Evolution

Evolution
Date: October 28, 2018
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Beth Phoenix

It’s time for another historical one with the first ever all female pay per view. This has been long in the making and the card is pretty close to being stacked, though at seven matches with four hours to fill, we could be in for something interesting. The only mystery isn’t so much what Stephanie McMahon will say but how long she’ll take to say it. Let’s get to it.

We open with Stephanie (I would say take a shot but I’d like to have an audience who doesn’t die of alcohol poisoning) narrating a video about how women have moved forward in recent years. The other women get to talk about what the change means to them and how they want to make this the best. Stephanie gets the last word because it’s really her show.

We get a regular hype video focusing on the past, present and future theme.

Nita Strauss plays us in and we get a live theme song.

The announcers talk while the band moves their stuff.

Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Alicia Fox/Mickie James

Fox is replacing an injured Alexa Bliss. BIG pop for the legends, as you would expect. Bliss is here to introduce her team and says she’ll make it quick because we’re past Trish and Lita’s bedtime. Your trivia for the night: Alicia Fox is the longest tenured woman on the roster. The villains are in Alice in Wonderland gear, with Mickie as the Queen of Harts, Fox as the Mad Hatter and Alexa as Alice. Lita on the other hand has regular pants on with material up her back to imitate her signature look. On the bad side though, the lights are down to hide what are likely empty seats.

Lita headscissors James down to start and avoids a DDT before handing it off to Trish for double Poetry in Motion. A snapmare takes Alicia down and it’s off to Mickie for the VERY well received showdown. Some forearms have Mickie rocked and there’s the Thesz press. Trish runs into a boot to the face but is fine enough to snap off a hurricanrana out of the corner. Lita comes in again as this has been one sided so far. The villains bail to the floor but run away before the double suicide dives can launch.

They can’t leave though as Trish and Lita throw them back inside, only to have Bliss pull Lita off the top to break up the moonsault. Trish can’t make a save as Fox trips Lita again, setting up the perfect northern lights suplex. Lita fights out of a chinlock and takes Fox down with a reverse DDT, allowing the hot tag to pick up the pace. Some hard chops set up the Stratusfaction to Mickie for two, with the referee having to stop counting at two because Fox was late with the save. The Twist of Fate to Fox sets up the double moonsault, followed by the Chick Kick to finish Mickie at 10:54.

Rating: B-. Layoffs considered, this was really good stuff. Trish and Lita looked awesome and the only major botch was from the referee at the end. This was exactly how it should have gone and the crowd was red hot all match. The legends were barely in any trouble and won in dominant fashion. Mickie and Fox losing doesn’t hurt them at all and it was a cool moment as Trish and Lita came off as huge stars. It’s so cool that two of the biggest inspirations in the history of women’s wrestling can still work matches, and work them at a high level. You don’t get that very often.

The Bellas aren’t sorry for what they’ve said about Rousey and her family and dedicate the match to Ronda’s mom. She’s now an honorary member of the Bella Army. Is there a screening process for the Army? Shouldn’t she be a full member? Anyway, Nikki says she’s fearless and a do something Bella (What does that even mean?) who will leave as champion tonight.

We hear what Evolution means to Asuka, Kelly Kelly, Lilian Garcia and Sasha Banks.

Battle Royal

Naomi, Michelle McCool, Sonya Deville, Alundra Blayze, Carmella, Zelina Vega, Kelly Kelly, Tamina, Ember Moon, Lana, Maria Kanellis, Molly Holly, Dana Brooke, Nia Jax, Ivory, Asuka, Torrie Wilson, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Mandy Rose

Winner gets a future title shot and everyone gets an entrance, which is perfectly fine in something like this. Blayze has the old cape and Renee and Beth lose it. Ivory looks to be about ten years younger than she was when she was active. The Iiconics get to make fun of Long Island accents in a funny bit. They offer to throw all the legends out so they can get back to….whatever they do. Of course the legends toss them to start and it’s time for a showdown of the generations.

We settle down into the standard battle royal format with Molly being knocked out by Mandy and Sonya. They get rid of Kelly and Torrie (who got in way more offense than she should have) as well but Mandy turns on Sonya and gets rid of her. Blayze runs over Naomi and Asuka but Jax eliminates her to thin the field out even more. Maria catches Nia with a short DDT and gives Tamina a Bronco Buster but Nia headbutts her out. We get the Nia vs. Tamina showdown which still doesn’t matter because IT’S TAMINA.

