Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Evolution 2 – The El Dorado of women’s wrestling

Another year is coming to a close, and Evolution 2 remains nowhere to be seen. This year was the second anniversary of Evolution, WWE’s first-ever all-women pay-per-view. The event was a resounding success as it featured WWE Superstars, legends and trailblazers all involved.

Matches such as Trish Stratus and Lita versus Alicia Fox and Mickie James made fantastic viewing, and the 20 Women Battle Royal hosted Ivory, Alundra Blayze, and Molly Holly in the same ring as Asuka, Sonya Deville and Naomi.

Nikki Bella challenged Ronda Rousey for the RAW Women’s Championship. A match which as of the time of writing, was at 63 million views on YouTube.

Becky Lynch defended the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair in a brutal Last Woman Standing match.

The card also featured the stars of tomorrow as Toni Storm became the second Mae Young Classic winner and Shayna Baszler defeated Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship.

The show was critically acclaimed and loved by fans worldwide. However, two years on, WWE is yet to replicate it or even commit do ever doing it again.

WWE Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon and Executive Vice President, Triple H have both commented on a potential sequel but only when asked and it has yet to progress any further than that.

Fans and wrestlers alike have been calling out for Evolution 2 for some time. There were also rumours about a “Queen of the Ring” tournament. The event was supposed to take place in 2019 as a follow up to Evolution but is yet to come into fruition.

In a recent interview with Pro Sieben MAXX, SmackDown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks said;

“I think a whole Queen of the Ring tournament for a whole pay-per-view itself would be really cool, but I’ve been waiting for Evolution 2 for a very long time, so maybe we can do that first, and maybe we can start little matches at Evolution for the Queen of the Ring Tournament. Maybe something like that can happen.”

Credit: WWE
For some reason/s, fans are still left waiting for another event of this kind.

In this article, we will look at the possible reasons why WWE Evolution 2 hasn’t taken place.

The Greatest Royal Rumble.

In March 2018 when WWE announced their multi-year deal with the Saudi General Sports Authority. This 10-year deal would have WWE host several WrestleMania style events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia per year.

The response to the news from fans and media was widespread disdain and negativity. The backlash WWE received was due to the extreme and archaic views of the country’s rules towards women especially. In Saudi Arabia, women are still unable to work. Therefore women wrestlers and talent could not perform on the shows.

The Saudi decision and the inability to have women to be part of the shows went against everything WWE had been championing since 2015 when the “Women’s Evolution” began. With the arrival of Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch WWE had been pushing and elevating their women’s division to the forefront of their programming.

Credit: WWE

WWE would defend the Saudi partnership by stating that they were “pushing for change” in the hope that women will one day be able to perform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A few weeks later the company announced Evolution would take place later on that year in November. The announcement was well-received with overwhelming support because it celebrated and validated the women wrestlers of the past, present, and future. But the decision to run the show was most likely to quell the backlash of the Saudi deal as it was to celebrate the women’s division.

The fact that WWE has never even hinted at doing another Evolution certainly adds weight to that point.

Despite the disappointing lack of another all-female based show, Evolution did kick off the second phase of WWE’s “Women’s Evolution.”

Main Event Players.

At the time of Evolution, only one women’s match had headlined a WWE pay-per-view, Hell in a Cell 2016. The year following Evolution saw Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Ronda Rousey make history and headline WrestleMania 35. Since then stars like Sasha Banks, Bayley, Asuka and Shayna Baszler have all closed out several WWE shows.

Women are now main event players in WWE, and their matches are expected to be the main event of WWE shows. The roster is still a long way off from being viewed and booked as equal to their male counterparts but the “Women’s Evolution” and all that came before it, laid the foundations to change women’s wrestling in WWE for the better.

As to why WWE are yet to express any interest or desire to host another ground-breaking event of this kind remains unknown, one can only guess the reasons. It may be possible that the company believes that Evolution accomplished its goal as establishing women as WWE main-eventers, and therefore, a second Evolution is unnecessary.

WWE Made history in Saudi Arabia.

Another reason that Evolution 2 is not happening is, once again the deal with Saudi Arabia. The following year, WWE headed back to the Middle East, which seemed to take Evolution 2 off the table. In a 2019 interview with Bleacher Report, Stephanie McMahon said;

“A lot of our focus has been on having this particular match as a part of this PPV in Saudi Arabia. More to come on Evolution but it’s most likely not going to happen in 2019.”

The match in question was Lacey Evans vs Natalya in the first-ever women’s in Saudi Arabia.
Credit: WWE

Its was a historic moment and one that Bayley and Naomi would experience several months later. These performances have allowed WWE to achieve that change they pushed for in the Middle East. Is it possible that WWE believes that now women are a part of these shows, a home-based, all-woman event is no longer required?

Another major factor for Evolution taking place was Ronda Rousey.

The former UFC legend was huge for crossover appeal and therefore everything that WWE loves about signing mainstream talent. Rousey was (and still is) a marquee name that brought eyes to the product, especially those of the mainstream media.

Despite Rousey’s success in WWE, a couple of months after Evolution she left and is yet to return. Her absence from WWE television left a mainstream sized hole in the women’s division. It could be a coincidence but Rousey’s hiatus may have played a part as to why WWE are so hesitant to produce another all-female event.

To conclude, WWE Evolution was a unique and much-needed event.

The show celebrated the past, present and future of women’s wrestling in the company. It was a special time and one that will be remembered always. It would be fantastic to see a second part or further edition of the event. But for now, it seems as though only 2018 was the year of Evolution. However, there is always a chance WWE will revisit the show one day. As they have taught us over the years, never say never in WWE.

What are your opinions as to why Evolution 2 is yet to materialise? Let us know in the comments below.

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