Women's tag team wrestling and its effects on the coming WarGames match
(An expansion of a thread on Twitter)
When I had the chance to meet Bayley at a meet and greet in 2018, I gathered up all of my shy, awkward courage to timidly blurt out that I hoped there would be women’s tag team titles for her to win soon. She smiled and said she hoped so too, and when she finally did win those titles the next year with Sasha Banks I was filled with joy—not just for the titles themselves, but for the storytelling possibilities they represent.
Tag team divisions sometimes get short shrift, but they're essential to building stories with layers and depth in wrestling because they add more complexities to matches and to rivalries. Feuds are always more bitter, alliances more intense, when there’s an actual goal that partners can aim for, fail to achieve, win, and lose. We can see the ripple effects of the three-year-existence of those women’s tags in the undercurrents deepening the conflicts leading up to the women’s WarGames match.
For example, Nikki and Rhea's past as tag team champions (and bitter foes after) makes Nikki studiously ignoring her newest ally more interesting.
Alexa and Nikki's background as champions makes one wonder what Nikki is whispering to Alexa here as Asuka gets demolished. Is it a taunt or an invitation to chaos? Alexa's a bit of a latent wild card already.
There's also pre-WWE history that comes into play, as Iyo and Asuka were once in a faction together (Asuka was tag team champion with Iyo's sister, even!) Now, in another world, they face off against each other
Are the writers deliberately referencing these connections? It’s unlikely (not impossible), but the wrestlers are definitely aware of their own history and happily using it, and that adds more nuance to their characters. Tag titles are essential to building that kind of complex web of connections, of love and hate and triumph and despair, that a promotion needs to build great storytelling. Without women’s tag team titles, the women’s singles division loses a dimension, that extra layer of emotion.
And of course, there’s the specter hanging over Survivor Series: the very first WWE women's champs, of whom one half now heads her own faction and has put the other behind her.
(Forever? Don't bet on it).