Sunday October 28, 2018, WWE held their first ever All Women’s PPV. Before the event, I wrote several pieces about the build, about how fans reacted and about the unfortunate build to the main event and lack of build everywhere else.
After the event there wasn’t an immediate WMFR column because I honestly wanted some time to get my thoughts together, to figure out what I had to say about Evolution on a grander scale. And there are a few things that happened in the wake of the event that I feel put a lot into perspective.
The Smackdown after Evolution did not feature a women’s match. It is the third week in a row without an actual women’s match. Even in the build to Evolution WWE would not sacrifice a single men’s segment for the sake of a lauded “historic” show.
As a member of the WWE’s Fan Council I was sent a survey to find out how I felt about Evolution. Rather than giving me a ton of space to give full feedback, including my extended thoughts that I’m sure the interns are sick and tired of reading, instead half of the survey was about WWE’s partnership with Susan G. Komen during the month of October. Regardless of anyone’s feelings on Susan G. Komen as an organization, this wasn’t the time or place for those questions.
In fact, the problem is that WWE thought this was the time or place for those questions. Because women = breasts = breast cancer. It was the same problem I had with the addition of a “red carpet” for the Evolution event, because women, am I right? They like the fashion and the drama. I was asked “what’s wrong with making it feel more feminine” and I said the issue is that they thought they needed to and it felt condescending. That women won’t watch wrestling unless you “Diva” it up, while at the same time you’re asking us to cheer a woman who’s smacktalking the concept of Divas.
I guess what I’m getting at is how much it feels like so many people, a lot of them with WWE, felt like Evolution was an endgame. That’s ridiculous. Evolution by definition is an ongoing process. But even as they call Evolution “the first all women’s pay per view,” implying there will be another in the future, you have Triple H, the supposed Patron Saint of Women’s Wrestling saying he doesn’t think they should “segregate the roster” by having all women’s events going forward. Missing the point that it’s not segregating the roster to let women have their own time and space once a year, it’s necessary while your company works towards equality. And you don’t even see the need to book things 50/50 or, you know, equally.
And I’m sorry, Triple H, but this is on you, since you don’t even book NXT 50/50. When was the last time we saw more than one women’s match on a Takeover? Let me answer that for you: Brooklyn II in 2015. You can’t play lip service to equality and then not take the steps towards it. But you don’t want actual equality. You want better but you still don’t see women as being on the same level as the guys so you won’t let them be.
Let’s even be totally, harshly honest: Evolution was your move to throw people off of the scent of Crown Jewel, an event where women were forbidden to wrestle. And it didn’t even work, in part because you spent more time promoting Crown Jewel than you did Evolution. Because again, as historic as Evolution was, you saw it as less than an all-male show for Saudi Blood Money.
I wanted more than I was going to get, I wanted Evolution to prove something to the people pulling the strings. That maybe when they saw what the women could do, then they’d realize how much of a mistake they’re making by holding them back. But instead…three weeks without one of your major shows having a women’s match, and the only in-ring segment with women was promoting yet another sacrifice to your shiny new toy Ronda Rousey, who’s cool ’cause she’s not like OTHER girls, she’s totally just one of the dudes but, like, hotter. She thinks like a dude, even, in how much she genuinely seems to dislike and discard other women.
But when it comes to the actual show, to the amazing event those women gave us in spite of everything before and everything that would come after, a show that was probably the best of the year and, if you pretend Becky and Charlotte were the main event, was essentially flawless, well. I don’t even have words for how it made me feel. I actually can only get my point across one way: Becky Lynch wearing a shirt saying “I AM THE MAN.”