Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus had a historic bout at this past Saturday’s Payback. After months of a profoundly personal feud, the two settled it in a steel cage match. A match that is synonymous with brutality and has produced some of the best matches in WWE history. The contest saw the professional wrestling industry celebrate as it over-delivered in more ways than one.
However, the history of great women’s gimmick matches is not without precedent. As much as we associate gimmick matches with men’s wrestling there have been some truly great women’s matches that were just as, if not better, than their male counterparts. These are some of those matches.
Trish Stratus vs. Victoria (Hardcore Match for the Women’s Championship; Survivor Series 2002)
In a time when women’s wrestling wasn’t treated seriously, Victoria and Trish Stratus blew the roof off Madison Square Garden. Victoria was jealous of the success of Stratus and was hell-bent on wrestling the championship away from her. After failed attempts, Victoria blew a gasket and started attacking Trish every chance she got. It got so extreme that a hardcore match was booked between the two at Survivor Series.
This match took place at a time when women’s wrestling was not taken very seriously. Women were used more as eye candy than wrestlers, but this match bucked that trend. Trish and Victoria tore into each other and used every weapon they could. It was refreshing to see a hardcore match between two women and the excitement it created showed what the women’s division can do when given the chance.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (Iron Woman Match for the NXT Women’s Championship; NXT Takeover: Respect)
Bayley and Sasha Banks were involved in one of the best programs in the history of NXT. The personal nature of the feud led to some fantastic matches and created some great moments for the crowd. Their series of matches was the driving force behind NXT, and it culminated in one of the best Iron Women matches in company history.
Iron Man/woman matches have a bad history in WWE. The length of the match combined with some slow action can cause fans to lose interest fast, this was not the case with the Bayley and Sasha Banks championship match.
The history between the two women made the match highly anticipated, but it was the action that threw them to the next level. There was an intensity behind everything they did that sold the importance of emerging the victor. It was exactly what fans had come to expect from the two, and that finish, with mere seconds left, was the best way to close the book on their feud.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (Hell in a Cell Match for the Raw Women’s Championship; Hell in a Cell 2019)
Hell in a Cell 2019 was not a good PPV. Booking decisions, for most matches, were suspect and the night left a bad taste in many a mouth. This is a huge shame because there was a hidden gem of a match that opened the evening between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.
Lynch and Sasha, as two of the four horsewomen, were going to put on a great match, but not many expected this. They began the game brawling outside the ring which was a great appetizer before they got the main course of Hell in a Cell.
The creativity inside the cell, by both women, rivals any that we had come before. They used kendo sticks, tables, and ladders in ways that we had never witnessed. It brought a new perspective to the match, and it showed how well women’s wrestlers can perform in a cell environment. Some of the spots would have been difficult for the men to pull off but Banks and Lynch pulled them off with ease. They outshone the men on that night.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (Last Woman Standing for the SmackDown Women’s Championship; Evolution)
Evolution was a night of celebration. It was a night where only women’s matches would take place, on the card, and it was a fantastic night of wrestling. It showcased exactly why women’s wrestling had become one of the best parts of the show, and Becky Lynch taking on Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing Match was the highlight.
Lynch and Charlotte had a tremendous amount of professional animosity. It was well documented that they didn’t like each other, which added another level of intensity to the proceeding. The match was brutal, violent, and everything that we wanted in a Last Woman Standing match.
Both women also got creative with their spots just enough to set them apart from their male counterparts. The powerbomb off the apron, through a table of course, to end the match was a perfect ending and put an exclamation point on their fantastic championship contest.
Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (TLC Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship; TLC 2018)
2018 was the year of Becky Lynch. She was getting increasingly loud reactions from the crowd and her bloody nose, at the hands of Nia Jax, made her the most popular wrestler on the roster. It was her Stone Cold moment and one that WWE transferred into a fantastic TLC match to close out the calendar year.
Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Asuka were the three best women’s wrestlers on the roster. It made sense to put them together and once the company did, we were given pure gold. They put on a clinic of a car wreck for over 20 minutes. The violence, during the bought, was perfect and included various spots that hadn’t been seen in the men’s matches.
It was also a massive moment for the three women who were chosen for the main event. The star power and heightened stakes made this one of the best women’s matches of the year and well worthy of being the main event of WWE TLC.
More From LWOS Pro Wrestling
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.