Last night, Sasha Banks and Bayley tore the house down and stole the show during their Women's Title match on NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. The major flaw? It did not close the show.
It's been all telling and no showing for WWE's Diva's Revolution. It started with Stephanie McMahon coming down to the ring and literally telling us the divas were going to get more time and they were bringing up popular NXT women Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks. This announcement actually derailed a pretty good story where WWE Diva Paige was trying to go against the numbers Bella Army solo. It replaced it with no story at all.
Since the Revolution began, the reaction to it has been mixed at best. Yes, the women do get more time to work matches on Raw and they get multiple segments. That's not insignificant. Unfortunately, there aren't any stories to tell during that extra time. It's just random matches for the sake of Steph's Revolution. Most recently, WWE gave away a champion vs. champion match where Divas Champion Nikki Bella and then NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks received a rough spot on the card to work a poorly booked match. Suffice it to say, the Revolution has been disappointing.
NXT has always been strong with the on-air treatment of their women wrestlers. There's no doubt about that. They deserve a good deal of credit for how they've booked the division. That's why when WWE wants to point to the success of their women's movement, they point to NXT. They made a big deal with Sasha Banks and Charlotte main evented a house show in Philadelphia. But when they had the chance to really show that they mean business by putting the Women's Title match in the main event spot at TakeOver last night, they dropped the ball.
Closing the show with Sasha and Bayley would have gone along way to prove WWE means business when it comes to their Revolution. Main eventing a non-televised house show in Philadelphia is nice and all, but it's not all that impactful. No one is going to remember that moment asides from those in attendance. But main eventing their biggest TakeOver special in front of their biggest crowd in attendance and all those watching on the WWE Network would have been finally putting their money where their mouth is. TakeOver last night very well could have been their best special from top to bottom and the closing memory for people could have been the four women who really put the NXT women's scene on the map.
This would not have been main eventing the women just for the hell of it either. It deserved to be the main event from the story standpoint and match quality. Sasha Banks and Bayley have been at odds for years now as they would often find themselves opposite the other in the fight for the Women's Title. This story was being told when NXT was still only on Hulu. Despite rushing the finish of the story due to the main roster promotion of Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch, Bayley's ascension to women's champion was the culmination of a long saga. That's unlike Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, which was the main event last night. That was a story that has been less than six months old.
Then add in the fact that this was not only the best match of the night, but easily slots into a Match of the Year list. The crowd was invested in this match like no other on the card. Credit goes to Fiinn Balor and Kevin Owens bringing the crowd back as much as they did for the main event, it was easy to hear crowd never got their emotion back after watching the Four Horsemen of NXT have their emotional in ring moment.
Given the fact that the women had the best story and the best match, it is not a stretch to say the only reason they did not close was because they were women.
It was the perfect opportunity for WWE to make a real statement about where they stand on the women's movement in wrestling. They had a story years in the making and the strongest feud on the card. They had the venue: A hardcore Brooklyn crowd who would have probably have been extra excited if the women closed. They had the stage: Their biggest TakeOver special ever.
And they didn't do it.
Instead, we got to listen to Stephanie come out and give us some lip service, and lip service is all the Divas Revolution is, about how the women are the main event. And then immediately introduce them as not the main event. "Co-main eventing" isn't something revolutionary. Main eventing is.
Unfortunately, WWE won't have this type of opportunity in the near future. Only Bayley and Emma are long standing women's talent in NXT and there are no new stories in place. NXT likely doesn't have anything in the immediately future of the NXT Women's Division that will warrant a main event like they did last night. It's going to be a long time until we see the women main event a Raw. Even if WWE were all in on this Women's Revolution, it would take time. It took years for NXT to really turn people's opinion and get fans truly excited about women's wrestling. It will take longer to turn a more casual main stage fan base. Plus Vince McMahon is not one for patience for something that times time for crowds to get into.
This was the moment. This was the time for WWE to show the world that they mean business when it comes to how they are going to promote their women. And they failed to do it, which just adds more skepticism to how far they're really willing to go with this "Divas Revolution."