Greetings once all and welcome to the second part in retrospective on the Sasha/Charlotte feud in preparation for the Wrestlemania match where I thought we would witness the glorious end of Charlotte's reign. Despite that not happening and the deafeningly still response to the first part, onwards we go. However, even halfway through, I am really glad about revisiting these matches as there are certain narratives about these matches which I found myself challenging after rewatching them.
Sasha/Charlotte for the Raw Women's Title on SummerSlam:
I repeat myself, but this turned out to be an utterly fascinating match to look back on. Going back to it, I was expecting this to me the most underwhelming of the Sasha/Charlotte matches and was even a bit worried as the Raw match challenged my nostalgic views of it by being a great example of Moment matches. In current discussion, this match is pretty much defined by that big drop botch by Charlotte and the shocking finish with Charlotte winning the title back. It was a crucial match, but it is often maligned as this botch-fest and not rising to the occasion.
Yet, to my great surprise, when I was watching this match, I thought it was technically a lot better than the Raw match where Sasha won the title. They had a great pact, there was really good action throughout and even while there are some botches, especially after the drop botch which I'm assuming further aggravated Sasha's back issues hindering. Still, despite all this focus, what really stood out to me is how they flowed through them. If something went wrong, both women just instantly adjusted on an astonishing level. Even after the drop botch, Charlotte's there instantly reacting to events and being a heel.
In addition to all that, there was this energy to this match with both women coming across as badasses instead of the first match, where the primary goal was to have that coronation moment for Sasha. That wasn't a bad thing in anyway, but this felt more like a clash of equals even before the finish.
Move of the match: The top rope Razor's Edge to the Hurricana. One of the saddest things to me about this match is that they pulled off some of truly amazing moves with this especially one of most baller sequences in WWE that year. Yet it got overshadowed by that botch and how it marked the match.
Verdict of the match: I'm giving this match 3,75 stars. I actually really struggled with how to score this match due to my previous perception of it and what I felt from watching the match. I almost wanted to give this match four stars, but then gave it that edge value. Really great work from both women.
Charlotte/Sasha/Bayley for Raw Women's title at Clash of Champions:
This match is probably the weirdest of the feud for a few reasons. First, to truly understand this match, and what it succeeds or fails at, we have to look at the utterly insane build for it. Based on reports and direct statements from Sasha herself, the reason Charlotte won the title at SummerSlam was that Sasha had an injury scare which they expected to sideline her for the time being. Thus they brought Bayley to the main roster and directly started a feud with her and Charlotte to fill that absence. Except turns out that Sasha's injury wasn't that serious, which was revealed during one of the worst segments of the year, also known as Sasha's fake retirement promo in the same episode where they had Bayley beat Charlotte with one leg. So next week they started Raw with the women, also adding Dana turning on Charlotte, and did a Triple Threat to determine Charlotte's title contender at CoC with the match ending Sasha pinning Bayley, but the finish was seemingly botched with Sasha's shoulders being down. As a result, next week the title match was turned in to a Triple Threat while still building on the tension between Charlotte/Dana, a storyline which then disappeared before making its sudden return the few previous weeks. Yeah, this was a mess.
The reason all this was important for the match is that they decided to have the match to focus on story instead of action. And don't get me wrong, the story they told in the ring was actually really good, it was just impossible to really connect it to the absolutely scattered build. If I had to guess, the original plan for the match before the botched pin was to have Sasha beat Charlotte here for the title and then defend it at HIAC, but after the botched finish they saw a chance to build Charlotte up a bit more before having Sasha go over her. Yet here they are telling a story that Sasha is so focused on getting her vengeance on Charlotte and ignoring Bayley or blindsiding her when they work together, that dysfunction allowing Charlotte take advantage of her vulnerable opponents. Dana is also a huge part of this match and the only title defense where she contributes to Charlotte's victory.
Which brings us to the other odd thing about this match as the moment the match ended, and even now, there were arguments about how Charlotte was too dominant or just throwing the other women around which literally doesn't happen in this match, at least not on the scale claimed. Aside from one sequence, everytime Charlotte gets the upper hand, it is because either Sasha or Bayley takes the other one out before being blindsided by Charlotte or Dana interferes in the match. And even in those domination sequences, Charlotte is routinely overccome by the faces of the match. As for the work quality of the match, it is decent, but nothing spectacular outside of a couple of spots. In many ways this felt like a breather before returning to the blazes of Sasha/Charlotte matches. It's not bad in any way and actually is one of the better matches of the card, but it is focused on a story that really didn't exist.
Move of the match: There's a pretty great sequence where Charlotte and Bayley go to fight ringside and as Sasha goes for the double knees, Charlotte pulls Bayley in front of the move. After taking a breather, with both women just selling great expressions, they attack each other once again. It was just a really great sequence.
Verdict of the match: This, at the moment, feels like the weakest match of the feud, but still gets 3.25 from me as it was still pretty good and enjoyable to watch. It just wasn't anything specila unlike their other encounters.
With that I finish and thank those few read this, hopefully some have even gone back and checked out these matches themselves to eitther agree or disagree with me. In the next part we witness the rollercoaster that was the road to Hell in a Cell.