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WWE Evolution predictions

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WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- or WWE Network, if you’re not still relying on your cable or satellite provider for these kinds of things -- tomorrow night (Sun., Oct. 28, 2018) live from NYCB Live in Uniondale, New York with the historic Evolution event starting at 6:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main show at 7 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Ronda Rousey defends her Raw Women’s title against Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair battle for the SmackDown belt in a Last Woman Standing contest, and much more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let’s get to it.

Evolution predictions

Nikki Bella vs. Ronda Rousey

Geno Mrosko: I’ve enjoyed the way this has been built, as they’ve both done a great job making like they actually hate each other. The only thing about that is Nikki is a part-time wrestler with other jobs that need her attention more than this one. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Sean Rueter: Hope you like long title reigns, because this one isn’t going anywhere for a while. And really, like the match order of this PPV, it really doesn’t matter whether “we” like it or not... it’s the right call. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Kyle Decker: With Roman Reigns gone for awhile, Ronda is probably going to take on a larger role as “face of the company.” Losing the title here doesn’t work with that. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: At long last, the battle of Strong Style vs. King’s Road comes to WWE! Okay, jokes about Nikki being the most favored disciple of Mitsuharu Misawa aside, this should be a really good match despite its forgone conclusion. Ronda ain’t losing anytime soon, Nikki’s neck is jacked and I’m not sure it’s at all likely she has another title reign in her, there’s only one way this ends. (Nikki’s elbow IS real nice, though, for the record.) Pick: Ronda Rousey

Cain A. Knight: Ronda Rousey said she is going to end Nikki Bella. I can’t find a single reason to doubt her. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Stella Cheeks: I, like Ryback, am a devoted follower of The Secret TM. Therefore, I am willing the future I want into existence with this predictions post. Bless. Pick: Nikki Bella

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch

Geno Mrosko: Ric Flair is going to be in the building and it is my sincere hope he gets involved and Becky gets payback for that forced kiss all that time ago. I do not think that will happen, but I do think she’ll be champion at the end of the night. Pick: Becky Lynch

Sean Rueter: Feels like the rest of the world is starting to get as excited about the Badlass as most of us on the internet are. Given that, and the fact Charlotte’s already gotten a ton of attention and will always have value as a mainstream guest-type by virtue of her last name, it seems foolish for WWE to do a change here. Of course, I’m still scared they will, which is testament to how Lynch has turned a lot of cynics into full-blown marks. C’MON BECKY! Pick: Becky Lynch

Kyle Decker: Feels weird picking against Charlotte Flair (something I rarely do). Feels even weirder seeing most of us picked against Charlotte Flair. But Becky is so damn hot right now that you can’t take the title from her. Pick: Becky Lynch

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: If there’s a title change on this show it’s this one, right? As much as I’d like to believe they won’t hot potato the title back, the fact is Becky’s reign has gotten two stays of execution already, and hell, it’s a hot enough feud that I can almost convince myself that running the change might be the best way to do things. Maybe even have Charlotte’s win come under questionable circumstances to stoke the shades of grey... Yeah, I buy that. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Cain A. Knight: Becky Lynch is the hottest act in pro wrestling right now. That increases the probability that she’ll retain the title from 50% all the way up to, like, 55%. I hope some of the folks who found ways to criticize Becky’s work over the last two years in order to justify the poor booking she received from WWE, can finally open their eyes and understand that WWE is not a meritocracy. Becky was always this damn good, it just inexplicably took Vince McMahon over two years to finally give her a push that’s commensurate with her talents. Pick: Becky Lynch

Stella Cheeks: Becky Lynch is the definition of straight fire. It would be a HUGE mistake to take the belt off her when she has so much momentum. The two of them have told such a compelling story that walks the ever blurring line of kayfabe so well. While this may not be the main event it will forever be the main event in my heart. #TeamBecky forever. Pick: Becky Lynch

Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Alicia Fox & Mickie James

Geno Mrosko: Alexa Bliss being removed from this match takes away so much of its interest for those of us who aren’t enamored with Trish and Lita being back. This is a babyface show, though, so they’re probably going over. Pick: Trish & Lita

Sean Rueter: Word is Besties Best For Business are sticking around as part-time attractions, and that means they aren’t jobbing out in their first match back. Pick: Trish Stratus & Lita

Kyle Decker: It was probably going to be Trish & Lita before, but putting them over an active talent like Alexa would have made me pause for a second. Now that she’s not in the match, I can get that second back and confidently —> Pick: Trish & Lita

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Alicia Fox always has the best armor class of anyone in the room, that’s gotta be a significant advantage here. Okay, okay, that’s a weak and incredibly transparent justification for making a wildcard pick against the grain of my colleagues here, but it’s true-- on any given week her outfits look like they’re at least studded leather equivalent if not scale, where everybody else is wearing plain leather at best. Her DEX is pretty high, too... I know who I’m picking for my adventuring party, is what I’m saying. Pick: Alicia Fox & Mickie James

Cain A. Knight: This sort of feels like D-Generation X versus Brothers of Destruction, but with higher work rate and better promos. Pick: Trish Stratus & Lita

Stella Cheeks: I’m just here for Lita’s moonsault and Alicia’s outfit choice. I predict this match will be a super fun hot mess. Pick: Trish Stratus & Lita

