September 12, 2015
Thursday night, Triple H announced the main event for the next NXT Takeover special, which takes place on October 7th, and it’s a main event that likely not many people expected to see.
In the continued battle to truly bring a revolutionary women’s wrestling product nationally, WWE has decided to headline its next NXT special event with a 30-minute Iron Woman match between Bayley and Sasha Banks, two of the best women’s wrestlers in the world today.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the Iron Man [or Woman] match, the match will run the allotted time, which is usually either 30 or 60 minutes, and whoever has more pinfall, submission, or disqualification victories during that time wins the match.
The most famous Iron Man match in WWE history took place at WrestleMania XII between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. That match went 60 minutes with no falls for either man, so the match was moved to sudden death. I would love for that to happen with this match.
* I understand WWE is billing it as an “Iron Man” match, but it really should be billed as “Iron Woman” for obvious reasons, so I’m going with that.
Bayley and Banks had an incredible match in August at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn the night before SummerSlam. In many fans’ eyes, including mine, this match should have been the main event of the show – that’s how good it was. Bayley won the NXT Women’s Championship in what was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen live, and she and Banks hugged in the ring after their battle, signaling the time for a change in the landscape of women’s wrestling was now.
Now, it is. In less than a month, those same women have earned the opportunity to headline an NXT Takeover event, which happens to fall on the same day as my birthday. Happy Birthday to me.
Women’s matches headlining NXT events isn’t a new thing. Main events on television episodes and live events have boasted a women’s match, but this is the first time a women’s match will headline a live event that is comparable to a WWE pay-per-view in 2015.
In fact, WWE has had women’s matches headline their flagship television program, Monday Night Raw. Trish Stratus and Lita main-evented an episode of Raw in 2004, and before that, Stephanie McMahon and Lita headlined an episode of Raw in 2000. Stratus and Lita’s match was fantastic, and Stephanie losing the Women’s Title to Lita was a great angle to close out that show. One thing was missing though, and that was consistency.
There have been chances for WWE to capitalize on situations like that and really build up their women’s division to make it close to, if not right on par, with the men’s divisions. But that would never happen, as the Women’s Division in WWE quickly fell in a downward spiral after the likes of Stratus, Lita, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix and Gail Kim left the company. With women wrestlers on the roster such as Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly, Melina, Michelle McCool and Layla, the opportunity for the company to create the next best women’s superstar of wrestling was not very wide.
They’ve finally capitalized on that chance. Today, WWE employs a plethora of fantastic women’s wrestlers who have not only prior experience in the ring, but also fit their stereotypical image of what a women’s star should look like [they do this with men, too]. They’re beautiful, strong and athletic, and have really ushered in a new era of women’s wrestling not only in WWE, but in the entire wrestling industry. Promotions like SHIMMER have given aspiring women wrestlers the avenue to fine tune their craft before reaching the pinnacle, which currently is WWE.
Make no mistake about it, Bayley and Banks’ match from NXT Takeover: Brooklyn set them up perfectly for this rematch. Had that match not been as epic as it played out on television and to the live audience, I’m not sure we’re seeing these two women headlining a highly anticipated event like this one.
While some people out there don’t like the Iron Woman gimmick part of it, simply because one pinfall might not win the match, I honestly don’t think it’s a big deal. An Iron Man match historically is used to tell a story, and the chance at there being more than one pinfall in the match really shouldn’t be looked at as a downside. It’s usually the story that makes matches great, not it being a high-flying spotfest that really doesn’t make much sense at all. Bayley and Banks’ match in Brooklyn told an amazing story. The moves were crisp and clean. These women know how to work and tell a story – and that’s due to a lot of the help they get at the NXT level.
Unfortunately, we’re probably going to see on-screen characters take credit for this true Divas Revolution in NXT, but, honestly, I don’t care anymore. The fact that this is happening is enough for me, and I couldn’t care less who takes credit for it on-screen. Stephanie McMahon took credit for the Divas Revolution and how it played out on Raw this summer, but it’s quickly losing steam.
Charlotte takes on Nikki Bella Monday night on Raw for the Divas Championship, and if Charlotte walks away with the title, then I’ll get a little excited. NXT’s Divas Revolution makes the main roster’s look insignificant, so I’m hoping it gives the women who were called up to the main roster some more fire under them to not only challenge the people who are telling them what to do verbally, but by putting on NXT-quality matches on Raw and SmackDown.
That’s a true revolution. NXT’s women’s revolution has not only arrived, but it’s continuing to change the landscape of professional wrestling. It’s time WWE gives that same importance to their main roster. They’ve got the talent to do it. The time is now.