After six months, six one on one matches and six title changes the rivalry of the year in professional wrestling came to a close at Roadblock with yet another show stealing match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte, this time in the first women’s Ironman match on a WWE pay per view special. Charlotte, the self proclaimed “Queen of WWE” captured her fourth Women’s Championship in front of the Steel City crowd closing the book (at least for now) on her fiercest rival.
These two have set a new standard for women in wrestling putting the entire WWE Women’s division and at times RAW itself on their backs each time they have stepped into the ring together. Last night was no exception as they delivered a shocking conclusion to the last chapter in their storied and personal rivalry.
The match itself was exciting from bell to bell. From “The Boss” showcasing her agile and dynamic offense at the onset by channeling her hero Eddie Guerrero and executing some exciting Lucha Libre style maneuvers setting a quick pace and hooking the crowd through the beginning of the match. Charlotte would channel her viciousness with a calculated assault for the second half of the match putting Sasha’s resiliency on full display, playing up her role as the undersized underdog battering her again and again unable to keep her down.
Sasha would weather the onslaught with counters, roll ups and ultimately a Banks Statement before Charlotte would display her size and power effectively channeling her legendary father “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in vintage fashion to systematically decimate the left knee of Banks forcing her to submit with seconds left in the match sending it into sudden death.
Overtime was an excellent ode to the first Ironman match between The Hit man and HBK and I expected them to go more than 30 minutes when the match was first announced. What I did not expect was the outcome. After Sasha’s victory in Charlotte, North Carolina I expected her to emerge from this feud victorious, carrying the Women’s championship into a WrestleMania program with Bayley. It really seemed like this would finally be Sasha’s time for a nice run with the title that kept slipping through her grasp again and again. I could not have been more wrong.
I was shocked at the outcome. The pain and fear on Banks’ face as sudden death began filled the air with uncertainty as to who would emerge victorious. With Sasha Banks covered in blood as Charlotte countered out of the Bank Statement into the Figure 8, the Boss finally submitted ending the match after a grueling 35 minutes, ending her third title reign and ending wrestling’s hottest rivalry.
The image of a bloody and battered Sasha Banks being helped to the back by the officials while Charlotte stood in the ring hoisting up the Women’s Championship was a powerful and symbolic culmination of their feud and an iconic moment for women’s wrestling.
Charlotte remains undefeated on PPV upping her streak to 15-0, appearing on Raw Talk after the event and proclaiming herself as “The Undertaker of the Women’s Divison”. She will next put her villainous talents to the test against Bayley, the division’s “girl next door” crowd favorite. This streak will no doubt come into play heading into the Royal Rumble and Bayley could be the one to end it.
For Sasha Banks I was hoping she would be absent from WWE programming for several weeks and follow it up with a well executed heel turn, thus setting up a big match with Bayley for WrestleMania. After last night’s segment with Nia Jax that may be wishful thinking on my part. The return of Emma could also make for an interesting feud for Sasha if she remains a crowd favorite for the first part of 2017.
They embarrassed and humiliated each other in their own hometowns had the first female PPV main event and main evented Monday Night RAW multiple times. They brutalized each other in the first women’s Hell in a Cell and Falls Count Anywhere matches. Half a year, half a dozen title changes and the first female Ironman match have at last brought this exciting, captivating and competitive rivalry to its end. They delivered nothing short of high octane magic every single time they stepped in the ring together.
Whatever the future holds for these two stars they have raised the profile of the RAW women’s division, cemented the importance of the Women’s Championship, and raised the bar for women’s wrestling as a whole with an historic rivalry in 2016 that will go down as one of the greatest and most exciting in WWE history.