Becky Lynch: When The Man Came Around

 “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him”

-Johnny Cash

The rise of Becky Lynch is a tale that isn’t told much in WWE, but when it is, damn does it pack a punch. The change in her character was enough to wake the company up to the star they had on their hands, and bolstered by the fans, this became something wholly special. Up until her departure after Money in the Bank in 2020 due to pregnancy, Lynch was often subject to comparisons to the legendary “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and it’s easy to see why. But first, we must start at the origins of The Man.

From 2016 to 2018, Becky Lynch had done very well for herself. She had become the first Smackdown Women’s Champion. I still can’t help but smile while watching her promo after she had won it; she was so proud, dorky, and giddy — she deserved it. It was after losing that title to Alexa Bliss at TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs in 2016, that her run on Smackdown Live would continue to fill up with accomplishments.

Credit: WWE

Becky earned the spot of Team Captain for Smackdown at the 2017 Survivor Series after winning a Fatal Five-Way match in an October episode on the blue brand. Off and on, she would later team up with friends Charlotte Flair and Naomi against women that weren’t afraid to play dirty. She would then go on to last thirty minutes in the Royal Rumble of 2018, and even eliminated the legendary Lita!

The Irish Lasskicker was far from done. Nevertheless, the red-haired superstar would proceed to go on a winning streak through the summer of 2018, culminating in a non-title match with then-champion Carmella, to qualify for a match against her at Summerslam. Not to be outdone, Lynch’s best friend Charlotte Flair had wanted a piece of the action and to claim the belt for herself too — nothing personal against Becky. Flair too beat Carmella in a non-title match. Following Flair’s winning efforts, the match would then become a triple-threat match.

The match is spectacular. With all three women laying it on the line, they fought to hell and back to claim the title. Carmella, ever the dastardly dirty champion, would stoop at any low to try and keep the belt on her waist. Charlotte proving without a shadow of a doubt that she is the ultimate machine she has come to be known by. Becky Lynch gave it her all, in a match she thought she would have a clear shot in. It was a match where she clawed and scratched her way into earning such an opportunity. So much emotion in the match, with more than just the title potentially on the line. After nearly submitting Carmella with a “Dis-Arm-Her”, Lynch’s advances were only to be thwarted by Flair, as Lynch found herself on the receiving end of a three-count pinfall via a “Natural Selection”. It was a painful defeat, but as Flair celebrated her newest achievement. Lynch, up on her feet, would embrace her dear friend, congratulating her on another championship reign.

Credit: WWE

But such jubilance was transferred into sheer rage, as the Irish fighter turned on Flair. The crowd’s boos flowed right into raucous cheers, as Becky was denied what she was seemingly owed and fought hard for. Charlotte may have won the title, but she lost a friend that night.

Becky’s motivation, as she turned to the dark side, was revealed that she was held back by Charlotte and by the fans. In dissing the fans, however, she would still find their overwhelming and tenacious support. Of course, this would serve as a U-turn to a different route. Becky would then treat her supporters with appreciation, while disrespecting anyone who would dare stand in her way.

Despite her newfound attitude, Becky would maintain her feud with Charlotte, whom she pinned to win the title from Flair at Hell in a Cell. In Melbourne, Australia, Lynch would be successful in her title defense at Super Showdown, and again at the all-women’s pay-per-view at Evolution. As Flair’s father, Ric Flair once said: “To be the man, you gotta beat the man!” Well, Becky Lynch did just that, twice. And to rub salt in the wound of her former friend, she would adopt the moniker of The Man, bolstering WWE’s merchandise sales along the way.

Meanwhile, Survivor Series was looming in the distance near the end of 2018. On the red brand, the Raw women’s champion Ronda Rousey had recently fought off various contenders for her title, continuing her string of dominance. Ever since Ronda came to WWE, she brought more eyes to the product and seemed unstoppable. Fans were eating her up, enjoying her presence until Becky Lynch made her recent emergence as The Man. Ronda and Becky would trade a few barbs here and there to set up their Survivor Series match, but Becky decided it was time to leave a lasting impression on the MMA fighter, and what came as a result is something that will be ingrained in the memory of many a fan for years to come.

On the last episode of Raw before Survivor Series, a segment involving Raw’s roster of women assembling their team for Survivor Series was interrupted by the Titantron, as cameras followed the screams and yells emanating from the women’s locker room.

