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Queen of Spades to Rule the WWE, Under HHH?

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Two things are noticeable since WWE Hall of Famer Triple H took over as the head booker of WWE. First, he's pushing wrestling and storylines over comedy. Second, he's elevating his old NXT wrestlers, giving them a positive push in the company, especially after many of them floundered when they first arrived on the main roster.

He immediately brought back three stars to the main roster when he re-introduced Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky, and Karrion Kross. The Game made Kevin Owens a big deal again by bringing back the aggressive KO. The Cerebral Assassin also took one of his strongest NXT Women's champions and made her look dominant again. "Queen of Spades" Shayna Baszler came out on Smackdown and looked better than she has since her start on the main roster.

The #1 Contender To Liv Morgan's Championship

The match on SmackDown was a gauntlet match to determine a new top contender for their Women's title. WWE suspended "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey for her actions at SummerSlam, so a new contender was needed for Clash at the Castle. The competitors included those who fans knew wouldn't make it: Sonya Deville, Aliyah, Xia Li, and Shotzi. The three that had a chance were Natalya, Raquel Rodriguez, and the Queen of Spades... and of those three Shayna had the least chance, based on her recent match performances. When Raquel beat Natalya, it came down to the two former NXT Women's Champions. It wasn't a total surprise when the former UFC Women's Champion won, but it was how she won that was important.

The Queen of Spades used her brutal fighting skills to offset the size difference from the larger Rodriguez. Shayna then used her technical submission skills on Raquel, putting her in the Kirifuda Clutch and holding on. It looked like she would knock out Rodriguez, but she made her way into the corner to force the break. It actually looked like Raquel was going to come back and win, but then Baszler ended up putting her down for the pin, and her larger opponent was too weak to kick out. It was an unusual finish for modern-day WWE, with Shayna Baszler beating Raquel Rodriguez bad enough that she couldn't even lift a shoulder in the end. However, it was pure old-school Queen of Spades.

An Unstoppable Champion In NXT

When Shayna Baszler first showed up in NXT, most fans looked at her as Ronda Rousey's friend and nothing more. However, when she made her debut she proved that she was among the toughest women on the roster, Black & Gold Brand or otherwise. She made her debut by beating Dakota Kai by referee stoppage then won the NXT Women's title just over three months later, when she beat Ember Moon by submission. After this, the Queen of Spades was unstoppable. She held the title for 133 days before losing it to Kairi Sane, who fans at the time voted the best wrestler in NXT — male or female. Baszler won it back just 71 days later and then held it for 416 more days. Her 548 days as NXT Women's Champion is still the longest reign in the brand's history.

Shayna also proved that she was going to be a dominant woman on the main roster, as part of the invasion angle that had NXT attacking Raw and SmackDown wrestlers, leading to the 2019 Survivor Series. This was a chance to see the main roster put down the upstarts, but that isn't exactly what happened. Instead, Shayna Baszler won the main event of the show, beating Becky Lynch and Bayley when she forced the latter to tap out. The best was yet to come when The Queen of Spades showed up at Royal Rumble and tied the record for most eliminations in a Women's Rumble match (with eight) before the winner, Charlotte Flair, eliminated her. Baszler got an even bigger moment at the Elimination Chamber, where she eliminated Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott, Natalya, Liv Morgan, and Askua to win the match and a spot in a title match at WrestleMania.

No Longer Dominant On WWE's Main Roster?

Sadly, that was the last time The Queen of Spades was seen in her true form. The match was the fourth on the first night of WrestleMania and Becky beat her in eight minutes. Shayna has realistically been out of the title picture since then. Over the last two and a half years, Baszler tagged with Nia Jax and Natalya. Both WrestleMania events since her title shot were tag team matches, with the most recent a four-team match. More than that, she hasn't looked the same as she did when she was on top. She wasn't dominating anymore. She often needed help, or acted as a lackey, becoming just another wrestler on the roster... and was going nowhere.

However, the win over Raquel Rodriguez could be a sign of things to come. This could be a wake-up call for the WWE Universe, reminding them that Shayna Baszler is still among the baddest women on the roster. Fans cheered when the former UFC combatants came face-to-face earlier this year, but the Federation didn't seem to care and just made Shayna another person in the ring. That match looked huge just three years ago, and now WWE Hall of Famer Triple H can rebuild Baszler into the wrestler she deserves to be, somebody that could stand toe-to-toe with Ronda Rousey, and make fans buy into it. Beating an opponent like Raquel Rodriguez, who WWE has pushed recently, so decisively is the exact start that the Queen of Spades needs to kickstart her career again.

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