NXT Great American Bash Takeaways: Sasha Banks vs. Asuka just got bigger

WWE, Sasha Banks (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
WWE, Sasha Banks (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images) /
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Sasha Banks and Io Shirai totally deliver

The main event match between Sasha Banks and Io Shirai didn’t have a title on the line, but it still felt like one of the biggest matches of the entire year in wrestling. Fans on social media had been buzzing about the bout for days, and it all crescendoed into anxious anticipation.

Shirai and Banks were as crisp as we’ve seen any two wrestlers in WWE this year, hitting their best moves with deadly accuracy. The moonsault, meteora, missile dropkicks, and dives were all hit with agonizing perfection, and both women showed off their world-class technical skills and selling. For a great review of the match, check out this one by Chaotic Nerd Review, which delves into the particularly brilliant selling around Asuka’s mist.

Asuka vs. Sasha Banks feels that much bigger

The finish of Sasha Banks vs. Io Shirai alone deserves a takeaway, because it furthered the existing rivalry for the Raw Women’s Championship between Asuka and Sasha. Like Io vs. Sasha, Asuka vs. Sasha will be one of the biggest matches of the year when it happens at Extreme Rules, and WWE did well to make it feel that way by getting Asuka involved. So not only did Asuka’s involvement help the champion win and look strong, but it also avoided Banks being hurt by a loss in any way while serving the dual purpose of building to an even more poignant story at the next Pay Per View.

Asuka is the favorite at Extreme Rules, but there are some fans who see Banks as a bold winner so that Raw can have the company’s biggest star right now. Sasha’s place at the top was entrenched with the reaction to her match against Shirai, and without Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Roman Reigns on weekly TV, her importance and Bayley’s importance have skyrocketed.

Next. NXT Great American Bash Night 1 Full Review. dark

That said, Asuka has been one of the best wrestlers over the past couple of months, too, making this match difficult to predict. And she needs a lengthy title reign. This match already had major stakes other than the title, and it now feels far more personal after what happened at NXT Great American Bash. Wonderful stuff.