Credit to Ash from Wrestling Shorts, support the talented bastard on Patreon here: Wrestling Shorts Patreon
Imp’s WWE Adventure
Are You Wrong To Cheer Becky Lynch?
If you’ve ever read a column of mine before, you’d know I’m pretty critical of WWE nowadays. With the company’s main flagship shows there’s so much left to be desired. There’s such a strong feeling of ‘on the fly’ booking that it’s applauded as a miracle if there’s any form of continuity actually followed. Normally just a given norm within storytelling, but not when it comes to telling stories under the WWE banner. Just simply following a certain character arc from start to finish is so damn rare.
So Becky Lynch, or now ‘Baddy Lynch’ if you will. A character who was drafted as the lynchpin of the SmackDown Live Women’s Division during the Brand Split of 2016. She had an amazing run on top, but got an untimely injury and a roster of other wrestlers (such as Alexa Bliss) had grown impressively and were 100% deserving of a chance to run. So Becky took more of a back seat during the middle of 2017… but she was never subbed back on.
As the year went on, you could see an increasing amount of Tweets and comments calling for Becky to get another shot at the top of the card. In spite of rarely being used for anything significant, the Irish Lass Kicker still had such an incredible amount of support. Her popularity hadn’t died down one bit and if anything those calls only got stronger.
Then comes 2018, she gets strong reactions in the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble but eliminated about half way through. Come WrestleMania she was in the Kick Off battle royal, then sat in the back watching whilst her best friend Charlotte has arguably the biggest Women’s match in WWE history. Throughout all of this, Becks wasn’t really given anything to work with but the fans were still relatively strongly behind her.
Which leads us into the Summer of 2018, when Becky Lynch finally got her opportunity. A chance to climb the mountain and ‘maybe’ get that title shot, if she’s able to practically beat ever other female wrestler on SmackDown Live. In that time Charlotte lost her title to Carmella and was side-lined via injury. Was this when Becky got her shot via avenging her injured friend? Nope, the ‘Empress of Tomorrow’ Asuka was drafted and the one to feud with the champ over the rest of the Summer.
Becky Lynch continued to climb and fight her way into gaining momentum, the interesting part of this time is that the fans were still behind her so much. A time where she hadn’t really been used for anything in about 1 and a half years, so when she finally started racking up wins on Tuesday nights there was this feeling that things may be about to improve regarding the Irish Lass Kicker.
Boy things have changed. After fighting and clawing her way up against almost the entire division, Becky finally earned a shot for the title by beating the champ herself. She’d finally done it and not only had she earned a Championship match, but it was at WWE’s second biggest PPV in SummerSlam. Which made matters even more disappointing when Charlotte returned and was immediately presented with the same exact opportunity as Lynch. Ms Flair beat Carmella and the SummerSlam Women’s Championship match was turned into a Triple Threat.
So this is where things get truly confusing in regards to Becky Lynch’s turn to the dark side this past week. WWE did a truly fantastic job of building up the fact that Becky was happy for her friend, yet really pissed her one on one opportunity for the Women’s Championship was now gone. The story told had her fighting and clawing for that opportunity, only for Charlotte to practically stroll in and get the exact same thing.
However Becky wasn’t letting this get the better of her, she held everything in and was even able to successfully team with Charlotte in Tag matches building to the event. The tensions were certainly there, but their friendship seemed perfectly intact. That’s the story really, Becky Lynch had been benched and had to fight for everything. Whilst Charlotte was just given opportunities left and right.
During the match at SummerSlam all you have to do is listen, just listen to the crowd and you’ll see how great WWE had built this up. The fans were really behind Becky, they’d created such a brilliant story resulting in folk getting really behind her. And Becky was winning, she had Carmella dead to rights in an arm bar. Only for Charlotte to come in last minute and hit a Natural Selection and steal the victory.
Once again Becky Lynch’s moment was taken away from her. She’d fought so hard, but Charlotte had just waltzed in and taken her Championship away. The entirety of Becky’s arc over the last year and a half made what she did to Charlotte next feel so deserved, the Irish Lass’ pent up frustration was so believable
And the crowd responded in such a rapturous fashion! A year and a half build of having to fight for her one opportunity, only to have it stolen away at the last minute by her supposed best friend? You can bet your ass the fans were damn ecstatic to see Becky finally snap and refuse to be held down again.
WWE told that story so well, but I now I look at it and wonder… did they even know they were telling it? I mean seriously, if the payoff was Becky turning heel then did they really mean to get the crowd to rally behind her? The commentary during and the video package that followed on SmackDown painted Lynch’s actions as if she was turning on everybody. Like the story they intended to tell wasn’t actually the story they ended up telling.
