The end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 Bianca Belair was HOT. She was feuding with Bayley in a very entertaining character feud that got over how charismatic and athletic Bianca can really be when given a chance. WWE went on to produce a Chronicle documentary focused on her and then as was her destiny she won the Royal Rumble to earn a title shot at wrESTlemania.
Bianca has been all over the place since. I get it, we need to play up that she could pick any of the champions for her match at WrestleMania, but what is the point in having her defer for weeks? She could have shown up on RAW, got in Asuka’s face, did her “GIRL, UHN UHH” and left to challenge Banks. This would have put Banks over as well. Sasha was white hot after winning the title and reclaiming her mantle as The Boss. She was having good matches, flexing a very well flushed out and natural character, and at the top of her game. She was the OBVIOUS choice, but as a bait and switch we just had to keep waiting to learn what we already knew.
So, we get to Bianca hopefully announcing that she’s chosen Sasha Banks as her WrestleMania title match on the February 5th edition of Friday Night SmackDown. I needn’t be convoluted. But what happened? We get Reginald injecting himself? Is Carmella involved now? That didn’t really go anywhere, probably just trying to keep her relevant at the end of the day. But Man, Reggie has been a nuisance in this feud since!
The next week we’re met with yet another “interesting” wrinkle as Sasha and Bianca are acting like friends in a promo against Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax...This was really confusing to me, why do we need to get these two involved? This should just be a story of a badass champion and her badass challenger!
The next week we find ourselves on what is my new favorite segment, Ding Dong, Hello! And we end up with more Nia and Shayna vs Sasha and Bianca? Oh wait, there’s more. Bayley and...checks notes...Reginald both get involved making it a 6 person tag match. This is certainly a new perspective of a cliché WWE trope…By the way still no official announcement about the title match!
But then it’s announced that Sasha and Bianca are going to be challenging for the WWE Women’s Tag Team championships at Elimination Chamber...Okay, I guess they’re paying this off, filling out a show, and then we’ll get the proper build to Mania! Nope, we do get more Reginald distracting Sasha with Champagne and then Nia taking her out with a Samoan Drop.
This is all just so confusing, neither Sasha or Bianca look good at this point, the champ just ate a loss, and we still don’t have an announcement or a feud building. We’ve got 6 weeks to Mania…
On the next episode of SmackDown, guess what we finally got!? If you answered more Reginald then you are correct! His presence in the feud is just nauseating at this point. In all seriousness though, we got the announcement that we’ve known for all too long, Bianca Belair has chosen to face Sasha Banks at WrestleMania for the SmackDown Women’s Championship! Let’s go, let’s get in the ole “Fastlane to Wrestlemania” and build a great feud!
“Meh” - Vince McMahon (probably)
On March 5th we see a Match that is just plain sad. We have Bianca vs Shayna, a match that could be pretty darn good, we’ve already seen a good version of it in NXT, but this match was more angle than anything...proved the Women’s Tag Team stuff isn’t over! Everyone started hating on you guessed it, Reginald, lots of confusion on the outside, and a sub-5 minute match ends with Bianca winning.
The following week is the true head scratcher in all of this...So many plates spinning...We get Sasha and Bianca on the KO show...Okay cool, there’s definite tension with Sasha and Bianca, but they still have ANOTHER Women’s Tag Team Championship match to watch at Fastlane. But we’re not done here...There’s more Reginald! He shows off the new suit his sugar mama bought him and leads to Bianca getting pinned by Tamina.
That moment haunts me.
The winner of the Royal Rumble. A slam dunk STAR if treated right. Going on to ‘main event’ WrestleMania. Pinned by the worst women in the company. My god.
Why has this feud been awful? Is it Reginald’s fault? Not entirely. Is it Nia and Shayna’s fault? I don’t go that far either. To me, the feud has suffered because it has been about anything BUT Sasha vs Bianca. Every interaction between Sasha and Bianca has been littered by attempts to keep others relevant or seem more credible.
The SmackDown Women’s Championship could have been a tremendously featured match at WrestleMania. At the time of the announcement it was just the second official match on the card but it feels less and less important. The feud with Bayley showed Bianca can hold her own with anyone at any time. Feuding with Sasha should have put both women over with their respective best work trying to outdo each other week in and out.
Instead it really seems as though there has been a refusal to let this be good. Every chance WWE has had, they’ve made the situation more and more convoluted. There was so much potential for this feud and it’s just resulted in no one looking good, no one. Carmella, Reginald, Nia, Shayna, Natalya, Sasha, Bianca, Bayley, and Kevin Owens all look worse in some way from being involved. The only person in a better place? Tamina. That’s just wrong.
There is still time to save this feud though. Three weeks lay between Fastlane and WrestleMania. Prove me wrong WWE, make me want to delete this editorial when you make this feud RED HOT in that span. You’ve done more with less. Do it again and do it here, I beg you!
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