Becky Lynch shocked the world when she returned to WWE and became the new SmackDown Women’s champion. The return came at August 21’s SummerSlam and the title win came after Lynch disposed of Bianca Belair with just two moves.
WWE fans knew that The Man would come around eventually. But they perhaps couldn’t guess that she would come back in such a controversial fashion. Now that it seems Lynch is turning heel, does this mean the company is closing the book on The Man gimmick?
Lynch Rages Against The Machine
The idea of Lynch turning heel at this point seems more than unlikely. After all, Becky was once the hottest star in WWE and that was thanks to The Man gimmick. She was tough, she was rebellious and as a result, she was over. Fans instantly responded to her change in attitude and it worked for her on every level.
The anti-authority persona schtick typically does work, depending on who runs with it. Perhaps the best example of all time is Stone Cold Steve Austin of course, but there have been others. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were also mavericks in storyline, as both men pushed back against those in power that sought to bring them down.
But Becky was arguably the first woman to ever wear such a gimmick and do it so successfully. Everything she did got over and fans just couldn’t get enough of her. But while the gimmick itself had a lot to do with her popularity, so did the origin of that gimmick.
The fact is that no one told Becky Lynch to change her personality. No one told her to rebel and no one suggested that she become The Man. Lynch did this on her own, with no direction and little support from the company that she loved. Becky made her own way and once she committed to it, she made an undeniable impact on WWE.
Becky got herself over and had she not done so, WWE would perhaps have never tried to do it at all. She was a fighter, a brawler, and a killer between the ropes. Her legend grew as time went on and she reached a main event status usually reserved for male stars in WWE.
Lynch also provided a voice for fans who had grown tired of Charlotte Flair’s continued dominance in the women’s division. Becky was always the underdog and she was always being pushed under The Queen. No one could get over on Charlotte and it seemed as though Lynch would always play catch-up to her.
So now the same woman who jumpstarted her own career, beat Charlotte and Ronda Rousey in the same night to become a double champion, is apparently going heel. Lynch’s lighting fast win over Bianca Belair at SummerSlam reeks of ego. That’s due to Lynch making it known that she wanted to have a great match with Belair. 26 seconds later, the match was over.
If Lynch is indeed turning on the fans, then she is now no longer the rebel. What made her special as The Man is being traded in for a heel run that may see her become the most hated woman in WWE. But does that mean she will become more hated than Charlotte? Is that even possible?
The Man And The Fans
Perhaps the only way that it could happen is if Lynch joins real life boyfriend Seth Rollins in the storyline. Seth is arguably the best heel in WWE today and fans love to hate him for it. It’s hard to believe that Lynch could operate in Seth’s environment without becoming just as reviled. But will it work?
Therein lays a point that WWE is perhaps not considering. The company wanted Lynch to become a heel when The Man gimmick first began. The problem is that every time Becky appeared, she was cheered. No matter how much she tried to wear the black hat, the WWE faithful were not having it. They wanted to cheer for her and so they did. They did it so much that the company eventually had to turn her back to a babyface. The crowd demanded that she not be a heel. So WWE moved in another direction and Becky Lynch became The Man.
But if she is indeed a heel now, then all of that is over. She may become a fantastic antagonist, on par with Roman Reigns. Becky could be the most despicable human that fans have ever seen and then go on to do the best work of her career. Maybe it’s all uphill from here.
But if not, then the question of why she changed, must be asked. Did WWE pour cold water onto what was once a white hot gimmick? If so, then why? Why not just restart Becky and begin her journey from the ground up to the top?
It’s still extremely early in the process to truly understand what WWE’s plans are for Becky Lynch. But what cannot be denied is that The Man gimmick was a revelation and a new lease on life for Becky Lynch creatively. Whether or not this new heel gimmick will work just as well, remans to be seen.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live