If you were a fan of the Firefly Funhouse era of Alexa Bliss’ career, you likely enjoyed what you saw at the start of the Dec. 12 episode of WWE Raw (or you groaned in dread if you, like a lot of people, didn’t care for the excessive hokiness that character change brought).
Bliss battled longtime rival Bayley to kick off the show in a Raw Women’s Championship top contender’s match. The champion, Bianca Belair, sat at ringside to take in the proceedings, and “The EST” would play a role in the finish to this one, as her bickering with Bayley over an exposed turnbuckle would open the door for Bliss to hit Twisted Bliss and score the pin.
After that, things got a little weird.
WWE has planted the seeds for the return of a more supernatural version of Alexa Bliss.
Following Bliss’ win, Belair entered the ring to confront the next challenger to her title. Belair eventually offered a handshake to her fellow babyface and former WarGames teammate, but Bliss opted for a hug instead. As Bliss extended her arms, the camera showed the titantron flashing Bray Wyatt’s moth logo for a brief moment.
Once Belair and Bliss embraced, Bliss quickly put her in position for Sister Abigail, but snapped out of her apparent trance, let go of Belair, and apologetically left the ring.
This tease of Bliss reverting to a more “fiendish” state didn’t come from nowhere. WWE has dropped little narrative breadcrumbs for the last few weeks. Bliss’ increasingly frequent thousand-yard stare, the other instances of Wyatt’s insignia flickering on any screen within range of Bliss, and the unfortunate reappearance of Bliss’ doll, Lily, has guided fans to the latest hints of her rediscovering her creepier persona.
Whether or not this is a good thing — and whether or not Belair and the women’s title should be tethered to this story — is another matter. While defenders of the SPOOKY nonsense will argue that Bliss remained over following the character retooling and that WWE sold a lot of those Lily dolls during that time.
However, Bliss in this Fiend-adjacent character also helped produce some of the worst segments and most uninteresting matches of the last two years. There’s a reason why the gimmick got voted “worst gimmick” in the Wrestling Observer awards in 2021.
Whether it was BLACK GOO, throwing fireballs at people (and them being fine weeks later), not selling high-impact offensive moves, other wrestlers feigning fear of a plush doll, and pointless therapy segments, SPOOKY Bliss’ appearances were met with plenty of exasperated responses from fans that are tired of the hocus pocus stories.
Of course, supporters could file the past flubs with the character under “that happened with Vince McMahon in charge, things will be different with Triple H”. And look, maybe the creative regime change means we’ll see a fresher, more grounded version of this character.
But given how awful many of the segments with Bliss were, it’s fair to wonder if anyone, no matter how talented they are, can salvage this.