My main man Geno Mrosko wasn’t the only one scratching his head last night when WWE split Shotzi & Nox in the draft.
He was the only one who dropped a timeline of the booking of the WWE Women’s Tag title since the duo was called up in July into the Cageside Seats’ Slack channel, though. I went ahead and added the last NXT prior to their promotion, since it only helps to emphasize Geno’s point...
For most of their storylines, WWE seems to be making things up as they go along.
July 6: Raquel González & Dakota Kai mention Shotzi Blackheart in a promo hyping Kai’s upcoming match with Blackheart’s then-partner Ember Moon. After weeks of teasers showing a battery recharging, Tegan Nox returns during the NXT Women’s Tag title match to distract Candice LeRae, who in kayfabe injured her knee, costing The Way the belts.
July 9: Nox & Shotzi debut on SmackDown, def. Natalya & Tamina
July 16: Nox & Shotzi def. Nattie & Tamina
Aug. 6: Nox def. Tamina
Aug. 20: Nox & Shotzi def. Nattie & Tamina
Sept. 6: Nikki ASH & Rhea Ripley def. WWE Women’s Tag champs Nattie & Tamina
Sept. 13: Rhea Ripley def. Nattie
Sept. 20: Nikki ASH & Rhea Ripley def. Nattie & Tamina to win the WWE Women’s Tag titles
Sept. 24: Nox & Shotzi confront Nikki & Ripley on SmackDown. Former does video training for match in Philly, latter does interview saying they’re ready for them as new challengers
Oct. 4: Nox & Shotzi broken up in WWE Draft, without ever having wrestled for the titles
I suppose the lack of coordination between NXT and the main roster was par for the course at the time, but particularly in the case of Tegan it felt pretty egregious. Between the return vignettes (which everyone guessed were for the oft-injured Welsh wrestler), and what felt like it was going to be a blood feud with LeRae - pulling her from the show immediately after she came back was... odd.
But so was taking Blackheart from one tag team and putting her in another.
The rest can probably be attributed to the low priority given to the Women’s Tag Team championship, something that’s been true for most of those belts’ existence. I’m not sure “that’s always been treated as an afterthought” is a great defense, but in this case it is an accurate one.
What it does reinforce is that there’s no reason to get too invested in anything that’s set-up on WWE television, or at least anything that’s set up for anyone who isn’t a main eventer. Despite what Malakai Black told us, plans do change - sometimes for reasons outside anyone’s control like injury, but mostly just because the bulk of what we see every week is written and re-written in the hours leading up to each episode.
That’s not to slam it all as crap, either. Sometimes Vince McMahon’s chaotic methods do produce magic. Sometimes they don’t.
But either way there’s not a lot of evidence of long-term planning, and there’s a mountain of it that says they’re flying by the seat of their pants.