Way back in June, I (along with Cageside’s video team*) posited that the Sasha Banks/Bayley rivalry wasn’t a big deal any more. Some agreed. Some disagreed. Some took the very suggestion as a personal affront.
In addition to a lot of “maybe not to you”s, the responses featured a healthy dose of “just wait until SummerSlam”. This especially picked up after the great scene of Bayley snapping and attacking Banks which came just a week after the post, which prompted debate about The Hugster’s alignment - along with more than a few “told ya so”s sent in my direction.
I promise, this isn’t meant to be a return of “told ya so” fire (although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little vindicated). What I didn’t do a great job with in my initial post, though, is making it clear I get no joy out of seeing The Boss and Bayley missing the cut from a ‘Big 4’ pay-per-view (PPV) or promotionally adrift in any way, shape or form. Their NXT rivalry is one of my favorite feuds ever. My fandom of the duo has led me to tears, cheers and GIF wars with my actual boss here on the site. I really want a return to a main event-level Sasha/Bayley feud. I’ll take a high-profile run as a tag team as a consolation prize.
And while the journey to the poorly named “Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection” has been really rough, in my opinion, I like where they are now. With Evolution coming up in a couple months and persistent rumors of women’s Tag Titles, Sasha and Bayley could end up in a good place creatively and on the card, despite a long, oft-times nonsensical path to wherever they end up.
But I have to wonder why I should have faith we’ll ever get there.
A reason given by some fans for the start-stop booking of their rivalry/team-up/push was that WWE was stalling to get to WrestleMania 34. When they landed in the pre-show battle royal in New Orleans, it was because they were building toward SummerSlam, so Banks and Bayley could have another big moment in the same building where their iconic TakeOver match took place. Now it’s because they’ll be prominently featured on Oct. 28’s all-women PPV.
At what point, when all these “just wait”s come up empty, do I just accept the fact the company doesn’t see Bayley vs. Sasha, or Sasha and Bayley, as a marquee program? And if we eventually do get to a big moment at Evolution, or WrestleMania 35 in NY/NJ, or where/whenever, will the excitement still be there, or will too many of us have moved on to something WWE does use their booking and promotion to tell us is a big deal?
Maybe their current 10:30-on-Raw issues with Riott Squad are leading to a decisive split, or tag team glory. I hope so.
And if it happens, I hope I still care.
* Cain and Stef have also followed up on their take, which you can find here.