Bayley retains RAW women's championship, ends Charlotte's PPV streak

Bayley defeated Charlotte to retain the Raw women's championship at WWE Fastlane. Courtesy @WWEUniverse

For the second consecutive match at Fastlane, the WWE made a decision to end a spotless record that will be scrutinized from now until WrestleMania, and possibly beyond.

Despite it coming thanks to a distraction from Sasha Banks, the fact still remains; what was once an unblemished 16-0 record in pay-per-view singles matches for Charlotte Flair is no more, and with the way it happened, it's hard to determine what, if any, tangible value Bayley will get out of it.

The early stages of this match saw two familiar opponents each trying to establish their kind of match early while circling each other and trying to avoid a mistake. Flair hit a series of shoulder tackles to send Bayley reeling, but the champion took a moment, composed herself in the corner and went right back on the attack.

Bayley showed more aggression than usual and displayed it by knocking Flair out to the apron and then the floor. She followed it up with a hurricanrana from the apron to the floor. An early Bayley-to-Belly left Flair scrambling out of the ring, and she immediately re-established control by keeping things on her terms. As she's done every time she's attempted to get her title back on pay-per-view, Flair exuded an extra little bit of aggression and desperation in each strike, each submission and each slam, putting on display both her athletic fortitude and her characteristic attention to detail.

After keeping Bayley down for several minutes, claims of "you're a cheater" seemed to fuel Bayley into a rage, but Flair quickly stifled any comeback and slowed things down yet again. Flair ultimately picked up the pace herself, connecting with a moonsault and a senton onto a prone Bayley, who continued to try to get up over and over again.

Flair, regularly one of the most vocal superstars in the WWE, kept crying out "you're just a fan" as she slammed Bayley into the corner over and over again. Bayley finally countered with a corner shot and a series of clothesline chops of her own. She started to pick things up with a cool-looking hangman's cutter over the second rope and a belly-to-back suplex, only earning herself a two-count.

A series of corner elbows led Bayley to climb up to the top rope, but she stepped down as Flair rolled out of the way. A frankensteiner quickly turned things around though, and followed by an elbow by Bayley, it led to another very close two-count. A scramble for control allowed Flair to nail Bayley with a big boot and "Natural Selection," but that too only led to a two-count. As Flair set up for a moonsault to the outside, Sasha Banks made her run in from the back, got somewhat physical with Flair without attacking her, and then slid into and out of the ring.

Bayley hit a Bayley-to-Belly on the outside and rolled Flair back into the ring. Flair rolled her up, though, only for Banks to point out to the referee that her longtime rival had a handful of tights. In the ensuing confusion, Bayley hit a second Bayley-to-Belly and scored the pinfall victory, all but guaranteeing she'll be champion heading into WrestleMania.

With the shenanigans in this match, and Banks' win early in the night, it certainly appears as if a multiway match is in the cards for Orlando. No matter how you feel about this particular result, there is still hope that match could be an anchor for that card, but there's a long way to go to make the build for that match to feel worth it.