The one constant in all of WWE programming is that there will always be feuds. Sometimes over titles, sometimes over prestige and sometimes over coffee. Here, we celebrate the highs and lows of WWE feudage and, hopefully, will only ever focus on a feud once.
I’m Tom Colohue and this is Focus Your Feud.
Follow Tom Colohue at @Colohue for updates.
Sasha Banks and Bayley
Oh boy, WWE messed up with this one.
Now there’s a lot to cover here so I want to get some major points out quickly so everybody knows where I’m coming from.
1. Sasha Banks and Bayley could have had a rivalry close to historic rivalries such as Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels or Rock vs. Triple H.
2. Sasha Banks and Bayley as a rivalry is no longer best for business.
3. I do not regularly watch NXT and will not be covering their feud from that promotion.
Right, now we’ve got that out of the way, so let’s get on to explaining my reasoning.
Bayley’s main roster run has been at best forgettable. In conducting research for this article I asked a few friends, who are fans of Bayley, to list matches of hers that I should watch. Every single one said the same one; the NXT “Iron Woman” match against Sasha Banks.
Nobody could come up with anything else. That, if you ask me, is a problem.
Bayley, like others such as Sami Zayn and broken Matt Hardy, has one particular character trait which at times defines everything about them. They are defined by somebody else. With Sami Zayn everything he does revolves around Kevin Owens in some capacity. With broken Matt Hardy the entire gimmick has revolved around Bray Wyatt.
For Bayley, she always has and seemingly always will be defined entirely by Sasha Banks.
Bayley’s main roster debut came as a tag partner for Sasha Banks. Shortly afterwards she competing in a triple threat match for the title with Charlotte and Sasha Banks. Later she would win the title due to interference by, you guessed it, Sasha Banks. She would then compete at WrestleMania in a multi-woman match which featured Sasha Banks.
She then stepped away from Sasha Banks into a feud with Alexa Bliss. Now, I thought this would have been a nice clean win, helping build Bayley and separate her from Sasha. I think by now we all know that it didn’t go that way.
After that, what happened to Bayley? Since May last year can you remember anything that Bayley has done? I’m guessing only recently and only as regards Sasha Banks.
It’s a very popular thing in WWE for someone they want to push to be partnered with an established star and potential draw. You see Cena tagging with people all the time for this very reason. It also happens with opponents, such as Cena vs. Corbin at Summerslam. The idea is that the popularity of the people you share a ring with will rub off on you.
Now there’s some merit to this. Fans that don’t watch Raw tend to check YouTube if they want to catch up, so they’ll look for the names of talent that they know and or like. Unfortunately when you’re entirely defined by one person there’s really no value in watching your segments at all.
It’s been shown, repeatedly, that without Sasha Banks, Bayley is incapable. Whenever Sasha is not there, Bayley can’t deliver. Now don’t get me wrong; this should deliver a great story. This should be a tale of the underdog, the underlooked rising up to stand up to her egotistical partner. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Instead it’s gone extremely wrong extremely quickly and, really, it’s not their fault.
After Sasha Banks eliminated Bayley from the Royal Rumble, the rumours of a match at Wrestlemania began to circulate. With those rumours came excitement. Fans wanted to see this match. When this was followed up with the Mufasa moment at the Elimination Chamber, the excitement became palpable. For weeks it built on Raw and fans were thrilled.
Then things started to get confusing. Sasha Banks was the obvious heel. Then Bayley was acting like the heel. But then Sasha Banks was clearly the one causing trouble. Except Bayley was lashing out physically. All the while, with the fans not knowing who to cheer and who to boo, the fans slowly started to stop caring.
The pops for a Banks or Bayley entrance withered and died. As things are headed now, WWE are seriously running the risk of beating this dead horse so badly that we get CM Punk chants.
The match didn’t happen at WrestleMania. With the rosters so oversaturated and with dual brand pay per views now a thing of the past, it didn’t happen at Backlash either. Or Money In The Bank. Like Goldust vs. R-Truth so many months ago, the match was teased and kept in reserve but without room ever appearing on a card for it. As such, Bayley and Sasha Banks have both been treading water since January.
If this match happens at Extreme Rules we’ll have had six months of build featuring no character development and several repeated segments that serve no purpose.
However, this is salvageable. How? Easy. Finish the heel turn on your designated heel and then just put on the match. Define who to cheer for and who to boo and then put them in the damn ring. Let Sasha Banks and Bayley show their undeniable chemistry and they will yank the gold from the ashes of whatever the hell this was supposed to be.
I’m done fighting for us.
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) June 19, 2018
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: FOCUS YOUR FEUD: Colohue evaluates the Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley dynamic, the history and the highs and lows so far