Last night WWE made one of their trademark historic announcements. They had been hyping it all weekend, so it had to be either something to do with the women’s division, or Vince McMahon’s transition from his physical body to his new robot form. It was the former — fortunately.
So on October 28th, WWE will have their first ever all-female PPV, branded as WWE: Evolution. It’s set to feature talent from Raw, Smackdown and NXT, and it feels like the perfect time to hold an event like this. Here are seven things we need to see from Evolution — for it to be the success it absolutely needs to be.
1. Equal Marketing
WWE can have this first week of patting themselves on their massive backs, letting the world know how good they are for championing women’s wrestling. I’ll admit that seeing Triple H get choked up during the announcement helped to make everything seem genuine, but when Stephanie spoke it sounded corporate and sterile. It’s as though one of them is a McMahon, and the other is a human being.
I want to see promoting and hyping of amazing matches between talented women. They need to use phrases like “dream match” or “explosive rivalry” and not “world’s first” or “hey look, women exist!”
It’ll probably end up being a mix of both, but true equality would be promoting it like any other PPV. Call it historic, but don’t pull the attention away from the talent.
2. Heavy NXT Involvement
It’s no secret that the best women’s matches in WWE are taking place on the black and yellow brand. Here, the women are given time to develop their characters, and aren’t reduced to sterile, ten minute matches on RAW, that are designed to sell merchandise.
This time last year, Shayna Baszler could barely string a match together, and now I’d put her in the conversation for being one of the best women across all three brands — certainly the most improved. Talent like Shayna, Kairi Sane, Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae have been working too hard for too long to be left off this show.
Personally, I’d like to see a multi-woman match for the NXT Women’s title, involving these names. Or perhaps have them take on women from the main roster in singles matches. Shayna vs Ronda, anyone?
3. Crown Sasha and Bayley
With the rumours of Women’s Tag Team Championships heading our way, it makes perfect sense to hold a tournament soon, across all brands, to crown the inaugural champions. Sometimes the obvious booking is the best path to take.
This on-again-off-again feud between the two friends might actually all make sense, if they end up staying strong enough to capture the gold. The feud technically started back in January, and its been stop-start ever since, but WWE can pass it all off as “long-term storytelling” if they win the tournament.
The duo would also be a safe pair of pair of hands to carry the tag-team division in its infancy. Both are proven workers who’ve put on amazing matches in the past, and this story could be what Bayley needs to get her career back to where it was during her NXT days. And Sasha away from “BOSS TIME!”
4. Get the Titles on Credible Wrestlers
I’ll defend Alexa Bliss as a character all day long, because I was one of those people defending The Miz back in 2010, when he also couldn’t put together a good match. Carmella? Well, don’t ask me about Carmella.
My point is that a lot of people will be watching Evolution with a fairly sceptical mindset. So they need to be blown away with some incredible in-ring work, which 80% of the talent are absolutely capable of delivering. It just so happens that the two current main-roster champions fall in the 20%.
Taking the belt from Alexa at SummerSlam and giving it to Ronda feels like a no-brainer, as Ronda should probably headline Evolution, being the crossover star that she is. I just hope they have the good sense to take the title from Carmella, and give it to Becky Lynch or Asuka. Oh wow — Becky vs Asuka for the championship sounds like a lot of fun.
5. An Elimination Chamber Match
Back in the day, before Elimination Chamber became a branded once-yearly event, they’d put the stipulation match wherever it needed to go, when an event demanded it. Let’s not talk about ‘December to Dismember’.
I was looking at the list of talent between the three rosters, and it’s no surprise that they have more deserving names than they would have time on a PPV — especially if they’re all singles matches. So, to fix this issue — and to bring a hype non-title match into the mix — I’m pitching an inter-brand EC match, where the winner gets a title shot.
It could be three women from Raw, two from Smackdown and one from NXT — to reflect the respective roster sizes. Or just three each from the main roster, or two from each. I don’t really mind, it’d just add a little something to the proceedings.
6. Mae Young Classic Final to Steal the Show
Book me like one of your Japanese girls.
Give the match 20+ minutes and have it be between Io Shirai and Toni Storm, and watch the world be blown away. These two women are in the top ten wrestlers on the planet — male or female.
Let it play out like Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate from Takeover Chicago in 2017 — a match that surprised everyone by how good it was, as it had the “less over” names involved. Let them work a Stardom strong-style, and win over the hearts and minds of every single member of the WWE Universe.
7. Do it Again!
Don’t let this be a one-off. Go into the show with the mindset that it has to be so good, that people will want to see it again in October 2019. It’s a make or break moment for women’s wrestling in the mainstream. WWE fans already want women to succeed, but for casual fans to be won-over, this show needs to be mind-blowing.
And it can be WWE, you have the talent — you just need to let them do their thing.
Today is Tuesday, July 24th and please consider following me on Twitter @MattWWriter