Let’s stop this one before it gets started: Becky Lynch doesn’t need the typical McMahon bump.
McMahon bump, meaning reaching the top of the mountain and being rewarded by having an encounter with someone like Stephanie McMahon after playing out yet another tired hero vs. authority angle.
Because, as of right now, it seems WWE might be headed in this direction.
While the attention is lasered in on Lynch against Ronda Rousey in what deserves to be the first-ever women’s main event of WrestleMania, the company might have its eye on the long game. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), WWE is flirting with the idea of Lynch against McMahon at SummerSlam.
This one found footing on the February 4 edition of Raw, where Stephanie inserted herself into the drama by demanding Lynch visit a doctor lest she end up suspended, the guise being Becky defiantly says no because she doesn’t want to give the dastardly family a way to ruin her hard-earned WrestleMania moment.
Never mind the fact this story has an odd footing as is—Lynch is playing the underdog but doesn’t have much of a point here. She inserted herself into the Royal Rumble and nobody stopped her when they easily could have.
Oddities aside, Lynch gave the crowd what they wanted:
With any luck, the Becky-Stephanie interaction was a way to get Lynch far, far away from Rousey. The current champ was in shambles during a live promo the week prior before Lynch hit the ring because she’s trying to play the good guy against the hottest property in wrestling. That’s going to keep happening unless Rousey turns heel and even then it’s a longshot the crowd even goes 50-50 on this one—we haven’t seen a Superstar this organically over in a long, long time.
McMahon stepping in and taking some heat for a week or two in an effort to help Rousey save face and keep fans invested in Lynch (as if she needs the help) is fine, so long as it doesn’t lead to something long term.
Part of the reason WWE’s top brass had to get in the ring to promise change in the first place is the misuse of talent despite having more of it than at any point in any promotion’s history. Sacrificing the middle of the roster for a McMahon (anyone remember Shane McMahon winning the title of “best in the world”?) in a top spot was cool eight or nine years ago when pay-per-views needed the recognition bump—the WWE Network era doesn’t need it.
This is an especially critical time for the women’s division in WWE, too. That isn’t to say Stephanie hasn’t played a big part—but she has to stay out of the way in exchange for promoting other Superstars. That creates longevity for the division.
Right now, Lynch is leading the charge in helping create the first women’s end-of-show match at WrestleMania—but it’s only made possible due to Rousey’s crossover appeal. With speculation running rampant Rousey could be done with WWE sooner rather than later, Lynch is then left alone and another main event doesn’t seem likely until the company can establish other top stars popular outside of the company.
On paper, WWE has played it perfectly, using the outside established name like Rousey to organically grow the presence of one of their lifers who can carry the division once the casual name leaves. Railroading her into an authority angle fans have seen since the 90s could undo the hard work.
Look, it’s easy to admit the authority angle appeals to a lot of people. Naturally, fighting back against authority, running afoul of it and clashing seems like an eventuality, and it makes sense, generally speaking. But when the storyline has been this beat into the dirt for decades, for the talent involved, it is starting to seem like less of a reward and more of a “we’re out of ideas” situation.
Lynch has slowly morphed into one who can uplift those around her without help. If she’s grabbing the title from Rousey at the biggest stage of them all, it only reinforces this idea. After all that, if we’re being blunt, a McMahon is beneath her—her job then becomes the Rousey role, serving as a final boss of sorts while uplifting the rest of the women’s division.