On July 23, during an episode of Monday Night Raw, Stephanie McMahon made a historic announcement; the WWE is hosting its first ever all women’s pay-per-view, Evolution. As the news broke and the anticipation built, many fans began looking forward to Sunday, October 28.
Several questions began to hit the internet. What matches would be booked on the card? Who would make an in-ring return? Will the WWE introduce Women’s Tag Team Championships? Major rumors also made their way to the internet, including a leaked pay-per-view card.
As of today, only four matches from the leaked pay-per-view card are true. These matches are:
- Ronda Rousey (c) vs Nikki Bella for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
- Becky Lynch (c) vs Charlotte Flair for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
- The Mae Young Classic Finals
- An NXT Women’s Championship match
There have been a few match changes that have been confirmed that were included on the leaked card:
- Mickie James vs Lita and Alexa Bliss vs Trish Stratus is now a tag team match. Mickie James and Alexa Bliss vs Lita and Trish Stratus
- A 20 Women’s Battle Royal winner facing Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship has now been separated into two matches
- A Women’s Battle Royal for a #1 contender spot
- Kairi Sane (c) vs Shayna Baszler
The leaked card also included a Women’s Tag Team Championship match, an NXT UK Women’s Championship match, a six-woman tag team match, and single matches for Asuka, Ember Moon, and Naomi.
Welp, we are six days away and Evolution isn’t looking as stacked or exciting, especially for such a historic event. Even the biggest and most supportive women’s wrestling fans are on pins & needles.
Yep, the WWE seems to have dropped the ball with Evolution and here’s how:
Last Minute Marketing and Promotion
It’s been almost three months since the Evolution announcement. Instead of starting their promotional campaigns for Evolution soon after the announcement, the WWE waited, waited, and waited. Super Show-Down promotion was in full swing, but very little mention of Evolution. Then, after Super Show-Down, fans were sure Evolution marketing would pick up. Nope! Crown Jewel came along and grabbed all the spotlight, a pay-per-view that is only a few days after Evolution.
To make matters worse, Crown Jewel is being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a country where women are not allowed to participate because of Saudi Arabian law. Because of this, some fans believe Evolution is just an elaborate PR move to avoid negative media attention since the WWE is once again returning to Saudi Arabia.
But in the wake of the disappearance and murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the WWE’s Crown Jewel is now gaining a lot of negative press. One would think the WWE would ease up on promoting Crown Jewel and focus more on Evolution. Nope! Even after bipartisan political criticism, WWE continues to focus on Crown Jewel. RIP Evolution marketing campaigns.
Uninspiring Booking and Pay-Per-View Card
For a first ever WWE event, the WWE should go all out. Again, this is historic! The pay-per-view card should have been filled with championship matches, dream matches, in-ring returns, and high-quality match potential. While the match quality potential seems good, the card is lacking in dream match ups and the heavy rumored WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
For months now, rumors have circulated. Many fans wonder what’s up with all the new tag team creations if the WWE doesn’t plan on creating a women’s tag division.
As of now, there are about eight tag teams:
- Absolution (SmackDown)
- The IIconics (SmackDown)
- Asuka and Naomi (SmackDown)
- The Riott Squad (Raw)*
- The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (Raw)*
- Nia Jax and Ember Moon (Raw)
- Alexa Bliss and Mickie James (Raw)*
- The Bella Twins (Raw)*
The Riott Squad, The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection, Bliss, James, and Nikki already have matches at Evolution.
It would have been sweet if there was a women’s tag team tournament hosted on episodes of Raw and SmackDown that led up to Evolution. The final team from Raw and the final team from SmackDown would meet at Evolution to determine the inaugural Women’s tag team champions. As of today, there has been no official mention of tag team titles, but Sasha Banks did mention the titles in a recent Instagram video. So there is a huge chance that they may be introduced very soon.
The pay-per-view card also seems a little limited. Right now, there have been seven matches officially announced and one rumored match (the NXT UK Women’s Championship match). That’s a total of eight matches. Most WWE pay-per-views have between 10 to 13 matches, with one match on the pay-per-view’s kick off show. Seven matches for a three-hour show just doesn’t feel right.
Even so, there seems to be room for at least two or three more matches. Plus, there are several talented superstars who just have just been thrown into the Battle Royal, and besides lazy and careless booking, there isn’t any reason for Asuka, Ember Moon, Naomi, Nia Jax, and Carmella all being placed in the Battle Royal.
These women are all talented former champs. Asuka and Ember Moon are former NXT champions. Carmella and Naomi are former SmackDown champions, and Nia Jax is a former Raw champion. That’s not very creative or astonishing for such a history-making pay-per-view.
It’s not that the Battle Royal is pointless. It’s not. It’s actually a great way to make sure every superstar has a chance to take part in history. But so many former champions shouldn’t be thrown into the Battle Royal.
Very Little Storyline Development
In a “which came first” situation, did lazy booking lead to little storyline development or did little storyline development lead to lazy booking? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the lack of storytelling. The WWE needs to give fans a reason to care about Evolution. Why should fans care?
And while the WWE writers have done a decent job writing the Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair and the Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler feuds, they haven’t done so well with the Ronda Rousey vs Nikki Bella feud. Unlike the other two matches, Ronda vs Nikki lack backstory, emotion, and depth. The Bellas just randomly turned heel and attacked Ronda. Of course, the Raw Women’s Championship is a motive for the attack, but what else. Sadly, there isn’t much time to build on the feud before Evolution. But shout out to Nikki and Ronda for taking to social media to build on the feud.
With the go home episodes of Raw, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK, and the Mae Young Classic, there isn’t much time left to promote Evolution, fix the uncreative book, and create more in-depth storylines. Evolution still has the potential to entertain, and we may be in for a treat. But the only way we will know is if we watch Evolution next Sunday.