As we find ourselves four weeks away from the young, hip granddaddy of them all, the WrestleMania card is taking shape. Roman and Brock are unifying titles to take us right back to the horrifying days of 2016, alongside a match that no one really asked for in Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey. We also have The Miz and new best friend Logan Paul battling the alleged father/son team of Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Plus, AJ Styles and Edge. I have absolutely no clue why that one’s happening, and I’m not interested in finding out.
In terms of good news, we do have the promise of a great women’s tag team match, with the newly reunited Naomi and Sasha Banks vs. the current champs of Carmella and Queen Zelina. Now, let me be frank; I hate WWE’s devotion to throwing together singles wrestlers as a tag team. I give them slightly more leeway in the women’s division, as they simply don’t employ very many women’s tag teams, but it’s still frustrating to see over and over again. And yet, I will admit I am loving this Team B.A.D reunion. It wasn’t really given much build-up, as Naomi just kind of announced the two were friends again and were coming for the gold, but when the talent is there, I can forgive some messy storytelling for the sake of of absolute bangers. Banks and Naomi have always had chemistry, whether they’re friends or foes, and I’d be hard pressed to find a reason against them winning gold at Mania.
Back to B.A.D.
Team B.A.D first graced our screens in 2015, when it consisted of Banks, Naomi, and Tamina. While relatively short lived, the group feuded with Team Bella, which helped launch Sasha’s star right to where it remains today, at the very top of WWE. Banks then left the group to become a solo act, which ended up working out pretty okay for her. After a historic performance in the main event of last years WrestleMania, it may seem a bit surprising to find Banks once again in a tag team feud, but I wouldn’t call this a step down. Her past run as tag champ alongside Bayley proved that she’s capable of shining in a shared spotlight, and she’s certainly able of working magic with a performer like Naomi.
Last Friday, Naomi went one on one with Carmella (both women were, naturally, accompanied by their partners in crime.) A Zelina distraction gave Carmella the advantage early on, but Naomi came back with a kick to the most beautiful face in wrestling. I still don’t totally get Carmella’s face mask thing, unless it’s just an advertisement for some Macy’s partnership, in which case, the bag is worth it. Sasha took out Zelina on the outside, leading to a split leg moonsault from Naomi to win, and the recently reunited duo gained some more momentum. Pat McAfee got in a pretty solid stay down joke about Graves and Carmella, but aside from that, it wasn’t anything remarkable. The action was all of two minutes, so there’s not a ton to say here, other than it happened, and I did indeed watch it. But beggars can’t be choosers, and I’ve been desperate for a Naomi Mania match for most of my days as a wrestling fan.
On their own, both Banks and Naomi have competed in the highest caliber matches WWE has to offer, and they’ve proved themselves each time. Sasha has done absolutely everything there is to do, becoming a Grand Slam champion and starring in the hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian, where she outperformed both Gina Carano and the little frog puppet. On the flip side, Naomi has had a few more stalls in her career. None, I should point out, that were her fault — an injury forced her to give up the SmackDown Women’s Title in 2017, before she won it back at (and let’s not debate this) the best WrestleMania in recent memory, WrestleMania 33. She ultimately dropped the belt to Natalya the following summer, which lead to a rather rough patch of WWE being very confused over how to book this incredible talent.
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She won the inaugural women’s battle royal at Mania 34, then beat up Mandy Rose for hitting on Jimmy Uso. Extremely dated storyline aside, that hotel beatdown was one for the ages. Naomi gave a great performance in the following Rumble, and then kind of drifted around the women’s mid-card (which is what they call it when creative needs someone to put over whichever single woman is getting a title push that month) for a year. Her feud with Sonya Deville was creative enough, and it resulted in Deville’s much-awaited return to action, but it was also dragged out way past it’s expiration date, all the way to Eliminaton Chamber in Saudi Arabia last month. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had gotten her and Deville at Mania, although I’m incredibly grateful that’s the end result. I’m also grateful they’ve paired her off with Banks instead of the potential duo of her and Rousey, which caused intense fear right in my heart.
To sum it up, Naomi is well overdue this moment. She’s put in her time as the second most tenured woman in the division, and it’s shocking how little she has to show for it. Yes, both Banks and Naomi are deserving of their own Mania moments, and yes, both could easily be in main events. And yet, as someone who simply enjoys good wrestling, I’m rubbing my little hands together for this one. Team BAD had a lot of potential back in the mid 10s, and it’s clear why two of its principle members went on to become backbones of the current women’s division. A WrestleMania win alongside someone the level of Banks should (and I’m letting that word do a lot of heavy lifting here) help propel Naomi back into the main event. Somewhere down the line, we’ll get Team B.A.D facing off for a women’s title, and it will be a proper barn-burner. But in the meantime, I can enjoy these two throwing it back to 2015 with a big match win, and earning Naomi another well deserved accolade for her lengthy WWE career.