climbs up to the second rope. Cole is trying to grab for Tozawa but he is able to hit him. Once Cole lands back on the mat, he goes in for a superkick on Tozawa. Cole goes for a pin and Tozawa kicks out at 2. Cole goes out of the ring to pick up his NXT Championship and bring it into the ring. The referee yells out that he will disqualify him if he uses it. Johnny Gargano makes his way down the ramp! Tozawa goes to the top rope and Cole is able to knee him as he comes down. Cole then goes for the last shot. He pins Tozawa and gets the win and retains the NXT Champion.

Winner and still NXT Champion, Adam Cole

Post Match: Gargano steps into the ring and Cole rolls out of the ring. Gargano checks on Tozawa. He then picks up a microphone and says that watching these matches on EVOLVE tonight makes him love being a wrestler. Next he talks about how the fans have made 2019 wrestling "freaking cool." He tells the audience that there is one question that is always asked after an EVOLVE show, he asks Tozawa if he knows that it is, he responds back with "did you like the show?" The fans begin to do the "yes" chants. He can't emphasize enough how the fans have helped shape their careers. The fans begin to chant "we love wrestling." Gargano thanks the audience again for letting him live his dream and that he loves all the fans. That concludes the EVOLVE 10th Anniversary special.


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