At the beginning of 2018, WWE fans were promised that we wouldn't be peppered with so many PPVs this year. A surprising commitment to make since Vince McMahon has proved time and time again that he thinks less is more. It's a promise that has been kept, to an extent. There have been fewer PPVs in 2018 due to most of them being dual-branded, but WWE has found a loophole when it comes to big international shows. There was a point a couple of months ago where it felt like there was a PPV or a big show almost every week. Not only will this rundown only include PPVs because the big shows don't qualify, but none of those international shows were very good anyway.
There has been a lot of history made on WWE's PPVs, and that started with the very first one of the year, Royal Rumble. The Royal Rumble match after which the PPV is named is always one of the most anticipated bouts of the year. That's because there are always surprises, returning stars, and the winner gets a title shot at WrestleMania. What better way to make it an even more anticipated PPV than to add a second Rumble? That's what happened this year. For the first time ever, we got an all-women's Royal Rumble match. It made the PPV unforgettable and we can't wait to do it all again next month.
As you will hopefully remember, Asuka won that iconic first female Royal Rumble match. She eventually revealed that she would be cashing in that title shot against SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, even though The Empress was on Raw at the time. The two of them put on a match so good at WrestleMania 34 that it solidified the belief WWE has women capable of headling the biggest show of the year. If that wasn't enough, Ronda Rousey proved how talented she is in her wrestling debut on the same show. Her match with Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon along with Flair versus Asuka are the reasons WrestleMania 34 will be remembered for years to come.
You may have already started to notice a pretty clear pattern emerging here. WWE's women basically carried the company this year, especially when it comes to PPVs. Just one of the reasons the two shows in Saudi Arabia were so bad. It's also why our pick for the best WWE PPV of 2018 is Evolution. The first ever all women's PPV in WWE history and it was every bit as good as we hoped it would be. It's also the first chance we have gotten to heap praise on Becky Lynch. Her Last Woman Standing match with Flair might well have been the match of the year in WWE. Rousey once again managed to prove all of her doubters wrong as her main event match with Nikki Bella surpassed all expectations. We hope more than anything that Evolution becomes an annual WWE tradition.
Even though we were peppered with big shows and events throughout October and November, the PPVs still delivered. Evolution was terrific and so was Survivor Series. Granted, not everything on the Survivor Series card was great, but the matches that mattered were. In particular, Flair versus Rousey and Brock Lesnar versus Daniel Bryan. That's right, shock horror, some male Superstars actually had an okay year too. We were reminded for the first time in a long time that when he wants to, Lesnar can be an outstanding wrestler. His match with Bryan was The Beast's best performance since he returned in 2012. It was the perfect way to close out what was an extremely entertaining Survivor Series.
As you can see, and as we have touched upon numerous times above, WWE has a lot to thank its women for in 2018. They have made some of the year's PPVs fantastic shows. It wasn't all about the females of course as Bryan and Lesnar demonstrated at Survivor Series. Even though none of the shows they fought on made the cut, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe's performances deserve an honorable mention too. What we are hoping for is the explosive beginning to the PPV year we had in 2018 to be repeated, or maybe even bettered, in 2019. WWE has well over a month to build to Royal Rumble, here's hoping they use that time to make it even better than anything they gave us in 2018.