Well, color me interested. Which I imagine to be a soft shade of blue, not too dissimilar to a baby’s nursery, or an unwell Smurf.
You see, going in to last night’s SmackDown Live, I had one major reservation around perhaps the biggest match in recent company history. Namely Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. More particularly, I was worried whether there was enough mileage in this feud to carry us through the next two months.
My primary concern was certainly not with Becky, who we know is wrestling’s hottest commodity right now. But rather the question was whether Ronda could produce enough heat on her end to keep this fire burning through to April.
On Monday we saw the first effort to inject a fresh dynamic into this rivalry, with Stephanie McMahon confronting, suspending and then being beaten down by ‘The Man’. It was unexpected, visceral and highly effective. But as much as I enjoyed the angle, with God as my witness, there’s no way I’m sitting through sixty days of Stephanie McMahon screeching about Becky Lynch.
So again, I wondered, how could this story progress? Well, on SmackDown last night, we got our answer. First a noticeably more heelish Charlotte again interjected herself into the Becky / Ronda mix, once more raising the likelihood of a WrestleMania triple threat. But after she was cut off by a still visibly limping (and clearly trespassing) Lynch, the big guns came out. And there are no bigger guns than those connected to Triple H.
This. Was. Awesome. With little provocation, the WWE COO accused Becky of looking for an excuse to avoid facing off against Rousey, of intentionally getting herself hurt so that she didn’t have to wrestle the Raw Women’s Champion. He harkened back to the Becky led invasion of Raw before Survivor Series, pointing out that it was a suicide mission bound to end in injury.
The parting shot was Triple H’s suggestion that Becky may merely be faking her current knee injury, using it as a cowardly way out of her WrestleMania encounter. For the first time in this entire program, the smug look permanently painted on Becky’s face, the one that she’s carried through every promo to this point, was wiped away. Gone was the arrogance, gone was the pompousness, replaced instead by a hint of doubt – a glimmer of… fear? Maybe?
With no words left in her arsenal, Becky resorted to a common – and always popular – way of ending the conversation. She assaulted a McMahon family member. The only way this could’ve been better is if she’d punched Shane too.
On yesterday’s Raw review, I pointed out that Becky hadn’t yet found her one defining antagonist. That one obstacle who turns her into the generational anti-hero we all want her to be. It’s not Ronda; her promo game isn’t strong enough and she’s reportedly on her way out after WrestleMania. It’s not Stephanie; she can never decide whether she’s a babyface or a heel. Charlotte is compelling as a heel, but many fans have been growing tired of her. But Triple H? That has potential. And this was one of my favorite opening SmackDown segments in a long time.
As you may have guessed, this was another promo heavy edition of our Tuesday night wrestling fix. But I’m totally cool with that. Most of the blue brand’s side of the Elimination Chamber card is set. And when given the choice between great promos to hype up a pay-per-view encounter, or an endless stream of rehashed matches between the same group of competitors, I’ll gladly choose the former.
What else was good though? And where did SmackDown falter? Join our WrestleTalk writers as they share their best and worst moments from last night’s show.