When the Royal Rumble rolled around this past January, Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair were odds on favorites to win the match.
In Bianca, many saw the hope and promise of a dream match with reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks. This had the promise of a great, fresh matchup, and representation for many young Black women that they don’t often see, especially in wrestling. Then, Bianca won.
While her path forward was indeed predictable, we actually saw an entertaining little feud that played off the fact that Bianca couldn’t live up to her moniker of The EST because she’s never been champion. This feud also saw a shift in Sasha Banks.
Coming into it, many thought it would be a babyface vs babyface feud with mutual respect and rivalry at the helm. Oh, no. Instead, in the weeks leading into WrestleMania, we saw a starry-eyed Bianca come face to face with The Blueprint and The Legit Boss of old. The Legit Boss that blossomed and thrived at NXT, and we saw Sasha turn in some of her best promo work these last few weeks.
Now, admittedly, the storyline could have used a bit more, but the same could be said for most of the matches on the card. However, by the time both women made their way to the ring, after an incredible video package, spectacular entrances, and raw emotion, we all saw a match and a story well-deserving of a WrestleMania main event.
It would be the first time two Black women faced off on pay-per-view in the history of WWE in a singles match for a Women’s Championship. This would be the first time two Black women faced off in the main event of a Pay-Per-View and of a Wrestlemania. Now that I think of it, I don’t believe any major promotion has had two Black women main event a major promotion pay-per-view especially for a Championship, and never at their headlining event.
From the moment we saw Bianca tear up, we knew how special a moment this was, and both women showed up and showed out. If ever there was a woman who could put you over strong and give you a great, probably your best match, it’s Sasha Banks. In my opinion, she is the best wrestler on the current WWE roster. She sold and bumped and played up her heel character effortlessly. She was crafty, cagey, aggressive. She had an answer for everything The EST had to offer, and would routinely cut Bianca’s momentum off at the pass.
Bianca, for her part, would answer The Boss with freakish power. Particularly the military press while walking up the stairs and the delayed vertical suplex. While this wasn’t the most perfectly wrestled match, there were a couple of flubs, it delivered on storytelling, emotion, aggression, and passion. You could see both women wanted to put on a show, and they did.
Bianca triumphed and rose to the occasion, and proved nay-sayers like Sam Roberts and Jim Cornette wrong when it came to her skill. Sasha once again re-affirmed to those who don’t know, I’m looking at you, Cornette, why she is the best and gave Bianca her best match to date. Both women showed up, showed out, stood, and delivered.
The ending made me cry and made millions cry around the world, and Sasha got her roses and praise from the viewers at home. They showed the wrestling world #BlackGirlMagic and this was a match where everyone was a winner.
This has been a great week of women’s wrestling in the WWE and NXT, and I would be remiss to not give congratulations to Tamina and Natalya for their shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Titles, Raquel Gonzalez for her NXT Women’s Title win, and to Ember and Shotzi for retaining their titles at Stand & Deliver. WWE often misses its mark with the women, but this week, I have no complaints and look forward to tonight.
Check back in with Diva Dirt later today for a Discussion Post and the results from Night Two of WrestleMania.