Such commotion was revealed to be from Ronda Rousey, caught in Becky Lynch’s “Dis-Arm-Her” hold, and it was in that moment I had jumped to my feet from my couch at home. As the women of Raw watched in horror and confusion, The Man’s music hit. That was when I was screaming and jumping with the crowd, who was miles and miles from where I was – yet I felt connected to them in this moment.

Becky caused so much carnage, as did her fellow Smackdown women wrestlers who had invaded the ring. Lynch would follow suit, and then Rousey. Following a punch from Nia Jax, Becky Lynch’s nose broke. The Smackdown women would gain the upper hand in this moment, with the finishing touch being Becky swinging a chair repeatedly over Ronda’s back — crimson blood flowing down her face — due to the injury caused by Jax.

The sight of her celebrating at the top of the stairs near the exit is forever memorialized and celebrated to this day. Nothing could touch this woman. Absolutely nothing.

Credit: WWE

That was, until a medical update would emerge, rendering Lynch unable to compete — as the punch that broke her nose had also inflicted her with a concussion. A match more suited for WrestleMania had then been postponed, with Lynch’s former friend and rival in Charlotte Flair replacing her against Rousey. It was at Survivor Series that Charlotte Flair would snap, and assault Rousey with kendo sticks and embracing with her dark side once more. As for Ronda, she found herself in a chorus of boos, as the former UFC champion had been rejected in favor of The Man. A slow decline for someone who came in with such high hopes.

After Becky had returned in late November of 2018, she would find herself in a triple threat ladder match with Charlotte Flair and Asuka; the latter of whom had won a battle royale to qualify for the match. The vengeful Rousey would then cost Becky and Charlotte the match, paving the road for Smackdown Live’s Empress to deservedly win the blue brand’s title, and leaving Becky without hers.

Asuka would soon find herself defending the title against Lynch at January’s Royal Rumble where she found herself victorious. It looked as though Becky wouldn’t be a championship factor in the WrestleMania season, had it have not been for number twenty-eight, Lana, having been injured earlier in the night in the Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match. Lynch ultimately won the Royal Rumble, designated to face whoever she desired at WrestleMania — be it Asuka or Ronda Rousey.

Credit: WWE

Becky’s sights were clear on who she wanted to face, though, and it was The Baddest Woman on the Planet. Charlotte Flair would find her way into the match via Mr. McMahon’s dreaded, evil powers of nepotism — and to make the stakes higher, Flair would strip Asuka of the Smackdown’s women’s title in a winning effort, much to the chagrin of fans. This made the triple threat title match a winner-take-all match to crown a double champion. The McMahons and Triple H would try to impede Becky’s progress to the WrestleMania match, which had been declared the main event for that year’s Showcase of the Immortals.

Adding more spice to the feud was Ronda’s eventual turn to a more ruthless and merciless side, having dealt with Becky and Charlotte’s brash behavior and the further rejection by fans. This version of Rousey proved popular with fans; a trash talking badass of a woman who had the strength to back it up.

WrestleMania 35 served mostly as a feel-good pay-per-view with the babyfaces in the main title pictures winning the gold, and fans were eager to see if The Man would be another among them. Each woman brought it all, with fire, fury, and the forces of hell behind them. And, through a victory, the woman everyone went on this journey with had finally ended the reign of the “Baddest Woman on the Planet”. Though tired, the crowd cheered and celebrated with The Man.

Finally, an epic chapter was closed. Despite the rest of her run being polarizing for some fans, Becky Lynch had become a much bigger star than before.

Credit: WWE

As 2020 ends and 2021 begins, I had felt this was a great opportunity to showcase one of the highest points in the past few years to give us hope in such harrowing times. In 2020 alone, the wrestling world lost careers and lives in times where it was hard to know what was next.

It’s times like this that give us moments to reflect — and what better way than to harken back to a time we all were chanting in unison and helping steer the story of Becky Lynch where it needed to go. It’s times like these where we are connected to the stories of wrestling that will transcend time itself: as we become mere muses to chart the path the stories take.

Becky’s relationship with fans is proof of that, and that sometimes a better future we make for ourselves is worth fighting for.

Becky Lynch took the wheel of her career and steered it into the direction she needed to go. She stopped waiting for opportunity and seized it for herself; no longer being pushed under by the powers that be, and became a hero to us all. I don’t know what she has planned when she comes back — should she choose to — but we will be ready for the next time The Man comes around.

Credit: NXTFTW2017, WWE