There was a big announcement to begin WWE’s Monday Night Raw this week. It was promoted as a “historic announcement” all week by WWE, and Stephanie McMahon was announced as the person that would share the news with the world. The speculation was that the announcement would be the first ever all-women’s pay-per-view event, and that’s exactly what it was.
Stephanie McMahon, the on-screen Commissioner of Raw, was joined in the ring by her father Vince, WWE’s Chairman and CEO, and her husband Triple H, who is the on-screen COO that is really the second in command after Vince. Joining them in the arena were the entire Raw roster, including the men. They also brought in most of the Smackdown women that were working live events on the weekend. There was no Charlotte Flair because she’s been off the road for the last month due to recent surgery, but she’s back next week. Triple H asked the women to step forward as they set up to make the announcement.
Stephanie announced that the show would be called “Evolution” (because of WWE hammering the “Women’s Evolution” phrase down our throats for the last three years). The event will take place on Sunday, October 28 on WWE Network and it will take place at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. It’s not a surprise that WWE would choose the New York market, considering how many shows they run there every year. SummerSlam next month is in nearby Brooklyn, so they are having two PPVs in the same area within two months.
Evolution will include 50 women and feature both Raw and Smackdown women, along with NXT women, the finals of the Mae Young Classic (WWE’s summer women’s tournament), and some legends as well. They specified the legends in a press release by mentioning Trish Stratus, Lita, and Beth Phoenix. There will probably be 8-10 matches and one of them could be a battle royal type match to get more women on the show.
The news of this event was not a surprise because Pro Wrestling Sheet mentioned the possibility a few weeks ago. It also made sense because WWE moved the October TLC PPV event to December and eliminated Clash of Champions from the schedule. The timing for the all-women’s show seems right.
Is this happening just because WWE held the Greatest Royal Rumble event on April 27 in Saudi Arabia with no women’s wrestlers on the card? Not necessarily, says Triple H. In an interview with ESPN, Triple H said: “Let’s take the Saudi Arabia show off the table, and let’s just say it never happened — would anybody question that they deserve this opportunity? To me, it’s a ridiculous statement, the timing of it. You cannot effect change in a region that, culturally, is trying to change, you cannot help them affect that change without being there.”
I’m happy the event is happening. I’m a fan of women’s wrestling and I like that WWE has decided the push the women strongly over the last three years. Here are five thoughts on the announcement of Evolution.
1. Ronda Rousey will be in the main event
It has been such an honor to be a part of this women’s division for the last few months. These women have all taught me so much and I couldn’t be prouder to call myself a @WWE Superstar. I’m ready for #Evolution.
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) July 24, 2018
That’s not a bold prediction on my part. Ronda Rousey is the centerpiece of the graphic WWE made to announce this show. Rousey wasn’t even at Raw due to her storyline suspension, but she tweeted about how excited she is to be a part of it. I doubt this event would even happen if they didn’t have Rousey under contract because she’s a proven draw from her days as a UFC PPV main eventer. That’s no disrespect to the other women, but Ronda is on another level right now and if you listen to WWE fans, they buy into it.
The question is really this: which match will she be in? Rousey is scheduled to face Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Title at SummerSlam on August 19. I assume Rousey is going to win the title there, so if that happens, I would assume that Rousey goes into Evolution as the champion. It makes sense for Rousey to headline this show as the champion and likely beat whoever she’s against because I expect a lengthy title reign for her.
Rousey could also win the Raw Women’s Title for the first time at Evolution. Since this event is all about “making history,” having your top woman, Rousey, win the title makes a lot of sense to me.
Another possibility is doing a big tag team match with her Four Horsewomen buddies, including Shayna Baszler, the current NXT Women’s Champion, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir. Duke and Shafir may not be familiar names to fans, but they have WWE deals and are training to wrestle for the company. If they go that route, then their opponents would WWE’s Four Horsewomen group of Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. It’s a fine idea in theory, but I don’t think all of those women should be wasted in a tag team match you can do any time.
I’m going with the first theory of Rousey winning the title at SummerSlam and defending it successfully at Evolution. No matter what happens, I think Rousey will be in the main event of this show and she’ll likely win the last match. If she’s not, I would be very surprised.
2. Mixing in legends with current stars is a great idea
I thought it was very smart for WWE to include women from the past in the Royal Rumble match in January. They did it because they needed them to fill out the 30 spots in the match, but it also felt right since those women helped paved the way for the current wrestlers.
Some of the legends already announced for Evolution are Hall of Famers Trish Stratus, Lita, and Beth Phoenix. Other names could include some of the women that were in the Royal Rumble, like Michelle McCool, Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly (rumored to want to return to WWE), and Jacqueline. I think it’s important to find a way to include them. There are plenty of women that need to be on the show, so you can do tag team matches with women from the past teaming up against current stars.
I also really like this idea pitched by Mickie James on Twitter to have one more match with her greatest rival, Trish Stratus.
