By Haydn Gleed
”Patience You Must Have, my young Padawan”. – Master Yoda Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Join me in the Dot Net Time Machine. Let me take you back a couple of weeks to when Bayley won the Raw Women’s Championship on Raw. Let’s bypass the mess that is the current Raw women’s division and the destruction of the pure babyface character, and let’s focus on that one moment. In a vacuum, it was a wonderful moment for Bayley, who had always dreamt of this moment, but it could have been so much better for the viewers of Raw. Let me give you one of my almost contractually obligated soccer references.
As the majority of you reading this will know, I’m a huge soccer fan and more specifically a huge Cardiff City Football Club fan. For years growing up I stood in a stand with no roof in the pouring rain in the middle of a cold December Tuesday night watching my team play what could loosely be described as football. During those times, I dreamt of my home town club being with the elite of the Premier League, to be the team that the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool would come and play. For twenty years, I watched my team in the bottom division struggling, and then we started to rise through the leagues. Eventually, we were one tier below the Premiership, the prize and dream of regular top tier football was in sight. Year after year, there was heartbreak and failure. You will never experience sporting emotional pain as much as I did the day that we lost a one-off playoff match against Blackpool with the winner getting promoted and achieving what I dreamt for my club. Several years and more heartache and failure, we finally did it. We won the league.
Looking back, the agony of defeat meant that the taste of success was all the more sweeter. Yes, I went through some dark times experiencing the failure of my team achieving what I wanted them to, but I wouldn’t change a thing because without them I wouldn’t have enjoyed the success as much as I did.
Moving the conversation back to wrestling and, more specifically, Bayley, where was the journey that we should have been taken on that was so well crafted for her in NXT? Where was the agony of defeat and the joy of overcoming the odds? Where was the moment when you were on the edge of the seat begging for Bayley to finally win the title that she had come so so close to only to agonizingly have it taken away? There wasn’t any of that, wham bam thank you ma’am, here’s the title. Yay, I guess.
To take a movie analogy, Luke Skywalker confronted Darth Vader in Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back. They had a brief duel in a scene made famous by Vader revealing his relation to Luke. What if Luke had run the light saber through Vader before that revelation came out? Yes, it would be a joyous moment that Luke had beaten the evil man in the shiny black suit but then what? What would have Return Of The Jedi been like? Essentially, a fun first act of Luke and Co trying to save Princess Leia and then running around woods hugging furry cuddly bears (hey I did manage to tie it into Bayley). My point being, you wouldn’t have had the storyline twist of Luke, the embodiment of youth, purity, and ambition having to deal with his own emotions of where he came from, not to mention the physical pain of losing a hand (thank goodness for not so modern medical technology a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away).
What should have happened is Charlotte retaining her title despite a moment or moments where it looked like Bayley had achieved her dream just to have it taken from her. We should have then been taken on a ride with the character where she goes through hardship, but she overcomes all obstacles and then finally at WrestleMania, on the grandest stage of them all, despite everything that is thrown at her, she comes out on top. Ideally, she should have had to go back to the bottom and work her way up, but I’m understanding that the Raw Women’s Division depth wouldn’t allow for that, but you know what I’m saying. Perhaps you have moments where Bayley is questioning herself, thinking if perhaps the jump to the main roster was too much of a leap for her and she has reached the peak of where she’s ever going to be.
Fans/viewers need to stop wanting instant gratification and instead be patient and hope for stories to be told. I’ve heard from people who want to see Samoa Joe against Finn Balor at WrestleMania this year. Yes, it would be a great match in a vacuum if it’s given the time. But firstly, you would have a returning star who needs wins to be taken credibly after only being on the main roster for a cup of coffee before being injured, and a man who is being built as a monster. Who is going to win the match? Second and most importantly, what’s the story? Why would these two big potential stars be facing each other for the first time on the main roster? What’s the storyline or emotional hook? What’s going to make me remember this match in five, ten, twenty years time? Again it’ll be a good quality match, but would it be as good as it could be with a good storyline and a reason for it happening where you are desperate for The Demon to slay his…uh…demon in Samoa Joe? I would argue no.
We have to be patient in order for the gratification to be as special as it can be. Instead of the instant fast food like thrill of seeing what you want now, it should be a long lovingly prepared gourmet meal of a moment. WWE does not seem to want to tell these long term stories anymore and I fear until the paying public are willing to show patience, this will continue and we will lose these opportunities of great happiness for characters we love and admire for the sake of a quick slice of satisfaction. Patience you must have, indeed,
As always, if you agree or disagree feel free to get in touch via twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com