By Will Pruett
Full disclosure: Will actually watched all of Raw this week. Weird.
Charlotte and Sasha Banks were given another major opportunity on Raw this week. They were once again in the show’s main event, a slot that must feel a little familiar to them these days. They were given the chance to have a match WWE had never let women have: a falls count anywhere match with action going up the ramp, through the crowd, and everywhere they could. Sasha Banks and Charlotte delivered an exciting main event caliber match to cap off their groundbreaking feud.
I’ve been confused at various times in this series. These two women never seem to win a second match against the other. Over and over again, we’ve seen Charlotte lose to Sasha on Raw and Charlotte defeat Sasha on pay-per-view. It’s almost dizzying. For a long time, I figured WWE had no idea what they were doing and were simply trying to manufacture excitement with quick title changes.
On Raw last night, as Sasha locked in a very painful looking Banks Statement on Charlotte in the crowd, I realized what they’ve been going for. Sasha and Charlotte are equals. When they wrestle, it is a coin flip. They’re evenly matched opponents with a long history and they bring something new each time they fight. They’ve taken what I originally saw as clumsy disappointing storytelling and made it fresh and fun.
Sasha Banks and Charlotte are breaking new ground for women’s wrestling on the national scene. It’s not because they’re better than any women that came before them, but because they’re in the generation getting this opportunity. Both women are immensely talented, but the matches they are allowed to have are so much more than anything WWE has allowed women to have in the past.
This is better than highlighting two revolutionary performers changing the game. This shows that WWE is thinking beyond these two and changing the game entirely. Sasha Banks and Charlotte are symbols for the entirety of women’s wrestling on the national scene. They’re getting opportunities now that Becky Lynch, Bayley, Nia Jax, Emma, Dana Brooke, Asuka, Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss, and so many others will get in the coming years.
WWE is showing us, especially through the trilogy of main events Charlotte and Sasha have had (two on Raw, one at Hell in a Cell), that women can and will be the main event in the future. They’re inspiring a generational change we won’t know the effects of for years.
Charlotte and Sasha Banks are changing the game for everyone. They’re the pioneers WWE has placed on the forefront. I can’t wait to see what is coming behind them.
And now for some random thoughts:
– Enzo’s current mini-feud with Rusev is bothersome to me. Enzo exposed himself to Lana backstage, bragged about it, sexually harassed her after doing so, and is somehow confused as to why Lana’s husband is upset about this. Add to this the weirdness of Lana’s character being entirely based on Rusev being “the only man that can have her” and you have a horrid objectification of Lana by everyone. While WWE is breaking new ground for women, they’re also reminding us of how they’ve treated women for years. This is disappointing.
– While I’ve enjoyed almost all of the Charlotte and Sasha series, it is time for WWE to keep them away from each other for a year or more. Last night was a fitting conclusion. Let’s let it be.
– Charlotte’s big match Moonsault is quite fun.
– Kevin Owens continues to do a good job with a poor character. I’m not sure whether I find this impressive or ultimately disappointing. He can make generic jokes about Canada and America funny. He can play the best friend of Chris Jericho exceptionally well. He is a great cowardly heel WWE Universal Champion. At the same time, when I look at him, I see the potential for more. I see the potential for a dominating and compelling independent monster heel champion. WWE obviously doesn’t.
The current crux of Owens’ character is codependency on Chris Jericho. This is not only true in matches, but also true in the need for validation backstage. WWE is making a championship into a joke through this process and, while said joke is funny and occasionally enjoyable, it’s a bummer.
– Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens was a good match with some really enjoyable moments. Knowing these two will have another match on the second Roadblock pay-per-view of 2016 almost worries me. Owens and Reigns are both good performers, but they did a lot in this Raw match. Will Roadblock II 2016 be a repeat?
– The New Day continue to win their title matches via nefarious means. Why? This doesn’t endure any character to me. This doesn’t make me want to see a babyface beat them. This just bums me out.
– Last week I wrote about poor Sami Zayn after he was murdered by Braun Strowman. This week I have to retract that statement. WWE used this Sami Zayn and Braun Strowman situation to reveal something about Sami’s character. They showed us that Zayn absolutely refuses to stay down and stop fighting. Often WWE tells us these things but never shows them. Using Mick Foley’s common yelling strategy, they actually showed us this aspect of Sami. Character development is rare in WWE, so I’ll applaud this.
– Mick Foley really does yell far too often.
– Rich Swann is the Cruiserweight WWE should start building around and they should start this tonight. WWE needs and identity for the Cruiserweight Division and Swann offers something fun, skilled, and dynamic. It’s time to put some serious effort into getting this division right.
– Is there any reason Cedric Alexander couldn’t win in his hometown of Charlotte? Vince McMahon seems to hate letting wrestlers have feel-good hometown moments. This is puzzling. Is wrestling supposed to make people happy?
– The Paul Heyman promo was just about what I expected setting Brock Lensar up with something to prove against Goldberg and setting up a Royal Rumble clash between the two. This is better than I thought it would be.
– As much as I love what WWE has done with Charlotte and Sasha Banks, it’s time to start telling two to three stories with the Raw women at once.
– Raw was a long show, as it always is, but it was a pretty fun show this week. I’m feeling quite optimistic after a great main event.
Got thoughts on this show or my review of it? Hit me up with them! Check the Twitter @wilpruett, leave a comment, or email me at email@example.com.
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...