Alexa Bliss is back on WWE television. Many fans hoped the months she spent on the sidelines would mean she’d return with a clean character slate. Instead, she’s back with the same polarizing, Bray Wyatt-inspired storyline she’s been a part of the summer of 2020.
The new wrinkle is that Bliss is in therapy for what her psychiatrist believes is trauma-induced psychosis. Alexa, on the other hand, seems to think that nothing is wrong... presumably because having supernatural powers and a creepy teleporting doll best friend is pretty cool?
As usual, some fans (and a lot of stans) love this. There are plenty of critics, too. For them — even though most acknowledge Bliss is doing a much better job than just about anyone else on the roster could with the material — it represents everything from WWE’s inability to apply logic & continuity to their angles, to the reason they’re embarrassed to tell people they watch wrestling.
For her part, the performer behind the Alexa character seems to be asking the audience to go along for the ride...
Sometimes you need to just be patient & see how things play out …— Lexi Kaufman (@AlexaBliss_WWE) January 18, 2022
“Let it play out” is a reasonable approach to ongoing fictions. But it’s also something skeptical WWE audiences have been told so often it’s a running joke.
One thing that drives me crazy is constant negativity. For example people complaining about the @WWEBrayWyatt segment. It’s ONE fucking segment. Let it play out & see where it goes. No one thought @MATTHARDYBRAND’s Broken Universe was going to get ovah. #WWE #RAW #FireflyFunHouse pic.twitter.com/ZFeoFZBdli— Offended Podcast (@OffendedPod) April 23, 2019
I personally thought Rhea would go over. But she went up levels even in defeat.— Alex McCarthy (@AlexM_talkSPORT) April 5, 2020
She's 23. That's not the last time they'll meet. Dethroning Flair eventually would make her a bigger star. I'm prepared to let it play out, because Rhea WILL be a big star. WWE know it. #WrestleMania
"WTF is this Bearcat stuff?"— Rivenblade (WrestleVibes YT) (@Rivenblade2) November 5, 2021
"LET IT PLAY OUT. It was his idea! It's a tribute!"
"WTF are they doing with Karrion Kross?"
"LET IT PLAY OUT. They're telling a story!"
"WTF was that Balor finish?"
"LET IT PLAY OUT. It's a story!"
Eat. Sleep. Let it play out. Repeat. pic.twitter.com/cxGA1h0Mlc— ♦️ LFC4EVA♦️ (@LFC4EVA96) January 18, 2022
The problem, as the meme in general and several of those tweets specifically point out, is that “letting it play out” isn’t a rational approach to WWE. There’s rarely a long-term plan for anything, and even when there is it can be changed at any time — by circumstances, or the whims of Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
If you’re enjoying Bliss’ scenes with the therapist, or anything else on Raw, NXT, or SmackDown, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But enjoy it for Alexa’s performance, or any wrestler’s charisma & talent, or a funny bit, or a great match. Whatever they try to tell you, WWE is in the moment business. With a few exceptions over the years, they’re not in the deep and rewarding long-term narrative business. And that’s the kind of storytelling where “let it play out” is a valid response to criticism.
Now, it shouldn’t need to be said, but none of this is meant as a call to mock Bliss for her tweet. There’s already been plenty of that. More importantly, she’s entitled to defend her work, and her employer (unless she’s trolling, or subtly using the cliche’ against the creative she’s been given... who knows), if she chooses.
Just like many of us are entitled to watch, and criticize, WWE and its programming as we see fit.