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    Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/17/19): Hey Now, Hey Now, This Is What Dreams Are Made Of (Sasha Banks and Bayley Become the Inaugural WWE Women's Tag Team Champions, Elimination Chamber 2019)

    Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies, and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

    Once upon a time, the Women's Evolution took hold in the WWE and forced the largest wrestling company in the world to give women's wrestling the respect and attention it rightfully deserves. From phasing out the Bra and Panties Matches of old to hiring more women who were athletes and wrestlers instead of models to be trotted out as eye candy, the WWE spent the last five years redefining women's wrestling, at least under its umbrella.

    We got to a point where at least three PPVs were main-evented by women's matches, most notably WrestleMania 35, which saw Becky Lynch's crowning moment after her yearlong journey to become the industry's hottest star. But there was another change to the status quo of women's wrestling this year, and that was the establishment of a brand new title: the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.

    And why shouldn't this title have existed? There have been tag teams made up of women throughout WWE's history. From The IIconics, Fire and Desire, and the Boss 'n' Hug Connection to classic teams of yesteryear like LayCool and the Divas of Doom, these teams have existed all within the WWE's roster. The problem was that even if there were teams, there weren't enough of them at the same time to be an actual division, which meant having a championship for only two or three teams to feud over would have looked silly.

    That all changed this year when WWE finally gave in and listened to both fans and wrestlers alike, who clamored for the institution of the Women's Tag Team Championships. In doing so, they brought a new title to life, while simultaneously rebooting its history, scrubbing its almost six-year run during the 1980s from its canon. But whatever, fine, let's play by WWE's rules. It's a new championship to fight over with an existing division, enough for tag teams to not qualify for the big match itself.

    It led to an Elimination Chamber match at, well, Elimination Chamber, between Nia Jax and Tamina, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan of The Riott Squad, Carmella and Naomi, Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville), The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay), and the eventual inaugural champions, The Boss 'n' Hug Connection (Sasha Banks and Bayley). 

    Let's forget for a second that the inaugural champions didn't even win the titles in a standard tag team match. They had to go through the Elimination Chamber, just because the title was brought back on a February and the calendar said that the Elimination Chamber PPV was on the docket. Let's forget for a second that Sasha and Bayley wouldn't even get to do much with the tag titles, losing them in their first defense in a Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania 35 to The IIconics. Let's even forget for a second that both The IIconics and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross—who would win the titles from Royce and Kay—wouldn't get to do much with the titles themselves.

    For one night in mid-February, it seemed like WWE finally figured out how to maximize its deep women's roster. It was as if WWE finally decided to open its ears and listen to the audience and to its own players within the industry who clamored for these titles. It was as if WWE was ready to put its money where its mouth is when it says that it was willing to change the game.

    When Sasha Banks and Bayley won those titles and raised them up high, you could see that it wasn't just Sasha and Bayley the wrestlers who won. The little girls inside the actual human beings who portrayed these characters achieved a milestone that will forever be etched into the history books of the industry they love. And that's something that can never be taken away from them, lack of creative direction be damned.

    As an addendum, it is worth noting that we're coming off this year's TLC pay-per-view event, which saw the Women's Tag Team Championships be defended in a TLC Match in the main event. And while having Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair as the challengers is a huge reason for its spot on the card, one can't deny the inspired run that The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) have been on since they won the titles from Bliss and Cross last October at Hell in a Cell.

    The Kabuki Warriors began getting featured on TV prominently during the Survivor Series storyline, even representing Team RAW, and then became the compelling villains that Becky and Charlotte had to overcome in yesterday's PPV. And despite the ugliness of the main event brought about by real-life injuries to Kairi Sane and the chaos that it resulted in, you can't deny that these current champs are giving these titles the edge and prestige that they so rightfully deserve. How fitting that we have two actual warriors representing the best in WWE's women's tag team wrestling division today.

    Images from WWE


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2019. Read our previous entries:

    1. The Man Stands Tall at WrestleMania (Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, WrestleMania 35)
    2. The Game Changes (Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega, AEW Double or Nothing)
    3. Still the Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega, Wrestle Kingdom 13)
    4. #KofiMania (Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania 35)
    5. Starting With A Bang (The Premiere of AEW Dynamite)
    6. Let's Start A War (The Premiere of NXT On The USA Network)
    7. For You And Me! For All Of Us! (Jake De Leon vs. TJP, PWR Homecoming)
    8. It Takes a Bird and a Villain (G1 Climax Finals: Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White)
    9. The Fall of Bray Wyatt and the Rise of the Fiend
    10. Johnny Champion (Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano, NXT TakeOver: New York)
    11. Do You Wanna Yeet a Four-Man? (QUATRO vs. Chris Panzer vs. Jeff Cobb, PWR Homecoming)
    12. From Purveyor Of Violence To Death Rider (Jon Moxley in NJPW)
    13. We Will Rock You! (Crystal vs. Emi Sakura, PWR Path of Gold 2019)
    14. Revolutionary (QUATRO vs. IMABAYASHI, PWR Wrevolution X 2019)
    15. Manila Has Fallen (Ho Ho Lun vs. Robin Sane, MWF 10: Republika)
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/17/19): Hey Now, Hey Now, This Is What Dreams Are Made Of (Sasha Banks and Bayley Become the Inaugural WWE Women's Tag Team Champions, Elimination Chamber 2019) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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