Opinion: (contains spoilers) For Evolution to succeed, the main roster will need to drop these 3 bad habits
WWE's Evolution pay per view, the first event in its history that will be composed entirely of women's matches, comes at a strange time. The talent in the company's women's division has never been better. Unfortunately, they haven't been utilized well. Indeed, 2018 has been the worst year for WWE's main roster women's division in at least three years.
They're going to have a lot of work to do.
Over the past two days of taping, the Mae Young Classic tournament final has been set.
In one corner, you have the consensus best female wrestler on the planet, Io Shirai. In the other, you have another world-class talent who is one of the fastest rising stars in women's wrestling, Toni Storm. The stakes are equally huge because they even go beyond the tournament title.
For Shirai, it will be an opportunity to get what should have been hers last year. For Toni Storm, it will be a chance to come back stronger following her semifinal loss last year, legitimizing herself and the NXT UK women's division in the process.
It will probably be Evolution's best match by miles, especially if current trends continue on the main roster.
Not since Charlotte Flair took on Asuka at WrestleMania has a match in WWE's main roster women's division felt like it was a truly big deal. While Ronda Rousey's presence has helped things, she's yet to be given an opponent to make for a must-see match. The feud with Alexa Bliss has unfortunately descended into trope and most viewers believe the SummerSlam match will be a squash (as it should be).
Instead, women's wrestling in WWE has regressed to Divas-centric booking, with the current champions, Alexa Bliss and Carmella, being pushed largely because of their looks, while far more talented women meander.
Sasha Banks and Bayley have had arguably the most bizarre storyline of 2018. Becky Lynch appears to have been built up just to take the fall at SummerSlam. Asuka's mystique is gone. Charlotte doesn't feel special like she did after breaking Asuka's streak. Ember Moon has done nothing of note. The list goes on and on.
If the main roster wants to compete with the Mae Young Classic final, what will probably be an excellent NXT Women's Championship match, and a similarly good NXT UK Women's Championship match, it will need to step up its game, or the pay per view will be a failure that fully illustrates that, for all the talk about "making history," nothing has truly changed with the way the main roster handles its female talent.
Here's how it can do so.
Step 1: Hit the reset button at SummerSlam
The reigns of Alexa Bliss and Carmella have been catastrophic for WWE's women's division. Someone aptly described them as essentially "the same division-destroying character."
During Alexa Bliss' long tenure on top of Raw, every babyface who has feuded with her has been gutted. Her feud with Bayley was last year's worst. Sasha Banks, already struggling, had the nails put into her coffin. Then the Raw Women's Championship wasn't defended for three months (Brock Lesnar, comparisons, anyone?). The company made the worst choice possible in having Nia Jax dethrone Bliss in a feud that contained one of the year's most terrible segments, only for her to then drop it back in a couple of months.
Her tenure on top from May of 2017 to now has been marked with stagnation, repetition, mediocre matches, and a ceiling on the other women in the division.
The same has been true of Carmella's reign, which has been even worse because she doesn't have the charisma that Alexa Bliss does. Carmella's reign has only succeeded in tanking Asuka's standing and normalizing Charlotte after her greatest triumph.
It's time for a reset. It was time for one ages ago.
At SummerSlam, Ronda Rousey should destroy Alexa Bliss and do the same in their rematch at Hell in a Cell. Likewise, even if it's not as likely, Carmella should drop her championship to one of Charlotte or Becky Lynch.
Sending Bliss and Carmella into Evolution as champions will certainly not contrast well with the Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm Mae Young Classic final.