Bianca leaves a mark on Shayna
Shayna Baszler is a ruthless champion ruling NXT for most of 2018 with an iron fist. Using her superior technical ability and sadistic tactics to dominate the division. Bianca Belair is a hot shot new challenger. She's the fastEST, the strongEST, the boldEST. But above all else, she's undefeated. Can the champion solve the toughEST puzzle that is Bianca Belair?
I get the feeling that people don't want to fully accept the fact that Shayna Baszler is excellent and has been outstanding for a very long time. Somehow there is a narrative online that Shayna Baszler was super green when she got to NXT and has been improving slowly over time. That's false. Shayna had a kick-ass run in Stardom in January-February 2017, months before she first appeared in WWE. She had right around 100 matches in the indies. Which doesn't sound like a lot for the average person coming into wrestling, but given her background in MMA and Catch wrestling she accelerated far quicker than most wrestlers. In the ring, she was 95% of what she is today when she first appeared in the Mae Young Classic in 2017. Most of her growth has come in the presentation and promo department.
The main point that I'm trying to make is that it takes repeat viewing to really appreciate how great Shayna's ring work is. Her move set is very unique. She doesn't sell like the average wrestler. She isn't a flashy wrestler. Because of that if someone falls into the trap of tryi'ng to judge Shayna's work like an average wrestler's work they may miss the point. She's very efficient in the ring. Everything she does, from moves to taunts, always has a purpose. Her pacing is great. Her moveset is uniquely brutal. It would be a grave mistake for people to think that she needs to do certain things in the ring differently to become a more conventional wrestler. Overall, I don't know what Shayna's ceiling is in the ring exactly, but I have a feeling that she's close to it. There are very few points in her matches where I think she could improve on what she's doing.
On the flip side of this match is Bianca Belair. It goes without saying that she's a very promising prospect. She's supremely athletic. She's also extremely charismatic and likable. I think this match showed that WWE fans have a lot to be excited about when it comes to Bianca's future. She looked at home in the spotlight and held up her end of the bargain in a pretty good match. With that being said, she does have room for growth. She's at an intermediate level between green and experienced. Most of the things that she does in the ring look good. For example, her selling was on point in this match. But there are still slight moments of hesitation and slightly robotic movements as she gets around in the ring. Experienced wrestlers move around in a very particular way while wrestling, and even for super athletes like Bianca, it can take some time to move around naturally. I'm confident that she's going to iron out those quirks as she gets more ring time. Hopefully, she gets to do more long TV matches in the coming months.
One big-ish flaw in this match was the run in by Shayna's crew. It felt completely tacked on. Just a thing that happened because the storyline says that's the thing Shayna is doing these days. That's going to keep this match out of the match of the year list. With that being said, the ending is must see. One of the best match finishes in a long time in WWE. A star-making moment for Bianca.