WWE Evolution made history, and made wrestling fans very happy. Unfortunately for everyone, the next night had to happen.
One of the best things about any major event that a wrestling company runs is the show that runs right afterwards. How many times did Tony Schiavone end a WCW PPV with TUNE IN INTO NITRO TOMORROW NIGHT? We made fun of it at the time, but it was great business for a wrestling company that relied on PPV buyrates & TV ratings. Things always need to keep moving constantly.
I’ve attended indy wrestling shows in my area with horrendous finishes for pretty much all of their matches. I would ask the bookers what the heck they were thinking, and they would tell me that it was the best way to keep people coming back. Sure enough, people would keep coming back. Why? Even if the finishes were terrible, they would be addressed one way or another on the next show. This seemed completely insane to me at the time, but the company that specialized in these constantly infuriating results will be running a 23rd anniversary show next month. So what the hell do I know, right?
I loved WWE Evolution. It was the first WWE PPV event, or any event in general that featured all women. People that are familiar with my work won’t be surprised, bur I’m a big fan of women’s wrestling. Some will complain about botches that result from time to time because they’re looking for reasons to complain anyway, but to me it’s wrestling at its purest form. The women working that show certainly took it as seriously as I did, and they went balls to the wall. I can’t knock the effort from a single performer on that show. In my opinion, I would rank the show with any 2018 WWE event from top to bottom. I did a glowing review for 411mania.com, and I’ll stand by loving the show no matter what any other critic wants to say.
I knew I would be met with some disagreement, which is fine. Not everybody would agree with my assessment of the workrate. One criticism that stuck out with me was people complaining about the setup. Honestly, to me, the set didn’t matter. I thought the minimalistic approach helped the show. They didn’t have the crazy HD setup that Raw & SmackDown had every week, and I thought it was a good change of pace. I yearn for the days where shows looked different. Evolution looked different from the typical WWE Network event, and I thought it helped the presentation.
Then reports came out about the attendance at the Nassau Coliseum. It might not have been a sellout like Michael Cole claimed. I can’t report anything about that, but what I heard from the crowd was more positive than I expected from a crowd at the Nassau Coliseum. As far back as I can remember, people have been whining & moaning about the crowd in that market, which is notoriously hard to impress. Even ROH shows in smaller venues in that area have had a tough time.
Maybe people living on Long Island just hate life…I dunno.
The fans that did come out to Evolution were loud, proud & not embarrassing. A friend that went to the show said there were more women & families in the crowd than usual in that area of the country…in that case, I say that every show needs more women & families in the crowd, because those folks did their job. They cheered for Becky Lynch more than I might have preferred, but the smarky chants were at a minimum. Even Nikki Bella got a respectful reaction.
I might have had some issues with the booking heading into the show, but everything that happened that night made sense. There were plenty of issues to build off of out of the event, whether it involved people on Raw or people on SmackDown Live.
I obviously haven’t seen SmackDown Live this week. But I can tell you that Raw was a tremendous disappointment as a follow-up. Ronda Rousey came out on top over Nikki Bella for the Raw Women’s Championship in the main event of the show. Some folks whined & complained about the placement, but I thought they delivered a fine main event. Where were they the next night? You tell me, I have no idea since neither woman was seen on Raw.
Nia Jax won a battle royal to get a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship…she ended up a little better off than Ronda or Nikki, as she actually did appear on Raw. She was on long enough to squash Ember Moon in a little more than 3 minutes. Ember was almost on the verge of impressing people at Evolution, so it’s understandable that WWE would want to cut that off.
Raw did feature a 10-woman tag team match with Lita & Trish Stratus. I can only assume they were trying to get lightning in a bottle the same way they did when Ricky Steamboat worked a 10-man tag the night after WrestleMania XXV. I’ve probably put more thought into it than they did. It seemed like something to fill time more than anything else.
I had people telling me that WWE obviously didn’t care about the show due to the set. They went on and on about this past the point where I cared…but it sure seems like they may have been right. Any thought of an immediate follow-up has been derailed by the Saudis’ Crown Jewel. Which is odd enough since the whole idea behind an all women’s show seems to have been inspired by the Saudi shows where women aren’t allowed to wrestle or even travel with the company. Any idea of fighting off the Saudi demands of no women & nobody that wasn’t famous before 2000 seems to have been fought off by that sweet blood money. Good ol’ Jim Ross has already told us how tempting that is, and he refuses to judge anybody based off it because of how much he got paid, so we shouldn’t either!
I never fault people for getting paid. If the Saudis were shoving money into my pockets right now, I might be able to sell my soul depending on how much is involved. JR said it was one of the largest paydays of his career. Based off the money I’ve heard involved, I’d assume most if not all of his peers that appeared on the show got something similar. That kind of payment for bad announcing would be tough to turn down. Now, if I was expected to sacrifice my body…that would take more payment. They already wrote John Cena out on Monday, and Daniel Bryan will likely be written out Tuesday night. Everybody else has had their price met, as far as we know.
Some would say that Cena & Bryan would be making a mistake based on the dollar amount. I think Cena knows he can make more elsewhere untainted from becking to the call of the Saudis, and I don’t think Bryan cares about such things, as it’s more of a moral argument for him. So both are making the right decision for them, in my opinion.
All I know for sure is that WWE has successfully done two things this week. They’ve promoted the most interesting show of 2018. They’ve also done the most to make sure that a show doesn’t matter.
And you wonder why I want competition.