Sunday, October 28, 2018

WWE Evolution Recap

WWE emanated from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York with their first ever pay-per-view comprised of all female competitors. This truly was a landmark event for the WWE who, despite the inclusion of women wrestlers for decades, have evolved to the point where the ladies have been afforded an ever growing spotlight with the company in recent years, no longer being utilized as valets or in bra and panty gimmick matches. WWE pooled together an impressive collection of talent for the event with only a couple glaring omissions such as Terri Runnels and Jacqueline. While I can certainly appreciate the women of WWE being given a well-deserved spot on this grand stage, I only had one gripe with the event. As much as I love the WWE, they sometimes present themselves like they are the only pro wrestling company on the planet and so much of what they do is unprecedented. 

While this was certainly the first all-woman pay-per-view in WWE history, it is certainly not the first time this concept has come to fruition. The Shimmer promotion, which has regularly worked with Ring of Honor since it’s inception in 2005, has a roster comprised exclusively of women and has produced pay-per-views, albeit iPPV. Additionally, many of you may recall the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling or GLOW founded back in 1986 which is the source material for the popular Netflix series. This was an all-female roster of sports entertainers that could be seen on national television on a weekly basis in the late eighties before pay-per-view became widespread. One could say the WWE did pay homage to this company, albeit in a very roundabout way, with the inclusion of WWE Hall of Famer Ivory on the show. Ivory was one of the original members of the GLOW promotion when she successfully auditioned in 1986 (Yes, you read that correctly… Ivory is now 56 and looks nowhere close to it) and became know as Tina Ferrari. It also appeared, quite regrettably, that this event did not sell well because the lighting on the audience appeared much darker than normal, which was a shame because this was a very entertaining event.

Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Mickie James & Alicia Fox
Winners: Trish Stratus & Lita

Mickie James was originally supposed to tag with Alexa Bliss, however, a last minute change was implemented as a result of an injury The Goddess sustained at a WWE Live event last weekend. This was a great match to open the show with as the two legends, Stratus and Lita, immediately got the crowd involved with “You still got it” chants. Their opponents presented an interesting dynamic to the match as well with Fox being the current longest tenured woman on the roster and James, who originally debuted as Trish’s stalkerish admirer. This bout saw it’s conclusion with a Lita-sault on both James and Fox followed by a Chick-kick on Mickie to seal the victory and leave the crowd "Stratusfied."

20-Woman Battle Royal
Winner: Nia Jax

The star studded battle royal held the coveted prize of a future women’s title shot on the line. Legends such as Alundra Blayze, Ivory, Michelle McCool, Molly Holly, and Torrie Wilson were included among the participants. I was most impressed with the showings by Michelle McCool, who displayed phenomenal conditioning, and WWE Hall of Famer, Ivory, who made it to the final five before she was eliminated by Asuka. The final four were Asuka, Nia Jax, Tamina Snuka, and Ember Moon. Asuka was the first to go as she was shockingly eliminated by Ember Moon. Moon then dumped Snuka over the top rope after she hit the Eclipse on her. This left us with Moon and “The Irresistible Force” Nia Jax as the final two combatants-or so we thought. As Moon and Jax struggled on the ring apron, Zelina Vega snuck up on the two and believed she dumped them over the top rope. As Vega prematurely celebrated, Nia Jax lifted her up over her head and launched her out of the ring. Jax then manhandled Ember Moon with a two handed choke slam and tossed her over the top rope for the victory.

Mae Young Classic Finals
Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai
Winner: Toni Storm

The culmination of the second annual Mae Young Classic arrived this evening as Japan’s Io Shirai squared off with 22-year-old British grappler Toni Storm. The conclusion of this bout arrived after Shirai went for broke with an Asai Moonsault only to be unceremoniously met with knees to her back. Storm quickly recovered and hit her finisher the Storm Zero, essentially a double under-hook sit-down powerbomb, for the pinfall victory.

Six Woman Tag Team Match
The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan) vs. Sasha Banks, Natalya, & Bayley
Winners: Sasha Banks, Natalya, & Bayley

The Riott Squad worked as a cohesive unit and dominated the majority of this match as they utilized several tandem offensive maneuvers and continued to keep a fresh person in the ring with regular tags. Natalya, however, was able to turn the tides as she broke Liv Morgan in half with a power bomb that was followed by a well executed Frogsplash by Banks for the victory.

NXT Women’s Championship
Kairi Sane (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
Winner: Shayna Baszler

Inaugural Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane squared off with Four Horsewomen member Shayna Baszler in a rematch of their battle at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. These proficient strikers put on a very entertaining match that ended in controversy. Two of the other Four Horsewomen were present at ringside and made their presence felt at the end of the match as they distracted Sane enough for Baszler to get the upper hand and lock in the dreaded Kirifuda Clutch. The referee called a stop to the action as it didn’t take long for Sane to lose consciousness. With the victory, The Queen of Spades became NXT Women’s Champion for an unprecedented second time.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Winner: Becky Lynch

This match, a continuation of their ongoing feud, was contested as a Last Woman Standing Match. Becky has held the title since the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view last month when she was able to defeat Flair. The intensity of this match quickly progressed to another level as the ladies introduced several weapons into the match. Lynch and Flair even earned an ECW chant from the crowd as they supplied a moment of nostalgia when they stood outside of opposite sides of the ring and proceeded to throw chairs into the ring until there was a pile of roughly ten of them. Another highlight of the visceral carnage of this bout came when Becky was sprawled out across a table as Flair ascended to the top rope and broke Lynch and the table in half with a punishing Senton. As the action spilled out of the ring, Becky Lynch proceeded to one-up Flair as she laid Flair out on the German announce table, climbed a ladder she set next to it, and delivered a devastating leg drop from the top of it. This match reached it’s conclusion as Flair attempted to put the final nail in the metaphorical coffin of Becky’s title reign. With another table set up outside the ring and Becky Lynch laid upon it, seemingly in the final moments of her reign, Flair climbed to the top turnbuckle most likely to attempt a moonsault. Flair’s attempt was thwarted, however, as Becky intercepted her and power-bombed her from the top turnbuckle down through the table below. Flair was unable to answer the referee’s ten count as Becky Lynch retained her title.

RAW Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella
Winner: Ronda Rousey

The first few minutes of this bout left the impression that this could have been a squash match as Rousey put on a clinic of her judo abilities. This was short lived, however, as the numbers game quickly came to fruition. Brie Bella promptly established her presence as she helped her sister level the playing field and surprisingly turned this into a very competitive and entertaining contest. The end of this bout arrived as Rousey engaged Bella in a small package takedown from the top turnbuckle that she seamlessly transitioned into her armbar submission which Nikki frantically tapped out to.




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