Wasted Potential: Shayna Baszler’s WWE Main Roster Run Has Been A Big Failure
There was a time not so long ago when NXT’s best and brightest had fans excited about their eventual main roster call-ups. That excitement slowly evolved into a sense of nervousness, wondering what might become of some of the black and gold brand’s stars when they received the call. However, there was still that “well, they can’t screw up [insert name here], they’re too good” element to the call-ups. Even that has now faded as an NXT Superstar succeeding on Raw and SmackDown has effectively become a lottery.
NXT fans have reached a point where they now don’t want to see their favorites leave the brand. Superstars like Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole might never leave NXT, and it’s probably a good thing. While the grass can be greener on the other side, it isn’t always the case. Just look at Shayna Baszler. Her misuse on the main roster isn’t just bad, it’s baffling. It should serve as a warning that success on Raw and SmackDown is not guaranteed for NXT Superstars, regardless of what has come before.
Baszler In The Chamber
Asuka gets a lot of the credit for lifting the NXT Women’s Title to the level it is today, and rightly so. The Empress held the championship for 522 days and only lost it because she was called up and couldn’t take it with her. However, Baszler also deserves a large chunk of that credit. The Queen of Spades actually held the title for longer than Asuka, but her reign was briefly interrupted when she lost the title to Kairi Sane for a couple of months.
As was the case when Asuka was called up, the immediate future looked very promising for Baszler. The two-time NXT Women’s Champion entered the Elimination Chamber and put on the most dominant performance in the match’s history. That’s saying something considering the matches that have taken place inside of the structure and the long list of those who have competed in them.
Not only did Baszler win the match, booking herself a spot opposite Becky Lynch at WrestleMania, but she also did it by eliminating everyone. Baszler defeated all five of her opponents personally. Outlasting the competition in an Elimination Chamber match is impressive enough. Doing so by seeing off everyone yourself is not only something else entirely, it’s something no one else has done before or since.
Taking On The Man
Winning the Chamber match meant Baszler got the chance to face Lynch at WrestleMania. It felt like the writing was on the wall for The Man as she stared down the barrel of a showdown with Baszler. It all made perfect storyline sense too. Lynch had beaten Ronda Rousey for the title a year before. Baszler beating her would not only act as The Queen of Spades exacting revenge for her fellow horsewoman but would have also set the stage for a Baszler versus Rousey match in the future.
Admittedly with Rousey now pregnant, that match is now a long way off. In fact, it might never happen. Either way, Baszler would lose her ‘Mania match against Lynch, and the unraveling of her main roster run would begin. It was a head-scratcher for most, and a plan that seemed to become a little more clear when Baszler was added to the Money in the Bank match shortly after.
Ah, so WWE wants to keep Lynch as champion and have Baszler act as a constant threat as Miss Money in the Bank. Not just to Lynch, but also the SmackDown Women’s Champion and maybe even with a view to becoming the first-ever three-time NXT Women’s Champion. Well actually, no. That wasn’t the plan either. Asuka would win the briefcase and become Raw Women’s Champion again the following night. Not by cashing in, but by being awarded the title by Lynch for winning the match. Lynch relinquished the belt after discovering she was pregnant.
Throw Her In A Tag Team
It’s almost as if WWE had a plan for Baszler, but the unexpected departure of Lynch derailed whatever that plan was. With no plan B in the offing, Baszler disappeared for a couple of months and had no direction when she returned. Instead, WWE did what it does with most of the Superstars it doesn’t have a clear idea for. No, not leave them off TV. Baszler was placed into a tag team with Nia Jax.
In fairness, Baszler and Jax have made a decent tandem. They’ve won the Tag Team Titles twice since being paired up. Then again, those titles have been treated just as poorly as Baszler. Just because they are shown off and defended on a regular basis doesn’t mean WWE is doing a good job of using them. Plus, other than her fellow horsewomen, Baszler in a team just doesn’t feel right. She’s an ass-kicker and should really be working alone.
Speaking of which, Baszler hasn’t won a singles match for more than three months at this point. What makes that stat even worse is her latest loss might be the lowest point of her main roster career to date. A loss to Reginald. Yeah, the sommelier Jax has been fawning over. Baszler lost to him on Raw this week and even though she got her revenge backstage, that defeat will now be in the record books forever.
The setting for Baszler’s revenge might well prove that things aren’t about to drastically turn around for The Queen of Spades. It seems her next rival will be Alexa Bliss, something that has been hinted at for weeks now. Baszler has already had to pretend her leg was hurt by some sort of outside force, and there will probably be more of that to come. She warned Bliss that she’s going to teach her a lesson next week. Odds are that ends in some sort of weird scenario where Baszler will have to pretend she is under a spell or something. Just what you want to see from a legitimate badass with an MMA background.