WWE Evolution 2018 Match Ratings, Analysis, Podcast Notes From Sean Ross Sapp Of Fightful.com

Pre-show

  • We see a lot of looks at WWE's red carpet show. 
  • Tiffany Haddish vs. Brie Bella. Do it. Bella isn't happy Haddish is predicting Ronda Rousey to win.
  • R-Truth and Carmella come to the panel table and R-Truth announces that he'll be in the battle royal and face Carmella for the title. 
  • Future WWE Hall of Famer Maria Menounos is on the red carpet. 
Young Bucks Make Double Or Nothing Challenge, Set To Defend Tag Titles On 5/19 AEW Dynamite

Trish Stratus & Lita defeated Mickie James & Alicia Fox (w/ Alexa Bliss) in 11:05
6/10

  • Trish Stratus and Lita get really big pops for their intros.
  • Alexa Bliss comes out and tells Trish and Lita they're up past their bedtimes.  
  • Alicia and Mickie have to bump around a lot for Lita, who hasn't worked really at all for over a decade. Lita and Trish do a version of Poetry in Motion.
  • This looks like a house show based on lighting and cameras.
  • Mickie and Trish are in and get a huge reaction. Mickie stops a Stratusphere, but Trish hits a super Frankensteiner instead. I don't ever remember Trish doing that version of the super frankensteiner.
  • The heels try to leave, but are stopped by Trish and Lita. Lita goes for a moonsault, but Alexa yanks her off the top rope. 
  • Lita gets a really nice reverse DDT, and tags out to Trish who finds a home for flying headlock takeovers and a seated spinebuster for 2. 
  • Stratusfaction lands on Mickie, and Alicia Fox is late on breaking up the ALWAYS kick out just in case. That looked bad. 
  • Lita gets a moonsault on both opponents and Trish wins with a Chick Kick. This was such a fantastic and perfect opener.
  • I can't believe they replayed the count screw up. Just cut it at two, and show the next clips. The crowd forgave it and that's not easy to accomplish. Don't remind them

Battle Royal
Winner Gets Title Shot Of Her Choosing
Nia Jax wins, last eliminating Ember Moon in 16:10
5.5/10

  • I believe this is Alundra/Madusa's first match since 2000, and she looks great. Ivory still has guns. 
  • I love that they carry over Mixed Match Challenge teams and stories. Miz & Maryse cheering on Asuka is great. 
  • Ivory's first match on record since 2006.
  • IIconics cut promos about terrible accent. They get eliminated by the legends.
  • Why wouldn't all of these women standing on the bottom rope get eliminated?
  • Molly gets kicked out by Sonya with a STIFF ONE. 
  • THE BOYHOOD DREAM HAS COME TRUE. @SonyaDevilleWWE and @WWE_MandyRose lunch is on me. They eliminate Kelly Kelly. Then Torrie.
  • Mandy Rose pushes Sonya Deville out! This gets a big pop.
  • Nia tosses Madusa, then Maria after Kanellis does one of the worst Bronco Busters ever. 
  • Imagine being Tamina taking that soft ass bronco buster, followed by Zelina running 218301892031 MPH at your face with knees. Tamina and Nia face off way earlier than they were supposed to and Lana is like "Uhhhh?" She gets eliminated after they do it right the second time.
  • A quintuple suplex leads to a Carmella DANCE BREAK. Ivory joins her. Ivory would have NEVER done that in the RTC. Too vulgar. They eliminate Mandy Rose.
  • Ember Moon tosses out Dana Brooke, Carmella (after messing up a spot) and Michelle McCool. Michelle McCool was WAY better in the battle royal than the Royal Rumble, and Dana Brooke hit the apron hard.
  • Ivory flies off the top with a body press, and for some reason climbs up the ropes. She is eliminated by Asuka.
  • Ember Moon throws out Asuka HARD, and it's down to Tamina, Nia, Ember. 
  • Tamina getting a LOT of spots in this match. She's battled a ton of injuries and is a decade in, so I'm glad she's getting some play in what is one of the biggest matches of her life. She's eliminated by Ember. 
  • Zelina sneaks back in! She's one of the final three and almost tosses Nia and Ember. HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT. Zelina got thrown right into Tamina's NOSE. Hoping that Zelina and Tamina are both okay. They both had tough landings there
  • Nia Jax throws Ember over. Gotta give Nia that big push ahead of the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS.
  • Really good crowd reactions made up for any of the bad. 

Mae Young Classic Finals
Toni Storm defeated Io Shirai in 10:20
6.25/10

  • Some really good armlock trades. 
  • Shirai dropkicks Storm to the ground, and follows with a handstand double knee drop, followed by a Rings of Saturn.
  • Storm gets to the ropes and lands a NASTY German suplex. 
  • Toni goes up top, but is caught with a step up dropkick. Shirai follows up with a big moonsault outside.
  • Storm recovers to get a German suplex on the apron and a great Tiger Driver (Storm Zero) for two. 
  • Shirai eats knees on what Cole called an Asai Moonsault, but it was just a regular moonsault.
  • Storm wins with Storm Zero. Not a ton of crowd heat to the match, but it was a really good one.
  • I love that WWE had Sara Amato out with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. 


Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya defeated Riott Squad in 13:10
6/10

  • I LOVE Ruby Riott's Jigsaw-inspired gear.
  • Not the reactions I expected for Sasha and Bayley.
  • This really is a Raw tag team match. Michael Cole's tone even calls it like one.
  • Bayley tries to slide a dropkick underneath the bottom rope, but gets kicked into the post in a nice spot. She subsequently gets worked over.  
  • I expected this match to be more balls to the wall. This isn't it. These are your standard tropes.
  • Sasha Banks comes in on the hot tag and works primarily with Ruby Riott, leading to a Meteora that turns into a Thesz Press. 
  • The Backstabber into the Bayley 2 Belly hits, but Liv shoves Sasha into Bayley to break up the pin.
  • Sasha Banks comes up short on a tope con hilo to an extreme degree, and Riott Squad catch her and slam her into the barricade. I can forgive a botch when it's covered like that.
  • Sasha gets double teamed big time. Riott Squad with a Doomsday Hair Whip and an assisted senton, but Natalya breaks it up. 
  • Bayley covers up Sasha Banks and sacrifices herself on a Riott senton. Sasha kicks out.
  • Natalya tags in and runs wild, leading to a double Sharpshooter that the production team wisely shot from behind. 
  • Nattie powerbomb, Bayley flying elbow drop and Sasha Frog Splash wins it. Bayley kept Riott Squad at bay with an insane suicide dive flip.
  • This went from something you'd see on Raw to something special quickly.

 

NXT Women's Championship
Shayna Baszler defeated Kairi Sane (c) to become champion in 12:10
7.75/10

  • Sane peels the arm to get out of the rear naked choke, which I really love. Follows up with a sliding elbow.
  • The action spills outside, and Baszler sends Sane into the stairs. Inside the ring, a running knee and inverted gutwrench powerbomb hit.
  • Baszler works the arm with some disgusting work. Nobody in WWE does this better than Baszler.
  • Sane comes back and lands a running neckbreaker. There is a FANTASTIC visual of Baszler holding Sane up in the air on the top rope with an arm scissors. 
  • Sane flies through the air with an unbelievable flying body press, then sends Baszler over the barricade into the Horsewomen.
  • Kari fights off the Horsewomen, but Jessamyn Duke kicks her in the head and sets up a RNC! Baszler is the new champ!

WWE Smackdown Women's Championship
Last Woman Standing
Becky Lynch (c) defeated Charlotte Flair in 28:39.

10/10

  • WWE editing in boos is the first time I've seen them go out of their way to pretend Becky isn't as over as she is since they had her cut the crapping on the crowd almost immediately.
  • Charlotte does the Flair strut, only to have Becky do it with an elbow drop. Charlotte also falls victim to the Flair's Deadly Drive, as is tradition.
  • Becky busts out a kendo stick and wears out Charlotte with it. 
  • Both women throw chairs in the ring -- lots of them. Becky attacks Charlotte while the latter pulls out a table, then rocks Charlotte with chair shots. 
  • Becky stacks up chairs in the ring, and Charlotte back suplexes Charlotte into them. That was nasty and folded Lynch up.
  • Lynch gets a nice wrist clutch uranage.
  • Charlotte puts Lynch on the table and hits a moonsault, but the table doesn't break. When you have someone who lands on their feet on moonsaults, it won't break the table, but calling an audible and doing a somersault senton was very cool.
  • Becky recovers and slams Charlotte on the ladder. Flair tries to Figure Eight Becky in the ladder. Becky taps, but takes a chair to Charlotte's knee. 
  • Lynch grabs the title and goes to leave, but is stopped by Charlotte. 
  • The announce table is cleared off, and a ladder is set up next to it. Becky Lynch hits an insane flying legdrop through the table. Charlotte gets up. 
  • Becky Lynch tries to bury Charlotte under chairs, but Flair is up at 9! Charlotte has some incredible facial expressions. 
  • Charlotte flattens Becky Lynch with a spear! She sets up the table at ringside, but gets powerbombed off the top rope through a table outside. Becky Lynch wins.
  • This is a must watch, can't miss, everything firing on all cylinders match. This should have main evented the entire show and the fact that it didn't is lame. This may be the only women's match that approaches Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at Brooklyn, and it probably the best WWE match I've seen the entire year. The story was great, too.

WWE Raw Women's Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) defeated Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella)

  • Really big pop for Ronda Rousey. 
  • Rousey hits a couple of beautiful judo throws and taunts Nikki Bella. Bella shoots a high single leg, but it doesn't go anywhere on Rousey. 
  • Another throw is a little too close to the ropes, and sends Nikki into them. Outside the ring both Nikki and Brie post Rousey.  
  • Nikki sends Rousey into the apron, and applies a headscissors and does pushups. Every time Rousey comes back, Brie cheats to cut her off. 
  • Bella lands a great Distaster kick, and set up for a superplex, but is knocked down. Brie interference allows Nikki to regain an advantage. No water in the pool for Ronda Rousey's flying body press.  She got some DISTANCE.
  • Rousey actually dodges a baseball slide and ends up hitting her Samoan drop on both Bella Twins. Rousey's inverted fallaway slam lands, too. 
  • Brie tries to forearm Rousey and gets thrown over the announce table. This allows Nikki to capitalize on the distraction and get an Alabama Slam.
  • Rousey lands a super flying armbar and wins the match via a quick tap. All things considered, that was a really good match, too. 
  • The whole roster is on the ramp, and Rousey celebrates with them there. Asuka and Natalya holding Charlotte up is a nice touch, as well. 

 

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
 

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