On Raw, it was announced that on October 28, 2018, there will be the first-ever pay-per-view event that revolves entirely and solely around the women’s division, called WWE Evolution.
Fundamentally, this is such an amazing thing, and it’s hard to argue against it, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% perfect, infallible, and that there are no downsides to it.
It’s best to be hopeful, but keep a dash of cynicism when it comes to these things, as a means to lessen the blow if the more pessimistic outcomes happen or heighten the excitement for the positives.
As such, I figured it’s worth acknowledging what is great about this and what some of the flaws are, so as to manage expectations before people go too far on either extreme.
Pro: Another Step Forward
Obviously, the most clear positive to come out of this is that it is a morale boost and it shows that WWE is truly dedicated to boosting the credibility of the women’s division.
Actions speak louder than words, and over the past few years, we’ve seen women’s matches regularly close the show for Raw and SmackDown LIVE as well as pay-per-views, the gimmick matches have been featuring women (like the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and Hell in a Cell) instead of appearing too good or difficult for the women to pull off, and so on.
Without evidence like that to back up the claims, WWE would come off as not really being invested in the women’s division, but just talking about it as a publicity stunt.
Having a whole event revolving entirely around women is a grand, sweeping gesture to say that the female superstars are just as capable of putting on an entertaining main card as the men have been, if not more.
Already, just by existing, Evolution has become an important pay-per-view in the history of WWE and something that will help inspire people.
Con: Some People Don’t Want Progress/The Crowd
Not everyone likes that the women’s division has been getting this kind of treatment, though.
For whatever reasons they may have, there are still detractors who are against this and will voice their opinions whenever possible.
With this taking place at the Nassau Coliseum in New York, the crowd is something that could potentially cause a problem.
New York is one of the “smart” markets filled with audience members who are hard to predict, as in the past, there have been events where they are the most passionate supporters of WWE programming, with other times being the total opposite.
It’s just as likely we could hear chants of “women’s wrestling” as we have a crowd that tries to hijack the entire show, doing the wave to draw attention to themselves instead of the action, playing with beach balls, chanting for CM Punk, Randy Savage and Corey Graves or anything else just to prove a point that they’re not interested.
There’s no certainty that this particular audience will be the perfect crowd that eats this up and shows immense support, or that the arena will be filled with people who crap all over it.
I would hope that the people who hate women’s wrestling wouldn’t spend their money going to an event that consists entirely of that, but you never know, so we just have to hope it’s the positive rather than the negative.
Pro: A Platform for More Women
It’s already been announced that this event will feature 50 women (which I’m assuming is just a rough estimate and not something WWE will strictly adhere to) and not only will the Raw and SmackDown LIVE women’s titles be on the line, but also the NXT and NXT U.K. Women’s Championships.
This event is going to be a great showcase for the women who aren’t able to regularly have appearances on Monday and Tuesday nights, like Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox, as well as act as a coming out party for the NXT women.
Not everyone watches NXT, so the people who only check out the main roster shows aren’t too familiar with some of the amazing talent like Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, Kairi Sane, Vanessa Borne and Dakota Kai.
The women from the U.K. side of NXT will be even newer to the fray and this could be the first time many people see who Toni Storm and Isla Dawn and company are, which could spark an interest in watching those shows.
Also, this opens up room for tons of legends to come back. Trish Stratus and Lita facing Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, The Bella Twins against The IIconics, the return of Victoria, Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool, and anyone else could be potential returns.
It’s one thing to have these women pop up in the WrestleMania battle royal, last 20 seconds and get tossed aside, but an entirely different animal to give them an opportunity to really show their skills on a major platform that will give them the exposure to make names for themselves and gain new fans.
Con: The Potential for Failure
Sadly, we should acknowledge the possibility that being on a bigger platform doesn’t necessarily mean all things will turn out better.
There’s always a chance this just magnifies the failures that could go down, like exposing which women on the roster can’t be trusted to handle a full-length match without it becoming a total bore.
Botches will be under much more scrutiny. The women will be in more direct competition with each other in terms of match comparisons, so critics (even myself, admittedly) will subconsciously look to find the weak links on the card versus the standouts who steal the show.
If the women performing on this event do a poor job, they’ll prove their doubters right, and we’ll never hear the end of how the women’s division threw away the opportunity and couldn’t put on a great show alone.
Things that look bad will be made to look worse, and if this ends up being an event that has a lot of hiccups, the whole thing could go down in flames and be extremely difficult to rehabilitate from.
Pro: Balancing out the Greatest Royal Rumble
But on the up-side, this makes up for the controversy of the Greatest Royal Rumble event from earlier this year, which saw the complete exclusion of all the women in WWE.
Putting aside cultural differences and political ideas to an extent, it’s still not a good idea for WWE to have had a show with 100% men and then not do something to benefit the women in the company.
Having a 100% women event is only fair, and it helps the company’s image by proving that WWE didn’t entirely sell its soul for money.
Con: Over-Exposure and Incessant Promotion
This may sound harsh, but WWE has a tendency to beat things into your brain to an annoying level, and I’m worried/concerned that this event is going to suffer from that mentality.
Already in just one episode of Raw, there were something like a dozen segments that mentioned this announcement purely for the sake of emphasizing its importance.
It is important, but by the third time someone was going “Isn’t it great?” I started to get tired of hearing it, and I don’t want that to become a thing.
I don’t want SmackDown LIVE to beat me over the head with this. I don’t want every episode of the Mae Young Classic programming to hammer this historic event as if I’m going to forget about it. I don’t want to spend all of August and September and October CONSTANTLY hearing about it and how wonderful WWE is for doing it and how every woman on the roster is so proud and passionate.
I get all the points already. We all do. Nothing else they say in that kind of regard is going to be anything we haven’t heard enough times by now to be anything different. All I’m interested in now is what the card is going to be, and then watching it.
The more this turns into the promotional equivalent of someone shouting repetitive things at me as if I have memory loss and can’t understand, the more it will sour me on the idea as a whole, and by the time October 28th comes around, I’ll have grown a distaste for Evolution and won’t be as excited for it.
But until then, I’m seeing mostly nothing but reasons to be happy about this announcement and the concept as a whole.
This is great for PR, great for the talent, great for morale, great for progress and could really end up being a great lineup of matches to turn into one hell of a card, too.