X

Why WWE Must Keep the Seth Rollins-Becky Lynch Engagement off Raw

Kevin Wong@@kevinjameswongFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2019

Credit: WWE.com

On August 22, Becky Lynch announced on social media she was engaged to Seth Rollins. That's great news for the happy couple, but let's hope we never (or rarely) hear about it on WWE media moving forward.

The company has tried this before. The Lynch-Rollins relationship drove the narrative around the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in July. Both were then-world champions, and Lacey Evans and Baron Corbin challenged the couple to a mixed tag "Winner Take All" match with both titles on the line.

As a general rule, romantic angles work best with heel wrestlers. It's easy to play up public displays of affection and leverage the relationship in a way that's "too" cutesy or "too" overt.

When a heel has an attractive woman in his corner, it engenders feelings of jealousy and resentment that somehow, despite all his antisocial behavior and cheating, he still managed to luck out. It's why The Miz and Maryse used to make out at the top of the ramp during their entrance; they threw what they had, and many others didn't, in the audience's face.

The most famous babyface wrestling couple, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, was only possible because the former was a heel first and framed as a possessive, jealous suitor. The audience's sympathy always lay with his partner.ย 

And that's exactly why a babyface couple is such a risky propositionโ€”it takes away from both wrestlers' relatability.

There's only two ways that the babyface romantic angle can work: if the coupling is presented as a platonic ideal (Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae) or as an odd mismatch that can be mined for comedy (Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella).

Even those angles are unreliable, though. The line between sincere and annoyingly, heelishly sincere is razor thin. It's probably why Lynch was against using her love life as narrative fodder, as she explained in an interview with TalkSport:

"What I didn't want was everybody talking about the relationship. What I wanted was two badasses, two people at the top of their game fighting side-by-side. Not for the world to be reminded every five minutes that this is Becky Lynch's boyfriend or that's Seth Rollins' girlfriend. Which, of course, they didn't do. They were the masters of subtlety."

Rollins and Lynch's characters don't lend themselves to partnerships. The universal champion's current persona was created as an anti-Shield alternativeโ€”a "burn it down" edict to anyone who tried to tell him what to do. And Lynch is The Man, a rebel who doesn't need anyone, least of all a man, to help her out of a jam.

The line between kayfabe and reality is increasingly blurred. But just because the audience knows something is true, does not mean that it has to be openly acknowledged on screen. And in this instance, Lynch and Rollins' relationship is best kept private, for the good of their personas and the show's quality.