Yesterday, in our look at the biggest stories in wrestling in 2018, we discussed Crown Jewel, WWE’s ill-timed second trip to Saudi Arabia amidst a global controversy.
Tied to that show was WWE Evolution, WWE’s first all-women PPV, held less than a week before Crown Jewel.
Much of the fan controversy over WWE’s first trip to Saudi Arabia for the Vision 2030 10-year deal revolved around women not being allowed to perform at the event. It was a valid complaint, though small potatoes compared to the myriad human rights issues taking place in the country.
Scheduling Evolution felt like a make good for the women and would have been a decent enough deflection for many fans had the murder of Jamal Khashoggi not propelled the WWE/Saudi deal into the news for weeks.
Despite the controversy surrounding the promotion, Evolution was a historic moment for WWE.
Women in Hell in a Cell matches, the first ever women’s Royal Rumble, main event spots ... the women had already broken through prior misconceptions about if they could really perform in-ring to the same degree as the men.
For a company that spent years treating women as eye candy at best, the past few years have been a revelation.
Evolution was going to be a historic night regardless of how it actually played out.
Rather than feeling like another run-of-the-mill WWE PPV, Evolution felt different — and not just because it featured only women. The approach to the matches clicked and everyone brought their absolute best.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch gave fans one of the best matches of the year with their Last Woman Standing clash. Ronda Rousey battled Nikki Bella in a main event that outpaced the expectations of even the most optimistic fan. Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler, Toni Storm vs. Io Sharai and Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya vs. The Riott Squad were all tremendous matches as well.
The women proved the event was a tremendous idea, even outside of the bubble of serving as a deflection for the Saudi show.
As we look back on 2018, the women are one of the biggest highlights in WWE, punctuated by the best PPV of the year.
- Check out the recap and reactions for last night’s edition of NXT.
- WWE headlined holiday shows with women’s matches.
- Looking back at 2018, Impact has found stability by breaking away from attempts to be WWE-lite, but can they manage to make strides in growing their base?
- Royal Rumble will feature a fatal four way for the cruiserweight title.
- Hulk Hogan merch just keeps popping up.
- That Vince McMahon/A.J. Styles segment was interesting — but was it enough?
- Should John Cena wrestle at an EVOLVE event? I mean, probably.
Just a few days left.