One year has passed since Sasha Banks and Bayley won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. As we reflect, it’s time to address how the division should be handled going forward.
One year ago on Feb. 17th, 2019, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship were the new, shiny objects that had fans buzzing with hope and excitement heading into WrestleMania season. It was the night where twelve women stepped inside an Elimination Chamber match to determine which duo would be the first to hold the Tag Team Titles.
It was that night where Sasha Banks and Bayley ultimately etched their names into the history books, giving fans hope that the women’s division was taking another step in the right direction. Seeing the emotion and elation on their faces while hearing Renee Young and Beth Phoenix boasting with pride on commentary was a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.
Yet, those few minutes of celebration feel like the championship’s sole defining moment so far. Where did WWE go wrong?
The lineage so far
There’s no arguing that the Women’s Tag Team Championship have gone through all sorts of ups and downs. Banks and Bayley carried the gold into WrestleMania for The IIconics to achieve their dream, only for them to hit booking woes throughout the summer.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross united and took the reins in hopes that months of the titles’ irrelevancy could be reversed, but it wasn’t long before Asuka and Kairi Sane turned heel and took the titles in one fell swoop in the fall.
The finals months of 2019 gave us a glimmer of hope as The Kabuki Warriors defended the Women’s Tag Team Championship on NXT, Raw, the Starrcade special, and even in the main event of TLC. However, that wasn’t enough to undo the damage. In fact, as of this writing, the titles haven’t been defended in two months.
Obviously Asuka was transformed into Raw’s top heel going into the new year to serve as Becky Lynch’s new challenger all while Kairi Sane was recovering from injuries suffered in the TLC headliner. I can’t fault WWE for those booking decisions considering the circumstances and the perfect timing to revisit Lynch/Asuka. But now that Asuka is no longer Becky’s focus, it’s time to refocus on the tag division once again.
The current problem
WrestleMania season can be a tricky time to map out plans for the division, similar to what happened one year ago when the titles can to fruition. Asuka and Kairi, who are already now the longest-reigning titleholders, are free to take on anyone from any brand, yet aren’t Bliss and Cross supposed to be in title contention? Remember when they defeated Rose and Deville a few weeks ago to earn another crack at the titles, yet it hasn’t been addressed at all as to when they’ll get that match?
Such is the problem with this division spread out across all of WWE’s brands. Even though the women’s division is growing, there’s been a number of superstars featured in more than one storyline lately. For instance, Mandy Rose (and Sonya Deville) have been involved with Otis all while working their way back toward Tag Team Title contention or competing in the Royal Rumble match.
With WWE having three women’s “divisions” across just Raw and SmackDown with only around twenty women actively competing, there hasn’t been much of a chance for the start-and-stop booking to subside. Not to mention WWE only has a few tag teams at their disposal right now, and most of them reside on SmackDown. I know there can’t be a perfect solution, but here’s how I would attempt to find consistency for the division.
Fixing the problem
First and foremost, WWE should keep the Women’s Tag Team Champions away from the respective Raw and SmackDown titleholders at all costs. Clearly that can’t always happen, but in a perfect world, the champions would all have their own storylines. Now that Asuka is done with Becky, and Bliss and Cross are waiting for their title shot, The Kabuki Warriors need to show up on SmackDown and take care of business. There’s still a lot of potential in them being heel champions, so I wouldn’t take the titles off of them just yet.
Bliss and Cross can serve as a placeholder feud on the road to WrestleMania where, if they continue down the current path, The Kabuki Warriors would likely defend in a multi-team match or even in a gauntlet scenario. Not that that’s the worst idea, but I’d prefer to see Asuka and Kairi face just one team in a meaningful match at the biggest show of the year. Maybe Natalya and Beth Phoenix could reunite one more time?
Even looking past the spring, I wonder if WWE would benefit from having a top five ranking system, much like AEW has been using in their divisions. Since the titles can be defended across any brand, the ranking system could help narrow the focus in telling that story of who’s worthy of being the next challengers. Any women’s teams from NXT and NXT UK would be more than welcome in ranking, which would help increase the chances of the Women’s Tag Team Championship being defended elsewhere.
Simply tell stories
At the end of the day, all I want to see is WWE tell entertaining stories with the women’s division. The Kabuki Warriors’ feud with Becky and Charlotte at the end of 2019 was really fun and told a great story, but WWE ended up booking themselves into a corner by having to focus on one title at a time. We need that kind of care and attention applied to other women’s tag teams.
So let’s start by having The Kabuki Warriors appear once a week on one specific brand to cut promos and compete in matches that advance storylines rather than going months without the titles being defend on TV. The tag team division may have had a rocky first year, but there’s still time for 2020 to focus on consistency.
What did you think of the first year for the Women’s Tag Team Championship? How would you handle The Kabuki Warriors’ booking going forward?