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Mike Pankow

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All women, all the time at WWE Evolution

All women, all the time at WWE Evolution

By Mike Pankow

October 25, 2018

(Editor’s note: Updates story to reflect Alexa Bliss was pulled from wrestling on WWE Evolution due to injury)

The stage was set for this Sunday’s WWE Evolution show three months ago when Stephanie McMahon and WWE brass gathered the women’s roster on the ramp during Monday Night Raw to announce the company’s first all-women’s pay-per-view.

Talk of the Women’s Revolution and Evolution was buzzing around ACE Comic Con’s recent stop in Chicago, which hosted several WWE guests, including three current women’s superstars.

“We were at home watching,” said Brie Bella during a panel at ACE Comic Con Midwest on Oct. 12 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. “I actually thought they were bringing in tag team titles for the women. I wasn’t expecting an all-women’s pay-per-view. I have goosebumps just saying it out loud. It really made me teary-eyed. Wow, this is really a historic moment for WWE.”

Brie’s sister, Nikki, who is headlining the show in a Raw Women’s Championship match against title-holder Ronda Rousey, was surprised as well.

“I was with Brie and we both were just floored,” Nikki Bella said. “I was in shock. I didn’t see it coming either. I thought we’d see women main event WrestleMania first.”

For the Bella Twins, it will be the crowning achievement of a 12-year career, which has seen them hold several Divas championships between them, star in two reality shows, initiate their own clothing line and line of wines.

For Alexa Bliss, it’s more than just a singular dream come true.

“It’s crazy, because it’s time for our women to have this moment,” Bliss said. “It didn’t start with the Women’s Revolution, it started with every woman that has ever stepped into a WWE ring. To finally have that moment with everyone is just going to be amazing. I think our women have done an amazing job to show time after time, we’ve been given the opportunity and delivered. But what’s awesome about it is it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for ‘Give Divas a chance.’ So really it happened because of all of [the fans].”

Bliss said her idols are WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus and the legendary Rey Mysterio. Bliss was slated to be involved in a tag team match at Evolution with Mickie James as her partner against Stratus and fellow WWE Hall of Famer Lita.

“I’m getting my dream match at Evolution,” said Bliss, before WWE declared pulled her from the show due to an undisclosed injury.

Bliss still scheduled to be at ringside for James and Alicia Fox, who takes Bliss’ spot in the match.

At first, Bliss was scheduled to face Stratus in a singles match and James was paired with Lita before WWE decided to combine the matches into a tag-team affair.

Bliss said she found out about her prospective match with Stratus while she was watching NXT TakeOver in her hotel room the night before SummerSlam in August.

“It was a really cool moment,” Bliss said. “It’s so exciting to get in the ring with her. I found out on Twitter by the way. I saw the picture on Twitter and thought it was Photoshopped. Then WWE tweeted it and I lost my mind. So what’s better than being in the ring with one legend [Stratus] than being in the ring with two [Stratus and Lita] and having Mickie James on my side.”

Nikki Bella will be in the spotlight for her title match against Rousey, who made her name by winning an Olympic medal in judo and becoming a UFC Hall of Famer before joining WWE.

The Bella Twins and Rousey were aligned recently in a series of six-woman tag team matches against The Riott Squad. After the Bellas and Rousey won during an Oct. 8 episode of Raw at Allstate Arena in Suburban Chicago, Nikki and Brie attacked Rousey, saying the Raw Women’s Champion was stealing their spotlight and that they were the originators of the Women’s Revolution.

“I guess that was the only way to get the match, she’s the champ,” Nikki said. “I’ve been here for 12 years, she hasn’t. I have to teach her a lesson.

“I’m going to take it to her. I’m not going to be easy.”  

The new rivalry got even hotter a week later when Rousey took digs at Nikki’s relationship with John Cena and called both twins “do-nothing Bellas.”