Women’s Battle Royal for a future Women’s title shot

Geno Mrosko: With Nikki Bella likely being one and done, you gotta think the winner of this will come from the Raw side to give Rousey her next challenger. It’s possible they think Tamina Snuka could work but I’ll assume they go with the better wrestler. Pick: Ember Moon

Sean Rueter: It’s kind of her thing. Plus, I really want to see her feud with this version of Becky Lynch. Pick: Naomi

Kyle Decker: It’s time to remember Asuka exists. I’d enjoy her vs. Becky, though I wouldn’t want them to turn to that program immediately. Pick: Asuka

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: It’s a real shame we aren’t getting an ovarian trophy to go along with the WrestleMania battle royal’s uterine cup, I guess you gotta save the gonadal representation for the big shows, huh? Anyway, I kinda think this goes to a legend to stoke a one-off attraction match, and there are only a few options that are both kind of exciting and likely still capable of having a roughly PPV-quality match, so... Pick: Michelle McCool

Cain A. Knight: There’s no way that Asuka is ready for Kelly Kelly. Sign me up for Ronda Rousey versus Kelly Kelly at Survivor Series. Pick: Kelly Kelly

Stella Cheeks: Trying to bring logic into this random “we need to fill the numbers quota” battle royal is futile. That being said the only person who makes sense is Ember Moon. Nikki is clearly a one-off match-up and no matter the out come of the SD championship I assume their story line will continue. Ember vs Ronda would be entertaining AF and would give RR some real competition. Pick: Ember Moon

Sasha Banks & Bayley & Natalya vs. The Riott Squad

Geno Mrosko: There’s very little intrigue here, as it was put together at the last minute and there’s no real possibility of an interesting turn or anything like that. It’s just a match that’s going to fill some time. Pick: Banks & Bayley & Natalya

Sean Rueter: Ruby’s crew’s value depends on winning a few of these from time-to-time, and against a group of “creative has nothing for you” faces is one of those times. Pick: Riott Squad

Kyle Decker: Really not much to go on here since this is pretty much a Raw match - one that we may have actually seen before. Maybe. I don’t know. I see them giving the nod to a team with three women who have really helped women’s wrestling in WWE - Nattie for carrying the torch in some darker days and Bayley & Sasha for helping excite fans for it with their NXT rivalries. Pick: Natalya, Sasha, & Bayley

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Cat ladies gotta stick together, meow. Pick: Bayley, Natalya, & Sasha Banks

Cain A. Knight: This match should be really good but unfortunately feels like it was tacked on at the last second and isn’t remotely close to being important. The babyfaces going over feels like the obvious call here, unless WWE is planning another head fake on a Sasha and Bayley break up. But as WWE television has indicated for months, the concept of Sasha versus Bayley isn’t a big deal anymore, so I don’t expect anything like that to happen. Pick: Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya

Stella Cheeks: Nattie exists to eat a pin from the Riott Squad. Sorry bout it. Pick: Riott Squad

Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane

Geno Mrosko: Sane is likely sticking around in NXT and it feels like only a matter of time before Baszler is bumped to the main roster. Pick: Kairi Sane

Sean Rueter: History doesn’t lie, and it tells us the Pirate Princess has the Queen of Spades number. Pick: Kairi Sane

Kyle Decker: This is a tough call because I don’t know what’s in the works for either. Is Baszler coming up to do something with Ronda soon? Then she’s not winning. But at the same time, there’s no other title change I’m picking. And if she isn’t coming up, she’s better with the title as the villain than Kairi is as a babyface champ. I’ll say Baszler moves up soon and Kairi ends up losing the belt to Bianca Belair down the line. Pick: Kairi Sane

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I gotta go with the consensus here— it’s time for Baszler to move on up, and as much as I love seeing her win things, this ain’t the one. Pick: Kairi Sane

Cain A. Knight: I don’t really expect to see Baszler win the NXT women’s championship again, and instead think she’ll be ticketed for the main roster sooner rather than later. Pick: Kairi Sane

Stella Cheeks: Shayna is destined for a call up ASAP. Kairi still needs to define her championship reign and adjust to WWE television. Plus, seeing her face all the incoming MYC talent in NXT sounds amazing - but she can’t do that until Shayna is gone. Pick: Kairi Sane

Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm

Geno Mrosko: It’s always felt like this was Storm’s tournament to lose. She lost the first, she won’t lose the second. Pick: Toni Storm

Sean Rueter: Time to be cynical again... this is the kind of thing Shirai needs to win, because unlike the young blonde woman, she’ll probably never get a belt on the main roster. Pick: Io Shirai

Kyle Decker: NXT UK needs more eyes than NXT and the UK brand is the one Storm belongs to. Plus, I can imagine WWE opting not to book a Japanese woman to win two years in a row so they don’t think it’s too similar to last year. Pick: Toni Storm

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Honestly this feels like a coin flip, especially given the delayed reaction that was Sane getting her push after winning last year’s. Both these women will factor heavily into the future of NXT and NXT UK’s women’s divisions in the short term, so hell, literal coin flip... Pick: Io Shirai

Cain A. Knight: Toni Storm came up a little bit short in this tournament last year, so I think this time she finally wins the whole thing. Pick: Toni Storm

Stella Cheeks: To quote the incomparable Micheal Cole - “Storm’s a-coming.” Pick: Toni Storm

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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