WWE kicked off 2019 with a pre-taped episode of SmackDown Live on Tuesday night, where John Cena made his return to television. As has become common for him in recent times, Cena broke the fourth wall, and acknowledged he already knew someone would come down to the ring. In case you missed it, someone did come out and answer the call. It was Becky Lynch.
The former SmackDown Women’s Champion confidently claimed, “It’s time for someone new to step up, step in and fill your shoes, and there’s only one person for that job and I think these people would agree with me that that person is me.”
No one imagined they would see the day this time last year. Becky Lynch has made a complete 180 in her career, and the segment with Cena only goes to show how much WWE trusts her now. They don’t put just anyone in the ring to one up Cena, so clearly Becky is primed for a run this year.
This should alleviate any worries of a step backward with her after she dropped the title a few weeks ago. “The Man” is still an integral part of SmackDown and there could be no bigger segment to drive that point home.
It’s also the first time in recent memory a woman wasn’t just crammed into an obligatory “women’s” segment. Lynch stood toe-to-toe with a man, which says a lot for a company that is an opponent to intergender wrestling. And not just any man, John Cena, the face that runs the place.
Did Cena start the year off by passing the torch to a woman? Given the trajectory of women’s wrestling in the company over the last year, it may not be that surprising. But, again, no one would have expected Becky Lynch as the woman to inherit the mantle.
It was a spot primed for Ronda Rousey, who is already a superstar. However, Becky’s momentum is undeniable right now. The crowd reactions to her recently are overwhelming. In the ensuing mixed tag match, Becky was clamoring for the hot tag. The crowd lost their minds when she finally got it.
This all feels organic. Becky’s run doesn’t feel manufactured, even though WWE is coming around and capitalizing on it now. It would be an oversimplification to even say the fans anointed her, because it would ignore the great character work she’s done since turning heel. In-ring, she’s been a part of at least two of the best pay-per-view matches of 2018.
At WWE Evolution, she delivered the bout of the night in her Last Woman Standing match with Charlotte, proving she deserved to be in the main event. At TLC, she, Charlotte, and Asuka knocked it out the park on a co-branded pay-per-view. Tuesday night was a statement, and perhaps a hint Becky will be the first woman to the main event at WrestleMania. At this point, who else could?
There’s no other up and coming star on the roster who’s climbed to this height in the last year. AJ Styles seems to be in good graces with the company, but even he doesn’t seem like a sure thing. A returning Daniel Bryan doesn’t either.
Becky Lynch versus Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania feels inevitable, and that is a marquee-worthy match-up. With an injury sidelining her before Survivor Series, it seems like the stars aligned to make it an option. WWE would be foolish not to take advantage, and it appears even they can see that.
Is the new face of WWE a woman? It certainly feels like the right time. Even if the Cena segment doesn’t lead to anything else, it still feels like a big deal.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts on women in the main event WrestleMania this year.