WWE Evolution 2018 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2018

WWE Evolution 2018 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points

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    Credit: WWE.com

    It was a long time coming, but finally, the female Superstars in WWE had a pay-per-view of their own with Evolution 2018. This event's existence alone was a massive morale boost and something that needed to be done for the sake of advancing the Women's Evolution movement.

    However, all the good intentions in the world mean nothing if you can't deliver the goods themselves.

    Evolution had a massive amount of pressure to knock everyone's socks off as promised, and anything short of that would be grounds to lose momentum and progress.

    Thankfully, while some of the build to this show was uninspired and a few matches failed to generate much buzz, there was still plenty of hype to see how it would all play out.

    Now that the event is over with, it's time to look back and assess the situation. Did the good outweigh the bad? Which pros and cons stood out the most?

    Presented in order of appearance, here are the highlights and low points of WWE Evolution.

Full List of Match Results

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    Credit: WWE.com

    For those more curious about just the outcomes themselves, here is a quick recap of the results in general:

    • Trish Stratus and Lita defeated Alicia Fox and Mickie James by pinfall
    • Nia Jax won the Battle Royal to earn a future women's championship opportunity
    • Toni Storm defeated Io Shirai to win the Mae Young Classic 2018 tournament
    • Natalya, Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated The Riott Squad by pinfall
    • Shayna Baszler defeated Kairi Sane by submission to win the NXT Women's Championship
    • Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair retain the SmackDown Women's Championship
    • Ronda Rousey defeated Nikki Bella by submission to retain the Raw Women's Championship

    Now, let's dive deeper into which elements stood out as the best and worst parts of Evolution.

Low Point: Pre-Show Kickoff

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Kickoffs for pay-per-views are almost always a low point because WWE typically treats them as background noise and not something truly worth watching.

    If you've completely skipped Raw and SmackDown for over a month, it's beneficial to get a rundown of the card, but if you've kept up with WWE programming, it's just an hour of mind-numbing repetition.

    The interviews on the red carpet added no more insight than has already been said a million times recently. It was simply a perpetual copy and paste of the same points of it being historic, special and a good step forward.

    Those sentiments aren't the problem by any means, as they're all true. It's just the repetition that is bothersome and makes it so if you missed this pre-show, you didn't miss a thing.

    Considering all the women left off this card, it would have been nice to see at least one match that could have showcased some of them, but that didn't happen, either.

    The only real positives for this were seeing a few people like Eve Torres, Maria Menounos and Ata Maivia-Johnson, as well as R-Truth's hilarious cameo asking for a spot in the Battle Royal so he could get his SmackDown Women's Championship shot against Carmella.

    The kickoff was better than nothing, but that mentality of "it could have been worse" surely isn't worthy of calling it a highlight.

Highlight: The Crowd

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    Credit: WWE.com

    They may have been shrouded in darkness with the lights dimmed, but the audience didn't let that get it down whatsoever.

    From start to finish, the crowd was fired up, no matter what was going on, which was great to hear.

    There have been so many events in the past where the ruckus audience booed women's matches or tried to get distracting chants going, and if that would have happened here, it would have been heartbreaking.

    Not a single time was this crowd anything but joyful and willing to participate.

    Every shot of the crowd showed both women and men genuinely excited to celebrate WWE's female Superstars, all of the legends were met with warm receptions and the atmosphere was one of pure delight.

    That in itself is a major win and something to be very proud of.

Low Point: No NXT UK Women's Division

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Originally, it was said that the NXT UK Women's Championship would be defended on this show, but that never came to pass (there was a match before Evolution started, but it wasn't televised).

    Whoever was responsible for scheduling when NXT UK would air clearly failed to look at a calendar ahead of time, as we're at least 10 episodes away from crowning the champion on television.

    This left WWE officials stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either they could spoil the outcome of who becomes the champion before those episodes even air, as they did on WWE.com after the tapings, or they'd have to act as if this weren't even a thing yet and leave it off the card.

    A little foresight could have gone a long way to include this section of the women's division, but instead, Superstars like Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Jinny, Nina Samuels and others had no presence here.

    It's as much of a downgrade as possible from the original intention of showcasing this roster, and it's a shame apparent poor planning kept this match off the inaugural event.

Middle of the Road: Trish Stratus and Lita vs. Alicia Fox and Mickie James

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Naturally, it was disappointing that Alexa Bliss couldn't participate in this match as originally intended, and this segment had a few botches along the way, with Alicia Fox failing to break up a pin being the most noticeable, but it wasn't a bad start to the show.

    Calling it amazing would diminish the value of the matches that were much better in comparison, as this wasn't on the same level, although it did its job in getting the crowd excited.

    Lita and Trish Stratus had some ring rust to shake off, which will hopefully not be a factor in any future matches they have to come, yet for being out of the game as long as they've been, they held up impressively well.

    The real standout was Mickie James, who was the glue holding this match together. She's criminally underutilized, and this proved how much more she can be relied on to carry people even late in her career.

    There isn't much to complain about, but there isn't much to go gaga over, so this washes out as something that is on the decent side of things instead of a true highlight or low point.

Highlight: Battle Royal Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Battle Royals are messes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, that's part of what makes them so much fun, and that's exactly what this was from top to bottom.

    It ate up a lot of time, but it was good that every woman involved got a proper entrance to relish in that moment, and it was great to see the former stars like Michelle McCool, Molly Holly and Alundra Blayze returning in action.

