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How Alexa Bliss and WWE Are Inverting the ‘Final Girl’ Trope

It’s easy to compare Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss to Joker and Harley Quinn. So easy I just did it pretty effortlessly in one sentence.

But it’s more fun to look at them through the prism of horror movies, especially since The Fiend is WWE’s resident monster. From that angle, Alexa Bliss looks less like Harleen Quinzel and more like an atypical “final girl” from any horror movie you’ve ever seen since the ‘70s.

Why atypical? Because Alexa is inverting the final girl trope in several ways while reinforcing some of the traits horror fans love about their heroines.

The Fiend has this power to change his victims through violence. Like Michael’s knife, Freddy’s glove, or pretty much anything Jason can get his hands on, the mandible claw is the Fiend’s instrument to implement said violence. Using that against a woman indeed turned Bray’s latest creation into WWE’s new boogeyman (no disrespect to the actual Boogeyman).

Rather than show a broken Alexa though, or even an Alexa with a newfound resolve to stand up against Bray’s fiendish behavior, they showed an enamored Alexa. Like Halloween’s Laurie Strode or Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alexa turned her pain into strength. But unlike those two or the countless others, she decided it was better to become a villain rather than to square off against one.

Alexa isn’t a victim of Bray’s lunacy; she’s a very willing and able-bodied accomplice. WWE smartly avoided going down the Stockholm Syndrome rabbit hole and instead reminded us Alexa is, at her core, a heel. You know, a bad gal who loves to do things bad gals do. If anything, getting attacked by The Fiend snapped her back to reality.

However, most final girls are fundamentally good people. They are forcefully put into positions to defend themselves and sometimes go to dark places to do so, but who they are as human beings is never questioned. Similar to Scream’s Sidney Prescott, some of them even use their traumatic experiences as fuel to do good in the world. But then there’s Alexa, who simply just wants the world to suffer. Not because she’s suffering, not because she’s in pain, and definitely not because she’s under some trance. Alexa does terrible things just because.

Sequels to Happy Death Day, Halloween, and Alien explore the psychology of survivors and how they learn to stand on their own two feet. Like Alexa, their encounters with their respective boogeymen elicit change. Who they are in part 2 or part 3 is different than who they were in part 1. Laurie Strode goes from the quiet girl to a shotgun-toting survivalist. Ellen Ripley transforms from someone who merely survived her first encounter with an alien to a woman who takes the fight to the queen-of-all aliens.

What separates Alexa from the pack is she fights for all that’s evil in the world. She pokes and prods anyone she deems a threat to her union. Whether it’s torturing Kevin Owens or begging Randy Orton to set her on fire to test his mettle, Alexa is just as dangerous as Bray and twice as sadistic.

But there are no strings on Ms. Bliss; she never feels controlled like the members of the old Wyatt Family. Her mission is Bray’s mission, and pretty much always has been. Like the best final girls, she grabbed agency from the jaws of tragedy and became the “best” version of herself. Of course, that’s if you consider a psychotic sociopath the best version of anything.

Spoiler for an almost 40-year-old movie, but Halloween 4 ends with a potent question: What if the final girl became the killer?

Well, Alexa Bliss is giving us the answer.

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