Highlights and Low Points of Becky Lynch's 399-Day WWE Raw Women's Title ReignMay 15, 2020
Highlights and Low Points of Becky Lynch's 399-Day WWE Raw Women's Title Reign
After an incredible 399 days, Becky Lynch wrapped up her historic Raw Women's Championship reign Monday night upon announcing her pregnancy. It was a bittersweet moment for fans of The Man, who has been a focal point of the flagship show for the better part of the past 18 months.
She kicked off her historic run in the main event of WrestleMania 35 when she beat both Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair to claim the title. She dominated the division from that point forward, taking on all comers as her positioning as the top female star never wavered.
However, her time on top wasn't without its hiccups. It can be argued that she never reached same heights of popularity she did prior to WrestleMania last year, which can largely be attributed to how her shtick works better while in chase mode.
Nevertheless, she has left an indelible mark on women's wrestling with what she's been able to achieve in such a relatively short space of time. It's as exciting to envision her comeback as it is to reminisce on the many memories she created while in possession of the belt, both inside and outside the squared circle.
Let's look at the highlights and low points that defined Lynch's lengthy stint as Raw women's champion.
Highlight: Winning the Main Event of WrestleMania 35
Only three women can lay claim to headlining WrestleMania, and Lynch is among them.
Not only did she have the honor of competing in the first all-female main event in WrestleMania history, but she also managed to reign supreme as both the Raw and SmackDown's women's champion.
Her Triple Threat match against Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair was one of the best-built bouts on the show and deserved top billing after all the amazing work they did to get to that point.
Flair played her role well, but Rousey vs. Lynch was the rivalry everyone was raving about on the Road to WrestleMania. The former UFC star's disdain for the audience (who were already in the process of turning on her) combined with The Irish Lass Kicker's insistence on fighting for those fans made for a wonderful dynamic.
While the match wasn't as epic as expected, the visual of the new champion holding both belts high above her head on the stage as the pyro went off behind her will forever be etched into the minds of the WWE Universe.
Lynch pinning the previously undefeated Rousey also established that she was the new face of the women's division, with The Baddest Woman on the Planet bowing out after that.
With the win, Lynch lived up to her moniker as The Man and was poised for big things. She's had far better matches since then, but that unforgettable night arguably marked the peak of her popularity.
Low Point: Lackluster Feuds with Lacey Evans and Natalya
The biggest issue with Lynch winning the Raw Women's Championship in the main event of WrestleMania was that no one else in the division was on Ronda Rousey's level. Thus, once she left WWE, no one felt like a true threat to the new champion's title reign.
That was especially apparent when Lacey Evans stepped up to challenge The Man one night removed from WrestleMania 35.
Although The Sassy Southern Belle had debuted on Raw a few months earlier, this was the first time she had gotten physical on the show. Targeting the new female face of the red brand made her an instant player in the title picture, but the feud never got interesting past the early stages.
Their pay-per-view matches at Money in the Bank and Stomping Grounds were mediocre at best and further exposed the fact that Evans wasn't ready for such a spot. Worse yet, it damaged Lynch's white-hot momentum because she wasn't nearly as compelling of a character without a strong foil.
Her Raw title reign continued to underwhelm when she squared off with Natalya at SummerSlam. Despite not coming off as entirely likable during this period, she was noticeably cheered louder than the second-generation star in her native Canada and still managed to retain the belt.
Both feuds paled in comparison to the outstanding work Lynch had been doing earlier in the year and didn't put her in a position to shine. She needed a credible and compelling character to bring the best out of her again. Thankfully, it wasn't long before that person arrived.
Highlight: Hell in a Cell Clash with Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks wasted no time in making an impact upon returning to WWE on the post-SummerSlam edition of Raw, when she shockingly set her sights on Lynch.
Early on in their respective runs in NXT, the two were the best of friends before becoming the worst of enemies. Their instant classic at TakeOver: Unstoppable in May 2015 left fans wanting more, which is why it was so surprising that it took more than four years for them to feud on the main roster in singles competition.
What made their program so exciting was that they incorporated rumors at the time regarding Banks' hiatus from the company and how she was envious of Lynch's spot into their promos. With fans not knowing where to draw the line between wrestling and reality, every segment promised to be must-see TV.
