One of the best moments on this week’s episode of SmackDown Live came when, after Charlotte popped off at the mouth, Becky Lynch hauled off and blasted her right in it. It was a very, very satisfying punch, one that led to a pull apart brawl.
I only really took one issue with it: the SmackDown commentary team called it a “sucker punch.”
Upon first viewing, I didn’t feel that way at all. After all, Charlotte is standing right in front of her, running her mouth, and looking at her the entire way. That she got hit in the face is no surprise. In fact, in this setting even more than others, it is the expected result.
Then again, Becky did sort of fake like she was going to say something back before taking her shot. That makes it something like a surprise, which could lend itself to being called a sucker punch.
Pondering this, I hit up my main moderator — and fellow night owl — Cain A. Knight to ask for his thoughts. Here’s the discussion we ended up having.
Cain: If sucker punch can be defined as “an unexpected punch” then I think that punch fits that description. Here’s the Merriam Webster definition: “to punch (a person) suddenly without warning and often without apparent provocation.” I see Becky looking away from Charlotte, smiling, then raising the mic as if she is going to talk as the deception part that makes the sudden punch that follows a sucker punch. So, yeah, I would call it that. Do you think it is very different from HHH’s punch on Kurt Angle a while back?
Geno: Yeah! Angle wasn’t looking at him at all and there was no indication it was going to happen. The “provocation” part is what makes this not a sucker punch. Charlotte was in her face talking shit, while looking straight at her. That she was punched is the natural result. The expected result, even.
Cain: Yes, okay, if there needs to be no obvious provoking for a sucker punch, then I agree Charlotte had it coming.
Geno: The raising of the mic makes it questionable. That’s where I think we run into some ambiguity issues.
Cain: I’ll check this out:
Cain: I don’t know, I think it can be argued either way. In the video, when Miz is going on and on about how great he is, not letting Roman Reigns answer his questions on MizTV, so Reigns just suddenly blasts him in the face, do you consider that a sucker punch?
Geno: That’s where I get tripped up.
Cain: In that case, Miz was in the middle of talking when Roman popped him. Charlotte was waiting for a Becky response here.
Geno: But I would still lean “no” because if you’re talking shit right in front of someone, there’s a reasonable expectation that you’re going to get punched. Whether or not the person talking shit is prepared for it, then, shouldn’t factor into it being considered a sucker punch or not
Cain: If you asked me to define sucker punch I would have said something like “a sudden, unexpected punch.” So if the idea is that when you talk this kind of shit to someone, you remove the “unexpected” part of the equation, then it’s not a sucker punch. But I think it can be argued that even with that kind of shit talking, Becky still tried to deceive her into not expecting a punch.
Even after our talk, I’m not sure if I would classify what Becky did as a sucker punch but I’m also not sure I wouldn’t.