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31 Days of Wrestling (12/3/15): Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (NXT TakeOver: Respect)

Welcome back, Henrinites, to 31 Days of Wrestling,’s holiday special. Up on deck, arguably one of WWE’s most important main events this year.

#3: Sasha Banks vs Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship in a 30-minute Iron Man Match at NXT TakeOver: Respect

Let’s set the scene: back in July, 3 of NXT’s best and brightest wrestlers debuted on RAW and started a revolution. Some could say that the revolution failed, and in many ways it did, but everyone has to agree: NXT held up its end of the bargain and produced women’s matches of the highest quality.

We fast forward to September, where newly crowned NXT Women’s Champion Bayley celebrated her first night with the Full Sail faithful as champion. Out to spoil her parade was the former champ, the Boss, Sasha Banks, who promised to beat Bayley not once, not twice, but again, and again, and again, and again. NXT General Manager William Regal came out to the stage and made it official: a 30-minute Iron Man Match to main event TakeOver: Respect.

October came and we were treated to one of the best wrestling shows WWE had produced in the year, highlighted by the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and, of course, the main event. The match in itself was a brilliant show of storytelling and athletic skill. Both ladies brought their A-games, as always, and as each minutes passed by, tension built up. Each fall told a story, whether it was Sasha Banks bringing out the viciousness in her by slamming her opponent on the Titantron for a count-out, or Bayley busting out a new submission to earn the deciding fall. Drama filled the air as both women gave their all for the title.

This match is important for 2 reasons. First, it was the first time since Lita and Trish Stratus went head to head on RAW for the Women’s Championship that two ladies closed a WWE televised show. It was the first time in WWE history that a women’s match ended a live special. If there was proof that a revolution did happen, and that it did matter in the history of WWE, it was this match. It wasn’t a throwaway 5-minute match. This was 30-minutes of brilliance to close of an awesome show. It was proof that somewhere in the WWE, someone cares enough for these talented women and is willing to give them a shot at glory. It gave us hope that the revolution might not be completely dead.

The second reason this is an important match as this was Sasha Banks’ last match on NXT television. After this match, she went on to the main roster full time, and is sadly being wasted there. This was the last time that Sasha Banks was able to truly strut her stuff and deliver on a meaningful performance. Her absence on NXT, as well as Becky Lynch and Charlotte’s, had an immediate impact on the brand’s women’s division. Banks was practically the lynchpin of the division during her reign. Now, as new stars are being made among the ladies of NXT, we measure them through the standards that Banks and her fellow horsewomen had set.

As the year comes to the close, I believe that one of the biggest takeaway out of this year in wrestling would be that, for the first time in a long time, women mattered in the WWE, and that these women deserved more than what they were given. And this match is the perfect example.

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See our previous entries for 31 Days of Wrestling:

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