What many people feared would happen, has happened.
Becky Lynch was suspended in storyline by Vince McMahon for 60 days. Since her suspension ends five days after WrestleMania, she out of the main event. McMahon named Charlotte Flair as Ronda Rousey’s new opponent.
It’s obvious Lynch will get back into the match at some point, thus making it a triple threat encounter no one wants to see. In a previous blog I wrote about the possibility of Charlotte’s inclusion, I referred to WWE’s inability to create a worthwhile story that doesn’t feel as if Charlotte is shoehorned into the match.
The reason Vince McMahon suspended Becky Lynch is that he doesn’t like her attitude. Furthermore, he picked Charlotte, who is on SmackDown, to go against Rousey for the Raw Women’s Title.
The segment was rushed due to the new edict by USA Network, stating Raw must end at 11:00 pm on the dot. Vince fumbled most of his lines as he made the announcement.
Also, it makes no sense because Vince McMahon and Becky Lynch have never had any interaction on television. Wrestlers over the years have done a lot worse to the McMahon Family than merely having a bad attitude. Yet, Vince never did something so drastic as to take away their WrestleMania main event.
Except for Stone Cold Steve Austin.
“The Man” has drawn many comparisons to “The Texas Rattlesnake” in terms of persona. Perhaps, Vince doesn’t want another Austin on his hands and is trying to put Lynch in her place before that happens. This would make sense. After all, there are some parallels between the two
Austin was already WWE’s top star going into WrestleMania 14 in 1998. He just needed his coronation via the WWE Championship while rubbing shoulders with Mike Tyson. Today, Becky Lynch is the top star going into WrestleMania 35. She needs WWE to make that point loud and clear, by having her beat Ronda Rousey.
There is a theory suggesting Charlotte was only put in the match to take fall. Thus Rousey avoids doing the job. I get it, and it wouldn’t surprise me. Still, I don’t see that being the case.
Ronda Rousey has been undefeated since she debuted at last year’s WrestleMania. Lynch ending her streak is the key ingredient in setting up Lynch for true superstardom. It’s literally the biggest contribution Ronda Rousey can make to WWE.
Charlotte, for her role, is doing a fantastic job on the promotional side of things. She’s been trolling everyone on social media to the nth degree and doing the same on television. The fans hate her right now, which means her inclusion might have been a good idea after all.
Last night on Raw, the suspended Lynch once again blindsided Rousey. In return, Rousey threw down the women’s title in protest to the McMahon family not reversing the suspension. Rousey said she wants to fight the best, and it’s not as if security can stop Lynch anyways.
Now that makes sense. Rousey is the ultimate competitor and has made her money. If WWE doesn’t give her what she wants, which is also what the fans want, she’ll just walk away.
It’s nice to finally have some faith in WWE’s writing, even though their track record is abysmal when it comes to creating clear and concise character motives.
A convoluted road to a finished product is, unfortunately, their modus operandi. In this case, however, seeing Lynch, Charlotte, and Rousey in the ring on April 7th might be worth the mess we get along the way.
The world according to Becky Lynch is a beautiful place right now. She won the Royal Rumble on a Sunday and challenged Ronda Rousey the next day to set up their highly anticipated clash at WrestleMania 35.
It is undeniable Rousey vs. Lynch should be the main event of WrestleMania. However, The Wrestling Observer reported as of Monday evening; the plan is for Charlotte Flair to be included into the match, making it a triple threat. Sports Illustrated, however, is reporting the opposite.
Fan reaction to this news has been damned with faint praise. Wrestling aficionados, at their core, are traditionalists. The idea of a WrestleMania main event being anything other than a singles encounter doesn’t feel right. It dilutes the story, and three’s a crowd.
While a one on one match is the preferred choice, would Charlotte’s inclusion really be a bad thing?
Charlotte is one of the best wrestlers in the women’s division. She always has good matches, was initially groomed to be Rousey’s WrestleMania dance partner and many feel she stole at last year’s Mania when she ended Asuka’s undefeated streak.
Adding Charlotte to the Lynch/Rousey equation would make the match better than it’s already going to be. Her inclusion will only draw more heat by having two people to boo instead of one. Also, it gives Lynch a more daunting journey, making her assumed victory even sweeter.
From a business perspective, the first female WrestleMania main event featuring Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair helps WWE in the long run. Rousey is reportedly leaving the company at the end of April. It’s better to have two history-making characters to market instead of one.
In the storyline, Charlotte brutalized Rousey at Survivor Series. Rousey returned the favor at TLC by costing both Charlotte and Lynch the SmackDown Women’s Title. There are unresolved issues between Charlotte and Rousey, and WrestleMania is the perfect place for a resolution.
