Around the Ring: WWE flavor in EVOLVE
By Mike Pankow
November 9, 2018
When EVOLVE hits town Saturday night, the show will have a distinct WWE flavor.
Chicago’s Mustafa Ali, who is featured on WWE’s 205 Live brand, and NXT veteran Kassius Ohno, who cut his teeth in Midwestern independents as Chris Hero a decade ago, are among the top stars on the EVOLVE 116 card at the Oak Lawn Pavilion in Chicago’s Southwest suburbs.
In addition, NXT stars Fabian Aichner and tag team The Street Profits will also be on the show.
Ali will face indy darling Darby Allin in what should be a classic cruiserweight style match. Ohno is set to square off against Shane Strickland, who is one of the fastest rising stars on the independent circuit.
The impressive Aichner, who was trained by former WCW star Alex Wright and has an arsenal mixed with power and agility, will defend his recently-won EVOLVE Championship against Anthony Henry.
The Street Profits, which consist of Angelo Dawkins and Chicago native Montez Ford, are set to defend their newly-won EVOLVE Tag Team Championships against AR Fox and Leon Ruff.
EVOLVE has had a working relationship with WWE for the last few years, which has seen talents such as 205 Live veterans Tony Nese, Drew Gulak and TJ Perkins work on EVOLVE shows in the past.
Also, this weekend in nearby LaSalle, AAW is running its penultimate show at the LaSalle Knights of Columbus hall.
The top matches included a 2 out of 3 falls bout between Trevor Lee and Rich Swann for the AAW Heritage Championship, an intergender street fight pitting Jimmy Jacobs and Brody King against Sami Callihan and Jessicka Havok, and The Lucha Bros. (Penta El 0M and Rey Fenix) against Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz.
NXT cameo: On a recent episode of NXT TV, Justin Xavier, better known locally as JDX, made an appearance. JDX faced Kassius Ohno, who basically won in a squash, on the Oct. 24 episode of NXT.
JDX, who has been wrestling for less than a year, got some offense and made a couple of fancy moves in the first minute of the match before Ohno took over.
JDX wrestles for Berwyn Championship Wrestling and appeared in the company’s Heavyweight Rumble for the Gold in September at the Berwyn Eagles Club. He also works for other various Midwest promotions.
Ringside Chatter: WWE will two hold two live events in the Chicago area during Christmas week, including the traditional Dec. 26 house show at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, which will feature SmackDown talent. They recently added a show at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 29, which will feature Raw talent, including Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman. … Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts and former AWA talent Nacho Barrera will be inducted into the POWW Hall of Fame at their show on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Addison. Roberts, a Chicago native, worked for about a decade for WWE. … MLW held its Fusion TV taping at Cicero Stadium on Thursday night in front of a sold-out crowd. MLW Fusion airs Friday nights on beIN SPORTS.