One month ago, Stephanie McMahon set the table of opportunity by introducing Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks to the main WWE roster. Ending her portion of the segment, she asked, “Now, who’s going to take it?” Four weeks later and it appears that nobody has snatched the opportunity.
Nobody at the WWE level, that is.
The Divas Revolution, as Stephanie will call it with a smile from cheek-to-cheek, promised new life in the division. More competition, more excitement and most importantly, more wrestling. Yet during that time, WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella has yet to put her title on the line, despite losing a one-on-one match to Sasha Banks, tapping out to the Bank Statement. While we have received more than our fair share of Divas matches that offer higher quality compared to what the company had to offer earlier this year, the same trends are continuing: inadequate ring time, poor development of story-telling and a feud of three teams consisting of three divas, which has felt forced since day one.
This past weekend, wrestling fans were spoiled rotten with not one but two PPV-caliber events. A star-studded weekend consisting of seven hours of wrestling. After Saturday Night’s NXT Takeover ended with Finn Balor retaining his NXT Championship against Kevin Owens in an exciting ladder match, all fans could talk about was the five-star match between Sasha Banks and Bayley.
A night where 50-year-old Jushin Thunder Liger wrestled for the first time in a WWE ring, where the Vaudevillains captured the NXT tag team champions, and where Apollo Crews made his long-awaited debut, Bayley’s victory over Sasha Banks to become the new NXT Women’s champion was not only the best match of the night, but the best women’s match in recent history.
The first thing this match had going for it was the beautiful story told in the hype package that aired before the two women made their entrances. It featured the true underdog in Bayley, who had missed out on her opportunities to win the title in the past, and was passed up on the main roster promotions, when Lynch, Charlotte and Banks got their chance. It featured a confident champion in Banks, who was never impressed with Bayley and promised to ruin her dreams once more.
Before the opening bell rang, the two women portrayed their emotions as they stood in the middle of the ring.
To say the match had everything would be cliche, but it did. The two showed two different sides of the spectrum of women’s wrestling. The match itself was given the time it needed to invest the audience. Billed as a co-main-event, the title wasn’t fooling anyone. This WAS the one true main event. The story of the match included Bayley’s recent hand injury, when Banks removed her wrist tape and proceeded to repeatedly smash it against the ring steps.
Two, maybe three times, Bayley and Banks fooled the crowd into believing the match was over. When Banks had Bayley in the Bank Statement and began stomping on the injured hand of Bayley, the crowd believed the end was near. It wasn’t. When Bayley followed a sequence of offense with her Bayley-to-Belly, the crowd thought it was over. It wasn’t. Instead, the ending came from a stunning reverse frankensteiner, followed by another Bayley-to-Belly. As she pinned her opponent, the crowd echoed the referee’s count and erupted into cheers when the three count was completed.
In a match that got around three times the amount of time that a main roster women’s match seems to get, the women involved got the opportunity to show the wrestling world what two talented women can really do in the ring. Because in the end, when the table of opportunity is TRULY set, talent will take it and run with it. Bayley and Sasha Banks sure did.
The Divas Revolution has already began, and it has been running longer than we all think. Stephanie McMahon’s Divas Revolution is a buzz term that the WWE can get trending on Twitter and get the WWE Universe to buy into the hype. Truth be told, the Divas Revolution has been running strong for well over a year, when fatal four ways for the Women’s title were stealing the show on NXT. The real revolution of women’s wrestling has been started and exceeding all expectations at the WWE’s developmental stage.
And the four women stealing the show were the four women standing in the ring, at the end of the NXT Women’s championship match.