WWE took one step closer to the implosion of arguably its most entertaining duo when Bayley and Sasha Banks lost the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler at Payback.
Over the past several months, there have been plenty of subtle—and not-so-subtle—teases that the empire established by The Golden Role Models was about to come crumbling down, but the highly anticipated breakup storyline has mostly been moving at a snail’s pace. That was until last week’s SummerSlam pay-per-view when Bayley and Banks’ dominance over the women’s division started to fizzle away as Banks lost the Raw Women’s Championship to Asuka on the same night that Bayley defeated Asuka thanks to an inadvertent assistant from “The Boss.”
That shrewd booking move was clearly meant to establish even more minor issues between Bayley and Banks, who haven’t been getting along quite as swimmingly for the past handful of weeks. The ultimate goal of everything we’ve been seeing between these two best friends is to build toward an eventual match between the two, with that bout reportedly once set to take place at WrestleMania 36 before WWE decided that it didn’t want to rush into it without the proper build.
Well, this highly anticipated match certainly has gotten plenty of build since then, with Banks and Bayley both ranking among WWE’s most impressive performers of its Performance Center Era and, in many ways, carrying both Raw and SmackDown on their backs. With WWE officials reportedly viewing the company’s move to the ThunderDome as a “restart” following five months of mostly audience-less shows inside the PC, that means that we are likely going to see bigger and better storylines because of the new, more intriguing atmosphere created inside the Amway Center.
While AEW has been holding off on big moments until fans are back in attendance because it doesn’t want to essentially waste major storylines during such a down time, WWE clearly isn’t utilizing that strategy—at least not anymore. As evidenced by Roman Reigns’ return at last week’s SummerSlam and subsequent heel turn, WWE is revamping and reinvigorating its programming with some added star power and blockbuster storylines, two things that are desperately needed at a time when viewership for Raw and SmackDown has fared quite poorly due to a wide array of circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Things are obviously changing, though.
WWE is entering the fall season when TV competition tends to be at its toughest, especially with Raw battling Monday Night Football, and when WWE faces that harsh reality, it is customary for its creative team to go all in on marquee storylines and feuds. At the moment, it doesn’t get much bigger or better than Banks vs. Bayley in a potential battle between two stars who have a ton of history with one another and have been absolutely vital to WWE for much of 2020. A feud between the two is virtually inevitable, and in an ideal world, they would do battle on the grand stage of a show like WrestleMania 37 in front of a packed house of fans with a women’s title on the line.
But the reality is, there remains so much uncertainty about when WWE will host shows with fans again, when it will return to live touring events and when it will host events outside of the Amway Center. With so many questions remaining and the obvious end goal of this lengthy storyline between Banks and Bayley being an eventual breakup and major match between the two, it could prove to be quite difficult for WWE to continue to delay that match while ensuring that Bayley and Banks remain compelling TV characters.
Sure, it would be nice to see Banks and Bayley continue to thrive as a duo, but given Banks’ loss at SummerSlam and their tag title loss at Payback, it’s become quite apparent that the time for a split is now.