Shayna Baszler Can Fill the Ronda Rousey Void After Unforgettable WWE Raw Debut

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2020

WWE

The road to WrestleMania has already had some unforgettable moments, especially with the return of Edge and the ascent of Drew McIntyre. 

And the women's division just got something equally as important and memorable, if not more so. 

On Monday's WWE Raw, Shayna Baszler pulled off a wicked, bloody attack on Becky Lynch, biting the champion's neck in a post-match segment. 

That image of The Queen of Spades alone—bloody mouth and all—is going to end up iconic. 

In the infancy stages of the aftermath, WWE has trailblazed something special here. Just like that, Lynch has an unorthodox challenger, one we could say is wild enough to even step in the ring and potentially end her dominant reign. 

Fans could sit back and overanalyze this with jabs like "when has Baszler ever bitten anyone" and other takes, but wrestling is fun and this had shock value. It's unforgettable, and if Lynch plays it up right (she already did the same night), everyone wins. 

Think about the alternative: Baszler comes out and attacks Lynch, maybe chokes her out. That's cool, but it's not overly memorable. It's just an attack like fans have seen a million times over. It does well enough to set up the feud, but it doesn't move the needle like this bloody affair did. 

Now it's personal. Lynch can't ignore this, she can't laugh it off or get distracted by somebody else. This is a main event threat who just wounded her, as silly as it might sound to say. The threat of it happening again, the limits it will push in her character to fight back and be just as vicious could make for a classic feud. 

And let's throw the negative side a bone here: This could absolutely be seen as an indictment on the Raw women's division right now. With Asuka conquered, there doesn't seem to be a serious threat to Lynch. And the same goes for Charlotte Flair, to the point where the two biggest names on the Raw roster for the women needed NXT call-ups to feud with for the year's biggest event. 

To be fair, it sure beats the tar out of seeing another Lynch-Flair duel. WWE at least found a way around that tired retread. And one has to wonder just how much the All Elite Wrestling factor played a role here—Lynch and or Flair possibly showing up on NXT would drive some serious ratings against the competition on Wednesday nights. 

If it's all in the interest of putting on the best possible feud and the best possible match while also working to elevate Baszler, it's hard to complain about the bloody beginning. And the former UFC fighter won't go forgotten or not considered a threat by any casual fan now, right? 

The Baszler elevation seems to make it pretty clear WWE won't have a Ronda Rousey-type presence for WrestleMania 36, either (and if it turns out it does, even better). Who better to step in than the brutally violent Baszler, who used her big stage Monday night to escalate things in a way that actually made viewers uncomfortable? 

And unlike Rousey, there won't be any cringey promos. As incredible as she was in her brief run with WWE in the ring, she was problematic on the mic and it took away from the feuds a bit. Baszler won't come close to having this problem—what more is there to say after taking a bite out of an opponent? Time to fight. 

The Baszler factor is also great for the long-term prospects of the division. With Rousey in this slot, there would be a chance she runs off again at some point, leaving Lynch to fend for herself at the top of the division with nothing to work with. The Queen of Spades isn't going anywhere, so it's good she had such a dynamic, memorable Raw "debut."

And on the Lynch front, if her act was getting tired with a portion of the fanbase, Rousey returning might not have done much to fix it. But suffering an attack like this at the hands of a newcomer who is clearly of the same threat level, which drives The Man's character development, is a good way to keep her fresh at the top of the division. 

Who walks out of 'Mania on April 5 with the strap? Maybe it isn't worth worrying about so soon, but it really feels up in the air right now. That was the point of the attack—Baszler is here, dangerous, is something unlike Lynch has dealt with and presents a serious star-making opportunity for a promotion and division in dire need of a new face. 

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