The latest releases from WWE Home Video are two more entries into the occasional “budget” Iconic Matches series, this time focussing on two of the women of the WWE; Bayley and Sasha Banks. Both are straightforward mini “compilations” that are little more than the matches, with three on each set.
The Bayley set starts with an old video package where Bayley reads the contents of a letter she wrote to herself at school, putting down on paper her dreams of becoming World Champion. It at least adds some context to her “journey” even if it’s not something that’s been specially produced for this DVD. From there it’s straight into the action. And what a first match we have; I am in no way exaggerating to say that Bayley’s NXT Women’s Title win over Sasha Banks from NXT Takeover Brooklyn is one of my favourite matches of the past decade. If not THE favourite. In terms of storytelling has the WWE done anything better in that time? I very much doubt it. It’s not just the match itself, it’s the year plus long of build-up. As Bayley, everyone’s favourite underdog, battles away but always falls just short. And then finally she makes that big breakthrough. I’m not ashamed to admit that, watching it live, I cried when Bayley won. Hell, I was crying at the pre-match video package. In my defence it was 2am and I was slightly drunk. But still. It’s a match I absolutely love. I’m not one to slavishly devote time and energy to “star ratings” but this is a five star match every day of the week in my book.
The other two matches obviously can’t compete with that one. Bayley’s NXT Takeover London title defence against Nia Jax is a good effort which tells the story within the match well. It does effectively show how good Bayley is in the ring as she carries the inexperienced Jax to a good match. The fact that Bayley forcing the tap out doesn’t come across as ridiculous or require any suspension of disbelief is another indication of her talents.
The short set is rounded off by Bayley’s main roster debut as she becomes Sasha Banks’ mystery partner at Battleground to take on the dastardly duo of Charlotte Flair and Dana Brooke. It’s not a great match but is one that is carried along by the feel-good factor of Bayley making the “big time”.
The Sasha Banks set follows the same formula; an old promo package is followed by three matches.
We kick off with the four-way match from NXT Rival as the Four Horsewomen of Sasha, Bayley, Becky and Charlotte clash over the latter’s NXT women’s title. This is arguably the match that put all four women REALLY on the map. Yes, NXT had some quality action from the women’s division before this match but this is four women, going out there and attempting to shatter that glass ceiling. That match did more for the “women’s revolution” than any number of self-aggrandising in-ring promos from Stephanie McMahon on Raw telling the world how she initiated it…
The famous 30 minute Iron, erm, Woman match with Bayley that follows that is even better as a match (even if I seem to be in the minority when stating that it doesn’t quite live up to the Brooklyn effort) and despite the fact that Sasha loses on a set dedicated to her Iconic matches you can see why it’s included. This might be Banks’ best ever effort for my money in one sense; she is such the perfect heel here and compliments the champions’ qualities perfectly. Even if I perhaps take too much pleasure from Banks making super-fan Izzy cry.
This collection ends with Banks’ first ever Women’s Title win on the main roster against Charlotte in a match from Raw. It can’t match the quality of the two previous outings, but it is still a good match and it’s only fitting that is included on here.
You would hope that one day the WWE would release full documentary sets on both women (or even one dedicated to the “Four Horsewomen” if they feel individual sets won’t sell) and there is no denying that two discs are firmly in the “budget” territory. They are most likely aimed at younger fans with a particular love for either woman who will love to have a branded, dedicated DVD of their favourite in their collection.
That said, a budget price and some great matches mean these will be a fun addition to fans’ collections.
Format reviewed: DVD
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copies. Survivor Series 2017 is out on DVD 29 January 2018. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here for Bayley and here for Sasha