Like, what else can you say?
They always say the sequel is more disappointing than the original. This was far from it.
Bayley – Sasha Banks more than lived up the main event billing for NXT Takeover Respect in the biggest possible way in the first ever women’s Ironman match. It lived up to the hype and the build WWE was building around the match since it was first announced following the aftermath of their incredible first match at NXT Takeover Brooklyn.
There was a tense and nervy few minutes in the early going because of nerves and understandably so. This was following up a match that will go down as one of the best in wrestling history. It was evident on Banks and Bayley’s faces as they were getting ready to go out there. But once they got out there and shaken the nerves off, it picked up.
There was one or two minor botches, including a bit of a big one on Banks. And it’s not the first time that’s happened to her, this happened in Brooklyn too, so if she’s not careful, it could end up shortening her career or significantly injuring her.
And compared to Takeover Brooklyn, which was about a match between the incredibly heelish champion proving she was the best and the underdog challenger who had come back to prove herself following being out for a period due to actual injury with the latter coming through to triumph and take the win in the greatest way, this was about the former reclaiming what was rightfully hers and the latter proving herself and to her rival she deservedly the title and her last win wasn’t a fluke. So on that instance, that slightly diluted it. But only slightly.
Because otherwise, after those first few minutes, this was a match that had some proper back and forth, immense psychology and some incredible spots all through the rest of the match.
I went through some of my E’-loving games industry peers’ Twitters this morning to see if they had seen it yet and had tweeted out what they had thought of the match. None had as of writing this, but there was a tweet from last night after the WWE 24 documentary of NXT Takeover Brooklyn had aired that stood out for me.
Not. Gonna. Happen. Not so much the Sasha Banks getting the title and hold it forever. As far as I’m concerned, she’s gonna get it before the end of the year and hold it for a good while, I reckon. And it would be massively, massively deserved. But the whole Ronda Rousey thing? Mmm, I don’t see that happening.
Mainly because Sasha showed last night she is one of the best heels in the business by taking a hairband from a well-known within the IWC (internet wrestling community) young Bayley fan in attendance, winding her up about it and then throwing it back to her. Oh and literally causing her to cry? Priceless.
It was evil. So, so incredibly evil. It was perfect. It attracted most, if not all of the heat, for The Boss, with the crowd in Full Sail. It lived up to her character. It was a beautiful piece of character that showed who she truly was. There was even chants for the young girl at one point. Kevin Owens, you’ve been put on notice.
As the end approached with 2-2 on the board and about 90 seconds left of the half-hour given to the match, the only outcome that couldn’t be predicted was if Bayley was going to get the decisive pinfall before the allotted half-hour was up or whether we went to sudden death. Before the match, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel if it did go into overtime, but on the evidence of what would have happened in the previous 30 minutes, I would have been fine with it.
In the end, overtime wasn’t needed. Bayley got a submission decision on Banks’ hand, injured earlier in the match in a callback to Banks trying to injure Bayley’s hand in August, with three seconds left on the clock and won it 3-2. And with that, ended what was an absolutely incredible match.
I’m still not quite sure if I was a fan of the pageantry at the end, but I understand why it was done. And you could see afterwards how much it meant to both competitors. Especially to Sasha Banks, who had just literally collapsed in tears with the crowd chanting ‘match of year’ and ‘thank you, Sasha’.
This is after all two girls who wanted to be with the WWE and legitimise women’s wrestling in a period where bra and panties matches seemed more of the norm (if you haven’t read their essays on why they want to wrestle in the WWE, read this – it genuinely shows the passion the pair have had).
Better than the match at Takeover Brooklyn? Nah. There was the little things above I mentioned. Plus, that match felt more of a catalyst in actually instilling change in women’s wrestling than this did, the one that lead to last night’s match being an Ironman match. But don’t get it twisted. Both women delivered in the biggest possible way on not only the build WWE was giving the match since it was first announced, but the hype too.
Every chant both Bayley and Sasha Banks got last night, they both deserved in the biggest and best possible way. They showed the rest of the talent of both sexes (with the exception of Charlotte and Becky Lynch because they’re already legit) on the main roster how to put on a match and how to put on that kind of main event.
Even though we’re less than twelve hours removed from the match, I’m gonna go ahead and say I genuinely can’t wait for Bayley to get called up the night after Wrestlemania (oh you know it’s gonna happen) so these two can go at it again on the main roster.
To go one further, the pair of them have now been involved in my top three matches of the year – Takeover Brookyln, last night at Takeover Respect and the Fatal 4 Way along with Charlotte and Becky Lynch at Takeover Rival.
These two will be genuine superstars on the main roster if they’re given all the room in the world to go for it. Whether they’ll be able to do that in the current regime with Vince McMahon still in charge and not Triple H is another matter.
But either way, if the past two matches are as good as they get from Bayley and Sasha Banks – and I think I can speak for everyone who likes wrestling when I say I bloody hope it isn’t – then let it be said they put on two incredible performances. Wake up proud, ladies, you did yourselves proud.