With WWE Evolution 2018 concluded, it’s time to look back on what happened and assess the damage, praise the positives and talk about what went down.
Per usual, at the end of this post, you’ll see my regular Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast, which reviews the event in more detail, but for those who want a more condensed version of my thoughts, I present to you my “quicker than a hiccup” reaction to the different parts of the evening:
Pre-Show: Very lame. I don’t get why they had a “red carpet” for this with nothing but interviews, when they left all but four women from the entirety of NXT UK and NXT off the card, as they could have had a match incorporating those. Every single person except for R-Truth (who was hilarious) said the same exact buzz phrases and slogans we’ve been hearing for months about history and whatnot, so this was a waste of an hour, unless you haven’t watched Raw or SmackDown in months. And if that’s the case, I’m sure you didn’t care to watch the pre-show anyway, right?
Alicia Fox and Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus and Lita: It’s a shame Alexa Bliss couldn’t be in this match, but honestly, I don’t think it would have been that much better. Trish and Lita had some ring rust, as expected. Mickie James was the glue holding this whole thing together. Alicia Fox is someone I consider underrated, but that botch to break up the pin isn’t going to win her any favors. This was fine for a starter, but nothing special.
Battle Royal: This was my second-favorite match of the night. Lots of fun. Great to see the returning stars, loved how they checked off all the boxes with a battle royal (friends turning on each other, everyone ganging up on a heel, Zelina Vega’s attempt to sneak a victory, etc) and even though I would have preferred to see an NXT woman get the win here to put them over, or maybe someone like Ember Moon get a title shot, or even Tamina get a surprise win, it does make sense Nia Jax won, as she was the biggest person involved.
Mae Young Classic 2018 Tournament Final – Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai: Admittedly, this wasn’t the best match of this tournament, so that was disappointing. However, that doesn’t mean it was a bad match, as it was still rather good. I’m glad Storm won, and I’m excited to see what WWE does with her going forward. Shame they rushed this and gave it no real promotion ahead of time to begin with.
The Riott Squad vs. Natalya, Sasha Banks and Bayley: As bad as the build for this was and how completely and utterly inconsequential this match was set up to be, the six women involved tried their hardest to make the best out of a bad situation. It ended up not being a bad match, but even a few hours after this event concluded, I can’t remember any specifics about it except Bayley covering Sasha Banks, as that felt strange to me. Why didn’t she just pull her away? Anyway, any success for this was entirely due to the women, not WWE’s creative team, who gave them nothing to work with.
NXT Women’s Championship Match – Kairi Sane (c) vs. Shayna Baszler: Baszler is so good at being a heel and working matches as the dominator. Sane is a fun babyface to get behind and I’m glad she had a title reign, even if it was a rather short one. This was really solid and I have no complaints. Very much interested to see how WWE handles this situation with WarGames, as the spoilers gave no indication of where this feud is heading.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Last Woman Standing Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair: Easily the best match of the night and something these two women should be VERY proud of. This was on par, if not better, than any Last Man Standing match that I’ve seen in a long while. They went out of their way to be just as brutal as the men would be rather than what used to happen in the past when they’d soften things up and try to pass it off as being of equal or superior quality. They killed it and I’m really glad they kept the title on Lynch. Now can WWE please stop trying to make her a heel? It’s clearly not working. Let the fans embrace her. She even won clean here. Go with the flow.
Raw Women’s Championship Match – Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella: This wasn’t the train wreck I was expecting it to be, but if you’re the type of person who says it was a classic, I’m calling you out on giving it way too much credit. It was fine. The point of it was to feel like a big match, not to BE a five-star Match of the Year candidate. They went out there and tried their best and did a decent enough job. I guess that’s more than I could have asked for, realistically.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Evolution with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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