Lana interrupts so Tamina and Nia clean house and stare each other down again. For some reason Lana tells them not to fight and then tries to jump them both, earning herself a double headbutt and an elimination. Nia slams Tamina and almost everyone gets involved in a quadruple suplex. Carmella is the only person standing so DANCE BREAK. Ivory joins in but Mandy sends her to the apron. Carmella dumps Mandy as Ivory is still in and everyone gets back up.

Moon gets rid of Dana and superkicks McCool out as well. Asuka and Naomi double team Tamina but she backdrops Naomi out to get us down to Ember, Nia, Carmella, Asuka, Tamina and Ivory. Ember completely botches a spinning side slam and Carmella gets knocked out. Ivory high crossbodies Tamina but stops to soak in the YOU STILL GOT IT chants, allowing Asuka to hip attack her out. Ember and Asuka get to have their reunion showdown with Ember kneeing her in the head and getting the elimination without much effort.

Tamina gives Ember the spinning Rock Bottom but get kicked in the face. The Eclipse gets rid of Tamina and we’re down to Moon vs. Jax. Nia runs her over as the fans are behind Ember, who is put out to the apron. They do the big dramatic pull over the top but Vega runs back in after hiding for a long time (I’m SICK of that trope.) and thinks she eliminates them both. Nia throws Vega out with ease, shrugs off Moon’s clotheslines and wins at 16:25.

Rating: C-. This was your usual legends battle royal with a lot more time. They did a good job of keeping things moving and didn’t have a lot of the weaker workers in there for very long. Nia winning is perfectly fine and one of the best options they had. It wasn’t supposed to be some great match but it did its job of letting us see a lot of the legends and letting them look good one more time.

Nia says this is awesome and she doesn’t care who she faces for the title.

Video on WWE working with a charity for young girls. Nothing wrong with that.

Long recap of the Mae Young Classic, looking at Kairi Sane winning last year and the path to this year’s finals.

Mae Young Classic Finals: Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai

They trade headlocks to start as we hear about Toni being the first Progress Women’s Champion. Toni slips out of a headscissors but Io picks things up with a fast dropkick. A handstand into a double knee drop sets up a Rings of Saturn (which Beth calls a version of a full nelson) to keep Toni grounded. Toni gets a foot on the ropes and snaps off a hard German suplex, only to get dropkicked off the top.

Shirai pops up and scores with a moonsault to the floor but Storm is right back with a German suplex on the apron. Back in and Shirai unloads on her with forearms, only to have Storm pop up with the Storm Zero for a close two. Shirai hits a 619 and a springboard sunset flip for two of her own. The moonsault hits raised knees and Storm Zero is good for the pin at 10:05.

Rating: B-. Well that was sudden. I was expecting this to be nearly twice as long and the match is just over that fast? Storm winning makes more sense as Shirai comes in with all the hype and Storm already lost once late in the tournament last year. The match was good, but I was expecting a lot more.

HHH, Stephanie and Sara Amato come out for the flowers and trophy presentations.

What Evolution means to Alundra Blayze, Eve Torres and Naomi.

Riott Squad vs. Bayley/Sasha Banks/Natalya

Liv and Natalya start things off with a slap to Natalya’s face. They hit the ropes and Natalya drops to the mat, only to have Liv drop in front of her and wave. It’s off to Logan, who gets beaten up by Banks, followed by Bayley’s sliding dropkick underneath the buckles. Riott offers a distraction though and Logan dropkicks Bayley ribs first into the post. Liv works on an armbar to keep Bayley in trouble and it’s back to Logan to send her into the corner.

Bayley sends her head first into the buckle but Logan pulls Natalya off the apron for a clothesline. A hot shot allows the hot tag off to Banks though and it’s time to clean house. Banks hits the Backstabber into the Bayley to Belly but Liv knocks Sasha into Bayley for the save. It’s back to Liv vs. Banks with Sasha trying a flip dive but getting caught in the apron, allowing the rest of the Squad to slam her into the barricade. Banks is in trouble as the Squad takes turns on her, including something like a Doomsday Device.

Logan goes up for a top rope backsplash but Bayley dives onto Banks to protect her. Bayley gets crushed instead and Banks still gets up at two. A missed charge allows the hot tag to Natalya and it’s time for the double Sharpshooter on Liv and Ruby. Liv makes the save with a Codebreaker for two but Natalya plants her with a powerbomb. Bayley drops a top rope elbow, followed by Banks hitting a frog splash for the pin at 13:40. The rapid blind tags at the end to finish the Squad was a nice touch as that’s been one of their trademarks.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t bad and could have been a solid Raw match so it’s hard to complain that much. I would have gone with the Squad winning but I can understand giving the popular women a win. The homage to Eddie at the end was fine too as he was a big influence on Banks, who is a big part of the Revolution. This was a good match and an easy way to get a lot of people onto the show.

What Evolution means to Stephanie McMahon, Molly Holly, Alicia Fox and Nia Jax.

We recap Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler, which has been going on for over a year. Sane defeated her in the finals of the first Mae Young Classic but Baszler came back and won the NXT Women’s Title, defeating Sane multiple times on the way to the title. Sane then won the title from her and tonight is the rematch.

NXT Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane

Sane is defending and we get Big Match Intros. An early takedown surprises Baszler but she avoids a kick to the back and goes for an early Kirifuda Clutch. Sane breaks it up and they head to the floor with Baszler sending her into the steps. Back in and a gutwrench faceplant gets two on the champ and it’s time to start working on the arm. Baszler snaps the arm back ala Pentagon so Sane starts slugging it out for some reason.

A spinning back fist drops Baszler but Sane can’t follow up. Sane cranks on something like a Sharpshooter but the bad arm gives out. A spear cuts Baszler off again and a running shoulder in the corner keeps Baszler in trouble. Baszler throws her to the floor by the arm but Sane is right back with a DDT. The Insane Elbow doesn’t get to launch as Baszler rolls outside, only to have Sane dive down in a good looking high crossbody.

They fight by the barricade where some NXT women are seated and Sane has to fight off some of Baszler’s fellow Four Horsewomen. The distraction is enough for Baszler to grab the Clutch but Sane rolls backwards into a near fall for the break. Another cheap shot lets the Clutch go on again and Sane is out to give Baszler the title back at 12:30.

Rating: B. Well, you knew the Horsewomen were going to become a thing sooner or later. I’m a bit surprised that Baszler got the title back as I would have had her going up to the main roster sooner rather than later. Maybe they form a heel stable down there or something but either way, there’s not much of a point to having her around NXT much longer. It helps that it was the best match of the night too, as these two have very good chemistry together.

What Evolution means to Ember Moon, Ata Johnson (Rock’s mother), Vickie Guerrero and Maryse.

We recap Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch. Charlotte won the Smackdown Women’s Title at Summerslam and Becky wasn’t happy, snapping on her friend and becoming one of the most aggressive women around. She won the title the next month and hasn’t been happy with Charlotte trying to say Becky is going too far. Becky attacked Charlotte at the Performance Center and it’s time to get violent tonight.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch

Lynch is defending and it’s Last Woman Standing. The fans are entirely behind Becky, because WWE still doesn’t get that they love her. Becky takes her down to start for a legdrop, followed by a mocking strut. That doesn’t get much of a count so it’s the Bexploder to send Charlotte into the corner. Charlotte gets tossed outside for a four count so Becky whips out the kendo stick to beat her down again. With that not working, they throw about a dozen chairs inside with Charlotte stopping to grab a table.

Some loud chair shots to the back have Charlotte in trouble and it’s time for more chair shots inside. Charlotte suplexes her onto the pile of chairs for a crash though and they’re both down. Charlotte is up first and throws in a table but Becky Rock Bottoms her onto the chairs. Becky puts her on the table for a change, only to have Charlotte fight up and switch places.

The moonsault barely hits Becky and turns the table over instead of breaking it so Charlotte tries it again, this time with a Swanton to properly break the table. That’s good for a double nine count so let’s bring in a ladder (please, don’t do a draw to set up next month). Charlotte wraps the leg around the ladder and ties it through the rungs for the Figure Eight. Becky taps but then realizes that she has a bunch of chairs next to her and uses one to escape.

