When ‘The Boss’ Sasha Banks and Charlotte collide at Roadblock: End of the Line for their 30-minute Iron (wo)Man match, the two will culminate one of the most intense and personal rivalries of 2016.
And while this may be slightly controversial (considering the love for Chris Jericho and his list), their feud is the biggest going into Roadblock.
A competitive feud for a top prize that helps remind of the old-school approach that blends compelling storytelling, entrancing in-ring action and more importantly how this still draws in any gender in any generation.
This rivalry has encapsulated pro wrestling since January; leaving fans anticipating bouts between the two, questioning what will happen next; arguably a rarity among modern day wrestling and something some may say hasn’t been seen since the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita.
But what has made this rivalry so engrossing? And how can it move forward without becoming just another storyline that has outrun its course?
The feud between Charlotte and Sasha goes right back to their NXT days.
Believe or not, Banks and Charlotte were once close allies. Working as teammates, alongside Summer Rae, the trio wreaked havoc against popular babyfaces such as Paige and Bayley. Unfortunately – true to heel form – ego led to their demise especially when Charlotte became NXT Champion leading Banks to split herself from the second-generation star and firmly setting her sites on the top prize in developmental.
Charlotte’s 258-day reign came to a halt when she was defeated by Sasha in a Fatal 4-Way match. The capturing of the title allowed The Boss to reach greater heights than had previously been seen; it made a star out of her.
She somehow managed to do what Charlotte never quite achieved; and that was to create a big-fight feel for each of her bouts. Because while Charlotte can walk-the-walk, Sasha can most definitely do this and talk-the-talk. At this time, Charlotte’s character on the mic was – for some – sub-par to Sasha.
It is the longevity of this storyline that has become one of the interesting elements of the rivalry. Both the Creative team and the girls, themselves, have done everything possible to enhance the story.
The interference of Ric Flair at Wrestlemania helped propel the story forward; it gave Sasha a reason to continue chasing Charlotte, at the same time helping to strength Charlotte’s dastardly heel character further.
While shoving Banks to the background after ‘The Showcase of the Immortals’ for some was rather perplexing, in hindsight, it was very clever booking. This way she was never overexposed and as a result led to greater anticipation for the eventual showdown and act of revenge.
By putting the focus on both Banks and Charlotte’s burning desire for championship gold rather than soap-opera drama that often overshadows WWE programming; the title has been elevated with its importance. Believe or not, the hot potato switching of the title from August to November has helped this importance.
Fans – especially those who are invested in both or one female – are drawn into watch every championship bout in fear that they may miss some enthralling championship exchange. The fact that the 30th November episode of Raw drew the biggest audience since the start of the American football season helps solidify the strength of this program and the fans investment.
Charlotte will look to take vengeance for her most recent title defeat as she battles Banks in an 30-Minute Iron Woman match at Roadblock. The contest should tie up the program between the two; redirecting fans attention elsewhere and allowing – if need be – to rebuild off this feud due to the solid foundation that has been laid first time around.
If the feud continues into 2017, it risks turning stale. No plethora of gimmick matches could change this.
The last thing that WWE can afford is to waste either Sasha or Charlotte, both pioneers in the Women’s Revolution, because of its failure to prepare other female talent waiting in the wings. Plus, when you consider the epic rise of Bayley; it would be crying shame to see her underdog storyline go to waste.