We’ve stood the test of time my friend… But after tonight’s announcement from @StephMcMahon and all the excitement for something we all worked so hard for I must ask… One more time?! #EVOLUTION #ThePeopleWantIt #IWantIt ? https://t.co/8jBhJOHQJ6
— Mickie James~Aldis (@MickieJames) July 24, 2018
Their feud in late 2005 into early 2006 and WrestleMania 22 is one of the best women’s rivalries ever. When they had that moment in the Royal Rumble earlier this year, the crowd went crazy for it. Why not do it one more time? I really hope it’s considered because that would be my favorite match on the card since I’m a huge fan of both women.
We could all fantasy book a card and maybe that’s something I’ll do down the road. If I do it, I promise you that Mickie vs. Trish is one of the matches on that lineup.
3. The name “Evolution” isn’t creative enough
What an incredible honor to announce that @WWE will hold its first-ever ALL Women PPV #WWEEvolution on October 28th. This is because of ALL of you, @WWEUniverse. #WomensEvolution pic.twitter.com/OlarigTv6m
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) July 24, 2018
I don’t love the name the show. It’s fine, but it could be better. The reason why is because Evolution was a very famous WWE stable on the Raw brand in the mid-2000s. It was led by Triple H, with Ric Flair as the legend and Randy Orton and Batista as the two younger guys that were there to learn from them. It’s one of the best stables in WWE history. They had a catchy theme song (“Evolution is a mystery”) and had a lot of success with all four men combining to win over 45 World Titles in their careers. Now you’re going to name a PPV Evolution? I don’t like it because of how big that group was.
The reason WWE is going with this name is because of the “Women’s Evolution” term they have mentioned thousands of times in the last three years. They also said “Women’s Revolution” sometimes, but it seems like they have settled on evolution as the key word.
I think it’s fine that they didn’t put “women’s” in the title. They don’t need to do that. I just wish the name was more creative.
Who else is excited for #Evolution?!?
— Kayfabe News (@KayfabeNews) July 24, 2018
Shoutout to my friend that runs the parody wrestling site Kayfabe News for the funny graphic above. I laughed hard about that one.
4. The introduction of Women’s Tag Team Titles are a possibility at Evolution
There was a rumor going into this show that WWE was going to introduce Women’s Tag Team Titles. However, during Stephanie McMahon’s announcement on Raw, she didn’t mention them.
Stephanie was asked about Women’s Tag Team Titles by Sky Sports and she said: “Not quite yet but that’s absolutely something we’ve heard loud and clear from our fan base and it’s something we’re keen on implementing as soon as we are able to.”
It sounds like they didn’t want to announce it at the same time as Evolution because it might take the attention off the show. In a month from now at SummerSlam, WWE may be willing to announce the titles, because that would get people more excited about Evolution. They can start a tournament on Raw and Smackdown with something like 8 or 16 teams, then do the finals at Evolution and put on a great tag match to crown new Tag Team Champions. Duos like The Iiconics, Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville, and even Sasha Banks/Bayley come to mind as possible first champions.
If there are Women’s Tag Team Titles, I’m not sure if there are enough women on Raw and Smackdown to have the championship be exclusive to either brand. That could lead to something where the titles appear on both shows, which would make them different than the other titles on the main roster. I’m all for Women’s Tag Team Titles, though. I hope they happen.
5. The broadcast team should be all women
An ALL WOMENS PPV you say?!?! ?❤️??
— Renee Young (@ReneeYoungWWE) July 24, 2018
There will only women’s matches at Evolution, but what about the announcers? There’s been no comment from WWE yet about that. I really hope that it’s an all women’s announce team for the event. With all due respect to Michael Cole and Tom Phillips, they don’t need to be calling play by play on this one.
— Betty Phoenix (@TheBethPhoenix) July 24, 2018
Lita and Beth Phoenix have done commentary on WWE matches in the last year. Lita called the Mae Young Classic last year with Jim Ross, while Beth was one of the announcers for the Mixed Match Challenge earlier this year along with Cole and Corey Graves.
The play by play announcer could be Renee Young, who has worked for WWE since 2012. She has done commentary for shows like NXT and WWE Superstars in the past, so she has some experience at it. I think she might need to get some practice in to become better at being a full play by play announcer, but with three months to prepare and six months of working for WWE, she certainly has the credentials to do the job well.
What about referees? I know WWE employs at least two women referees right now in developmental, so maybe they’ll put the women’s referees on this show too. If not, that’s okay.
The women’s Evolution PPV was a big announcement that lived up to the hype that WWE gave it. I think there are going to be several great matches on the show, and hopefully the buildup for those matches is strong. You can’t just throw eight matches on a PPV and expect the crowd to care. It’s up to the creative team to tell some stories to get people to care about the matches. If this was five years ago, I would question if WWE had the talent to pull this off. Not today, though. I believe in the women. They are good enough, and this will be an enjoyable show to watch.
You can watch WWE’s first ever all-women’s PPV Evolution on WWE Network on Sunday, October 28.