By all indications, the #DivaRevolution in the WWE for the better part of the last year has been a resounding success. Springboarding off the success of the NXT Women’s Division, the WWE women’s division shed it’s “divas” designation and their matches were routinely stealing the show from their male counterparts on WWE programming.
Case in point, Sasha Banks dramatic and emotional victory of WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte on the July 25 edition of Raw was a match full of extreme athleticism and masterful storytelling, as the powerful image of choked up Banks holding high the title she’d dreamt of as a young girl. For the first time since the days of Trish Stratus and Lita‘s epic battles of the early 2000’s, women’s wrestling in the WWE landscape was now more than an afterthought or an excuse to go refill the snacks.
On Sunday August 21 in Brooklyn, New York at SummerSlam, the former champion gets her rematch against her former BFF, with her protegee Dana Brooke barred from ringside. And if the past is any indication, once again Sasha and Charlotte will be out to prove that not only do they belong in the WWE but that they belong at the top of the card, male or female.
Sasha Banks arrived in NXT in late 2012, after spending the previous two years wrestling for her hometown promotion, Massachusetts Chaotic Wrestling, under the name Mercedes. After a slow start, she aligned with Summer Rae in the BFF’s (Beautiful, Fierce Females) and under her new persona as “The Boss”, Banks began to show glimpses of the Superstar she’s become today.
Charlotte joined the WWE in 2012 and was immediately assigned to their burgeoning developmental system, NXT. Unlike her rival, she did not come from a wrestling background, But the former fitness model came with an unrivalled work ethic and a biological pedigree that few can lay claim to, as the daughter of wrestling icon “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. She debuted in a winning match over Bayley in the summer of 2013, with the two soon forming an alliance out of mutual respect. When the BFF’s approached Bayley about joining their stable, Bayley refused, only to have Charlotte turn on her partner and join the faction instead. On May 29, 2014, Charlotte became the first of the BFF’s to strike gold, when she won the NXT Women’s Champion in a tournament final against Natalya at the first NXT TakeOver. The Queen from Queen City had arrived. By July, the BFF’s were no more. Summer Rae had been elevated to the WWE main roster and following a title defence against Bayley at NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way, Charlotte abandoned her partner Banks to get beat down by Bayley.
Following an intense series of feuds and matches involving NXT’s Four Horsewomen (Charlotte, Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch), Charlotte finally lost her title at NXT TakeOver: Rival on February 11, 2015 to Sasha Banks, following a 258 day reign as NXT’s alpha female.
On July 13, 2015, both Banks and Charlotte made their official debuts on the main roster, when they – alongside Becky Lynch – were introduced by Stephanie McMahon on Raw as the kick off to the Diva Revolution. Once again on opposing warring sides – Charlotte initially with Paige and Lynch, and Banks forming B.A.D. with Naomi and Tamina – the rivalry between the two continued for months.
On November 20, 2015, mere months after her debut on the Main Roster, Charlotte once again struck gold first, defeating Diva’s Champion Nikki Bella for the title at Night of Champions, ending Nikki’s record 301 day reign. She would hold the title until Wrestlemania 32, when she defended the title in a triple threat match versus Banks and Lynch to determine the winner of the newly christened WWE Women’s Championship, a title she held onto until Banks’ emotional July 25 victory on Raw.
On Sunday August 21, these long time rivals will connect once again, one on one, in a match that, despite sharing a card with such dream matches as Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins for the inaugural WWE Universal Champion and Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship, has all the makings of once again stealing the show from the boys club. Both women have worked hard to get to where they are right now and there’s no denying that passion, every time they step into the ring.
With Banksmania well under way, expect Sasha to hold the edge and leave Brooklyn still champion. There’s still plenty of mileage to be had from this tale of two road sisters trying to be the best the industry has to offer, but it would probably do Banks good to move on to a challenger afterwards that isn’t named Charlotte or Becky Lynch. While there’s no denying the chemistry the NXT alumni have with each other, inserting other women in-between these iconic feuds would do well in assuring that we still get showstopping matches from them all for years to come.
Who knows. Perhaps after SummerSlam, we’ll see Sasha Banks turn a new Paige…
(Main Photo: WWE.com)