Drew Gulak has gone from being one of the most respected technical wrestlers and trainers in the US indies to a new prominent role as a “coach” to Daniel Bryan in recent WWE storylines. Trained in part by CHIKARA founder Mike Quackenbush and NXT Superstar Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero), he debuted with Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) in 2005 and went on to a lengthy indie career with CZW, CHIKARA (where he became a trainer), and a multitude of other promotions, where his technical prowess was always a thing of marvel. During his recent run alongside Daniel Bryan, following a grueling match against Bryan at Elimination Chamber earlier this month, Drew Gulak and his new “protege” have teased the idea of starting a new stable, possibly including The Wrestler Formerly Known as Chad Gable, Shorty G.
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) March 22, 2020
The idea of “Coach Gulak” assembling a new stable of technically sound grapplers is an intriguing one, considering some of the mat technicians who have been grossly underappreciated in the WWE in recent years. But long time fans of Drew Gulak’s decade-long run on the US indies will notice its a pattern that Gulak has employed before. In CZW, he ran the faction Campaign For A Better Combat Zone (similar to his campaign for a better 205 Live a few years ago in WWE) that featured Kimber Lee, Mr. Tofiga, Alexander James, and Dewey Donovan, while in Toronto’s Smash Wrestling he was part of Fourth Gunn with Johnny Gargano, Bif Busick (NXT’s Oney Lorcan), Canadian indie star Tarik, and current AEW star Chuck Taylor. Alongside Taylor, he was also a part of The Gentlemen’s Club in CHIKARA, which featured Jake Manning, Swamp Monster, and a young upstart named Orange Cassidy. But arguably his greatest technical stable, one that his new WWE “coaching” role could help mimic, is that of Catch Point, his group from his tenure with EVOLVE Wrestling. Could a Catch Point be coming to WWE? Earlier this year, Drew Gulak filed for the trademark for his former EVOLVE stable, so the rights now belong to the Coach.
Catch Point was founded in 2015 in EVOLVE Wrestling by Gulak and his then-protege “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams. It would go on to bloom, featuring a team of talented wrestlers who would go on to dominate EVOLVE for several years. Although the squad dissolved in 2018 (long after Gulak himself had departed the team – and EVOLVE – for WWE), Catch Point featured a who’s who of talented men who have since gone on to bigger and better things. Here’s a look at Coach Gulak’s Catch Point team and where they’ve ended up thanks to Gulak’s “coaching”.
“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams
Gulak and Williams had worked together before in another group in CHIKARA, but Williams was still Green and Gulak was more a Soldier than a coach. But when the two made the jump to EVOLVE, they started the squad that would become Catch Point. “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams was Gulak’s unofficial second-in-command – although part of Catch Point’s mandate was that all members were equal team mates. At EVOLVE 59 in early 2016, Gulak and Williams defeated Drew Galloway (now Drew McIntyre in WWE) and Johnny Gargano to become EVOLVE Tag Team Champions, titles they would hold for 105 days. Williams would win the EVOLVE Tag titles again at the end of the year with Fred Yehi, and in early February of 2018, would capture the IWTV Independent Wrestling Championship, holding it a record 309-days. Following Gulak’s departure from EVOLVE to head to WWE after the WWE Cruiserweight Classic in 2016, Williams would assume the lead position his Coach had held previously. Williams left EVOLVE in the fall of 2018, after a feud with the remaining members of Catch Point and shortly before the group’s dissolution, and resurfaced as one of the newest faces to join Ring of Honor, where he joined the stable Lifeblood. He remains an active member of ROH’s roster, where he frequently tags with Lifeblood stablemate Mark Haskins.
TJ Perkins was the third man to join Catch Point, following an altercation with EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher. Perkins had had a lengthy career prior to joining EVOLVE in 2015. As Puma, he was an early star with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) in its early 2000s formative years, as well as stints with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). From 2011 to 2012, he had a run in ROH, before heading to TNA/IMPACT Wrestling in 2013. He originally debuted as his older character Puma, before becoming the next in a long line of wrestlers to perform as the masked Suicide. He assumed his own masked gimmick, as Manik, and would capture the TNA X-Division Championship, before departing TNA in early 2015. Upon his arrival in EVOLVE, he was managed by Stokely Hathaway (now Malcom Bivens in NXT), who followed Perkins to Catch Point. Perkins would remain with Catch Point until departing in 2016 to join WWE after winning the Cruiserweight Classic and the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Following his departure from WWE in early 2019, he’s since returned to both NJPW and IMPACT Wrestling.
