We are now in the wake of WWE’s first ever all-women’s pay-per-view. There are a lot things that can be said about it, but the most honest and the most poignant is this pointed message to the women of WWE – thank you.
The word that comes to mind that describes my feelings towards WWE Evolution will likely not surprise you. I was nervous. I was nervous that Evolution had fallen into the shadow of the now-notorious Crown Jewel and wouldn’t be able to be recognized with the amount of support that it should.
I was nervous that the hasty booking of the entire card would translate into the matches themselves, that there wouldn’t be a lot of crowd support, and that WWE had failed Evolution by leaving it on the back-burner for too long.
Now that the event is over, I’m still nervous, but this time, I’m nervous that as i sit here and type all out the thoughts I had during Evolution, I won’t be able to do justice to the marvelous, inspiring, powerful, beautiful event Evolution was.
So, on account of this, I’ll start off with but a simple thought. To everyone involved with Evolution tonight, I say simply, thank you.
I was admittedly a very late bloomer in the wrestling world. The first women’s pay-per-view match I ever watched live was AJ Lee vs. Paige for the Divas Championship at Hell In A Cell 2014. That match was all it took for me, however, and after that I would tell you readily my favorite wrestler was Paige. She was mean (she was heel then), she was tough, heck, I even have pale skin like her.
Tonight I sat and watched Paige on the pre-show panel for Evolution, wearing none other than her “This Is My House” shirt I got just in time to wear to SummerSlam 2015.
To Paige, I want to say thank you. Thank you for showing me goth girls have a place on television, and thank you for showing me it’s okay to be a geek, a freak, or a weirdo.
I then, of course, like anyone who gets a subscription to the WWE Network does, did my research. I went back and watched pay-per-views upon pay-per-views upon pay-per-views, and I became more and more acquainted with the names of the women who started it all – Alundra Blayze, Lita, Trish Stratus, Jacqueline, Ivory, and Beth Phoenix just to name a few.
To all of the women of the WWE who returned tonight at Evolution, thank you for instilling the belief in millions of little girls, and me as an at-the-time twenty-three year old woman, that we could have a place on a WWE roster.
Thank you for coming back tonight to remind us even all these years later, that you still love and are boundlessly passionate about the sport we all hold dear.
To the one woman who couldn’t be there, to my favorite woman’s wrestler of all time, Chyna – thank you showing all of us girls that we don’t have to stop at just women’s championships, and that maybe, just one day, one of us can proudly hold an Intercontinental Championship, or a Universal Championship high over our heads.
Then of course, well, I just had to go to a pay-per-view now, didn’t I? My first WWE pay-per-view wasn’t even really that, in fact. My first pay-per-view was NXT Takeover Brooklyn, the original, where I got to witness first hand as Bayley won the NXT Women’s Championship from Sasha banks in what is widely considered one of the best matches in NXT history, if the the best.
To Sasha Banks, thank you for crying in every single promo you did about Evolution. Thank you for showing us that you can never get too big, and you can never be to successful to allow yourself to succumb to the power and to the emotion of professional wrestling, and that the passion we feel as fans never goes away, even when you’re the champion.
As I sit here now, a little over four years to the day from my first WWE pay-per-view, I am in awe of the evolution, true in every sense of the word, that women in professional wrestling have gone through.
I am in awe of the crowd tonight at Nassau Colosseum, a train-ride away from my home in New York City. Thank you Nassau Colosseum, for loving women’s wrestling so much and showing all of us at home watching and all of the women performing how elevated the show can be when the fans are positive and love what they’re watching.
Thank you to Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair for your nearly-thirty-minute Last Woman Standing match, and for proving that not only can women be simply strong, but they can be relentless, they can handle even the deepest of betrayals and the nastiest of blows.
Thank you Nikki and Brie Bella for adapting to the game in any way you can. Thank you for showing us all that you can be a wrestler, a mother, an entrepreneur, a TV star, and that you never have to define yourself as only one thing.
Thank you to Ronda Rousey for never letting your fame hinder the love and appreciation you have for professional wrestling.
Thank you to women like Zelina Vega, AJ Lee, Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and Carmella, for holding it down for women in the tri-state era (even if it is in kayfabe), and showing me that champions can come from my hometown too.
This has really just become a mushy love-letter to the women of WWE, but the sentiment will always be the same and the passion behind the words will always be strong.
Evolution meant a lot to a whole lot of people watching tonight, a whole lot of women who rode the wave of ups and downs women in the WWE faced. This was a victory for you, and in a lot of ways a victory for us watching.
Thank you for never giving up, thank you for never settling, for fighting for what you deserve, and for never letting the people who tear you down stop you. You have helped instill in us a very powerful message – everything you’re capable of, everything you accomplish, everything you are is defined only by you.
Thank you for reminding me and the countless other women who watch you week-after-week why we look up to you.
Thank you for being you.