WWE turned what should have been so simple into an overdone mess.
Remember when Vince McMahon mocked All Elite Wrestling for doing “blood and guts” matches last year? Well there it was on “Monday Night Raw” — Shayna Baszler drawing the blood of Becky Lynch in a segment that was a disservice to the former NXT women’s champion.
A potential WrestleMania feud between Lynch, the current Raw women’s champion, and Baszler needed none of this to get started. It didn’t need Baszler looking like a member of The Brood or the “Twilight” movies cast by biting the back of Lynch’s neck after attacking her. Baszler came up with a feeding-lion amount of fake blood all over her face. Jerry “The King” Lawler even called her a “vampire” on commentary.
Maybe for the casual fan that moment creates some shock value and water-cooler talk, but those actions go against everything that’s in Baszler’s background and what got her character over in NXT. It potentially turned a legit pioneer of women’s MMA and a catch-wrestling maestro into a cartoon villain in one segment. All the credibility Baszler built up over two years in NXT — something few superstars in WWE have — took a hit within seconds and could get worse if the “vampire” idea doesn’t go away.
Baszler, who’s had MMA fights against greats such as Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes, made her name in wrestling by forcing her opponents to tap, snap or nap, using her Kirifuda Clutch submission to become the only two-time NXT women’s champion. She was a cold, calculated technician who exploited your one moment of weakness, not a bloodthirsty killer who had to take her mouthpiece out to bite Lynch.
She uses a mouthpiece, but she’s a biter! A much more appropriate action would have been for Baszler to use her signature stomp on Lynch’s twisted elbow and wrist or break a few of The Man’s fingers. Instead all of what we got was pointless and unnecessary, and the fact this sideshow came after an awesome match between Lynch and Asuka made it even worse.
The story for Lynch and Baszler was already there, the layers were built over time and accelerated since last fall. Baszler is one of the best friends of Ronda Rousey, whom Lynch pinned at WrestleMania 35 for the Raw women’s title to give the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion her only loss in WWE. Baszler then went nose-to-nose and then toe-to-toe with Lynch during the build-up to Survivor Series before beating her and Bayley in a triple-threat match to end the pay-per-view. Baszler was the runner-up in the 2020 Royal Rumble, eliminating eight other superstars. The WWE audience is familiar with her as a badass, so a shocking appearance was not needed.
Their program could have been built around so many things — and maybe it still will after a rocky start. Lynch can insult Baszler by saying she rode Rousey’s coattails during her career and Baszler could say she’d prove her wrong by beating The Man, something Rousey never did.
Since Lynch has beaten Asuka and collected her “one last debt” she’s become overconfident, calling herself the GOAT, and in a recent interview said she should be paid Vince McMahon-level money in her new contract. It appeared to be planting the seeds for a slow heel turn and Baszler in her NXT form is a legitimate threat to exploit Lynch’s hubris.
What followed Baszler’s attack likely put a cork in the heel turn for now and undid what little good biting Lynch accomplished. Lynch did a very good job initially selling the bite, cursing and asking the referee “what does it look like back there?” What little sense of realism there was ended there.
The Man, while supposedly bleeding profusely, then said she was “fine,” eventually pushed away medical help and commandeered an ambulance. She drove herself to a “medical facility” and then back to the arena to cut a promo covered in dry blood with a bandage on her neck. It showed Lynch’s guts and fight but it makes you wonder how bad could Shayna’s bite and attack really have been even with the pain killer she said he was given?
It certainly wasn’t as bad as the whole start to this WrestleMania program and turning Baszler into something she has no business being. Lynch may have laid out the rest of the angle by saying she will break Baszler down week by week.
Let’s hope all the silliness ends here so Baszler and Lynch can have the organic feud they were meant to have instead of WWE senselessly overplaying its hand.