Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 190 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: January 7 2019
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
The first WWE DVD of 2019 is one of historical value, as it is the release of the company’s first ever all-women PPV event. Evolution was the culmination of a movement lasting several years, beginning in the intimate surroundings of Full Sail University for NXT and including such high points as Ronda Rousey joining the WWE roster. With heavy rumours that women may main event WrestleMania 35 running like wildfire, there seems to be no limit on what the females can do, and Evolution is a fine example of this based on the high-quality entertainment provided by the show.
Reliving Evolution here reminds me of how the card struck just the right balance and exceeded expectations that had been lowered by WWE’s seemingly apathetic attitude to it beforehand. The opening tag bout suffers from Alexa Bliss having to pull out due to injury (Alexa still hasn’t returned to action as I write this), but the star power of Trish Stratus and Lita more than makes up for this as they defeat Mickie James and Alicia Fox with ease. A 20-woman battle royal has its moments and features some cameos from former stars, including Alundra Blayze’s first WWE match since 1995.
Next up, Toni Storm and Io Shirai put on a damn good bout in the final of the Mae Young Classic tournament. A six-woman tag pitting Natalya, Bayley and Sasha Banks against The Riott Squad is essentially the same match we’ve seen on Raw all throughout 2018, but with more time allotted and thus the opportunity for more varied, interesting spots, it’s more than your typical card-filler. Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler have an NXT Women’s Championship clash that perhaps doesn’t quite measure up to their previous encounters, but does feature the official on-screen formation of the NXT/UFC Four Horsewomen (albeit without Ronda, for now at least).
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair then go to battle in a great Last Woman Standing match. I’m not sure if it is the best match of 2018 or not upon second viewing, but it’s definitely a superb effort and the clear highlight of the show. Closing proceedings is a Ronda Rousey-Nikki Bella match that tells a good story and is very well-executed. The star power of both justified their main event spot, with Ronda in particular proving just how talented she has become at wrestling in near-record time.
With an enthusiastic crowd that was clearly there to support all involved (as opposed to the smark audiences that turn on stars for no reason these days), a different feel with the more streamlined entrance way and a different vibe from the commentary (Michael Cole, Renee Young and Beth Phoenix are the announce team), Evolution is a very enjoyable show. I feel that some of its drawbacks were ignored due to a certain level of bias by fans favouring the females (there were plenty of notable blown spots, especially at the finish of the opener), but there’s no doubt that Evolution leaves one with a positive feeling. We’re bound to get a sequel in October of this year, and if that all-women’s main event at WrestleMania does happen, shows like this one are a major reason why. Overall, Evolution 2018 is a card well worth rewatching on DVD.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good