Sunday 2 July 2017

Why Nikki Cross and Asuka's Last Woman Standing match gives me hope

(no spoilers for the match result, I am genuinely recommending it and I don't want to give away the ending).
This might seem an odd moment of feminism but this was an absolutely brutal match and that's important. After the chronic botching of the women's Money In The Bank match, I for one needed a sign that the women's division wasn't just going to go off the rails.

Boy, did I get it.

This was a great match. I honestly mean that. My gold standard for Last Man/Woman Standing is Triple H versus Ric Flair which is one of my favourite matches ever. I have a lot of thoughts on how Flair hung on too long but the man has my eternal respect for how well he did in that match at his age (and, good grief, that spot with the screwdriver is just plain hard to watch).

But enough about old men brutalising each other for our entertainment, let's talk about two young women brutalising each other for our entertainment!

In all seriousness, this match was treated with all the seriousness that I felt the booking of Money In The Bank lacked with one exception... can we please stop putting adverts in the middle of main events? There were two ad breaks. Now, I like Roderick Strong and I am looking forward to him facing Bobby Roode for the title but, to be frank, its not what I was there for at that moment.

No, I was there for both women at various times going head first into the steel steps; Asuka drop kicking Nikki whilst Nikki was trapped inside a dustbin; Asuka taking an absolutely hair-raising DDT on the very edge of the ring apron and selling like a champ; Asuka being powerbombed onto a pile of chairs.

And, though I won't spell it out, the final spot. The winning moment. It was sheer brutality and a truly rare occasion when I was with the crowd when they started chanting “Holt shit!”. I do feel that chant has been devalued somewhat but it was truly deserved.

As I say, it might seem odd that I'm complimenting this as a return to form for the women's division but here we are. These two women were booked in a long, grueling match which they turned into an absolute belter. They were presented as fantastic athletes and unstoppable forces that could only clash in a match where winning involves beating the other person to exhaustion.

This is a definite step up from having a weak heel get a win off the back of her bloody boyfriend's interference.

Just, next time, let is see the match uninterrupted, please? 

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