I know it’s way too early to be talking about this, but I’m thinking about it now so here we go. We’re on the Road to WrestleMania and despite the developments that took place on the February 11 episode of RAW I fully expect Becky to be in and win the main event at WrestleMania 35. And while I think we’re in for a fun ride to that show and that match, I can’t help but be reminded of WrestleMania 30 and how that show ended what was a great story arc for Daniel Bryan. Over at my old site I posed a challenge to Bryan’s biggest fans to keep the momentum going that led to his victory and prove that he was truly viable as a top guy in the WWE. I won’t do that here because I don’t think that will be an issue in the immediate aftermath, but long term I do see some similarities between the two and their situations. Bryan’s post WrestleMania career was unfortunately cut short due to injury so we never saw how that whole thing would have played out but we will get to see it with Becky. And that poses a couple of questions I have in regards to what happens next after her big day comes to fruition.
Can she work as the favorite?
I don’t mean the fan favorite here, that’s obviously taken care of. What I mean is that come the day after WrestleMania she will likely have defeated Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair, and will be holding the RAW Women’s Championship. After all of that, it’s going to be kinda difficult to play the underdog. I mean, good luck saying that you’re held back from achieving your dreams when you’re staring across the ring not at Charlotte Flair but someone like Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, even Mickie James or Alexa Bliss. Becky’s rise has been very dependent on who she was facing off against – the so called favorites of ownership Charlotte and Ronda. The big picture reality is that those are literally the only women in the whole company who are on superior footing to her as she’s been pretty consistently treated as well or better than anyone else. We already saw how her twitter exchanges with Asuka didn’t come off the same way as against Ronda – she looked a lot more desperate against someone who wasn’t as eager to play along, and she didn’t get the same effect.
What Charlotte, Ronda, and also Nia Jax have in common is that that none of them worked in the indies first or in Japan or endured years in the doldrums of the Divas era. Most of the other women there did follow some form of that path and the ones who didn’t (like Logan, Liv Morgan, Bliss) aren’t exactly going to be favored in a match with Lynch. Of all the Four Horsewomen she has the least adaptable character – Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Bayley can all play against anyone using the same persona they always do but Becky’s pugnacious fighter taking on the privileged may not work as well against anyone who is not a perceived chosen one. I mean what exactly could she say to Bayley that wouldn’t look like bullying? Could she honestly tell someone like Naomi or Carmella, both who have to scratch and claw and prove they were legit, that they’ve benefitted from favorable treatment and are trying to take something from her?
I can think of a few opponents that would serve the purpose she needs to maintain the image she’s currently embodying. Nikki Bella would be one in that she can play the ‘got something because of who she is’ role but that of course brings with it the risk that Bella Army will continue to support their favorite and dull some of the effect. Shayna Baszler’s mean and evil style would be good for garnering sympathy should she be allowed to get some real heat by attacking Lynch and getting the better of her. A physically imposing figure like Rhea Ripley would suffice here as well. But unless they’re going to milk things with Charlotte for a few more months after WrestleMania then they’re going to have to get creative here to keep her in the right light. That is, unless she’s able to adapt her character and play the favorite, the dominant figure who still gets cheered. That’s a pretty tall order in 2019 though; just ask Roman Reigns and John Cena and yes, Charlotte Flair. Hell, even AJ Styles had people getting bored with his title reign last year because he didn’t take a hotshot title loss halfway through. Things can change really fast in this business.
Can she survive some losses?
At some point after you achieve top tier status, it has to be put to use to help other people. Roman spent much of 2017 doing the favor to Braun Strowman (and did it at various other points for Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, the Miz, the Revival, and Finn Balor. John Cena has done the honors for Styles, Balor, Reigns, and others. Sasha and Bayley did it for Asuka. And for the past six months Charlotte has done that for Asuka and Becky. Sooner or later Becky is going to have to do the favor for someone be it a new call up from NXT or someone who’s been there for a while. But she already did that for Asuka! That was one match, and she won the Royal Rumble the same night. Sooner or later she’s gonna have to go out like Reigns did against Strowman or Charlotte did for Carmella last year, in a loss with no immediate redemption. And she’ll have to do it several times not just once. And that’s not even counting when Charlotte and Ronda will get their wins back later on. When that stretch comes, will her new fans stick with her or give up, with the excuse that evil Vince is cooling her off on purpose?
Speaking as a Roman Reigns fan, if you’re a newer fan of hers you better get some thick skin so that when her time comes to do the honors you can endure it. She’s been booked stronger over the last five months than anyone in recent memory. Even Braun in the middle of ragdolling Roman had to take a clean loss to Brock Lesnar that will likely never be avenged. Roman has never gotten this kind of treatment, although judging by the complaints you would think he did. Hell, even when Charlotte had her big run in 2016 she was trading title wins with Sasha Banks (and wasn’t protected in her losses the way she and Becky were at TLC last December) and won a lot of matches that year by cheating. Becky has been beating people clean this entire time, and when she did take one clean loss she won the Rumble the same night. At some point that kind of booking for her will come to an end, it won’t be because Vince is ‘punishing her for getting over’, and if she can’t maintain her level of support through it then this thing was never as real as some of y’all said it was.
In conclusion, I know this may feel like some real Debbie Downer-ism here. If I were one of her big, newer fans I wouldn’t think about all this right now. She’s on her way to her big day and you should enjoy the hell out of it. But for people like me who like to look at the bigger picture sometimes while things are still in motion, this kind of thing interests me. Because building someone up to the one huge moment has happened several times but what comes after that moment is what determines just what kind of career you’ll have. Becky has done remarkably well these past few months, but she’s going to have an equally big task ahead of her after the confetti finishes dropping at WrestleMania 35 and it’s time to move on. I have no prediction on how that will go, but it will be fun to see how it plays out.