Sports Entertainment Review – WWE Evolution & Crown Jewel
There was such a contrast with these two pay-per-views in terms of progressiveness for the performers that represented them, you would think we were talking about two different companies in different era’s, let alone the same company hosting these shows just 6 days apart.
The Evolution ppv was everything that it was hyped up to be, apart from it being the first women’s only even as advertised by WWE, something we talked about in our podcast last week as well as the preview posted last week for the show. The matches were really impressive with Charlotte Flair v Becky Lynch last woman standing being a genuine contender for match of the year, really pushed the boundaries of what the women’s division can do. Crown Jewel on the other hand was just the usual lazy and sometimes strange booking from the creative department.
The first match on the card was the tag match with Lita and Trish Stratus taking on Mickie James and Alicia Fox (replacing the injured Alexa Bliss). This match had a few shaky moments, mainly Alicia Fox not breaking up a pin in time leading to the referee slowing his count as to ensure the match didn’t end prematurely. It was good to see Trish and Lita back in the ring, and they did well. Much less ring rust than their male counterparts from the Crown Jewell!
The women’s Battle Royal was as fun as the Royal Rumble match earlier in the year, with Nia Jax getting the win by eliminating Ember Moon. Alundra Blayze gave a good account for herself, although eliminated a little earlier than most would have liked. Ember Moon finally got a small victory over Asuka by eliminating her, their rivalry in NXT was one of the highlights of the year in 2017 where Moon could never get the win over Asuka before the latter got a call up to the main roster. Nia Jax now goes on to challenge for the Raw women’s title.
Toni Storm won the final of the Mae Young classic getting the win over Io Shirai in a hard hitting match that saw both women take some dangerous moves to the outside of the ring, as well as a German suplex to the ring apron. Storm has flourished since her singing to NXT and still gets to compete in some of the other independent promotions.
Shayner Baszler defeated Kairi Sane to win back the NXT Women’s title with a technical submission. She applied her finisher on Sane until she “passed out”. Baszler had some help from her former UFC stablemates in Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir with some interference to help the challenger get the win. This is an angle that WWE can really push as the UFC 4 Horsewomen (Duke, Shafir, Baszler and current champion Ronda Rousey) in a potential angle against the WWE 4 Horsewomen (Flair, Lynch, Banks and Bayley) although the latter are all on different brands.
Becky Lynch v Charlotte Flair was the stand out match of the night, and one of the best matches of the year. At nearly 30 minutes long, the match flowed well and the pace never really let up. Lots of tables and chairs being used. At one point Charlotte went for a moonsault on to Becky to put her through a table, only the table didn’t break and the two just bounced off. To be fair they tried again but rather than try exactly the same spot, which you sometimes see in the mens matches, Charlotte somersaulted forwards through Becky and the table. I’d recommend watching this match and even if you have already seen it then I’d recommend watching it again such was the quality.
The final match of the night was the Raw women’s title match between Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella. The problem WWE has is the there is no one who can look like they can take the title off Rousey at the minute with the exception of maybe Nia Jax. All the stronger talent in the women division is on the SmackDown brand. This wasn’t a bad match and still got Ronda over as strong even with Brie getting involved, at one point she did her samoan drop with both the Bella’s on her shoulders.
All in all this was a really good pay-per-view and one that the women’s division in WWE deserved. Such contrast to the Crown Jewel event they put on only 6 days later.
*sigh* Crown Jewel.
Where to start?! I get why they wanted to have Brock Lesnar as the universal champion, but the way he won the match against the “Monster among men” Braun Strowman was just ridiculous. Braun has been billed as this unbeatable giant who can flip lorry’s and ambulances, and they tried to show he was still strong by getting him to kick out of 4 of Brock Lesnar’s finisher moves (The F-5) but for me it didn’t work. It just came across as a squash match that buried Braun, expect some more inexplicable booking in the next few months while Brock is still the champion.
Hulk Hogan was a surprise guest host, despite telling everyone that would listen that he would be involved in the show. This was just a case of if the money is right then WWE will do anything and are willing to forget their alumni’s “indiscretions” to put it politely.
Having Shane McMahon win the ‘World Cup” final, a tournament he didn’t even enter was ridiculous. In the few days building up to the show WWE started using the tagline “to be crowned the best in the world”. Dave Meltzer has reported that this is the stat of Shane McMahons heel run and that this was always the plan to finish the tournament this way. The real victims of this are The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. Dolph is genuinely one of the best talents on the WWE roster and could have a great run in any independent promotion if he were to leave WWE. Something Cody Rhodes has done with great success and gone from strength to strength. Hopefully there is a New Japan Pro Wrestling contract winging its way to Dolph’s email inbox in the near future.
AJ Styles and Samoa Joe had another match in their series which should have drawn to a natal conclusion by this point, however, with Daniel Bryan pulling out of the event for his own political reasons (and in most peoples opinions quite rightly so) they go to plan b and carry on this series.
The DX v Undertaker and Kane match was really something to forget. I know people who have avoided this pay per view due to not wanting to watch Shawn Michaels tarnish the legacy he left following his retirement 8 years ago. The match was full of botches, Kane getting his mask pulled off, Triple H and Undertaker comically throwing themselves into the barriers. Shawn cut his face open after landing awkwardly attempting a moonsault from the top to the outside, where his opponents failed to break his fall. Triple got put through the announce table before it had been cleared of monitors and wires. Such a shame this match. Sometimes you have to realised that if you’ve already retired, its probably a good idea to stay retired, also when the 4 people in the right have a combined age of 206 then maybe it’s time to call it a day.
Such a contrast between the two shows. The positivity of Evolution to the negative impact Crown Jewel had is incomparable in most peoples opinion.