We're on the road to WrestleMania, and in true WWE fashion, that road is paved with controversy. After a bit of back and forth between Becky Lynch and the Authority, Vince McMahon announced Lynch was out of the WrestleMania match and Charlotte Flair would take her spot. Most weren't surprised, as it was rumored for a while that the main event would indeed be a triple threat between these three superstars.
In all likelihood, Lynch will find a way back into her WrestleMania spot and that's just the match we'll get. Was this a huge blunder or a brilliant move by WWE? We take a look at both sides, so you can decide for yourself.
Rousey is clearly not particularly comfortable acting as the de facto heel. Lynch is just too popular; she was always going to be booed in this match. By introducing Flair, especially in such a smarmy way, she can step into the heel position, allowing Rousey to maintain her face status.
To be fair, Rousey's performance on Monday was one of her best from a storytelling standpoint. There's something really compelling about her being hungry for competition and excited to face Lynch at WrestleMania. That works for her and meanwhile, Flair can be the great heel she was born to be.
If WWE was struggling to promote Rousey vs. Lynch, it would be a different story — but they're not. The match is as hot as it gets, the crowd explodes every single time Lynch comes out to cut a promo on Rousey. WWE.com even ran a poll of which match should main event WrestleMania, and Rousey vs. Lynch won in a landslide. Fans were excited for it, they already believe it deserves the main event rub.
WWE simply didn't need to add anything to this, it was perfect just the way it was. Triple Threats are awesome but they're also more complex and can easily become spotfests. The last thing anyone wants to see happen is for this match to implode on itself.
WWE has a tendency to go for multi-man matches for the year's biggest show. One of the advantages of a Triple Threat is that it allows you to protect two stars by introducing a third person to be pinned. While all three are stars within their own right, it's safe to say Rousey and Lynch require more protection than Flair.
Flair's a seven-time champion, she'll be just fine.
Meanwhile, having Lynch pin Rousey is a bold move that we're not entirely sure WWE has in them. Flair would do much more in the match than just taking the pin, she will add a lot of big spots and valuable story to the program. But ultimately, someone has to lose this match, and Flair can eat the loss.
Let's be clear. We love Charlotte Flair. She's incredibly important to the fabric of the women's division and WWE has every reason to treat her like a star. She's just not the only star they have...
Over the course of a few years, Flair has held every single title available to her, the Raw and SmackDown women's Championships multiple times. Flair has participated in the first women's Hell in a Cell match, the first women's Money in the Bank match, she was the first ever (modern) Women's Champion and she ended Nikki Bella's record-breaking Diva's Championship reign. In short, she's done just about everything else. Does she really need to do this one too?
Despite the overwhelming support for the women to main event WrestleMania, it's still up in the air. Rollins and Lynch are both promoting their respective matches as the main event. If WWE is still on the fence, adding Flair may prove to sway them towards the women headlining the show.
The match will have the star power of three of the biggest names in women's wrestling, and it will look amazing on the posters. It has only made the match that much hotter. Flair brings the spotlight to anything she touches and the more spotlight that's on the women's match, the more likely it will go on last.
WWE doesn't follow a strict set of rules, and that's fine. It is theater after all. However, when you have something as clear cut as the winner of the Royal Rumble gets to challenge for a title at WrestleMania, you can't play fast and loose with it.
Usually, if someone makes it into a match after the fact, they have to at least fight their way in. There were other ways to get here without totally throwing out the Royal Rumble. Flair could've gotten into the match on a technicality considering Lynch was arguably never a legal entrant. By that logic, she was the last one standing and she won the Royal Rumble.
Instead, Vince McMahon just decided it didn't count because he said so.
Before Monday night, this feud had one really great storyline. It's Rousey vs. Lynch, the fight that never happened. It feels deeply personal, with how easily Lynch has managed to get in Rousey's head. With Flair added to the match, it becomes three really great storylines.
In addition to Lynch and Rousey's beef, Rousey has every reason to hate Flair after the humiliation of Survivor Series. Flair and Lynch, of course, have had one of the most emotional programs in recent memory. The WrestleMania match will be able to work off all three these dynamics, so there would never be a dull moment.
Right now, the majority of the women's division is focused on those tag team championships. Flair, Rousey, and Lynch are the only ones not vying for the new titles. This leaves Asuka all by her lonesome.
At this point, who has a legitimate claim to challenge her? Naomi, Carmella, the Iiconics, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose are all predisposed until after Elimination Chamber. Without Flair available, they essentially have two options: have Asuka sit out of WrestleMania (which would be an insult) or bring in someone like Nikki Bella to challenge her.
It's hard to deny Flair's effect on women's wrestling in WWE. She is an incredibly strong worker who brings credibility—and style—to every single program she's in. Over the past few years, she's been instrumental to the rise of the women's division. Lest we forget, it's rumored that her match with Sasha Banks impressed Vince McMahon so much he came around to the idea of women as a serious draw.
She is very good at what she does and she's worked hard to hold this spot on the roster. Flair will almost definitely main event WrestleMania at some point in her career. Does it need to be this year? Well...
Lynch has earned this moment. She's earned it by being one of the most consistent workers WWE had to offer for years. She's earned it by taking her shot, which could've just been yet another heel turn, and hitting a home run. And she's earned it by sheer force of will.
A year ago, the match was Rousey vs. Flair, Lynch wasn't even in the conversation. She's always had our hearts but by pushing herself and her stories further at every possible moment, she's on a whole new level.
Flair doesn't match that, not this year. A run like this is rare, and when it comes along they simply cannot squander it. A one-on-one match provides the biggest opportunity for Lynch to prove she's not just a passing fad. She was ready for this, but now with Flair taking over, we're gonna have to see what happens come April.