Evolve (professional wrestling)

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Industry Professional wrestling
Founded 2010
Headquarters Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Key people
Gabe Sapolsky
Sal Hamaoui
Parent WWNLive[1]
Website EvolveWrestling.com

Evolve Wrestling (stylized as EVOLVE) is an American professional wrestling promotion based in the Northeast founded in 2010 by former Ring of Honor booker and current Dragon Gate USA vice president, Gabe Sapolsky, Full Impact Pro owner Sal Hamaoui, and independent wrestler Davey Richards. The company features a roster of independently-contracted wrestlers from all over the country, as well as several competitors from Japan. The promotion had a close working relationship with sister promotion Dragon Gate USA until DGUSA ceased operations in August 2015[citation needed], and later that year Evolve formed a relationship with WWE's developmental promotion NXT.


In 2009, Gabe Sapolsky announced a new wrestling promotion via some viral videos featuring one of the company's competitors, Jimmy Jacobs. After this more videos were produced promoting more performers, as well as featuring blogs written by the wrestlers about their feelings regarding the company. The first show, Evolve 1: Davey Richards vs. Ibushi, was held on January 16, 2010, in Rahway, New Jersey at Rahway Recreational Center.[2]

During interviews with wrestling newsletter Figure 4 Weekly on its radio show, Sapolsky told editor Bryan Alvarez that Evolve would have stronger emphasis on rules and would not limit anyone based on their own respective style of wrestling in favor of showcasing the talent's individual strengths and covering up their weaknesses.[3] On January 29, 2010, Sapolsky announced that Evolve would no longer be booking Davey Richards as he had signed a new contract with Ring of Honor.[4]

The concept of the promotion was initially an emphasis on the wrestlers' win-loss records. They divided the company into two divisions: singles wrestlers and tag teams. As per the website, some wrestlers would need to earn their way onto the roster by winning a qualifying match, but that since has been dropped.[5]

On November 25, 2011, Evolve and Dragon Gate USA announced the unification of the two promotions. Evolve and Dragon Gate USA will still promote separate events, but the two share rosters, including stables, and Evolve recognizes Dragon Gate USA's Open the Freedom Gate Championship and Open the United Gate Championship as its top two championships.[6]

In February 2013, Evolve announced that they would be holding a tournament to crown the first Evolve Champion as they were eliminatin the records system at that time. The tournament was held in Secaucus, New Jersey, at WrestleCon in April 2013. Evolve used the records of the talent to determine the seedings in the tournament; the top two were Chuck Taylor (10–5) and Ricochet (5–2), and both received byes into the second round. On April 5, AR Fox defeated Sami Callihan in the final to become the inaugural champion. On September 18, 2013, Vito LoGrasso announced that his new Wrestling School signed an agreement to be the Development Center for Evolve.[7]

In November 2014, Evolve, along with Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA), Full Impact Pro (FIP) and Shine Wrestling, all under the WWNLive banner, held a tour of China.[1] The following month, WWNLive announced a long-term deal with Great-Wall International Sports Management for regular tours of Asia, starting in the spring of 2015.[8]

In 2015, WWNLive opened a training facility in Trinity, Florida named "World Wrestling Network Academy", which Evolve shares with DGUSA, FIP and Shine.[9]

On June 10, 2015, rumors began to make the rounds that WWE were in talks with Evolve, either for a deal between Evolve and WWE's developmental system, NXT, or a potential buyout of the company. The rumors, specifically about a deal between Evolve & NXT, were later confirmed when NXT superstar Sami Zayn was scheduled for a special appearance in the 49th and 50th edition of Evolve.


The company's roster is split into several units, with the majority of the wrestlers aligned with one faction or another.[10]

Ring name Real name Notes
Andrew Everett Unknown
Anthony Nese Anthony Nese
Caleb Konley Unknown
Chris Hero Chris Spradlin
Davey Richards Wesley Richards
Drew Galloway Drew Galloway
Drew Gulak Drew Gulak
Fire Ant Unknown
Johnny Gargano John Gargano
Shane Strickland Unknown [11]
Silver Ant Unknown
Timothy Thatcher Unknown [12]
Tommy End Tommy Budgen
TJP T.J. Perkins
Trent Baretta Gregory Marasciulo



  • Lenny Leonard – Commentator & Ring Announcer
  • Mike Kehner - Referee
  • Brandon Tolle - Referee
  • Frankie Gastenau - Referee



Current champions[edit]

Championship Champion(s) Previous Date Won Location
Evolve Championship Timothy Thatcher Drew Galloway July 10, 2015 Tampa, Florida
Evolve Tag Team Championship Vacant N/A January 24, 2016 Orlando, Florida

Former champions[edit]

Championship Last champion(s) Date retired Location
Open the Freedom Gate Championship Timothy Thatcher August 15, 2015 Woodside, Queens
Open the United Gate Championship Ronin
(Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann)
May 30, 2015 Woodside, Queens


  1. ^ a b Johnson, Mike (2014-09-19). "Evolve heading to China (no, really)". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-09-19. WWNLive, the parent company of Evolve, Shine, FIP and Dragon Gate USA. 
  2. ^ "Schedule". Evolve Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  3. ^ Alvarez, Bryan (2009-01-14). "Jan. 13 Figure Four Daily: Gabe Sapolsky on DGUSA, new EVOLVE promotion, ROH memories, booking, more". Figure 4 Weekly. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  4. ^ Caldwell, James (2010-01-30). "ROH/DGUSA News: Davey Richards re-signs with ROH, dropped from DGUSA shows including WrestleMania weekend shows". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  5. ^ Mr. C.C. (2010-10-19). "Breaking Kayfabe #2 w/Gabe Sapolsky". Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  6. ^ "EVOLVE evolves -- now unified with DGUSA". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 2011-11-25. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  7. ^ http://www.pwinsiderxtra.com/ViewArticle.php?id=26221
  8. ^ Caldwell, James (2014-12-03). "Newswire: WWNLive announces long-term China plan, Ross talks importance of Tokyo Dome, New Japan's subscription goals, latest World Tag League standings, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  9. ^ Caldwell, James (2015-02-19). "WWNLive news: Official new training facility announced". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2015-02-19. 
  10. ^ USA, Dragon Gate (2009-07-23). "Dragon Gate USA". dgusa.tv. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  11. ^ "Shane Strickland". Dragon Gate USA. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  12. ^ http://www.dgusa.tv/bio/timothy-thatcher
  13. ^ "Announcers/Referees". Dragon Gate USA. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 

External links[edit]