Their initial encounter at Clash of Champions stole the show but ended in questionable fashion, with Lynch getting disqualified. That paved the way for them to meet inside Hell in a Cell and contest one of the best bouts of 2019.
Banks and Charlotte Flair made history when they stepped inside the structure for the first time three years earlier, but this was a vast improvement. They held nothing back while battering each other with every weapon they could find, and the crowd believed the match could go either way.
The Legit Boss came closer than anyone to beating Lynch for the belt. After months of underwhelming matches on pay-per-view, The Man re-established herself as the best the WWE women's division had to offer with this phenomenal performance.
Low Point: Survivor Series and TLC Disappointments
All things considered, WWE did an excellent job of generating excitement among fans for NXT's involvement in last year's brand-supremacy storyline heading into Survivor Series in November 2019, specifically when it came to the women's matches.
The NXT women's division had never been hotter, and the idea of them mixing it up with the ladies of the main roster was irresistible. With Lynch, Bayley and Shayna Baszler scheduled to wage war in a Triple Threat match, there was virtually no way it could fall short of expectations. Or so it seemed.
Baszler had never before crossed paths with either Lynch or Bayley, so that alone should have made this a worthwhile main event for the pay-per-view. Unfortunately, despite the terrific build, the match was a total bore.
The Queen of Spades won—as she should have—but it was disappointing for them to be given the main event slot and then fail to deliver. Lynch could have redeemed herself when she and Charlotte Flair challenged The Kabuki Warriors for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship in the last match on the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs card a month later, but that matchup was a bust as well.
For whatever reason, The Man lost her stride in the ring around this time and wasn't delivering when it mattered most. It was clear what these losses were leading to, but these matches are best forgotten.
Highlight: Rekindling Her Rivalry with Asuka
Asuka was one of the few women to beat Lynch during her rise to superstardom as The Man, having successfully defended her SmackDown Women's Championship against her at the 2019 Royal Rumble.
A little more than two months later at WrestleMania 35, The Man was headlining the event while The Empress of Tomorrow was positioned on the pre-show.
It was illogical for Asuka to not bring up her victory over Lynch following WrestleMania and instead settle for mediocrity in the tag team ranks. Finally, in the fall of 2019, she rekindled her rivalry with Lynch and challenged her to a title match at the Royal Rumble.
For the first time since capturing the belt, Lynch showed signs of serious doubt that she could beat an opponent. Asuka was the only competitor she had yet to conquer, and until she righted that wrong, she wouldn't consider herself a legitimate champion.
As expected, their encounter at the Rumble was on par with their match from the prior year's installment. Asuka pushed The Man to her limit and gave it a great effort before succumbing to Lynch's devastating armbar.
Effective storytelling combined with above-average wrestling led to Lynch's best moments as Raw women's champion, with this feud being a key example.
Low Point: Underwhelming WrestleMania Match with Shayna Baszler
One year on from winning the Raw Women's Championship, Becky Lynch walked into WrestleMania 36 ready to defend her spot atop the red brand's women's division against an irate Shayna Baszler.
Having already planted the seeds for their feud during Survivor Series season, it was easy for them to pick up where they left off right after the Royal Rumble in January. Baszler's lengthy reign as NXT women's champion had just been ended by Rhea Ripley, and she had long been ready for the main-roster spotlight.
Immediately following a successful title defense against Asuka, Lynch was ambushed by Baszler, who proceeded to bite her neck. That angle set the stage for their rivalry heading into The Show of Shows.
Although their various verbal exchanges were excellent, their 'Mania match wasn't able to live up to the lofty expectations. As a result of not being given much time, the bout never left first gear and concluded before it had a chance to get going.
It should have been the night The Man was dethroned, but WWE was adamant about keeping the title on her for a little longer. While The Queen of Spades lost nothing in defeat, there's no denying that her defeating the woman who sent her friend, Ronda Rousey, packing one year earlier would have made for the ultimate WrestleMania moment.
Lynch relinquishing the title on her terms Monday was also fitting given her dominance over the past year. But under different circumstances, it would have been ideal for her to pass the torch in the same way Rousey did to her.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.