The John Report: WWE Evolution 2018 Review (Rousey vs. Nikki, Lynch vs. Flair)

WWE Evolution
From the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York
October 28, 2018

The opening video package focused on the evolution of women’s wrestling in WWE featuring comments from several of the women that are in matches on this show. It also featured clips promoting the key matches on the show.

There was a shot of the live crowd at Evolution with Michael Cole welcoming us to the show.

A musical performance took place with guitarist Nita Strauss in the ring and a singer named Lzzy Hale (that’s how she spells it) in the aisle singing about evolution, revolution and all that stuff. There was a guy on the drums too. They played for about three minutes with the crowd cheering them when it was over.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Renee Young and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix were at ringside to call the action. Beth had a Bull Nakano shirt on under her jacket, so that’s cool.

The show began with Lilian Garcia in the ring to do the introductions for the first match, so it’s good to see her back.

Trish Stratus was up first to a huge ovation. She did her pointing routine that Alexa Bliss likes to make fun of. Lita joined Stratus for the opener. Good reaction for Lita as well. They are both in their early 40s and still in incredible shape. Trish has a son and daughter while Lita has no kids.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance to do a promo. She was taken out of the tag team match due to a concussion that prevented her from being cleared. Bliss was dressed like Alice in Wonderland. Bliss did old jokes telling them to turn their hearing aids up while introducing Alicia Fox dressed as The Mad Hatter and my favorite Mickie James was dressed as the Queen of Hearts.

Analysis: I’m not that familiar with Alice in Wonderland as a story, so I had to look it up.

Just a quick moment to point out the entrance area isn’t much because it is just three screens kind of like what you see at a WWE live event. The main Raw TV stage is in Charlotte, NC for Raw on Monday. For the matches, they used house show style lighting with a spotlight on the arena and dark on the crowd. It’s similar to what WWE does for NXT Takeover specials as well.

Trish Stratus and Lita vs. Mickie James and Alicia Fox (w/Alexa Bliss)
Lita worked over James with punches. Fox tagged in, Lita tossed her across the ring by the hair and Lita hit a running clothesline against the turnbuckle. Lita tossed James into the ring, Stratus went down on all fours and Lita hit a running clothesline Hardys style on Fox and James against the turnbuckle. Stratus took down Fox with a snapmare while telling her that she said she wanted to face James. That led to James tagging in for the big showdown with Stratus. The fans cheered their showdown between two women with 13 championships in WWE. Stratus took control with a Thesz Press leading to punches, James with a kick and James blocked a Trish move against the turnbuckle. They got into a slugfest on the top rope won by Trish leading to a hurricanrana off the top by Stratus for two. Lita got the tag, James bailed to the floor and the heels teased leaving. Trish and Lita brought them back in the ring. Fox missed a kick on Lita and the kick hit James. Lita went up top, but Bliss went into the ring to pull Lita down while the ref was checking on Fox. That drew big boos from the crowd. That led to the heels working over Lita in their corner of the ring for a few minutes with James grounding Lita with a headlock. Trish went into the ring to help Lita with a headscissors spot, but James took down Lita with a neckbreaker for two. Fox tagged in with her Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Lita hit a reverse DDT on Fox leading to Stratus tagging in against James. Stratus with a punch, two headlock takeovers and Stratus hit a sitout spinebuster for two. Stratus worked over James with chops. James with a kick and a rollup for two. Stratus connected with the Stratusfaction, she covered, James yelled “Foxy” and Fox was too late to break it up, so the referee just stopped counting. The fans booed because they could tell something went wrong there. Lita hit a Twist of Fate on Fox. Lita went up top and hit a moonsault on Fox and James at the same time. Stratus hit a Chick Kick on James for the pinfall win at 11:05.
Winners by pinfall: Trish Stratus and Lita
Analysis: **3/4 Solid match with a hot crowd. It was cool to see Trish and Lita back in a ring looking as sharp as ever. James did a great job of carrying the match for her team while Foxy’s mistake towards the end hurt the finish. They replayed the spot to show the ref literally stopped counting while Fox was too slow to break it up. I’m not surprised by the result although in my preview I had the James/Fox team winning because I thought this might be the first of two or three matches between these sides.

