Who Is the Best Choice to Win WWE's Triple Brand Battle Royal Title Match?
WWE SmackDown women's champion Bayley has ruled over the blue brand's women's division for over 300 days. During this record-setting reign, she has used underhanded tactics or received help from Sasha Banks to keep the title in tow.
This Friday, all her enemies have a chance to seek retribution as participants in the Triple Brand Battle Royal.
On last week's SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon announced that the match would determine Bayley's opponent for SummerSlam on Aug. 23. As such, women from Raw, SmackDown and NXT will fight for an opportunity to compete at one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year.
A win Friday could change the trajectory of someone's career. Even if they don't go on to defeat Bayley at The Biggest Party of the Summer, a strong performance against The Role Model could change their fortunes.
At the moment, many women who could use a different direction or a chance to prove themselves are on the roster. The SmackDown women's division has been in search of another compelling face since Becky Lynch was its champion. This is a good time for someone to make a name for themselves, but who should it be?
Here are five women who could use a win in the Triple Brand Battle Royal.
The Triple Brand Battle Royal seems like the perfect opportunity to elevate someone from NXT. The black-and-gold brand has a bevy of talented and worthy performers. In fact, there's an overabundance of them.
The NXT women's division has become a bit crowded with big-name indie wrestlers, as well as potential homegrown superstars. Shotzi Blackheart is one of the best protagonists in the division, but it's easy for someone like her to get lost in the shuffle.
She has an infectious energy that shines through even when she is spotted in the makeshift crowd on Raw or SmackDown. She also wrestles with an entertaining and high-risk style that will surely make her a fan favorite.
A win Friday would give her a chance to break away from the pack. After all, the NXT title picture is extremely competitive with names such as Dakota Kai, Rhea Ripley and Mercedes Martinez seemingly ahead of her at the moment.
Blackheart is no stranger to the big stage as she competed in the 2020 Women's Royal Rumble as entrant No. 26. She also has history with Sasha Banks and Bayley. She and Tegan Nox challenged them for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship on the June 17 episode of NXT.
A match against The Role Model at SummerSlam could give her a chance to avenge that loss.
It has been a rough year for Ruby Riott since she returned from double shoulder surgery in February. She immediately entered a feud with Liv Morgan that didn't go anywhere and then continued a lengthy losing streak that started against Ronda Rousey at Elimination Chamber in February 2019 and lasted until July 3, 2020.
Although she finally picked up a win last month, she and Morgan are in the middle of a seemingly endless rivalry with The IIconics. If anyone on Raw could use a big win, it's Riott.
It's easy to forget given her current status, but Riott is actually a capable contender. She is a solid in-ring competitor and quietly one of the best talkers on the women's roster. The Punk Rock Ragdoll just needs an opportunity to remind WWE fans what she's capable of doing.
Moreover, Banks and Bayley are in desperate need of new challengers for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship. This could be a vehicle to establish the reformed Riott Squad as their next opponents after SummerSlam.
After all, Bayley is more than likely going to retain on Aug. 23. Such a loss wouldn't necessarily hurt Riott if Morgan and Banks get involved somehow, so a win Friday would be a way to kill two birds with one stone.
Bianca Belair is a future women's champion. There's no doubt about it. The EST of WWE has it all: a great look, jaw-dropping athleticism and phenomenal character and promo work.
It's hard to understand why she never won the NXT Women's Championship. The company clearly sees her as an asset because she has achieved other notable accolades but has yet to win on a big stage.
In January, Belair was the highlight of the 2020 Women's Royal Rumble match when she scored eight eliminations—a new record. She also stole the show during Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair's feud leading up to WrestleMania 36.
Still, WWE hasn't done much of anything with her since she moved to Raw in April. Surprisingly, she didn't take part in this year's Women's Money in the Bank ladder match and hasn't been given her own storyline yet.
A standout performance in the Triple Brand Battle Royal would be a great way to right the ship. This would arguably doom Belair to another loss in a big title match, but t would present Bayley with an interesting challenge and give fans someone new to support.
Mickie James is a veteran and future Hall of Famer. Her legacy as one of the pillars of WWE's women's roster for over a decade is cemented. Of course, you wouldn't know that if you've watched her for the past few years on Raw or SmackDown.
James just returned Monday after she tore her ACL last year. The six-time women's champion went through a long recovery process but is finally back.
Although she hasn't been on WWE programming since WrestleMania 35, she had been cleared to return before the COVID-19 pandemic. She has presumably been working hard to become fit for in-ring competition, and the Triple Brand Battle Royal would be a good gauge for any lingering ring rust.
James should be determined to prove she has more left in the tank, and now seems like as good a time as any to put her back in the title picture. After all, she deserves one last run as champion.
Many women's wrestling fans hoped she would be the one to break Trish Stratus' record as a seven-time WWE women's champion. Of course, Charlotte Flair owns that distinction, but it's not too late for James to earn another career highlight.
Moreover, Bayley vs. James would be a big match that belongs on a SummerSlam card. It has the potential to be a passing-of-the-torch moment similar to Stratus vs. Flair from last year's event. In that regard, it makes perfect sense.
It has been an eventful yet confounding year for Naomi. First, the former SmackDown women's champion went viral when she made her return at the Royal Rumble.
In the 2020 Women's Royal Rumble match, she looked like she hadn't missed a beat. Her unorthodox offense still looked just as smooth and flashy, and she got to show off her athleticism as she matched up against Charlotte Flair.
She made such a huge impact and seemed poised for a major storyline or title shot. Unfortunately, that hasn't materialized since she came back to the brand with which she had most success, SmackDown.
Naomi oddly lost to Carmella before she got a chance to challenge Bayley at Super Showdown in February. The two made history in the first women's title match in Saudi Arabia, but Naomi lost in uneventful fashion.
Many fans expected her to get a rematch, but she instead drifted off television. Then WWE used her in terrible segments like the Karaoke Showdown and in throwaway matches with Lacey Evans.
This sparked the hashtag #NaomiDeservesBetter as the WWE superstar went viral for a second time this year. If anyone should win Friday and punch their ticket to SummerSlam, it's Naomi.
She's overdue for another reign as SmackDown women's champion. Her second and most well-known run with the title lasted 139 days, but it felt like it was cut short too soon, likely because she never enjoyed a memorable rivalry with anyone as the titleholder.
With all the support she has received from fans this year, she should be the one to end Bayley's reign and become the top face of the brand.