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NXT Match of the Year 2015: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Takeover: Brooklyn

It was a year of unprecedented growth for NXT in 2015, as the promotion started realizing its potential with a massive house show in San Jose during WrestleMania weekend. That led to leaving the comfortable confines of Full Sail to test the waters at venues like the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and Wembley Arena in London, England. All along the way, the deeply talented roster delivered good to great matches up and down the card.

Now, here are the Cageside picks for "Match of the Year" in NXT in 2015.


Sean Rueter:

Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Takeover: Brooklyn

It's a boring, or at least obvious, pick, but it's pretty clear cut in my mind. In fact, the only other option that comes close is the rematch.

There are basically three things I look at when thinking about a pro wrestling match. Any one of the three can cause me to really enjoy a given contest, but when more than one of them click, you can rest assured I'm marking out. In Sasha Banks and Bayley's title match in New York, all three delivered in a big way. I felt like I knew and understood both characters. Their conflict had been presented in a concise, logical way which allowed me to become invested in it (those two elements, in fact, worked so well that I could even argue in favor of each woman's view of things, and defend their actions and choices). And they delivered an awesome fake that told a physical version of their tale, but also enhanced it, that displayed some cool big spots and nifty little touches.

The only thing I'd change about this match is its place on the card. They fixed that at Respect, but there was a little less suspense about the outcome and though they innovated quite well - sequels are rarely better than the original in my book. Brooklyn was, if you'll excuse the term, magical. And, all apologies to Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, in my recollection it was the last thing that happened at Barclays that night.


Bill Hanstock:

Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Takeover: Brooklyn

Was there really any other choice? I was lucky enough to be in the building for this match and it was everything we hoped and wanted it to be ... and more. The most emotional match in recent memory, the culmination of one of the best and most important feuds in years ... it had it all.

There was a stunning amount of NXT matches this year -- both Owens vs. Bálor matches, Joe vs. Ciampa, Gable and Jordan vs. Corbin and Rhyno, the Iron Woman match, and on and on -- but nothing will top the emotional high of Bayley and Sasha in Brooklyn. The best women's match in WWE history by a country mile ... and possibly the best match of the year, anywhere.


Geno Mrosko:

Bayley vs. Eva Marie, NXT TV

Before you rush to call me out in the comments section, I'll say that what Sasha Banks and Bayley did in Brooklyn was pro wrestling at its finest, the culmination of a great story with two great characters who are equally great wrestlers capable of having a classic match. Its brilliance was, frankly, predictable.

You knew they were going to deliver; they're simply too talented not to.

Bayley vs. Eva Marie was also pro wrestling at its finest but for different reasons. It wasn't a technical masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination -- they simply didn't have the tools to create such a match. Eva has the look but is severely limited otherwise, and that's what made it so impressive. They crafted a story through booking that captivated the audience, toyed with their emotions, and gave us a stunningly entertaining match despite Eva's many deficiencies.

What Bayley did with Sasha in Brooklyn was impressive, but it's far more impressive that they managed to, as Brock Lesnar would say, turn chicken shit into chicken salad.

What was your NXT "Match of the Year" in 2015?

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