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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

WWE Evolution: The game changer for Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and the rest of the women's division

The first ever WWE event consisting solely of women's match will firmly put Superstars such as Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch centre stage

Ronda Rousey will defend the Raw Women's Championship at WWE Evolution on October 28 in New York. Image courtesy of WWE
Ronda Rousey will defend the Raw Women's Championship at WWE Evolution on October 28 in New York. Image courtesy of WWE

The WWE are to make history on October 28 when they hold their first network special that will consist solely of women's matches.

The event is being held at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York and will be available to watch on the WWE Network.

Here is a rundown of what is going on and what to look for over the next month.

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The women's evolution

Having largely been overshadowed by the men in WWE for much of their history, the women's division has enjoyed a number of firsts in recent years as much more focus has been given to the female Superstars in the company.

The women are no longer referred to as Divas, which was the common named term for the division during the past decade until April 2016 when the main singles championship was rebranded the WWE Women's Championship.

Since the brand split between Raw and SmackDown in July 2016 there are now two women holding WWE world titles. The WWE Raw Women's Championship is currently held by Ronda Rousey, while the WWE SmackDown Championship holder is Becky Lynch.

Paul Levesque (Triple H), the WWE Executive Vice President for Talent, Live Events and Creative, said back in July that it had been a fans backlash after a women's match in 2015 had been barely given any time that had kickstarted an evolution in the business.

“Three years ago, our fans demanded a change with the hashtag, #GiveDivasAChance, and an evolution started,” he said in July. “Since that time, our female Superstars have over delivered in every opportunity presented to them.”

A number of firsts

The women's division has had a number of breakthrough moments since the summer of 2016.

Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks competed in the first ever women's Hell in a Cell match in October 2016, with Charlotte triumphing. It was also the first time a women's match had ever been the main event of a WWE network special.

The first women's Royal Rumble was held in January 2018, with Asuka the victor as she eliminated Nikki Bella last to clinch the event which involved 30 women.

The first women's Elimination Chamber was held in February 2018, with Alexa Bliss winning to retain the Raw Women's title.

Carmella in April became the first woman to cash in a Money in the Bank contract when she successfully cashed in on Charlotte to become SmackDown Women's champion.

Renee Young became the first woman to be part of the commentary team on an episode of Raw in August and that role has now become full time.

The WWE also created history in the UAE last December when a WWE women's title match was held in the country for the first time as Alexa Bliss took on Sasha Banks in Abu Dhabi.

Evolution

It was announced on Monday Night Raw on July 23 by Stephanie McMahon, the chief brand officer of WWE, that Evolution would be taking place on October 28 and it would feature only women's matches.

It has been confirmed that every women's title will be defended on the night, with the matches yet to be announced as to who the respective champions will be facing.

Both the NXT Women's title and the NXT UK Women's Championship will also be competed for, and it will also be the final of the 2018 Mae Young Classic.

Matches we know about so far

The first two confirmed matches so far see two of the WWE's female greats return to the ring.

Trish Stratus, the seven-time WWE women's champion, will return to action in a singles match for the first time in 12 years as she faces Alexa Bliss.

Meanwhile, Lita, whose last women's singles match was in November 2006, faces off with Mickie James.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that NXT Women's champion Kairi Sane will defend her title against Shayna Baszler in a rematch from their match at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV in August where Sane won the championship.

More matches should be announced in the coming weeks, with the WWE's Super Show-Down taking place in Melbourne on October 6 which could set the scene on what to expect in New York.

Matches to expect

Now this is a harder one. Ronda Rousey will almost certainly go in as Raw Women's champion, a title she won at SummerSlam.

Who she faces is unpredictable, with her most recent challenger Alexa Bliss occupied with taking on Trish Stratus. Nikki Bella or Natalya look like being the most likely opponents for the former UFC fighter.

On the SmackDown side of things, Becky Lynch is champion but she has a title defence against Charlotte Flair in Melbourne to happen before attention turns to New York.

A very likely scenario is their rivalry will carry on to Evolution, though who will hold the belt going into the event is wide open.

Keep following The National for updates on the developing matches and card for the big night in New York.