On the most recent episode of Monday Night RAW, we had yet another example of “magic” being used to make Alexa Bliss stand out as “Female Fiend”. As mentioned last week, it is time to conclude this story. One of the fears expressed last week was that the “magic” being used in this flawed attempt at supernatural existentialism was going to eventually spill over into the RAW women’s division. This happened this week, when the team of Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler were bested by the team of Asuka, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke. A normal multi-woman match on RAW, you might think. Well, think again.
Shayna Baszler Was the Victim of a Voodoo Assault On This Week’s RAW
As we all know, Shayna Baszler is a legitimate bad*ss. An ex-MMA fighter who has competed in the UFC, she boasts an MMA record of 15 wins and 11 losses – making her pound-for-pound one of the most legitimate female talents there has ever been within the WWE. In NXT, she was booked to showcase this – embarking on the second lengthiest reign (just behind Asuka) in the history of the NXT Women’s Championship. Following her debut on RAW in February of 2020, where she famously massacred Becky Lynch – causing The Man to bleed profusely from her neck with her teeth, she was booked like a monster. Initially defeating ex-rival Kairi Sane, she then proceeded to destroy Asuka, Liv Morgan, Natalya, Ruby Riott, and Sarah Logan in an Elimination Chamber match. Becky would shockingly defeat her at WrestleMania 36 and Asuka would capture the Money in the Bank briefcase a month later, but she was still being booked dominant in singles matches. Nowadays, she is being pinned by Naomi and Lana, as the fall-girl of her team with Nia Jax – the current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. In short, it has been a fall-from-grace for one of WWE’s most gifted female athletes.
To make matters worse, she is now the victim of voodoo assault. It never worked with Papa Shango and Ultimate Warrior in the 1990s and it absolutely does not work now. In her match this week, Shayna took the pin from Asuka, after Alexa Bliss and her demented demon doll Lilly used the power of magic to cause Shayna’s leg to twist and give out. Apparently, for all her MMA schooling, she skipped her Defense Against the Dark Arts Classes. It is an abysmal display of tomfoolery for a company who just two years ago signed a mega deal with FOX to air something resembling an actual sports show. Yes, RAW is on USA Network, but it is still one facet of the same WWE Universe – there is no different lore between RAW and SmackDown. For all the tremendous work Roman Reigns does as the seriously gritty and dangerous Tribal Chief, there is The Fiend being burned alive by Randy Orton. For every triumphant story of greatness achieved with Bianca Belair, there is Alexa Bliss delivering the voodoo smack-down to Shayna Baszler and the RAW women’s division. It does not work and it needs to stop. The magic needs to stop.
Instances Where Magic Has Been Done Right Within Pro Wrestling
There are instances within pro wrestling where magic has been done right. Lucha Underground is the prime example. Perhaps resembling something closer to what Vince McMahon wishes the WWE was, Lucha Underground was a cinematic TV series which just so happened to feature wrestling matches as a backdrop. People were murdered regularly; some fed alive to the cannibalistic brother of now-Major League Wrestling (MLW) star, Dario Cueto. Matches were fought over ancient Aztec artifacts, including a gauntlet providing the occupant with omnipotent powers capable of doing great damage to the world. In short, it was a show which showcased chaos triumphant over order with luchadors acting as the cast. With Dario Cueto’s recent debut on MLW as El Jefe (his former Lucha Undergound nickname), it is quite possible that MLW, too, will feature some of that LU magic.
WWE does not even need to look too far away from home. In recent years, particularly with the pandemic and the rise of cinematic matches, they, too, have had instances where they have done it right. Last year’s Boneyard Match between AJ Styles and Undertaker at the conclusion of night 1 of WrestleMania 36 featured some well-done magic. Though the majority of the hard-fought fight (because it certainly was not a match) was a gritty and realistic brawl between two men with a profound hatred for each other, there was a part where Undertaker was thrown into a well-dug grave before using teleportation to transport behind AJ in what is now the great meme image of AJ having a look of realization on his face whilst Taker – bright light behind him – stares down at the man he is about to destroy. Night 2 of WrestleMania 36 featured the wacky encounter between John Cena and Bray Wyatt, which saw Cena confronted by Wyatt in various dimensions; some alternate (such as NWO Cena) and some re-imagined images of the past (Cena’s 2002 debut). It was a Lynchian contest more closely resembling Twin Peaks than WrestleMania 36, but it was effective and made for great viewing.
Not A Criticism of Alexa Bliss But The Booking
As mentioned in the previous article, Alexa Bliss is not the problem. She has been good-to-great in the role and deserves plaudits for her acting. However, whether because it’s on a non-cinematic wrestling show, live on Monday Night RAW or because it simply does not work in 2021, it needs to end. The RAW women’s division has struggled at times in the absence of Becky Lynch and the division must not act as a backdrop to Alexa Bliss’ supernatural feud with Bray Wyatt – nor should anyone in the women’s division become embroiled in a supernatural feud with Bliss. If she is to continue on with this gimmick, it needs to be kept as far away from the rest of the division as possible – or it risks causing terminal damage to a division which has the potential to be great if booked right. Over the past year, it has not been booked well, and adding in the Fiendish shenanigans of Bliss and Wyatt does not benefit anyone. Stop the magic.
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