JC’s Top Rope Report: The Becky Lynch Week
SummerSlam weekend has come and gone once again. The WWE put on one of their first good shows in a very long time. It still didn’t beat NXT Takeover from the night before, but I think SummerSlam might have been the second or third best WWE PPV of the year.
There were plenty of stories coming out of the weekend. Roman Reigns finally won the Universal Title. Brock Lesnar is likely gone for a very long time. The Shield reunited on RAW. New Day won the Smackdown Live Tag Titles. Ronda Rousey won the RAW Women’s Championship.
But all of those stories paled in comparison to what happened in the Smackdown Live Women’s Championship match. Charlotte Flair won the Championship after pinning Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat match also involving former Champion Carmella. After the match, Becky hugged her best friend and raised her hand. But then she attacked Charlotte and laid her out. The Brooklyn crowd cheered on Becky as she threw Charlotte over the announce table and walked off. As Charlotte got up, the crowd chanted “You Deserve It” at her. Many thought the WWE was playing perfectly to the crowd and giving the fans what they want.
You see, in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, Becky Lynch was built up as the underdog babyface. Becky had won match after match and finally earned a match with Carmella, where if she won she would get a one-on-one Title match with her at SummerSlam. Becky beat Carmella to earn her shot. But insert Charlotte Flair. Charlotte came back to save Becky then was given a match against Carmella where if she won, she would also be in the match. Charlotte won, much to the displeasure of Becky. They teased tension in the weeks ahead. It finally boiled over at SummerSlam.
Many fans tuned into Smackdown on Tuesday hoping to see Becky lay into Charlotte for stealing her spotlight. And Becky delivered one hell of a promo. I personally think it was one of the best promos on WWE TV all year. But there was one tiny problem with it. Midway through the promo, the WWE cemented how stupid they can actually be by having Becky call out the fans. Becky said they never really fully supported her, there was never a #GiveBeckyAChance hashtag, they cheered when Charlotte won the Title. Of course all of that is 100% BS. The fans WERE cheering Becky in the build up. The fans BOOED Charlotte when she won the Title. And pretty much everywhere you read leading into the match, fans were upset that Charlotte was added to the match.
The WWE told the story in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam that we were SUPPOSE to feel bad for Becky Lynch. After a winning streak that earned Becky a Title match, Charlotte came back after being gone for weeks and gets added after winning one match. If you are Becky Lynch you would be pissed. If you were a fan of Becky Lynch you would be pissed. Of course this goes a lot further then what you see on TV. This has more to do with what is going on behind the scenes.
Charlotte Flair is the top woman in the WWE. She’s tall, athletic, and of course the daughter of Ric Flair. But let me be clear, I’m not taking anything away from her accomplishments. Charlotte carries herself like a star when she is out in public. I’ve seen numerous interviews with her where she comes off as very likable and professional. You can see why the WWE wants her out there doing all of these public appearances. But sometimes common sense has to play a role in your decision making. You can send a heel out there to do public appearances. It is okay. And in the long run, not making Charlotte the heel here could hurt her image in the eyes of your wrestling fans.
We aren’t at this point yet, but the WWE is really risking turning Charlotte into the female Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns is constantly pushed as the top male on the roster. And the WWE seems to want to do that with Charlotte now. If they get to that point, it will negatively effect the career of Charlotte. And she doesn’t deserve that. Charlotte should be one of the top women on the roster. But it is okay for her to be at the top as a heel. She plays a better heel as it is. And if we get to the point where the majority of fans see that she is pushed as the top woman because that is what the WWE wants, then it could be even worse than where we are with Roman Reigns. The fans are still invested in most Roman matches if he has the right opponent. But I could easily see the fans not caring at all about Charlotte if she is pushed at the top. Can you imagine if Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair happens at Wrestlemania and the crowd gives zero cares about Charlotte?
Some people have been quick to come to the defense of this story. And listen, I wouldn’t have had a problem with anything from Smackdown if Becky didn’t call out the fans for not supporting her. But she did, so that is why we are where we are right now. One person that has come to the defense of the storyline is Ryan Satin who runs ProWrestlingSheet.com. Here are a couple of his tweets:
Well where to start here? That is a pretty bad comparison if you ask me. This would be more like if Becky Lynch had been giving presentation after presentation for months at her job. The boss loved every one of them and kept telling her that a promotion was on the horizon. Then Charlotte comes in and gives one good presentation and the boss gives her the promotion. That’s a better comparison here.
Okay, lets take a look at the examples listed in the above tweet. Sami Zayn turned on Shane McMahon because he said Shane never gave him an opportunity on Smackdown, which was suppose to be the “Land of Opportunity.” He singled out Shane in his promo. And in storyline and on TV? Sami Zayn never got any chance on Smackdown Live. Zayn never called out the fans.
The Usos turned heel after a quick loss to American Alpha. Afterwards, the Usos called out the fans for cheering American Alpha over them and said they lost respect for the fans. But guess what? That is 100% true. The Usos were floundering back in late 2016 and desperately needed this change to their characters. So while they did call out the fans the fans were never fully behind them in the weeks leading to this like they were with Becky Lynch.
And how about Seth Rollins? First off you could argue that this is also a heel turn that probably happened way too soon. Many people didn’t think it was time to break up the Shield. I was one of them. But Rollins said he saw the Shield as nothing but business partners. He said he created the Shield and he tore it down. Rollins came off as a prick who did this for nothing but business and money.
In none of these stories did the WWE tell us that the person that turned was the underdog on their TV shows. Of course that is what they did with Becky Lynch.
Of course we can’t forget about Smackdown Live writer Road Dogg and his thoughts.
I hope I didn’t wake up my neighbors laughing at that last tweet. And as I said above regarding the first tweet, it is so clear and obvious that they DID NOT have to climb the same hill. It was presented on TV that Becky had to win match after match and THEN beat Carmella. Charlotte, who had two losses to Carmella, then beat her once after being gone for weeks and got into the match.
Becky Lynch has a big following. She’s hilarious if you follow her on social media. She knows how to connect with the fans and her Instagram stories every week on after Smackdown were must see. Her fans were waiting for her to get the Title. And even if she lost at SummerSlam, her fans (myself included) were ready for a long story of Becky building up to her Title win. I had it penciled in at Evolution after Charlotte was the one to turn heel. But the WWE flipped the story for who knows what reason.
I could get into the story of how the WWE likes to push blondes and a certain type of women. But that would make it sound like I’m taking away from what those women accomplished. Both Charlotte and Alexa Bliss have earned their keep at the top of the women’s divisions. They are talented enough to warrant those spots. But you can always risk them getting overpushed to the point where fans start to resent them for being on top for so long. And that is what they are risking with Charlotte. Will they change the script? I doubt it. But with Smackdown in Toronto next week Charlotte is bound to get booed again. And if it continues in the weeks ahead, then it isn’t just a “smart” city problem. And judging from the reaction so far that was never going to be the case as it is.
All we ask for as wrestling fans is to not be treated like idiots. It always seems to be a problem for the WWE when it comes to giving the fans what they want (see: Daniel Bryan). The WWE told us for weeks that Becky Lynch is the underdog in this story. She had to keep winning to get her Title shot. And then everything was taken away. The fans want her to win. They want to see her succeed. And they were ready to stick behind her even after SummerSlam to see that happen. But the WWE was set in their ways with what they wanted to do. But guess what? It doesn’t look like the fans will be leaving Becky’s side any time soon.
The WWE told a pretty good story leading up to SummerSlam. The problem? They jumped to the wrong page in the book because they were dead set in their ways. And they now have to deal with the consequences.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka