Will WWE Be Able to Salvage the Alexa Bliss and Lilly Gimmick on Raw?

Philip LindseyContributor IAugust 24, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

On this week's WWE Raw, Charlotte Flair celebrated her latest women's championship win. Afterward, Alexa Bliss unexpectedly came out to greet her and possibly set herself up as her first challenger.

This isn't a bad idea as the red brand could desperately use some fresh matchups. Flair and Bliss had a memorable match at Survivor Series 2017 where they showcased some real chemistry.

Moreover, these are two of the biggest stars in the brand, so it's a great way to try to get the women's division back on track following an underwhelming few months of television.

However, it's hard to deny that Little Miss Bliss and the introduction of Lilly, a creepy avatar for her supernatural imaginary friend, have been a part of what isn't working. The reception to her newest character development has been mixed at best.

Honestly, her watered-down version of Bray Wyatt's Firefly FunHouse segments isn't nearly as compelling. Unfortunately, this has made many long to see The Eater of Worlds again, and his recent release has caused some of them to reject his former protege.

That's a shame because his current status isn't her fault, but she's also in a tricky situation because her presentation is still steeped in the unique visuals that he created.

This all begs the question, though: Can Bliss make this character work or is it time to repackage her?


Bliss is Flexible Enough to Shine in this Role

It's too soon for Bliss to completely abandon this current persona because some aspects of it do work. The five-time women's champion is such a versatile performer, and she has done a great job adapting her in-ring style, movement and facial expressions to fit the character.

Given her size and background in gymnastics, the 30-year-old can pull off some flashy offense. For those reasons, her strengths as a heel have obstructed her opportunity to grow into the crowd-pleasing performer she could've been by now. It's one of the biggest missed opportunities with her, but it's hard to argue with the reasoning because she's just that alluring as a conniving villain.

The beauty of her current iteration is that it has given her a way to toy with some unorthodox maneuvers and eerie contortionism. Again, it speaks to just how talented Bliss is that she has been able to do so much with something that would have never worked in someone else's hands. This also shows just how committed she is to this act and how much fun she is probably having in the role.

When she started working with Wyatt, she was clearly more motivated than she has been in a while. You can still see that conviction and passion in her most recent segments even when they fall flat. If given the chance, the Columbus, Ohio native could turn this around and do something interesting with it.

Lilly might be just a little too hokey and unbelievable for some viewers, but some fans actually like it. There's nothing wrong with that because wrestling is a variety show. What some find hard to suspend their disbelief at can be moving to someone else.

Still, there has to be an advantageous balance that WWE could strike with Bliss and the use of a prop like Lilly. It hasn't found it yet, but it's possible.


WWE Can't Disguise A Lack of Substance

The biggest difference between Wyatt and Bliss isn't their level of skill. To tell the truth, they're actually more similar than most viewers realise because they're both exceptional talkers.

However, The Man of 1,000 Truths was a genius because he understood how to bring the audience in just enough so that they feel like they're in on the joke.

The Firefly FunHouse shouldn't have worked, but there was just enough self-deprecating humor and intricately woven hints of subversive commentary to hook even the biggest skeptics. On top of that, The Fiend was legitimately menacing and visually appealing in a way that forced us to take him seriously.

Bliss hasn't mastered that same dichotomy, and that's why it's so hard to buy into her version. Furthermore, Wyatt used his alter egos as a way to accentuate his captivating promo work, but it feels like she has regressed in this role. There has to be a way for her to go back to her bread and butter, and she's certainly polished enough to adapt.

It's not fair to compare these two performers in some ways, and we don't want this to come off as an indictment of Bliss' ability to portray her character. However, it's important to recognize what they both bring to the table and why Wyatt excelled at it to honestly assess how WWE can move forward.


The Verdict

WWE can salvage this current situation with Bliss. Judging by her last appearance on Raw, the company seems to want to keep moving forward with her. That was never going to be an issue because it trusts her, and for good reason.

Nevertheless, it's imperative to acknowledge what isn't clicking and allow her to develop beyond some of the constraints around the act. For example, there is just too much Lilly. That doesn't mean the former Raw women's champion should ditch her most coveted possession, but there must be a way to dial it back some and focus on what makes Bliss a star.

Some people will never get past how silly it looks for her to carry around a doll, but fans have supported worse. Let's be honest, professional wrestling is intrinsically illogical. Still, WWE can't tout an era of women's wrestling built around its legitimacy and match quality in one breath and make a possessed doll such a big part of its programming with the other.

That's going to stick out like a sore thumb. Until the company and Bliss figure out how to counteract the disconnect that part of her gimmick creates, the character will struggle. Still, there is enough potential left to justify its existence.