WWE Best Matches Of The Week: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley II

Sasha Banks, Bayley, WWE SmackDown (photo courtesy of WWE)
Sasha Banks, Bayley, WWE SmackDown (photo courtesy of WWE) /

This week’s five best matches in WWE included a rematch of one of the best matches of the year between Sasha Banks and Bayley.

Last week I made fun of WWE Raw for accomplishing nothing more than airing on television. This week was a lot different. First off, their world title picture at the moment is a lot of fun. Drew McIntyre may drive himself crazy to retrieve the championship that finally made him a top player in the company, he’s as much of a fiend as Bray Wyatt has proven to be. Perhaps chasing the belt again is what McIntyre needed to revive his image with fans of the belief that he was becoming stale as the champ.

Four years ago, I thought Miz was the best option to carry the WWE Championship on SmackDown. Four years later and he’s finally back in the mix. Honestly, it’s a lot more fun this way; with John Morrison by his side and the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hands, Miz makes for a more interesting and comedic threat to Orton.

Speaking of comedy, AJ Styles has declared himself the captain of Raw‘s Survivor Series team. That guy just makes me laugh as soon as I see him.

The 5-on-5 Survivor Series match for “brand supremacy” has felt regularly flat since the brands were split again in 2016. This year a bit more than others. BACK IN MY DAY (I’m only 25) the guys and girls that made up these teams were either very tied to the brand they represented or really didn’t like the members of the opposite team. This year we have neither of those factors.

Looking at the lineups both brands have this year, this is going to be a banger, there’s no doubt about that. But some wrestlers on these teams just made it onto the brand they represent only a few weeks ago. What does Seth Rollins care if SmackDown wins? We used to go to war in the classroom siding with Raw or SmackDown, or, the kids with parents that could afford to pay for cable vs. the kids who only had an antenna and had no choice but to watch SmackDown only.

Granted this kind of matchup really only happened once while I was a kid, that was a special time as a fan. They really haven’t recreated that since, but they came close in 2016. What I do like about this year’s men and women 5-on-5s is they give the participants an opportunity to earn their spot on their show. Say Keith Lee eliminates 3 or more guys on Team SmackDown, that’s a huge clout boost and makes him an even more prominent figure on Mondays. That’s what I’m looking forward to as far as these matches go.

NXT was a decent this week. Tim Thatcher is becoming one of my favorites in the brand, and surprisingly enough it’s his character work accomplishing that.  “Thatch-as-Thatch-Can” is a really good segment they’ve presented the last few weeks and I really want to see the bully Thatcher get his ass beat soon.

A moment of silence for Shotzi Blackheart’s tank, you will be missed.

The NXT parking lot continues to be the most dangerous place in America, someone should really do something about that.

Carmella returned to television this week on SmackDown and set her sights on Sasha and the blue belt, I’m excited about it, she is a lot better than some might think. Like a lot of fans, I had Sasha and Bayley colliding and concluding their rivalry at WrestleMania before they split two months ago. That’s not the case anymore but I’m glad they got the chance to tell a story befitting their talents and it was over in two months(!) Their paths will undoubtedly cross again.

Here I am fawning over the Roman Reigns/Jey Uso storyline for like the tenth time. When Jey got on board with Roman’s mission last week I thought Jey was in the clear and free of any further torment from his cousin, I was wrong. Jey can’t even talk to the press without having to ask him for permission. It will be interesting to see how much more Jey can withstand before he snaps, or if he continues to fall in line with the Tribal Chief.

Also, I think Roman and Paul Heyman’s relationship is hilarious. Roman appreciates what Heyman does for him but that does not mean he has to like him, and it shows. Paul appears to be scared of his new client, a lot more than he ever was of Brock Lesnar, but it might also be the fear of falling back into irrelevancy should he screw this opportunity with Reigns, it’s good TV.

With all that said, these were the best matches of the week:

5. NXT UK: A-Kid vs. Noam Dar in a Heritage Cup Second Round Match

I am here again to tell you British Rounds matches rule. They cram a lot of action into 5-minute periods and if you’re into a frenzied pace this match type is for you. Noam Dar has been one of my favorite guys to watch since the Cruiserweight Classic, he’s so loveable and sleazy, and awesome in the ring. Dar really got to show those characteristics off against the surging A-Kid.

