clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE Hell in a Cell 2016: Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks full match preview


This has been a long time coming.

To be sure, women’s steel cage matches are nothing new. WWE have even done one before, on Raw in 2003, between Lita and Victoria. You can go watch it on WWE Network, if you like.

But inside of Hell in a Cell? Inside of the roofed cage that’s seen some of WWE’s greatest and bloodiest wars? Women have never gone there before. Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, in a very real sense, will be making history tonight.

The hate is real...

Charlotte and Sasha have been at each other’s throats for most of their WWE careers, one way or the other. Through familiarity and skill, they’ve become quite evenly matched. Both women have reigned three times with women’s titles that are currently active, once each with the NXT Women’s Championship and twice with the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. Their records in one-on-one televised singles action lies nearly flat as well, with Charlotte up 6 to Sasha’s 5.

But each victory gained by more desperate struggle than the last. Much like one of her heroes, Akira Hokuto, Sasha’s body has been broken in pursuit of victory time and again. Her back has become a target since their instant classic at SummerSlam, Charlotte doing her utmost to destroy it, attempting to end Sasha’s career and putting her out of action for weeks in the process. Sasha’s fighting spirit and will to win put the title back around her waist, but how long can it last?

...but unfortunately under-emphasized

Their feud, after Charlotte’s dominant triple threat victory at Clash of the Champions, seemed poised to be about Charlotte’s genetic superiority clashing with Sasha’s greater will to victory. And it was, for a while. All the way through Sasha winning the title back, in point of fact. But then... the Cell entered the picture. History entered the picture.

And suddenly, a blood feud totally worthy of a structure like Hell in a Cell became about progress. About proving to the world what WWE’s new crop of women wrestlers are capable of. About showing that the days of bra-and-panties matches are over for good, that ditching the Divas moniker was more than just a public relations move.

But in doing so, they missed the point, and how! What should have been pivotal segments showing exactly why these two deserve to be locked inside a steel cage and left uninterrupted until a winner emerged through blood and violence, they told us that they "deserved" it because damnit, they’ve just worked so hard! Instead of taking a step back and washing their hands of whatever they might choose to do to each other because the other option is inviting chaos into Monday night at every turn, Mick Foley begged and pleaded with them, invoking his own tragic history and broken body, desperate that they understand what they’re getting into a week after he made it happen.

Timed better, it could have been a really cool plot beat. Instead it came off awkward, shoehorned in like they realized they lost the plot and needed to bring it back around to the brutality of it all and suddenly remembered that Mick can sell the terror and brutality of the Cell like no one else on the roster.

But regardless of those complaints about the build, and all the hoopla over whether they should main event the show or not, the one place Sasha and Charlotte can be depended on to deliver the goods every time they’re asked is in the middle of that squared circle. Whether they will wrestle it as a brutal grudge match, scraping flesh on steel wire, or go for more of their standard high spot-oriented approach, I can’t tell you, but it’s gonna be (pun not intended but appreciated) one hell of a match.

Only question is— does Sasha Banks stand tall in front of her home town crowd, or does Charlotte come one title reign closer to the family record?


Who will win?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Charlotte Flair
    (18 votes)
  • 87%
    Sasha Banks
    (124 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats