WWE

WWE: Reflecting on Becky Lynch’s star making night, one year later

One year ago this past week, Becky Lynch led her fellow SmackDown Superstars in an invasion of Raw and ended the night bloody, but standing tall. It’s become the latest in iconic images in WWE, but what did it do for Lynch’s career in the year that followed?

On Nov. 12, 2018, it was full steam ahead as WWE built to the annual Survivor Series Pay-Per-View. As per tradition in the brand split era, the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown invaded the opposing shows in the name of BRAND SUPREMACY. On this particular night, Becky Lynch led the SmackDown Women’s Division in a vicious attack against Raw.

Lynch, then the SmackDown Women’s Champion, ambushed Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey backstage. As The Man headed to the ring to continue the attack Raw’s Superstars, she was joined by the rest of Team Blue as all hell broke loose.

In the scuffle, Lynch was caught with a nasty punch to the face from Nia Jax. Becky suffered a broken nose and a concussion, though the image of a bloodied Irish Lass Kicker became iconic. That one punch would change the course of WWE for both the immediate future and in the year that led up to today.

In the immediate aftermath of that night, I wrote that the entire ordeal proved Becky Lynch was deserving of being considered the top star in WWE. Not the top star of the women’s division, but of the entire company. Has she lived up to that over the past year?

Let’s look at everything that has happened in the past year to evaluate. Within hours of my article going live, Becky was pulled from her Survivor Series match with Rousey due to injury, being replaced with Charlotte Flair.

Fans were understandably upset, since Lynch had been riding a hot streak since the summer — her feud with Charlotte, including a “heel” turn after SummerSlam, was one of WWE’s greatest stories at the time.

It appeared Becky would get her chance to finish the story with Rousey in the wake of TLC, when the Baddest Woman on the Planet cost Lynch the SmackDown Women’s Championship to Asuka. A month later, Lynch was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble, and eventually won by eliminating – you guessed it – Charlotte Flair.

Still officially a SmackDown superstar, Lynch chose to face Rousey at WrestleMania for the Raw Women’s Championship. But she was supposedly injured and refused to seek medical attention, despite pleas from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. In true “Stone Cold” fashion, Becky attacked the authority figures, leading us to the moment that cemented her status as the top star of WWE.

As a response to her attack, Becky was suspended by none other than Vince McMahon himself. When has The Chairman ever inserted himself into a storyline that didn’t involve the top stars of the company? From Austin, The Rock, Undertaker, Cena, Reigns, Rollins, it’s only the real A-Listers who are apparently worthy of Vince’s attention.

If Lynch wasn’t the top star, Stephanie would have been the one to issue the suspension — remember when she sent Kurt Angle on an indefinite vacation as Raw GM? No, Becky’s status warranted an appearance by the big boss himself. And when Vince replaced Becky with Charlotte Flair in the main event of WrestleMania (yes, Charlotte once again took Becky’s spot), the fan response was exactly what you’d expect — nuclear heat.

Becky Lynch had the built-in story with Rousey, unfinished since Survivor Series. Charlotte was clearly the corporate image of the “top draw,” in contrast to Becky’s “everyman” (or “everywoman”) image. Obviously, this was all a storyline ruse to get Becky even more over than she already was. So it was no real surprise when Becky was given a chance to be added back into the WrestleMania match, earned the spot back, and eventually won the match.

As the winner of the first women’s main event of WrestleMania, Becky not only won two championships in one fell swoop, but became the first superstar to pin Ronda Rousey since her WWE debut. Much like the established megastar Brock Lesnar ending the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania, Lynch had clearly earned the trust of top WWE officials to be placed in such a spot.

“Becky Two Belts” spent much of the spring pulling double duty on both Raw and SmackDown — even before the ill-fated “Wild Card Rule” blurred the rosters to the point of confusion. After dropping the SmackDown Championship to Charlotte at Money in the Bank, Lynch headed to Raw, though she was heavily featured in ads for SmackDown’s move to Fox in the fall.

As a member of Raw, Becky has risen to be the top draw yet again — yes, even over Seth Rollins, who was dubbed “Becky’s Boyfriend” during the time the real-life couple were linked in storyline. (Who says sexism can’t go both ways?)

Now that the rarely-present Brock Lesnar has brought the WWE Championship to Raw, and Bray Wyatt dragged the Universal Championship to SmackDown, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that Becky isn’t the top champion on Raw. Week in and week out, Lynch is front and center with the Raw Women’s Championship — even when booking around the title is not always logical.

Long story short, Becky Lynch has been able to ride the wave of momentum from a wayward Nia Jax punch into true superstardom. Had the picture of a bloodied Becky not existed, and her bout with Ronda Rousey had happened as planned at Survivor Series, who knows how things would have turned out?

But sitting here a week away from Survivor Series 2019, in my humble opinion Becky Lynch is the top draw on Monday Night Raw. If she were on Friday Night SmackDown, it’s likely she would be the top draw there as well — imagine the push of a major broadcast network behind her career. What say you?