Hello everyone and thanks for reading Planet Kayfabe. Happy Thanksgiving, America. A good time to reflect on what you're thankful for and I'm thankful for all of you who continue to read my work every week. I appreciate it.
Well, another week; another turn in WWE. Actually, I'm not sure if this was a "turn" or more of a change in attitude for Charlotte. What I'm going to get into this week is what I liked and what I did not like about this new direction. I think they did a lot of things right at Survivor Series and a few things wrong on the fall-out show on Smackdown. In the end I'm still thinking they should go with a more traditional turn for 'The Queen'.
At Survivor Series you had a pretty anti-Raw crowd and an anti-Ronda Rousey crowd despite it being her home town. Charlotte got herself disqualified and lost her shit after the match going on a pretty brutal assault on the Raw Women's Champion. The crowd loved it and it was a great post-match beating. I'm not sure if the initial goal was to turn Charlotte heel, but the fans cheered because they would have cheered just about anyone taking a beating to Ronda on that night. Regardless it was a smart move because Charlotte needed some life injected into her. With Becky being the hottest thing in the women's division (perhaps even in the company right now) Charlotte was left cold after decisively losing her feud with 'The Man' Becky Lynch.
A couple short days later Charlotte came out on Smackdown. Still cheered. Good sign. Then she got on the mic. That's where things got a little confusing for me. It seemed like WWE was trying to turn her into another Becky Lynch and it just wasn't clicking. The attitude isn't quite the same and the overall feel was more bitchy bully than cool badass. Smackdown established that this was more an attitude change than a turn from good-guy to bad-guy. SD General Manager Paige fined her $100,000 for her post-match attack on Ronda and the referees, so yeah, they are going for another 'Stone Cold' vibe here, I guess. Again, it wasn't clicking and no one really cared that Charlotte was fined. The IIconics came out, who are heels, to face Charlotte so despite what Wikipedia currently says, this was not a turn of from face to heel alignment. More WWE's attempt at showing a different side of Charlotte.
That's fine, though. When done right. However on Survivor Series, Charlotte was evenly matched or even bested. On Smackdown they trot out two lower level comedy heels who never win. The IIconics came out doing their usual bit. First Charlotte beat Billie Kay, as expected. Next she straight up taunted Peyton Royce to get in the ring, again coming off more like a bully. Before the break Peyton slowly went up on the apron as if she was going to stand up to Charlotte and THE FANS CHEERED! I don't mean they cheered like "YAY another match" they applauded her standing up on the apron because Charlotte was coming off as such a bitch here that it almost turned the IIconics babyface.
Coming back from the break Charlotte is now in an official match with Peyton Royce. Billie Kay got involved helping her friend which got the match thrown out. The IIconics continue to beat down Charlotte.
What are the fans doing?
Cheering the IIconics? No.
Chanting for Charlotte? No.
They were chanting for Becky and I hope you're paying attention, WWE, because it wouldn't be the last time the fans were chanting for Becky on this show that did not feature Becky.
Charlotte made her comeback and beat down both members of the IIconics to the outside to an... ok... reaction. Charlotte is an outstanding worker but I think her promo hurt her a bit here. She is just an average promo and sometimes a pretty bad promo. This show kicked off with her cutting a below average promo with poor material. That's not good, obviously. She said she did what she did for Smackdown. Cost the brand the match after losing self-control? I know she means the beat down, but if she lost fairly, said "f*** it" and snapped on Ronda post match I could understand her reasoning a little better. When Paige came out it got even worse when she acted like she didn't know what the next PPV was called. The delivery was just weird. I guess the best I can explain it is by saying go back and watch it yourself. Another awkward part was where she is screaming about wanting to stomp Ronda's face into a chair "a zillion times" like an angry child and then suddenly goes into an innocent soft voice saying "nobody is going to stop me". Maybe someone better at promos could have gotten that to work, but her delivery was just weird and you could tell the crowd didn't know how to react to her.
This whole time she tried doing a cool/cocky bit but while Charlotte is great at being cocky she doesn't come off as that cool on TV. The longer it went on, the more clear it became that they want to stick with Charlotte vs Ronda at Wrestlemania and the best way to get Charlotte over was to make her out to be Becky Lynch. However, Charlotte just came off as bootleg Becky here. Paige dresses down Charlotte for taking out five WWE officials while Charlotte has a huge shit eating grin on her face and pretty much no-sells being fined. Plus, her dad's gimmick is being a big spender so its not like any fans were going to feel sympathetic towards her. Things went downhill further when the IIconics came out. They do fine in their roles but the crowd was dead and Charlotte's retorts back to them were just poor. Again, to pull off this 'Stone Cold' type feel you have to be a cool badass motherf***er and Charlotte just comes off as a big bellowing bitch here.
If indeed they are trying to make Charlotte more popular by making her like Becky, allow me to remind them what got Becky over. Becky didn't get over just by being a bitch. She didn't get over just by one day suddenly changing her character and saying "this is the new me" and fans just cheered because WWE thinks fans just like to cheer heels for the hell of it. No. Becky got over because she started to gain momentum while Charlotte was away while Carmella was champion. Becky earned a title shot and then Charlotte came back, earned a shot her night back. The championship match at SummerSlam became a 3 way and Charlotte won after attacking her supposed best friend FROM BEHIND and beating her, not the champion Carmella, for the title.
After the match Becky snapped on her friend and fans cheered because they felt she was justified. Fans of Becky have long felt she was being underutilized. Once her supporters got the tease of a push and championship run only to have yet another prize for Charlotte it turned fans on Charlotte hard and Becky's supporters became even more vocal.