    This checked off all the boxes when it comes to Battle Royal matches: Mandy Rose had the swerve elimination of Sonya Deville, there was a comedic respite with Ivory and Carmella's dance break, a good tease of Zelina Vega's sneak victory and a quadruple vertical suplex spot.

    WWE even managed to go with the logical outcome, as history has shown that the biggest Superstar in the match tends to have an advantage in a Battle Royal, so it makes perfect sense for Nia Jax to get the win.

    The only criticism of this could be that there was a major missed opportunity to showcase at least one single woman from NXT, but with all the positives considered, this was still one of the best parts of the event.

Highlight: Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai Mae Young Classic Final

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    Credit: WWE.com

    This was a rock-solid match, and it wasn't even one of the best of the Mae Young Classic, which just goes to show how much you've been missing if you didn't check out those previous episodes of the series.

    Two standout moments were Io Shirai's moonsault to the outside and Toni Storm's German suplex on the apron, which were just sneak peeks of the type of action these two and the 30 other women in this tournament were capable of.

    Every week, the Mae Young Classic was one of the best sources of in-ring wrestling, and while it's sad to see that go away, it's nice to see the finish get some proper spotlight.

    Just imagine how much better this would have been received had WWE actually given it any promotion on Raw and SmackDown to educate audiences who hadn't tuned into the Mae Young Classic.

    Hopefully, the performance Storm and Shirai put on together will be enough to convince more casual viewers to pay attention and not sleep on the future of women's wrestling.

Middle of the Road: Six-Woman Tag Team Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Natalya has been one of the biggest proponents of change for the women's division, showcasing quality in-ring work for a decade even during an era that didn't call for it, and part of the reason this revolution even started was because of Bayley and Sasha Banks tearing the house down at TakeOver: Brooklyn.

    As such, it was disappointing to see WWE put such little work into giving them something better for this card than slapping together a humdrum six-woman tag team match with The Riott Squad at the last minute.

    The build for this was incredibly weak, and it proved that this segment was an afterthought and not a priority, so it was hard to get invested in it from the onset.

    Thankfully, these women didn't let that kill their night, and to give credit where it's due, they did their absolute best to offset that uninspiring lack of effort by putting on a good show.

    This was even possibly the best match The Riott Squad has ever had, despite it being another loss.

    It's a tough call to say this was a highlight because it was still an overall forgettable match with no stakes attached to it, but it's a major step up from what WWE was giving them to work with.

Highlight: NXT Women's Championship Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    After a number of matches together, it's safe to say Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler have great chemistry as opponents and know how to tell a good story of balancing their roles of babyface and heel.

    As expected, Baszler hammed it up, relishing in being the villain and doing all she could to be vicious and unnerving, while Sane had the crowd behind her every time she fought back and mounted an offense.

    Incorporating Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir was a good means to excuse Sane's loss and keep her looking strong while giving extra heat to Baszler for winning in a dirty way.

    It also reminded the WWE Universe that while Duke and Shafir haven't been in the spotlight, The Four Horsewomen of MMA are still a unified force that will have an influence on things to come.

    It will be interesting to see what direction the NXT women's title picture goes from here and if Baszler's dominance has been fully restored.

Highlight: SmackDown Women's Championship Last Woman Standing Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    More than any match on this card, this contest proved how far the women's division in WWE has come over the past few years.

    This Last Woman Standing gimmick wasn't toned down or diluted at all in comparison to what the above-average Last Man Standing matches tend to be. It featured equally savage kendo stick shots and brutal smacks from steel chairs as this bitter rivalry was on full display.

    It was also refreshing to see Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch adapt their styles to a different kind of match, as they're more regularly on the finesse and technical side of wrestling instead of brawling like they did here.

    But that change of pace didn't slow them down. Even when something didn't work out, like the moonsault table spot, they followed it up with something else to make up for it and kept building the hardcore element more and more as the match went on.

    While WWE continues to fail to convince audiences to boo Lynch, they made the right call in giving her the win, but Flair deserves her equal share of respect and admiration in putting on an amazing match.

    The pop at the end of this wasn't just for the fan favorite keeping the belt, but for this being the best match on the card and worthy of all those "this is awesome" chants.

Middle of the Road: Raw Women's Championship Match

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    Credit: WWE.com

    This was likely never going to be a five-star classic, nor could it possibly follow up and surpass the fight between Lynch and Flair, but it did its job. The most important thing was that this was a marquee match to sell tickets, and it followed through with that.

    But while WWE will go out of the way to tout it as being more magnificent than it actually was, it's up to you to decide if you want to follow that narrative or not.

    On the optimistic side, the crowd was into it, and it was decent and exceeded expectations. On the realistic side, there was literally nothing special about this at all, and it was one of the more underwhelming matches on the whole card.

    Since this was the main event, it's worth calling it like it is and saying it wasn't the best match to end the night, but people are going to remember the concept of it more than the details.

    As far as WWE is concerned, there's footage for highlight reels and the negatives will be swept under the rug in hopes they're forgotten about in favor of the overall picture, which is much more important in the grand scheme of things than whether or not this particular match will win any awards.

    All in all, this event would have been an even bigger success had WWE put more effort into its creation, but the women performing on this card made sure to give it their all and turn it into something to be proud of.


    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.