Tuesday, August 3, 2021

WWE Evolution (Oct. 2018 PPV)

I could have added a more flattering picture of Cold Ronda, but that'd be an impossible task.

Welp... here we are. From October 2018, the WWE's first and (thus far) only all-women PPV featuring women's matches and such.

So here's the deal; 2018 was the year WWE started doing shows in Saudi Arabia, beginning with the Oil Rumble early on. People were upset because, among other things we won't get into here, women weren't allowed to compete in the country. So in what was clearly a carefully-planned public relations move to try and curtail any negative press from those Saudi shows, WWE concocted this all-women Evolution show to try and get people talking. Apparently, it was a success - or so people say - but beyond this one show, there was never another Evolution show... probably because the Saudis eventually allowed WWE to have one women's match on their WWE Blood Money shows.

Or maybe it's because of someone else... I don't know. I might be giving it away.

Anyway, I don't know why they didn't do another show. I could venture guess and assume they're waiting for Cold Ronda to come back from hibernation before they hold another one because she's the real draw... next to Charlotte, of course. Honestly, there are a lot of ideas that they've tried with the Network that seemed good on paper and even partly in execution, but were promptly forgotten about and discarded as such. But I can't help but feel a bit cynical about this show and the circumstances that led to its one outing. As much as as the women praised the event and wanted another one, the belief that this was a purely PR-driven move and not something that was thought up with any genuine interest had kept me from giving this the time of day.

Years have passed and, for better or worse, I decided to give this a shot and see if it was really as good as people made it out to be. Partly because of the bad taste left by that match from that TNA show last week, partly because of the NWA women's show coming, and also partly because of the possible rumor that Queen Of The Ring will happen and have some presence at the next Blood Money event in Saudi Arabia. So, hey, why not?

And no, I will NEVER watch any of the Blood Money PPVs. Only reason I saw the first one because I was bed-ridden and didn't have the clicker. All the rest can go fly a kite for all I care.

Trish Stratus & Lita defeated Mickie James and Alicia Fox in the opening Legends match. They positioned this as a young vs old match, but everyone has been around for so long that the whole thing comes off as silly. The retired team seemed like they didn't miss a beat, Mickie was as good as she always was, and Alicia Fox... well, Cameron's favorite match is Melina vs. Alicia Fox, so that's something, I suppose.

Nia Jax won a 20-woman battle royal to earn a title match... I believe she lost said match. This was a battle royal featuring a bunch of current Superstars and old Divas... that is the extent of the attention I paid to this match. It's a battle royal; stuff happens and nobody cares until it's down to a couple people.

Toni Storm defeated Io Shirai in the finals of the 2018 Mae Young Classic to win the tournament. Both would eventually get hired and... this was alright, it was fine. However, I might need to give the Mae Young another watch because I recall the matches to be really good and this was just... okay. Which is why they were hired, I suppose.

Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Nattie defeated the Riott Squad in a six-woman match that happened... it was a thing. That's all I can really say about that, unfortunately.

Shayna Bazler defeated NXT champ Kairi Sane via submission and unneeded outside interference to win the title. A great brutal match between the monster Bazler against the smaller Kairi, who was probably the most likeable babyface you can get. Her smaller stature made for a fun dynamic against the more sizable MMA fighter. The run-in from Shayna's cohort ruined things for me, but other than that, good little match.

Smackdown champ Becky Lynch defeated Baby Flair in a last woman standing match to retain the title. This was during the weird time when WWE tried to turn Becky Lynch heel by having her turn on Baby Flair, but it kind of backfired and people were cheering Becky loudly. Even here, commentary tried to portray Becky as this despicable person and Charlotte as the never-say-die hero. Problem is that nobody gives a shit about Charlotte, audiences largely felt like she was being shoved down people's throats based on bloodline alone, and only got behind Becky harder. Setting all that aside, this was a good brawl. Some good action in it. Fun times, I suppose.

RAW Champion Cold Ronda defeated one of the Bellas via submission to retain the title... eh, this was a thing that happened. But hey, be thankful this was a thing that happened because otherwise, we'd never have a PPV in the first place. All that stuff that took place before - good or bad - is just fluff for what (WWE assumed) everyone was there to see - former UFC Diva Ronda Rousey have a meandering main event match with former WWE Diva Bella Twin #2. And with Ronda on pregnation vacation or whatever - congrats on the new child, by the way - the chances of another Evolution show seems to be zilch unless they manage to turn Charlotte into a genuine, honest-to-goodness real superstar draw that people will actually care to watch and spend money on. Well... good luck with that, folks. I hope you pull it off.

So, that was Evolution and... eh. I thought it was alright for the most part. Nothing particularly blowaway and the undercard was somewhat forgettable fluff, but the title matches delivered and all in all, it didn't feel like a complete waste of time. At the same time, however, this didn't really feel as special as everyone made it out to be. It was, largely, just another cookie-cutter WWE PPV that's there to fill a slot on the calendar and that's about it. It didn't feel like a showcase of women's wrestling, but rather a B-show with a bunch of women's matches. The women tried, but the show was just a general "meh" and not much else.

That said, would I be open to another one if they did it? Well, it depends on the card, of course. The concept alone isn't a total buy, but I would not be opposed to their holding another one so long as the card is promising and the intent is pure. But since that's not likely to happen any time soon... well, I guess there's that NWA women's show that Mickie James is producing. I could give that a shot... or I could watch something else...

Eh, something else it is.

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