As we get closer to SummerSlam, WWE’s plan for Bayley and Sasha Banks remains unclear on the surface. After weeks of trading barbs online, fighting in the ring and WWE-mandated counseling with Dr. Shelby, Bayley and Sasha seem to have worked through their friendship issues ahead of the last Raw before August. The revival of one of NXT’s biggest rivalries has been teased since the 2018 Royal Rumble with Sasha throwing Bayley out of the ring, seemingly out of nowhere, for an elimination. Just one month later during the 2018 Elimination Chamber match it seemed like a given, with Sasha deciding that she would put winning over the Boss-and-Hug Connection’s friendship any day.
Despite further teases during recent weeks of Raw with tensions escalating, WWE seemingly hasn’t pulled the trigger on this major women’s program that would be worthy of the bright lights of WrestleMania. Since the first major teases at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber though, the WWE landscape for women’s wrestling has changed dramatically. Ronda Rousey has taken over the Raw main event scene along with Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss.
On the SmackDown Live side of things, Carmella successfully cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase and appears set up to battle at least Becky Lynch at SummerSlam while the other member of WWE’s Four Horsewomen, Charlotte Flair recovers from injury. WWE is still releasing the names of competitors for what looks to be an incredibly stacked Mae Young Classic II and Stephanie McMahon recently announced an all-women pay per view in WWE Evolution, which will take place in October, conveniently before Survivor Series.
With the title scenes shifting away from Bayley and Sasha over the past few months, and the general WWE landscape experiencing a seismic group of changes, there are multiple reasons that WWE could be delaying such a strong feud, and multiple options for the future that don’t necessarily involve the feud happening at all until a much later date. With recent announcements and the road to SummerSlam really heating up, it feels like a good time to look at these options.
— WWE (@WWE) July 3, 2018
A Boiling Point Reached At SummerSlam
If WWE is simply stalling for time as they sometimes do in writing their feuds, an actual match between the two, after it seems like their issues are sorted out, isn’t out of the question yet for SummerSlam. With plenty of space on the official card as of this time or even the pre-show, there’s no reason that Bayley and Sasha can’t have a match with a short true build. If WWE wants to throw a slight curve ball, there’s the additional option of having them compete in a tag match, with one of them turning on the other during or after the match.
While this has been hinted at repeatedly as a false way of starting the feud, it could be the methodology used after feinting the crowd into believing it simply wouldn’t happen. Bayley could reveal on Raw that she faked getting over her hurt feelings towards Sasha, or Sasha could reveal she still thinks Bayley is holding her back. If done properly, the feud could begin at SummerSlam and ignite over the following months into a multi-match feud that truly begins at WWE Evolution or Survivor Series, and lasts until at least WrestleMania 35. What better place is there to really start this feud than Brooklyn after their history in the area?
Drawing Out The Start Until WWE Evolution
WWE Evolution is set to be a historic first for the WWE as the company’s first all-women pay per view. While dream matches such as Sasha versus Trish or Bayley versus Lita are on the table, this could also be the convenient starting point to kick off the feud, being just about one month before Survivor Series in WWE’s “Big Four” pantheon of major pay per views.
While this would mean the current television programs between the two are simply filler, having the seeds of the feud spark up in the weeks before WWE Evolution with the first match happening at the event could be a surefire way to draw interest in the new pay per view. Just because SummerSlam is in Brooklyn doesn’t mean the stars who owned NXT TakeOver Brooklyn can’t do the same again in Long Island.
There Is Really Nothing For Them
This is the option I think I can safely say that nobody wants to be true. With Raw and SmackDown Live being live productions unlike their NXT counterpart, plans may change much more frequently on the fly than they would during a pre-recorded show. NXT’s taping structure allows the creative team to have time to cover for talent injuries, or to reset the long term plans around superstars who are more organically over than others.
While Raw and SmackDown Live allow for a change in plans on a weekly basis, their weekly plans tend to have long term goals that could be damaged by changing too much on a week-to-week level, despite the demands of some fans of the product. With Ronda Rousey needing fresh matches in the future once she likely takes the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam, having two proven workers in Bayley and Sasha away from the title picture could lead to some bigger matches with Ronda down the line, but ultimately mean that there is no concrete main event plan for either woman at this current time.
One of the main critiques of Raw and SmackDown Live’s women’s divisions is that the secondary feuds tend to be lackluster or underdeveloped. If WWE doesn’t actually have a plan for these two Horsewomen, it may be better to keep the current trend going than risk damaging their credibility if the feud isn’t going to have a belt attached, or more importantly, doesn’t have the right story yet.
Women’s Tag Team Champions
When Stephanie McMahon announced WWE Evolution, some fans were surprised that the announcement didn’t include the introduction of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. With the current announcements for women focusing on the Mae Young Classic II, it makes more sense for the company to announce something like a tag championship closer to the date of the pay per view. If there is a short tournament for one or two sets of tag titles, the Boss-and-Hug Connection seem like a no-brainer to be a team that makes such a tournament’s semi-finals or finals.
If neither wrestler turns on the other, they could very well be inaugural champions despite possible women’s teams such as the Riott Squad, the IIconics, Absolution, or possibly a returning duo such as the Bella Twins, the Divas of Doom, or LayCool. Bayley and Sasha could win the inaugural tag titles, build up some serious credibility for the belts and possibly explode in a manner similar to the great tag team breakups of the past, just in time for WrestleMania 35.
Uniting The Horsewomen
Another option that could explain the sudden stalling of a feud between Bayley and Sasha could be the possibility that Evolution leads to a true unification of the WWE’s Four Horsewomen. With Charlotte Flair back in the fold, Becky Lynch potentially being the SmackDown Women’s Champion and Sasha and Bayley on the same page, the pay per view allows the four women to appear together and maybe turn the WWE landscape upside down. During NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler’s run to the finals of the first Mae Young Classic, the Four Horsewomen of WWE teased a confrontation with the Four Horsewomen of MMA.
In the time that has passed, Ronda Rousey is currently set up to likely become the Raw Women’s Champion, Shayna is still the reigning NXT Women’s Champion and Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir have recently made their NXT in-ring touring debuts. If Survivor Series plans call for the Horsewomen to battle for supremacy, then it makes zero sense to pull the trigger on a long term feud between Bayley and Sasha at this time. With the WWE Horsewomen potentially maneuvering between brands as a dominant faction starting at WWE Evolution, Ronda Rousey may need to call on her MMA training partners for back up at Survivor Series. With just a month between WWE Evolution and Survivor Series and the strong likelihood of champion versus champion matches at Survivor Series, the story writes itself. Even if it is only teased at WWE Evolution, the WWE could allow Ronda and Becky to choose their own teams for a special Survivor Series match.
Once this occurs, they would logically pick their fellow Horsewomen and set up an electric match of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Sasha Banks going against Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir. If the Four Horsewomen of the WWE don’t unite at WWE Evolution as a dominant faction, the pieces are still in place so that Survivor Series could be the real launching pad for WWE’s long term plans. Is delaying a major feud between Bayley and Sasha Banks really a bad thing when WWE is giving the fans an even bigger story and match?