Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks, after some speculation, did end up being the final main event at WWE’s 2016 rendition of Hell in a Cell.
While it wasn’t the only Cell match on the card, as it was joined by physical contests with Roman Reigns and Rusev and Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins at the bottom and middle of the cards, respectively, it did get the place of honor.
In doing so, it was the first time a women’s match had headlined a pay-per-view, or “special event” as the WWE more appropriately calls them nowadays.
While Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks is a great matchup on paper, and the women have put forth some stunning displays in past entanglements on Raw and, earlier, NXT, some are now saying their match at this year’s Hell in a Cell wasn’t one of them.
Yes, it started well, the critics state. The sneak attack on Sasha Banks from Ms. Flair was a classic heel touch. The power bomb on the stripped-bare announce table was also a sight to behold.
And if judging the match right out of the starting blocks, one could understandably put it up there as the best match on the card.
But the momentum did not last long, and if the truth is told, it started to go downhill immediately after the table bomb.
— SportySmash (@SportySmash) July 1, 2016
While the previous Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks matches were known for their high-impact moves and fast-paced work rate, this one was a slow, plodding mess where the women pretty much sold injuries for 90 percent of the time, incompetently used weapons, and moved tables around.
There was nothing revolutionary about it, and by the time Ms. Flair got the drop on a broken down and exhausted Sasha, it all felt, as Geno Mrosko of Cageside Seats explains, anticlimactic.
The complaint from many fans after the show wasn’t that Charlotte beat Sasha Banks in her own hometown of Boston, Mass., but that things just sort of ended after very little action.
For those of you who didn’t watch the show, you will probably hear from the usual talking heads that Charlotte vs. Sasha was yet another classic in the pantheon of their storied rivalry.
Ric Flair, Charlotte’s father, is all but obligated to put the match over as he does anytime something is said about Ms. Flair on the Ric Flair Show podcast.
Also, Forbes‘ Brian Mazique has already inexplicably given the match an A-, writing the following.
“The two women would battle almost non-stop for the next 20 minutes. We saw table spots, chair stunts, and Sasha leaped from inside the fence into Charlotte with her double-knee takedown and more.”
The non-stop comment is a bit of a mystery since Sasha spent over half the match doubled over or selling her back injury, which might have been a shoot to some degree.
Whether it was or not, she did a great job of selling it, but unfortunately slid into the overkill category before the stretcher job at the start of the match had even finished.
Backstage Talk On Charlotte Vs. Sasha Banks At WWE Hell In A Cell, Which Match Will Close… https://t.co/cewWtq0RQ4
— WrestlingINC.com (@WrestlingInc) October 25, 2016
No, this was not good, and it was not representative of how far women’s wrestling has come since the “revolution” began in NXT.
Charlotte vs. Sasha would have been better served running a shorter program but speeding up the action. The selling simply took the audience out of the match, and cheers were not as forthcoming once the women finally made it inside the cage and the match had started. For about the last 15 minutes, cheers were sporadic, and the overall noise levels were nonexistent.
But what did you think, readers?
Should the Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks Hell in a Cell match get a pass? Are critics being too harsh or too complimentary? Do you think the match is being judged fairly for what it was or through a gender lens? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by WWE]