The Bella Twins were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. The Bellas said that they were dedicating their match to Ronda Rousey’s mom and said that she deserves so much better while claiming that Ronda’s mom can be in the Bella Army. Nikki said that when she walks out of her show she’s walking out as the new Raw Women’s Champion.

There were comments from Sasha Banks, Asuka, Kelly Kelly and Lilian Garcia talking about WWE’s evolution of women’s wrestling.

Lilian Garcia was in the ring to announce the 20-woman battle royal. The women were given an entrance. The Spanish and German announce teams were shown at ringside. The Miz was seated in the front row behind the German announce table.

Analysis: It was 21 women earlier in the week, but with Alicia Fox in the tag team match, that meant it was 20 women here.

Here’s the order of entrants: Naomi, Michelle McCool (aka Michelle McTaker to me), Sonya Deville, WWE Hall of Famer Alundra Blayze in her first WWE match in 23 years and about 18 years overall, Carmella (R-Truth was shown in the crowd to support his Mixed Match Challenge partner), Zelina Vega (smallest woman in the match), Kelly Kelly, Tamina, Ember Moon, Lana, Maria Kanellis (they showed husband Mike Kanellis in the crowd with their daughter), Mandy Rose (I think she’s my favorite in the match), Molly Holly, Dana Brooke, Nia Jax (she’s not like most girls), Ivory (oldest woman in the match at 56 years old), Asuka (winner of the Royal Rumble this past January as they showed Miz and Maryse supporting her in the crowd), Torrie Wilson (a favorite of mine) and the IIconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kaye were up last.

Analysis: The crowd was really excited for everybody in this match. The legends that are a part of the match were really given big ovations too. The response to the women has been great.

There was a promo from Royce and Kay ripping on Long Island. They spoke about how they saw some of their childhood heroes that helped pave the way for tonight, so they will pay them back by tossing them over the top rope and back to obscurity. Royce said that it was their last chance in the spotlight and Kay said that soon it will all be over. Kay told them they can go back to doing what losers do. They said that the future is iconic followed by their pose.

Analysis: Good heel promo. I like their shtick.

Battle Royal to Earn a Future Championship Match
The match started with Kay and Royce getting attacked by the legends in the match leading to the Iiconics getting eliminated easily. The part-timers were surrounded by the current stars. Rose and Deville worked together against Molly Holly and eliminated Molly with Sonya kicking her out of the ring. Rose and Deville also worked as a team to eliminate Kelly. Wilson tried to eliminate Deville, so Rose made the save and hit a knee that knocked Wilson out of the ring to eliminate her. Deville was on the apron after going over the top, so Rose punched Deville out to turn on her partner. I doubt that will lead to a split of the duo, but it was just a spot to do in the match. Blayze hit a double clothesline to take out Asuka and Naomi. Jax picked up Blayze and gently put her over the top to the floor. I thought that Blayze could have done more. Maria hit a DDT on Jax and a jawbreaker on Tamina. Maria hit the most gentle bronco buster ever on Tamina. Jax gently placed Maria on the apron followed by a headbutt to eliminate her. Tamina with a superkick on Vega and a Samoan Drop on Carmella. That set up the Nia showdown with Tamina, but instead of fighting eachother, they beat up the other women in the match to knock them all down. Tamina with a body slam that eliminated Lana. That led to a contrived spot in the ring where four women suplexed four other women at the same time. Carmella went back into the ring leading to a dance break spot with R-Truth cheering it. Ivory joined Carmella in the dance break. Rose tried to eliminate Ivory, but Ivory held on, so Carmella eliminated Mandy. That doesn’t make me happy. Brooke with an elbow on Moon against the turnbuckle, but Moon suplexed Brooke out of the ring to eliminate her. Moon went for a springboard attack, but McCool stopped her with a boot to the face. Moon with a back body drop that sent McCool to the apron and Moon kicked McCool to eliminate her. Asuka and Naomi worked together on Tamina with Naomi hitting a dropkick, but Tamina hit a back body drop to send Naomi over the top to the floor. There were six women in the ring, plus Zelina Vega, who was out of the ring. Moon hit a DDT on Jax. Moon and Carmella completely messed up some headscissors spot with Cole saying “rather unique” to try to explain it. Moon sent Carmella to the apron and punched her out. Tamina hit a running splash on Moon against the turnbuckle. Ivory was impressive as she hit a cross body block on Tamina. Ivory celebrated on the middle rope, she got knocked to the apron and Asuka hit a running butt splash that knocked Ivory out of the ring.

