To most people, August 8 is just another day of the year. However, according to Shayna Baszler, it is actually a momentous occasion.
It is none other than her birthday, or as she proclaims, “The Greatest Day in History”. To celebrate, I wanted to look back at some highlights of The Queen of Spades’ career in WWE. She has had quite an impressive run so far, leaving a destructive path in her wake.
So, without further ado, here are some of Shayna Baszler’s most memorable moments!
Beginning of the warpath – 2017: Mae Young Classic
WWE fans got their first taste of Shayna Baszler during the inaugural Mae Young Classic. She only had two years of pro wrestling experience under her belt, yet her reputation still preceded her.
While on the indies, Baszler made her mark wherever she went. This included Absolute Intense Wrestling, DDT Pro-Wrestling, Shimmer, and World Wonder Ring Stardom. Her resume of opponents included the likes of Britt Baker, Mia Yim, Nicole Matthews, Ruby Riott, Io Shirai, and Viper.
This meant she was one to watch going into the tournament. She lived up to the hype, defeating Zeda, Yim, Candice LeRae, and Mercedes Martinez. While she lost to Kairi Sane in the finals, Baszler still opened plenty of eyes. She signed with WWE not long after, and thus her warpath began.
A brutal first impression – December 27, 2017: NXT
One thing we know about Shayna Baszler is that she always knows how to make an impression. She certainly proved that at the end of 2017.
During the December 6 episode of NXT, a vignette aired teasing her debut. Three weeks later, she finally made her presence felt.
After a successful title defense, then-NXT Women’s Champion, Ember Moon, was confronted by Sane. Just when it looked like she was going to challenge the champ, Baszler interrupted by locking her in the Kirifuda Clutch. She then turned her attention to Moon, staring her down before leaving the stage.
Not only did this further Baszler’s feud with Sane, but it also made her an immediate threat to Moon. Time was running out on the champ’s reign, and it all started on this night.
Making a statement – January 10, 2018: NXT
If fans didn’t know what to expect when Shayna Baszler choked Sane out, they sure knew after this match.
Baszler’s NXT TV debut came against the upstart Dakota Kai. She wasted little time toying with her opponent, targeting her left arm and shoulder. But the final blow came when Baszler stomped on Kai’s arm, forcing the referee to stop the match. However, she wasn’t done; she continued to attack Kai until Moon came down to stop it.
This moment instantly cemented Baszler as a force to be reckoned with in NXT. Over three and a half years later, it is still hard not to cringe when watching that spot. It proved just how dangerous she is and how little regard she has for whoever stands in her way.
The Queen of Spades’ reign begins – April 7, 2018: NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
At TakeOver: Philadelphia, Ember Moon won the battle. But at TakeOver: New Orleans, Shayna Baszler won the war.
Exactly one month after she debuted on NXT, Baszler got her first shot at the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Philadelphia. While the challenger dominated for most of the match, Moon was able to barely escape with the title. However, Baszler locked her in the Kirifuda Clutch afterwards, making it clear that she wasn’t done with the champ just yet.
She got her rematch less than three months later at TakeOver: New Orleans. Moon was more prepared this time around, turning the tables on Baszler and going after her shoulder. But nothing was stopping The Queen of Spades from winning the gold, not even an injury. At one point, she even rammed her shoulder into the ring post to pop it back into place.
Moon tried to hit the Eclipse, but Baszler countered it into the Kirifuda Clutch. The champ passed out, and Baszler became the new NXT Women’s Champion. The match showcased not only her brutality, but also her drive and determination to win the gold. Her reign of terror began, and the NXT women’s division was never the same.
Shayna Two Time – October 28, 2018: WWE Evolution
WWE Evolution was a history-making night, and part of that is forever tied to Shayna Baszler.
Going into this match, the rivalry between Baszler and Sane was well-documented. It started in the finals of the inaugural Mae Young Classic and continued into NXT. Things came to a head at TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, where Sane beat Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship.
After the loss, we started to see Baszler’s character evolve. She left behind the bully-like tendencies, replacing them with an increased focus and tenacity. She was getting her title back, and she didn’t care who she had to go through to get it.
Which brought us to WWE Evolution, the first all-women’s pay-per-view in the company’s history. What a fitting place to have a rematch of this caliber. It was a classic David vs. Goliath bout, and it did not disappoint. Baszler did everything in her power to dismantle Sane, while the champ stood her ground throughout.
