WWE held their all-women’s PPV, Evolution, this past Sunday. Despite being late to giving women’s wrestling the respect it deserves and despite WWE giving Evolution almost zero build these past few weeks, the PPV was really damn good!
Lita and Trish Stratus def. Alicia Fox and Mickie James (w/ Alexa Bliss)
Initially, the Evolution PPV was built around Alexa Bliss vs. Trish Stratus. We should have expected this match to be the end result since we were seeing Alexa less and less in action and, ultimately, she ended up being sidelined due to a concussion she suffered at a live event in a match with Ronda Rousey.
The match was a fun bit of nostalgia. The crowd was red hot. I was pumped. I was a big Lita fan back in the day, but she as a bit of a mess. Trish Stratus still can throw down, though. The match was a lot of fun until Alicia Fox missed a pin breakup. You could see Mickie looking towards the corner calling out “Foxy!” The crowd caught onto it and reacted as such. Mickie took a Litasault and a Chick Kick and took the pin with Trish going over.
20-Woman Battle Royal
Nice touch was that each woman in the Battle Royal received a proper entrance. It was also revealed that the winner receives a title shot. The nostalgia entrants included Ivory, Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Alundra Blayze and Kelly Kelly. Alundra Blayze was in there for way too long. Ivory is almost 57 years old and looked AMAZING! Queue up the “You still got it!” chants! Michelle McCool looked the best in the ring above all others.
The IIconics got jumped and eliminated right from start for talking trash on their way to the ring. There was a Carmella dance break that had Ivory as her backup dancer. That was a little uncomfortable. Tamina and Nia Jax did a tribute to Roman Reigns. There was a nice moment that brought back happier times of NXT days when Ember Moon and Asuka were relevant in the women’s division.
Ultimately, it came down to Nia Jax and Ember Moon when Zelina Vega popped up trying to eliminate both Moon and Jax. Vega ended up getting flung out of the ring by Nia at Tamina’s face. Then Nia turned around and eliminated Ember Moon for the win. It was a really good Battle Royal. Kept the cringe moments to a minimum. Really got interesting once the nostalgia entrants were eliminated. Don’t think the right woman won. I would have gone with Ember Moon.
WWE Mae Young Classic Finals: Toni Storm def. Io Shirai
This was the match I was most looking forward to since the start of the Mae Young Classic. We all kind of assumed this would be the final. Io Shirai and Toni Storm are both IWC fan favorites.
The match was fantastic. It felt a little short, but it was hard hitting and very well executed. It just felt a little rushed. It easily could have gone 5 more minutes. Some of the spots were brutal! It took 2 Storm Zeroes for Toni Storm to get the win. It was excellent! I was on the edge of my seat during this match. Shame that Storm is in the UK division, but at least she’ll get air time and story over there. Looking forward to seeing what’s to come for Io Shirai in NXT.
Bayley, Natalya and Sasha Banks def. The Riott Squad
I really was not looking forward to this match. It’s been done on Raw for months and months now. I almost walked out of the room, but kinda glad I didn’t. It definitely was the least interesting match outside of Ronda vs. Nikki, but it was actually pretty fun.
There were some good spots in the match. Most of them were thanks to Bayley. She was looking great in ring. She had a fresh, 2015 NXT feel to her. Bayley threw herself on top of Sasha to save Sasha from a top rope Senton Bomb by Ruby Riott. The Riott Squad looked really good in this match. Cole kept driving home that Ruby is a future champion. Maybe he knows something we don’t. (He does.) Natalya got a little lost in the lights for me. I almost forgot she was in the match until she was in the ring. Banks goes over with a frog splash to Liv Morgan. Overall, pretty fun cool down match.
NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler def. Kairi Sane (c)
I feel about Baszler the same way I feel about Rousey, no one should be on her level… even Sane. Sane does a good job with trying to bring her best, but Baszler is a beast and, now, with her MMA friends in the mix… No one on the roster should stand a chance.
This match was a good one, though. I like the tease to the finish at TakeOver: Brooklyn where Sane won by a getting leverage on Shayna when she was locked in a rear naked choke. Shayna kicked out this time. Earlier in the match Kairi threw Shayna into the laps of Shayna’s MMA friends, Jessmyn Duke and Marina Shafir, who were at ringside. The duo ended up interfering in the match and costing Sane her title. I was surprised that Kairi lost. I thought Baszler would have been called up, but it looks like they want Baszler to stick around to help usher in Duke and Shafir.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch [c] def. Charlotte
What can I say about this match? It was amazing. Becky is so over that WWE was forced to edit in boos into the video package. Charlotte and Becky were bruised, battered and bloody at the end of this match.
Was it perfect? No. There were some missteps. Charlotte missing on the moonsault from the top rope when Becky was on the table. The ref clearly kicking the chair to Becky when she was wrapped up in a Figure Eight through the ladder. All that aside, this match had a little bit of everything. Visions of ECW as the two through dueling chairs into the ring. Throwbacks to Ciampa and Gargano with Charlotte getting buried with chairs and tables. Becky winning the match the same way she lost her title to Bliss. This match wasn’t perfect, but it was gut wrenching enough to overlook the missteps. Kudos to all involved!
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey [c] def. Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella)
I get that Raw’s the “A” show. I get that Rousey is seen as the big draw by Vince. I just don’t agree that this should have been the main event. The build was minimal. The reason for the match was absolute rubbish. Nikki Bella earned her title shot… how?
I know I said Ronda should be mowing down the competition, but her selling is pretty incredible. It’s so over the top it reminds me of Michaels and Ziggler. I enjoyed this match. I hated the spot where Ronda carried both Nikki and Brie. It looked goofy and awkward, though it was an incredible display of strength by Ronda. I feel the match went on a little too long. It was around 14 minutes. They probably could have shaved off 4 minutes and kept it closer to 10, but it was a decent enough match. Each woman played their role pretty effectively. I find that with each showcase, Ronda shows she belongs.
Evolution was a pleasant surprise. I love there was a different set. This PPV reminded me of Great Balls of Fire. We didn’t expect much, but, holy crap, it turned out to be pretty damn good. We have some new storylines to take out of it including a champion vs champion match at Survivor Series that I am very much looking forward to. The crowd was electric from start to finish. I really hope that this show becomes a regular thing. Here’s to hoping we see another Evolution show in 2019!