Sasha vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn

Or: Quiet Down, Greg “the Hammer” Valentine

Recently, former WWE Intercontinental Champion, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine tore into women’s wrestling. Now, I’m being very nice in calling him a former IC Champ. I could’ve focused on the fact that he hasn’t been relevant since the early ’90’s, at least. Maybe late 80’s, even. I never remember giving a shit about Valentine. I respect him for what he did with Roddy Piper in the Dog Collar match, but that’s about it.

Anyway, here are his exact quotes:

“As far as girl wrestling, I would send them all out to the strip bar and fire ’em…I’d fire every girl wrestler I ever saw. They don’t draw any money, they have horrible matches. They’re terrible. That’s the way I feel.”

Yeah, that’s just the tip, too. I’m easing you into this. He was on a podcast called Filsinger Games’ The ViewAfter his initial onslaught, Valentine continued with this sterling display of character:

“They take away jobs from men that need to support their families. They should be home washing dishes and cooking and pregnant and barefoot…I love women … but they gotta realize their place. They’re not supposed to be wrestlers. They’re not supposed to be MMA fighters or boxers. It’s bulls**t.”

In response to all of this nonsense, I could offer up virtually any women’s match from NXT (except anything involving Eva Marie or Carmella). Instead, since it’s the most recent one to blow my mind (and I just finished watching it again, after having actually attended the match live, by the way), I’m going to focus on Bayley vs. Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.

It’s a masterpiece. For me, it really came together on the Wednesday before, when I saw their contract signing promo. Sasha Banks crushed that segment. I don’t want to take away from Bayley, because she’s the best put-upon underdog character since Daniel Bryan, but every hero needs a villain. She had an excellent one in The Boss. She had a Roddy Piper level heel. Somebody who is so good at being bad, that they naturally cause the crowd to favor their opponent.

Moving on to the match – I knew it was going to be something special, but I never could have predicted what we got. From the video package before the bout, to the entrances, to every second of the action – it’s all fantastic.

Bayley did her usual thing, but with a bit more flair. I love how NXT has started doing the bigger entrances for their TakeOvers. It gives them that special feel.

(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Then Sasha came out in a Cadillac Escalade, escorted by her own personal security, who lifted her up and placed her on the apron for her match. It was boss AF, which was obviously the point, given her nickname.

(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Bayley didn’t wait long after the bell rang, and took the fight right to Sasha. Things did not slow down from there. Those two girls went in there, and they told a story, which is when wrestling is at its best. If there’s not a story, then you’re watching people play fight.

The women of NXT always tell a story.

For example: Natalya vs. Charlotte. The story was that those two young women were fighting to prove themselves to their legendary relatives, what with Charlotte’s daddy being Ric Flair, and Nattie’s uncle being Bret Hart.

Another one: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks: they were friends – to an extent. Sasha never took Becky to be anything more than her flunky, when, as it turns out, she had some goals of her own, and she wanted that NXT Women’s Championship.

Sasha vs. Bayley: if I had to boil the story down, it’s about an underdog. Sasha was NXT Women’s Champion for seven months, leading into TakeOver: Brooklyn. Bayley was a perpetual loser, at that point. She had multiple shots at gold, but she was never able to bring it home.

Not anymore. Your new NXT Women's Champion - Bayley (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Not anymore. Your new NXT Women’s Champion – Bayley (Courtesy of WWE.com)

I can’t say enough about this match. I may be a bit bias, because I was there, but it’s one of my top five matches now. The in-ring psychology was as tight as any match I’ve ever seen in a WWE ring, and I have no problem publishing that statement. It’s so good.

My favorite moment is when Sasha locks Bayley in the Bank Statement, and then stomps on her previously injured hand when she tries to reach out and grab the bottom rope, so the hold will be broken.

Sasha Banks locks in her submission finisher on Bayley (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Sasha Banks locks in her submission finisher on Bayley (Courtesy of WWE.com)

If you haven’t seen this match, you need to go and do that right now. You can click HERE for a YouTube link, but it’s not the best quality. You should probably go to the WWE Network. You’ll get top notch quality, and it’s only $9.99 per month. Or, honestly, they’re probably doing another promotion, where they give it away free for the month.

So, you know, there’s that. For those who have seen the match, you should hit the comment section, so we can talk about it.

Joseph Finnegan
finnegan.joseph@yahoo.com