Less than a week before Survivor Series, SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, who was scheduled to wrestle Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at the pay-per-view (PPV), was knocked out of action when Nia Jax punched her in the face. She suffered both a broken nose (or a “broken face” as WWE called it on television) and a concussion.
She has yet to be cleared to return.
Jax, meanwhile, will wrestle for the Raw women’s championship at the very next PPV, the TLC show on Dec. 16 in San Jose.
That doesn’t seem right. To be fair, she had previously earned a title match by winning a battle royal at Evolution and the plan always seemed to be a Jax vs. Rousey match before Royal Rumble. It’s at least understandable in that regard.
But how they’re handling the Jax character in the wake of Lynch’s injuries is a bit different.
They’ve leaned hard into it, essentially, dubbing Jax “The Facebreaker” while giving her an even bigger push. They’re using her punch now as a gimmick to promote her upcoming match:
And she is on Twitter playing it up:
The most highly anticipated match of the year! Don’t worry my hand will be 100% by then https://t.co/m3CRFhIqu8— (@NiaJaxWWE) November 20, 2018
While also dropping stuff like this:
Imagine being able to put ur phone down for 2 days & enjoy quality time w/fam & friends w/o needing to post it for VALIDATION. Oh wait, you TROLLS don’t know what it means to have genuine relationships ! Stay mad at my success #Facebreaker #SoleSurvivor— (@NiaJaxWWE) November 24, 2018
That’s where it gets difficult.
She is a heel, and there’s a big part of me that feels the right move here is exactly what they’re doing: lean into the injury she caused and use it to get her over. Fans have booed her out of the building in her last couple appearances, and heat like that is worth everything.
Then again, this very much feels like rewarding someone who did the one thing wrestlers are supposed to be trying not to do. What kind of message does that send? If you haul off and blast someone in the face so hard they get a broken nose and a concussion there’s a push in it for you? That it’s an easy way to get legit heat with the fans, so why not just go for it? It cost Lynch her health and WWE a main event and instead of repercussions, she’s getting a top match at the next PPV.
So on the one hand, yeah, totally, this is the right way to go. But on the other hand, no, hell no, you can’t reward that.
I really don’t know how to feel.