From Iron Man Match to WWE Downfall: What Happened to Sasha Banks and Bayley?

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2018

Bayley and Sasha Banks were the talk of the town at this time three years ago.
Bayley and Sasha Banks were the talk of the town at this time three years ago.Credit: WWE.com

Three years ago on Oct. 7, Sasha Banks and Bayley etched their names into the WWE history books by competing in the first women's Iron Man match at NXT TakeOver: Respect.

It was a worthy sequel to their instant classic over the NXT Women's Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn, a bout that is widely regarded by fans to be one of the greatest women's matches of all time. Their stock skyrocketed as a result of their stellar series of matches, and it appeared the sky was the limit for them on WWE's main roster.

Although they remain closely associated with each other three years later, both ladies are far from what they were in NXT. Worse yet, their well-documented downfall on Raw in recent years has made it difficult for fans to care about anything they are involved in.

Of the two, Banks arrived on Raw first in the summer of 2015 and made an immediate impact by helping usher in the Divas Revolution alongside Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Although she was positioned as a star from the get-go, it wasn't long before she became a background player in Team B.A.D.

Banks was heated up again in time for WrestleMania 32 when she, along with Lynch, vied for Charlotte's Raw Women's Championship in a Triple Threat match. Banks and Charlotte went on to engage in a series of stellar singles matches that played a part in elevating women's wrestling to heights never before reached in WWE.

From there, The Boss floundered as a face, and although she remains over with the audience, it was apparent years ago that she was way more comfortable in the heel role.

Credit: WWE.com

Unfortunately, Bayley wasn't much better off upon her main-roster debut in the summer of 2016. She was a breath of fresh air in Raw's women's division at first, but her losses to the likes of Charlotte and Dana Brooke were enough to ruin her momentum.

Bayley's biggest claim to fame in WWE came when she captured the Raw Women's Championship in February 2017. Granted, the title win was premature and should have been saved for WrestleMania, but she still managed to walk into and out of the Show of Shows with the gold in her grasp.

Both Banks and Bayley took a backseat to Alexa Bliss once she was moved to Raw last year, delaying their highly anticipated rivalry even further.

Earlier this year, WWE was on the verge of finally giving fans the Banks vs. Bayley program they have longed for since their NXT days. The two teased tension for months before patching things up and becoming a tag team, which made for a rather lackluster conclusion to their story.

Banks has mysteriously been away from Raw recently, but it isn't as if she and Bayley were a part of anything meaningful. Instead, they were spinning their wheels on Mixed Match Challenge and trading victories with The Riott Squad.

Bayley and Banks can be rebuilt into viable championship contenders with the right booking, but as long as the focus remains on Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins, no one else on Raw's women's roster (including Banks and Bayley) will get beyond a certain level.

Credit: WWE.com

What's more concerning is that Evolution will be happening later on Oct. 28, and neither Bayley nor Banks is slated to compete on the card. They will be added at some point, but they likely won't be wrestling in a marquee match like they deserve to be.

In a perfect world, Banks vs. Bayley would be an awesome addition to the event, but WWE has done nothing to make viewers believe that they will be turning on each other anytime soon. While it isn't imperative that they are in the Raw women's title picture, there's no reason for them to be struggling to land television time given their star power.

WWE's track record when it comes to handling NXT talent on the main roster isn't exactly stellar, but the company could have done a better job of making Banks and Bayley feel like bigger deals.

Credit: WWE.com

NXT caught lightning in a bottle with the original Banks vs. Bayley feud. Their program is remembered so fondly by fans because it was a simple story told exceptionally well by two phenomenal performers.

If WWE decided to give some spotlight to more than just the key players, Banks and Bayley would be far more relevant on Raw. Perhaps switching over to SmackDown Live next year would benefit them, but in the meantime, they need to evolve their stagnant personas and remind officials and fans alike why they are among the best in the business.

Despite their downfall, Banks and Bayley are by no means damaged goods and have only scratched the surface of what they are capable of accomplishing in WWE.

                     

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.

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