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WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn match card preview - Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

NXT Women's Championship

Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley

The long-road to the top got an expressway when Stephanie McMahon called for a Divas Revolution on the main roster. But The Boss and everyone's favorite fangirl are doing their best to make their showdown in Brooklyn's double main event a hit.

The Road to TakeOver

We've been on this journey with Bayley for a long, long time. Since debuting her gimmick as a childish fan getting to live her dream, she's been over with NXT's home crowd of Full Sail and most of the home audience. In fits and starts, she's chased her dream.

WOOOing with Ric Flair to team with his daughter Charlotte. Challenging then Divas champ AJ Lee. Having Charlotte turn on her, only to eventually earn her respect in a couple of title matches while the Nature Girl held the Women's title. Having another friend, Becky Lynch, betray her to Sasha Banks, eventually missing time due to injury explained as being due to an attack by those two new allies. Losing a Fatal 4Way for the belt against those teammates and rivals - the other "Four Horsewomen of NXT".

Throughout all of those feuds and angles, The Hugster gradually began to show more intensity and fire. Fans believed, even after the near misses against Charlotte, and the fourway at Rival, that Bayley - like Sami Zayn before her - would get her moment.

But while she was nursing a broken hand, the other three women with whom Bayley had transformed NXT into a home for quality women's wrestling were called to Raw. As viewers exalted in seeing Charlotte, Becky and Sasha join Paige on the main roster, thoughts immediately turned to the one they left behind. The presumed consolation was that she'd finally get her redemption with the title run that had long alluded her.

In order to get there, a lot of loose ends had to be tied up first. A feud Bayley had going with a heel-turned Emma, returning to NXT as a jaded, disappointment who wanted to beat the optimism out of the Hug Life practicioner, had to be wrapped up in short order so she could run through old rivals Charlotte and Lynch. The Dirtiest Diva in the Game had to quickly blow-off a program with Emma's associate Dana Brooke just to clear her dance card for Bayley.

Wins over Charlotte and BEX came after good matches, but still seemed to be lacking the epic feel that those of us who'd been watching Bayley's arc since she entered the first NXT Women's championship tournament back in 2013 believed it deserved.

That came when she and Sasha hit the ring for a contract signing this past Wednesday. A more confident Bayley stated her intention to become Women's champ, and snapped when Banks disrespected her and the fans who support her:

The Boss' development in NXT is no less impressive than her rival's. Debuting in late 2012 as a high-flying babyface-type, Banks was eventually recruited by Summer Rae into her BFF stable. Turning heel unleashed something in her, and The Boss - the baddest woman in NXT - was born.

In many ways, her development is similar to Bayley's. Summer preyed on her lack of confidence in corrupting her, and even though she found prominence as a villain, she was still hiding behind assoicates - first Charlotte, then Becky - until she earned the title. As champ, her belief in herself has grown to match her considerable personality and vastly improved in-ring skills. Even though she's worked surprisingly little since her killer title defense against Lynch in May at Unstoppable, Banks' reputation has grown.

Even amidst a crowded Divas Revolution, she's emerged as now the baddest woman in WWE.

What's at Stake?

Sasha spoke to Chris Jericho about the pressure on the NXT Four to constantly top the last TakeOver performance, and expectations are really high for tomorrow night.  Presuming this is the transition of the title to Bayley and Banks to the main roster that we're all expecting, the story should be satisfying regardless of match quality, but if the ladies don't deliver big spots and thrilling near-falls in addition to telling their tale, some critics will let them hear about it.

The Hugster is probably more in need of a standout performance than The Boss. Banks has another match at SummerSlam, and will be judged more for whatever she's allowed to do on the main roster from here on out. Bayley has nearly as many doubters about her wrestling and long-term prospects as she has supporters who will blow the roof off the Barclays Center is she wins.

Right or wrong, both women probably feel a responsibility to put a cap on the last two year's of work they've done, along with Paige, Emma, Summer, Becky, Charlotte, Norman Smiley, Sara Amato and others to change perceptions among mainstream WWE fans about what female performers can accomplish in pro wrestling.

Wherever it ends up ranked in NXT history, it won't change what will be looked back on as a defining run of women's wrestling.

Join us right here, Saturday night at 9PM Eastern to find out who'll walk out with what's still the most prestigious women's title in all of pro wrestling.

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