Saturday, April 20, 2024

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NXT TakeOver: Rival in Review: The Dream Come$ True

I can’t intro this. Let’s just jump right in.

We head backstage to get a peek at both Sasha Banks and Charlotte warming up for the fatal 4 way, similar to the ones we saw earlier in the night involving Bayley and Becky Lynch. From there, we transition right into a very incredible video package highlighting the months of build-up that’s taken us from the era of the BFF’s to present day.

Out to the ring we head, as Bayley gets the opening entrance for the contest! She’s got a look of fire and determination on her face, with JoJo (let her wrestle pls) providing introductions. Up next comes The Boss, followed by Becky Lynch (WHOAA OA OA OA) and last but not least, Charlotte. All four women take a corner of the ring as Drake Wuertz holds the title up and displays what’s on the line for the women involved.

From there, the bell sounds as all four begin squaring off. Becky and Sasha send Charlotte into the ropes, but get taken down with a double clothesline. Roll up by Bayley! No. Charlotte nails a beautiful flip outside, spearing Bayley in the stomach before the deceitful duo surrounding the ring drop the champion like a sack of potatoes. They then proceed to throw her into the LED board on the ring apron and potentially break it (ruh roh). They strut inside the ring and beat Bayley down, nailing a sick double team cradle throw into the turnbuckle. Both try to cover, which sparks dissention amongst the ranks and leads to Becky executing a GREAT Pumphandle suplex.

Sasha rolls to the outside as Lynch controls the match with some legdrops to Bayley for a two. Lynch with a dragon screw to follow up, then locking in her sick submission on the legs! Sasha breaks it up and tells Becky that SHE made her, which does nothing but lead to both women attacking each other. The Boss goes for her knees in the corner, however, Lynch rolls out and lands a missile dropkick! Charlotte now back in with a neckbreaker to Becky, followed up with the suplex into a neckbreaker variation on Sasha.

Charlotte backs Becky into the corner and lands another sick neckbreaker, but Sasha breaks it up. The two trade blows as Sasha runs off the ropes and nearly gets speared [R]evolution style… only Banks dodges and sends Charlotte flying into Becky! She then tries for a wheelbarrow type move on Charlotte, but as the champ has her held up, Bayley runs in with a CODEBREAKER. Dear God.

Charlotte boots Bayley right back out then charges for Sasha who proceeds to move out of the way. Our Dirtiest Diva in the Game collides into the turnbuckle post, as Sasha sets her in place for the knees… but before she can hit them, she also puts Becky in place below her! Sasha begins covering both women, but only getting two counts. The frustration immediately shows as she starts screaming in rage, but Bayley runs up behind her and takes her out with a suplex! Bayley now with the corner elbows to Charlotte, before setting her on the top rope and landing the Baynkensteiner!

Our crowd fires up for Bayley, who lands the Bayley to Belly! One… two… NO! Becky pulls her outside. She tries for a clothesline, but Bayley slams her face first off the ring apron and delivers a mid turnbuckle front kick! The two now start fighting on the ring apron when out of freakin’ nowhere, Sasha Banks flies through the ropes with a suicide dive onto them both! Charlotte now stands in the ring alone as the crowd chants “NXT!”, leading to her looking interested in doing something special. She goes to the rope and PLANCHAS onto all three! Jesus almighty.

Charlotte throws Becky inside, but Lynch lands a shot to the midsection and hits the T-Bone Suplex! One… two… NO! Charlotte kicks out. She lands some uppercuts to Charlotte and hoists her up top, as Sasha tries to interfere. Bayley grabs Banks by the leg and drops her back outside, then heading up herself and hitting a German suplex on Lynch! From there, Bayley climbs and lands the Bayley to Belly FROM THE SECOND ROPE! Cover! One… two… NO. Sasha breaks it up and throws Bayley outside. SHE hooks the leg, but only for a two. This is infuriating Banks, who loses all control and just locks in her crossface! Charlotte fights… she fights more… she’s crawling to the ropes. Sasha lets up to kick Becky off the ring apron back outside into Bayley. She locks the submission back in! Charlotte refuses to tap. She looks like she’s opting to pass out instead of tap out, which sparks Sasha to think quickly on her feet and convert the submission into a roll up. One… two… THREE! SASHA WINS!

Sasha bursts into tears, having not only finally pinned Charlotte, but also captured the NXT Womens Championship. The crowd screams in celebration, watching this woman’s hard work finally pay off. We take a look at a ton of the high points from the action, then returning to see Sasha posing with HER title in the ring. Charlotte proceeds to get up and extend her hand, then pulling Sasha in for a hug as the two embrace in the center of the ring. They get into a friendly shoving contest just to show things aren’t entirely smoothed over, before Banks heads out and ends the 20+ minute segment with a shot of her tearful face holding the NXT Women’s Championship up above her.

And, finally, cameras caught up with the new champ after her win:

Thoughts: I can’t think.

This was perfect. I have been using that term a little more loosely as of late, but this is as perfect as it gets. The match was phenomenal and had not one flaw to possibly point out. In terms of ranking it amongst the past Takeover matches, I’m going to say that as a whole this was my all-time favorite because it had the result I’d been pleading to see for years. Sasha Banks is just unstoppable. She has everything, and for so long almost everyone doubted her.

People exclaimed she would never be able to cut promos that compared to the best women WWE had to offer, or that she was too bland as a babyface and didn’t have any star quality. But through 2014, Sasha capitalized on every single complaint anyone ever had for her. She worked her ass off improving her promo ability and became a star not only in ring work (which she always was in my opinion), but her character as well.

She’s had to fight for everything she wanted. Nobody can say they’re responsible for her success but herself. She was on such a losing streak at the end of 2013-start of 2014, and while it infuriated some (okay me), she didn’t let it stop her. Instead, she went out and put on exceptional match after exceptional match to prove that she was worth the company putting their time and money in. With the tournament last April, Sasha finally got a win over Bayley, and while it ultimately didn’t lead to a big push just yet, it was at least the start of seeing her become a larger player in the grand scheme of the division as a whole.

On top of that, she never got merch… despite being pretty much the most easily marketable Diva they have in terms of having signature catchphrases and props that could be sold. Did she let that get her down? No. She made her own merch and hyped it up to the point fans pleaded with WWE Shop to stock it. And what do you know… this week she finally got a T-Shirt and three sets of Boss glasses up for sale.

I’m just so happy for her. She’s someone who many wrote off for the longest time, but her fans always stuck by and believed she could be the star of WWE’s Divas. 2014 was truly the year she broke out and opened the eyes of all her detractors, and to start this year off by seeing her reach her dream is everything I could’ve ever wanted. I claimed I felt it was now or never when it came to her getting a title reign, and I’m so happy they chose to do it. It might not be entirely long because I feel like her time on the main roster is very close, but just the fact that she has the title reign after fighting a journey so inspiring to reach it is all I could ask.

As far as the match goes, do I need to justify how incredible it was? All four got moments I won’t forget, and all four shined. They took a match type that has the potential of being an easy trainwreck, and made it one of the biggest highlights of the night. I can’t commend Charlotte, Becky, Sasha and Bayley enough.

The finish is something I’ve seen a lot of mixed response for, but I LOVED it. It showed how desperate for victory Sasha was, and also that her level of quick thinking is untouchable. She wanted to break Charlotte in half for that title, and when she saw Becky and Bayley almost reach back into the ring, she kicked them off and the lightbulb clicked that if Charlotte would rather pass out than tap out, don’t give her the option and potentially wreck your chance if it takes too long and either of the other two break it up. Do whatever you have to and secure that pinfall while they’re still down and you have time. Ugh, I loved it so much.

High spots for me include:

The Belly to Bayley off the second rope

Sasha’s two woman knee drop

Bayley and Charlotte’s wheelbarrow codebreaker to Sasha

Becky’s Pumphandle Suplex

Sasha’s suicide dive

Charlotte’s plancha

Bayley’s mid turnbuckle front kick

The list goes on and on. I’ve probably forgotten 50 more but I can’t think right now. I’m too happy, and I really hope this leads where I want it to. Sasha realized her dream, and so I hope the next woman in line to do that is Bayley because it makes it all the more worthwhile for her dream to come true by dethroning her arch rival as opposed to someone who’s kind of hit or miss when it comes to friendships.

That’s still a ways down the line though. As for now, it’s time to celebrate the era of Sasha Banks! All hail!

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