On last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw (May 31), Reginald defeated Shayna Baszler. For weeks now, Alexa Bliss has used the unfair advantage of voodoo magic to cost Baszler matches. We have been unsure as to why Bliss – or her demon doll of death, Lilly – has targeted the Queen of Spades in such a way. It has never been explained. With Reginald having now scored an upset victory over Baszler with the assistance of Lilly-caused-pyro, and everything that came after, we might soon find out. However, it must be said that the inclusion of Reginald in the women’s divisions of both Raw and SmackDown has been uninspired, lazy and downright damaging.
Having Reginald defeat Shayna Baszler was an act of stupidity
Yes, she did not lose clean. It, however, must be said that booking Reginald to defeat Shayna Baszler was an act of self-destructive stupidity. She is arguably, even despite recent booking, one of the more established women in the company. Legitimately tough, renowned for being a master technician, it makes no sense for the woman who once brought Becky Lynch to blood and tears with her teeth – who then dominated five other women inside an Elimination Chamber match – to be involved in comedy-type matches with Reginald, let alone lose. With each passing week, it is becoming more and more difficult to see Baszler making a comeback. After all, she is feuding with a competitor who has the power of black magic on her side – how can she get the upper-hand? The expression of “bringing a knife to a gun fight”, comes to mind.
They are lucky fans have been unable to attend
Gone are the days when fans would react positively to voodoo magic. The common argument in favor of the current version of Alexa Bliss appears to be “well, it worked for The Undertaker and Kane“. It worked for them only. Papa Shango casting a voodoo hex on Ultimate Warrior; Hulk Hogan being haunted by the ghost of the Warrior and Mordecai‘s entire existence have all been failures – and laughably so. The 1990s was a different era within professional wrestling, so if it mostly failed then, imagine it in front of a 2021 audience; where everything is overproduced, where those watching on TV are doing so on 4K – and now even 8K – plasma TVs. It will be exposed. Cinematic matches featuring magic work because, much like the beloved cult hit Lucha Underground, they are shot like movies with no crowd in sight. In front of a live audience, as Raw will be every single week in the near future, it is going to receive either a chorus of negative reactions or a big band of crickets. There is a reason Lucha Underground kept the make-believe parts of the show to backstage segments. Additionally, fans like Shayna Baszler; so they probably would not react well to her defeat at the hands of Reginald.
Reginald and Nia Jax does not work
Say what you will about Nia Jax, but she is still one of the more recognizable names in the Raw women’s division. Right now, with the current Reginald angle, we are witnessing the second coming of Eddie Guerrero and Chyna – third coming, if you include Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix. However, the original incarnation worked because not only were Eddie and Chyna good, they had had years of time in the limelight to develop connections with the audience – so that the audience cared when they got together. Nia, though a polarizing figure, might enjoy such crowd connection, should she turn babyface. Reginald, however, is a relative unknown who has never been in front of a live audience in the WWE. It might work in a similar way to how James Ellsworth became a fan favorite, but ultimately, it still does nothing for the women’s division.
He has been a detriment to WWE’s “Women’s Evolution”
This is the most crucial downside to Reginald. For as questionably fun – and as athletically gifted – as he may be, he has been a detriment to the women’s division, especially on Raw. Again, Baszler losing to Reginald is an abomination. No matter the direction this takes going forward, no matter if Shayna somehow wins the feud, she – or any woman, for that matter – should not be losing to Reginald. For all its faults, the WWE have done a pretty decent job in transforming the fortune of women within the company in recent years. There is always room for improvement and there is still plenty more which needs to be done, but compared to where they were a decade ago, the change is drastic. Women have now headlined a number of shows – even WrestleMania, twice. Ten years ago, they were confined to minute long bouts on Raw and costume-themed battle royals. It is, therefore, tragic that they would even begin to undo this work by booking its women – especially the most legitimate among them – to lose to a character like Reginald; a comedic character who should be used to enhance talent, not overcome them.
Ultimately, it is important to consider arguments against your own. Yes, Shayna Baszler lost to Reginald, but it is a mere stepping stone towards something bigger. A match between Alexa Bliss and the “Queen of Spades” is surely coming in the not-so-distant future. Additionally, given the nature of this “bizzarro world” feud, it is at least being used to develop Baszler’s character work, which was perhaps the weakest element of her game until now. Therefore, there are some positives. Reginald bringing out a never-before-seen side of Baszler can be deemed a good thing. However, if she continues to lose every single week in a feud it increasingly feels as though she cannot win, the damage to Baszler will become terminal and all of this will have been done to the benefit of Alexa Bliss, and Reginald, only. Having its top female performers losing to comedy characters, to further magic based storylines, is poor booking which benefits nobody, long-term.
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