Last night (Oct. 30) on SmackDown, WWE took the Rey Mysterio/Seth Rollins’ program where a lot of us thought it’s been headed for more than a month now, confirming the romance between Rey’s daughter Aalyah and Seth’s former Disciple Murphy.
There’s a lot going on here, as you’d expect with a feud approaching its sixth month. Murphy’s renounced Rollins and wants to apologize to Rey & his son Dominik. The Mysterios don’t trust the 32 year old Australian because, well, he helped Seth “take out” Rey’s eye and beat Dom viciously with kendo sticks - among other things. 19 year old Aalyah believes Murph’s changed and says she loves him. They shared a big old stage kiss in the middle of the ring, much to the Messiah’s delight and the Mysterios’ dismay.
Fans are reacting to this development. Which, on the one hand, is an impressive feat for a story most people are otherwise tired of. But on the other hand, when the reaction has your audience debating consent laws and sexual mores - maybe it’s a sign you’re venturing into territory your PG program don’t need to venture into.
Honestly, having taken part in the debate a bit when the first signs of this development showed up on Raw in September, I’m not terribly interested in jumping back in. Like so many things in our culture right now, there doesn’t seem to be any way to change anyone’s mind on it. Even if it’s not illegal, is it unethical for a man in his 30s to be in a romantic relationship with a woman in her teens? Are you an adult once you’ve reached voting age, and entitled to make your own choices & mistakes? Should storytellers like WWE, who haven’t shown a lot of interest in nuance, be trusted to tell a tale which at least requires that?
I have my answers. You undoubtedly have yours. There’s a decent chance they aren’t the same.
As evidenced by this week’s Talking Smack, the one incontrovertible thing about this angle remains that WWE wants to make us to ask those questions. Aalyah’s age is brought up often, especially by her father, who also repeatedly calls her “naive.” The possibility that Murphy is still in league with Rollins and using Aalyah’s mind, heart, and now body to drive Rey & Dominik mad is raised regularly.
Controversy creates cash, as an old rival-turned-employee of Vince McMahon’s likes to say.
Feel free to let us know where you stand on this development, and the continuing Rollins/Mysterio saga, in the comments below.
Or not. Entirely up to you.