WWE have officially held their first all-women’s PPV and it was pretty damn amazing. Normally with these write-ups there’s an element of mystique and suspense but let’s break Kayfabe. That show had a lot of pressure to live up to being the first of it’s kind for wrestling’s biggest promotion. It’s refreshing to see it lived up to expectations. Was it perfect? No. Did it need to be? No. Was it enjoyable? Hell yes! Now, without further stalling, let’s review this powerhouse of a PPV.
Nostalgia Starts Strong
WWE played it smart by starting with a match guaranteed to pop the crowd. Evolution had an incredibly metal opening courtesy of Lizzy Hale and Nita Strauss then went into the tag match of Lita & Trish against Alicia Fox & Mickie James. This wasn’t the best match on the card but it made the most of the time it had. Both Trish and Lita are veterans of the WWE and may not move as well as they used to but they owned the ring here. They fell to heel tactics from time to time but mostly had control of the match and got to show off what made them stars.
There were some excellent call backs to the famous Trish and Mickie James feud as well as giving fans a chance to see the Litasault and Stratusfaction once again. The veteran team won and we had a feel good match to open the show. It should also be mentioned that the heel team’s outfits were amazing. They all had an Alice in Wonderland theme with Alexa as Alice, Mickie as the Queen of Hearts and Alicia as the Mad Hatter.
Battle Royal Beats the Odds
The battle royal was probably the least anticipated match on the card. Twenty women across different eras of WWE were thrown into a ring until only one was left standing. The match was pure chaos. The IIconics lasted about ten seconds before being thrown out for turning everyone against them in an entrance promo. Then we had moments where Absolution ganged up on the veterans and eventually turned on each other. Some of the veterans got to be fearsome again as Michelle McCool was a fearsome fighter again and Ivory made it to the top five. It was mostly a showcase to show off the current generation of WWE superstars and developed some interesting little story moments as it went on. Tamina and Nia Jax murdered the competition, Asuka was a badass and Ember Moon almost won before succumbing to the power game of Jax. It wasn’t the best use for talent but it was fun, filled a bit of time and gave a lot of WWE women the chance to show up on this WWE history making show. The best thing though is that an actual woman won and it wasn’t someone like James Ellsworth in a wig.
Toni Storm Triumphs
This match was definitely a classic. A fierce, stiff fight between two of the best in the business. Io Shirai and Toni Storm threw everything at each other. There were stiff strikes, high-flying moves and an incredibly emotional ending as Storm hit a second Storm Zero to win the tournament she came so close to winning last year. It was the perfect topper to an incredible tournament. Io Shirai is one of the best high flyers in the industry and certainly felt like the underdog in the fight. Storm seemed to be a step ahead for a lot of the match and her innovative offense kept both Io and the audience in suspense. This is another one of those matches where it’s best watched instead of read about. There’s a lot to enjoy and the story told throughout was incredibly well executed. Another excellent match on this unbelievably stacked card.
Six-Woman Surprise Hit
Now on to the surprise hit of the night. On paper, a six women tag match between The Riott Squad and Sasha, Bayley and Natalya sounds like a dull RAW level filler match. Instead it was one of the best examples of creative tag team wrestling seen in recent years. Some of the double team moves the Riott Squad were pulling off during this match were insane. The creativity and cohesiveness of this unit were off the charts. The faces got the win but not after suffering a campaign of abuse at the hands of the heels. Sasha took the brunt of the abuse, even being saved at one point by Bayley who threw herself on top of a Top Rope Senton. Natalya was kept out of the match for most of it, turning her into the hottest of tags and even landing a Double Sharpshooter on Riott and Logan. The match was ended by a combo of famous finishers from the icons of the face team. The faces get a feel good win and they put on an unbelievable match. Plus the Riott Squad earn extra points for wearing horror icon costumes, Liv was Pennywise, Riott was Billy the Puppet and Logan was Leatherface. WWE need more horror costumes.
NXT Gets the Time to Shine
Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler just showed anyone who may not watch NXT what they’ve been missing the whole time. They put on a barn burner that showcased why people are so passionate about NXT. That title felt like it was worth more than any other belt on the planet as both women were beating the other to hell and back. Both women had stiff strikes and painful submissions. Shayna and Sane were bending limbs in ways that should not even be possible. They brought out every move in the arsenal and it took some outside interference from the other members of the Four Horsewomen of MMA to secure the title in Baszler’s favour. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir both got involved to either distract Sane or get involved in the match. Their interference made Sane vulnerable to the Kirifuda Clutch that resulted in her passing out and losing the belt. We just saw the first instance of the Four Horsewomen getting involved in Shayna’s matches. This may be the start of a new era for the NXT women’s division.
