This’ll be nothing short of amazing.
I’ve not written about WWE for well over a year-and-a-half on here. Not since that amazing night when Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or the actual, genuine shock of Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak going up in flames thanks to Brock Lesnar.
I’ve kept this blog mainly about games, along with one or two other things. And that’s not including My Favourite Game when I say that (MFG has a new home in case you’re a regular reader here, so check it out here – Season 3 starts tonight!). And a lot has happened in a personal sense over that year-and-a-half for me, as I’ve already written about on here a few times.
What hasn’t changed unfortunately is the state of women’s wrestling in the WWE. Actually, before I get into that, I should rewind and give some context to this.
Back in the early-to-mid naughties, you had amazing wrestlers like Trish Stratus and Lita who had an amazing on-and-off rivalry and could put on some great matches (the pair even main evented a Monday Night Raw in 2004 for a title match – unfortunately a rare sight now in the ‘E). Unfortunately, back when it was known as the Ruthless Aggression era, there was also what was known as ‘Bra and Panties’ matches among other women’s wrestlers at that time. And well… you go figure that one out.
WWE has moved on from the Bra and Panties matches since then, thankfully, but it still treats woman’s wrestling as an afterthought compared to the men’s roster.
Since July, it has been invoking what it likes to call a ‘Diva’s revolution’, inspired by the likes of Serena Williams’ almost calendar grand slam, the US Women’s Football team winning the World Cup and Ronda Rousey’s continued success in UFC, among other things by calling up three of the biggest women’s talent in WWE developmental talent: Charlotte, Becky Lynch (please give her the title at somepoint) and then NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Unfortunately, without going into it too much, it’s getting a lot of things so much wrong. Not so much on the part of the talent – mostly – but through the booking of them.
Thankfully, NXT – WWE’s developmental region – treats the women as if they are on par with the men and manages to get women’s wrestling so, so, so right. A lot of that is not just down to the booking, but how the women are trained with all the plaudits – rightfully – going towards trainer Sara Del Ray, who’s cited as a big reason, if not THE big reason, why it’s as great as it is. Over the past year or so, women’s wrestling in NXT, especially title matches, have been utterly fantastic (on that note, read this excellent two–part article on why the belt has been booked so well and an additional piece of Bayley – Banks’ feud).
In fact, the Fatal 4 Way at NXT Takeover Rival for the Women’s Championship was easily in contention for Match of the Year alongside the likes of Kevin Owens vs John Cena at Elimination Chamber and Brock Lesnar vs John Cena vs Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble.
Then NXT Takeover Brooklyn happened.
To say the match between the happy go lucky underdog Bayley and the arrogant, no-bullshit taking champion Sasha Banks was amazing would an understatement and actually feels like I’d be underselling it. So if you even have the vaguest of vague interests in wrestling, sign up to the WWE Network (you get your first month free so basically cancel at anytime if you want – best not to until after tonight at least, though) and then watch NXT Takeover Brookyln and see what was a game-changer of a match.
To also say the match between Bayley and Banks was a match of the year contender would be underselling it because it’s not even a contender. It’s already won it regardless of what happens tonight at NXT Takeover Respect when the two meet one more time in a 30 minute IronMan match, the first even time the stipulation has been used in a women’s match. Which doesn’t seem like much when the men have had 60 minute matches, but gotta start somewhere, I guess.
But for me, it showed how much potential women’s wrestling could have if given ample time, unlike in the main roster, although to be fair, compared to a year ago, its better, but still needs a lot of work done. It was two women, leaving it all in the ring with incredible talent and passion for what they do, something the pair of them wrote about at length as kids and furthermore came across in a big way in the recent WWE 24 special on the Network.
For me, Bayey – Sasha Banks at Takeover Brookyln was the greatest wrestling match I’ve ever seen as someone who’s been into WWE for the best part of fifteen years (and I say that as someone who plans on taking a break from the ‘E after tonight considering how stale its gotten on Raw lately). And there’s been some amazing matches in the past fifteen years – Taker/Michaels at Wrestlemania, Cena/CM Punk at Money in the Bank/Raw 2013 or Daniel Bryan/Triple H at last year’s Wrestlemania, to name some of the matches that stood out for me.
And not only that, its being billed as a match to actually give a shit about. One of the main things that annoyed me about Takeover Brooklyn was that it was given ‘co-main event status’ with the NXT Championship match between Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, which seemed like pandering a bit. This time, Bayley – Banks is billed as THE main event, the actual final match of the evening.
Plus, I dare you not to feel something after watching this.
To say this match will have an incredible amount of significance is, again, an understatement, not just in terms how this incredible feud will end (for now until Bayley gets called up), but could be the straw that broke the camel’s back and started something proper that in a big way shake up the women’s division on the main roster (or maybe it won’t because VKMLOL).
But even if it doesn’t surpass the incredible match in New York two months ago, it should in its own merits still be an amazing match between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
I. Genuinely. Can’t. Wait.