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donsem43

[2015-08-22-WWE-NXT Takeover: Brooklyn] Sasha Banks vs Bayley

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This match gets a lot of mileage out of the face/heel dynamic. Pretty much everything that goes on in this match feeds off of it and the characters that these two have created. Sasha playing the arrogant heel champ who takes pleasure in picking apart and embarrassing her opponent, while Bayley is someone who may have finally figured out who she is and the confidence that comes with that.

 

As for the actual work in the match, Sasha performance is masterful. All of the little details that she brings add depth to what could have been an overly simple story. Bayley's strong responses to Sasha's insults bring energy to the match. If Sasha vs. Becky showed what the women could do from a work perspective, then this showed that they could not just bring that again but have a story too. ****1/2

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Tremendous entrances for both here, as Bayley has an extravagant attire and Dusty Rhodes gear, while Banks is brought out via an Escalade and escorted by personal security. Epic, goosebump-inducing presentation already in a billion-dollar venue.
 
Banks gets condescending and talks shit at the beginning, so Bayley gets the brief early advantage as a house of fire. When Banks starts stomping Bayley’s head in the corner, the challenger gets an adrenaline rush and turns it around on the champion, putting her in a Tree of Woe in position for a springboard elbow drop. They tease Banks regaining control with a schoolboy pin, but Bayley cuts that off rather quickly by reversing an Irish Whip in the corner to hits a springboard back elbow. With Banks to the outside, Bayley hits a baseball slide dropkick.
 
But Banks cuts Bayley off was they get back in the ring and have a struggle on the turnbuckle, with Banks getting his first true advantage by kicking Bayley’s right knee to knock her to the outside. She is fabulous as she mockingly counts along with the referee, and is merciless as Bayley slides back in. As Banks continues to have the heat, she mocks Bayley’s signature pose, capped off with a disrespectful slap. It appears that Banks is targeting Bayley’s back, which would make a belly-to-belly suplex difficult later on, and locks on a Straight Jacket Submission.
 
Bayley attempts a couple comebacks in the corner, only for Banks to catch her while in air and ramming her head-first into the top turnbuckle. Bayley’s placed horizontally on the top rope, eating double knees, which is perfect to attack the abdomen to fully marginalize her torso and make a belly-to-belly suplex impossible. As Bayley sells the pain, Banks gets too cocky attempting to belittle her and pays for it via a kick to the shoulder as Bayley regains the advantage.
 
Bayley sucks whatever pain she’s in for a brief house of fire, only to be quickly cut off as Banks gives her right arm a takedown on the second rope, On the outside, Banks finally starts targeting Bayley’s previously damaged right hand, removing its protection just as she stated she would 11 days earlier. This is marvelous storytelling, as Bayley’s right hand is smashed on the steel steps, stomped on in a wristlock position on the floor, and then smashed into by the steel steps. Long Island then gets a reminder of Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio from SummerSlam 2002; the referee tries to keep Banks at bay in the ring, so as he’s down, she hits an over-the-top-rope somersault plancha as the crowd goes apeshit! Definitely alarming to see Banks land back-first on the outside though.
 
Back in the ring, Banks belittles Bayley while running the top rope to target Bayley’s right hand, only to be shoved off the outside. They exchange blows in the ring, and Bayley is sensational selling her right hand, reminding of Roderick Strong in similar situations and having to use her left arm to deliver damage, then going for Polish Hammers. Bayley is finally making a genuine comeback, hitting a splash in the corner and then a corner suplex as she’s got the crowd behind her. Banks blocks a belly-to-belly suplex and what looked to be an attempted Chaos Theory. She manages to hit a Lungblower on Bayley’s right hand, then gets her in the Bank Statement!
 
The atmosphere is just sensation as Bayley desperately crawls for a rope break, only for her right hand to be stomped on by Banks! Bayley manages to still get her left hand close to the ropes, so Banks use her right foot to try to bounce them back into position, but Bayley reverses into her own Bank Statement for a breathtaking near-fall submission! Crowd is bonkers here! Bayley drags Banks up by the legs and hits a sudden belly-to-belly suplex for another sensational near-fall, and “This is awesome!” chants have been reignited.
 
Bayley crotches Banks for a super belly-to-belly suplex but blocks it, then shoves Bayley off on a Super Hurricanrana attempt, and Bayley takes an ugly fall. They have another great near-fall as Banks hit a fluid double knees pin attempt. Banks appear to physically and emotionally exhausted at this point, having never been challenged to this point before as champion or challenger. They have another turnbuckle struggle, only for Bayley to a Super Reverse Hurricanrana, then immediately capitalizing on the dazed champion to hit the belly-to-belly suplex and achieve her dream, capturing the title!
 
