Bayley pinned Bianca Belair on SmackDown and at once the wrestling community heard the collective sound of her fans shaking their heads in disgust.
What is the point in building up a professional wrestler? The answer is simple, to give fans someone to either cheer for or boo – to push them to the status known as “over.” WWE has experienced exceptionally over stars in the likes of the Rock, John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Daniel Bryan, and few others. Unfortunately, the company seems to have lost their way in making these stars that fans care about more frequently. Bianca Belair is on the cusp of being such a draw, but after watching her lose to Bayley on SmackDown, apprehension should be building.
Yes, we all understand that it is just one loss. Bayley is coming off a massive run at the top of the women’s division and perhaps was the most important wrestler on the WWE roster during the challenging months that was COVID-19. However, since losing the title to Sasha Banks, she has been bumped down the pecking order – which was the right move to make at the time. It was clear that Belair and Bayley were heading toward a program with one another, but it does not make any sense for it to get started like this.
WWE spent months building Belair through promos and having her win matches. In fact, before this loss she had not been pinned since February of this year when she was defeated by Charlotte Flair back on NXT leading into WrestleMania. All that good work, thrown away on a meaningless defeat on SmackDown. Fans will still want to see Belair flourish, but if this is how things are headed for the performer, no one should get their hopes up too high.
Belair is the type of personality and athlete that can excite a group of wrestling fans that are often ignored by bookers. Just like Naomi, she has a pull with African Americans, especially African American women who are drawn to everything about these characters. These viewers want to see these performers excel in the ring just like their counterparts, but watching Belair lose a simple match like this makes those fans immediately wonder what her ceiling is in the promotion.
Sadly, this is par for the course. Just look at the challenge’s wrestlers like Keith Lee, Ricochet and Aleister Black went through since coming up to the main roster. No matter how loudly fans push for them to be treated like the special talent they are – they are instead booked in ways that furrow brows and frustrate fans away from the content.
Should fans scream bloody murder over Bianca Belair losing a match to Bayley? No, some of it is done in jest. But at the same time WWE has a propensity to lazily book performers for no reason. Belair did not need to take a defeat to Bayley, only to continue a feud between them. It is pointless. But “pointless” is a term being used to describe a lot of WWE content as of late.