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donsem43

[2015-05-20-WWE-NXT Takeover: Unstoppable] Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch

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If nothing else this match will always be a watershed moment for women in mainstream wrestling. Sasha, in particular, was well thought of before this match. But after this match, people started talking about her as being the best in the WWE, if not the world.

 

The match itself starts out with some back and forth exchanges leading to Becky ending up with the slight advantages at the end which force Sasha back on her heels. Sasha fires back in a big way by blocking a Becky kick and yanking her down to the apron by grabbing her arm. Sasha follows that up by spending the next several minutes just torturing Becky's arm, with the big highlight being Sasha bending back Becky's arm with her foot. I did like Becky's comeback leading to a good near-finish with the armbar, even if her selling was a bit spotty along the way. Didn't like the finish though as Sasha basically has to no-sell not just being thrown into the steps after her dive, but also the arm work, by putting on the Bank Statement with Becky right by the ropes. The last 90 seconds is what keeps this from being in the top tier of women's matches for the year. ****1/4

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Just saw this match for the first time yesterday and loved it. As someone who really only watches the Network, I know my list of Matches of the Year is incredibly skewed and uninformed, but I have this as my Number 7. Not as emotionally powerful as Bayley/Banks (my actual MOTY), but definitely a remarkable match that, as the OP states, cemented Sasha Banks as not just a breakout star, but THE breakout star of 2015 for me. Loved the number of arm submissions she locked in, loved the character work (her ability to go from irritated early in the match to irate with the referee to arrogant jerk and have all these emotions come out naturally is uncanny), and loved that Becky's retalliatory (sp?) offense was logical and also, as the commentators pointed out, stuck with her original plan to attack Banks' arm/shoulder (for example, Lynch doesn't just hit her with some nifty neck-centric suplexes, she makes sure that they target Banks' shoulder by tying her arm up behind her back). The little details made this an easy choice for my top 10.

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NXT Women's Title Match

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
For those who miss Nigel McGuinness, this is the match for you. What will make this instant classic hold up so well I believe is that this wasn't a bomb-throwing near-fall extravaganza. Instead, these two outstanding athletes told a magnificently compelling story through body language, submission work, psychology, and old-school storytelling.
Lynch of course went after the left arm of Banks, obviously setting up the champ for the seated Fujiwara arm bar. The match would become even though when both were on the apron and Lynch went for a Yakuza kick, only for Banks to grab the leg, thrust the challenger forward, and channel Triple H at WrestleMania XXX with an arm twist takedown right on Lynch's left arm and shoulder.
Simply put, this was an absolutely sensational match with all kinds of great storytelling through submissions and limb work, including a London Dungeon, multiple lungblowers on different body parts, and of course Banks putting the sports-entertainment icing on the cake by being a cocky shit, mocking her former ally. It certainly looked like Lynch would pull off the breathtaking win once she was up top with Banks down on the mat, but the champ showed off her own resiliency; she got up quickly, giving a lungblowner on Lynch's badly damaged left arm and shoulder, then finished off her greatest challenger to this point with the Banks Statement.
This was Lynch's breakout match in the company, and unfortunately all these months later, it's looking like this will be her career highlight, rather than springboarding her into genuine stardom. But that takes nothing away from this match. Every piece of praise poured on this was earned, and this is a match to show to any aspiring wrestler than storytelling matters far more than a plethora of bumps in order to engage the audience. One need look no further than Lynch's post-match standing ovation for evidence of that. ****1/2

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I know this happened a while back now, but it's pretty crazy watching it in 2019, three days after a Wrestlemania headlined by one of them, where that same one of them became the first unified women's champion in WWE history (unless they had a unified Divas champion that I've forgotten about). Even if I wasn't really following NXT in 2015 I know how highly thought of Sasha Banks was. You had this, the Bayley series, folk talking her up as the absolute prodigy of women's wrestling in the US. A year later she was part of the very first women's hell in a cell as women headlined a WWE PPV for the first time ever. If you had to bet on one of these two main eventing the first women's Wrestlemania main event you'd have put the house on it being Sasha. Honestly, I haven't really cared about Sasha in a while. It's not that she's a terrible babyface or anything, she's just not very interesting. But this was heel Sasha and she felt so much more natural. You could see it against Rousey when she got to show some of her heel chops, how she got to be real nasty working the arm, the way she mostly worked from the top and didn't need to focus so much of garnering sympathy. This was a similar performance from an offensive standpoint, only it was ramped way up and she got to go all the way with the mugging and shit-talking. The arm work was mean and inventive and I liked how it came about as a response to Becky trying to do it first. She took over with a big arm-wringer drop onto the ring apron, then worked a great straightjacket choke where she'd stomp Becky's arms into the mat as the hold was applied. There was an awesome bit as well where Becky crawled over to the ropes to pull herself up, ending up straddling the middle rope, so Sasha yanked her into the position Becky would assume for her pre-match headbanging and twisted her arm over the top rope at a nasty angle, mimicking Becky at the same time. Becky going for Sasha's arm in kind gave us a really cool dual limb work dynamic, which isn't really something we've ever gotten a lot of in WWE. Even though she was technically the babyface the crowd were largely behind Sasha, but by the end they were all for Becky submitting her with the armbar. She mostly sold that arm the whole way through as well, hanging it by her side as she climbed the turnbuckles and generally reminded you that she was working hurt. The arm breaker off the top at the end didn't come off great, but it definitely worked as a payoff to the arm work and a nice set up for the Banks Statement. Really cool match. Maybe Becky Lynch might get over after all. 

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