Now, compare to this. Was Charlotte really justified for snapping on Ronda the way Becky did on Charlotte? Not really. She took the chickenshit route out of the match. The only reason people cheered because they didn't like Ronda and Raw came off as the heel brand. If Charlotte did that same finish on Becky do you think anyone's cheering? I don't. How about on Asuka who got a bigger pop than Charlotte did when Becky was going to pick her replacement? Of course not. Charlotte would have gotten booed hard for resorting to DQ'ing herself out of a match. Also there is not one single fan who feels Charlotte is not getting a fair shake by the company. In fact there's a lot of fans who think the company overrates her simply because she is the daughter of Ric Flair. So, she is not going to get the sympathy vote there either. No more than Roman Reigns got sympathy for saying Brock Lesnar was "Vince's boy" when Roman was the strongest booked and most heavily featured wrestler of the last half decade in WWE.
Since turning, Becky has completely owned this new character of her's. On social media before and a couple unscripted times on Talking Smack she showed some of this quippy side of her. Becky's insults are usually pretty deep and funny. She comes off as cool and relatable. Charlotte doesn't have that vibe. Her delivery comes off as forced. She's "The Queen" and Ric Flair's daughter so she's about as relatable to the audience as Stephanie McMahon is. She's not even close to the level a promo that Becky is so her insults come off as forced WWE scripted dialogue instead of natural insults that came from her own mind at the moment.
I've said plenty of times Charlotte is better off as a heel. This "turn" though feels more like WWE is trying to fool the fans into wanting a Charlotte vs Ronda match at WrestleMania instead of Becky Lynch in that spot. People are comparing Becky Lynch to Steve Austin because of her attitude and badass demeanor. The fans accept Becky because we are seeing a new side to her and she is kicking ass and taking names. They always supported her, so they continued to support her even when the company wanted you to boo her. So, its an entirely different dynamic than what they have with Charlotte. They aren't going to be able to turn Charlotte into the blonde Becky much longer before fans catch on and start groaning at it.
Charlotte is good at being cocky and confident, as I said, she's just not good at coming off as that cool. The best role for her is still as the overbearing heel with a Hall of Fame legacy to flaunt around and use her intimidating near 6-foot tall presence to bully the other women on the roster. Do you remember how Charlotte turned babyface? It wasn't an angle. Ric Flair had a near-death medical emergency. Charlotte took a little time off to be with him and when she returned the fans cheered her because they were sympathetic towards her real-life situation. She just came back on TV as a babyface. That was it. It has been over a year since then. Thankfully, Ric is fine. However in my opinion Charlotte has not been a great babyface character. Keyword: "Character". She's good at wrestling as a babyface. She does a few flashy and athletic moves and in big-match situations makes the fans feel like they are witnessing something great. When it comes to building on a story and wanting to see her overcome the odds and take down a heel -- forget it. On the mic she has very little charisma as a babyface. Becky comes off as very likable. Charlotte comes off as a robot. As a heel Charlotte felt much more natural. As a smiling babyface she seemed uncomfortable. Now they are trying to make her an edgy babyface and the delivery just sucks. In curious to see where it goes but I think it wont take long, maybe even next week, where Charlotte is trying to be Bootleg Becky
Becky Lynch was in a blood feud with Charlotte and after Nia Jax #ChairBreaker or whatever they call her legitimately concussed her and chose Charlotte as her replacement the crowd did not like when they hugged for the most part. I personally hated it. It was another one of those WWE moments when you feel everything you just watched was totally fake and nothing mattered. The hug felt like a way to get Charlotte over but I think it only made Becky look weak and hopefully it doesn't hurt her too much. Pair that with the recent new attitude for Charlotte and there being no mention about Becky ever getting her shot at Ronda it feels like WWE is already trying to push the Smackdown Women's Champion aside and try to use Becky's heat to get Charlotte over. It seems weird, but sometimes its hard to connect WWE dots. On Smackdown it seemed painfully obvious to me that they were trying to turn Charlotte into a copy of Becky. The only thing is WWE didn't make Becky. Becky didn't get over because of WWE's genius booking and storytelling. She got over in spite over and most of it is due to her natural charisma as a babyface. Something Charlotte simply doesn't have. Charlotte was over in an anti-Raw/anti-Ronda setting but on Smackdown in the same town when she was out there on the mic there were "Becky" chants. When she was getting double-teamed by The IIconics there were "Becky" chants. Do you think if Becky was getting beat up by The IIconics there would be calls from the fans for Charlotte to come out? No. There would not be.
Thanks for reading this Thanksgiving Day edition of Planet Kayfabe. Of course I'm thankful for all of you reading this and witnessing the last valuable days of my sanity. I know there's a lot of Charlotte fans out there, so if you took this piece as me burying her, I should make it clear that I'm a fan of her's as well. I don't want anyone to tweet me @PlanetKayfabe or leaving comments below about how I'm a "hater". Far from it. I think Charlotte is awesome. I just see WWE trying to fit a square peg in a round slot here. Every time I talk about her I put her over as one of, if not the best female talent in WWE today. I said her match with Ronda was the match of the night at Survivor Series. However, she is not a great promo or a great babyface. You might like her in either role and that's fine but if you think that promo on Smackdown was great or on par with ANY of the stuff Becky has been doing this fall you're only trying to kid yourself.
I hope you all have safe travels and a safe weekend with Black Friday and all. My best to everyone out there working retail in this mess. Head over to nodq.com/shirts and get 20% off your order for this Black Friday sale. There's shirts for all the NoDQ channel contributors and me because I'm special and there's some new designs as well so go take another look. There's a new TJS shirt designed by yours truly that you might not minding flushing a few bucks for.
For NoDQ, I'm KC this is Planet Kayfabe and I'll see you here next time. Take care, everyone. Happy birthday to Aaron Rift. God bless.