The heel turn of Lacey Evans

One of the more unexpected plot twists that we have seen recently in NXT is Lacey Evans turning heel. Before a few weeks ago she was being portrayed as the All-American Girl, a blonde beauty that had served in the Marines. But during the lead up to TO:Philly she suddenly switched to a more villanous character with her match against Aliyah. Don't get me wrong, I think the concept is solid; her size, strength, moveset lens themselves to An overpowering heel than the underdog babyface.

What struck me was the reaction from the IWC. Almost immediately it was deemed borderline, if not full on, racist. Even after calling out and then facing Nikki Cross, it was seen as a xenophobic American first gimmick. But to me it was less of the Triple H - Booker T feud, and more of the Strong - Roode feud: the proper upper class versus the common peasant. Some will claim all sorts of points of why it must be racist, but there are two factors that mean that many of the points raised are not based on complete facts.

The first justifaction for calling it racist was that so much of was directed at minority competitors. The problem with that is it ignores the makeup of the NXT roster. lists 13 females other than Lacey on the NXT roster. 3 are non wrestlers: Zelina, Christy, and Kayla. The other 10 are Aliyah, Bianca, Billie, Ember, Kairi, Nikki, Peyton, Shayna, Taynara, and Vanessa. Of the 10, 6 are POCs. Billie and Peyton are heels who, from the storyline, are more likely to side with Lacey, at least until they could stab her in the back. Shayna was obviously on a collision course with Ember, and they even teased the fact that Lacey was scared enough of her to keep away. That only leaves one other non-POC and that is exactly who she called out: Nikki Cross. Literally, at the time of the turn there was no other white women on the roster to feud with.

The second issue the turn had, in my opinion, was timing. The recent call ups essentially took away most of Lacey's possible opponents. If Ruby were still in NXT the Punk Rock Princess would be the overwhelming choice to be Lacey's perfect foil. Sarah Logan would offer the classic rural versus urbanite battle, and Liv, well she's from NJ, that feud kind of writes itself. Sonya would make for a heel on heel, but again the logic of the dispute is obvious. And if they had decided to redebut her in NXT, which I would have never expected, the Anti-Diva Paige would have immediately clashed with Lacey's new persona. So it's less of Lacey going after minorities and more of realising that's all the call ups left in NXT.

In short, simply calling Lacey's character racist or xenophobic at this point is just lazy. The sheer diversity within NXT just means no matter what she does there simply isn't an White American woman for her to feud with at the moment.

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