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Writers’ Choice Awards 2015: Match of the Year – Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn)

Diva Dirt presents its fifth annual Writers’ Choice Awards, as decided by the Diva Dirt team. As we come to the end of 2015, we have picked the best of the best to be awarded our Writers’ Choice trophies.

Match of the Year: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn)

Throughout nearly every wrestling promotion, 2015 was a year of memorable matches for women. As the team and I deliberated some of the possible contenders, one match kept coming up as the best choice among them all: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.

The match itself was set up perfectly to create a career-defining moment for one (if not both) of these women. In weeks leading to TakeOver, Bayley had returned to NXT after being sidelined for part of 2015 with an injury. She was on a quest to capture the gold after coming so close so many times in matches with NXT’s best Divas. To earn her way to another title shot, Bayley had to defeat not only Becky Lynch but former rival Charlotte. After some breathtaking contests, Bayley emerged victorious and on to face the “boss” of this real life video game she was living. That boss was Sasha Banks.

Banks, along with Lynch and Charlotte, had just made their official main roster debuts as part of the Divas Revolution storyline and were on their way to taking part in a Nine-Diva Tag Team elimination match at SummerSlam. Sasha was working double duty this whole time while engaging in contract signings and promos with Bayley to hype the big match.

WWE even advertised the Women’s Title match as one of the co-main events for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, something never done for the women. As if top billing wasn’t big enough, Stephanie McMahon even came out and hyped the match before the big showdown, highlighting the ways that the women of NXT were breaking ground in professional sports. All eyes were on Bayley and Sasha.

After two emotionally charged entrances emulating their favorite stars (Bayley as Macho Man Randy Savage and Sasha as Eddie Guerrero) the two stood face-to-face in front of a sold out and vocal Brooklyn crowd.

I had the pleasure of being a part of that audience that night, and the fans were on their feet the entire time with an even split in favoritism. Sasha and Bayley told a beautiful wrestling story in this match, with Sasha continuing to knock Bayley down every time she came close to victory. She kicked out of Bayley-to-Belly suplexes, locked her in the Bank Statement and dove over the top rope onto a helpless Bayley at ringside. Bayley, on the other hand, played the perfect face by countering some of Banks’s submissions and rallying the crowd behind her, attempting finishers out of desperation and fighting through the match, running on pure emotion.

In the end, Bayley hit a reverse hurricanrana on Banks from the top rope, which caused the crowd to go into a frenzy. She followed up the shocking maneuver with a Bayley-to-Belly suplex and pinned Sasha to win the NXT Women’s Championship. Charlotte and Becky Lynch ran out to join Banks and Bayley. The four took a curtain call to a standing ovation, fans wiping tears from their eyes.

This match was one of the final Four Horsewomen matches in NXT and served as a fitting finale to what these women have been working to achieve for the last two years: a revolution in women’s wrestling. Of course, we saw an encore to this match two months later at TakeOver: RESPECT, but this match was the real finale.

There’s no denying it: Sasha and Bayley stole the show at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Fans paid little attention to the actual main event (Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens) as they were still buzzing over the iconic moment they had just witnessed. It was historic, it was emotional, it was real.

Bayley and Sasha Banks not only put on the match of the year at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, they put on a classic.

Stay tuned for more Writers’ Choice Award reveals throughout the day.

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