A lot has changed since Stephanie McMahon ignited the Divas Revolution by introducing Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch to the WWE Universe last July. The 2015 version of SummerSlam featured a nine-woman elimination tag team match as a way to get all the Divas (except Natalya) on the card as they began the transition from the old guard of The Bella Twins to the new school stars of Charlotte, Sasha, Becky, and, to some extent, Paige.
Fast forward a year later, the Divas moniker has been replaced by the WWE Women’s Division and there’s no doubt who the top two females in the division are. Charlotte and Sasha headline the women’s portion of a roster that has also introduced the likes of Nia Jax, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss.
Charlotte won the Divas Championship last September and remained champion when they re-branded the title at this year’s WrestleMania. Her heel turn set the stage for the eventual showdown with a babyface Sasha, and one that most expected would first take place on August 21 at SummerSlam.
To the dismay of many fans, Sasha was kept off television immediately after the triple threat title match at ‘Mania, though that was partly due to injury. The WWE was holding off on bringing her back to television in order to properly build the drama for when the program with Charlotte was ready. When the feud finally got started, it resulted in a series of tag matches, most notably at Battleground when Sasha brought in Bayley to team up against Charlotte and Dana Brooke.
The Battleground pay-per-view represented the final show before the brand split went into effect, so many of the feuds ended due to the WWE Draft splitting up rivalries. Charlotte and Sasha was not one of them as they were both drafted to RAW. Plans remained for the two to battle at SummerSlam but the brand extension concept threw a bit of a wrinkle into the original creative plans.
For months we reported how Charlotte was going to hold the WWE Women’s Championship until SummerSlam, where she’d drop it to Sasha Banks. But because RAW and Smackdown are legitimately locked in a ratings battle, the RAW writing staff and Vince McMahon decided to move the match up four weeks and grant Sasha a title opportunity. And as we all know by now, Sasha was victorious, becoming the new champion and ending Charlotte’s long reign.
The title change initially sparked a rumor that the title switch was made because Charlotte had requested some time off right after SummerSlam. The Inquisitr proved this rumor false, however, as it became more clear why the switch was made. The WWE put Sasha over simply because they wanted to make a splash on the first RAW of the new era, and decided that Finn Balor’s huge night wasn’t enough in and of itself to give the flagship a jump start on the ratings war.
And according to Cageside Seats, WWE officials were extremely pleased with Charlotte and Sasha’s work during the match, with key management exclaiming that the two “really delivered.” As if there was any doubt to the contrary, Charlotte and Sasha were booked in the opening segment of this week’s RAW, which lead to a mix tag team match with Chris Jericho and Enzo Amore. At 21 minutes, the segment probably lasted too long, but it’s a good indication of the good graces the women find themselves in to be opening the show.
There has been talk of bringing Ric Flair back to the company with some suggesting that he’ll reprise his managerial role. However, because of how things ended with Charlotte the last time we saw him, he would be in the corner of her next opponent. The Charlotte/Sasha feud will likely continue even past SummerSlam, so the earliest we may see Flair wouldn’t be until September or October.
[Image via WWE]