The final showdown featured Asuka, Ember Moon, Tamina, Nia Jax and also Zelina Vega, who was not in the ring. The fans chanted “NXT” as Asuka and Moon faced off since they had great matches in NXT. Moon with a superkick to the face of Asuka and Moon sent Asuka over the top to eliminate her. When Moon turned around, Tamina wanted a superkick, but Moon was ready for it. Tamina with a spinning slam on Moon. Tamina with a superkick on Jax. The crowd was fully behind Moon chanting “Let’s go Ember” as she battled against the two bigger women. Moon up top and she hit an Eclipse on Tamina. Moon picked up Tamina to eliminate her. It’s down to Moon with Jax, plus Zelina Vega, who was not in the ring. The fans chanted “Let’s go Ember” as Jax tossed Moon across the ring. Jax sent Moon to the apron. Moon managed to power Jax over the top to the apron where Zelina Vega showed up to try to eliminate both women. Vega thought she eliminated both women, but they held on. Jax picked up Vega and tossed her over the top, right onto Tamina in the aisle to help Vega break her fall. Moon with a dropkick on Jax, two clotheslines, Moon charged and Jax dropped Moon with a spinebuster. Jax easily tossed Moon over the top to eliminate her at 16:10 to win the match.
Winner: Nia Jax
Analysis: **3/4 It was a fun battle royal with some cool moments. Most of the eliminations were done the safe way with women being put onto the apron and then punched out. Jax winning was the obvious choice as the biggest woman, so I thought it was too obvious to pick her and I thought it would be Asuka that got the win. I don’t mind Jax winning, though. The crowd supports her a lot. I thought Moon was the most impressive performer in the match and you could tell the crowd wanted her to win the most. I’m surprised it went as long as it did. I thought it would be shorter.

Nia Jax celebrated the win. They showed Ata Johnson in the crowd, who is The Rock’s mother and Nia’s aunt.

Nia Jax was interviewed in the ring by Charly Caruso, who told Jax that she was making history. Jax said she did this for her family while adding this is about the championship, she knows what it’s like to be the champion and now she’s closer to that championship again. Jax said that whoever wins between Ronda and Nikki should enjoy the moment as champion because it won’t last long. Jax hugged Ata at ringside.

A video aired about WWE superstars working with a program called Girl Up. Go to GirlUp.Org for more info. There were women representing GirlUp that were shown in the crowd.

The video package aired about this year’s Mae Young Classic tournament with the finals of Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai.

The winner of the Mae Young Classic gets a trophy. Toni Storm entered first followed by Io Shirai.

Analysis: Both women are already under WWE deals, so WWE doesn’t have to pretend like they are battling for a contract. I thought they should have made up some dollar amount prize too.

Mae Young Classic Finals: Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai
There was some mat wrestling early on followed by a handshake. The fans were cheering for both women, but it sounded like more support for Storm. Dropkick off the ropes from Storm. Shirai with a cartwheel to avoid an attack leading to a dropkick. Knees to the ribs by Shirai got a two count. Shirai grounded Storm by hooking on the arms and Storm got her foot on the bottom rope to break free. Storm with a suplex that sent Shirai right on the back of the neck followed by a running butt splash against the turnbuckle. Storm went up top, but Shirai got back to her feet and dropkicked Storm off the top to the floor. Shirai went up top and connected with an impressive moonsault to the floor that took out Storm on the mat. That was awesome. They battled on the apron with Storm hitting a headbutt followed by a German Suplex on the ring apron. Ouch. It’s the hardest part of the ring as Beth pointed out. The crowd was chanting for both women as Shirai got back in the ring before the ten count. They exchanged forearms with Shirai beating her down followed by an uppercut palm strike, but Storm hit a clothesline. Storm hit the Storm Zero sitout Powerbomb for a two count as Shirai kicked out at the last moment with Storm selling it like she was stunned by Shirai kicked out. Shirai drove Storm throat first into the middle ropes followed by a 619 double boots to the face. Shirai with a sunset flip off the top into a pin for two. That was a great nearfall. Shirai charged with a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Shirai went for her moonsault off the top, but Storm got the knees up to block. Storm hit the Storm Zero sitout Powerbomb for the pinfall win at 10:20.
Winner by pinfall and Winner of the Mae Young Classic 2018: Toni Storm
Analysis: ***1/2 Very good match. That was a lot of cool moves with some big moves from each woman like Shirai’s moonsault on the floor, Storm with a German Suplex on the apron. There were a couple of believable nearfalls as well, so that built up the drama as well. Storm hit her finisher once, Shirai kicked out and when Storm hit it again, she was able to win. It was booked well. I thought Storm would win and I’m glad she did. Both women have very bright futures in WWE.

