WWE “EVOLUTION” — DON “THE PREDICTOR” MURPHY’S PICKS …

Posted October 27th, 2018 by Bill Apter

THE PREDICTOR” PREDICTS: WWE EVOLUTION

By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

First, I’d like to take a moment to wish Joe Anoa’i (aka Roman Reigns) best wishes for a speedy recovery, as he battles leukemia. I’ve not been a fan of the way he’s been booked, but he’s a solid performer and definitely one of the “good guys. All the best and looking forward to see you compete again!

This Sunday night, it’s another “first,” as the WWE presents its first-ever “all-women’s” pay-per-view, Evolution, from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. Yours truly will be in attendance and despite the company not promoting this show as much as they should have, it looks to be a pretty solid show on paper. There’s been some debate around the main event of the show not featuring talent that really helped drive the “women’s evolution.” I’ll have more to say as we work our way through the card, but I actually love the story being told by Nikki Bella and Ronda Rousey. Add some great in-ring performances on the undercard, and you have yourself a nice little show. And, only seven matches are advertised, which means that maybe the WWE is finally wising up and realizing that they don’t need to build out 4-5 hours, in an effort to get everyone on the show. That being said, let’s run down the card!

Main Event for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey defend the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Nikki Bella

Topline Thoughts: There’s been some backlash surrounding this match, as some feel that neither competitor represents the current product. I take a different stance, as I’ve become invested in the story they are telling. Ronda epitomizes today’s female athlete. Yes, it would have been better if the top spot went to a woman who epitomizes women’s wrestling – but we all know they’re trying to extend the brand into pop culture and get mainstream coverage. The Bellas represent an era that set women’s wrestling back about 20 years. So, they’re natural heels, generating real heat. The fans “want” to see Nikki get her arm broken. They “want” the Divas to be put in her place. The place will come unglued if Nikki steals the title. That’s the kind of buzz you want, and if you extend the program beyond Evolution, it helps get you through the next several months. Remember, Ronda needs a longer-form program. It doesn’t serve anyone well to have her continue to squash opponents or you’ll have no one left. She needs something longer to get her to WrestleMania and I think Ronda chasing Nikki as the heel champion fills that gap nicely.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Nikki Bella wins the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair in a “Last Woman Standing Match”

Topline Thoughts: As much as both have done a great job in building this match, it’s just not a well-told story. It will steal the show Sunday night from an in-ring standpoint, but the heel will get the pop of the night and the baby face will be booed. That’s not the correct order of things. Don’t get me wrong. Charlotte and Becky aren’t doing anything wrong here. It’s flawed booking – and it makes me less engaged as a viewer. I don’t want to see Becky “get hers.” I’m not invested in Charlotte’s quest to win the title and retaliate for all the things Becky’s done to her. All the points Becky has made actually make sense and the audience largely agrees with her. That’s the problem – you’re not supposed to agree with the heel. As well as this match has been built…think of how much better it would be if Charlotte was the arrogant heel champion and Becky was in chase mode and FINALLY wins the big one. Think of THAT payoff.

In terms of the outcome, Charlotte will eventually get the title back, but I don’t think tomorrow night is the night. Becky needs the title much more and I’m hoping for a longer run because I fear that she would flounder in the Smackdown mid-card.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Becky Lynch retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Kairi Sane defends the Women’s Championship against Shayna Bayszler

Topline Thoughts: I was at NXT Takeover Brooklyn IV when Sane won the title. Some fans have been scratching their heads, since Bayszler has been positioned so dominantly. I loved the feel-good moment of that match and helped give Sane some credibility beyond the Mae Young Classic. I’m seeing Bayszler regain the title here, but it will be a fun match, and as I said, Sane can continue to progress through the system with some level of momentum. And, most importantly, they match up well together, in that Sane can do the majority of the work and hide any limitations that Bayszler has in the ring.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Shayna Baszler wins the NXT Women’s Championship

The 2018 Mae Young Classic Finals: Toni Storm meets Io Shirai

Topline Thoughts: Admittedly, aside from a few talents, I didn’t come away from this Mae Young Classic blown away. There were some fine matches, but I enjoyed last year’s tournament more. That being said, this will be a solid match. I’m fairly certain the company is getting behind Storm to win this, given her past appearances and role on NXT UK. I did think her emotional promo at the end of the semi-finals was a nice touch, so we’ll see. I’m not sold yet, but I’ve been known to change my mind.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Toni Storm wins the 2018 Mae Young Classic

Women’s Tag Team Match: Lita and Trish Stratus meet Alicia Fox and Mickie James

Topline Thoughts: Notwithstanding Alexa Bliss’ concussion, which took her out of this match, this could have been so much more meaningful. Lita and Trish were the top female stars of the Attitude Era, so their return to the ring should mean so much more. The creative team just didn’t put enough behind it for the fans to care all that much. It will be some nice nostalgia for those that lived that era, but not much in the way of additional substance or importance beyond that.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Lita and Trish Stratus defeat Alicia Fox and Mickie James

Women’s Battle Royal/Winner Receives a Title Match

Topline Thoughts: I’m not going to list the competitors, but this is way to get everyone on the show. I do like that they put something meaningful at stake and included a nice mix of women from the past. No one jumps off the page at me, where I’d want to see them in a title match. However, I am a sucker for a good comeback story, so I’m going to take a big leap and predict 54-year Alundra Blayze. She’s not getting a title run, but I think you could do something to engage the fans in the story of the grizzled veteran with one more shot at the top.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Alundra Blayze wins the battle royal

Six-Woman Tag Team Match: Bayley, Sasha Banks and Natalya meet Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan

Topline Thoughts: Six talented competitors in one meaningless match. Think of Bayley and Sasha during their NXT days and where they are now. Think of Natalya as a worker and the program she’s in. No disrespect to anyone involved, but all six deserve better. It will be a fine match, likely opening the show, or sandwiched between two of the bigger matches – but, think of the talent being wasted here. Here’s hoping there are better plans ahead.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Bayley, Sasha Banks and Natalya defeat Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan

Follow me on Twitter: @DonThePredictor

Category: Wrestling.

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