I like Alexa Bliss. A lot.
In an era where being a true antagonist is extremely difficult, she has pulled it off with flying colors. Halting the ‘what’ chants that have frustrated many others, drumming up fake emotion about the women’s revolution only to shove it back in our faces, and sincerely making us believe that she does not in any way, shape, or form need fan validation has kept her one of the best stories since the July 2016 brand split.
Two years ago when she bursted onto the scene in her first major feud with Becky Lynch, I didn’t know how serious they wanted to take her. It clearly felt the roster context was favorable for Lynch to have a nice long run with the title as one of the 4 horsewomen with good credentials from NXT. Bliss felt like a fill in- someone who was probably better than they thought on the stick and could keep the champion with something to do, but not a long term solution for the title.
It’s safe to say that the “5 feet of fury” has shattered even the best of expectations, always finding a way to expose the oppositions flaws through insults, bullying, or just flat out telling it like it is. In a way, her mic work and dastardly heel ways are effective in covering up some in-ring deficiencies- which only helps her get over more. Bliss is a breath of fresh air for people like me that just want to hate their heels for awhile without having to stop and praise them for how cool they are in that role.
Though anything can happen (including a possible triple threat), it appears we could be heading for Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey at Summerslam. It’s an intriguing match-up given Bliss penchant for getting a rise out of people. The WWE used Bliss once already in a set up role to achieve Nia Jax’s first championship reign as she attempted to rid the stigma of body shaming and bullying. I expect the Rousey/Bliss match, should it go down, to follow a similar formula of mostly one sided antagonism.
The juxtaposition of Rousey being a legitimate fighter to Bliss’s scrutiny for questionable in-ring work makes for something that can be exploited. The always self aware Alexa will tactfully point out how she’s the 5-time women’s champion, the underdog, counted out, and has succeeded despite the perceptions of her abilities. A champion on scripted television who is criticized for not being an actual decent wrestler is one of those kayfabe things I assume Bliss will more than use to her advantage as she touts her accomplishments to an audience that has no choice but to accept it in storyline.
But is it the best story?
If Bliss was heading into Summerslam on a lengthy title run, having found a way to deflate Jax and her anti-bully momentum at Mania, then this may have set up as the perfect opportunity for Rousey to be the first real one to shut the goddess up in story line.
But it already happened. Jax beat Bliss. Bliss got what she deserved. Why does it need to happen again simply because she cashed in her briefcase and won the title?
Alexa Bliss is no doubt the sexier pick to fight Rousey at Summerslam. I get it. From a pure character standpoint, there is absolutely no comparison between Nia Jax and the current RAW Women’s champion. I think there is obviously a good chance that the plan is to crown Rousey the RAW women’s champion at Summerslam in what will be a big moment.
There’s no argument that Rousey is a better athlete than Bliss is, and probably even a better WWE-style wrestler at this point. There’s always a place in wrestling for the cowardly heel who isn’t as talented and can pull out all the tricks to keep the title. It’s just not the story I want to see right now. I know that Rousey can destroy Bliss whenever she wants. I know that, regardless of who the opponent is, it will be a special moment for the Rowdy one to be given the seal of approval and continue to silence whatever detractors are left.
Jax easily had her best performance at Money In the Bank. She was booked to pure perfection as a monster and finally met the potential for how her matches should have gone from the get go. The story that Jax/Rousey told in the ring supersedes what Bliss can do on a mic and I believe their unfinished business deserves to be completed ahead of Alexa Bliss “getting hers” and handing over the belt for the second time in 5 months.
At the heart of the matter is this: Ronda Rousey needs to prove that within the prism of the WWE she is capable of beating people of all shapes and sizes. It was a well told story by not just the competitors at Money in the Bank, but the announce team as well who played up how Rousey has never faced anyone this size in MMA. It’s the kind of angle that makes a match like that feel legit. Rousey bumping like a champ but looking like she could have pulled that out in the end, combined with Jax pure domination for most of that bout, give both women a legit case for being champion. This might be the closest opportunity in women’s wrestling history to Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant if they allow Rousey this particular venue and opponent.
As much as I love Alexa Bliss, and I do think she’s great, I believe Jax is the right decision and the right story to be told for Rousey winning her first championship. Very seldom in the wrestling business do we get the kind of psychological match up between those with size differences that comes across very pure. This is one of them and it definitely deserves a conclusive finish after the appetizer we got in June, this time where Rousey can prove that nobody is a bad match up for her. By hook or by crook, a Nia loss to Bliss at ER could cool the positive momentum she’s built over the last few months after a couple years of being underutilized. Bliss can always turn on b*tch mode for an engaging feud at a later date, but the opportunity to squeeze drawing power out of “Rousey vs. Giant” story could be slipping.
Jax is “not like most girls”- but neither is Rousey. It’s the perfect rematch to crown one of the best free agent signings in recent memory.
QUESTION OF THE COLUMN: Are you #TeamJax, #TeamBliss, or #TeamTripleThreat for the Women’s championship at Summerslam and why?
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TYPE’S WRESTLEMANIA FANTASY DRAFT
I wanted to give this a quick plug. So I’m looking for people to do a Wrestlemania era fantasy draft with me. I’ve got a few on board already (mostly fellow main page writers) but would be looking to get anyone involved. So the early premise of it is to draft guys who competed in the Wrestlemania era (85-present). Every person drafts 15 guys, 5 girls, 2 managers, and one celebrity who appeared at Mania. Assume all people are in their prime.
The beauty of this is that even if you have a busy life you can be a part of it. I’d simply email you when it was your pick and give you a list of who’s been taken and who is available in the draft. It’d be a snake style draft (ie- person who picks #1 would get last pick in round 2). It’s going to be fun and it’s an opportunity to maybe get your two cents in on the main page about how awesome your draft was! Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org if interested!