After the match was over, Storm celebrated the win. Storm and Shirai hugged in the ring. The trio of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Sarah Amato were in the ring with flowers for the women. Triple H gave Storm a hug. Stephanie gave Toni the flowers and a big hug. Sarah gave Shirai the flowers. Storm was handed the Mae Young Classic trophy by Triple H as well.

A commercial aired for Crown Jewel airing this Friday, November 2 on WWE Network.
There was a video with women talking about evolution of women’s wrestling in WWE. There were comments from Alundra Blayze, Naomi and Eve Torres.

The Riott Squad trio made their entrance. The international announce teams were shown from their announcer’s row in the arena. Sasha Banks, Natalya and Bayley made their entrances with all of them getting good ovations. Finn Balor was shown in the crowd with a “Hugger Section” sign for his buddy Bayley, who is his Mixed Match Challenge partner.

Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan
There was a nice double team move by Natalya and Banks that was like a Hart Attack clothesline like the Hart Foundation of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart used to do. The faces were in control as Bayley hit a dropkick on Logan on the floor. Bayley went for an attack against Riott, but Logan hit a dropkick that sent Bayley into the ring post. Cole did his usual thing of saying that Riott is a future champion. Morgan grounded Bayley with an armbar. Logan worked over Bayley a bit, Riott with a slingshot into a forearm from Logan for a two count. Logan worked over Bayley with kicks against the turnbuckle. Bayley sent Logan face first into the top turnbuckle two times. Bayley tried to tag out, but Logan stopped her. Bayley knocked Riott and Morgan off the apron, but Riott tripped up Bayley. Bayley managed to fight out of the corner with a punch on Morgan and a clothesline on Riott. Bayley tossed Logan out of the ring, so Logan tripped up Natalya and hit a clothesline. Bayley finally broke free by kicking away Riott and Banks got the hot tag with a dropkick on Riott. Banks with a knee lift on Riott, Banks up top and she hit a Thesz Press into a two count. Riott with a kick to the gut, Banks with a rollup for two, another knee to the face and Riott with a kick. Bayley got the tag, Banks with a Backstabber and Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly for two as Morgan shoved Banks onto Bayley to break up the pin. Morgan tagged in against Banks with Banks hitting double knees to the face of Logan. Banks went for a somersault dive over the top that looked like she did not make it far enough and the heels caught her on the floor. The Riott Squad sent Banks into the barricade. Morgan off the top with a clothesline, Logan slammed Riott onto Banks and Natalya broke up the pin. Logan sent Natalya out of the ring. Morgan back in with a kick to the head of Banks. Riott up top and Bayley went into the ring to cover Banks, so Bayley hit a senton splash off the top onto Bayley and Banks for a two count. Why would Bayley not just push Banks out of the way instead of laying on her? Anyway, Riott was mad that wasn’t enough to win.

