The Evolve wrestling promotion is no more because they have been purchased by World Wrestling Entertainment. It was reported yesterday by PWInsider and there are additional details in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter as well. Evolve launched in 2010, so they had a ten year run as a company.
The deal has been close for a few months at least. This means that WWE will have access to the Evolve tape library, which could lead to WWE putting it on WWE Network. A lot of current WWE stars wrestled in Evolve, so it makes sense for WWE to want to use the footage at some point. The tape library also includes the Dragon Gate USA promotion.
There was a clause in WWE’s deal with Evolve that allowed them to purchase the company if they wanted to. It was noted by PWInsider that somebody else was interested in buying Evolve, but WWE’s clause made it so that WWE were the ones that bought Evolve.
Evolve was run by Sal Hamaoui and Gabe Sapolsky. It’s expected that Hamaoui will continue to run shows under the WWN (World Wrestling Network) name with companies like Shine, FIP and ACW as part of it. Sapolsky has been working for WWE as part of the NXT creative team and he’s expected to continue in that role full time.
It was noted by the Observer that it appeared as though the Evolve owners needed the money from the sale to pay back money that they owed to fans after canceling all the WWN shows during WrestleMania weekend due to the ongoing health crisis. Apparently, Evolve was barely hanging on since their deal with Flo Sports ended in 2016. The relationship with WWE kept them afloat a few years after that.
There has been no official statement from WWE yet.
I recommend Mike Johnson’s article on PWInsider about the history of Evolve. It’s very well done.
TJR Thoughts: I admit that I didn’t watch Evolve regularly because there’s only so much pro wrestling that a man can consume in their life. However, I did like what I see and it definitely had feel of like an early Ring of Honor, which is not a surprise since Sapolsky was a big part of Ring of Honor as well. A lot of talented wrestlers got to WWE because of Evolve and you can see that in the video above. It’s a tough year for a lot of us thanks to the ongoing health crisis