In what is their NXT swan song, Charlotte and Becky Lynch come embrace Bayley, and knowing that this was a special moment and match, Banks gives in too, all four having a curtain call moment. True to the Bayley character, all four hug, paying off an incredible journey that had only been kicked off several weeks earlier.
 
Many supposed smarks believe the NXT’s female division is incredibly overhyped. I point to this match as the proof that these women live up to the hype. This match was the result of the division being treated seriously for years, a champion that had survived in wars, and two characters striving for the same goal from two drastically different mentalities. This was a grand stage with major stakes, stealing the show and holding its end of the hype bargain from Stephanie McMahon.
 
This was a match that rewarded its audience for supporting the NXT brand, in the same breath as Neville vs. Sami Zayn eight months earlier. The story was quite simple, a cocky, ruthless champion snubbing her nose down at the injured, less accomplished challenger. The champion did her damnedest to make a statement to anyone else who’d dare challenge her, vocally and physically shouting out her supremacy in the division. Then going deeper than that, Bayley’s selling enhancing the emotional impact of this story, sending a message to other wrestlers, both male and female in every locker room. THIS is the proper way to make a comeback for the ages. With all of that, these ladies still managed to have the perfect timing of near-falls and high-spots to have the crowd in a frenzy.
 
My only nitpick complaint is there were a couple moments when it seemed to indicate that this match was rehearsed, not being quite as fluid as Randy Savage, Kenta Kobashi, and Mitsuharu Misawa at their best. That is an extremely minor complaint on my part. Nonetheless, as Kevin Owens stated on the WWE 24 episode about this show, he and Balor have got a very tough act to follow.
 
This is my Road to WrestleMania 32 Match of the Year up to this point. I’ll be stunned, ever so pleasantly of course, if anything else on the ultimate journey to Dallas dethrones this incredible roller-coaster. ****3/4

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Bumping this because this match turned 4 years old yesterday.

This actually got even better with age, taking into consideration not only the action of the match itself, but also its legacy to professional wrestling as a whole. It really is up there as one of the most influential matches of the century, and easily the most influential of this decade, IMO.

It's just... perfect.

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August 22nd NXT TAKEOVER: BROOKLYN - Sasha Banks vs. Bayley - NXT Title

What a time Brooklyn was. It's a show that doesn't lose a thing watching it back now. The magic of NXT during that time was just something else.

I had completely forgotten that Steph came out here before the match to suck her own dick. The thing that sticks out the most in 2021 is how hard they were trying to push the "Double Main Event" line, instead of just putting them in the main event. It's very... quaint, would be the nicest possible way to put it. The video package, on the other hand, is an amazing piece of business, weaving through the stories of Bayley and Sasha rising through NXT, with the story of everyone turning on Bayley while she stayed true to herself, plus now being left for dead by the other Horsewomen going to the main roster, all leading into this title chase and her NEEDING to win this match. Everything about this rules.

So Bayley comes out in fucking 'Merican Dweem polka dots. Stop it! Sasha has worked Raws and PPVs by now, but this was Bayley's first ever big arena show. She must have been going nuts. And not to be outdone Sasha ROLLS OUT IN A CADDY. Imagine Eddie Guerrero being your favourite wrestler and you are granted a wish from a genie to just cosplay as him in WWE whenever you want your entire career. By the time she comes out in this car wearing her PPV coat and is lifted up onto the apron by her security team, she looks like the coolest fucking person on earth. Every. Thing. About. This. Rules.

The first cool moment was the debut of the Bayley springboard elbow in the corner, which actually looked super organic, since it was the first time, plus Sasha leaned into it so naturally without looking like she was feeding for it. Sasha is ri-fucking-diculous.

Like seriously, ridiculous. I say this in every one of my reviews from 2015 and I am running out of words for her. She misses the knees, but then shoves Bayley to the floor HARD, mocks her, and beats the shit out of her. Then she misses the knees AGAIN, but Sasha headscissors her back into the corner, beats more shit out of her, and goes up the top to hit the FUCK YOU SUPER DOOPER KNEES! That was one of those spots where you can see the crowd literally rise to their feet in anticipation of this big move. Great way to bust out something big for this, plus show how hard Bayley made her work to hit the knees, and how determined Sasha was to actually hit them.

The work and the moves and the physicality is so great, from both, but everything still centres around the story. The match starts with Sasha getting in Bayley's face and bitching at her, which only fires Bayley up to start unloading offense on her. After the big knees, Sasha again goes back to bitching in Bayley's face, telling her she's not good enough, telling her she'll never be champion, all the things she kept telling her during the build. Every word is just fuel for Bayley's fire, and she comes right back but BAM - Sasha turns to the weakness she was always going to exploit: the injured hand. She whacks it, pulls all the strapping off, then jams the hand between the steps and the ring and KICKS THE STEPS INTO HER MOTHER FUCKING CHRISTING HAND. Then as the ref checks on Bayley through the ropes Sasha busts out the REY MYSTERIO JUNIOR SOMERSAULT SENTON OVER THE REF'S BACK~! The girl just does what she wants.

