At WWE TLC 2018, Becky Lynch will defend the SmackDown Women’s Championship in a Triple Threat match against Charlotte Flair and Asuka in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Based on their work over the last several months, the women of SmackDown Live haven’t just earned a spot in the main event of a PPV. They are WWE’s main event.
Becky Lynch has always been a popular WWE Superstar, and anyone who bothered to watch her backstage segments as a babyface understood that she had the talent to become one of the company’s best talkers if given some real material to sink her teeth into.
Her reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion has turned this title into the most important championship in WWE, even though the promotion would like to pretend that mainstream stars Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey are a main attraction. Whereas those two are contrived main event stars who simply bore WWE’s actual audience, Becky’s delivery, social media chops, and unremitting bad-assery have made her WWE’s biggest star in this moment.
Last night on SmackDown Live, GM Paige booked a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Though Lynch defeated Charlotte in a Last Woman Standing match that should have been Evolution’s main event (that honor was, of course, bestowed upon Rousey) and was the best main roster match of 2018, the bad blood between these two superstars hasn’t ceased.
Becky has accused Charlotte of being a “bootleg” version of her, and she sees Flair has nothing more than an entitled copy who switched from copying her legendary father to copying “The Man” herself. The highly-anticipated confrontation on SmackDown Live didn’t disappoint, with Becky once again blowing everyone else out of the water with her captivating, piercing words.
However, the rest of the SmackDown Women’s Division, babyface included, took issue with Paige booking this TLC match between Charlotte and Becky. While their rivalry has been the defining rivalry of 2018 on the WWE main roster, it was fair for Naomi, Mandy Rose, and others to be upset at Paige failing to give them their fair shot at the title.
And technically, Becky agreed, quipping that she’d “smack everyone one of you dopes”, which is a claim that seems to be more of an inevitability than a threat, given that Becky once shrugged off a broken nose and concussion to beat the living hell out of Rousey on her own turf.
The larger statement of the entire SmackDown Women’s Division confronting “Team PCB” isn’t lost on me. Charlotte vs. Becky has taken center stage in WWE – and for good reason – but the truth is that the other women on SmackDown Live deserve to be praised for their quietly strong work over these past several months.
Carmella has remained entertaining in her partnership with R-Truth, showing fans that she can literally work with anybody to make us all laugh. Naomi and Asuka are valued members of the roster, even if it doesn’t always seem that way, and their recently-formed tag team is already one of the best in WWE in terms of both in-ring and promos.
The IIconics, though frequent losers, are one of the few effective heels on the roster, and their execution is often underpraised by fans who focus too much on how “annoying” they are, failing to realize that this is what makes them such important players in the division. And, finally, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose have climbed the ladder from “rookies” to “future stars”, with Rose’s improved promos a sight to behold, as evidenced by the fact that she was the one to hold the microphone on behalf of the heels.
Paige wasn’t about to deny this hard-working group of women their fair shot, as she booked a Battle Royal on SmackDown, with the winner being inserted into the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at the TLC Pay Per View. After an entertaining Battle Royal that, once again, showed why women’s wrestling in WWE has been superior to men’s wrestling in 2018 (compare their work last night to any men’s battle royal this year and you’ll see why), Asuka emerged victorious, creating a dream match pitting Becky, Charlotte, and Asuka against each other.
These three women are among the best wrestlers on the planet and among the most popular superstars in WWE. The pop that Asuka received when Becky teased choosing her to face Rousey at Survivor Series was massive, and contrary to what fans who don’t actually watch WWE every week will tell you, Asuka was not, in fact, ruined by her feud with Carmella. As disturbing as it was to see her lose to frivolous distractions and painfully soft finishes, Asuka’s transcendent in-ring talent and understated charisma have kept her popular with WWE’s fanbase.
Though the match at TLC focuses on the rivalry between Charlotte and Becky, Asuka has just as much motivation to win this match. Revenge is the only thing on her mind, because not only did Charlotte take her streak from her at WrestleMania 34, but Asuka is also out to prove to everyone else in that locker room that she’s still the best. As much as Asuka likes to have fun, especially in her tag team with Naomi, those losses in title matches to Carmella haven’t been forgotten so easily, especially by a woman whose killer instinct never left her.
With a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match fought among Becky, Charlotte, and Asuka scheduled for a Pay Per View where Rousey will face Nia Jax, the Universal Title won’t be defended, and the WWE Championship (which never main events on its own anyway) will be a rematch; there is absolutely no reason for the SmackDown Women’s Championship match to take place in any spot other than the main event.
AJ Styles likes to claim that SmackDown Live is the “house” that he built, but it was foreclosed a long time ago during his ho-hum reign…and it was taken by force by “The Man” and the rest of the SmackDown Women’s Division.
WWE belongs to the women of SmackDown Live, who have been the strongest part of this company this fall and have more than earned a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, which is the first-ever women’s TLC match, in December.
They are the main event, and the dream match of Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Becky at TLC will undoubtedly leave fans with lasting memories, in the same way that Charlotte vs. Becky rewrote history at Evolution. Perhaps Raw can take notice in their own women’s division, but, alas, just asking for the SmackDown Women’s Championship to main event TLC is probably requesting too much from a company that moves at its own, sluggish pace.