Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey was to be, for many WWE fans, the main event of Survivor Series. Ronda is the shiny new toy, who is improving every week, and Becky is on a hot-streak we haven’t seen since Daniel Bryan’s 2014 run. Becky was going to be Ronda’s first legitimate challenger, in a battle of the arm bars — The two strongest characters in modern women’s wrestling.
Yeah, it’s not happening.
During a brawl between the Smackdown and Raw locker rooms on Monday, Becky received a stiff (real) forearm to the face that shattered her nose into a bloody pulp. According to WWE, Becky has a “broken face” (which always makes me think of that Pixies song) and won’t be able to compete on Sunday.
Less reliable sources have reported a potential concussion, and WWE are known to keep those below the media radar where possible, so those rumours could be truemours.
The perpetrator was Nia Jax, a wrestler with three and a half years experience who is cousin to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She struck Becky with a real forearm smash, not at all pulling her strike.
“Don’t really hurt your opponent” is one of the basics of professional wrestling — Everyone else is your dancing partner, and without people to dance with, you’re just an insane person swinging your fists in front of 10,000 people.
Nia has developed somewhat of a reputation over the last few years, as the list of people she has legitimate injured mounts up. While she’s a grown woman, who is as capable of learning a craft as much as her colleagues, I’m not entirely sure it’s all her fault.
You see, Vince McMahon has an obsession with big things. He likes them big. Big men, big women; The bigger the better.
Due to this size fetish, he tends to put larger people on his live TV shows before they’ve completed training or gained enough experience. This happened with Big Show and Mark Henry, two super-heavyweights who debuted on WWE television the moment they were signed.
After a terrible couple of years for both men, they were sent back to one of WWE’s developmental territories, which in modern terms is their performance-center brand, NXT. They came back competent workers, and each found their own success, with Big Show becoming the most iconic giant for an entire generation.
Nia’s career has been rushed in a similar fashion, and she’s making the same mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes hurt people, which subsequently hurts the story. But sometimes they’re just basic errors that take audiences out of the body on body narrative that’s being told.
On occasion, a bigger wrestler can have very little training and learn on the job. Braun Strowman is an example of McMahon’s “big guy on TV now” rule working out. He learned fast and improved with each week, to the point where he’s almost unrecognisable when compared to his debut, three years ago.
Given that Nia was promoted a year after Strowman’s rapid rise, we can see why Vince thought he could do the same for the women’s division. He was looking to create a powerhouse, who would provide some depth and variety to his bantamweight-esq division.
It’s clear that Nia isn’t a Strowman, but that’s okay, she might be a Big Show — Someone who needs to revisit their training in order to be the best they can be for themselves and the company.
The list of women she has injured is alarming, given that Charlotte, Alexa and Becky are women WWE have pushed who have been injured by Nia during a hot-streak. These injuries all appear to have been written up as accidents by management, as Nia continues to receive storyline opportunities.
To be clear, I do think they are accidents, I don’t think Nia is trying to hurt these women on purpose in some Hulk Hogan-level politicking antics. Although, they do both use the leg-drop as a finishing move…
But accidents can happen too frequently in the world of wrestling, and WWE needs to ask themselves how many more storylines are worth ruining for the sake of having a heavyweight in the women’s division.
Nia is about to enter into another feud with Ronda Rousey, the chief active ticket-seller of the company right now, besides Brock Lesnar. If Nia hurts their money-maker, then WWE may take a serious look at her competencies, but until then I imagine they’ll continue to bury their billionaire heads in the sand.
Becky Lynch is on the hottest streak of her career, and of the entire year for the company at large. The most anticipated match of her run has been postponed, and maybe it’ll now be at WrestleMania, and it’ll all work out for the best.
It’s hard not to be mad at Nia for making a basic, rookie-level mistake, especially one that effects a wrestler so close to everyone’s hearts at the moment. I’ve suppressed my anger at the situation, but I’ve also seen vicious personal attacks aimed at Nia via social media.
These, obviously, aren’t warranted. You can criticise her performance as a professional in the public sphere, and analyse her effect on the industry, but the personal attacks are entirely uncalled for.
She may not be at the same skill level as her colleagues, but personal attacks only devalue the argument that she’s an unsafe worker who needs more training.
Nia got into the business at the age of 32, so it wasn’t her first-love as it is for many of the performers. However, there should be no shame in going back to training at age 36, especially when you started so late in life.
Six months at the Performance Center can only be a positive for everyone involved. It gives audiences a break from her character, and 90% of the audience would give her a second chance if she returned after a known period of training. She’ll hopefully no longer be injuring top stars, meaning that company-wide storylines won’t be effected either.
Mistakes happen in wrestling, absolutely, but trends and patterns also form. Wrestling is a learned, performed skill and even veterans with 20+ years experience can make mistakes. It could be that this is all a coincidence, but isn’t it better to help someone who clearly needs it, regardless of blame? Instead of just hoping that it won’t happen again.
I suppose with WWE, ignorance is Bliss.
Today is Wednesday, November 14th and WordPress has a Medium-like layout now and that’s cool.