When Liv Morgan suffered a head/shoulder injury in a title defense against Damage CTRL on SmackDown that was serious enough to cause WWE to vacate the titles as she recovers, fans more or less knew what was coming: a Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler WWE Women's Tag Team Championship reign.
Now granted, the duo did technically win the Tag Team Fatal Four Way Showcase match at WrestleMania 39, defeating Morgan and her partner Raquel Rodriguez, Natalya and Shotzi, and Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville, but the duo haven't worked a match since, likely because Rousey was shooting Fox's Stars on Mars show. Would Rousey and Baszler actually commit to running the show as true fighting champions, or does this effectively take the belts out of circulation, with women's tag team matches becoming more of a treat than a fixture of television?
Well, as it turns out, Rousey and Baszler might just be serious about adding prestige to the strap after all, as, according to “The Queen of Spades,” her tag team partner has been gunning for a tag team run for a very long time.
“Ronda is Ronda, right. She’s been main title, she main-evented WrestleMania,” Shayna Baszler said via Cageside Seats. “She still gets one of the loudest pops when we walk out. This was something she demanded. We’d been asking for it forever, but she finally put her foot down and went to the office and said, ‘Listen, we’ve been asking for this forever. You keep telling us, ‘After, after, after this [and] this.’’ I honestly don’t know if she hadn’t done that, if they ever would have got to it.
“I wasn’t in a position yet to be elevated to a Ronda level, so the fact that Ronda said, ‘No, stop. I’ve done this. I want to do this because this is why I started wrestling.’ So I think that’s huge. She could be main-eventing SummerSlam. She doesn’t have to be where she is, which is elevating these titles.”
Baszler believes that Rousey's intentions are important because, after becoming one of the more polarizing performers in WWE, her desire to elevate the entire division should prove to fans that her intentions are pure.
“As much as, love her or hate her, she brings eyes, and that’s the way she’s always been. She was that way in MMA. I at least want people to understand, this is happening because she demanded it. She demanded to work with me as a friend, so it’s cool to have someone who truly isn’t out for themselves. In show business, that’s so rare, so it’s very cool.”
Will this run finally get fans behind Rousey in The Fed in a way they haven't since her initial push? Or is this just another example of Paul “Triple H” Levesque going for maximum viewership instead of building out the division organically with new teams like Katana Chance and Kayden Carter and “The Unholy Union” of Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre? Fans will have to see, but based on Rousey's own comments, it's clear WWE is at least serious about appeasing their – gulp – biggest star.
Ronda Rousey describes the challenge of being a WWE women's tag team.
Discussing her own tag team intentions in an interview with the New York Post, Ronda Rousey was asked about winning the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships for the first time in her career and what fans can expect from her union with Shayna Baszler moving forward. Interestingly enough, Rousey noted that she isn't sure, as there just isn't enough competition in WWE's Women's division to be twice weekly fighting champions.
“Well, the lack of competition is really the problem,” Ronda Rousey said via Fightful. “I mean, we want to be the most active champions out there. I want to be able to defend this title every week and even twice a week on both ‘SmackDown’ and ‘Raw.’ But with how dismally shallow the women’s division is right now, there’s not enough women around here to keep us busy for a month. So that’s the biggest challenge that we have is to get this company to actually care and invest into this tag division.”
Elaborating her issues further, Rousey noted though the division has been “stripped clean” over the years, she's looking to make the most of the opportunity, even if she used more… creative verbiage to describe the situation.
“It was like the entire women’s division just got stripped clean,” Rousey said. “Now we’re the women that are the women that are left trying to piece together, you know, stories and a division, a tag division with around 10 women or even less on each roster. I mean, we’re trying the best that we can to make chicken s**t into chicken salad, and we made some amazing chicken salad (Monday night).”
Can Rousey and Baszler actually turn the WWE Women's Tag Team division into a big old container of Chicken Salad? Or will her run prove as inconsequential as so many before her, or worse, actually turn fans off from the division due to a dominant run that makes everyone else look weak by comparison? Fans will find out soon enough.