Becky Lynch's Return Is the Only Way to Save WWE Raw Women's DivisionApril 14, 2021
Becky Lynch generated buzz over WrestleMania weekend when she sent a tweet that suggested she may make her return during Saturday's show.
Speculation ran wild as everyone from trusted wrestling journalists to fans watching at home anticipated some sort of appearance by the former Raw women's champion.
It never happened, though, and The Man hit us all with a "just kidding" in the latest evidence of wrestlers being able to work the eager and anticipatory fans.
What was a bit of fun on the part of Lynch was further evidence that she still carries the star power few do and an ability to captivate an audience with just the click of a button.
It was also proof that the Raw women's division, hampered by lackluster booking and an over-reliance on the same one star, desperately needs her back in the fold.
WWE spent the last year completely underserving Asuka in her role as Raw women's champion. One of the best wrestlers of her generation, she was left to move from feud to feud, with her character constantly being underwritten.
She was without motivation and never fully in the spotlight, and the result was a lengthy reign without any definitive feuds to speak of.
The arrival of Rhea Ripley, which should have been a jolt for the division, was more of the same as The Nightmare merely popped up on television and issued a challenge ahead of WrestleMania 37.
There was no heat to her feud with The Empress of Tomorrow, and it showed Sunday when two of the most talented women in WWE took to The Grandest Stage of Them All to a decidedly disappointing reaction from fans.
When creative is mediocre, the value of a star cannot be understated.
The energy and swagger Lynch brings to the fold can make up for the greatest creative slumps, thanks in large part to the excitement and, sometimes, the controversy she creates.
A character that has not quite found itself on the main stage, such as Ripley, or one beaten into the ground by creative headscratchers, like Asuka, can suddenly be jolted to life by the presence of a fresh face or returning headliner.
That Lynch has succeeded at the highest levels and knows how to rescue even the most mundane story would only further enhance her value to the Raw women's division. Beyond that, her star power would lend considerable credibility to those around her.
Look at just how red-hot Asuka was after The Man revealed she had won the Raw women's title by way of her victory at Money in the Bank in May 2020. Imagine what sparring with Lynch would do to boost Ripley's star for a Raw audience that may not be completely familiar with her accomplishments in NXT.
Even WWE women's tag team champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler could rediscover their killer edge by rekindling rivalries with Lynch. The Queen of Spades, in particular, was a much more effective and threatening heel when she worked with The Man last year, thanks in large part to Lynch's ability to convincingly play the serious badass.
Lynch is the sort of character who can be utilized to make everyone around her better. Considering how subpar the creative has been since her departure last spring, WWE's flagship show would benefit by having her back in the fold, enhancing established stars while helping to legitimize those of the future.
Overreliance on Charlotte Flair
Just 24 hours after what should have been Ripley's defining moment at WrestleMania, WWE did not celebrate by spotlighting the young Aussie. Instead, it reintroduced Charlotte Flair to the fold, having her cut a scathing promo and then attack Asuka and The Nightmare.
It was more of the same repetitive storytelling with Flair immediately jumping back into the title picture on Monday nights.
Yes, The Queen is a major star, but WWE's constant reliance on her in those big spots can be attributed to the lack of others of her caliber on the show. With Lynch in that role in 2019, WWE eased off the Flair overexposure.
For whatever reason, the creative team has struggled mightily to focus on anyone else when Flair is at the center of a storyline. There may be intentions to elevate others based on working with her but unlike Lynch, it never quite happens.
And it likely won't, either.
On the first night of Ripley's reign, we saw the writing team book Flair's return and The Queen immediately overshadowed both the new and former champions. What the Australian really needed was Lynch to walk out on stage and stake her claim to the title she never really lost.
A short-term, one-week overshadowing of Ripley's championship debut would have been forgivable because Lynch would bring an intensity and attitude to the program that others cannot. It is what endeared the audience to her in the first place and made feuds with Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, and Asuka so damn good in the first place.
A look into the future suggests Ripley will benefit most from a battle with Lynch, if only because WWE has already demonstrated its hesitancy to put her over Flair.
None of it is through any fault of Flair herself. She is a transcendent worker and one of the best in the industry. She has been for a long time. But WWE's reliance on her, and its overprotective booking of that particular character does not lend itself to the long-term success of the division in a way that Lynch, whose character has elevated others, does.
It is for that reason the Raw brand needs The Man back sooner than later if it hopes to rejuvenate a women's division brimming with talent but lacking a spark.