Daily Visual 21.05.15: Sasha Banks Holds Her Arm in Victory

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At NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, emanating last night from Winter Park, Florida from 8 pm Eastern Time, live on the WWE Network, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch put on the match of the show. They faced stiff competition. The opener between Finn Bálor and Tyler Breeze saw two stunning entrances and a high-impact end to the match; and the main event was intense from start to finish, as Sami Zayn took the fight to Kevin Owens in an attempt to regain the NXT Championship, brawling on the outside and landing a series of devastating suplexes, only to succumb to yet another powerbomb onto the ring apron. Zayn was unable to continue, and after general manager William Regal suffered a vicious headbutt for his troubles, Samoa Joe made his debut to prevent Owens inflicting any further punishment. Joe and Owens – still NXT Champion – stared each other down as Unstoppable drew to a close.

In the penultimate contest of the night, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch battled back and forth for more than fifteen minutes. Early pinning predicaments gave way to a physical, mat-based war of attrition. From the beginning of the match, Lynch focused on the left arm of Banks, and after taking control and wearing Lynch out with a couple of chokeholds, Banks responded in kind, both women seeking to force the other to submit. Armbars and wristlocks were re-emphasised as the arms of the two competitors were driven into turnbuckle and canvas: with gruelling holds interspersed with high-spots, including a dive to the outside, the match maintained a great flow. Banks ultimately prevailed, the Bank Statement forcing Lynch to tap. She thereby retained her NXT Women’s Championship, which she won in a Fatal 4-Way at NXT TakeOver: Rival on 11 February. Both women are excellent wrestlers: Lynch has a particularly impressive set of suplexes, but Banks is a supreme storyteller, fully inhabiting her character and a model for all wrestlers when it comes to the art of selling.

After the match, Banks continued to sell her left arm. When the referee went to raise it in victory, she declined with a pained shake of the head. This was reminiscent of an encounter between Owen Hart and Savio Vega at SummerSlam 1996. Heading into the match, Owen had taken to wearing a cast on his left arm, despite the perception of most onlookers that he was struggling with no injury, but instead abusing the cast as a weapon. He triumphed at SummerSlam, after Savio landed on his cast in the midst of performing a backdrop from the turnbuckle. Owen followed up by striking Savio with the cast, then locking in the sharpshooter on his unconscious opponent. When manager Clarence Mason entered the ring, Owen played up his supposed injury, pulling his arm away as Mason sought to celebrate.

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On this day in 879, Pope John VIII gave his blessing to Branimir of Croatia – who had affirmed his commitment to Rome – and to the Croatian people. This is considered the first international recognition of the Croatian state.

Image courtesy of Cageside Seats. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch highlight via WWE.com.