When Raw and SmackDown spilt into two different rosters in 2016, the blue brand’s first choice pick on the women’s side was Becky Lynch.
That choice was cemented when weeks later Lynch became the first-ever SmackDown Women’s champion and took her place at the top of the Tuesday night roster.
Alexa Bliss ended that title run in December 2016 and although the Dublin-native remained an integral part of WWE’s women’s evolution, she’s was somewhat cast aside when it came down to to fresh title opportunities.
Fast forward to summer 2018 and it seemed the Irish Lass Kicker has found new impetus on SmackDown, with a winning streak that saw her force her way back into the title picture and earn at SummerSlam shot at Carmella’s title this Sunday in Brooklyn. Only then for General Manager Paige to throw yet another hurdle in Becky’s way, by later adding best friend Charlotte Flair into the bout and making this weekend’s title match a triple-threat.
True to form though, Lynch is taking it in her stride and ready to upset the odds once again and finally reclaim her WWE SmackDown Women’s Title.
Becky, you’ve been on such a roll on SmackDown and deserving of your title shot. How did you then feel when Charlotte Flair was added to the match?
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t happy about it. Friendship aside, this is something I’ve been working hard for thanks to a hot winning streak since she’s been gone – nobody’s been able to beat me. Then when you get a spanner thrown in, you’re not going to be happy. But if there’s one thing I’m used to it’s climbing hills and overcoming obstacles. That’s what makes every victory all the sweeter.
We’ve seen on SmackDown how close you and Charlotte are as friends, but in the heat of the moment are you worried about her gaining an unfair advantage, given the dynamics of the match?
It’s a possibility, because it’s always a possibility in this industry. We’re all just one match, one victory away from success or failure, but these days my eyes are a lot more open than they ever have been before.
A year ago you failed to make the SummerSlam card, but you’ve worked your way to a title bout in 2018. What’s changed in those twelve months?
It’s not any one thing. I don’t think I’ve been resting on my laurels, I’ve been working non-stop. I haven’t been injured and have just taped things up and gone out there, so it’s just a matter of biding your time. The audience and the crowd has seen that and know how hungry I am for the opportunity, and that it’s just a matter of time. Their reaction towards me at Money In The Bank showed the company that the fans are really behind me and I want to prove them right and luckily the company has given me the chance.
You mention the crowd; you seem to have a unique bond with the WWE Universe that sees your popularity never waver. Why do you think that is?
I think it’s that struggle that fight, good vs. evil and not being pushover. Most people, not just in wrestling struggle for things and face uphill battles and the audience see that in me. I think they also know that I really appreciate them and I never take that for granted.
The triple-threat stipulation echoes memories of your classic bout with Charlotte and Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 32. Would you say that’s the best match of your career so far
That match at WrestleMania 32 has to be. For me when I came over from Ireland, what I said was is that I wanted to headline WrestleMania and I wanted to change the term ‘divas’ back to ‘women’ and to do both was amazing. Our heads were on massive posters around the stadium and we had the best match on the card and I felt like I achieved what I set out to do.
The three of you alongside Bayley have played huge parts in WWE’s evolution of the women’s division, what do you feel when you see how far it’s come
It’s unbelievable. When I got signed, women weren’t seen as a main feature of the show and were often seen as the bathroom break match. So I made a vow to make women’s wrestling cool and something people wanted to see, and Sasha, Bayely and Charlotte had the exact same vision. We had these matches on the NXT roster that were on a par with the men’s, where on the main roster it was just thirty second matches that had no time to develop any story.
That’s what started the whole #givedivasachance, because Nikki Bella had a match that lasted just minutes but the audience saw what we could do. That sparked the revolution, turned into the evolution and we just keep breaking down glass ceilings. TLC matches, Ladder matches, Royal Rumbles, Hell in a Cells, the list goes on and now here we are with our own pay-per-view.
Yes Evolution is on the horizon in October. If you were given the chance to choose your match for that event, what would be your dream scenario
I wouldn’t mind it being a Four Horsewomen match. Having myself, Bayley, Sasha and Charlotte in a Fatal Four-Way. Or if Lita’s coming back then I’d like to face her. She was the one I used to watch growing up and thought I could be like her.
She was a tomboy and funky and could relate to her like nobody else. I often think what if I didn’t have a role model like her. It be very cool to get in the ring with her.
What do you say to the minor few who have questioned if a women’s only pay-per-view won’t be as popular a standard show
When you look at a show, the women’s segments are often the highest rated parts of the show. They carry a storyline through that show and we’ve done that time and time again. We need to get rid of this old outlook that we aren’t able to put on matches like the guys do, because we already are. We should be able too, this is our job and this is our passion, this is what we put our entire lives into. Gender shouldn’t be determined, it shouldn’t even be a factor, and with the right storylines and talent we have we’re going to blow the roof off the place.
Lastly, you’re one of the few that has remained on one brand since the WWE draft. How much do you enjoy SmackDown and would you like a stint back on Raw
I love it over here; love the family, the community. I love that it’s not the flagship show, I love that uphill battle we have to make people really care about SmackDown Live because It doesn’t always get the attention that Raw does. It’s that underground feel and gives off that feeling that we constantly have to prove ourselves. Being the first women drafted to SmackDown Live was a huge honour, and I wanted to make this the women’s division to watch and very quickly we made sure that happened.
SummerSlam will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. UK viewers can tune in on Sky Sports Box Office or watch on the award-winning WWE Network. Sign up now and get your first month free from www.wwe.com/wwenetwork