Seen the NXT Women’s Championship match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks on last night’s Takeover: R Evolution show? You really should – it’s the best TV match put on by any Diva or Knockout in 2014 and shows what the women can do when you let them loose with more than 12 minutes to play with and create a contest with a great story. Part of the success of the match was down to the athleticism displayed by both women – the ending of which saw Charlotte get the win with the Natural Selection from the top rope – but a lot of it came down to the story which was played out for the fans at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL.
There’s a difference between a back and forth match where each wrestler takes turns to be on the offensive and there being a real struggle with holds and counter-holds – essentially the human game of chess that pro wrestling exemplifies when done at a high level. This was that human game of chess. Starting with a lot of aggression from both women, this was different to Charlotte’s other high profile contests against Natalya in May and Bayley in October, she and Banks fought hard with the challenger trying to get into her opponent’s head by customising the titleholder’s t-shirt to wind her up as well as doing the strut made famous by Charlotte’s father Ric Flair and utilising the champ’s figure-four headlock. They even got in a crafty nod to Monday’s divisive match between Natalya and Charlotte by having Sasha reverse the figure four leglock into a cradle for a two-count.
The titleholder’s victory helps to solidify her versatility. While her last two big matches on Takeover shows have been as a heel, this was as a babyface, and it was great to see her work the sympathetic character who had to fight back against a woman who had the edge on her on a number of occasions. Her ability to generate a reaction and also emote to the crowd also made her very easy to get behind. It’s amazing to see her develop into such a well-rounded package so quickly.
While a lot of love is directed towards Charlotte – and with good reason, as she’s an absolute prodigy – there should also be a lot of kudos for Sasha, who finally got an opportunity to show off what she can do. Her character is the strongest of and woman in WWE and she has the in-ring ability to back it up. Hopefully we will see more of her in the weeks and months to come and this wasn’t just a temporary push to showcase Charlotte. Considering how NXT seems to create great stars, this seems unlikely.
Again: if you can see this match, do so. It’s a great match with a top story and makes both women look amazing. In the meantime, check out this post-match video with Charlotte talking to Renee Young.
– Photos by WWE