At WrestleMania, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles will make their first appearance at ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All.’ The line-up is rather unique, featuring four teams with a range of history and backgrounds. Representing SmackDown Live, The IIconics will reach the absolute height of their wildest dreams, challenging for the Women’s Tag Team Titles and making that…well, iconic walk together. WWE’s resident monster tag team is opposite them, the dominant tandem of long-time veteran Tamina and former champion Nia Jax. The match’s third challenger? The celebrated Divas of Doom: Natalya and returning hall of famer Beth Phoenix.
In those three pairings alone, this is a mix of skill, experience and personality but in the fourth team, this title tilt has its glue. The inaugural champions, Sasha Banks and Bayley find themselves at the culmination of a multi-year journey, finally the centerpieces of a division seemingly inevitable for so long. Now known as The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection, the decorated duo has long been the obvious choice for their current role but even still, the route here hasn’t always been exactly smooth.
After joining the RAW roster in August 2016, Bayley’s path seemed clear. Immediately in the same title scene as her famed rival Banks, fans awaited a return of the conflict that had once made their NXT rivalry so captivating. However, though both would achieve singles success, they remained more friends than foes. Teases were a constant nonetheless, most memorably with Banks’ Elimination Chamber betrayal that to the surprise of some, didn’t result in a long-awaited WrestleMania clash. Instead, the pair both disappointingly took part in the show’s Women’s Battle Royal.
Following that, the frustration surrounding their portrayal only multiplied. Constantly bickering without an end game ever arriving, fans struggled with the rather inconsistent direction that frankly, became hard to follow at times. In the meantime though, both continued to play a pivotal role within the flagship’s division. As has been the case since the brand split’s reimplementation, Sasha Banks remained a workhorse on RAW, regularly impressing in-ring while Bayley steadily recovered from her own struggles as well. After her perception had shifted in mid-2017, Bayley’s performance had visibly evolved, showing more aggression than ever while becoming more confident as a character too.
With that being said, their overall momentum was undeniably stunted, falling victim to a lack of creative cohesion as other women took center stage. Nonetheless, the pair’s pay-off would finally come to fruition in February 2019, winning Elimination Chamber and at long last, claiming the aforementioned Women’s Tag Team Titles. While the achievement itself felt fulfilling, the pair’s performance remained the highlight in my view. The standouts of a line-up that caused concern among fans, The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection thrived, reiterating their almost unmatched versatility and consistency.
Though they appeared the clear victors all along, their performance was a perfect reminder of why. Beyond the amount of TV time invested in this team’s journey to their coronation, they were the obvious choice for an established reason. Together, Sasha Banks and Bayley have the potential to be a legitimately impactful and memorable tag team. As personalities, they are an ideal fit, with both bringing individual fan-bases together while contrasting and mirroring each other all at once. Their history adds an extra layer too, a genuine investment for fans that have followed this story since its NXT roots.
It’s inside the ropes that these two shine most though, a combination of flash and fundamentals, understated poise as well as an exuberant energy. Together, they have all the tools to be one of the product’s greatest assets, the perfect base to build and develop a division on. However, that process can’t happen overnight and with the belts still brand new, it’s now time for a range of talented, well-rounded and popular tandems to emerge. Before that can happen though, this group needs a foundation and in Boss ‘n’ Hug, it has exactly that.
Next Sunday, Banks and Bayley’s reign reaches its first obvious moment in history, entering the industry’s largest show with the belts proudly around their waists. Hopefully, this will be the start of a satisfying legacy that establishes these titles as some of WWE’s most integral. One thing is for sure though, their immediate success is undeniably reliant on their admirable champions, the building blocks of a revolution that’s since resulted in the women main eventing WrestleMania.
Historically, both Banks and Bayley have already secured their spots but in truth, these titles represent the opportunity to achieve something even greater. While both were already pivotal to begin with, their status as inaugural titleholders can never be replicated and as a result, a whole division now rests on their greatness. That pressure must be daunting but it’s also fitting, an accolade that can elevate legacies while defining their spot in the division’s chronicles as well.
That starts at MetLife Stadium though, another test of this team’s ability to elevate their peers while shining along the way. This story is only just beginning of course but frankly, it feels fair to say that regardless of what comes next, these belts are certainly in safe hands for now.