Banks avoided a kick by Morgan, Logan lifted up Riott and a slam missed. Natalya got the tag against Logan with Natalya hitting a spinning clothesline, a German Suplex and a face first slam while Riott and Morgan each made tags. Natalya slapped Riott onto Logan and went for a double Sharpshooter, which looked pretty good. Morgan got back in the ring with a jumping knee attack to the face of Natalya for a two count. There was a shot of Banks and Bayley out on the floor outside the ring. Morgan with a jumping stomp to the back of Natalya. Bayley tagged in, Natalya with a Powerbomb on Morgan, Bayley with a Macho Man elbow drop off the top on Morgan, Banks tagged in and Banks hit a Frog Splash like Eddie Guerrero on Morgan for the pinfall win at 13:10.
Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya
Analysis: ***1/4 Good action in that match with the Riott Squad working very well with eachother from the moment it began. They booked it in a way where it looked like the Riott Squad were attempting to take out all three faces systematically so that they had nothing left, but of course the babyface trio came back to win. The finish was well done with Natalya hitting the Powerbomb, Bayley hitting the Macho Man elbow drop and Banks hit the Frog Splash like her idol Eddie Guerrero. It was well booked.

The winning trio of Banks, Bayley and Natalya celebrated the win while the Riott Squad left together looking disappointed.

Analysis: I expect a rematch on Raw since WWE loves booking rematches.

A commercial aired for Total Divas. There was also a commercial for Coke Zero. I like it with whiskey. There were comments from Stephanie McMahon, Molly Holly, Alicia Fox and Nia Jax talking about Evolution.

The video package aired for the NXT Women’s Title match with Kairi Sane defending against Shayna Baszler.

Shayna Baszler made her entrance first. There were NXT women shown watching the match. Kairi Sane made her pirate entrance with Cole nothing that she was a yachting expert. Sane had the NXT Title in a treasure chest.

NXT Women’s Championship: Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
There was some good mat wrestling to start with Baszler trying to slap on a choke, but Sane broke free and hit a sliding clothesline against the turnbuckle. Sane with two boots to the ribs of Baszler. When they left the ring, Sane with a hard slap to the face of Baszler. Baszler took control sending Sane face first into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Baszler with a knee to the face against the turnbuckle and a spinning slam got a two count. Baszler stepped on the hand of Sane and Baszler stopped on the left arm of Sane. That’s a spot that Baszler has done before, which is an effective way to work on a body part. Baszler slapped on a key lock submission on the left arm of Sane, but Sane got a rollup for two. Baszler with an armbar on Sane and then she wrenched back on the left arm of Sane. They got into a slugfest as they exchanged forearms in the center of the ring. Baszler with a running knee, but Sane stopped her attempt at a repeat with a spinning back fist to the face. The fans chanted “NXT” for both women. Sane pulled back on Baszler’s legs, but Baszler broke free and kicked at the left arm of Sane. Sane came back with punches, Baszler whipped Sane into the turnbuckle and Sane hit a Spear that looked very impressive. Sane with a running shoulder tackle followed by a flipping neckbreaker for a two count. Sane with an Alabama Slam out of the corner. Baszler got back into it by grabbing the arm of Sane in another armbar. Baszler tried a lifting slam, but Sane countered with a DDT. Sane went up top, Baszler rolled to the floor to avoid the attack and Sane hit a cross body block off the top onto Baszler on the floor. That was awesome. Baszler sent Sane into the barricade, Baszler charged and Sane hit a back body drop that sent Baszler over the top to the floor onto other NXT women in the front row. Jessamyn Duke, who is an ally of Baszler, grabbed Sane, so Sane hit her with a backhand. Marina Shafir distracted and Sane hit a back fist to take her out. Baszler with a Kirifuda Clutch submission, Sane countered into a pin attempt (the finish they did at Takeover in August for the title change) and Baszler kicked her off leading to a kick from Duke to Sane that the referee never saw. Baszler slapped on the Kirifuda Clutch again, Sane tried to fight out, but she passed out and Baszler won the match to become NXT Women’s Champion again. It went 12:10.
Winner by submission and new NXT Women’s Champion: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a smartly worked match as usual from these two with Baszler working over the left arm of Sane, then Sane made the comebacks and I loved the cross body block spot on the floor. That was so impressive by Sane. When it looked like Sane would finish off Baszler, that’s when Duke and Shafir got involved. The story could be that Sane just did a back drop that sent Baszler into the women in the crowd, so that’s why they got involved. I thought that Sane was going to retain the title, but it appears the rivalry will continue. I thought that Sane would win to end the feud, but that didn’t happen. I’m okay with that because they have good matches. It's possible that there will be some other face woman in NXT that steps us as Baszler’s next challenger.

