It finally happened.
Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Championship during the first post-draft episode of Monday Night Raw. It was everything fans had hoped to see from the women’s division for months.
Banks and Charlotte were given enough time to work magic. The match’s outcome was surprising because it wasn’t the same “Charlotte cheats and retains” outcome we’ve seen since November.
But most of all, it provided the proper coronation of Banks as the face of the division. It was the moment many fans hoped to see at WrestleMania 32 and expected to be prolonged until SummerSlam.
Sure, there will be some criticism that Banks’ first title win came on Raw and not at one of the Big Four pay-per-views, but this wasn’t an average episode of WWE’s weekly flagship show. This was the first new era, post-draft Raw in which a debuting Finn Bálor defeated Roman Reigns clean in the main event.
Fans should consider this week’s episode as one of the most memorable in the show’s history and Banks’ win is a big reason why. The stage may not have been as large as ‘Mania, but it was enough to legitimize The Boss as the division’s top rising star.
So where does she go from here? What’s next for Banks and Women’s Championship? Let’s take a look at some potential upcoming opponents.
Charlotte is guaranteed a rematch coming off the end of her lengthy title reign. The former Women’s Champion will be first in line to challenge Banks, whether on another episode of Raw or at SummerSlam, only with the roles reversed from what many anticipated.
But aside from having the ex-champion rematch clause, Charlotte is the only Raw superstar established enough to legitimately challenge Banks for the title right now. This is not only the safest bet, but also the most logical choice.
Nia Jax’s Raw debut can be best summed up in two words: squash match. The former NXT standout defeated a “local competitor” named Britt Baker in a match that probably didn’t last much longer than Jax’s entrance.
Banks and Jax never crossed paths on NXT television being that the latter’s debut came when the former was already on the main roster exclusively and that both were working heel roles. But if anyone is going to make Banks look more like an overmatched underdog than Charlotte, it’s Jax.
Paige is on Raw. I only remember that because Alberto Del Rio was drafted to SmackDown and the internet speculated that WWE was trying to keep them apart.
But that’s because Paige’s off-screen relationship has gotten more attention than her on-screen character. Every few months she returns, gets a win and disappears again, much like Banks did until her recent push. So maybe Paige will get some more screen time now that Raw’s roster is thin?
Bayley was Banks’ mystery partner at Battleground. It was what the majority of fans wanted, anticipated and finally received after months of keeping her in NXT. Her pop was huge, not just for a female competitor, but by comparison to any entrance of 2016. And just like that, she was gone again.
JBL mentioned numerous times that Bayley’s appearance was believed to be a “one night only” thing, not a debut and full-time promotion. But perhaps it was a test to see how the WWE audience would react to her and build her rivalry with Banks even more.
Hardcore fans know that the duo put on stellar matches in NXT. Casual fans will now understand that the former NXT Women’s Champion helped Banks defeat Charlotte and Dana Brooke, which earned her a Women’s Championship match.
This would be the perfect opportunity to legitimize Bayley as a main roster threat. Fans complained when Bálor was kept in NXT too long and it now seems like it was for the best. Maybe Bayley can follow suit and challenge her former NXT foe Banks once again, or at least insert herself into the feud with Charlotte.