Thanks to some interference from Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, Baszler locked Sane in the Kirifuda Clutch. Sane passed out, and the title was back in The Queen of Spades’ hands. That night, she made history by becoming the first-ever two-time NXT Women’s Champion.
Just think of some of the women who held the title before her: Paige, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Asuka. The fact that Baszler was the only one at the time who won the title twice is an impressive feat. It instantly cemented her as one of the greatest NXT Women’s Champions of all time.
Establishing dominance – November 24, 2019: Survivor Series
Sometimes things just happen at the right time. For NXT, that moment came in the fall of 2019.
Survivor Series is normally a battle of brand supremacy between RAW and SmackDown. But this year, NXT entered the fray and turned the pay-per-view on its head. The champions from all three brands competed against each other in triple threat matches. This meant Shayna Baszler had to face SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, and RAW Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch.
Leading up to the pay-per-view, all three brands continued to invade the other’s shows. This included the women’s champions, which started when Baszler invaded SmackDown and attacked Bayley. While there was no love lost between them, the real tension was between Baszler and Lynch.
That translated into the match, but when it was all said and done Baszler reigned supreme. The win ensured that NXT won the night, with them earning four points to SmackDown’s two and RAW’s one.
But during Baszler’s celebration, Lynch jumped off the barricade and put her through the announce table. Clearly there was still bad blood between the two, and it wouldn’t be the last time they collided.
Domination personified – March 8, 2020: Elimination Chamber
Just when people thought Shayna Baszler couldn’t get any more dominant, she kept proving them wrong.
On the February 10 episode of RAW, Baszler made a very biting main roster debut by attacking Lynch. It was clear she wanted the RAW Women’s Championship and was going to do whatever it took to get a shot at it. The following month, she made good on her word.
She took part in the women’s Elimination Chamber match, along with Natalya, Asuka, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, and Ruby Riott. While Baszler was the fourth entrant, she wasted little time proving she wasn’t there to play. Just seconds after entering the match, she eliminated Logan after forcing her to tap to the Kirifuda Clutch. Moments later, Riott suffered the same fate.
Natalya and Morgan didn’t last long either, which left only Asuka. While the Empress of Tomorrow tried her best, Baszler was not going to be denied. She forced Asuka to pass out to the Kirifuda Clutch and earned her shot at Lynch and the RAW Women’s Championship.
Without a doubt, it was absolute decimation. She made more history that night, becoming the only superstar in history to eliminate the entire field in an Elimination Chamber match. This made Baszler an immediate threat to Lynch and set up their showdown at WrestleMania 36.
An unlikely alliance – August 30, 2020: Payback
You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
After a two-month hiatus, Shayna Baszler returned in July 2020 with a vengeance. Not long after, she drew the ire of former RAW Women’s Champion, Nia Jax. Tensions between the two intensified after brawling week after week.
Things seemingly came to a head on the August 24 episode of RAW. Jax cost Baszler a match against then-SmackDown Women’s Champion and Women’s Tag Team Champion, Bayley. The two looked ready to brawl once again, with Bayley and Sasha Banks gloating at ringside. However, the duo instead turned their attention to the champions, and a title match was made for Payback.
Going into the match, not many people gave Baszler and Jax a chance. Bayley and Banks felt like a true tag team, while their opponents could barely get along. However, cracks were already forming between the champs. Against all odds, the duo defeated The Golden Role Models to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
This started a reign of dominance for Baszler and Jax. They held the titles for 112 days before losing them at TLC to Asuka and Charlotte Flair. Over a month later, they would regain the titles at the Royal Rumble. Their second reign lasted 103 days before losing the gold to Natalya and Tamina on the May 14 episode of SmackDown.
Baszler and Jax’s combined days as champions (215 days) are the most by a WWE women’s tag team. They, along with The Kabuki Warriors and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, are also the only teams in history to win the Women’s Tag Titles more than once.
What started as an oddball pairing turned into one of the most dominant women’s tag teams WWE has seen. It just goes to show that sometimes an unlikely alliance can become a formidable one over time.
There you have it; I hope you all have enjoyed taking a brutal trip down memory lane. Happy birthday, Shayna Baszler! All hail The Queen of Spades, and long may she reign!