Despite a new creative regime under the leadership of Triple H, WWE’s booking of babyfaces to look inexplicably gullible continues as Bianca Belair found herself on the receiving end of a four-on-one beatdown to close SmackDown on Nov. 10.
After Kairi Sane forgave Bayley for her past transgressions, Sane was officially welcomed into Damage CTRL. Bianca Belair then hit the scene to confront the group, saying she hasn’t forgiven Damage CTRL for costing her the Women’s title. Belair added that she wasn’t the only person who had issues with the group before bringing out Charlotte Flair and Asuka.
Wait, hold on.
Belair and Asuka have been at each other’s throats for most of the year, battling for the Women’s Championship since the lead-up to WrestleMania. Along the way, Asuka assaulted Belair after a tag team match where the two were partners, misted her in the eyes several times, and cheated Belair out of her record-setting run as the Women’s champ.
From a character standpoint, Belair shouldn’t trust Asuka to give her the time of day, much less to be her tag team partner again. That Belair would trust Asuka to go to war against Sane and Sky, two women Asuka has been friends with for years, is gullibility at its highest level. It’s also a bad look for Charlotte Flair, who went along with this nonsense as she, Belair-head, and Asuka would later meet Damage CTRL in a six-man tag team match to headline SmackDown.
Sure enough, Asuka turned on her team by refusing Belair’s attempt to tag and misting her in the face for the umpteenth time in 2023 before cuddling up with Sane, Sky, and Bayley to mug the EST and the Queen.
Ultimately, WWE achieved its goal of aligning Asuka with her BFFs in Damage CTRL. Still, how they got there by making Belair look like the dumbEST person ever for trusting her year-long rival was a creative letdown.
A vital part of a babyface’s presentation is the audience’s ability to have sympathy for the hero. While some children may be too young to see the big picture, for the mature audience, the question one might ask Belair’s character is, “What were you thinking?”
Given Asuka’s history with Charlotte Flair, where the two have been rivals, partners, and tag team champions, Flair making that mistake is somewhat forgivable. But there was never a come-to-Jesus moment between Belair and Asuka that would make any partnership between the two believable. That diminishes the impact of Asuka’s rogue turn while making Belair look foolish.
An occasional display of naivete by the babyfaces is acceptable because, in reality, everyone is too trusting at times. But WWE puts its good guys and girls in too many situations throughout the year that, combined, make the collective group of so-called superheroes look like dolts. Over time, the audience becomes less sympathetic to their plight, especially when the evil-doers look cool while committing such acts (see the nWo, 1996), making the faces harder to get over in the future.
Ultimately, Belair will likely survive this debacle, provided WWE gives her a strong follow-up, including a logical explanation of why she thought she could trust Asuka. Until then, Belair is another babyface left looking like a fool.