And she can do what she wants, because when the time comes she EATS ALLLLLL THE SHIT. Sasha tries to do a fucking rope walk lucha armdrag by squeezing the bad hand, but Bayley just HURLS HER INTO NEXT WEEK to block it. There's a great strike battle here, where Bayley can't use her broken right hand, and is forced to just throw these awkward left armed forearms as hard as she can until she can make a comeback. Bayley attempts a Belly To Belly, but Sasha avoids it and hits A FUCKING BANK STATEMENT TO BAYLEY'S BAD ARM AND PUTS ON THE BANK STATEMENT! Bayley reaches for the ropes with her bad hand and SASHA STOMPS THE FUCK OUT OF HER BROKEN FUCKING HAND! I can feel this moment in my BONES, I swear to fuck. A moment where this went from awesome to something different altogether, something transcendent.

Bayley reaches the ropes with her left hand instead, but Sasha pushes off them with her foot to flip over and continue, only for Bayley to REVERSE INTO HER OWN CROSSFACE. Sasha is so desperate selling this and grabbing for the ropes. HUGE momentum changer. Bayley picks Sasha up by the legs and flips her up to her feet and IMMEDIATELY HITS THE BELLY TO BELLY! SASHA KICKS AT 2!! Crowd is going BANANA at this point, and so am I. Holy fucking shit.

It can't be stated enough just how fucking smart these girls are. Just how much you are rewarded for watching along every week and following their journey. On the road to Brooklyn, Bayley finally beat Charlotte by hitting a Super B2B off the top. So when Sasha kicked out of her B2B here, what does she do? She throws her up top to try the Super version. But Sasha is Sasha Fucking Banks, and she blocks it, tosses Bayley off and SPIKES HER ON HER FUCKING HEAD, and hits her own SUPER METEORA KNEES for a big nearfall. Now both of them are looking for a super dooper death move to finish this off, so Sasha puts Bayley back on the top. This time Bayley blocks her and HITS THE SUPER DOOPER POISON RANA OF DEATH AND DOOM!!! SASHA IS KILLED DEAD, BAYLEY IS AFLAME, THE CROWD IS LEVITATING, PULL THE PONY, BELLY TO BELLY, ONE TWO FUCKING THREE.

Bayley bursts into tears. Charlotte and Becky run out and hug her. Sasha eventually gets up, and just straight up hugs Bayley with zero hesitation. No tease, no kayfabe, just real emotion and love and feeling and the universe converging to create magic in the vibrations between human beings.

This was the culmination of so many things at once. From a storyline perspective, it was the end of Bayley's long road to the NXT Title, and really her entire character arc, going from the naive fangirl of 2013 to the matured, focused ace of the division we have now. Beyond that, it also felt like the end result of everything the women had been building the division towards since NXT began. The Bayley character actually started during the first NXT Women's Title tournament (with the Paige/Emma final) and really everything they've been doing since has lead to this moment of utter triumph. Even if it was a "co-main event", it was undoubtedly a BIG FUCKING DEAL. Sometimes in WWE's history the women have had certain opportunities; they've had a good storyline to work with, or they've had the luxury of getting *time* for a match, or they've been given licence to go wild physically, or they've been made to feel important for once. I don't think any two women in WWE, in the history of the company, have ever had all of those things at once the way these two did here. They'd never truly been given a chance to knock it out of the park like this, and they not only knocked this one out, it left the stadium and I'm pretty sure left earth's orbit on the way to the moon.

Now everyone is crying. I'M crying. And they do the big Four Horsewomen Curtain Call. Watching it back I enjoyed spotting Becky tell the others to pose to all four sides of the ring for the crowd. The veteran. This match is beautiful, it is everything, it is far, far more than pro wrestling. It is perfect.

 

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Sasha Banks is incredible when she's playing the bitch and is motivated. On top of being a gifted physical performer, she's great at the little things, such as giving the crowd an evil smirk before landing her knee drop turnbuckle move and stomping away at Bayley's hand when she was about to get a rope break. Bayley's brawling was rather iffy, but we didn't get enough of it to detract from the overall package. Bayley sold her arm injury well and she took some nasty punishment on the outside. I completely forgot that they do a top rope poisionrana during the finishing stretch, no way they would be doing that in a women's match five years prior! Bayley wins the match after scoring two belly-to-belly suplexes and the crowd erupts with joy. This was a fantastic match with a truly feel-good ending. ★★★★½

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