On Sunday the 19th of August Becky Lynch once again saw her chance to win the SmackDown Women’s Title slip through her fingers. This time, it was her best friend Charlotte Flair that stole it from her. Added to Becky’s match with Carmella after returning from injury, Charlotte went on to beat Carmella and take the title for herself. So, Becky Lynch did what she had to do. She punched Charlotte in the face, turning heel as the audience exploded. Not with boos or shouts of sympathy for Flair. No, they roared with joy. In their eyes, they were finally getting to see someone that they loved getting the push that they deserved. It was a genuine moment of emotion from an adoring public.
And yet, it’s opened up a big old can of worms. Because suddenly, we have to discuss whether or not the fans are right to be cheering Becky and her heelish ways. If they’re really fans of Lynch, would they not boo her and show how good a heel she is? That’s the reaction Becky would have wanted. So, why don’t they all sit down, behave and do what they’re supposed to?
That’s the argument Brian ‘Road Dogg’ James has been making on Twitter. He, along with some others, believe that fans cheering Becky proves that they are self-entitled arseholes. In his mind, the crowd are a part of the show. They are supposed to turn up, cheer the faces, boo the heels and on the way out stop to kiss his ass while thanking him for the wonderful hours of entertainment.
Alright, that’s harsh on Road Dogg because I have moaned about overly smarky crowds in the past. I dislike some British wrestling experiences because fans are more interested in getting themselves over than the wrestlers. More than one moment has been ruined by people who are focused on chanting the clever song they came up with rather than paying attention to what’s happening in the ring.
Except, that’s not what happened here. The fan reaction to Becky’s turn was genuine. They were excited to see their favourite finally get her moment. There was nothing smarky about it. It was emotion. And the fact that it elicited that reaction doesn’t show that the fans are wrong. It shows that WWE is.
Because what WWE doesn’t seem to have figured out is that for a lot of wrestling fans, Charlotte isn’t a hero. She’s a good wrestler, but she’s not the person they want to cheer. Charlotte is the tall, blonde and perfectly formed second generation superstar that from the outside looking in has had it easy. While Becky fought tooth and nail to get into that SummerSlam match, Charlotte came back and got the opportunity handed to her straight away. That’s not likeable.
It’s the same problem that WWE has with a certain Mr Roman Reigns. To them, Roman is the hero. Once again he’s tall, good looking and built like a Greek God. They can’t seem to figure out that that’s not what people like. In Vince McMahon and his creative teams’ heads, the world wants a Superman while in reality, we all moved on to the damaged souls of Logan and Batman long ago.
Until WWE figure that out, people like Becky are going to continually be looked over and cast as the bad guy. The same thing has happened with Sami Zayn. For some reason, a wrestler who works hard and gets continually screwed because of their trusting nature isn’t what WWE wants. They want the people who get it right everytime. However, the days of fans accepting that are long gone.
Because WWE made a mistake. They made a mistake by letting one man reach the top despite not being Superman. Daniel Bryan broke through because the fans refused to give up. And now, WWE expects those same fans to get back in their box. They expect them to do what they are told when they have been told explicitly that rebelling against that was what got their favourite to the main event of WrestleMania. Why the hell would we boo Becky Lynch when we want to see her succeed? We’ve all seen the Daniel Bryan video packages, we know how this works now.
So cheer Becky. Cheer her as loud as you can because until WWE figures this shit out, they are going to keep making the same mistake. Wrestling fans are part of the show which brings with it a particular responsibility. You can break or elevate anything that goes on in that ring. So, in fact, I’m going to correct myself. Don’t just cheer Becky. Elevate her. Make her the star that we all know she is, and WWE is going to have to accept she is.