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Diva Dirt presents its sixth annual Writers’ Choice Awards, as decided by the Diva Dirt team. As we come to the end of 2016, we have picked the best of the best to be awarded our Writers’ Choice trophies.
Match of the Year: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair (Wrestlemania 32)
2016 has seen an elevation in the platform for women’s wrestling within the mainstream. The team were spoiled for choice when it came to choosing the MOTY, but we all came to the agreement that there was one match that started it off this year: the Wrestlemania 32 triple threat match for the new (now RAW) Women’s Championship.
The seeds for this match were planted all the way back in Summer 2015, when gutsy “lass kicker” Becky Lynch, “genetically superior” Charlotte and “The Boss” Sasha Banks all made their unexpected debuts on RAW. After a couple months of team on team and in-team feuds, the three ladies who spearheaded the WWE’s “Women’s Revolution” were given the chance to go one one one… on one on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania 32.
By April 2016, Charlotte had become the not-so nice Daddy’s Little Girl, winning matches with her Hall of Famer Dad Ric Flair by her side and she ended Nikki Bella’s longest Divas Championship reign. Charlotte had turned her back on her former Team PCB mate Becky Lynch, who was out to get her revenge. Meanwhile, Sasha Banks had broken away from her Team BAD members and had still not been pinned or submitted herself, ready to get in line for the Championship.
Start to finish, this had a big match feel. Becky Lynch entered the ring, with the sold out AT&T stadium singing her theme song. Sasha Banks came out with her cousin, Snoop Dogg, who added an extra rap verse to her theme and she was decked in tribute gear to her hero Eddie Guerrero. Charlotte wore a special robe, made with parts of Ric Flair’s retirement robe from Wrestlemania 24 and entered to an immense pyro.
The crowd alone made this a memorable match. The roar as Lilian Garcia announced that this was for the new “Women’s Championship” just showed how accepting the audience was for the women. Becky chants, Sasha chants, WOOOOs, “Women’s Wrestling!”, “Holy Sh*t!”, “YES!” – after so many years of the women getting the deathslot at WrestleMania, how amazing was it to see a such a positive and receptive crowd.
You could tell that each woman was giving it her all, heck even Becky Lynch suffered a pretty hard shiner mid-way through the match but shouldered on like she was an MMA athlete. Sasha’s frog splash onto Charlotte while she had Becky in a Figure 4 leg lock and Charlotte’s moonsault outside the ring were snapshot moments that will live on in women’s wrestling history. The submission finishing maneuvers allowed for tense crowd moments, when someone would be inches from tapping out.
The end of the match saw Sasha Banks hit a Banks Statement on Becky, but before it could be locked in, Charlotte breaks the hold, throws out Sasha and cinches her own Figure 8 on Becky. Ric Flair holds Sasha from getting back in the ring, but it’s too late as Becky taps out and Charlotte is crowned the new Women’s Champion. While Sasha was the bookies favourite to win, the unexpected finish gave Charlotte her WrestleMania moment and was certainly the spark to trailblaze the rest of her year. Becky would then lead the new SmackDown women’s division, meanwhile Sasha and Charlotte continued to take the division higher.
While there have been so many great matches from the women this year, it’s safe to say that this match set the standard and proved that the women were able to take centre stage. Without this match, there would have been no Hell in a Cell. No Backlash Elimination Challenge. No RAW Main Events. No TLC Table matches. With such a big audience, the women were able to deliver and proved to the bigwigs in the WWE that women’s wrestling could be taken seriously. It turned the heads of regular viewers and this is why it’s been crowned our 2016 Match of the Year!
Stay tuned for more Writers’ Choice Award reveals throughout the day.