An aspect of the SmackDown Women’s championship story, aka the hottest program in wrestling, has been the notion WWE wants Charlotte Flair as the face of the division/company rather than Becky Lynch. It ebbs and flows, as all themes in WWE do, but the Lasskicker really leaned into in her fallout interview:
“Of course, the chips are stacked against me one more time because they don’t want me to be the champ, they want Charlotte Flair to be the champ, that’s why they give her opportunity, after opportunity, after opportunity... they’re never wanted me to be the top dog.”
It’s almost certainly true that no one behind the scenes saw The Man coming. I doubt anyone backstage would deny that her SummerSlam heel turn was intended to be an obstacle for Charlotte to overcome, and what we’ve seen over the last couple months represents a course correction based on the fan response to Becky’s more confident character.
Part of that response was because of the (likely accurate) perception that WWE didn’t want Lynch as “top dog”. But continuing to push that story when her face is plastered all over the company website, from following ESPN’s lead & putting her #1 in their “Power Rankings” to an email blast touting a Network playlist of her favorite matches, is a tough sell. Ditto for crossover media appearances like this one, where Bex’s is offering tips to entrepreneurs on MSNBC’s Your Business - a show which was also recently visited by Trump cabinet member Linda McMahon:
WWE’s Becky Lynch’s career almost didn’t happen
WWE Superstar Becky Lynch is leading the women’s revolution in the world of professional wrestling. She broke her face (literally) to get to the top of the industry. Find out how getting in her own head almost cost her achieving her biggest dreams and why the customer is always right. For more, watch MSNBC Your Business.Posted by MSNBC Your Business on Monday, December 3, 2018
Of course, Be a STAR rallies and the like have helped all of us get used to separating what happens with wrestlers on screen from how the performers are presented elsewhere. But this isn’t just wrestler blogger nitpicking, I don’t think.
There’s a danger in WWE trying to sell us on something we made popular. Think Jerry Lawler telling the post-WrestleMania crowd why “Fandango-ing” was cool. We know you didn’t want Lynch as The Man, that’s why we helped make her The Man. Now that she is, just accept it and tell cool stories with that character instead of offering us a repackaging of what already happened.
Fortunately, the goodwill and connection to fans Becky talks about during her appearance on Your Business makes her likely to remain popular regardless of how WWE uses her character.
But just like forcing her as a traditional heel wasn’t the answer, casting her as Stone Cold 2.0 isn’t either. Celebrate her success rather than set up false arguments claiming you don’t want it while promoting it.
Above all, let The Man be The Man.