Hello everybody, it is I, JeriKane, and welcome back to the Hidden Gems series. This week, we’re going back to 2015, for a match that took place on Monday Night RAW, between Sasha Banks and Paige, in what could be considered a meeting of eras. Admittedly, that does sound kind of weird, but when you really step back and take a look at things, Paige and Sasha really do represent two very different, perhaps “sub-eras” in the overall scheme of the “Women’s Revolution”. That’s what makes this Hidden Gem such an interesting watch.

It’s very heavily believed that Paige and Emma were the catalysts for the revolution, with the work that they put into the NXT women’s division in 2013 and 2014, specifically their match at the first NXT special, NXT Arrival, in February 2014. That match opened a lot of eyes to not only the product in Florida, but also women’s wrestling overall, after the scene had been dominated by the likes of Kelly Kelly, Kaitlyn, and The Bella Twins for so long. Paige, Emma, and Summer Rae helped to usher in an era where women’s wrestling would be taken seriously and would be performed no longer by just beauty models looking to use WWE as a stepping stone, but by women who were legitimately wrestlers, and wanted to wrestle more than anything else. Due to the success of those three women, it gave women like Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Charlotte the chance to shine, and put on show stealing performances as well.

That’s how we get to the first of these hidden gems from the female Superstars on RAW, between Paige and Sasha Banks. Though both are relatively close in age, one woman was the trailblazer, the one who helped get women away from the “diva” era that had haunted WWE for so long, and the other woman was the one who not only walked that trail but made it her own, along with her other horsewomen. It’s the tale of two different generations meeting head-on, while providing for an overall larger generation, one that undoubtedly will be remembered fondly as time rolls on (as much as you might deny it now, you’ll look back on the eight hundred Sasha vs. Charlotte matches and smile, because it was a great time to be a wrestling fan). All of that comes together to make this match really unique, and depending on how things go with Paige’s career as we move towards the future, it might even be seen as a passing of the torch, from one pioneer to another. So what makes this bout one of the shows best hidden gems?

This match took place in mid-2015, which of course was right at the start of the Stephanie McMahon-ized “women’s revolution” which consisted of 6 women tag team matches until Nikki Bella finally broke that god damn Divas title record, because WWE is petty. It wasn’t until around December when things really picked up, but that doesn’t mean it was all doom and gloom before then. We did get some singles matches, such as this one, and when they got the chance to have these matches, they really did go all out to impress and make their mark. I think that’s enough background for now though, let’s get into the battle.

We start off with some grappling action, with neither woman letting go of the other. Byron Saxton (I feel like I haven’t heard from him in months, he’s very invisible on SmackDown Live with JBL and Tom there) then says “trailblazers” and I feel like a wizard for writing it before he said it. Paige and Sasha spill out onto the floor at ringside while still locked together. One of the first of many spills to the outside for one Sasha Banks. They finally break off, and we get a standoff between Team B.A.D. and The Submission Sorority (yeah I know, but I liked the name, no matter what it was associated with. It was infinitely better than fucking PCB). Paige bounced Sasha off the ropes and hit a running knee for only a one count. Some nice technical take-downs here. Paige had Sasha in something like a Kimura Lock. It was pretty rad. Sasha with a pin attempt and a two count, then she nails Paige with a forearm.

Sasha Banks goes to taunt the crowd, but turns around into an arm drag, followed by both ladies going for a dropkick, and then a standoff, to a pop from the crowd. I love the mirroring of each other in this match. It shows they’re equal (plus, mind games). Paige drives The Boss face first into the ring mat and then climbs on top of her for a headbutt. Paige attempts a cover for a two, and then picks up Sasha Banks to proclaim “THIS IS MY HOUSE” and I love it because she’s wearing a shirt that also says that. That lift leads into a fallaway slam, shades of the one and only John Bradshaw Layfield who is also on commentary for this match. Another pin attempt for a two count. Paige locks in an armbar of sorts, making Chris Jericho proud (I really can’t wait until Jericho starts showing up in the Nitro Saga, it’s gonna be hype). Sasha attempts to break free, but she just gets flipped right back where she was. Not gonna lie, I laughed. It was pretty funny.