Back up and Becky sends her into the ladder and tries to walk out, meaning it’s time to fight in the crowd. Charlotte chops the heck out of her and takes it back to ringside where an announcers’ table is loaded up. Another ladder gets pulled out but Becky hits her with the title. The legdrop off the ladder drives Charlotte through the table for a double nine count, sending Becky into a rage.

Becky buries her under a bunch of announcers’ chairs but Charlotte gets up again. That’s enough for Becky who begs off, allowing Charlotte to unload on her with the kendo stick. It’s time for another table but Charlotte takes too long again, this time getting powerbombed off the middle buckle to the table on the floor to retain Becky’s title at 29:41. They were stretching with “not on her feet” there as she was on her feet with her hands on the ground and some of the staggering was on her feet alone. It wasn’t quite standing, but that was pushing it a bit given how many times people are up at 9.9 and down at 10.

Rating: B+. I really hope that’s the big definitive win as there’s no reason for them to keep going with another one. Lynch is clearly the most popular woman in the company right now and having her win the feud is the right idea. Charlotte needs to get FAR away from Becky right now and move on to getting ready for Rousey at Wrestlemania. I’m not sure who is next for Becky as she’s going to need someone special to challenge her after a run like this.

Crown Jewel rundown.

We recap Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella. For reasons that still aren’t clear, the Bellas were suddenly Rousey’s best friends and then betrayed her a full few weeks after getting together with her in the first place. It turned into the standard “the Divas were important and the Bellas are AMAZING” vs. “you’re not that important” argument while WWE tells us that the Bellas are the most important, empowering women in the world, because WWE doesn’t know what empowering means.

Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella

Nikki is challenging and Brie Bella has a Bellalution flag. Rousey throws her down to start and lets Nikki get up. She does it again, this time letting the arm go. Rousey does it a third time and tells Nikki that this isn’t hard. Brie offers a distraction though and Nikki posts her to take over. Another distraction lets Brie post her again and we hit the chinlock. Nikki sends Ronda ribs first into the apron and barricade a few times for two. A headscissors lets Nikki do some pushups so Rousey kicks her away.

Brie cheap shots Rousey again though and it’s off to an abdominal stretch. Back up and Rousey sends her into the corner but Nikki comes out with a springboard kick to the face. A superplex is broken up but Rousey misses a high crossbody, only to have Nikki miss a baseball slide. The Samoan drop is loaded up so Brie gets on the apron…and is pulled onto Rousey’s shoulders at the same time.

Rousey kicks Nikki in the ribs and unloads with rights and lefts. Nikki begs off in the corner so Rousey slaps her in the face and there’s the toss across the ring. With Nikki down, Ronda throws Brie over the announcers’ table but walks back into an Alabama Slam. The Rack Attack 2.0 gets two so Nikki goes up. That’s rarely a good idea for her so Rousey pulls her down into the armbar for the tap at 14:09.

Rating: C+. While I would have gone with the squash (it’s not like the Bellas are ever going to lose any kind of steam), the match was perfectly fine and didn’t have Nikki doing a bunch of stuff that she could have screwed up. The Brie interference was the logical way to go and while the match was boring at times in the middle, it wasn’t terrible by any means and the ending was the right move.

Rousey takes a long time to leave and Nia Jax is watching from the back. All of the women come out to celebrate with Rousey to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. Quite a nice show here, assuming you could get by the constant patting on the back (which was kind of the point of the show). This did feel like a celebration of women in wrestling and nothing was that bad. They even threw in a title change to make it historic, which is an important part of a show like this. It’s nothing I’m ever going to want to watch again but for what it was, I’d call it a success. The women have come such a long way and there’s nothing wrong with giving them a night to themselves.

Results

Lita/Trish Stratus b. Alicia Fox/Mickie James – Chick Kick to James

Nia Jax won a battle royal last eliminating Ember Moon

Toni Storm b. Io Shirai – Storm Zero

Bayley/Sasha Banks/Natalya b. Riott Squad – Frog splash to Morgan

Shayna Baszler b. Kairi Sane – Kirifuda Clutch

Becky Lynch b. Charlotte – Powerbomb through a table

Ronda Rousey b. Nikki Bella – Armbar

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2003 Smackdown Reviews (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2018/09/07/new-book-kbs-complete-smackdown-2003-reviews/


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