Thursday, October 25, 2018

My pitch to you: a better card at WWE Evolution

WWE's Evolution pay-per-view / WWE Network live event is this Sunday.

It's the first ever all-women WWE event, so it's been hyped up for several weeks.

Considering the hype, you'd think that WWE would've done a better job shaping the card.

Take a look at what it is right now:

 -    Last Woman Standing match for the SmackDown women's championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. 
      Charlotte Flair

 -    Raw women's championship match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella

 -    NXT women's championship match: Kairi Sane (c) vs. Shayna Baszler

 -    2018 Mae Young Classic finals: Toni Storm vs. Io Shiari

 -    NXT U.K. women's championship match: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Isla Dawn

 -    Trish Stratus and Lita vs. Mickie James and Alexa Bliss

 -    Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya vs. The Riott Squad

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

Not bad, overall, but it kind of feels like a lackluster card when you consider what could be done with it.  The women's battle royal seems like it's gotten the Wrestlemania 25 battle royal treatment rather than something worthwhile.

Nattie, Sasha and Bayley taking on the Riott Squad?  Well, gee.  That's a match that you could see ... on any episode of Raw.

Kairi Sane and Shayna have produced some good matches in their feud, but it certainly lacks the intensity and the interest that Ember Moon vs. Asuka had.

Nikki Cross vs. Shayna would generate more interest in my opinion.  Shayna is fantastic, but Kairi Sane hasn't really had any character development in a year, so she's somewhat stale.

Becky vs. Charlotte happened several times already.  It's a good feud, but multiple matches will wear the feud out quicker than it should be.

And who in the Hell thought Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella was a good idea?  Yeah, I get it.  Nikki is a 'crossover star,' but most people don't actually know who she is.  Most wrestling fans over the age of 15 groan when they see that she's involved in something.

She has worked hard.  I'm not taking that away from her, but she's not competition for Rousey.  Nikki Bella is the Kardashian of the WWE.  She's got her reality shows and she's just a girly girl.  Look at her mannerisms on Raw.

They were feminine.  Nothing wrong with that, but you compare that to someone like Rousey?

She has the stance of a fighter and isn't worried about her skimpy shorts or her hair extensions.  No comparison.

Rousey is the legit fighter here and she's just wasting her time with Nikki BellaThat's the frustrating part about this match.

Alexa Bliss wasn't a match for Ronda either.  She's fun to listen to on the mic and is OK in the ring, but she's tiny and not nearly skilled enough to put up a legit fight against Rousey.  That was a hard feud to sit through as well.

Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey?  That's a match that I can get into.

Rousey vs. Mickie or Nattie?  Absolutely.

Rousey vs. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Asuka?  Please, make it happen!

But Rousey vs. Nikki Bella?  Geesh.

So, today, I'm going to pitch you something different.  I'm going to pitch you a better card for Evolution.  I think it's better anyway.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below.


NXT gauntlet match: MJ Jenkins vs. Taynara Conti vs. Reina Gonzalez vs. Aliyah vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Vanessa Borne vs. Lacey Lane vs. Mia Yim
   Time: 14 mins

This allows each woman to showcase a bit of her talent without having a full-on 10-woman match or a dreaded tag match.  I'd probably give Mia Yim or Deonna Purrazzo the win here.

I'm sure all of these women would love the idea of being able to compete on this night, despite the fact that it's a pre-show match.  It's still a chance to compete at a level they haven't gotten to compete at before.


4 corner match to crown the new WWE Women's Tag Team Champions: Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. The IIconics vs. The Bella Twins vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille
   Time: 12 mins

This match just makes sense.  WWE has been teasing the idea of traveling women's tag team titles for several months now.  Every woman on the roster has seemingly been asked about it in a public forum and has said 'Yes, let's do it!'

The first all-women's event seems to be a good place to bring back the women's tag team titles --- especially since, you know, they have tag matches every week anyway.

Missed opportunity here, in my opinion.

WWE didn't even need to hold an entire tournament.

There could've been qualifying matches on the Raw and Smackdown episodes prior to Evolution.  The Bella Twins vs. Bayley and Sasha vs. The Riott Squad in a triple threat tag match. 

The Bellas win and advance to Evolution. 

The next week Bayley and Sasha face The Riott Squad for the remaining Raw spot in the match.  Bayley and Sasha win and move on to Evolution.

Same thing on Smackdown.  The IIconics vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya vs. Asuka and Naomi. 

