At WrestleMania 38, Sasha Bank and Naomi will take part in a star-studded triple threat match for the highly underutilized WWE women’s tag titles.
Ever since WWE re-established them in December 2018, the women’s tag team championship has been the target of discourse online. In three years, the world-renowned company hasn’t been able to make the relatively new mantles feel like anything more than a novelty. This begs the question: what will it take to elevate the titles into a consistent midcard prize?
In two weeks, Sasha Banks and Naomi have the chance to make history as the first Black pairing to win the women’s tag titles. This certainly sounds good for many reasons. It will add another accolade to The Legit Boss’s list of accomplishments and potentially give Naomi another well-deserved WrestleMania moment.
However, this kind of seems par for the course for WWE. We’ve seen so many landmark moments for the women roster over the past few years including the inception of the tag belts but the company doesn’t always follow up well. Its first all-women’s pay-per-view, Evolution, is the most glaring example.
Nevertheless, it’s hard not to go down the same rabbit hole again and ask ourselves could a monumental win be the move that rights the ship. At this point, it’s difficult to be optimistic when WWE has mishandled the women’s tag division for so long. The issues plaguing the underdeveloped subsection of the roster are a bit too complex for an easy fix.
— WWE Australia (@WWEAustralia) March 8, 2022
Women undeniably have more opportunities with WWE than ever before. We can criticize some of the company’s flaws when it comes to crafting engaging storylines for them or its overreliance on a specific aesthetic. However, there has objectively been a wealth of advancements such as first-time stipulation matches, presentation, and main event spots.
To that end, there are currently six attainable women’s titles, which is the most in the history of the company. Initially, the concept of floating tag titles seemed like the logical next step for the women’s division at a time when its growth had seemingly reached its zenith.
However, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship hasn’t accrued the prestige to warrant its inclusion among the two world titles on Raw and SmackDown. One could argue that there are too many belts and that was before NXT baffling introduced its own tag division. Still, it’s fair to wonder how it’s possible to add value to the belts when there are so many ways to be a champion now.
It’s simpler than one would assume but WWE never put a proper emphasis on women’s tag team wrestling. As such, it has been a struggle to keep fans invested in the status of the division and its top prize.
A Lack of Consistent Tag Teams
When we think about tag team wrestling, many memorable feuds and staples immediately come to mind. Fans of the Attitude Era can look back fondly on The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian, and later the Dudley Boyz. NXT has produced so many excellent teams and even better matchups.
Over the past three years, WWE hasn’t booked a single meaningful rivalry for the women’s tag titles. Even more, there aren’t enough pairings on its programming that have made winning and defending them their main goal.
Instead, it often feels like a distinction for a pair of Superstars that don’t have anything else to do at the moment. That’s what made Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax’s laborious reign so uninteresting and it encourages cynicism around the upcoming triple threat match set for WrestleMania.
After all, there are arguably four women in the match who could’ve believably earned a chance to challenge Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair at the beginning of the year. More to the point, why would fans invest in teams that they don’t believe will stay together long term?
There aren’t enough women on the roster who are presented as tag team specialists. As long as that problem persists, it will be nearly impossible to make the tag titles appear important. However, this is a setback of the company’s own making as WWE has split up many entertaining teams too soon or simply released them.
The IIconics were an ideal pairing to build the division around because they predominantly worked as a team. The Aussies’ 120-day reign in 2019 was underwhelming because they were barely on television and it didn’t play to their strengths as heel champions. Separating them and putting them on different brands on a crowded roster for singles competitors turned out to be a disaster because it stripped them of what made their act unique.
This, unfortunately, led to their release in April 2021. Similarly, there are so many other promising teams that never had the chance to thrive before WWE pulled the rug out from under them too. The Riott Squad, Fire and Desire, and Team Kick all immediately come to mind
WWE needs to make a concerted effort to sign women who work as a tag team elsewhere. Think about it. Every wrestling company in the world does so with men’s wrestlers so why not sign a hot duo like The Renegade Twins or established champions like Team Sea Stars. That would add some much-needed depth to the floundering division.
Despite all of the mistakes WWE has made with its women’s tag division, it can still work. So many other promotions like Stardom, SHIMMER, and Impact have proven it’s possible. Nevertheless, potentially putting the titles on Banks and Naomi doesn’t seem like the immediate answer.
It’s very telling that there hasn’t been a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship on a pay-per-view card since WrestleMania 37. The fact that all of the challengers just randomly teamed up without any prior storyline comes off as lazy, as well. It’s indicative of every obstacle that has hindered the titles.
It’s also hard to shake the feeling that The Blueprint could be doing more at The Showcase of the Immortals considering she is one of the first Black women to headline the event. Honestly, Rhea Ripley is in a similar predicament after an incredible performance in the gauntlet match on the Feb. 14 episode of Raw. A similar showing propelled Kofi Kingston into a career-defining story in 2019.
Still, this feels like a demotion for both of them is a byproduct of WWE’s failure to present the tag division as a legitimate part of its programming. We can’t blame the fans for seeing it that way when this Carmella and Queen Zelina’s defense at WrestleMania looks like a catch-all for women there weren’t any other plans for.
Crowning this iteration of Team BAD will surely give WWE yet another historic moment to tout. It will spark headlines and garner praise from some of its die-hard fans but then what? That has always been the question and the company has yet to really attempt to investigate what is necessary to make the women’s tag titles matter. It’s a shame and no matter of empty gesture will be enough to continue to cover that up.