Trish Stratus And Lita def. Alicia Fox and Mickie James
The beginning match was Trish Stratus and Lita vs. Alicia Fox and Mickie James. It was a well-worked match, and the crowd was very receptive and hot to begin the night. I did like some of the storytelling in the match and playing off of Mickie James and Trish Stratus’ past history. Alicia Fox was actually performing better than I was anticipating.
Unfortunately, as I was saying that, she badly botched a pin breakup, causing the referee to awkwardly hold his hand in the air for a long 2 count. Probably up there with Jinder Mahal’s botch at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
While I would have preferred Trish Stratus and Lita to face Sasha Banks and Bayley, this march was pretty rock solid to me and the issues were few and far between. It was a good match with great energy and a solid crowd. Won’t complain about it. ***1/4
Nia Jax wins Women’s Battle Royal
I’m kind of surprised that Nia Jax won here as I thought the victory would go to one of Asuka or Ember Moon. She was heavily involved in the title scene in the spring and early summer, but I suppose this can work.
Battle Royals normally aren’t my cup of tea, but this one had an extra kick to it, no doubt to the environment. I loved the little interactions between Absolution and playing up the past rivalry of Ember Moon and Asuka. It also had a sense of competition and urgency to it, and that’s what I was really asking for here, and I got it. Women get an A for effort here. Lots of good stuff to be found. ***1/4
Toni Storm def. Io Shirai – Mae Young Classic Finals
This was one match that I had flying under the radar for what could steal the show. While I didn’t think it reached that point because of the length of the match, this was a great competitive back and forth. This was a classic clash of styles as Io Shirai’s versatile submission and high flying moves clashed with Toni Storm’s.
I loved the improvisation that Toni Storm showed in the match, even if it was little things such as going towards the side to counter an Irish Whip as opposed to traditionally going over the top. Io’s athleticism was also on full display here. I really think of they got around 4 more minutes, the match could have gotten into the realm of elite wrestling. Ultimately, I just thought Toni Storm’s finishers came too close within each other. But this was still a very good outing. ***1/2
Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya def. The Riot Squad
I don’t know how many times we have to go through this match, but all I can say is that it wasn’t bad and a bit long. I would have taken off about 2-4 minutes here and give it to the Mae Young Classic Finals. I really don’t want to comment on this more than I need to, because I’ve seen this on Raw too many times. That’s why I wasn’t jumping out of my seat for it.
Good effort, but knowing WWE, we’ll probably get this again Monday. Okay, but just a longer version of something I’ve seen a lot already. **1/2
Shayna Baszler def. Kairi Sane (C) – NXT Women’s Championship
Of all the title matches on the card, this one was the most likely to change hands. The reason why I picked Kairi Sane to retain was because she didn’t hold the title for very long, and of course multiple time winners of NXT Titles were rare.
That being said, this was probably the best match of the night so far. Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler always have a great chemistry with each other, and there’a always the great struggle between submission manipulation by Shayna Baszler and the high flying theatrics of Kairi Sane. However, the interference towards the end ruined the finish for me. Their match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn had a more dramatic finish to me, but other than that, the match then and the match tonight were identical in quality. So aside from the finish, another great showing from the NXT women. ***3/4
Becky Lynch (C) def. Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship (Last Woman Standing)
The short version is that these two absolutely killed it. I have no earthly idea how the match was booked this way and have it not main event, but I guess that’s why I’m not on the booking team. That little issue notwithstanding, can we talk about how awesome this match was?
My main concern coming into this match wasn’t the competitors, but the referee. I hate it when the referee counts after every little clothesline or leg drop and I thought that was where we were headed after the first five minutes. However, we went in an opposite direction once we cut the shit and just got to the part where the two just beat the stuffing out of each other.
From the hard kendo sticks, to the two daring each other with chairs and the risks both women took with dives off a ladder, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair walked into Long Island and burned it down (Sorry, Seth Rollins.) The most amazing thing was seeing Becky Lynch’s reaction after Charlotte Flair kept getting up and fighting. It was like she was trying to try and get Charlotte Flair out of her life and she got increasingly incredulous and desperate with each act of perseverance by Charlotte Flair.
The best part about the match was that Becky Lynch won fair and square, and she’s a legitimate champion. In WWE narrative, Becky Lynch escaped with the title at Hell in a Cell, and ran away at Super Show-Down. But Sunday, she left no doubt and is now top dog on the SmackDown LIVE Women’s roster. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair was one of the best rivalries of this year, and it culminated with a freaking incredibly well-booked match. Aside from some poor officiating, a barn-burner. ****3/4
Ronda Rousey (C) def. Nikki Bella – Raw Women’s Championship
Under normal circumstances, the crowd would be dead after such a fantastic match, but fortunately for Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella, was crowd was pretty hot and receptive to everything they saw all night. I thought this match was going to be a squash, but WWE went with the 2-on-1 psychology of The Bella Twins and their matches.
Overall, this was a solid main event as Nikki Bella certainly held her own, and Ronda Rousey showed her entire arsenal. While I maintain this match shouldn’t have main evented, the quality of the match was at least up to par. I don’t know how often The Bella Twins will be around, but Nikki Bella showed here why she got the lions share of the wrestling ability compared to her sister. She’s no Becky Lynch, but she has great ring awareness.
Overall, a predictable, but solid match to end the night. ***1/4
My excitement level wasn’t all that high going into Evolution, primarily due to the deplorable booking on WWE’s part. However, the women embraced this historic night for them, and they delivered on my side. Even matches such as the battle royal surprised me and everyone moved as though they had a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. Perhaps that’s when superstars perform at their best
The title matches were all solid, with the NXT and SmackDown women’s title matches raising the bar, the Mae Young Classic being a solid outing and everything else serving its purpose, keeping the crowd entertained in the process. For all of the women who worked hard and busted their ass to get to this point, take a bow. This night is yours. Never forget what this felt like.
Thumbs up for WWE Evolution.