Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks: Why Historic WWE Hell in a Cell Match Fell Short

Alfred Konuwa@@ThisIsNastyFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2016

Credit: WWE.com

WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 took on a theme of history. Given the talent, the unprecedented women's Hell in a Cell match and the first-ever women's match to headline a pay-per-view, Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks was special before either woman set foot in the ring.

The occasion was rightfully celebrated with grand entrances that matched the pageantry of a WrestleMania match. Unfortunately, the match itself underwhelmed. WWE used an unnecessary false start, where hometown favorite Banks was stretchered out, only to make a triumphant return. The spot seemed out of place for a crowd that was hot and eager to be a part of history.

From there, things felt weird.

WrestlingINC.com @WrestlingInc

A good story was told, they held nothing back. Flat finish kept it from being more than just really good. #HIAC

Charlotte and Banks did all they could to make this a memorable affair, but after multiple missed spots—including a couple of builds to table spots where the table did not break—Charlotte's victory brought about silence and disappointment in the TD Garden. This was a fitting end to a match that never seemed to match the high standards set in WWE's revitalized women's division.

By no means was this match terrible. The contest is being celebrated by many, but even through praise, there seems to be a tone of "that's it?"

Said Wade Keller of PWTorch, "Charlotte winning with her finisher helps get her finisher over which was worth it compared to doing some sort of big spot, even though I think the fans expected some sort of bigger spot."

Graham "GSM" Matthews @WrestleRant

There was such a depressing vibe leaving the building. #HIAC was a solid show but that finish was just so sad. Don't know how to feel. 😔

The closing sequence saw Charlotte toss Banks on a table multiple times before hitting her finisher. Fans are conditioned to seeing tables break, so a possible mixture of confusion and sadness as the hometown hero took a beating engulfed the TD Garden as the match came to a close.

This was bigger than just a wrestling match, as it marked a legit change in how professional wrestling is presented. The Hell in a Cell 2016 main event was more of a moment than a match. Its legacy will forever be protected by history and the important narrative of gender equality. WWE is inching closer to the UFC, where Ronda Rousey is arguably its biggest star, and her place in the main event of any card is unquestioned and far from historic.

Soon enough, women will be regulars in WWE pay-per-view main events, and nobody will bat an eye. And while this speaks to the importance of what this match represents, the contest itself could have been so much more.


Alfred Konuwa is a Featured Columnist and on-air host for Bleacher Report and Forbes. Like him on Facebook.