The IIconics win and move on. 

Next week it's Mandy Rose and Sonya vs. Asuka and Naomi.  Sonya pins Naomi and her team moves on to this match.

2 Raw teams against 2 Smackdown teams for the revived women's tag team titles.

I think it would've worked, but WWE didn't bite the bullet yet.

To keep with the Daniel Bryan / Miz / Maryse / Brie Bella feud, I'd book Maryse for interference in this match.

Maryse appears and takes out Brie ... the two brawl to the back, leaving Nikki alone in the match. Choose your winner from there (I'd probably go with Sasha and Bayley).

NXT UK Women's Title Match: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Isla Dawn
   Time: 8 mins

Rhea would retain. Match serves it's purpose of introducing fans to the NXT UK brand and showcasing that brand's champion (Rhea).  Nothing too crazy, but hopefully a solid match.

Exhibition Match: Natalya vs. Shayna Baszler
   Time: 12 mins

The Queen of Harts vs. the Queen of Spades. Both are pals with Ronda Rousey.

 The buildup could've included some teases at Ronda Rousey possibly having to choose sides in the future between her former MMA pal (Shayna) and her new WWE best friend (Nattie).

Could go either way on the victory. I'd give it to Nattie since she's been around longer. Shayna could do a post-match attack and stomp on Nattie's arm, injuring her. Beth Phoenix (Nattie's friend who will be ringside for commentary) can check on Nattie while Shayna smiles deviously in the ring.

Nattie gets a feel-good victory on a historic night, Shayna gets some heat and it sets up possible tension between Shayna and Ronda (a money match in terms of the women).  Or it could lead to the WWE's 4 Horsewomen facing MMA's 4 Horsewomen.  Either way works for me.

Mae Young Classic finals: Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai
   Time: 18 mins (including buildup package, entrances)

This should, of course, be a good match.  WWE booked it and I like it.  No changes here.

I hope Toni gets the victory.  Io winning the second year after being signed seems too familiar to Kairi winning the first Mae Young Classic.

Unless Io turns heel on Kairi or Kairi turns heel on Io, I don't think Io should win.  Like I said before, Kairi barely has any character development at this point.  Io would be like Kairi 2.0 (and Kairi is kind of like Asuka 2.0 due to the lack of character development).

6 Pack challenge for the NXT Women's Title: Kairi Sane (c) vs. Bianca Belair vs. Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai vs. Nikki Cross vs. Lacey Evans
   Time: 12 mins

Kairi defends against these talented 5 ladies.  NXT has a lot of talented ladies, despite the fact that they aren't the 4 Horsewomen or Carmella or Alexa Bliss or Asuka or Nia Jax.

A 6 pack challenge is nice because it allows everyone to hit their spots and limits the possibility of mess-ups.  It also allows for someone to win without anyone else losing credibility.

I'd throw a title switch in with this match.  Nikki Cross or Candice LeRae or Bianca Belair winning it could be good.  I'd probably go with cross or Belair so that Kairi could chase the title into Survivor Series weekend with a 1-on-1 rematch.

#1 contender women's Battle Royal

    Time: 17 mins (full entrance for each woman and then the match)

Alicia Fox, Alundra Blayze, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Ember Moon, Ivory, Jessie Elaban (NXT), Jinny (NXT UK), Kacy Catanzaro (NXT), Kavita Devi (NXT), Kelly Kelly, Lana, Liv Morgan, Maria Kanellis, Molly Holly, Naomi, Nia Jax, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Tamina, Torrie Wilson, Zelina Vega

When WWE first announced that there were going to be 50 or 60 women involved, you knew there had to be a battle royal.  It makes sense.  Get them all out there for some TV time and a little participation in the historic night.

I do like that it's not for a cheap trophy (see Wrestlemania earlier this year), but this is the third battle royal the women have had this year.  Annnnnd the second women's Royal Rumble is happening in less than 3 months.

Granted, the Royal Rumble is a little different due to competitors coming out in two-minute (or 90 second) intervals.

I hope WWE gives these women enough time for separate entrances and enough time to attempt to tell a story in the ring.

I'd keep the match but change up a few of the participants, removing Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay so they can compete in the tag title match I mentioned above.

Ideally booked, I'd get rid of Maria and Kelly and Torrie first, along with most of the NXT ladies.