A cool recurring spot in matches with time limits is a submission move while the clock nearly runs out. The anticipation of seeing whether the wrestler in the hold will surrender before the clock runs out or if they can hold on always gets me, Dar and Kid perfectly executed that here. As the clock continued to move, the match felt like a continuous struggle for both guys and it went to the absolute limit before Kid finally got the deciding fall to win the match.

4. Raw: Hurt Business vs. New Day

The draft is already paying dividends. This was a really fresh matchup and a good start for what should be an awesome rivalry. You can tell Woods and Kofi were excited for this match. Shelton Bnejamin and Cedric Alexander could be a great pairing because they complement each other well,  both their strength and agility and Shelton’s experience could be a guiding light for his partner.

Cedric was so smooth and tactical in this match. Turning heel and aligning himself with WWE’s hottest faction was the right move, I’m excited to see what he can achieve with them. It feels good to have the New Day back wrestling, this bout was a good indicator for things to come. Cedric and Benjamin’s chemistry shined to close the match with a Neuralizer/Paydirt combo for the win.

3. NXT: Dakota Kai w/ Raquel González vs. Ember Moon

A surprising result here. Regardless, Ember got a chance to show out, and show out she did. Ember already had a cool moveset but she busted out a one-armed Powerbomb, super smooth execution, too. Ember’s bottom-rope dive is 100x more impactful than a dive done through the top and middle-ropes for reasons to do with physics I cannot explain, but it’s very impressive.

She tried it twice and failed on the second one, damaging her shoulder and creating a target for Kai to focus her attack on, which Moon sold well. Despite Ember’s injury, it took a González interference for Kai to barely escape with the victory. A sketchy loss like this assures me remains in contention for the NXT Women’s Championship.

2. Raw: Braun Strowman vs. Keith Lee vs. Sheamus in a Survivor Series Qualifying Match

Big E once said: “BIG MEATY MEN, SLAPPING MEAT.” Nothing captured the essence of this match as well as those words. The match was only a qualifier if Strowman won, meaning the focus was on him. But Lee and Sheamus did their thing, too. A drinking game where every freakish feat of strength equated to a shot might’ve been enough to kill a man. Sheamus was the lightest guy in the match but that didn’t diminish Lee’s effort in carrying the 270-pounder like it was nothing.

WWE hoss-style matches guarantee one thing; that ringside barricade is coming down. Sheamus latched onto Lee’s back in the ringside area and Strowman ran full-force towards them, destroying the barricade and his two opponents. It’s rare that a tower of doom spot isn’t the dumbest thing ever, so the fact they pulled one off I didn’t hate is reason for applause. The ending was chaotic and you could sense Strowman’s desperation to win this match and advance to Survivor Series, adding some meaning to this upcoming 5-on-5.

1. SmackDown: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

They did it again. After their classic inside the Hell in a Cell two weeks ago, Sasha and Bayley were tasked with ditching the gimmicks and having a straight-up wrestling match. That’s not a challenge when you’re two of the best in the world. They set the tone with a beautiful chain sequence in which Sasha got the best of Bayley, but the rest of the match got ugly.

I mean “ugly” in an “ouch, that’s gotta hurt” kind of way. Fighting on the apron led to Bayley catapulting Sasha off her legs, landing face first on the apron. I think it’s Sasha’s very long hair that makes her bumps look so brutal. The flailing it does creates the illusion of extreme impact on her head, and that’s pretty cool.

Next. Dear WWE Creative: Sasha Banks’ Moment Was Our Moment, Too. dark

My favorite detail in this match goes back to something Sasha said last week. In reference to Bayley, she so confidently said “backstabbing b*tches never win.” Hilariously enough, Bayley did use a Backstabber, and she didn’t win. Sasha locked in the Banks Statement and hooked Bayley’s right arm with her leg to limit her movement , forcing her to submit. Another banger.