This summer’s WWE Draft left Becky Lynch without much of a purpose. A still-developing talent, Becky had spent much of her time on WWE programming working with Sasha Banks and Charlotte as these three ladies, along with Bayley, served as the poster children for WWE’s women’s wrestling revolution. Becky going to SmackDown found her joining a cast of ladies that did not have much of a hand in the aforementioned revolution.
Enter Alexa Bliss.
Lynch’s “Irish Becky Balboa” gimmick implies that she is a white-meat babyface, which is still passable in women’s wrestling considering it still being the embryonic stages of relevancy. Her character was in need of “Negative Nancy,” someone who combines in-ring skill with the melancholic attitude of David Spade’s early-’90s “Gap Girl.”
Alexa Bliss provides that contrast in spades, as evidenced by this past week’s SmackDown Live opening segment. Her rhetoric was fired not with the intent to dent the ego, but with the intent to paralyze it. She was believable as someone who could actually extinguish the fighting spirit of the “Irish Lasskicker.” This unique contrast not only leaves the potential for a career-long rivalry to develop, but also gives Becky Lynch the opportunity to establish her own legacy without needing Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley as wingwomen.
Of all the SmackDown female wrestlers, Alexa Bliss has done the most to distinguish herself from the pack. Not only does she have huge striking eyes that make Amanda Seyfreid’s look like Cheerios (her “Blissed off” face gives me flashbacks of mad ex-girlfriends like I was in ‘Nam), but she has established herself as vicious on the mic. Her verbal barbs directed towards Lynch on Tuesday night made a case for Lynch being the, as she put it, “lovable Superstar that never quite gets it.” One was left at least considering that Becky Lynch may need to re-think this whole wrestling thing.
Alexa Bliss “gets it,” and she is playing her “holier than thou” role brilliantly.
In addition to being money on the mic, Bliss has already established herself of being a dominating act. After being a smiling, bouncy cheerleader when debuting in NXT, she acquiesced into a cocky, male-dominating blowhard as the manager of Blake and Murphy. Altough Blake and Murphy would spend some time as the NXT Tag Team Champions, it was clearly Bliss’ show, as her presence and charisma outshone anything the tag team attempted to do.
Bliss’ attitude is the antithesis of what Becky Lynch represents. Her frequent allusions to her rough upbringing in Ireland implies that she wants to be the living, breathing embodiment of courage and drive overcoming fear disguised as practicality. Although she was frequently left to the side by creative in favor of her fellow Horsewomen Charlotte and Sasha Banks, she has always found a way to remain appealing to the audience through overcoming a series of betrayal from those she trusted to be her ally. Now, she is on her own on Tuesday nights, and this has allowed her to prove that she must be considered as a respected competitor without the ornamental inclusion of her running mates, a notion that reached its climax at Backlash when she became the first SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Being the antithesis of Bliss also has given Lynch the opportunity to shed the image of simply being one of the Four Horsewomen. Every legendary babyface needed an arch nemesis to overcome.
Dusty Rhodes needed Ric Flair (as did Ricky Steamboat, Sting, and countless others).
Hulk Hogan needed Roddy Piper.
Steve Austin needed Vince McMahon.
Lynch may have found her Lex Luthor in Alexa Bliss, someone whose complete lack of redeeming kayfabe personal qualities will allow Lynch’s fighting spirit to be embraced more than it already has.
Both Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch separated themselves from the rest of the SmackDown female pack during the opening segment on Tuesday Night. This was a necessary turn of events, as SmackDown female roster was, for weeks, thrown together in its own congested segment. These crowded segments did not allow one single female competitor to siege an opportunity to separate herself. That separation has occurred, and Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss are the clear choices to have SmackDown’s women’s division have similar respect as Raw’s.