Becky Lynch made her return to WWE last night WWE Summerslam. The Irish superstar came out as a surprise opponent for Bianca Belair, who was supposed to defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks. Unfortunately, Banks was unable to compete (which WWE knew for weeks and still advertised) at Summerslam, so Lynch came out to take her place. Becky Lynch defeated Belair in a short match to become the new Women’s Champion in her triumphant return from maternity leave.
Wow, sounds great, right? Becky Lynch return, new Women’s Champion, everybody goes home happy? Not quite. Nobody is thrilled with this. People were thrilled when Becky Lynch returned in a surprise turn of events. They’ve been clamouring to see one of the biggest stars in WWE, who’s been away for almost a year due to giving birth. But the way she returned and stamped her authority onto the women’s division on Smackdown was nothing short of disastrous.
Becky Lynch Return
Becky Lynch made he return at Summerslam, but the presentation of the return was disastrous.
Bianca Belair made her entrance to Summerslam, clutching her Smackdown Women’s Champion. She looks ready for a fight, and looks like a real star. She is staring down the entrance ramp, waiting for Sasha Banks to make her entrance. The video package actually got me pretty hyped for this match, despite knowing that is was never going to happen.
Then, WWE decide to break the news very simply. Greg Hamilton, the ring announcer, simply tells the crowd:
“Ladies and Gentleman, Sasha Banks is unable to compete this evening”.
Really? That’s it. WWE have known this match wasn’t taking place for the past 2 weeks. Whether it’s COVID, or an injury, or whatever. Its incredible dishonest to continue to advertise a match that you know wont be taking place. If they had a plan for an angle to take Sasha out of the match or something vaguely interesting then it would be fine, but this? Disgusting business practice and frankly very poor creative.
“Therefore, Biance Belair will defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against… The Most Beautiful Woman in all of WWE – Carmella!”
I know what WWE are doing. Bring out the wrestler that nobody wants to see wrestling in this match, so the eventual Becky Lynch return will be even bigger. However, doesn’t this just really over complicate things? As CM Punk said in his AEW Rampage media scrum, WWE creative are always “stepping over each others dicks”. They never go for the simple option, everything is always over complicated and contrived to the point where you just don’t care anymore.
Carmella takes an age getting to the ring, sucking the excitement out of the fans who came to see Banks vs Belair. Belair cuts a short promo before the match reminding fans that she still needs to fight Banks in the future, but not tonight as advertised.
Then Becky Lynch’s music hits, and Michael Cole has an aneurysm.
Michael Cole Ruins Everything
“What! Wait a minute. No no no no no no no no. It can’t be! One of the biggest stars on the planet! The man is back! Becky Lynch is here! Goosebumps” Michael Cole screamed, trying his best to ruin the moment.
Becky gets into the ring, and immediately throws Carmella out. She then gets on the mic and challenges Biance Belair to a match for a her Championship. Now Bianca, as soon as Becky’s music hit, was smiling from ear to ear, dancing about the ring, happy to see her back.
Wrong. Bianca is a moron. This woman is clearly coming to take her championship. Why would you be happy about it? Bianca is one of the few women with a serviceable character in WWE, so why is she suddenly just happy to be here and happy to see Becky Lynch return?
Becky Lynch offers to shake Bianca’s hand, before cheap shotting her in the mouth. She then hits her with a “Manhandle Slam” and pins her. Becky Lynch has won the Smackdown Women’s Championship. With two moves. In about 12 seconds.
Fans came to this arena to see Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair in a grudge match. Banks was the veteran of the women’s divsion, using all her tricks to try and beat Belair. Bianca Belair is the star, one to carry WWE into the future. She hasn’t long been on the main roster and is a wrestler to build the Smackdown’s women division upon.
This is not how you build the new star. In the slightest.
What Went Wrong?
In the words of Jon Moxkey on Talk is Jericho – “They Ruin Everything!”
WWE never do anything simply. The 47 writers backstage all report to one man, and that one man has simply lost touch with his audience. WWE booking does not make an ounce of sense, except for creating “moments”
The “Moment” was Becky Lynch returning and defeating Bianca Belair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. The pop, the manhandle slam and the pinfall will be what plays in video packages for years to come. WWE don’t care about building stars or cohesive storytelling or making enjoyable, fun to watch programming. They simply want moments to put in video packages, to make people buy the WWE network for that month.
Which is fine. Clearly it’s going well for them. But creatively, they are a baron wasteland. Nothing about Becky Lynch’s return was creative. Which was fine if they wanted to go for the simple, obvious thing that people wanted. Don’t bring out Carmella, just have Becky Lynch return and fight Bianca. But don’t make it go thirty seconds. If Becky Lynch can’t wrestle a whole match for longer than 30 seconds, DONT BOOK THE MATCH.
You could say that WWE brought out Carmella to deflate the crowd, so the Becky Lynch return pop was event bigger. But, the crowd were already deflated. They all came to see Sasha Banks, who WWE falsely advertised and pulled from the show about 4 seconds before the match. Fans were already dissapointed, and bringing our Carmella doesn’t make them more disappointed, it just pisses them off even more.
In those 5 minutes between Carmella being announced and Lynch challenging Belair, fans had accepted 3 different women’s matches in their mind. That’s ridiculous. How can you care about a match that you had a completely different idea of what’s happening in your mind 2 minutes earlier, and again 2 minutes prior to that? It’s just a meaningless WWE swerve for the sake of one, because WWE don’t understand how to book a good show anymore.
Comparison to the CM Punk debut
CM Punk debuted at AEW Rampage on Friday. Of course, not even Becky Lynch coming back could compare to Punk’s 7 year hiatus. That pop was ridiculous. The loudest pop I’ve every heard in wrestling since I started watching.
After the fans stopped cheering (well enough for Punk to get a word in) what’s the first thing Punk did? He mentioned Britt Baker. Then later he put over Darby Allin and challenged him to a match. He put over the younger talent, and made you more excited to see what he’s going to do with them.
Who do we want to see Becky face? Right now, nobody. Who really cares when she just beat the champ in about 12 seconds. It’s absurd how badly they fucked up the Women’s title at Summerslam.
In Punk’s debut, the commentary team fell silent. They let the crowd speak for themselves, and let everyone at home take in the moment. In WWE?
” What! Wait a minute. No no no no no no no no. It can’t be! One of the biggest stars on the planet! The man is back! Becky Lynch is here! Goosebumps”
That’s all I have to say.