Friday, October 26, 2018

WWE Evolution Preview & Predictions

Editor's Note: Before I get into this Sunday's PPV, a few words about Roman Reigns.  As everyone knows, Roman is on indefinite hiatus due to a relapse of the leukemia he's been battling for eleven years, and I just want to express how hopeful I am that he's able to conquer this disease as quickly and painlessly as possible.  #KickLeukemiasAss

Now onto business...

It's the show WWE threw together to make us all forget they're scheduled to perform before an oppressive regime a week later, WWE Evolution!

Look, I'm very happy they decided to do an all-women's PPV.  I really am.  And I hate to look at this cynically, but the timing of this show is simply too convenient to ignore that their primary motivator for it was almost certainly damage control.  The Saudi government won't allow female wrestlers to perform in their country, or even go along for the trip, so WWE said "Hey look over here everyone, we're actually progressive!"

Strangely, as of now the tickets for Crown Jewel haven't even been put on sale yet due to the controversy surrounding the Khashoggi murder, and as far as I'm concerned that show needs to be moved to a different location.  It's just a really terrible look for this company to proceed as planned.

Anyway, WWE's first-ever all-women's show is this Sunday, and looks pretty solid.  There are some very promising undercard matches, including bouts for the NXT Women's Title and the UK Women's Title, plus the Mae Young Classic finals and some star cameos from yesteryear.  Plus the main event, while not terribly exciting on paper, has produced some strong promo work from Ronda Rousey, the one area she was really lacking.  In many ways this show could be a lot more fun than most of WWE's offerings lately.  Hopefully it's a success so WWE doesn't just skip it next year when they aren't trying to compensate for a PR disaster.  So let's get to it....

***Big shakeup last month with Super Show-Down, as Dan and I are now tied for the lead with 66% (55/83), Dave's in third with 63% (52/83), and Landon's in last with 61% (51/83).***

Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya vs. The Riott Squad

Remember when they teased a Sasha-Bayley feud for months only to not deliver one?  Fuckin' idiots.  Anyway this match has plenty of good talent and should be reasonably entertaining.  It is however one of many examples of WWE taking female stars and making them look like "just one of the girls."  Sasha and Bayley are two prime victims of the awful parity booking WWE's been stuck on for years.

Justin: Ruby beat Sasha on Monday so I'll go with Team Sasha here.
Landon: Team Natalya
Dave: Sure, Sasha.

Women's Battle Royal

I'm so fucking pissed about how badly they've ruined Asuka since WrestleMania.  She was the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble winner and went into 'Mania looking like a major star, someone they were possibly grooming to face Ronda next year.  And then Vince got a hold of her and booked her into oblivion, jobbing her out to Carmella (who has since become a jobber herself).  God I hate that man.  So yeah, she's stuck in this battle royal along with everyone else they had no ideas for.  Oh by the way, the field looks like this:

Tamina, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Ember Moon, Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke, Asuka, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Carmella, Lana, Naomi, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Alundra Blayze, Ivory, Kelly Kelly, Maria Kanellis, Molly Holly and Zelina Vega

Right away you can probably narrow this down to four potential winners: Ember Moon, Nia Jax, Asuka, and an outside pick like Torrie Wilson.  My heart says Asuka but Vince sucks, so it'll probably be someone else.

Justin: Nia is probably the favorite
Dan: Asuka
Landon: Her cousin has Leukemia now. Nia wins it for fuck's sake. Not doing that would be like turning Dean the night his friend announces he has to walk away.
Dave: God I have no idea.  Nia.

Lita & Trish Stratus vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James

The buildup to this has been atrocious.  Trish used to be a decent promo before the days of tightly scripted garbage, but she can't make this stuff work (Who can??).  Alexa is a question mark since she suffered a concussion at a house show last weekend, but as of now they still have her slated for this match.  This'll be your classic current stars vs. old stars match.  I just hope Lita doesn't try another moonsault - she's gonna kill herself one of these days.

Justin: Alexa & Mickie
Dan: The old-timers get my shorts moving again and take the win.
Landon: Lita & Trish
Dave: Gotta give it to the regulars.

Mae Young Classic Finals: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm

I haven't seen either of these two wrestle before but I've heard great things about both of them.  Io is apparently one of the best female wrestlers to come out of Japan in a long time, and Toni has a fantastic look that WWE loves.  Should be a potential show stealer if given time.

Justin: I'll go with Toni
Dan: I have never heard of either of these two.  But the name Toni Storm is BAD ASS.  She wins.
Landon: Toni wins it
Dave: Shirai

NXT UK Women's Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Isla Dawn

I know nothing about either of them, but Rhea just won the inaugural title (another nice lookin' belt that's better than the main roster ones), so she'll probably retain here.

Justin: Rhea retains
Dan: Rhea Perlman
Landon: Rhea retains
Dave: Rhea

NXT Women's Championship: Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler

These two had a pretty excellent match at the last TakeOver event and should have another one here.  Shayna is legit scary and Kairi is a super likable babyface who will probably get ruined when she gets called up.  That main roster creative team hates likable babyfaces and hates English-as-a-second-language even more.  Because they're ingoramuses.

Justin: Kairi retains
Dan: Sure
Landon: Kairi
Dave: Shayna

Smackdown Women's Championship Last Woman Standing: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

These two had a fine match at Hell in a Cell and have a chance to define their feud with this (probable) blow-off match.  Becky is still one of the most over women on the roster and apparently the company is considering feuding her with Ronda for 'Mania 35.  Can't complain there.  I heart Becky.

Justin: Becky retains
Dan: Becky should definitely hold on here.
Landon: Everyone should love Becky.  Retains.
Dave: Becky

RAW Women's Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella

I still think it's idiotic they brought back a part-timer from before the women's revolution thing to headline this show with Ronda, but the promos have been good so I guess I have to admit the feud's working.  It's sort of fitting I suppose - the Diva vs. the Women's Wrestler.  As long as this gets booked the right way it could be a good symbolic moment for the women's division.  Ronda should by all rights annihilate Nikki.  They need to get away from having Ronda sell so much - it does nothing for her character or drawing power.  Ronda is the female Goldberg and needs to be booked like it.

Justin: Ronda retains
Dan: Come on.
Landon: Ronda
Dave: Ronda on a roll, baby.

Well there's your card - should actually be a fun show with some potential starmaking moments....until main roster Creative fucks it all up.   But we'll see.

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