How to Book Sasha Banks vs. Bayley WWE Raw Feud to Give Fans Proper Payoff

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Sasha Banks and Bayley have become two of the mainstays of WWE's women's division, but their recent feud has been more of a struggle than any of us could have predicted.

Their chemistry together after their incredible match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015 should have made this much easier to execute than it has appeared.

It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there is still hope that this will be a successful feud instead of a long, drawn-out disappointment.

To get to that payoff, there are a six steps WWE can take.

                       

Step 1: Stop Stalling!

The biggest problem with this feud has been WWE's hesitance to actually do it.

This has gone on for almost the entirety of 2018, but it hasn't had multiple twists and turns to keep the audience engaged.

Rather, it's simply been dragged out month after month, with the reset button hit every time something happens that could propel the story forward.

It's as if WWE has had cold feet about these two fighting, perpetually teasing it and then starting over from square one multiple times.

Whether this is because of an uneasiness to have them against each other or a lack of creative juices flowing on how to plan the feud, it needs to stop.

If WWE didn't have an endgame in mind, the plug should have been pulled long ago, before or right after WrestleMania.

Likewise, if the problem is that the timing wasn't right to go full steam ahead with the story, WWE did a poor job of making it a slow burn, as neither woman had anything else to do in the meantime to distract from it.

Slow burns work when something is cooking in the background while the focal point is elsewhere, not when something at the forefront simply takes forever to get anywhere.

The first step in ensuring this will mean something in the end is to stop stumbling into the repetitively having them reconcile, only to lose a match and be mad at each other in a week or two.

                    

Step 2: Keep the Ball Rolling with Dr. Shelby

WWE finally took things in a positive direction by bringing back Dr. Shelby as the counselor who will attempt to fix their friendship.

Adding him to the mix breathes new life and fun into what has been a drab story that has been told much better, as they can play off his distinctly different character as a mediator.

It doesn't hurt that this is happening at the same time as Team Hell No's reunion, which turns up the nostalgia factor.

Over the next few weeks, we should see Sasha and Bayley continue to struggle to come to any agreements, much to the dismay of Dr. Shelby.

At Extreme Rules, there absolutely must be a crossover segment with Team Hell No, where Dr. Shelby will try to illustrate that he wants Bayley and Sasha to be as much of a success story as his former patients, only for Daniel Bryan and Kane to simply make the situation worse.

Once the idea that they can reconcile is over, the next phase will be for them to fight.

                          

Step 3: Book Matches That Mean Something

Several months ago, WWE could have gotten away with a regular singles match between the two on Monday Night Raw, but not anymore.

So far, Sasha and Bayley have had over 30 matches against each other on television or on pay-per-view, be it a multi-woman match, tag team bout or a standard singles match.

Go ahead and try to remember when this specifically happened. I dare you.
Go ahead and try to remember when this specifically happened. I dare you.Credit: WWE.com

A one-on-one confrontation with no stipulation, no gimmick, nothing on the line gives no reason to tune in other than to see what you've already seen.

To get the fans invested, something other than their already-dissolved friendship has to be at stake. Otherwise, it's just another match to keep the loser just as angry as before.

                           

Step 4: Enter, Ronda Rousey

Since there's no greater motivator in WWE than the belts, the Raw Women's Championship should be something that gets between the two.

However, the future of that title is in the hands of Ronda Rousey, who will likely defeat Alexa Bliss to win it at SummerSlam.

Bayley and Banks should be the contenders seeking to dethrone Rousey over the months to follow.

We can assume Bliss will get a rematch against Rousey at Hell in a Cell, leaving seven pay-per-views before WrestleMania 35.

The best match that could main-event WrestleMania next year would be Rousey against Charlotte Flair, but involvement along the way from the Bayley, Banks and Becky Lynch.

Rousey should fight all three other members of the Four Horsewomen to drive home the rivalry.

WWE can put the SmackDown Women's Championship on Lynch and have the two fight in the assumed "champion vs. champion" situation at Survivor Series.

Rousey doesn't need to fight at the Royal Rumble if she's holding a championship, nor does she have to compete at Elimination Chamber if she's challenged by the Royal Rumble winner, who should be Flair.

In the meantime, with the other events on the table, Bayley or Sasha should win a match against the other in order to get the opportunity to fight Rousey, only to come up short and be ridiculed for having lost.

The other woman, confident she could get the job done, would lose to Rousey just the same, setting up the final stretch of this feud.

                    

Step 5: The Reunion

Yes, this ends with the two being friends again.
Yes, this ends with the two being friends again.Credit: WWE.com

If WWE wanted to pull the trigger on a heel turn for just one of the two, it would and should have been done by now.

The window has closed, and now a heel Bayley against a babyface Sasha wouldn't have the same impact, while the opposite couldn't replicate what the two already did in the past.

Instead, throughout this whole feud, the two should remain at odds with each other, but not necessarily heels against anybody else.

This is a personal feud, not one about ideology. Neither of them should align with Bliss, Mickie James and The Riott Squad to beat down a babyface like Ember Moon.

After both have lost to Rousey and seen Lynch take a loss at Survivor Series, though, there should be a moment of clarity that makes them realize they can bond again through their frustrations over the championship.

For this to be a truly epic payoff to an entire year's worth of feuding, both Sasha and Bayley should turn heel.

                  

Step 6: The Consequences and Bigger Picture

Shayna Baszler is unlikely to be booked as a babyface any time soon, yet Rousey will remain steadfast in that role.

It is unknown how Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir will be used, but it's fair to assume there will be some fans cheering for the Four Horsewomen of WWE and some rooting for the Four Horsewomen of MMA regardless of how they act.

Credit: WWE.com

With a split crowd, the two sides should be in a somewhat gray area, which you can do if Bayley and Sasha are heels while Becky and Charlotte are babyfaces.

Both sides will have dirty members who instigate fights on the Road to WrestleMania, as well as those who are more honorable who the crowd can get behind.

All of this will lead to a match at WrestleMania where there isn't a definitive heel or babyface between Flair and Rousey.

After WrestleMania, the Superstar Shake-up will allow WWE to split Sasha and Bayley on separate shows to keep them away from each other to freshen things up for a whole new round of stories to tell.

If WWE isn't willing to go all-out and plan their involvement in WrestleMania to be as intriguing as possible, the cord might as well be cut at Extreme Rules with Dr. Shelby and Team Hell No getting the two to see eye-to-eye again, as anything less wouldn't be worth the continued investment.

                         

Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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