Trish Stratus and Lita def. Mickie James and Alicia Fox
This was probably the perfect match to open the show considering the star power involved. Plus, the crowd was hot for everything they did, so that added to my enjoyment of it as well. It's a shame Alexa Bliss wasn't medically cleared to compete in time for the pay-per-view (she has gone on record many times in the past and said how it has been her dream to share a ring with Stratus), but at least she still interfered and I could see WWE throwing her a bone at some point and giving her a one-on-one match with Stratus on another show. Despite the lackluster build, this turned into a very entertaining affair.
Nia JAx Won the Women's Battle Royal to Earn a Future Title Opportunity
This was basically every women's Battle Royal you've ever seen. That's not to say it was bad, but it didn't really stand out as anything special until the final stretch or so. There were a few rough spots here and there, but on the whole, this was a decent Battle Royal with a few fun cameos from women of the past. I've mentioned before how the Jax and Ember Moon partnership that's been happening recently did nothing for me on Raw, but it made sense to establish an alliance between the two coming into the event for their face-off here to actually mean something. I would have preferred Moon or Asuka winning over Jax, but Jax's victory does set up a rematch with her and Ronda Rousey, which we never got after Money in the Bank earlier this year.
Toni Storm def. Io Shirai to Win the 2018 Mae Young Classic
The atmosphere wasn't as electric for this as I would have liked, but I can't say I blame the fans, simply because many of them likely weren't familiar with Storm or Shirai and, after all, this wasn't Full Sail University. Nonetheless, this was a great match where they made the most of the time they had and put forth an excellent effort. Shirai is among the best women's wrestlers in the world I'd argue, but Storm was the better choice to win in my opinion. She could be the face of the new NXT UK women's division while also making frequent appearances in NXT. Time will tell whether they'll be as big of stars on the main roster one day, but they definitely have the potential to be if booked properly.
Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya def. The Riott Squad
I honestly could not have cared less about the build to this bout and expected it to on the level of what we would normally see on Raw. Much to my surprise, it ended up being a nice little match with all six Superstars holding their own and having their time to shine. It was well-wrestled and there were more false finishes than I would have thought. The babyfaces reigning supreme was hardly a shocker, though I'm not sure where they go from here.
Shayna Baszler def. Kairi SAne to Win the NXT Women's Championship
I had no doubt prior the pay-per-view that this would be one of the better bouts of the night and they definitely delivered. They had a bit more time than the Mae Young Classic competitors, but I found it to be a much more exciting encounter. These two have such strong chemistry together and the storytelling in this match was tremendous. I'm not a fan of interference in most matches, but it made total sense here with two of the other MMA Four Horsewomen (Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir) aiding Baszler to victory. I'm curious as to whether they will be an official addition to her act moving forward.
SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing Match
I've been digging this feud since it started at SummerSlam and I have yet to see a bad match between them. In fact, this was easily their strongest matchup to date. The aggression and intensity from both women was fantastic and I loved how they held nothing back, making it feel all the more personal. This was way more hardcore than I originally anticipated it being and the crowd was super into the action. Most importantly, Lynch retaining the title was a smart move. There are far more possible opponents for her (Naomi, Asuka, etc) than Flair at the moment, not to mention Lynch has been on the roll of her career as champion.
Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey def. Nikki Bella
Of course, Lynch vs. Flair was significantly better from an in-ring standpoint and should have closed out the show, but Rousey and Bella are two huge names and, to their credit, it wasn't nearly as awful as I assumed it would be. It was actually quite the competent contest with solid showings from both ladies, a good pace, and an invested crowd. Rousey holding onto the gold was the right albeit fairly predictable outcome, but for someone who hasn't been wrestling full-time in years, Nikki impressed me with her outing. As for Rousey, she continues to raise the bar every time she competes. She shouldn't be selling as much as she does for her opponents, mind you, but that's merely nitpicking.
For a pay-per-view that very little buzz beforehand (largely thanks to the company's poor buildup leading into the event), Evolution exceeded my expectations in being one of the more memorable and enjoyable WWE shows all year. The Battle Royal was sub-par (and Jax winning was a bit of a bummer), but the rest of the event featured some superb wrestling and the crowd was lively all night long. I can't recall too many WWE pay-per-views this year that left me as satisfied as Evolution did, so props to all the women involved for making this show a success. I would not at all be opposed to future installments, especially since it felt so different than everything else WWE tends to produce.