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After several years as a babyface, Natalya became a villainess at Money In the Bank in June 2016 by attacking Becky Lynch. Carmella's heel turn came in August 2016 as part of a double turn when she attacked the formerly villainous Nikki Bella. Ellsworth turned against Dean Ambrose at TLC in December 2016, and he was paired up with Carmella a month later in January 2017. Tamina returned to WWE on April 11, 2017, after an 11-month injury hiatus; doing so on SmackDown as part of the Superstar Shake-Up.
On the April 18, 2017 edition of SmackDown, Charlotte (who was also moved to SD in the shake-up) demanded a title opportunity and received a non-title match against Naomi. This drew the ire of Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina, who felt that Charlotte was being handed a title opportunity. Charlotte defeated Naomi and received a title shot on the following week, but during the match, Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina viciously attacked Naomi and Charlotte. The attack cemented their alliance and established Tamina as a villainess.
The group was dubbed "The Welcoming Committee" on the following week, with James Ellsworth being part of the group due to his alliance with Carmella. Natalya and Carmella defeated Naomi and Charlotte in a tag team match, while also demanding that Becky Lynch choose a side. After the victory, Becky pretended to join the Committee, only to fight them instead, which ended with the trio assaulting Becky. The group continued to pick up singles victories when Natalya defeated Becky Lynch on May 9, and Carmella defeated Naomi on May 16. At Backlash, Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina defeated Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Charlotte, with Natalya making Becky submit. The Welcoming Committee's first loss came on May 23, when Charlotte and Becky defeated Natalya and Tamina.