After the match was over, Baszler celebrated with the NXT Women’s Title. Baszler is the first ever two-time NXT Women’s Champion. Baszler’s friends Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir left with Baszler. Those three along with Ronda Rousey are the Four Horsewomen from MMA that all have WWE deals now.

Analysis: It’s a good way to introduce Duke and Shafir to the WWE Universe as NXT superstars. They were signed a few months ago, so they aren’t as seasoned as some of the women, but they are great athletes that will do well. Using them as backup for Baszler is a good way to

There were more comments from WWE superstars about Evolution. This time it was Ember Moon, Ata Johnson (The Rock’s mom), Vickie Guerrero and Maryse, who was holding her baby daughter.

The video package aired for the Last Woman Standing match for the Smackdown Women’s Title featuring Becky Lynch defending the title against Charlotte Flair. Great video. It was notable that they edited in boos for Lynch, which is lame on WWE's part.

Charlotte Flair was up first wearing her usual peacock robe. It looked like a new robe for her, which isn’t surprising for a special occasion like this match.

Becky Lynch made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion with the fans giving her a huge ovation. They were chanting “Becky, Becky, Becky” for her. The woman stood in the ring for the championship intros done by Jojo the announcer.

Smackdown Women’s Championship in a Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
The fans chanted “let’s go Becky” as the match began. The referee is Mike Chioda, who is the most experienced referee in WWE. Lynch said it was her time, Flair shoved her down and Lynch came back with a clothesline. Lynch with a running forearm, a leg drop, Lynch mocked the Flair straight and hit another running leg drop. Flair with a shoulder block to the ribs, Lynch followed Flair to the top rope and hit a slam off the top. Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex leading to the ref counting. I’m not going to mention every ref count because there are a lot in a match like this. Flair avoided an attack, Lynch hit the mat hard and Flair hit a running boot to the face. Lynch sent Flair face first into the turnbuckle. Lynch dumped Flair out of the ring. Lynch followed Flair out of the ring and Lynch hit Flair with a kendo stick five times in the back. Flair was writhing in pain from it, but Flair blocked it and Lynch kicked Flair in the ribs. The fans chanted “we want tables” so Lynch grabbed a chair from under the ring. Flair tossed a chair into the ring. Each woman tossed about six chairs each into the ring, so there was a pile of chairs in the ring. Flair grabbed a table from under the ring, which led to a Lynch forearm off the steps. Flair came back with an overhead belly to belly suplex on Lynch on the floor. Lynch grabbed a chair and hit Flair in the back with it. Lynch jabbed Flair in the ribs with the chair followed by a chair shot to the back of Flair. Back in the ring, Lynch tossed Flair back first onto the chairs. Lynch put some chairs in a pile, Flair countered Lynch and hit a belly to back suplex that sent Lynch onto the chairs. The ref counted Lynch down for about an eight count. Flair pulled out a table from under the ring. Flair on the apron and Lynch hit a jumping kick that knocked Flair down. Flair got back up while Lynch sent up a table in the ring. Lynch picked up Flair and slammed her back first onto the chairs. Flair was back at eight with Lynch hitting her a forearm. Lynch set up Flair on the table by the turnbuckle. Lynch went up top, Flair got back up and tripped up Lynch leading to boos from the crowd. Flair worked over Lynch with forearms to the chest. Flair went up top and jumped off with a moonsault onto Lynch on the table, but the table did not break. I assume it was supposed to break, but it didn’t break. Flair set up the table again. Flair put Lynch on the table. Flair went to the apron to climb the ropes regular style and Flair hit a Swanton Bomb onto Lynch through the table. That was an impressive move by Flair. Lynch was down for about a nine count.

