Alexa Bliss made her highly-anticipated return to in-ring competition at the Royal Rumble Pay Per View, and the three-time WWE Raw Women’s Champion looked better than ever inside the ring.
WWE Raw‘s Women’s Division is loaded with talent, especially with Lacey Evans and Nikki Cross making appearances on the brand ahead of WrestleMania season. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Ronda Rousey, Alicia Fox, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss have all held gold in their careers, and the likes of the Riott Squad, Dana Brooke, Tamina, and Ember Moon round out the rest of this division.
Bliss is no longer at the top of the totem pole, but the WWE Universe is more behind her than ever before. It’s true what they say; absence makes the heart go fonder, and it’s basically a golden rule in wrestling nowadays. Even a heel will return to a pop after missing months with an injury, and that pop becomes even more massive when said heel is also popular among the fans.
She received that ovation at the Royal Rumble when she entered the ring, and she shined brightly during the match, joining the likes of Natalya, Ember Moon, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Nia Jax, Kacy Catanzaro, Naomi, and Charlotte Flair as standouts.
The match picked up quite a bit when Bayley and Bliss made their entrances, and a large part of that has to do with Bliss’s more electric offense. Her offense as a heel was predictably slower and more methodical, but Bliss, who stood out in multiple sports before joining WWE, has always been capable of being more, shall we say, exciting in the ring with flips and tricks.
Bliss showed off more of that skill on post-Rumble episode of WWE Raw in a qualifying tag match with Mickie James. The duo faced off against heels Nia and Tamina, who won the match, and Bliss briefly stole the show with her new “Disknee” move.
Well, at least, that’s what Mike Rome wants to call it, and while it’s not quite the right fit…it’s better than the joke names Ryan Pappolla was asked to say.
The move itself is a back-flip where Bliss drives her knees into an opponent’s mid-section, and it’s a transitional signature move that adds another layer to her in-ring work. It seems like Bliss is back as a babyface due to the predicted favorable crowd response, the match against Nia and Tamina, the new offense, and the pre-Rumble face-off against Evans.
Unlike last year, Bliss isn’t heading into WrestleMania as the Raw Women’s Champion, but there may be more excitement around her character. Fans have been wanting to cheer for Bliss for quite some time, even getting suckered in by her “heartfelt speech” after last year’s Elimination Chamber title defense. Furthermore, Bliss looks significantly better in the ring, which can mostly be attributed to the seemingly more expansive offense afforded to her by this apparent face turn.
Plus, everything Bliss has done in the ring this past week has more “snap” to it. For example, before hitting her “Blissknee” (or whatever it’s going to be called) on Tamina, she countered an armdrag into a lovely pin, got out of it with a bridge, and then hit her backflip.
It’s always exciting to see a wrestler getting to showcase different aspects of their game as a character and an athlete, and I always like seeing how performers evolve or transition into different roles. Assuming that’s the case here with Alexa Bliss, these next several months should be another excellent run in her career, especially since she seems to be healthy after a scary bout with concussions.