Sasha breaks free while JBL goes on about Total Divas as if that matters in kayfabe (well, actually, does it? I wouldn’t think so, but maybe). Paige then hits her superkick which I absolutely love, and out the ring goes boss lady. The Pale Princess goes up to the top rope and hits a flying crossbody onto all of Team B.A.D., and I didn’t actually remember that happening, so seeing it again was awesome, especially considering you don’t see Paige go to the top rope very often (or just anywhere near a wrestling ring, in general, these days). Paige throws Banks back into the ring as we go to commercial. Back from the break, and Sasha has control, with a headlock. Oh, how the tides have now turned. We see a replay of what happened during the commercial break, which was basically nothing. All the other members of the factions not named Paige and Sasha were ejected from ringside because they tried to be mean girls. Which leads to me now realizing that those four ladies are all now in the SmackDown Live women’s division, still going at it two years later. Fun times.

Sasha went for a pinfall, only to get a two count. The Boss then hits her own version of Good Vibrations in the corner. We get a look at Team Bella watching the match backstage, and I’m reminded of how random Alicia Fox was in that group. They needed somebody though, so, whatever. Back to the action now, Sasha Banks hits the double knees to the stomach in the corner, which is an OMG moment in WWE 2K for some reason. Why not just make it a signature? Sasha goes for a cover, to only get a two count. Michael Cole mentions Paige being a judge on Tough Enough, and that season was the one that gave us The Velveteen Dream, so bless. Sasha Banks then goes to choke out Paige in the ropes, like a true heel. She then knees Paige in the face, mocks her by saying “THIS IS MY HOUSE NOW” and does that pose Paige always does on the apron. Again, a true heel. WWE please turn her heel again soon, I miss this in my life.

The Boss gets caught with a small package, for only a two count. Sasha with a big clothesline for yet again a two count. The Boss with a straight-jacket submission on Paige. I love the use of submissions in this match since that’s what these two really excel at (Bank Statement/PTO). After a while, Paige backs Sasha into a corner, but Sasha lets her go and instead throws her into the corner. Paige fires back with some strikes, including a running knee a la CM Punk. Paige hits the three clothesline combination, a dropkick, and then another superkick. You’d think with how much I love superkicks that I’d be a fan of The Young Bucks. Paige goes for the PTO to no avail, so instead opts for a knee and a pinfall, for a two. Sasha gains control, sending Paige face first into the middle turnbuckle, then hits her with running knees for a two.

Sasha begins to look desperate, as nothing she is doing can put Paige away. Banks went for the double knees again, but Paige was able to escape. Paige locked Sasha in a submission, but Sasha made the ropes. Finally, Sasha gets Paige into the Bank Statement, and Paige has no choice but to tap out, therefore ending this match. That was what could be considered Sasha’s first “big” win on the main roster, and the setup for the future, with the Four Horsemen of the WWE taking over. At the same time, it kept Paige looking strong and hinted to a bright future for the division.

Match Rating: 3 and ½ gems

 

There we have it guys. A short piece, but in my opinion, an important one. This match gets criminally overlooked as far as not only historical significance, but also just general match quality. It was two good submission wrestlers going at it, and we got a submission finish to boot, with the “older” generation putting over the newer. It was a diamond in the rough that was the early months of the women’s revolution. Among all of the Kevin Owens vs. John Cena classics, the Seth Rollins heel title run, and The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar feud, there was this match. A small part of a bigger picture, but a damn good part if I do say so myself. Give it a watch when you get the chance. You’ll see two worlds colliding, and a look at what could have been (Paige’s future really is up in the air at this point in time). It’s certainly one of the most interesting hidden gems from recent years – as both women are hugely revered by their fanbases.

Until next time, I am JeriKane, and this was The Hidden Gems Series.

Do you have any suggestions for future Hidden Gems features? Let us know via our WWE Critics twitter, and maybe one of your underated gems from WWE history could feature.

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Hey there, I’m JeriKane. I’m a lifelong wrestling fan, as well as a video gamer. My goals in life are to watch as much wrestling as possible, and to one day finally beat Final Fantasy VII.