Flair brought a ladder into the ring, which seems like a weird weapon to use in this match, but Lynch found a way to use it with a body slam onto the ladder that was folded in the ring. Flair came back with a chop block to the back of the leg of Lynch. Flair picked up the ladder sideways, put Lynch’s feet against the ladder and stomped on the right knee. Flair wrapped up the legs of Lynch around the ladder and Flair slapped on a Figure Four variation that she turned into the Figure Eight submission. That’s a very creative spot. I guess that’s why they wanted to bring the ladder into it. Lynch was tapping out, but that can’t end this match. Lynch grabbed a steel chair (the ref gently kicked it closer to her) and hit Charlotte’s legs with it to break the hold. Lynch landed on her feet on the floor to break the count at seven. Lynch drove Flair back first into the steel steps. Lynch was favoring her right leg as she whipped Flair face first into the steel ring post. Lynch grabbed her Smackdown Women’s Title and tried to limp her way out of the building. Flair chased after Lynch in the crowd. Flair hit Lynch with about a dozen chops to the chest and they made their way back to the ringside area. Beth Phoenix claimed that Becky bailed on Charlotte when Charlotte’s dad was sick and she needed him most. Actually, Ric Flair was sick in the summer of 2017 not this year, so I’m not sure what Beth was going for there. The match was around 20 minutes at this point.

The women made their way back to the announcers' area with Flair clearing off the German announce table at ringside Flair brought a ladder out from under a ring and set it up beside the announce table. Lynch got back into it with the title to the head. Lynch sent Flair face first into the announce table. Lynch put Flair on the announce table. Lynch climbed the ladder, you could see referee Chioda holding the ladder to steady it for her and Lynch hit a leg drop off the ladder through Charlotte, which broke the announce table. That was impressive. The referee counted them both down as fans chanted “this is awesome” at them. Flair was back to her knees around eight, so Lynch charged at Flair with a kick. Lynch dumped three leather chairs from ringside onto Flair. Lynch put half of a broken table on Flair. The referee countered Flair down under the chairs. Flair was back up around nine although it was very close. Lynch freaked out as Flair unloaded on Lynch with six kendo six shots to the back. Flair hit a Spear on Lynch on the floor. Flair went over to the table that was set up on the floor. Flair placed Lynch onto the table, Flair tried to climb to the top, but Lynch hit a Powerbomb off the middle ropes that sent Charlotte through the table to the floor. Ouch. That was a rough landing. Flair got back to her knees, but she couldn’t stand up and Flair collapsed at the nine count to give Lynch the win at 28:40.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding wrestling match that was a fitting end to this rivalry if it is actually the end. It felt like a fight rather than a wrestling match, which helped the atmosphere surrounding the match. Lynch was put over huge by finding a way to get a win by countering the tease of a moonsault through a table by Flair. It was a clever finish. I loved the way that they utilized the weapons throughout the match with all the table spots that took place including the final blow that got the win for Lynch. They busted out some cool spots with the ladder with Charlotte slapping on the Figure Eight submission on the ladder, then Lynch with that amazing leg drop through the table. Both women played their roles perfectly. I thought Flair took a beating in the match to put over her best friend Lynch, which shows that when people are really good friends in real life they are going to go out of their way to put over their friend as best they can. This was one of the best women’s wrestling matches in WWE history and one of the best main roster matches this year. This should have been the main event based on the story of the match and the match quality, but I understand why WWE goes with Ronda in the main event.

After the match was over, Lynch walked up to the entrance area where she held up her Smackdown Women’s Champion as a confident champion. Meanwhile, Flair managed to get back up to her knees and nodded her head as if to say Lynch got the better of her this time.

Analysis: I like the way that was done with Lynch celebrating and Flair having an expression on her face as if she was saying that the better woman won this time.

A commercial aired for WWE.com. A commercial aired for Kay Jewellers.
The announcers promoted Crown Jewel this Friday, November 2 at 12pmET with the main show. Some fans booed as they saw the Crown Jewel logo. The announce team went over the matches. The brackets for the World Cup tournament will be announced on Raw and Smackdown this week.

The video package aired for the Raw Women’s Championship with Ronda Rousey defending against Nikki Bella with Brie. The Bellas turned on Ronda about three weeks ago to set up this match.
The Bella Twins duo of Nikki Bella and Brie Bella made their entrance. They received some cheers and boos. Brie had a flag that said “The Bellalution” on it.
Ronda Rousey got a huge reaction as she made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Title on her shoulder. They stood in the ring for the championship intros.

Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella)
The match began at 10:03pmET with Rousey taking down Nikki easily and toying with her on the mat with some trash talk. Rousey with an arm drag that took down Nikki, who went to the floor, Brie distraction and Nikki shoved Rousey into the ring post. While Nikki was distracted by the referee, Brie whipped Rousey into the ring post. Back in the ring, Nikki slapped on a chinlock and Nikki also did a leg scissors around the neck of Rousey. Rousey kicked Nikki away, Brie with a cheap shot punch that the referee didn’t see and Nikki sent Rousey face first into the ring post. Renee claimed that the Bellas have “built an empire,” which is a bit of a stretch. Back in the ring, Nikki tried an abdominal stretch and Rousey did her best to fight out of it. Rousey broke free, Nikki with a back elbow and Nikki hit a springboard kick to the face of Rousey. The fans were chanting for both ladies. Nikki went for a superplex, Rousey punched her down and Rousey went up top and Rousey went for a cross body block, but Nikki moved out of the way leading to Rousey crashing to the mat. Rousey avoided a baseball slide dropkick leading to Nikki landing out of the ring.

Back in the ring, Rousey tripped up Nikki, Rousey put Nikki on her shoulders and Brie got involved, so Ronda had both Bellas on her shoulders. Rousey hit her twisting Samoan Drop takedown that took out both Bellas with the crowd cheering it. Rousey fired up, Rousey with a kick to the ribs leading to punches by Rousey. More punches from Rousey with Nikki trying to block. Rousey with two arm wringer takedowns. Nikki begged off, so Rousey slapped her in the face. Rousey picked up Nikki, asked “you ready?” and tossed Nikki across the ring with Nikki going to the floor. Brie with a punch, Rousey blocked another punch and Ronda tossed Brie over the announce table. Nikki came back with an Alabama Slam for a two count. Nikki sent Rousey into the steel ring post and Nikki hit the Rack Attack 2.0 for just a two count. Good nearfall. Nikki threw a tantrum and argued with the referee about it. Nikki went to the middle ropes, Rousey met her up there and took down Nikki aggressively. Rousey grabbed the right arm of Nikki leading to the armbar submission and Nikki tapped out at 14:15 to give Ronda the win.
Winner by submission: Ronda Rousey

Analysis: *** It was an entertaining title match with an obvious finish. Nikki got in a lot of offense and it went a few minutes longer than I would have expected them to go. The story was fine with Brie interfering as much as possible, then Rousey stopped her and got the victory with the armbar as she usually does. I thought the nearfall with Nikki getting the Rack Attack 2.0 was well done, but I don’t think anybody really thought Rousey was losing to that. They did a good job, but they also had a tough act to follow.

Rousey celebrated with her title. Replays aired of the key spots in the match. Rousey walked around ringside with the Raw Women’s Title on her shoulder. She greeted some fans at ringside. Somebody must have told her to go back in the ring because Rousey went back into the ring to hold up the Raw Women’s Title again. There was a shot of Nia Jax watching Rousey on a TV backstage. Rousey shook hands with fans as she walked to the back.

The other women that appeared on the show were by the entrance and Rousey posed with them to end the show at 10:21pmET. A video package aired showing highlights of the matches at Evolution.

 

Five Stars of the Show
1. Becky Lynch
2. Charlotte Flair
3. Toni Storm
4. Shayna Baszler
5. (tie) Kairi Sane
5. (tie) Io Shirai

Final Thoughts
It gets a 8.5 out of 10 from me.

Awesome show. It felt like a NXT Takeover event with the focus on the in-ring product and the women delivered in the big matches. The Lynch/Flair delivered as the best match of the night and there was nothing bad on the show. I think it’s worthy of a 8.5 out of 10 rating and it’s the highest score for any WWE PPV this year. Well done, ladies.

Pay-Per-View Rankings for 2018
Evolution – 8.5
Royal Rumble – 8
Hell in a Cell – 7.5
Money in the Bank – 7.5
WrestleMania – 7
SummerSlam – 7
Fastlane – 7
Greatest Royal Rumble – 6.5
Super Show-Down - 6
Elimination Chamber – 6
Extreme Rules - 5
Backlash – 4
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Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com
Twitter: @johnreport
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