Another thing to take into account is the injury Becky Lynch suffered at the hands of Nia Jax, removing her from the match at Survivor Series against Rousey. Charlotte was her replacement.
The addition of Charlotte Flair improves upon the finished product. However, despite all the positives, there is still a loud voice in the wrestling consciousness that says Charlotte doesn’t belong.
After four years of Roman Reigns featured main events that never got over, WrestleMania finally has a top match everyone is excited to see. Some view Charlotte as the Roman Reigns of the women’s division because, underneath Rousey, she is the performer WWE wants to push.
The biggest problem with Charlotte’s inclusion is how do you get her into the match? WWE needs to develop a logical storyline reason on why Charlotte receives an invite to the party.
She could beat Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Title at one of the two pay per view events before Mania. Still, how would that qualify Charlotte to enter a WrestleMania main event that has already been announced?
A winner takes all match with both titles on the line is intriguing. Still, it just can’t be a title change that gets Charlotte the golden ticket. Many championships have changed hands over the years so close to WrestleMania.
Perhaps, WWE will take a roundabout route of Charlotte somehow convincing Becky Lynch into putting her title shot on the line in a match, winning that match, and Lynch somehow gets back in later on. Unfortunately, not only is that just too easy but from a character perspective, Lynch is too smart to be duped into such a match with an injured knee.
In all likelihood, there is probably a way to get Charlotte into the match that doesn’t feel like she is shoehorned in. However, WWE doesn’t evoke much confidence when it comes to creating that story. There has been a severe lack of quality control with their writing that’s led to their record low television ratings.
Shoehorning Charlotte will be akin to the referee missing the pass interference call in the NFC Championship game. Yeah, the Rams won the game, but everyone knew they didn’t belong in the Superbowl.
Does WWE really want to make Charlotte a third wheel? Yeah, probably. Why? Because Vince McMahon would inexplicably rather tell the audience what he thinks they want instead of letting them tell him what they want.
If Charlotte ends up standing across the ring from Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch on April 7th, please, feel free to boo as loud as you want. Don’t boo Charlotte, however, boo WWE for making a decision that only serves them, regardless of what the audience wants. Charlotte would be merely doing her job.
After all, would anyone turn down the biggest payday and moment of their career despite the creative optics of the situation? No, not at all.
There are more pros than cons to Charlotte’s inclusion in the Rousey/Lynch main event at WrestleMania. However, there is one con that outweighs all the pros. Wedging in an unwanted entity is undeniably what the audience doesn’t want to see.
There is no remainder to this equation. One plus one equals two. Two wrestlers who have produced a tidal wave of enthusiasm for a mano e mano showdown. Charlotte is not the problem, but, WWE’s proclivity to rebuild a perfectly gifted storyline is a big problem.
In the current landscape of professional wrestling, women’s wrestling is more prominent than ever before. WWE, ROH, Impact, and the Indies are producing longer matches, better matches, and main event matches. This is becoming the norm instead of the exception. In 2018, one name rose to infinity and beyond. My pick for Wrestler of the Year is Becky Lynch.
Becky Lynch is a talented wrestler who consistently puts on strong performances. However, WWE booked Charlotte Flair to be the queen bee of the women’s division. Going into last year’s SummerSlam, inept booking that shoved aside Lynch, in favor of Flair, created a perfect storm of opportunity. Lynch capitalized on it spectacularly to become the most popular wrestler in WWE today.
What makes Lynch’s ascension even more gratifying is she did it while embracing a heel role that everyone thought she was too sweet to pull off. Gone is the happy go lucky “Irish lass kicker” and now we have a gives zero f%$#* persona of “The Man.”
Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey in the main event of WrestleMania is the current marquee match of the industry. Let that sink in for a moment. A subgenre once considered bathroom break fodder is now the apple of everyone’s eye.
Most of the wrestlers in the division lack the believability to beat the former UFC champion. Lynch exudes attitude and the requisite authenticity to dethrone Rousey, which makes the match even more intriguing.
While the word on the street says the aforementioned match will end up a Triple Threat with the inclusion of Charlotte Flair, Lynch is too popular for the WWE to not only ignore but to not push as the featured attraction. On SmackDown, Becky Lynch got the better of John Cena, who WWE just started marketing as the greatest of all-time.
Topping off a fantastic 2018, Lynch had a career-defining match against Charlotte at WWE’s first all women’s pay-per-view event Evolution. Their Last Women Standing encounter has received match of the year accolades and told a gripping story from beginning to end.
Lynch was marginalized for the first half of 2018. She capitalized on a creative blunder, which yielded maximum results. A growing social media presence, match of the year caliber performances, a character people love, a hot selling t-shirt and one-half of the biggest match in the industry gives Becky Lynch the blue ribbon.
