Royal Rumble is quickly approaching, and WrestleMania season will be here soon. That means the year-long storylines should be wrapping up, setting up new ones in 2019. When thinking about what didn’t work this year, it’s hard not to immediately think about Sasha Banks and Bayley. No other woman on the main roster is more in need of something new than the latter.
Sasha and Bayley’s rivalry goes back to their time in NXT. Their Iron Man match for the NXT Women’s Championship is one of the best women’s matches of all time. It was the first women’s main event on an NXT Takeover card, and one of the cornerstones of the current women’s revolution. Since then, fans have been clamoring to see their rivalry renewed on the main roster.
Bayley made her main roster and pay-per-view debut as Sasha’s mystery tag team partner at Battleground in 2016. They’ve been friends ever since, but fans have been hoping for a betrayal and heel turn. To be fair, the two real-life friends have great chemistry and work well as a team.
While Sasha has had her share of success since coming to the main roster, Bayley has become stagnant. She’s been trending downward since her unceremonious title lost to Alexa Bliss at Payback last year. She never really recovered from the “Bayley, This is Your Life” promo and her nonsensical loss to to Bliss at last year’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Fast forward to January and the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble, where Sasha eliminated Bayley. Was this finally the pivotal turn? Sort of. The tension continued into Elimination Chamber, where Sasha betrayed Bayley again. The rivalry was back just in time for Mania season! But instead, they just ended up bickering a lot before competing in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, on the kickoff show. Bayley eliminated Banks at the battle royal, but she didn’t even win the match as a result. Naomi eliminated her shortly afterward for the win. No shade on Naomi, she’s great. But Bayley fans have been clamoring for a reason to cheer for her. The win would’ve at least given her some momentum. Instead, we just got another tease and Bayley lost again.
At this point, any hope of a feud was dwindling. They didn’t really go back to the storyline again until June, which culminated in Bayley finally attacking Sasha after a match on Raw. Bayley got a huge pop from fans, even though she seemingly turned heel, proving fans just wanted something different.
Then, in possibly one of the most controversial decisions of the year, General Manager Kurt Angle sent her and Sasha to counseling. What? What should’ve been the logical conclusion to months of teases turned into dopey counseling segments that really didn’t lead to anything.
Following those segments, Sasha confessed her love for Bayley. Huh? Then they formed a tag team, the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection – a play on the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection. Again, they work great as a tag team; they have great chemistry. But it was hard not to wonder what could’ve been if they pulled the trigger on Sasha vs Bayley, given Charlotte and Becky’s feud was handled so well.
The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection were part of a six-woman tag match at Evolution, which was surprisingly one of the best matches on the card. However, Sasha and Bayley were involved in a lot of filler afterward, like those awkward Q&A segments with Alexa Bliss. A win as the first women’s tag team champions in almost 30 years could do wonders for them both.
Speaking of the Q&A segment, Bayley said her dream match would be a tag match with Trish Stratus and Lita. With rumored plans for “Team Bestie” at WrestleMania, it’s a real possibility. That match for the tag titles could be a WrestleMania moment and an instant classic.
More importantly it could salvage this yearlong roller coaster of stop-and-start storytelling. At this point, their potential feud has no real legs, but a run as tag champs could reinvigorate it. This would give them a push they both need and add more impact to any possible betrayal, putting Bayley in a much better position in 2019.
There are other teams, like the IIconics, who would be a great choice, but Sasha Banks and Bayley seem like the best choice to build on a long-form story. Even if it doesn’t result in a feud later on, it would be quite the feel-good moment.
Who do you think should be the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions? Sound off in the comments, and check back in with Diva Dirt for further updates on the women’s title conversation.