Last Woman Standing – Best Match Standing
Wow. Wow, wow wow wow wow. That sums up my thought process as this match went on. If Becky and Charlotte hadn’t already cemented their titles as best in the main roster women’s division, they did here. There was wrestling, brutal weapons spots and story-telling galore. This match was pure brutality and boy was it fun to watch. There were chair spots, kendo stick shots, ladder spots and of course, table spots. This was one of the best examples of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at an opponent. This was one of those matches where creativity bled into the brutality as weapons were used for more than just hitting opponents.
Both Becky and Charlotte were at their story telling best mixing in verbal barbs and exceptional facial expressions alongside the wrestling. As the match went on, Charlotte pulled off the incredibly hard task of getting the audience on her side. They did start to rally behind her making her loss all that more crushing. One of the best shots of the show was Becky stood on the ramp, title in the air but a facial expression that screamed inner turmoil. This match was orchestrated perfectly and in a perfect world would have main evented as that expression and Becky’s masterful selling would have been the perfect last shot of the show.
Bellas Take Ronda to the Limit
There were probably a lot of eye rolls when this match was announced. Nikki Bella was a staple of the Diva’s division and she can be seen as a throwback to an era we’re trying to move on from. Whilst that is unfair towards Nikki, it’s an unfortunate shade that is thrown at her. Here she got to showcase why she was a big name then and still deserves to be considered in this era now. She took Rousey to the limit. Bella took full advantage after her sister distracted Rousey and continued damaging her as the match went on. Nikki was in full heel and dominating Rousey in their match. It was the most dominant she had been in a long time. She had a long streak controlling Ronda and reversing everything thrown at her. It wasn’t the most exciting match by any means but it was fun enough and Rousey’s selling was on a level above her experience. She may still be a rookie but she sells incredibly well and manages to handle herself like a natural. She isn’t the smoothest in ring but she is definitely better than most people expect her to be. Ronda wins after a top rope Small Package into an Arm Bar. She gets the win, overcomes the Bellas numbers game and sends the crowd home happy.
The One Night Not to Advertise
So this isn’t the fault of the show or the performers but still took place during the duration of Evolution. WWE, in all it’s infinite wisdom, thought it would be a good idea to advertise the Crown Jewel PPV during Evolution. There were two noticeable adverts where the event was hyped including once where it cut to Michael Cole advertising the matches. I know it is necessary to advertise PPV’s but it didn’t need to be done then. Why would you advertise the one show that women can’t perform on, during the all-women’s PPV? Crown Jewel is controversial enough without dragging it’s name up during a show people are enjoying. It was a bone headed move where advertising and money was put before sense. Hey doesn’t that describe the Crown Jewel PPV on a whole?
An Uphill Battle
Why was there so little promotion for this PPV? It was announced quite early giving WWE plenty of time to sort out the show’s card and make the show special. The wrestlers of the show took what they were given and made gold. That’s great to see but it should have never been that way. Evolution was something WWE should have done a while back and deserved to be treated as something special. Instead it was mentioned here and there and a lot of the matches were either thrown together last-minute or with the least amount of build possible. This is in weird as it seems more like a bone headed move than a malicious act on WWE’s part.
It’s still great to see the women succeed in this challenge WWE left for them. Evolution was probably one of the best PPV’s of the year in terms of match quality. There was not a dull match or crappy finish. This was a show that was consistently entertaining and offered some of the most memorable moments this year. Becky and Charlotte could easily be a match of the year contender and that six woman tag match acted as a bold middle finger to any doubters of the match type. The Riott Squad have made a name for themselves as the best tag team in the women’s division. Overall this was a great PPV but it was made unnecessarily difficult to hype up.
So, as you can see this was an overwhelmingly positive offering from WWE. The women killed it on their first solo PPV outing and proved their roster has the talent and depth to deliver. There was something for everyone as we had old stars return, some chaotic matches and some good old-fashioned wrestling bouts. The show took the low expectations placed on the show and propelled them into orbit. There is going to be plenty of demand for another show like this in the future and WWE should whole-heartedly put the effort in to support it. Congratulations to all involved as you have just made history for the WWE.
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