In the words of the immortal Gorilla Monsoon, history will indeed be made on Sunday night in Uniondale, New York. It’s finally time for the women of WWE to have the stage all to themselves as WWE Evolution is set to take place. The historic all-women’s event will feature WWE female superstars from the past, present and even the future as Evolution commences inside the Nassau Coliseum.
Evolution will begin at 7 p.m. ET with the show expected to last anywhere from 3.5-4 hours not counting the kickoff show and red carpet special, which starts one hour prior to the main card at 6 p.m. CBS Sports will be with you the entire way on Sunday with live results, highlights and analysis.
For now, let’s take a look at how our experts believe Evolution will play out. For an audio preview of the show, along with an interview with Nikki Bella and thoughts on both Roman Reigns’ reveal and Dean Ambrose’s big turn, hit the podcast below and be sure to click the subscribe link.
2018 WWE Evolution predictions
2018 Mae Young Classic Final: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm
Brian Campbell, Adam Silverstein, Jack Jorgensen: This one really could go either way, and I would certainly not be upset to see Shirai win the Mae Young Classic. That said, it is pretty clear that WWE is all-in with Storm if you go by the way Michael Cole has put her over throughout the MYC. Two of the greatest women’s wrestlers in the world, I expect this match to steal the show or come a close second to the SmackDown main event. Storm with a victory would be a great challenger for Shayna Baszler (who I think picks up the NXT title on Sunday) and top face of the NXT women’s division. Shirai will have plenty of big wins and moments ahead of her, too. Pick: Toni Storm wins
Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya vs. The Riott Squad
BC, AS, JJ: It would seem to be a given that Sasha Banks and Bayley go over on this show, but this is not a tag team match or a women’s tag team title match — seriously, how were those not created with a champion decided at this event? Instead, it’s a meaningless six-woman tag against a trio that is actually established and works well together. From a storyline standpoint, it would make much more sense for Riott Squad to come out with a victory (pinning Natalya or rolling up Bayley) than it would for a returning Banks and a mis-mash team picking up a win here. Plus, I have a feeling WWE will need to find some spots for heels to go over on the show. Pick: Riott Squad wins
Women’s Battle Royal
AS, JJ: For all of WWE’s flaws as it pertains to call-ups from the NXT brand, I’m happy to admit that I’m rather happy with the way they’ve sort of protected Ember Moon. It’ll be a nice bit of nostalgia to see the women from the past featured here in this match, and they rightfully deserve some sort of placement on this card Sunday night. However, with the title shot on either brand being up for grabs in this battle royal, the winning nod should go to an active woman — that woman being Moon. Probably the most entertaining way for Moon to earn the victory would be to have her eliminate the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble winner, and unquestionably her most formidable foe down in NXT and the woman she just simply could not defeat, Asuka. Pick: Ember Moon wins the battle royal
BC: It’s difficult to know what to make of this battle royal other than it being a catch-all for legends and top current talent that were surprisingly not given their own showcase opportunity on the eight-match card. While the stipulation of the winner getting something akin to “a future world title opportunity” is better than nothing, it’s still fairly generic and doesn’t do much to raise the anticipation level for the match (neither has the sloppy build on Raw and SmackDown of late). Maybe it’s the fact that the match comes in the same calendar year as the first women’s Royal Rumble match, thus giving it a watered down feel. Either way, the one name most deserving of a main roster title run in the mix is Asuka, whose main roster presentation has dipped dramatically after she exited NXT with a famed unbeaten streak only to see it snapped at WrestleMania and forgotten (along with her initial push). Asuka may have her moments as a comedic act now and then, but it’s a poor substitute for what she’s truly capable of. Pick: Asuka wins the battle royal
NXT Women’s Championship: Kairi Sane (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
BC, AS: If Becky Lynch’s run as a heel has been one of WWE’s biggest bright spots in 2018, so has the dastardly exceptional work turned in by Baszler as NXT’s top bully. The former champion and MMA women’s pioneer has taken to the change in careers as if she’s a natural, and holds some serious main roster potential despite her advanced age thanks to her real-life friendship with Ronda Rousey (particularly should Rousey turn heel). Until then, Baszler is simply too good to keep the title off of her despite a fairly strong run by Sane throughout this feud. Pick: Shayna Baszler regains the title
JJ: This is tough because do I believe that Baszler should regain the championship back? In a way, yes. However, I can’t shake the feeling that Baszler is main roster-bound sooner rather than later, possibly along with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, who have been getting their work in at the Performance Center though not appearing on television. There are more than enough big-time challengers for Sane down in NXT (looking at you, Bianca Belair), so it’s time to get Baszler up to the big time so we can finally find out in what capacity she’ll engage with Four Horsewomen mate Ronda Rousey. Pick: Kairi Sane retains the title
Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
BC, AS, JJ: The status of Alexa Bliss’ health continues to be a factor as we draw closer to this match, with Alicia Fox likely to be tabbed as the replacement if needed after she attacked the pair of legends on Monday’s go-home episode of Raw. This match should be fun to see Lita & Stratus team up and get a well-deserved pop as legends who set new standards for women’s wrestling during a time when the division was even more than an afterthought. But with that said, the build to this one has been stale and forced. As long as the match is kept short and the babyfaces are given their time to shine, there won’t be much to complain about. Pick: Trish Stratus & Lita
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
BC, AS: Credit these two “former” best friends with producing one of the finest WWE women’s feuds in years. Not only has the intensity and physicality been on point, but Lynch’s interpretation of a heel has raised her ceiling of potential to unforeseen levels. Simply put: she’s amazing. In fact, she’s almost too good at her job at the moment to ever consider WWE taking her title away. Which is probably, in part, exactly why they will. Not only does a first women’s PPV need at least one title change, a quick flip back to Flair gives her a chance to continue to build closer to one day eclipsing the WWE mark shared by John Cena and her father Ric Flair with 16 total world title reigns. Should Flair, who has been getting booed as a babyface only because Lynch is really that over, end up taking part in a double turn to do so, this feud will only get better. Pick: Charlotte Flair regains the title
JJ: I was convinced for the longest time that Evolution would feature a shining moment for Flair, the unquestioned standard bearer for the women today. I’m happy to say that my mind has changed with the rise of Lynch’s incredible heel character that has vaulted her into another stratosphere. I believe plans did change, and Lynch will retain the title one way or another, carrying on with this character as she takes on her next challenge. All probably won’t be lost for Flair, though, as she gets ready to likely win the Royal Rumble in January to set up her WrestleMania showdown with Ronda Rousey on Raw. Pick: Becky Lynch retains the title
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella
BC, AS, JJ: There is a case to be made that putting the title on Bella would be a great move as it would allow Rousey to chase for a bit and continue a hot storyline between the two biggest women in the company outside of the squared circle. That said, Evolution is all about the transition to the new style of women on the roster, and Bella (while she gets a lot of unfair grief and was more of a crossover performer than a pretty face) still represents the “divas.” Plus, it makes plenty of sense for Rousey to continue her dominant title reign and take the championship into WrestleMania or even beyond. Pick: Ronda Rousey retains the title
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