If you told anyone five years ago that not only did WWE’s developmental house the best women’s division on the planet, but that it was arguably the main draw of the entire thing, you’d probably get pointed and laughed at. The NXT Women’s Championship has totally redefined and revolutionized women’s wrestling within the WWE and the quality of matches put on by these women is almost single handily responsible for the awfully named ‘Divas Revolution.’
So it’s time to rank the top 10 NXT Women’s Championship matches and considering the title has only existed for a little over two years, it’s a strong top 10.
Note: This will include title matches on NXT TV but not live events.
Before the list is unveiled, here are two candidates that just missed out on the top 10. Firstly, the most recent NXT Women’s Championship match that took place this week between Bayley and Alexa Bliss was Alexa’s first real opportunity to show how much she’s improved this year and as good as she’s gotten as a character, she still has some work to do to crack this powerful top 10. Secondly, the first rematch between Sasha Banks and Charlotte on NXT TV after Sasha won the title was great, but is just edged out by a few longer matches.
- Paige versus Emma – NXT Episode 58
The first match on this list is also the first ever NXT Women’s Championship match. This was the match where Paige became the inaugural champion of the brand and the match that set the tone for the future of the division. The girls were given 13 minutes which was unheard of at the time and they delivered an action packed match with some great near falls. A fun side note here, this was the final of a tournament that took place over a number of episodes. In that tournament, both Bayley and Sasha Banks were eliminated in the first round by Alicia Fox and Summer Rae. How things have changed since June 2013.
- Charlotte versus Bayley – NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way
This was Bayley’s first shot at the title and really the beginning of the crowd getting behind her as the ultimate underdog she is. Both Bayley and Charlotte have improved immensely since this match and while this was great, the real treat will be the next time these two face each other. You could make a strong argument in saying that this match was the beginning of the year long story arch that saw the rise of Four Horsewomen of NXT and the crowning of Bayley as NXT Women’s Champion.
- Charlotte versus Sasha Banks – NXT Takeover: R Evolution
These two have incredible chemistry. Every time they step in the ring together, we get something special and this was no different. The finish involved Charlotte hitting Natural Selection from the top rope which was very cool.
- Sasha Banks versus Charlotte – NXT Episode 155
This was the second rematch Charlotte received after dropping the title to Sasha and one of Charlotte’s last high profile matches on NXT. Charlotte came out and teamed with Banks to take on Emma and Dana Brooke and in return wanted a title shot the following week. At over 15 minutes long, they were given the chance to put on one final epic encounter in front of the NXT crowd and it really felt like the culmination of all their matches to that point. Excellent storytelling sees this claim the number seven spot.
- Paige versus Emma – NXT Arrival
Like the match above, this really felt like the culmination of all of the clashes between these two girls. It was a match filled with counters, reversals and just smart wrestling. As the first NXT Women’s Championship match to really get any spotlight, it absolutely delivered and began the streak of quality Takeover matches that still exists to this day. As great as this was, there is a gap between it and the incredibly strong top five.
- Charlotte versus Natalya – NXT Takeover
To put this in perspective, if this match had been for the Divas Championship, it would have been the best Divas Championship match of all time – such is the quality of this NXT Women’s Title. This was an instant classic with Natalya reminding everyone of just how good she is and Charlotte got her first opportunity to shine on the big stage. With Ric Flair and Bret Hart in their respective corners, this was a memorable clash filled with probably the best submission wrestling we’ve seen in a WWE women’s match.
- Charlotte versus Sasha Banks versus Bayley versus Becky Lynch – NXT Takeover: Rival
The birth of the Four Horsewomen! This was the beginning of a super 2015 for the NXT Women’s division, the year it became the best women’s division on the planet and the year it became the most interesting thing on WWE television. This match was brilliant and all four women really stood out and showed how good they are. It told a perfect story of Bayley proving she was right on the cusp, Becky Lynch proving she belongs and Sasha showing she’d do anything to become the champion. It was also the beginning of the greatest women’s championship reign the WWE has ever had – the reign of The Boss, Sasha Banks.
- Sasha Banks versus Becky Lynch – NXT Takeover: Unstoppable
This was supposed to be a filler match to eat up a few weeks before Sasha Banks’ big feud with Bayley and instead we got a classic. Becky Lynch went from Sasha’s heel enforcer to a babyface with a legitimately heart-warming story about how hard she worked to get to NXT and from the moment that bell rang we treated to something special. The crowd began the match cheering for Sasha, as you would expect, but finished the match right behind Becky and even gave her a standing ovation afterwards. This match launched Becky’s career and proved just how good Sasha Banks is as they treated us to a legitimate match of the year contender.
- Bayley versus Sasha Banks – NXT Takeover: Respect
You already knew what the top two were going to be from the moment you clicked on the article, it was just a matter of ordering them. This was the first ever women’s main-event, the first ever women’s ironman match and the longest women’s match in WWE history and it lived up to those expectations. It was 30 minutes of perfect storytelling as the two enemies traded pinfalls and slowly but surely got us to a finish that went down to the final moments. It wasn’t a perfectly wrestled match and there were clearly some nerves early on, but that actually made the match better, it actually suited the emotion and the intensity of the match. Sasha Banks made a little girl cry, what more needs to be said?
- Sasha Banks versus Bayley – NXT Takeover: Brooklyn
As of right now, this match sits as the best match of 2015. An insane Brooklyn crowd, a perfectly executed match and brilliant storyline all culminated in the crowning of Bayley as NXT Women’s Champion. An outcome we all knew was likely, but one that didn’t detract from the match whatsoever. The finish involving a reverse hurricanrana into a Bayley-to-Belly suplex was insane and the final cherry on the top was the curtain call with Charlotte and Becky joining them in the middle of the ring while 15,000 people applauded women’s wrestling.