So Are We In The Wrong if We Cheer?
So are you as a fan in the wrong if you’re cheering like hell for Becky Lynch? No. In fact, you are positively responding to the story that you were presented with. The character arc for Becky was always leading to this snap and when it happened it felt so natural and believable that was hard to not feel invested in it.
However now after SD Live the narrative is that Becky was wrong in attacking Charlotte. In spite of the fact that all of the story building up to SummerSlam said the complete opposite. Do you get what I’m saying? WWE wants us to trust in the story they’re telling, but that story makes no sense. Why would Becky rant at the fans? Especially if a part of the narrative when she beat Carmella to earn the match at SummerSlam was the fact that her support never dwindled?
The story only makes any sense if Becky is delusional, but if anything she’s been presented as somewhat justified in her actions. Even if the commentators and VTR say differently, the actual beats of the story have painted Becky as someone who has every right to be pissed. Then we’re told that she was actually wrong, she wasn’t justified and we should boo. Like… what? If this is true then the story is disjointed and broken.
Which brings me to the other wider narrative of, “There are no faces or heels anymore.” Fine, if that logic was truly being adhered to then why the hell was Becky Lynch ripping into the crowd for not getting behind her? If there’s no good guys, no bad guys, just characters, then Becky Lynch would have ripped off on Charlotte and ended the promo there. But no, the audience needed to have it hammered in that Lynch is a baddie now. So she told off the fans to get those boos.
Yeah that didn’t work. I’ve already said why, it contradicts the story they’ve been telling for months. So when Charlotte came out Becky was still cheered like hell and the champ was booed every time she had the better of the offence. Then out came the entire SmackDown women’s roster. The faces held back the champ and the heels held back Lynch, just in case you didn’t know who the goodie or baddie was.
But you know, there’s no faces or heels anymore. So…
Which brings me towards the end of the column and where things are at now. Last night two interesting things happened. Firstly, WWE ran a poll on their site asking: Did you support Becky Lynch the entire time she was trying to win the SmackDown Women’s title? With options A) Yes I was rooting for her the whole way, or B) Yes, but only until Charlotte Flair got involved. So yeah, just look at the results.
95%! Jesus Christ. I took that screencap at around 9:48am BST, so the poll had been up a while by then. But that tells me WWE are at least aware of how the fans are actually interpreting this story. Which brings me back to a point I made earlier: did WWE even know they were telling the story they were actually telling?
Just look at this tweet from ‘Road Dogg’ Brian G. James.
“That’s not the story you were told… they had to climb the exact same mountain.” This one tweet cements all of my worries regarding this arc, they really didn’t have any idea they were telling the story they actually telling. Apparently it wasn’t ever about Becky’s climb, it was simply her snapping at losing to Charlotte. That’s it. Her build over the Summer was… just…
You know what, this actually cements a worry I’ve had for a while about WWE: Do character arcs actually exist? No, they don’t. In the WWE Universe things happen, if it wasn’t a part of this current story then you should disregard it. Certain stories are longer than others, some stop and are picked up later, but outside of that particualr running narrative nothing is guaranteed cannon.
So why am I watching again? Am I meant to get invested in these characters that don’t develop outside of a three week main arc? That makes no sense. That’s… that’s not exactly a philosophy to rally behind. Doesn’t exactly strike confidence.
So as a fan you’re not wrong to cheer for Becky. And other side, no, people aren’t cheering her to just go against the WWE grain. They told a month long story, then it turns out the only stuff that actually mattered were those told after Charlotte got added to the match in those final weeks. That’s not good storytelling, it’s the definition of disjointed writing.
The bright side is at least WWE were aware enough to run that poll and those results are pretty damming. WWE were telling a great story and had absolutely no idea they were telling it.
Truly marvellous. 10 points to Gryffindor.
Email Imp – email@example.com
Links to Imp’s latest columns:
Imp’s WWE Adventure: SummerSlam and Storytelling over Wrestling
Imp’s WWE Adventure: Lesnar vs Reigns IV: Down As Smooth As A Dog On A Slide
Imp’s NJPW Adventure: NO ROPE EXPLOSIVE BARBED WIRE DEATHMATCH
Imp’s WWE Adventure: My First RAW Since Bobby Lashley’s Sisters
We are currently recruiting new writers with the opportunity of posting here on the Lords of Pain main page. So if you have ever wanted to write here then why not sign up via the picture below and get started today!
80s Wrestling Con takes place on Saturday, October 26th in Freehold, NJ at iPlay America. The event features Ted DiBiase, Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Backlund, Paul Orndorff, Demolition, Brutus Beefcake, and more! For Superstars, Attractions, and Ticket information go to 80sWrestlingCon.com.