It’s been a year now since the incredible invasion of RAW before Survivor Series. It was the week of the show and it was the women who invaded the red brand and to lead them, of course, was none other than the SmackDown Women’s Champion at the time – Becky Lynch. Lynch had been on a complete roll at that point, having just won the Women’s title a few weeks prior.
She had all the momentum in the world since it was the period where WWE tried to push her as a heel and it completely backfired, with her popularity as a babyface only exploding. The chants got louder, the merchandise sold faster and she was getting all the attention. After Evolution, it was revealed that she would be taking on Ronda Rousey in a dream Champion vs Champion match.
In the eyes of fans, this was the main event of the PPV. There was no match bigger and no match that featured two superstars of their caliber or with as much momentum. We must remember that this was the period where Ronda Rousey was quickly putting away doubters by having great performance upon great performance.
She gained the respect of the WWE Universe since she was appearing week in and week out and wasn’t just any random part-time champion. And the fact that Becky Lynch had attacked her and led a war against her locker room made her all the more impressive. However, as we know, things didn’t exactly go to plan and the domino effect of all of that is incredible to think of even now.
There’s no denying that Becky Lynch had the favor of higher-ups after her heel turn, but this angle seemed to take her to a whole new level and it was all due to one accidental punch. That’s right, the moment where Nia Jax legitimately punched Becky Lynch saw The Man get busted open badly and concussed. Somehow on autopilot mode, she completed her job and struck Ronda Rousey repeatedly with a steel chair, all while her face was covered in a large shade of crimson red. She would retreat with the other women through the audience and the final shot of RAW saw a furious Ronda Rousey staring across, with Becky Lynch’s face covered in blood. That shot was undoubtedly one of the coolest of that year and one of the best endings to RAW.
Unfortunately, as cool as she looked and as much hype as the segment had, the match wasn’t to be as Becky Lynch was diagnosed with a concussion. She was immediately pulled from the match and despite being concussed, she showed up the next night to SmackDown to announce her replacement – Charlotte Flair.
There was a lot of disappointment, but the fact that Flair vs Rousey was happening so prematurely meant that they probably couldn’t repeat the match at WrestleMania (as it was the originally planned main event). It was around this time that rumors started floating about that Vince McMahon was high on Becky Lynch and the plan at the time was to insert her into the WrestleMania main event.
It felt like at the time, Becky Lynch had become undeniable. The popularity she had and the momentum she was in was unparalleled and there was not a superstar, male or female, who could match that. And even when losing her title, she would regain her momentum. Charlotte Flair’s match with Ronda Rousey had an indecisive finish, keeping the door open for that feud, but when those women crossed paths again, it wouldn’t be them alone.
Things started falling into place for Becky Lynch, who would lose her rematch in a classic Royal Rumble opener, but finish the night as the winner of the second-ever Women’s Royal Rumble. A night later, she stood toe-to-toe with Ronda Rousey and the challenge was made. As you know, Charlotte would find her way and be added to the match, but it was clear that the feud was centered around getting Becky Lynch over.
She was the relatable “average person” to the fans and in their eyes, represented a lifetime of hard work rather than Charlotte Flair, who was handed a silver spoon (not denying that she worked hard) and Ronda Rousey, who was handed her spot due to her popularity. Everything seemed to align perfectly and the cherry on the cake was when it was announced that the triple threat match would main event WrestleMania.
It’s crazy to think that one punch changed the course of the storyline and subsequently, WWE history. Had Becky Lynch not been in that spot, it’s unlikely that the main event would have the same buzz or success. It was a roller coaster of a journey and for those who followed Becky Lynch from her NXT days, there wasn’t any coronation more satisfying than this one. As Lynch put it herself, those three seconds took a lifetime to achieve. A year later, that legitimate knockout punch from Nia Jax changed the course of WWE history as we know it!