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Let’s welcome Shayna Baszler to the ‘Is it good or bad heat?’ club

The bulk of the reaction to the main event of last night’s Elimination Chamber PPV seems to be negative.

As these things do, it ranges from “that could have been better” to “CANCELING MY NETWORK SUBSCRIPTION!” But if the crowd in Philly last night was any indication, it’s going to lead to some boos on the road to WrestleMania 36. Since fans can’t actually boo Vince McMahon (and because something like 90% of the people who say they want Vince to retire pop loud when they hear “No Chance In Hell” hit the loud speakers), a lot of that anger is going to directed at Shayna Baszler.

Reasons will vary. Some just aren’t into the former MMA fighter’s slower, technical style. Others are upset she’s being pushed instead of others they think are more deserving, or think their favorites are being sacrificed to get Baszler over.

Whatever the underlying rationale, expect jeers for Shayna in arenas, and lots of complaining about Becky Lynch’s challenger online.

The jeers are exactly what WWE wants, of course. Everything that’s happened since Royal Rumble has been designed to present Baszler as a fearsome monster, the ultimate threat to The Man’s lengthy title reign. With so much invested in Lynch as the company’s top babyface, a hated rival is just what the doctor ordered.

But as with someone like pre-hiatus Roman Reigns, there’s going to questions about if fans really hate Baszler, or if they hate the system that’s determined to make her a top star. As we continue to deal with with Baron Corbin, we’ll ask if people want to see him lose, or do they just not want him on their screens (aka is it “X-Pac” or “go away” heat)?

A noisy crowd is good. But when the noise doesn’t clearly translate to the bottom line, we get debate about whether that in-show negative feedback is a good or bad thing. Is it for the fiction they’re being presented, or the reality behind it? Most importantly, will it keep customers coming back, or is it driving them away?

Fans don’t like Shayna Baszler. But with WWE ratings stagnant and live attendance down, who knows what that means.

Let the debate begin. Welcome to the club, Queen of Spades.

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