Becky Lynch is the hottest character in the wrestling universe today, something that would have seemed completely impossible as recently as WrestleMania -- when she didn't even appear on the main card of the event.
Her new persona as “The Man” has revitalized her image, while her in-ring work has likewise reached new levels. Claiming Becky as heel seems lazy and to be honest, she sits in no one category; she is whatever she chooses to be in the moment. This refreshing persona can only be compared to the Attitude Era, when nearly every Superstar was a fan favorite. A time where Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H could do no wrong. Back then, as is the case now, honest and raw characters are the ones who thrived.
Throughout her rise, Lynch herself didn’t change much. She simply prioritized achieving her goals before pleasing others, which should be every performer's main objective. This minor, yet significant, tweak has propelled her stardom to unimaginable levels, as Lynch is now must-see TV and a must-follow on social media. The WWE tried to give Lynch traits where she would be jeered, but to the dismay of Vince McMahon, the fans applauded her. Now it seems the creative team has cooled on their forceful ideas and are letting her free form persona drive her instead.
This is how you get superstars over, something that could have easily been done with the Roman Reigns character. Instead, he was force fed to the fan base in a way the belied truth of who he was -- and the fans rebelled. But if it’s this easy to allow a superstar to form their own direction, why isn’t this method a cure-all for each stale gimmick? Let’s explore the Becky Lynch experiment and see how her winning can apply to others.
There are far too many cases of gimmicks gone bad floating around the company, many of which flame out and wind up not being featured on live programming. A Becky-like face lift could do wonders for the likes of Tye Dillinger, Finn Balor or Bobby Roode. Each of those performers reached the summit of popularity in NXT, but unfortunately they have not followed on the same path on the main roster, due to weak story lines or limited shticks. The attitude shifts that have been seen from Shinsuke Nakamura and Drew McIntyre gave their characters new life, but Becky Lynch is the best thing in wrestling because she’s never off. There’s something to be said for The Undertaker seemingly always being in character, even if to some it may seem excessive. There is never any confusion about who 'Taker is, and embodying your character in the public eye sells the gimmick even more in the arena.
Ronnie, TL/DR. When I got my face broke I got up, owned you THEN showed up the next day looking to fight some more. When you got your face broke you hid for a year under your blankie. Your mind is as weak as your jaw, & I’m going to move heaven & earth to come destroy them both.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) November 14, 2018
In an age where fans seek to know what is happening behind the scenes nearly as much as what is on it, social media is paramount. Many Superstars use it properly, but not all thrive in this world. It is how story lines can be built or peeling the layer back to showcase a dose of their real lives. In the case of character development, Twitter and IG should be used accordingly. Fans are always plugged in and a simple reply to an internet troll can catch fire. Lynch’s quick Twitter fingers only rival Jemele Hill’s. She's dropped many zingers on Ronda in the past month and all are better than any diss record that's dropped in 2018. Not to mention, her fan interaction on social media helps expand her character on a broader scale.
We’ve seen movements made by a simple logo being placed on a t-shirt. From Daniel Bryan’s Yes! movement to The New Day’s “Power of Positivity." Slogans and merchandise matter. Most Superstars are excellent in-ring performers, however they've done poorly in the merchandise department, limiting their stardom. A character can go a lot farther when you can see their personas being worn in every arena. Since Lynch began wearing the moniker “I Am The Man” on a shirt, it added to her ever-growing legend. WWE was wise to bet big on the attire making it an official shop.com item. It's only a matter of time before the Smackdown live stands are flooded with fans in Becky gear. The simplicity of their shirt is perfect and seemingly an homage to the "Austin 3:16" classic tee.
Listening to the Audience
Despite not being able to compete at Survivor Series against Rousey, Lynch now has a chance to build on her stardom in ways we hadn't previously seen. In many ways, the unintentional punch of Nia Jax provided yet a further unintentional boost to her persona. Basically, anything she touches takes off. The ambush on Raw gave Becky her "Austin 3:16" moment as I could feel the arena's energy from my couch.
The accolades keep pouring in for "The Man" as she became the first woman to top ESPN's power rankings:
The injury and being pulled from Survivor Series was a blessing in disguise because fans clamored for the champ's return. This resulted in undoubtedly the loudest reaction for a women's superstar ever. The rise of Becky Lynch has many matchbooks suggesting that we'll have the first ever women's main event headlining WrestleMania. The glow up is undeniable as the WWE has caught lightning in a bottle with Becky, and there's no reason other Superstars couldn't follow her example and do the same.
Building the perfect Superstar for 2018 is a lot easier than it is often made out to be. All it takes is a bit of bit of initiative, a vision and the faith to let it play out. WWE bet big on an export from Canada with Bret Hart years ago by following that blueprint, same with Stone Cold and Edge.
Cedric Welton is an aspiring journalist. In addition to creating content for TSFJ, he works part time at the NFL in Next Gen Stats and is a Reporter/Host for Torrance CitiCable's Sports Desk. He is a proud Arizona State Alum and enthusiast of all things WWE and combat sports.
"Character is not determined by what it takes to motivate you, but by what it takes to stop you."
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