Where to even begin?
There are so many ways to look at the trainwreck of a segment which saw Sami Zayn bring out three men in women’s clothing (I won’t disrepect drag queens by calling that drag) posing as Bobby Lashley’s sisters to “expose” Lashley as a bad brother.
Taken at surface level, I have the same questions I did when Raw rolled out the awkward interview segment with Lashley that started this whole angle. What is the point? From a creative and promotional standpoint - who is this supposed to benefit? Lashley, I guess, but even imagining arguments which support that idea sound ludicrous. Did admitting to being bullied by his older sisters humanize him in some way? We were never told how the Lashleys resolved their childhood issues, or grew from them, or how they interact with each other as adults... just that Bobby thought his past was fun and colorful, and he hopes his future with the WWE Universe is the same.
And not that I even wanted it, but now we were promised a chance to see the family as adults, but instead got pretend allegations from fake sisters that Bobby was the bully all along. And he thought that was fun, too! Then he beat everybody up!
Zayn, who is also supposed to benefit from this in a pro wrestling sense as he theoretically becomes an even more hated heel, wasn’t met with boos from the fans in attendance in Albany. He got the same awkward reaction fans at home had to Lashley’s sitdown chat with Renee Young (which, remember, wasn’t even shown to the live audience on May 7). There seem to be some cheers for Bobby’s beatdown, but it’s not a roar. It’s impossible to read minds, but it’s easy to believe some of the pop was just because a bad segment was ending. Specific moments designed to get the crowd involved, like when Lashley holds up the helmet “Frances” brought to the ring to see if fans want to see him use it as a weapon, are met with crickets.
Are you looking forward to what either man does next? More than you were before? In any way other than “well, it can’t be worse than that”?
And that’s just critiquing it as a wrestling story. It doesn’t even address the reads of it as reinforcing racial stereotypes, or encouraging the mocking (and worse) of trans people. Even though I want to just view it as failed morality play where Bobby was good and Sami was evil and good prevailed, I can’t dismiss people who saw it as a more damaging - especially given wrestling and WWE’s track record. At the very least, it’s a questionable PR decision to go forward with something like this just when the conversation’s just moved on from The Fabulous Moolah backlash drawing in a major sponsor, or the questions about partnering with Saudi Arabia which brought mainstream media attention.
Of course, none of that matters, right? The money is good, so WWE isn’t changing, and wrestling’s impact on society is minimal. There are plenty of places for those battles to be fought.
So, while a handful of people will stop watching, most of us will just forget about it and move on to the next worst segment in Raw history. Lashley and Zayn probably hope we do, since this one didn’t leave with much to build on as performers.
There’s nothing else for any of us to do. And that the segment reinforces our choices are either to walk away from something we otherwise enjoy and love, or accept a pointless, unfunny, offensive offering as the cost of being a WWE and/or wrestling fan... that’s the most depressing take of them all.
Our video team of Cain A. Knight and Stef Hatala had a take as well. Check out theirs, and give us yours in the comments below.