Ironman Match: Roadblock

December 22, 2016

I've spent the better part of this week arguing with people individually about this so I figured I would cover it once and for all here for everyone. I'm tired of hearing so many people bury the finish to the women's Ironman match this past weekend. I've heard people say the finish made Sasha look like such a geek, I've heard the finish called moronic, and I think I've even heard someone say they couldn't think of a worse finish.

I say to these people that if they want the same traditional baby face focused story telling that has been told a million times perhaps they should pick up some brother's Grimm. Instead of complaining that it wasn't the story you wanted, expected, or think should have happened, how about looking at the story given to you and think about it for a second. Now granted the commentary team, who's job used to be narrating the story in the ring, no longer seems allowed to explain the story to us, so we have to find it on our own, which is much more difficult, so allow me to narrate this story for you.

First off, the story thus far is one of two very evenly matched competitors. It's "Iron sharpens Iron", these women are so evenly matched that they have traded the title back and forth five times because neither has been able to pick up two straight victories over the other and this Ironman Match is the final battle. You must also accept that Charlotte is the chosen one and the woman they have the plans for moving forward so she is the focus. I know everyone is used to, and wants the baby face to be the focus, but that is not the case. Charlotte is winning this thing and there is not going to be a rematch so making your story, Sasha is the better woman, is not the right story.

Now to the match, and the story that should have been narrated by the guys at the desk. Now keep in mind that I'm not blaming the commentators for their lack for narration. For years now WWE has stopped having announcers tell the story of the match, so they no longer call this as a sport to get you into the match, so they are just doing their jobs. Had the commentators been told ahead of time the story being told and instructed to explain it as I’m about to here, I think everyone would be viewing this match differently.

As I stated before it's "Iron sharpens Iron" these women are as close to equals as you can get. The announcers put over how competitive this match is and how important that first fall is. After 20 minutes they really put over how this match has already gone longer than most WWE matches and they still don't have a single fall. They put over how hard these women are to beat and how much this match means to them. Then when Charlotte gets the sneaky spot where she kicks Sasha’s foot off the apron leading to Sasha smashing her face into the steel steps, the announcers need to really put over how devastating that was and how Sasha could be out. They then put over how unbelievable it was that Sasha kicked out, furthers explaining her determination and how important that first fall is.

When Charlotte eventually hits Natural Selection off the top rope, they can again put over the damage to the head from going into the steps and that this wasn't just Charlottes finish but her finish off the top rope, to the previously injured head and face. Charlotte goes up 1-0 and gets that so important first fall. Then the announcers need to really tell that underdog story and how with less than 10 minutes remaining Sasha is going to need to pick up 2 straight falls on Charlotte to retain her title, and at the moment she's laying on the mat nearly unconscious. They then put over Sasha's will to win and determination, and she refuses to be put away for another fall because being down 2-0 this late would be impossible to over come.

When Sasha then scores the pins fall to tie the match, they again put over Sasha's will of a champion and that she has tied it up. Then when Sasha scores the tap out on Charlotte to go up 2-1 with I think 4 minutes left they need to put over this amazing comeback, and remind of again of the fact that these two have traded the title back and forth 5 times because neither of them have ever managed to pick up back to back victories over the other and Sasha has just come back from being knocked out to score back to back falls on Charlotte and taken the lead.

Then the story becomes Charlotte's desperation to pick up another fall in order to keep her shot at the title alive. When Charlotte does the spot to injure Sasha's leg this needs to be put over strong, but again question if Charlotte has enough time to pick up 2 more falls to win the title.

When they get to the figure 4 spot, the women did a great job selling the drama of this battle, but again the announcers could have narrated it better. While in the figure 4 there was the constant battle back and forth while Sasha tried to make the ropes. During this time it should have been explained that not only is Sasha trying to make the ropes, but her constant movement, while probably at times making the hold more painful was making it impossible for Charlotte to find her balance and bridge up into the Figure 8. They can put over how painful the figure 4 is and how determined Sasha is to hang on, and remind us that if Charlotte can bridge into the Figure 8 Sasha will have to tap, because no one has ever lasted in the Figure 8 and the only time anyone has gotten out of the Figure 8 was when Sasha fought her way out with a Kendo stick and there are no Kendo sticks allowed in this match up.

As we get down to our last minute of the match with Sasha still in this hold the announcers can start explaining options. One guy could point out that Sasha could suffer a long term injury which could put her on the shelf if she stays in this hold any longer, and while she may not want to tap it might be the wise long term move. One of the other guys could also point out that if she does tap it would only tie the match up and not cost her the title. The debate can continue with another pointing out that if she does tap and is injured, Charlotte picking up an additional fall right away is likely. They debate this for the last minute and pointing out that as long as Sasha can avoid the Figure 8 she can probably hang on. Then when Charlotte finally does get the Figure 8 and Sasha taps immediately, we've told everyone for a minute that the only choice when the Figure 8 is applied is to tap of suffer a long term injury.

At the tap and the end of the match, the announcers have to explain the options. One guy can do the "I can't believe she tapped with only 2 seconds left", another can counter with "She was in the Figure 8 she had no choice' with the third voice pointing out that she like avoided an injury and with the match ending as a draw she still retains the title. That brings up the conversation when one of the others brings up the "In a draw won't we go into over time? If she had hung on she'd have out right retained." Counter point, "But at what cost if she gets injured by the Figure 8 and can't defend the title moving forward she could be stripped of the title. If they go into over time at least she's out of the hold, hopefully without a serious injury and still in this fight.

Then when Sudden Death Overtime is declared, the debate can continue with again the concern for Sasha and will she will even be able to get to her feet to continue or will she have to concede the match due to the damage already done to her leg. We then have one announcer put over that there is no way Sasha will concede and we see Sasha pulling herself to her feet by the ropes, where Charlotte jumps her before the official restart of the overtime period. They then put over how low this is and how Charlotte truly is the dirtiest player in the game and how that illegal cheap shot may have just sealed Sasha's fate.

We then get the over time period where they play up the insurmountable odds against Sasha of surviving the Figure 4 for so long and then that disgusting chop block before the bell. Then when Charlotte again hooks the Figure 8 in overtime and Sasha taps, fans understand the struggle she over came and respect her effort but as I stated at the beginning, the Story ends with Charlotte picking up her 2 straight falls on Sasha to win and move forward as the dominant woman in the division.

It's not a fairy tale story, where the Hero wins in the end, but that was never an option with the outcome they needed. Not every story is a happy ending and at times the Hero needs to be beaten. In my opinion this match had a compelling story that got our Champion over strong and in now way buried Sasha or made her look like a geek as many people have stated. Perhaps reading would be everyone's friend. If you read enough well written books you will likely better be able to spot a compelling story when told one.

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Lance Storm

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