A couple weeks ago, Dave Meltzer wrote in Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Vince McMahon had “soured completely” on Shayna Baszler and had her taken off television.
The report made sense. Baszler hadn’t been on Raw since May 18, after the former NXT Women’s champ was booked to lose high profile matches at WrestleMania 36 and Money in the Bank. Becky Lynch said she pitched dropping the Raw Women’s title to Shayna at ‘Mania, but “plans changed”.
But after the Queen of Spades showed back up on television last night (July 13), and was presented as a complete badass, there’s renewed optimism for Baszler’s main roster prospects. And more than a few jokes about the Observer’s report.
However, as much as I hope Shayna gets a chance to connect with fans on Raw, and I’m always down to laugh about the silly business I’m in... I’m just not sure either is either is warranted yet.
It’s not like we haven’t seen start/stop pushes before. The Man herself used a Meltzer “catchphrase” when talking about her booking before she left. Baszler was put over in a way few ever are at Elimination Chamber, and seemed to grab a brass ring on the night Lynch announced her pregnancy. Then nothing. Would you be shocked if she was booked like a monster for the next few weeks then disappeared again?
There’s also a reasonable explanation for McMahon to use Shayna even if he still doesn’t think much of her. Lynch is gone, Charlotte Flair isn’t available for a bit, and Sasha Banks & Bayley are already working triple duty. That doesn’t even account for members of the roster sidelined for COVID-related reasons. Vince & team need whoever’s available. They might just be dusting off the MMA Horsewoman out of necessity, not a change of heart.
On the other hand, Shayna fits nicely into the picture right now. They’ve teased a feud with Asuka on several occasions, and there have been reports a Superstar could attack Kairi Sane to explain her exit from the company and motivate the Empress for a program. Baszler makes a ton of sense in that role.
And with television numbers not looking great, McMahon needs to take some chances on stars he may not understand the appeal of. What’s the harm in seeing if an Empress of Tomorrow/Queen of Spades feuds generates some buzz?
As with most things, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. We’ll almost certainly never know. But that’s never stopped us from discussing and debating things before.
Give us your take on Shayna’s return in the comments below, Cagesiders.