Evolution stands tall on Ultimate Warrior tribute night

For weeks, people have been referring to Daniel Bryan's quest to overcome not just Triple H, but Randy Orton and Batista, as his fight against Evolution. Finally at the end of the Monday night, the WWE gave them back their name.

In the main event of Raw, The Shield faced 11 of the mid-card heels, ranging from Jack Swagger to 3MB. While the match ended in a no-contest, the heels got the numbers advantage and beat down the three members of the Shield. As they all stood tall, music we haven't heard in nearly a decade played, as the three made their way down the ramp, and then hit their finishers, before taunting with a “Believe in Evolution” line (which I found particularly amusing).

Evolution, in my mind, may be one of the more underrated factions in wrestling history. Despite many factions trying, it's the closest to being the Four Horsemen, which isn't that big a shock considering Ric Flair was part of both. However, what it did best was elevate all four members. So many stables fail at elevating every member, but all four, including Ric Flair, looked better because of Evolution. If they hadn't pulled the trigger to break them up so soon, I wonder if people would remember it as an all-time great faction, up there with the Horsemen and the New World Order.

Now that they are officially back together, entrance theme and all (which is an excellent theme by the way), the question is if they are simply back as a foil to The Shield, or if they will try to return long-term, and possibly add a fourth member. If they do, one of the members of The Shield, either Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins, would make a lot of sense. However, my guess is that this will be a short-term reunion just until the feud with The Shield ends (though I do expect this to last more than one pay-per-view).

The rest of RAW:

-- The night, as expected, became a tribute to The Ultimate Warrior. The show started with the entire roster on stage, most wearing a Warrior shirt, while they played a tribute video and gave him a 10-bell salute. They showed video of some of his biggest moments throughout the night. Some of the wrestlers had their own tributes throughout the night, whether it was the Usos modifying their facepaint to look like Warrior's, or them shaking the rope (Seth Rollins also shook the ropes), or Batista pointing to the sky after his pyro went off. One really nice touch was that it looked like they handed out Warrior masks to everyone in attendance. While the WWE can be accused of being insensitive at times, when tragedy happens, they usually can get it right and Monday night was no different.

-- The WWE started an 8-man tournament to determine the No. 1 contender to the Intercontinental title. Hypothetically, this should elevate the winner of the tournament, and if they win, elevate the title. We'll have to see if that happens, and it will entirely depend on how the booking goes after they win the title. The WWE needs a solid secondary title now that they've unified the world titles, so if they can properly elevate the IC title, that will go a long way to raising the midcard. Cesaro, who beat Mark Henry on Monday, has to be considered the favorite to win, and he would certainly be someone that could elevate the belt.

-- The other winners on Monday were Rob Van Dam, who beat Alberto Del Rio in a solid match, minus a pretty bad botch at one point; Sheamus, who beat Swagger, despite Swagger looking very strong; and Bad News Barrett, who beat Dolph Ziggler and got some mic time after. You have to think it will be Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the finals, before Cesaro goes over.

-- Speaking of Cesaro, Heyman went on and on before his match about Lesnar beating The Streak. Beating the fans over the head with the fact that Lesnar won is a good way to make sure Heyman, and in turn Cesaro, gets booed, and the crowd was very split during his match.

-- The Wyatts continue to torment John Cena. Bray gave another great promo, where he called Cena a liar and said he wanted to play with him some more. Cena came out, and started with an extremely interesting line. Cena said, “The last thing I need is another push, nobody wants to see that.” We know Cena can be self-deprecating at times, but that line was very much out of nowhere, and seemed to be said simply as a wink towards the crowd as part of this “Reality Era.” It will be interesting to see if Cena continues making comments like that. By the end of the segment, Cena challenged Bray Wyatt to a Cage Match, and Bray accepted.

-- Paige had her second match on the main roster, defending against Alicia Fox. I'm still not impressed with how they're using her. She was great on NXT as, quite frankly, a badass who would take on all comers. For the second straight match, she was dominated for most of the match, though at least this time she got in a series of moves. She won with her Scorpion Crosslock, which you need to see if you haven't yet. Hopefully as her reign continues, she starts to look better. Alicia Fox actually looked very decent in this match.

-- Stephanie dressed down Kane, yelling at him due to his incompetence. She said she wanted the “Devil's Favorite Demon” back, and not what we were seeing now. The segment ended with him taking his mask back out of the case, so it seems like we're getting masked Kane back.

-- Alexander Rusev had another impressive squash match, beating Xavier Woods, and then beating down R-Truth after the match. Rusev could be the new Umaga, and despite the fact that some people didn't like Umaga, I mean that as a compliment. Umaga was way more athletic than he looked, could work a solid match, but also had the size and ability to portray a monster heel.

-- Both Bo Dallas and Adam Rose had more promos. I hope they continue the promos for Bo for a while, as I think to properly understand his gimmick, and embrace (and hate) his character, they need to beat you over the head with it. I'm curious to see how long before Adam Rose debuts, as I think his build is less about introducing the character to the masses, as his character is pretty obvious, and more about simply getting him ready for this debut.

-- Damien Sandow got some mic time, before being punched in the face by Big Show. While most people viewed this as a needless squash, I think it's actually a good sign for Sandow fans that he's getting that mic time. The more mic time he gets, the more chances he'll have to get over again.

-- Fandango and his new partner Layla beat Santino and Emma. It will be interesting to see what they do with Summer Rae now that she's out on her on. Will she find a partner to go after Fandango, or will she go solo into the divas division?

-- Ryback and Curtis Axel beat the Rhodes brothers.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad