When you are a wrestling fan, you catch a lot of flack from your friends. They make fun of you for various reasons about the entire idea of pro wrestling. And there are a lot of times when it can be tough to defend the product. Sometimes you just see the product on TV and shake your head at it. You know it can be better. You know that because there are certain reasons that you became a wrestling fan, and most of those reasons had to do with the character or story being something special. It was something that captivated you and drew you to the product. Over the past couple of years, stories and characters like that have been lacking in the WWE. But over the past few months, that has changed thanks to two women.
Enter Sasha Banks and Bayley.
If you watch RAW on a regular basis, you know that the product has not been good lately. It has been borderline unwatchable at times. As wrestling fans, we are always looking for a new story or character to attach ourselves to. On RAW, they don’t dedicate enough time to new characters, and that hurts the wrestling fans’ ability to properly connect to them. RAW has three hours to try and develop characters and stories, but they never do a good job of it. At NXT, they have one hour shows and do a much better job. And the Sasha Banks/Bayley story is a prime example of that.
Bayley and Sasha Banks are the complete opposite when it comes to their characters. Bayley is the underdog who the fans want to see succeed. She’s a wrestler, but deep down she is a kid at heart and someone who has always been a fan of pro wrestling. But her character is set perfectly to the point where it is never over-bearing or unlikable. Sasha Banks, on the other hand, is the cocky heel who knows she is good. She knows she is the best in the business and doesn’t let anyone tell her otherwise. With both women having two completely opposite characters, it seems almost natural that they would mesh so well together in a storyline.
Both women had interacted in storylines before, but they finally came one-on-one this past summer. Sasha Banks had been dominated the women’s division in NXT. Bayley came back from a hand injury and went on to beat Emma, Charlotte and Becky Lynch to become the #1 Contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. The build up to the match at NXT Takeover was good. I loved Sasha’s line during the contract signing, “Fairy Tales don’t have happy endings.” Sasha pushed Bayley enough to send her over the edge and show a little bit of aggression at the end.
And then the match happened. It was a combination of all the right pieces coming into place. The setting, the atmosphere, the polar opposite characters, it all made for a perfect story in the ring. And both women told a phenomenal story inside of the squared circle. Sasha worked over Bayley’s injured hand, but Bayley’s never say die underdog attitude was not about to give up. For me, I still think it is my Match of the Year in the WWE. Bayley won the NXT Women’s Championship in a great moment. If you are reading this and for some reason haven’t seen this match yet, go do it right now.
Now if this were the main roster, they would just go about with a rematch like they do every other time. But no, they added another layer to the story. Sasha Banks told Bayley that Bayley earned her respect, and she was great for one night, but Bayley still wasn’t Sasha Banks. They both agreed to a rematch, and the ironman stipulation made it that much more exciting. The added layer to the story made it even more interesting than the first time as far as build up goes. Another great video package and the footage from WWE24 was very well done.
There were some skeptics about how both women would do in the ironman match setting, but I thought they told a great story. It wasn’t as good as Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. I loved the counters to the moves used from the previous match. Sasha going back to full heel mode and taking Izzy’s headband was a great spot. They had me captivated from start to finish. The winner was pretty predictable, but sometimes keeping it simple can be the best story.
So after that little review of the Bayley/Sasha Banks rivalry, I just wanted to tell both of them one thing: Thank You. Thank You for once again for reminding why I started to watch pro wrestling in the first place. The story they have told over the last few months has been some of the best story telling I have seen in recent years. These two women pulled me into their story and I never let go. I haven’t been so invested in a story or characters since the days of Shawn Michaels.
Both women showed that women’s wresting can succeed on the main stage. Give them a storyline and let them roll with it. Right now, the main roster women are just bickering and fighting about nothing. The WWE writers like to think that is what all women do. Then you look at NXT and how they book their women. You wouldn’t think the WWE employs the same people. It just takes people who are concerned about telling a proper story in the ring like Sasha Banks and Bayley.
Bayley’s character should work on the main roster. I’ve seen some people say that they don’t think it can, but fans always gravitate to the underdog character. Bayley isn’t John Cena. She won’t grow stale with the fans. And Sasha? The fans cheer for her every week. She can be the class of the women’s division. If they could hold off on her winning the Divas Title until Wrestlemania, the pop would be huge and it would be a great moment.
So Sasha Banks and Bayley, thank you for telling one of the best wrestling stories I’ve seen over the past few months. It was a great ride I can’t wait to relive again, and I look forward to the success you will both have in the future. You deserve all of the praise you received.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka