By Chuck Carroll
History (n): A continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle.
Odds are when you think about history, visions of textbooks that painstakingly outline every battle fought in the Civil War or the events the precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire come to mind. It’s flashing back to your childhood and your grandmother’s kitchen table, where she would spin yarns about her own upbringing or the family heritage, tales told so many times that they’ve been permanently etched into your brain. The anecdotes date back generations, centuries or more, to times (almost) long forgotten.
History is in the past.
Yet, World Wrestling Entertainment continues to find ways to turn it 180 degrees and make history in the future.
On October 28, 2018 a major chapter in the sports entertainment history book will be written when the first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view will be held. Fittingly, WWE has chosen to call it Evolution.
It’s the payoff for all of the blood, sweat and tears given by every female WWE superstar to ever set foot in the ring. Women are main eventing RAW and SmackDown, and with Ronda Rousey under contract, the company’s lead attraction is a woman. And all of it has spawned a modern-day cyber grassroots movement.
“Three years ago, our fans demanded a change with the hashtag, #GiveDivasAChance, and an evolution started,” WWE Executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque, said in comments distributed by the company shortly after the event was announced. “Since that time, our female Superstars have over-delivered in every opportunity presented to them, and I expect nothing different during our first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view event.”
The opportunities Levesque is referencing are the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble and Money In The Bank matches, both of which were huge hits with the audience.
Evolution is an all-hands-on-deck event for every female WWE Superstar currently on the roster and perhaps those yet to sign a contract, as the finals of the second annual Mae Young Classic will be held on the show. The stacked card also features the Women’s Championships from both RAW and SmackDown as well as NXT being defended. WWE is also promising that the women from the forthcoming NXT UK brand will be represented.
“This historic event marks another milestone in WWE’s women’s evolution,” said Stephanie McMahon, who has largely stepped away from an on-camera role to focus on her job as WWE’s Chief Brand Officer. “The spotlight just got brighter for these athletic, talented women, who will once again showcase to the world that they can break down barriers and blaze their own trails.”
But this isn’t just about the future. Nor is it exclusively about the present. Rightfully, the women who paved the way for this night to happen will be honored as well. These are the WWE Superstars who have already made history as trailblazers in the industry.
Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita are already booked, and other names are expected to be announced in the coming months. The pay-per-view marks the second time this year that the company will pay homage to its legends. Torrie Wilson, Molly Holly, Michelle McCool, Vickie Guerrero, Jacqueline, Beth Phoenix, and the aforementioned Stratus and Lita were all entrants in the Royal Rumble. Perhaps we’ll see some of their familiar faces again.
It wouldn’t be out of bounds to propose a tag match pitting the current roster against the women of yesteryear. A rekindling of old feuds may also be in order. Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus and LayCool vs. The Iiconics would fit the bill perfectly.
Evolution will take place at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New York. Tickets go on sale August 24.
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News and Notes
Despite speculation to the contrary, tag titles for the women’s division aren’t in WWE’s plans for the immediate future. When asked about the possibility, Stephanie McMahon told Sky Sports, “Not quite yet but that’s absolutely something we’ve heard loud and clear from our fan base and it’s something we’re keen on implementing as soon as we are able to.”
Roman Reigns is scheduled to face Brock Lesnar in a Universal Championship rematch at SummerSlam. Meanwhile, WWE is promoting that Lesnar will make his first television appearance in more than three months at next Monday’s RAW.
On the SmackDown side, AJ Styles will defend the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe, while Carmella will put the SmackDown Women’s Championship on the line against Becky Lynch.
Elsewhere on the SummerSlam card, Ronda Rousey gets her first crack at a title in WWE, as she faces Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship; Dolph Ziggler will defend the Intercontinental title against Seth Rollins; and Braun Strowman will put his Money In The Bank briefcase on the line against Kevin Owens.
Major League Wrestling’s Battle Riot is scheduled to air Friday in a special two-hour time slot. The event, which features a 40-man battle-royal-style match was taped last week in New York, features former WWE Superstars John Morrison, Jack Swagger, and Hornswoggle among others. Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix are also on the card. If you haven’t seen them, it’s worth your time to pull up a couple of their matches on YouTube.
For what it’s worth, John Morrison — now John Hennigan — tells me that he’s very pleased with the MLW operation.
A ticket pre-sale for the co-branded Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Supercard” show on WrestleMania weekend in New York is set for August 8, two days before they go on sale to the general public. Likely in an attempt to stifle ticket brokers, each HonorClub member is being emailed a one-time code needed to make the purchase, and there is also an eight-ticket limit.
Speaking of Ring of Honor, Women of Honor regular Karen Q has been added to the list of competitors in the upcoming Mae Young Classic. She joins former ROH standout Deonna Purrazzo on the card. Purrazzo recently signed a contract with WWE after playing a key role in the development and launch of the Women of Honor Championship earlier this year.
The masked luchadora Zeuxis, NXT UK’s Isla Dawn, and former NCAA basketball champion Lacey Lane have also been announced as tournament competitors. The latter recently signed with NXT after training under the tutelage of The Dudley Boyz.
Velvet Sky and Angelina Love have reunited as The Beautiful People and are accepting limited bookings. The wildly popular former TNA Knockouts will be appearing at Starrcast next month.
In a recent interview with Press Slam, Velvet Sky accuses WWE of trying to copy The Beautiful People gimmick on two occasions. First with LayCool and more recently with the Iiconics.
Chuck Carroll is a former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality who now interviews the biggest names in wrestling. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.