Wrestling Review: WWE Evolution (2018)

A historic night for women’s wrestling takes over the Nassau Colleseum, as WWE presents Evolution, the first ever all female WWE PPV event. Leading the charge, from the UFC to her new home in the WWE is the Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey, who will find herself going face to face with two trailblazers of the Divas’ Era, The Bella Twins in Rousey’s championship match against Nikki Bella. On the Smackdown Live sid eof things, brash and arrogant champion, Becky Lynch, will be going face to face one more time with former best friend Charlotte Flair in the first even WWE Women’s Last Woman Standing Match. Both women have been going to extreme lengths to get their hands on each other, and this match has all the makings of a classic. Speaking of classics, the second annual Mae Young Classic will find it’s winner as The Genius of the Sky, Io Shirai goes against grizzled young veteran (and personal favourite of mine) Toni Storm to crown the champion, and it is a solid bet that the two Stardom champions will put on the match of the night. These three matches, and much more, including the NXT Women’s Champion Kairi Sane defending against Shayna Baszler in a rematch of the first Mae Young Classic final, and the return of legends such as Molly Holly, Trish Stratus, Lita and Alunda Blayze at WWE Evolution.

+ Ronda Rousey (c) vs Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) (Raw Women’s Championship): it is incredible just how good Ronda Rousey is for her experience level. Nikki was never the best in-ring worker, but the smoke and mirrors surround Brie being at ringside made for a very good spectacle. I didn’t think I would like this match, but in the end it was a very worthy main event match
+ Becky Lynch (c) vs Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live Women’s Championship): much like the Storm/Shirai match before it, this really could have used a few more minutes. I have been more invested in this story than most, and in my mind, Becky is absolutely the good guy while Charlotte is the coward that stole the title (thankfully Becky Balboa won it back, baby). I am not impressed that the WWE is ignoring the NXT Asuka/Nikki Cross LWS match, but as far as the main roster, this was a really good “first” match to have
+ Kairi Sane (c) vs Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Championship): these two have such phenomenal chemistry, I am hoping they become career rivals. Every match they have had has built on the previous, and despite them being rivals now for over a year, they have only had a handful of fights, which makes all of them that much more special. This was great, with a good ending and both women have big futures, no doubt
+ Toni Storm vs Io Shirai (Mae Young Classic Final Match): I really enjoyed this match, but it almost felt too short by half. Just as it was getting going it ended, and while the stuff we got was great, it left me wanting more, which is not really the way I was hoping the finale of a tournament would go
+ Trish Stratus & Lita vs Alicia Fox & Mickie James (w/ Alexa Bliss): once the early reception for Trish and Lita wore if, it did become clear just how rehearsed this match was. But it was all worth it for the moment that Trish and Lita came face to face one more time. There were a few ugly mistimings, but voerall this was about as good as you could hope for a match with two women who have not wrestled in ten years

The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) vs Natalya, Bayley & Sasha Banks: holy cow this was a nothing match. Sasha Banks is just horrendous, and it baffles me how she is presented as one of the new pioneers when she can barely grapple with her opponent without nearly killing them – or herself. The Riott Squad are a compete unit, so obviously it was unlikely they stood a chance, but thankfully Natalya and Bayley were able to actually do some good with the Riott Squad
20 Woman Battle Royale: It’s disappointing how many good wrestlers were in this waste of a match, because Asuka, Naomi, both Iiconics and Nia Jax all deserve more recognition, and dammit, Molly Holly, Ivory and Madusa should have had more of a starring moments. Nonetheless, as bad as this match was, the few moments between those like Nia/Tamina or Ember Moon/Asuka were enjoyable to watch, but it was not nearly as good as the Royal Rumble

> Rousey is fantastic, but damn she needs to either get new gear, or do something to stop it moving around so much. Seeing her tug on her shorts or shirt every time she does anything is getting more awkward than anything
> the only thing I’d say was missing from the show was Paige, who, along with Emma in NXT really started this entire shift in attitudes off. I understand they don’t want to advertise Emma / Tenille Dashwood, but Paige deserved a bit more recognition

Should you watch this event: This may sound like faint praise, but I mean it as positively as possible: there was nothing wrong with this show. The women of the WWE set out to show the world that they can do everything the men can, and this show proved it. Nothing was absolutely blow-away, but nothing was overly offensive, and unlike many of the regular PPV events, this show managed to play to everybody’s strengths and in the end it was nothing but a success.

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