Charlotte continued her impressive Divas Championship reign Sunday night at WWE Fastlane, as she defeated Brie Bella with the title on the line.
Bella was on the verge of winning the title, as she applied the Yes Lock to Charlotte. While her father Ric Flair attempted to distract the referee, Bella turned the crossface submission into a one-legged Boston Crab. Charlotte reversed the hold after it being applied for nearly a minute, and locked in her Figure-8 submission to retain the title.
WWE captured this moment moments before Bella tapped out:
The general perception of the match turned out to be more positive than anticipated, like Ringside Xcess saying the ending sequence was what made the match:
The History of WWE also thought it was a solid match that exceeded expectations:
The self-proclaimed Dirtiest Diva in the Game defeated Brie's sister, Nikki Bella, for the Divas Championship at Night of Champions, thus ending the longest Divas Championship run in the history of the company.
Charlotte eventually underwent a character transformation after winning the title as she turned on former friend Becky Lynch and took on a villainous persona. She went on a dominant run due in part to help from her father, but Brie struck a major blow to the former NXT Women's champion a few weeks before Fastlane.
Brie upset Charlotte in a non-title match by pinning her with a roll-up, which set the stage for a match between them at the pay-per-view with the championship on the line.
Following that victory, the injured Nikki showed support for her sister and backed her in her pursuit of Charlotte's title:
Despite the loss, Charlotte was confident and made it clear she still felt she was above her challenger:
Moving Charlotte into a feud with Brie came as a major surprise to many since she had previously been involved with both Becky and Sasha Banks.
Following a win over Lynch at Royal Rumble due to interference from Flair, Sasha made a major statement by attacking both combatants and essentially taking aim at the Divas Championship.
Instead of moving forward with that feud, however, Banks and Becky were placed in an unlikely alliance against Naomi and Tamina of Team BAD, which opened the door for Brie to make a run at the belt.
Assuming the plan is for Charlotte to take on one of Becky or Sasha or perhaps even both at WrestleMania, though, a holdover feud was needed to bridge the gap, and going up against Brie made sense in that regard.
Brie has garnered some sympathy from the WWE Universe as of late due to the injury woes of her sister and the emotional retirement of her husband, Daniel Bryan, due to concussion issues.
That made her a sentimental underdog entering Fastlane, and she got a great deal of crowd support behind her but was ultimately unable to pull off the upset.
Expectations for a Brie win were lessened even further during the days leading up to Fastlane when she revealed on Good Morning America (h/t WWE.com) that she is aiming to retire during the summer: "Feeling and seeing everything (Bryan) went through with his retirement, it's time for me to hang up the boots. It's going to be hard for me as well, but that day is definitely very close."
With Brie likely out of the title picture, the focus figures to transition back to the three-way rivalry between Charlotte, Becky and Sasha.
The three NXT call-ups have been at the forefront of the Divas Revolution since the summer, and it would be fitting if they met on the grandest stage in all of wrestling.
Based on the manner with which WWE has handled the Divas division as of late, one can only assume a Triple Threat match is on the horizon.
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