In 2015, former UFC fighter Matt Riddle made his pro wrestling debut and it wasn’t long before he made his debut with EVOLVE Wrestling. He originally debuted in opposition to Catch Point, fighting Drew Gulak at EVOLVE 51 and Tracy Williams at EVOLVE 52. But later in the night at EVOLVE 52, Riddle would team with EVOLVE Champion Timothy Thatcher to face Gulak & TJ Perkins, but it would become a swerve. Riddle turned on Thatcher and aligned himself with the technical team Catch Point instead. Riddle would go on to win the inaugural World Wrestling Network (WWN) Championship (WWN is EVOLVE’s parent company) in 2017 and won the EVOLVE Championship a year later. Matt Riddle blossomed into a major international indie star with the likes of PWG, England’s PROGRESS Wrestling, Beyond Wrestling, Smash Wrestling, and more, before signing with WWE in 2018 and joining NXT. He’s become one of NXT’s top stars, where he currently holds the NXT Tag Team Championships with Pete Dunne.
A talented up-and-comer from the Southern indie scene, Fred Yehi debuted in EVOLVE at EVOLVE 51 where he faced another bright young prospect in Lio Rush. Following a match at WWN/EVOLVE Mercury Rising Supershow in 2016 over WrestleMania Week against Gulak, Yehi was offered membership into the squad. That November, paired with Tracy Williams, the two brought Catch Point their second championship gold, winning the EVOLVE Tag Team titles and holding them for 160-days. All the while, Yehi was in the midst of an astounding 562-day reign as the Full Impact Pro World Champion (FIP was another promotion under the WWN brand). By early 2018, Yehi was out of Catch Point and soon after, was gone from EVOLVE. He headed to Germany to work with Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) and worked the UK with PROGRESS, RevPro and Ireland’s Over the Top (OTT), as well as Major League Wrestling (MLW) in the US. He continues to be one a show stealer in the US indies with the likes of AAW Pro, IWA Mid South, Beyond Wrestling, and others.
Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka)
In 2016, TJ Perkins and Drew Gulak both departed EVOLVE to join WWE’s rebooted Cruiserweight division (and subsequently 205 Live), with Gulak passing on the leadership to Tracy Williams. In an effort to rebuild the team and continue Gulak’s technical vision, the tandem of Chris Dickinson and Jaka – who had been part of the Pazuzu faction in Beyond Wrestling with Pinkie Sanchez and AEW’s Santana & Ortiz (formerly LAX in IMPACT Wrestling) – joined EVOLVE and Catch Point. Now branded as Doom Patrol, they would continue a tradition of excellence with Catch Point in EVOLVE’s tag team division – emphasizing Catch Point’s emphasis on teamwork – winning the EVOLVE Tag Team titles on two occasions, including a second reign that lasted 400 days. The duo ended their lengthy reign by dropping the belts to NXT’s Street Profits at EVOLVE 114 and it wasn’t long before they also departed the squad and EVOLVE. Jaka retired quietly in early 2019, but Chris Dickinson has emerged as arguably the top male US indie star after a monstrous breakout year with Beyond Wrestling and Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) in 2019, where he recently won the GCW Acid Cup 2.
The last man to join Catch Point was Midwest prospect Dominic Garrini, who came up through Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) in Ohio. Debuting in 2016, he joined EVOLVE in 2017 and by early 2018 was the final Catch Point team member until the group disbanded in the final months of 2018 and Williams’ departure. Garrini would also depart EVOLVE, heading to Beyond Wrestling. It was during his time in the Southern indies that he formed a new team, Sadkampf, with Southern indie star Kevin Ku – later renamed Violence is Forever – who continue to be one of the top tag teams in the US indies. In January of 2020, he made his debut with MLW.
Catch Point was a wrestling team in the purest sense of the word – like past legendary wrestling teams like Team Foxcatcher, the focus was on team work instead of individual acclaim, although that, too, would come to many of its members. In their near four years together, they held the EVOLVE Tag Team titles in some assembly for a combined 742-days – just over two years. It’s that kind of work ethic, under the coaching of Drew Gulak, that could end up in the WWE, as Gulak and Bryan look to bring technical mat wrestling back to the company that often refuses to acknowledge what the second W in its name stands for.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.