Alexa Bliss turned the WWE Universe upside down recently on Monday Night Raw when she suggested that the Women’s Evolution was perhaps not what the company had advertised.
She confronted Raw General Manager Kurt Angle in the middle of the ring and protested her inclusion in the upcoming Elimination Chamber Match. Bliss felt that she shouldn’t have to defend her Raw Women’s Championship because Universal champion Brock Lesnar didn’t have to defend his title in the January 28 Royal Rumble Match.
It was obviously a heel move, meant to justify Bliss’s requested removal from the Chamber. But that’s not how the Des Moines crowd took it.
The fans almost immediately sided with Bliss. The Raw Women’s champion has never had anything nice to say about the WWE faithful of course but that didn’t matter to the crowd. In today’s WWE, fans merely have to decide for themselves whether or not they agree with a Superstar.
If they do, that Superstar gets over. If not, that Superstar heels out.
Many believe this was yet another perfect example of why old-fashioned pro wrestling psychology has indeed run its course. The modern fan just doesn’t seem to buy in to time-honored tactics used for years in the business.
Today it’s all about the fans insisting on being smarter than anyone gives them credit for. To suggest that their level of intelligence is a level below that of anyone behind the curtain of WWE is to automatically make enemies out of the paying customer. Fans not only feel they’re too smart to be deceived in any capacity; they also feel they know what’s best for the company.
Truth be told, there is some logic to that notion.
Without the fans, Steve Austin would never have truly become Stone Cold. Without the fans, CM Punk’s pipe bomb would have fallen on deaf ears. Without the fans, Daniel Bryan would never have become a household name. In all three instances, WWE had little to no plan for any of the talents involved until the crowd forced its hand.
Considering Austin became the biggest draw of his generation, while Punk and Bryan brought the wrestling back to the forefront and changed the WWE landscape forever, it’s hard to argue that the fans got it right.
Of course the crowd is smug and wants to be in control. Live crowds, beach ball in hand, have attempted to hijack more than one pay-per-view. Fans continue to scream “What” at the top of their lungs during promos. More importantly, they gravitate to Superstars simply because of a catchphrase. But it’s not because the Superstar in question is getting red hot; it’s because chanting is fun.
Rusev is the latest example of this. He and Aiden English were essentially spinning their wheels together until the crowd began popping for the Rusev Day gimmick. Now they chant for Rusev Day even when the two heels are not in the ring.
Elias mocks the crowd every time he’s on TV. He has no redeeming qualities as a character and he heels out despite how often the fans react positively to him. He’s getting over not necessarily because he’s impressed the WWE faithful; he’s getting over because it’s now fun to cheer for him.
Now the same fans, who feel it’s just too much fun to turn everything sideways, are beginning to question if Bliss was right. Is WWE giving a double standard when it comes to the female Superstars on the roster? Why didn’t Bliss get a pass in the Chamber match and simply just defend her title elsewhere on the card? Better yet, why is Lesnar always being protected and just doesn’t have to work like everyone else?
Why is this conversation even happening?
Bliss is in the Elimination Chamber match because she’s been booked to work it. Period. There is no double standard, there is no conspiracy and there is no reason for WWE to even suggest otherwise. Bliss is a heel that tries to manipulate the system to her advantage because that’s what heels do. Her promo on Raw was simply meant to get in Angle’s head and convince him that she was being treated unfairly.
But Angle is really not the Raw General Manager. He’s playing a role. He has no more authority over Bliss than the timekeeper does. This was just a promo cut by a cowardly heel and it more than likely was not meant to open the debate to anything else in WWE.
But that’s not how the fans took it. That’s probably not how anyone took it. Now it’s being furiously debated online for no good reason. In their constant effort to find something deep and meaningful behind everything that happens on WWE programming, many fans have just not been able to accept Bliss’s promo for what it was: a promo.
Of course Austin’s 3:16 promo wasn’t meant to turn him into the hottest babyface in the industry. Punk’s pipe bomb wasn’t meant to do the same for him. Bryan’s underdog status wasn’t meant to catapult him into the stratosphere of WWE. Perhaps the fans are indeed onto something after all.
Or maybe everyone is just overreacting. When it comes to WWE, nothing is for sure.