While other wrestlers such as Kenny Omega, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Seth Rollins are more than worthy of this distinction, Lynch’s story is truly unique, and her impact is undeniable.
What was rumored for weeks became official last night when WWE revealed plans for their first ever all women’s pay-per-view show. At the beginning of Raw, Stephanie McMahon announced over 50 women would participate in the event called Evolution.
Evolution will emanate from Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York on Sunday, October 28th. Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita will appear along with more legends from the past. Every member of the main roster will be on the show.
Some of the matches featured will be championship matches from Raw, SmackDown, NXT and NXT UK, along with the finals of the upcoming second Mae Young Classic. WWE’s developmental system getting such a platform will only help in making this inaugural undertaking a tremendous show.
There are also persisting rumors of WWE introducing the women’s tag team titles. The division will appear on both Raw and SmackDown and would be the only championships to hold that distinction. Evolution would be the perfect time to kick off such an initiative.
Of course, with WWE announcements comes its share of controversy. Some have challenged the authenticity of the company’s progressive image due to holding an April show, in Saudi Arabia, where it is illegal for women to perform. While there has been no official word from WWE, the country’s General Sports Authority announced another event slated for November.
An October 28th all women’s show scheduled weeks before another event, where women are precluded is a significant contradiction of WWE’s projected all-inclusive mantra.
Furthermore, it suggests a motive of softening the backlash they will receive for continuing to do business with Saudi Arabia. Such a narrative makes it easy to come to this conclusion. However, I don’t think this is what’s happening here, not entirely.
WWE was always going to hold an all women’s pay-per-view event. Women’s increased presence in movies, television, and sports along with the stellar women’s matches in NXT influenced WWE to follow suit.
This led to more screen time, which ultimately lead to the signing of UFC superstar Ronda Rousey. Also, WWE Network diluting the importance of traditional pay-per-view made this endeavor less of a risk. In the end, does it matter when the event is being held just as long as we’re getting it? WWE is a business and strategically planning events comes with the territoty.
Women’s wrestling has never been more featured in the genre. More woman are getting into wrestling than ever before. Those who have thrived on the independent scene and abroad are getting noticed.
While this isn’t the first all-women’s pay-per-view event, (LPWA 1992) or even the second, (WOW 2001) it’s WWE’s first time at this particular dance. Putting all of the optics aside, Evolution is better late than never for the industry leader.
WrestleMania 34 is this Sunday and my old crew got together and put together a podcast where we deliver our preview and predictions for the show. Frank Dee, Adam Kohn and I talk about all the matches, stories and rumors going into the biggest event of the year. Check it out!
While there are still two more pay-per-view events to go, the card for this year’s WrestleMania is starting to take shape. Rumors and storylines on television lend credence to the matches that might transpire on Sunday, April 8 in New Orleans, LA. Let’s look at the scenarios that will officially occur on the grandest stage followed by those that are possible.
On Saturday, UFC 190 will emanate from the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. This event will be bigger than most as the main card will be four hours with seven fights as opposed to the standard three-hour show with five fights.
This might have something to do with Ronda Rousey finishing her last three opponents in 1 minute and 46 seconds combined, and many expecting her to do the same again, as she looks to defend her title against Bethe Correia.
If the main event doesn’t tickle your fancy, then fear not, this card is long on nostalgia via PRIDE Fighting Championship, including what could be a rematch for the ages. The women’s strawweight division gets a boost as arguably the divisions’ number one fighter makes her UFC debut.
There are also two protect bouts courtesy of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil and the cherry on top of this combative ice cream sundae comes in the form of a heavyweight slugfest that shouldn’t go anywhere near the distance.
While this card is short on divisional relevance, the entertainment factor, along with the continued rise of a superstar in the making, should make for an action-packed evening.
I almost hate admitting this, but I have been bored with MMA as of late. The UFC’s overwhelming slate of shows has given me little cause for excitement. While I understand their business strategy is to create new stars, appealing content extends beyond merely two people fighting in a cage.
We’ve been spoiled for so long with a plethora of intriguing personalities. Gladiators like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and Tank Abbott introduced us to this combative spectacle. At the same time, warriors such as Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, BJ Penn, and Matt Hughes ushered in the sports boom period.
The new generation of fighters have evolved quite nicely, but besides Ronda Rousey, no one else has mass appeal. People want to like Jon Jones, but his Ill-mannered and disingenuous personality is a turnoff. Cain Velasquez, Demetrious Johnson, and Chris Weidman seem like the type of athletes you’d want your kids to look up to. Unfortunately, they lack that larger than life persona.
UFC 181 rejuvenated my excitement for Mixed Martial Arts. The event had everything you could ask for and then some, and I wrote a column about it at What Culture.com titled 5 Things We Learned From UFC 181.