Here are my final thoughts on WWE Evolution 2018 from NXT, Raw and SmackDown Live!
Trish Stratus and Lita against Mickie James and Alicia Fox (with Alexa Bliss)
Reactions: This is exactly what I expected it to be: a presentation of the "big hits" of two WWE legends. James and Fox settled here to play the role of shock mannequins for their opponents. The game in general was pretty basic and according to the numbers, to be honest. Trish and Lita started hot, the Bliss duo finally got offended, then the Babyface Hall of Famers came back. Nothing shocking there. It was what it was. It is the kind of party that is the pure material of a show at home: not offensive, but nothing extraordinary in any way.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Alundra Blayze vs. Asuka vs. Billie Kay vs. Carmella vs. Dana Brooke vs. Ember Moon vs. Ivory vs. Kelly Kelly vs. Lana vs. Mandy Rose vs. Maria Kanellis vs. Michelle McCool vs. Molly Holly vs. Naomi vs. Nia Jax vs. Peyton Royce vs. Sonya Deville vs. Tamina vs. Torrie Wilson vs. Zelina Vega (historic battle of real women for a future Women's Championship opportunity)
Reactions: This was so much fun. This Battle Royal presented the past, present and future stars of the Women's Division of the WWE and let them run like crazy. The Iiconics promotion from the start provided a quick burst of humor, the random breakup of the dance with Carmella and Ivory gave the crowd something more to laugh at, and the rest of the pack fought hard all the time. And how about that multi-woman suplex place?
Asuka and Naomi worked well together, plus Tamina and Nia Jax seemed strong as a Samoan unit. Ember Moon also looked great there and seemed close to victory near the final moments of the match. Jax was the big favorite here and he made sure to please everyone who bet on her. I enjoyed this a little more than I thought it would be (probably because Ivory, Alundra Blayze and Molly Holly were there. I love them!).
Rating: 2 and a half of 5 stars.
Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai (Mae Young Classic 2018 Finals)
Reactions: Well, I was clearly wrong! I thought Io Shirai was a sure choice for the winning place here, but Toni Storm ended up surprising me by winning the Finals. And he came to the conclusion of a good confrontation between two talented interpreters. Both women hit hard and gave some moments worthy of astonishment, like Storm's German Suplex in the platform place and Io's impressive high-flying offensive. I am not surprised by the fact that this match fulfilled its promise to provide quality action in the ring for women. I'm surprised by the winner! Congratulations to both women for participating in a contest and showing everything on the main WWE stage.
Rating: 3 and a half of 5 stars.
Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya against The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) (6-Woman Tag Team Match)
Reactions: I'm not going to sit here and say I was excited to watch this game. See all the combinations of The Riott Squad against three ladies of the babyface Raw squad became very old very fast. This was another case of that, which made him a little depressed in this fight even before it took place. But in reality it ended up being good after all. Now look, there were some noticeably messy spots scattered everywhere. So I would have to start an extra point because of those mistakes.
But the party still managed to get the best out of the six ladies. He even put on a bit of narration to continue the "friend or foe" dynamic between Bayley and Sasha Banks. Riott Squad looked pretty strong here, since they had plenty of time to work with their partner magic in the ring. Banks, Bayley and Natalya also made sure to look good against their stable enemies with an equally impressive team offense. This was an entertaining slow burner, but it was still marred by some key moments that were a bit out of place in the actual execution.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Kairi Sane (c) against Shayna Baszler (NXT Women's Championship)
Reactions: This was becoming your classic NXT TakeOver pairing … but then it adopted the interference element. Before all that external madness came into play, Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler represented their brand of development in the best possible way, through the will, determination and excellent work within the ring. Baszler battered Sane's arm for a long time, while Sane struggled with quick attacks and his own submission work. There was even a brutal extra moment in this fight that saw Baszler grab Sane's arm while she hung from the ring apron!
After Sane flew out of the upper rope to Baszler outside, the unwanted shenanigans began. Baszler's MMA comrades and now the NXT apprentices intervened to get Sane out of his game, which was pretty boring to be honest. Due to all that external interference, Sane ended up drowning. And that's how Sane's reign came to an end – through stable, illegal (unnecessary) tactics. What could have been great here ends up being good. For a title game of NXT, that's a kind of disappointment.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Becky Lynch (c) against Charlotte Flair (last fight standing for the WWE Women's Championship on SmackDown)
Reactions: THE TRUE MAIN EVENT EVENT! For such a hot fight with two of the best female WWE athletes, this match ended up perfectly encapsulating Becky Lynch and Charlotte's greatness. What we got here was an intense LWS match that included everything (but the kitchen sink, of course). Lynch's arrogant and self-centered attitude made her the clear favorite of this fight. But Charlotte ended up getting some support from the audience by getting an extra hardcore with her old best friend. The element of intense hate shared between both women led to extreme levels, which was necessary. Props to Charlotte for fixing her mole across a table and getting the crowd back into combat with a sick Senton bomb.
There was a lot of another great moment to remember here: Charlotte's staircase helped Figure Eight Leglock, Lynch crashed into Charlotte at a bulletin board, Charlotte and Lynch were fighting in the crowd, Charlotte chased after Lynch after she exaggerate, etc. The best time of all, however, Lynch recovered in time to brutally face Powerbomb Charlotte through a table. This party obtained the additional execution time it deserved and fulfilled its promise to give everyone an incredible match. Lynch and Charlotte have officially reached the GOAT status of women's wrestling. Please, look at this if you somehow missed it the first time!
Rating: 4 and a half of 5 stars.
Round Rousey (c) against Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) (WWE Raw Women's Championship)
Reactions: Well … color me surprised. This ended up being pretty good. It's not better than the match that took place before you cared, but it's still good. Ronda almost committed suicide to make this work (he looks furious at the steel pillar outside). All that good selling Rousey did enough to make it look like Nikki really had a chance to beat her.
The use of additional scams added some thrust to this, in addition to the final moments of this made the crowd really come alive. I hate Bella's with passion, but I have to give credit to what she deserves. They were not as boring and terrible as they usually are. Ronda kicked all the asses tonight during a surprisingly good main event!
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Becky Lynch against Charlotte Flair!
Thanks to the excellent performances of the first WWE PPV for women tonight, Evolution will definitely have a sequel! Expectations were set quite low due to a little stellar accumulation for this event, but the program was delivered in spades. We got a real and fun battle, the appearance of several lady legends, good to great fights of a lesser-known female talent, a strong label of 6 women, an incredible fight for the title of LWS and a surprisingly good main event. WWE Evolution is currently one of the best exclusives of the WWE network (and wrestling events, period) of 2018.
Final score: 4 out of 5 stars
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