Becky Lynch's SummerSlam return was reportedly the start of a heel turn conceived by The Man herself.
According to F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), Lynch requested to be booked as a heel, which explains her quick defeat of Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women's Championship on Saturday.
Lynch had not made an appearance on WWE programming since May 2020, which is when she announced she was pregnant and relinquished the Raw Women's Championship to Asuka.
At the time, Lynch was one of WWE's top babyfaces and had held the Raw women's title uninterrupted for over a year.
Belair was originally supposed to defend the SmackDown Women's Championship against Sasha Banks at SummerSlam, but just before the match was about to start, it was announced that Banks was unable to compete.
Carmella was revealed as Banks' replacement, much to the chagrin of the live audience at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, but Lynch's music hit to a thunderous ovation just before that match started.
Lynch took out Carmella and challenged Belair, who accepted. Becky put out her hand and Belair went for the shake, but The Man took a cheap shot and then beat Bianca with a Manhandle Slam in a matter of seconds.
That led to a great deal of complaining and second-guessing among fans on social media who felt as though Belair had been wronged by WWE's decision-makers.
If the goal was to establish Lynch as a heel, however, SummerSlam was a good start. WWE also effectively garnered additional babyface sympathy for Belair since the narrative is that she was disrespected by the creative team.
Lynch playing a heel will be tough since she is one of the most over people in the wrestling business, but it was a heel turn that made her such a big star in the first place.
Her babyface run from WrestleMania 35 until she relinquished the Raw Women's title last year left plenty to be desired, and a heel turn could be just what the doctor ordered in terms of re-establishing her "The Man" persona.
Belair also has a chance to become an even bigger star as a babyface against a heel the caliber of Lynch, especially if she beats her to win back her title.
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