ZSJ vs Riddle for the EVOLVE Championship


By Blaine Mendoza

Tied at one win apiece, Matt Riddle and Zack Sabre Jr. will settle the score at Evolve 102 for the Evolve Championship. Evolve 102 takes place during the 2018 WWN Live’s More Than Mania event which runs the week of WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. The irony of the timing of Evolve 102 is that two years ago, Matt Riddle defeated Zack Sabre Jr. at Evolve 59. Evolve 59 took place at the 2016 WWN Live More Than Mania event that took place in Dallas, TX at Eddie Deen’s Ranch. Since that match, Riddle and Sabre Jr. have had the wrestling world in the palms of their hands.

FC7B1F9B-DA40-43A3-8867-5C4729C83C79Zack Sabre Jr. wins the 2018 New Japan Cup

Zack Sabre Jr. or ZSJ for short is the best technical wrestler in the world. No one can argue that point. ZSJ has managed to take an old-school catch wrestling submission-based attack and make it his own. As I like to call it, it’s a submission offense on steroids. This style has brought multiple titles to the technical wizard and submission master known as Zack Sabre Jr. He is currently the Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Champion. Also, alongside Suzuki Gun stablemate, Minoru Suzuki, ZSJ is also one half of the Rev-Pro Undisputed British Tag Team Champions. Furthermore, Sabre Jr. holds the Evolve Championship that Riddle so covets.

ZSJ defeated RingKampf’s Timothy Thatcher at Evolve 79 for the Evolve Championship. Zack has held that title for 357 plus days and counting. ZSJ has defended the Evolve Championship successfully 13 times including defeating Riddle in a non-title match at Evolve 86. His most recent title defense came at Evolve 100 against Austin Theory. Post-match, Riddle came out to call out the technical wizard for a shot at the title.

Sabre Jr. quickly pointed out that their Evolve records stand at one win apiece. He would grant Riddle a shot but on one condition. Matt needed to get himself to number one contender status. At Evolve 101, he did just that. Riddle become the number one contender for the Evolve Championship. A championship that has eluded him since his rivalry with Timothy Thatcher over the same title.

One can argue that by beating Zack Sabre Jr. at Evolve 59, Matt Riddle announced himself to the wrestling world. The King of Bros has been on a meteoric rise and has been continuously improving and refining his wrestling craft. In such a short time, Riddle has become one of the best wrestlers in the world. Capturing Progress Wrestling’s Atlas Championship twice and becoming the first ever WWN Champion last year at the WWN Super Show during WrestleMania weekend.

Gabe Sapolsky (WWN VP Talent Relations) said “This is the biggest possible match for the EVOLVE Championship so it makes sense we are delivering it during Wrestlemania week. Zack Sabre Jr. has been an absolutely tremendous champion for EVOLVE for the past 13 months. We’ve seen him grow into the role of a champion and carry EVOLVE on his back. Matt Riddle has become the face of EVOLVE. He had a very successful WWN Title reign in the last year, but now he’s focused on the EVOLVE Championship. This is a clash of two of the best going today and the winner will lead EVOLVE into the future.”

WrestleMania weekend will again bring these two together. Evolve 102 will bring this extraordinary rivalry built on mutual respect and adoration full circle. Both men have victories over each other in classic non-title matches. Now, part three in this trilogy will have much more on the line. This time the Evolve Championship will be at stake. ZSJ has built his legacy. Will the King of Bros build his by becoming the new Evolve Champion at Evolve 102? It’s tied 1-1. May the best man win.