The Bellas were part of the women’s division a decade ago when it was christened as the “Divas division.” They have been a part of WWE throughout the evolution from the Divas to the current day.

As for Bliss, she is one of the vibrant newcomers to the Women’s Revolution, which has included an influx of talent from NXT including Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax.

Bliss joined the main roster in July 2016 when Raw and SmackDown split into separate brands. Since her callup from NXT, she already has won five women’s championships and performed in a featured match at WrestleMania 34 against Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship.

She won the Women’s Money in the Bank match in June at Allstate Arena and cashed in on Jax later that night. Bliss also was the first woman to win an Elimination Chamber match in February 2018.

“When I first saw the Chamber, I was quite terrified,” Bliss said. “You don’t realize how big and intimidating the Chamber is until you’re in there. It was amazing to have that moment with all of those women in the ring.”

Other big matches on the Evolution card include a Last Woman Standing match between SmackDown Women’s Champion Lynch and challenger Flair in what has turned to an intense rivalry over the last couple of months. There also is a six-woman tag team match with Bayley, Banks and Natalya facing The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) and a battle royal with current superstars and legends such as Alundra Blayze, Ivory and Molly Holly.

The future of the women’s division also will be display with an NXT Women’s Championship match and the final of the Mae Young Classic.

Even the male WWE talent has stood up and taken notice.

“It was long overdue,” WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins said. “The collection of women we have now is better than it’s ever been. And now we’re incorporating a lot of legends from the past. There’s just such a great crew of girls on the roster right now and the girls that had paved the way before, now is the right time to do it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what an all-women’s pay-per-view looks like. It’s going to be fantastic.”

Evolution is a culmination of the effort of every woman that has ever stepped into a WWE ring.

“That’s why Evolution is so beautiful, because it’s the women of the past, the future and the present,” Nikki Bella said.

 

For a photo gallery of WWE events at ACE Comic Con Midwest, go to: https://www.windycityslam.com/photos/

 

WWE EVOLUTION AT A GLANCE

Date, time: Sunday, Oct. 28, 6 p.m. (WWE Network); kickoff show at 5 p.m.

Site: NYCB LIVE (Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum), Uniondale, N.Y.

CARD

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella)

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte in Last Woman Standing Match

NXT Championship: Kairi Sane (c) vs. Shayna Baszler

Mae Young Classic final: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm

Alicia Fox (subbing for Alexa Bliss) & Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus & Lita

Natalya, Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)

Battle Royal (winner receives future title shot): Tamina, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Ember Moon, Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke, Asuka, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Carmella, Lana, Naomi, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Alundra Blayze, Ivory, Kelly Kelly, Maria Kanellis, Molly Holly and Zelina Vega.

WWE Superstars Seth Rollins and Alexa Bliss joined moderator Lilian Garcia at a panel at ACE Comic Con Midwest in Chicago. (Courtesy ACE Universe You Tube channel)

WWE Superstars Nikki and Brie Bella joined moderator Lilian Garcia at a panel at ACE Comic Con Midwest in Chicago. (Courtesy ACE Universe You Tube channel)

 Alexa Bliss will team with Mickie James to face the WWE Hall of Fame team of Trish Stratus and Lita at WWE Evolution on Sunday.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Alexa Bliss will team with Mickie James to face the WWE Hall of Fame team of Trish Stratus and Lita at WWE Evolution on Sunday. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

 Nikki Bella, left. (with Brie Bella in her corner) will face Ronda Rousey for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Evolution on Sunday.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Nikki Bella, left. (with Brie Bella in her corner) will face Ronda Rousey for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Evolution on Sunday. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

 Toni Storm, a competitor with NXT UK and PROGRESS Wrestling, will wrestle Io Shirai in the Mae Young Classic final Sunday at WWE Evolution.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Toni Storm, a competitor with NXT UK and PROGRESS Wrestling, will wrestle Io Shirai in the Mae Young Classic final Sunday at WWE Evolution. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

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