WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon still isn’t ‘sold’ on a once highly coveted star.
According to Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co, former NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler hasn’t convinced McMahon that she is ready for a massive push at the top of the card. Davis writes, “I was told that Baszler will eventually move into the [Raw Women’s] title picture this year but McMahon is still not 100 percent sold on her as a top heel.”
It’s no secret that McMahon has had his fair share of doubts about Baszler. Prior to Baszler’s debut on the main roster, the former UFC star was described as a “wanted” star on Raw and SmackDown and someone who had the potential to be a main event level heel in the women’s division. But it didn’t take long at all for McMahon’s true feelings on Baszler to emerge. McMahon was reportedly disappointed with Baszler’s first main roster match, the 2019 Survivor Series main event, which featured Bazler taking on Becky Lynch and Bayley in a triple threat bout that headlined the show.
Though Baszler winning her first main roster match—on pay-per-view and in the main event, nonetheless—was seen as a great sign for her future on the main roster, McMahon was said to be “really” mad about the quality of match, so much so that he was reportedly elaying spots to the referee that he wanted the stars to do in the bout. Just a couple of months later, McMahon once again proved that he isn’t the biggest Baszler fan. Baszler was originally set to win the women’s Royal Rumble before a last-minute change in plans gave that honor to Charlotte Flair instead.
Barely a month later, a report emerged stating that McMahon was once again disappointed with Baszler following a lackluster match against Kairi Sane on Raw, resulting in plenty of speculation that McMahon could be souring on “The Cagefighter”” altogether. Things seemed to take a turn for the better when Paul Heyman used an idea he once had for CM Punk and booked the Raw Women’s Elimination Chamber match so that Baszler eliminated all five other competitors in the bout.
Then, we got yet another mixed signal.
Though the widespread expectation was that Baszler would defeat Lynch for the Raw Women’’s title at WrestleMania 36, she didn’t, and in hindsight, that was even a more bizarre move given that “The Man” was forced to vacate the title just a month later. That title would go to Asuka, who was gifted the belt after winning the women’s Money in the Bank match, a distinction that was originally meant for Baszler before those plans obviously changed. That, of course, marked the second marquee match that Baszler was originally slated to win only to be shorted by a last-second change in booking plans.
What isn’t completely clear as of yet is whether Baszler has simply been plagued by poor timing or if McMahon truly doesn’t see much in a star who was once the most dominant woman in NXT. As WWE fans know by now, success in NXT doesn’t always lead to success on Raw or SmackDown. In fact, oftentimes the opposite is true, and with Baszler not being particularly charismatic or exciting as a performer, it’s really not all that surprising that she is the latest NXT stalwart who has struggled once leaving that protective yellow brand bubble.
That’s not to say that Baszler can’t, or won’t, turn things around eventually, but for now, the writing is on the wall: Baszler fans should temper their expectations because Raw’s version of Baszler simply won’t be the same as NXT’s.