The Women’s Dusty Classic is coming and fans have every right to be excited for an opportunity to elevate women’s tag team wrestling to where it should be in the WWE.
Women’s wrestling is a draw in the professional wrestling industry. As COVID-19 halted much of wrestling in 2020, Sasha Banks and Bayley were still consistently ranked among the highest-rated segments month after month. However, that didn’t translate to every aspect of women’s wrestling as the tag team division was not only under-utilized but mistreated in the most frustrating fashion. Fans want to see women’s tag team wrestling as an opportunity to showcase names that fans recognize and some that are new to the WWE. The Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is an opportunity to fix the women’s tag team division if the right booking is put into place.
The Women’s Dusty Classic was announced by NXT General Manager, William Regal. The men are scheduled to begin action this week, but no set date has been revealed for the women. With the announcement came the loudest response, “WWE doesn’t have enough women’s teams to put on a classic.” Well, the WWE didn’t have enough women to put on the Mae Young Classic either, but they found a way to pull that off twice, to much success. Putting the same planning into this tournament excites fans, but also fix a division that is in dire need of help.
Teams are available to complete a full, 12-team bracket with 24 women. But to do so, this tournament cannot be confined to just NXT ladies. For example, Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro should be an easy fit for this tournament. Same with Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. Aliyah can be paired with someone in this group, such as Jessi Kamea who has appeared on television, or even the returning Mercedes Martinez as a part of the Robert Stone Brand. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke are two ladies that haven’t been seen since Raw Underground.
The main roster should not be kept out of this tournament. Since the women’s tag team belts were meant to float from brand to brand, now is the time to bring that back via the classic. The Kabuki Warriors and Golden Role Models were the only two teams to do so, but those were some of the high moments of the division. So, who from the main roster should be involved?
First, there’s Billie Kay. She’s been looking for a tag team partner or a way to be involved with a successful team. The IIconics were broken up without any plans for their futures, just like many other teams, and this would be an opportunity to put them back together as a surprise pairing. Include the Riott Squad in the tournament and they would be the favorites to take it all. Natalya and Tamina as a team of two veterans work as they should be used to put over a younger team as an “upset.” If Chelsea Green has enough time to recover from her wrist injury, her character fits well with Carmella as a duo.
The pairings do not need to stop there. Wrestling fans have long wanted to see Bianca Belair and Naomi work together, the latter hasn’t been involved in television action and this would be a way to reintroduce her to the ring. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose are a team that has continued to receive a lot of shine on television and would fit into this tournament.
That’s already ten teams that can be built to develop the bracket. Plus, WWE can look out into the free-agent market and attempt to book some of the women that aren’t signed to an exclusive deal with one of the other promotions. If they perform well and receive a positive reaction, bringing them in full-time is the next move as they did with others like Mia Yim.
Whatever the final bracket, the winners need to get an immediate title shot against the current tag team champions, Asuka and Charlotte Flair. They do not need the titles as they are two of the biggest names in the industry. Imagine the reaction of two ladies like the Riott Squad or a surprise victory by someone like Carter and Catanzaro defeating the likes of Asuka and Flair to take the belts. That’s a moment that fans would want to see and enjoy on a WWE Network event. From there, bring back the traveling duo that competes against all comers, across all brands.
The talent is there. The interest is there. The women on the WWE roster are due for their moment with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. WWE cannot be lazy with this booking and use this as an opportunity to rebuild the women’s tag team division back to the levels of excitement when Sasha Banks and Bayley first won the titles back at Elimination Chamber in 2019.