In what was undoubtedly the most hotly anticipated women’s match in WWE history, Becky Lynch was all set to challenge “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey on the grandest stage of them all for the RAW Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 35 on April 7. For Lynch, this was her shot at wrestling immortality, but the McMahons had other ideas, handing her a 60-day suspension on RAW, and inexplicably giving her spot in the title match to Charlotte Flair.
But Becky’s WrestleMania dream is far from over. This latest setback is just another obstacle for our favorite underdog to run through, and anyone that knows Becky can tell you that she’s been overcoming the odds her entire career.
Becky’s recent explosion in popularity caught many critics off-guard, but the truth is that it takes untold years to become an overnight success in pro wrestling. I have a personal connection to the hardcore training that Becky endured as an up-and-coming wrestler, since I’m a 2001 graduate of NWA UK Hammerlock, the very same wrestling school where she learned to run the ropes back in 2002.
Becky’s mentors as a young trainee included the late Andre “Sledgehammer” Baker, who was a dominant force in British wrestling, and Finn Bálor, who is one of the best wrestlers on the current WWE roster. She wasn’t trained to merely be a ‘Sports Entertainer’; she’s a traditionally taught submission grappler with technical mat skills, along with some Russian Sambo and Bushido thrown in to complete this unique package of disciplines.
In conversations that I’ve had with Becky over the years, we’ve reflected on working through the ranks as an independent wrestler. She paid her dues by loading wrestling rings into vans after shows, then getting a few hours sleep on the ring ropes in the very same van as it traveled from town to town. She’s competed in dilapidated wrestling rings on the smallest of shows, and she’s commanded the spotlight in stadiums across Japan, the United Kingdom, and here in the United States. For Lynch, she can find a home in any ring, but the dream is always the same: to get the opportunity to showcase her talent on the biggest stage of ‘em all.
THE (ROCKY) ROAD TO STARDOM
Even after getting to the main WWE roster in 2015, Lynch suffered more than her fair share of heartbreaking booking decisions. She was relegated to the pre-show women’s battle royal at WrestleMania last year, followed by another blow: that same week, she would work an untelevised match on SmackDown, a sure-fire sign that main-event status was slipping from her grasp.
Over the past year, though, things changed. Becky’s character caught fire on WWE TV, and since that bottom-of-the-card bout on SmackDown last year, she’s soared to heights seldom seen, becoming the company’s biggest breakout Superstar since Daniel Bryan.
Just as her popularity was at its peak, an altercation with Nia Jax left her with a concussion and a broken nose, forcing her to miss her match against Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series. Unfazed, she still turned up for action the next day, despite doctors telling her that she was unfit to wrestle. She never expected anything less than for the road to WrestleMania to be an uphill battle, but there isn’t another wrestler, doctor, or McMahon that can get in her way.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE MAIN-EVENTER
The seemingly overnight recognition of her abilities has taken more than half her life to accomplish, and her victory at Royal Rumble paved the way to finally prove herself at the expense of the former UFC Champ, only for the rug to be pulled out from under her feet. But for Becky, this is familiar territory—she’s had to fight for every chance she’s ever been given.
The heart, fire, and skill possessed by Lynch has finally bloomed, and she will find a way, no matter how difficult, to be part of the RAW Women’s Championship match. Whether she beats her suspension and joins Rousey and Charlotte in a triple threat match, or causes outside interference just to leave her mark, make no mistake about it: Becky Lynch will have her WrestleMania moment.
WWE WrestleMania 35 is broadcast live via WWE Network on April 7th. For more info, or to get your first month FREE, visit wwe.com.