Highlights from the match could include:

  • Alundra, Ivory and Molly (the legends) facing off against Ruby, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan (the newbies).
  • Zelina mouthing off to a Nia Jax or a legend (fits in with her character very well)
  • a fun spot with the pint-sized and speedy Kacy Catanzaro (maybe with Nia Jax or Kavita Devi)
  • Liv Morgan facing off against Kelly Kelly (or maybe Torrie Wilson?)
  • a near elimination with Naomi

I think I'd give the win to Nia Jax.  She may need it the most out of the bunch.

Wrestlemania rematch: Charlotte vs. Asuka
   Time: 20 mins

Charlotte got the victory on Asuka at Wrestlemania and Asuka has kind of floundered since then.  Her tag team with Naomi wouldn't be bad if there were actual women's tag team titles to compete for, but there aren't.  So, it's just a pointless tag team formation at this point.

I'd let them have a great match, but involve Becky Lynch (to further the feud with Charlotte).

Becky brings out an interviewer and says she should be interviewed before her epic match against Ronda Rousey. Yet who is on TV? Charlotte Flair.

 Of course, Charlotte is distracted by this long enough for Asuka to slap on the Asuka lock and get the victory.  Becky heads to the back, happy with the result of the match.

Tag team match: Mickie James and Alexa Bliss vs. Lita and Trish Stratus
   Time: 15 mins

This is only the 3rd match out of all of them that WWE have booked for Evolution that I actually agree with.

Mickie has a history with Lita and Trish. Alexa is WWE's current version of Trish.

 All 4 involved are big enough names to warrant a tag match without any titles on the line or #1 contenderships to worry about.

I don't even care who wins.  I'm just happy to see this match happening.

Champion vs. Champion match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Becky Lynch (c)
   Time: 15 mins (including buildup, entrances)

It'd be the master of the armbar vs. the master of the armbar.  While Becky is on a role, she hasn't been pushed to the moon and back like Charlotte has.  Therefore she's not as big of a name as Charlotte.  She doesn't have the lineage (or a book about the lineage or a WWE Network special about the lineage).

However, I think Becky is a big enough name to take on Ronda, especially since they have similar finishers.  Especially since they are both champions right now.  Especially since Becky is a heel and Ronda is a face.

Talk about a wasted opportunity!  Ronda is facing Nikki Bella when she could be facing Becky Lynch.  This is definitely a facepalm moment. 

Give Nikki Bella her own shot at Ronda at Survivor Series or the next pay-per-view (after some build-up with Nikki and Ronda at the Survivor Series ... not a random heel turn).

I'd book it so that Becky may be considering cheating at some point during the match.

Maybe looking to hit Ronda with a chair, but the ref takes the chair away before she can?  Becky is using the ropes to choke Ronda.  She's using the television camera cord to choke Ronda.  She throws Ronda into the barricade and the ring post.

Becky is looking to cheat a little more, but Charlotte comes down to the ring to attempt to stop Becky.

Charlotte yells at Becky from the ring apron. Becky never actually cheats so the match is still ongoing.  Becky slaps Charlotte across the face. 

Charlotte gets into the ring and goes for a spear. Becky moves. Charlotte hits Rousey with the spear instead!!  Rousey gets the DQ victory. 

Becky beats down Charlotte and Charlotte tries to fight back until the ref breaks that up. Becky leaves the ring, frustrated, but happy.

Rousey is not happy about a DQ win.  She confronts Charlotte.

The two have a stare down and look to get physical, but refs break up the fight before it could happen. Show closes with Rousey in the ring with her Raw Women's Title and Charlotte leaving.

How's that for progressing storylines?

  • You continue the Becky / Charlotte feud (Smackdown's main feud over the Women's Title).
  • You get a tease of Charlotte vs. Rousey (which can take place at Wrestlemania).  
  • You get Ronda vs. Becky (a match that should happen while Becky is on the roll that she's on), but both women look good because nobody officially got beat.  You could do a rematch at the Royal Rumble if both are still champions.

Instead we get 'Total Diva' Nikki Bella vs. Rowdy Ronda Rousey --- the match that generates the least interest out of all the possibilities.

That's it.  That's how I'd book the WWE Evolution pay per view by using the same women WWE already has booked.

If I were completely fantasy booking I'd bring in Kaitlyn, Victoria, Melina and more (and probably would've had a couple of matches in the finals of a women's tag team tournament), but I'm trying to keep my pitch within the parameters WWE already have set up.

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