RondaRousey.com’s Classic Match series takes a closer look at significant and super cool matches from wrestling history.
At SummerSlam 2015, a battle for the future of women’s wrestling in WWE took place in the ring. A three-team elimination tag match pit Teams Bella, B.A.D., and PCB—, groups with distinct, opposing identities—against each other. The story of women fighting to elevate their division and prove themselves as wrestlers felt true-to-life. But it was also fun to watch, and better yet: It had a feel-good ending.
Team Bella—comprised of Divas Champion Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, and Alicia Fox, all longtime WWE employees—represented the status quo.
Nikki had won the Divas Championship from AJ Lee in November 2014 at Survivor Series and went on to successfully defend it against Lee, Naomi, and Paige. The Bella Twins lost to Paige and Lee in a tag team match at WrestleMania 31, but Nikki still held the title that legitimized her claim that she ran the division. Soon after, Fox rounded out the trio by helping Brie win a match against Paige and accompanying both twins to the ring for a match against Naomi and Tamina.
With a combination of wrestling ability and the willingness to use outside interference to succeed, Nikki Bella, very much a symbol of the pre-Revolution era, stood tall at SummerSlam as a 273-day Divas Champion and would go on to become the longest holder of that now-defunct title.
Team B.A.D. was an alliance of main roster Divas who had beef with the Bellas, Naomi and Tamina, and recent (as in, until the night before this match) NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Naomi and Tamina had started teaming together to even the odds against the Bellas, and Banks had joined them with the goal of taking over the main roster Diva’s division.
Team PCB (also known briefly as the Submission Sorority) saw Paige—the first NXT Women’s Champion, who had been fighting for a change in regime on the main roster for a while—team up with half of the NXT Four Horsewomen, Charlotte Flair
Flair, Lynch, and Banks were all called up to the main roster on the July 13, 2015 episode of RAW by Stephanie McMahon to fill out the teams for this match. With all these hungry wrestlers in the ring, tensions rose quickly and a brawl erupted. The new wrestlers from NXT showed what they could do as Banks, Lynch, and Flair locked the most established RAW Divas into their signature submissions.
Before the teams entered at SummerSlam, the rules of this somewhat uncommon type of match were laid out: Once a wrestler is pinned, submitted, counted out, or disqualified, her entire team is eliminated from the match. Also, despite the three competing teams, only two wrestlers could be legally in the same ring at the same time, with the same rules applied as in a regular tag match.
The match starts with Brie Bella and Becky Lynch in the ring, cheered on by their teammates. Tamina soon tags herself in on Bella to use her size and strength advantage against Lynch. Team B.A.D. strategically keeps Lynch in their corner and quickly tags each other in and out to stay fresh while allowing maximum legal double and triple team action.
When Tamina takes things outside the ring, shoving Lynch into the ring apron, Flair takes advantage of the opportunity to lay her out with a spear and save her teammate. Just as Flair is about to shove Tamina back in the ring, the rest of Team B.A.D. hit PCB with double tope con hilos. The Bella Twins keep everybody on the ground with double suicide dives soon after. Despite an attempt by Fox to take her down, Paige follows this up by taking out everybody with a dive.
Everyone starts to get counted out by the referee, but Lynch and Tamina make it back in the ring. When Brie Bella tags in, she takes Tamina down from the second rope and makes a quick pin for the first elimination of the match. The crowd is not happy.
Now, with only two teams left, it’s Nikki Bella vs. Lynch. The champ almost ends the match quickly after hitting the Rack Attack, but Flair and Paige break up the pin. Well-established rivals Paige and Nikki face off aggressively, including the Bella countering Paige’s baseball slide into an Alabama Slam to the floor. She tauntingly does pushups in the ring as the
Paige makes it back in the
Team Bella continues to dominate against Paige, but she’s able to find an opening to take out the twins on the apron, hit Fox with a knee, and tag in Flair. Flair, to huge cheers from the crowd, lands a fired-up flurry of offense, chops, a neckbreaker, and a spear. She goes for the figure four on Fox, but Nikki breaks it up before it can become the more devastating Figure Eight. Brie and Lynch are soon tagged in almost simultaneously and deliver forearms to each other. Lynch dodges a missile dropkick and hits a pumphandle slam for the win.
This was a huge first win on the main roster for Flair and Lynch, who have both now been multi-time women’s champions. Team PCB winning here was also a symbolic win for
You can go back and revisit this match (and the entirety of SummerSlam 2015) on the WWE Network.