For the past month or so on SmackDown Live, Ember Moon has been feuding with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in one of the more understated stories on WWE television.
This feud has yet to reach the inside of a WWE ring, but these three women have quietly intensified their feud week after week in backstage vignettes.
The gist of said storyline is that Ember Moon – a self-professed, proud “nerd” – just wants to be left alone backstage and indulge in her nerdom (i.e. read anime, play her Nintendo Switch, etc). Why not, right? If you’re not booked for in-ring matches, why not catch up on some reading and play some video games backstage? No one should take issue with that. Except Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville are exactly the ones to take umbrage with that.
The animosity between both parties started off small. Mandy and Sonya just made snide comments toward Ember and trying to force Mandy’s fitness magazine cover onto her. After a week or two, this persisted until Ember ripped one of those aforementioned magazines in half. That soon escalated into the dastardly duo smashing the former NXT Women’s Champion’s video game system and most recently, all three being interlocked into a backstage brawl.
And all Ember Moon wanted was to be left alone.
This storyline either hasn’t received as much attention as I think it deserves, or has received some flak from critics. I understand why some may criticize this – admittedly, it sounds silly on paper – but personally, I think WWE did a swell job with this storyline so far.
Compared to most WWE storylines, this one has been surprisingly understated. Since they tend to book on a week to week basis, it seems rare that the promotion plays ahead so tightly in advance, but it at least appears that WWE went in with a plan for this storyline, hence why it appears to deliver such a slow build. Rather than immediately take the feud to the ring after week one, it took WWE weeks before a match was actually teased most recently.
With every passing week, this storyline has escalated and intensified in small ways that suits the bully angle that WWE’s going for. Things slowly intensified week after week until tensions reached their zenith this past week. It’s all been executed in a way that I think a lot of people could possibly relate to.
Even if you can’t say you’ve ever been bullied, we all know humans have a limit when it comes to being disrespected. You can poke the bear only so many times before the bear pokes – or bites – back.
Ember Moon is that bear.
Considering how long she’s been absent from WWE television, especially following her injury setback, I think this is a great storyline that can get Moon over in the eyes of WWE’s younger audience; children who could relate to being bullied or perhaps being bullied currently in school. Ember Moon represents that timid, reserved child who just wants to be left alone, but keeps getting picked on by schoolyard bullies before fighting back.
Moon has done a great job at selling the character of an increasingly annoyed loner who tries to stay composed until finally being pushed too far. Meanwhile, Rose and Deville have done a marvelous job at being believably obnoxious and in her face to the point that audiences want to see them get their just desserts. No donut pun intended, by the way.
In addition to the story itself, I must say I find it refreshing that WWE found a way to book a women’s storyline that doesn’t have a title on the line. More often than not, WWE struggle with writing non-title stories for women. While it’s debatable to say they hit a home run with this storyline yet, I’m just glad that WWE found a way to book a feud without any woman involved being a champion or centered in a title picture.
Following this latest brawl, I’m hoping that the next natural step in this rivalry is to put these women into a match. Specifically, one between Sonya Deville and Ember Moon as their brawl seemed to tease. If WWE continue to play their cards right with this one, this may go down in the history books as a storyline more memorable than we’re giving it credit for.