It might be time for a mea culpa in regards to Becky Lynch.
Back at SummerSlam, I wrote that Lynch’s heel turn was ill-advised, and it wasn’t going to work. Lynch was too over as a babyface to get over as a heel … or so I thought.
Now about five weeks after SummerSlam, Lynch finds herself in a very weird spot. She’s doing fantastic work as a heel, yet her reaction from the live crowds — mostly a babyface reaction — is due more to the fact that Charlotte feels forced as a babyface.
Charlotte has become the female version of Roman Reigns, in many ways. And Lynch is getting cheered, much like Brock Lesnar, because the fans are rejecting Charlotte as the women’s division top babyface on the SmackDown side of the roster.
Lynch had a really good SmackDown this week, beating up Charlotte at a photo shoot and forcing her to be “sent home,” according to WWE. Then later in the episode, she picked up a clean and decisive win over Lana. She steamrolled Lana in short order for a victory.
The beginning of her heel turn didn’t go well, but she’s getting more and more fans to turn on her as the weeks progress. That was never more evident than SmackDown this week, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Charlotte wasn’t on the show.
Fans aren’t taking to Charlotte as a top babyface, so the fans need to find someone to embrace on the women’s roster. Many fans still identify with Lynch, who saw her “friend” Charlotte essentially steal her SmackDown Women’s Title at SummerSlam. Fans have sympathized with Lynch, and that has as much to do about her journey — and WWE being tone deaf about it — as it does fans rejecting the idea that they need to sympathize with Charlotte.
Under the storyline, there isn’t enough redeemable about Charlotte. While it was within the construct of the rules of the match, it’s easy to look at Charlotte and believe she stole Lynch’s title run at SummerSlam. Charlotte didn’t win that match in the most admirable of ways, and yet we’re supposed to believe that she’s the babyface and Lynch, who was cheated, is the heel? That was never going to work, and it’s especially not going to work when you don’t have a super strong babyface on the other side of it.
There are still hurdles Lynch needs to jump as a heel before I’m comfortable calling this turn an overwhelming success, but she’s on her way there now, and when they first pulled off the turn at SummerSlam, I wasn’t sure they’d get this far.