I’ve got a bone to pick with a certain community, a certain wrestling community, one based around something called the internet. See, there’s currently a show on WWE Network called NXT; you may have heard of it. It’s been almost exclusively responsible for the transformation of WWE’s women’s wrestling division (I’m not calling them the D word, it’s just silly). As a result, those involved have been hailed as a new generation, a transformative generation, a generation on par with the men. And rightly so.
Sasha Banks is arguably the best wrestler in the world right now; Becky Lynch has come into her own as a legitimate threat to WWE’s women’s division, Paige has—although struggling in her current role—proven an anti-diva is more engaging than a plastic mould; and Charlotte has grown to become a believable champion and an oft despicable heel. WWE’s women’s division has the most realistic potential it has had in many years.
However, people often become blind to the alternative when celebrating something they have come to love. See the response to the Charlotte vs. Brie Bella match at this week’s Fastlane.
The build-up had shown a Brie Bella who only really got fans on her side as a result of her husband’s retirement, facing off against an evil Charlotte who has become nothing more than a paper champion who can’t win clean. Point, Charlotte. However, the match showed something else. While the match was, overall, better than average, there were a few moments that brought the match down a peg.
This is the point where I take issue. The IWC has taken to blaming Brie for any inadequacies found in the match, and it’s not entirely surprising given her fairly iffy history in the ring. However, let’s look at what truly brought the match down those couple of pegs.
Firstly, there was a miscommunication in setting up Brie’s uber knee, or whatever she calls it. This one is hard to place blame on; maybe it was Charlotte’s fault, maybe Brie’s, maybe the ref’s, maybe no one’s. It was an unfortunate happening, but unfortunates happen.
So let’s move on to something a bit more obvious: the “one more” knee. After delivering her uber knee (and connecting as well as Daniel Bryan’s Knee Plus), Brie asked the crowd very clearly, “One more?!” The crowd heard, the crowd reacted, and Charlotte stood up. Charlotte didn’t listen to what was happening or make match adjustments based on simple in-ring psychology. But again, unfortunates happen; let’s not call a match ruined for a single misunderstanding.
But then we get to the end. Brie has Charlotte locked in a tight half-crab, Charlotte’s leg being stretched and her back being tweaked. Granted, the move isn’t one that’s going to end a match, but the point of a submission is to cause extensive damage that will affect the receiver for the remainder of the match (and sometimes even longer). Unfortunately, Charlotte didn’t seem to understand this and rather quickly placed Brie in a Figure Eight for the submission victory. Where did that come from?
Even if one’s to say the adrenaline gave her a final boost, the champion would have been walking away with a limp at best. She didn’t. She didn’t acknowledge once that she was placed in a submission maneuver.
I want to be on the Charlotte bandwagon. I’m a fan of NXT, and have loved watching Charlotte evolve from an entitled child into a believable champion. But Brie was the one who didn’t make massive and obvious mistakes at Fastlane. And it doesn’t matter how much you or I or anyone else loves Charlotte, she had a less than stellar showing.
So Brie, congratulations on a solid performance. Well done on proving you’re a capable athlete in the time of the revolution. And Charlotte, hopefully you can learn from your mistakes in the sunrise of your career so you may rightfully prove your potential as one of the best of all time. And to the IWC, please remove your head from your proverbial.