Patches Chance’s Pick
MOTY: Sasha Banks Vs Bayley, Hell In A Cell
Despite one of the most unorthodox and unpredictable years in wrestling history, for good reason, Sasha Banks and Bayley have remained two of the most consistent performers in 2020. While many, myself included, had hoped to see the implosion of The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection or The Golden Role Models come to fruition in the build to a moment like Sasha Banks headlining SummerSlam in Boston, that isn’t how 2020 worked out.
However, The Boss and The Role Model didn’t allow their unconventional environment to hold back a heartbreaking turn as Bayley turned on Sasha Banks and finally sent their team spiraling. After being one of the most refreshing heel pairings all year and continuously delivering must-see moments whether they were on Raw, NXT, or SmackDown, things finally broke down after they’d lost the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles and were in the build to WWE Hell in a Cell.
Finally, the stage was set for the most anticipated NXT rematch of all time. While we’d seen Sasha Banks and Bayley square off in singles action a few times on WWE Raw or SmackDown over the last few years, including a quick match that ended in disqualification a few weeks before WWE Hell in a Cell, this was the first true pay-per-view collision on the main roster from the pair that arguably gave us the greatest NXT match of all-time at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015.
By the time the bell rang, they’d already been laying seeds for years and even more so in the months, they spent as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions during 2020. Once the true main event of WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 was underway, we saw Banks and Bayley pull out all the stops and deliver one of the most captivating and unique Hell in a Cell match in recent memory.
From start to finish, there were little callbacks to moments in their storied rivalry and even the clash at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn half a decade ago. They kept finding creative ways to utilize weapons that we’d never seen before, but they also made each glimpse of brutality hit harder thanks to the nuances of their own performances.
When the dust settled, Sasha Banks took the very chair Bayley had used to turn on her and made it part of the Banks Statement that forced Bayley to tap out and lose the SmackDown Women’s Championship she’d held for a record-shattering 380 days. Bayley had spray-painted “1-0” on the chair as a pre-emptive measure to indicate she’d be “1-0” inside Hell in a Cell when the night was over.
In those final moments, the chair had been turned and instead read “0-1” as Bayley gave up and failed to defeat “The Boss” Sasha Banks. It was the icing on top of my Match of the Year, and surely one of the best Hell in a Cell match we’ve seen in the last decade.
Honorable Mentions: Dark Sheik Vs Still Life With Apricots & Pears, Effy’s Big Gay Brunch
Even in a year like 2020, it can be difficult for things to break through the pack and garner a Match of the Year status. There wasn’t nearly as much independent wrestling as we normally see in a full year, thanks to the ongoing global pandemic, but GCW’s The Collective found a way to come to fruition months after it was initially scheduled.
One of that weekend’s most highly anticipated events was EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, which looked to put the spotlight on LGBTQ+ talent in a way that professional wrestling rarely does. Flipping the script on an industry that can often just toss in a token queer wrestler to appease others, EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch was all about the queer talent from the top to the bottom of the card.
The night’s main event saw AEW’s own Sonny Kiss take on wrestling legend Cassandro in an instant classic where you could barely believe Cassandro was every bit of 50 years old. There were several other great moments, but the match that ultimately stole the show and gets a much-deserving Honorable Mention for 2020 Match of the Year happened when Dark Sheik took on Still Life With Apricots and Pears.
The tone of the moment was set from the second Still Life entered the arena and a fan could be seen behind them holding a non-binary flag which Still Life acknowledged during her entrance. Still, Life was pitted against a true trailblazer in this industry in Dark Sheik, and these two queer pioneers were ready to tear the house down.
On top of all of the obvious signs that came with the match due to their careers, what Dark Sheik meant to Still Life in their career, this was also two technical masters putting on an absolute clinic. Whether you were one of the few who got to attend in the socially-distanced crowd or watching from home, you could feel the history being made which almost faded into the background behind the pure wrestling match they put together that more than earns an Honorable Mention for 2020 Match of the Year.