Bayley defeated Sasha Banks for the NXT (WWE’s developmental affiliate, which stands alone substantially on its own terms these days) championship in one of the better pro wrestling matches in recent memory in Brooklyn on Saturday night. Though the match is not yet readily available on YouTube, there are a whole bunch of web cam commentaries out there. Yay?
A lot of lip service has been paid to the Divas Revolution in WWE since Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch got called up to the main roster last month. While the storytelling has thus far left a little to be desired, all the women’s matches are getting more airtime, which has been a good enough start. Those three and Bayley have been having fantastic matches in NXT for awhile now, and their growing television real estate is a result of having earned it as opposed to an artificial affirmative action mandate.
Saturday was a passing of the torch from Banks to Bayley, who is elevated to the top of the NXT card and should be on WWE broadcasts within a year or so. As Banks is a nominal heel, the curtain call at the end violated kayfabe — the act of staying in-character in professional wrestling — but further signified the changing of the times. Nearly 20 years ago, Triple H, who oversees NXT, was buried on the WWF roster in the 90’s when he and Shawn Michaels embraced Scott Hall and Kevin Nash before the latter pair left for WCW.
In this day and age, keeping up kayfabe is less important. It’s been acknowledged that wrestling is scripted entertainment, and the crowd last night was highly appreciative of the performance within the confines of the genre. The next time Banks has a microphone, she’ll be back in pompous character, and everything will be fine.