How Becky Lynch Became 'The Man'
The Man. The first person to call him or herself "The Man" in professional wrestling on a regular basis was Ric Flair. While many will debate Nature Boy's in-ring athleticism, outside-the-ring choices or repetitive match formula, nobody can deny that he personified the moniker of "The Man."
Triple H has used the name at times since then, but Becky Lynch is here to claim it once and for all. And fans are with her.
Lynch has taken the wrestling industry by storm in recent months, dubbing herself the newest version of "The Man."
Get to know the story behind Lynch and her journey to the top of the WWE.
Cult of Personality
Becky Lynch is taking full advantage of her newfound opportunity. An original pioneer of this new era of women’s wrestling, Lynch had been pushed down the card in the beginning of 2018. Although she was working programs on TV, they were not filled with much fire.
Wrestling fans know when WWE is behind a talent, and when they are not. The latter seemed to be the case, and dealing with that situation has led to the downfall of several promising careers.
'Money in the Bank'
WWE could not deny the crowd’s affinity for Lynch during the "Money in the Bank" ladder match in June 2018, and she was afforded a return to the spotlight over the summer, gaining momentum by racking up wins on Smackdown for weeks on end until she was granted a title match at SummerSlam.
Her supposed friend Charlotte Flair was added to the match, and won by disrupting what looked to be Lynch’s shining moment. Lynch snapped and beat Flair down, a supposed heel turn, but the fans went along with Lynch.
Despite pushing back for a couple of weeks, WWE gave in to the fans, and the little tweak on Lynch’s character has led her to one of the hottest runs by anyone in recent memory.
Prior to establishing this new, arrogant, badass persona, Lynch gained popularity on social media for her propensity to use props and puns to give promos or enhance her current storylines. Some of her finest work can be seen on Twitter (here) and YouTube (here and here).
The Number Pun contender has spent her entire main roster career reaching out to connect with the audience. All that reaching out has established a real-life connection, and Lynch’s evolution from backstage jokester to the Conor McGregor of WWE would have been impossible without such a foundation.
The Champ Is Here
The last two years, Lynch has experienced the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, routinely being left off of pay-per-view shows and having meaningless losses on SmackDown. With such forgettable experiences in her recent past, it’s easy to forget that Lynch was the first-ever SmackDown Live women’s champion, defeating Carmella in the inaugural tournament.
In Lynch's WWE career so far, she has the second-longest tenure of having that recently designed blue title belt around her waist, falling just short of Flair’s 175 days as champion with two runs of more than 80 days apiece.
Lynch never got a run with the Raw women’s championship in her brief time on the show. She competed for the title in the first match when it was up for grabs, losing to Flair in a triple threat with Sasha Banks.
Lynch broke into the main roster alongside two other notable wrestlers — Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair — debuting in an otherwise forgettable storyline involving three trios of women. Fellow former NXT star Bayley joined the roster later.
Those four dubbed themselves the Four Horsewomen of NXT. They were known for their work rate and ability to put on captivating matches, the best of which was a fatal-four-way clash at NXT Takeover: Rival.
Showing respect to the original Four Horsemen (an evolving faction starting in the 1980s that originally consisted of Ric Flair, Ole, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), the four women often are seen together in photos holding up four fingers, suggesting a potential unification in the future.
Social Media Savvy
Lynch has 1.48 million followers on Twitter and 3.4 million on Instagram. In addition to high-level puns on social media and backstage, Lynch has shown some sharp teeth in her Twitter mentions since the attitude change. She turned up the heat in a feud with Flair, taking a shot at her following a brief absence to fix a ruptured breast implant.
Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey
Lynch also did not hold back when she started a clash with Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series, a match that had to be changed after Lynch took a real-life punch to the face and broke an orbital bone.
Two Peas in a Pod
Much of this hits home with Rousey, who is "working" (wrestling speak for playing a storyline) after years of fighting for real in the UFC octagon and can appreciate Lynch's brashness and toughness.
Before traveling the world as a professional wrestler and performing for millions of fans, Lynch was traveling and performing for a smaller audience. Lynch spent two years as a flight attendant on Aer Lingus.
Lynch reflected on this in a 2015 episode of Chris Jericho’s podcast "Talk is Jericho," joking that her mom is "a big deal in the flight attendant industry" and got her the job. Becky also had stints as a clown and a personal trainer before making it big in wrestling.
Tough as Nails
The legit punch to the face that sidelined Lynch for her epic Survivor Series clash against Ronda Rousey is one of the most brutal and real moments in recent memory.
After taking out Rousey backstage and walking away screaming, "Everyone talks tough 'til the Man comes around," Lynch led an invading squad of SmackDown superstars down to a ring filled with the rest of the Raw women’s roster.
Taking a Fist
Lynch and the SmackDown squad trounced the Raw wrestlers, but in the process, Lynch caught a stray right hand from Nia Jax, which caused Lynch to gush blood down her face almost immediately. Lynch fought through it, wiping away the blood from her face on her way up the stairs and into the crowd, standing tall at the finish of the show.
She was prepared to face Rousey on Sunday anyway, but doctors held her off TV for the following two weeks.
The Emerald Isle's Finest
Lynch began her wrestling career in her home country of Ireland. That's also where WWE Superstar and fan favorite Finn Balor got his start and ran a wrestling school with Paul Tracey. As a 15-year-old girl, Lynch enrolled in Balor’s academy and had her first match in late 2002.
Since then, the two have remained close. Balor’s career took him to Japan, where he was one of the founding members of the revolutionary faction, the Bullet Club, which has since splintered into varying factions involving Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes. Lynch remained in Europe for the most part, until their paths crossed again in WWE.
To see the two Irish wrestlers at the top of the industry speaks to their resilience. The fact that both made it to where they want to be is inspiring for a newer generation of talent.
To be fair, no wrestler ends up as the same character as the one they debut as. Character development, evolution and modifications are essential components of a pro wrestler’s persona. This has been the case with big-time stars such as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, and remains the case today.
Lynch’s first transformation came in NXT, when she was a devoid-of-personality worker who lost matches to Flair and various others on NXT TV. That was until Lynch turned heel, attacking Bayley and aligning herself with Banks in storylines.
The turn culminated in Lynch gaining an edge, and after Banks turned on her months later, Lynch’s babyface (the "good guys" in wrestling) push began. While she never got to the top of NXT, this set the foundation for crucial tweaks she would make at the main roster level.
When Lynch lied about her age to enter Balor’s wrestling school at 15, her brother was there to back her up, since wrestling was his dream, too. Lynch’s brother, aka Gonzo de Monzo, joined Balor’s school alongside Lynch.
De Monzo wrestled mostly in the mid-2000s, and has some clips available on YouTube from around 2003 to 2006. Lynch has credited her brother’s passion with the initial inspiration for her dream, and that is not an uncommon story, as Flair became a wrestler following the tragic death of her brother Reid.
While de Monzo’s career did not have quite the ceiling that his sister’s had, it can’t be ignored as a critical component to her success now.
What's in a Name?
Becky Lynch's real name is Rebecca Quin. Throughout her career, over 16 years in professional wrestling working for a slew of big-name and little-known promotions, Lynch always has chosen character names with a nod to reality.
Lynch explained on the aforementioned Jericho podcast that she wanted to keep a portion of her real first name, Rebecca, in her ring name and character. The reason was typical Lynch. Since she spent all those years thinking of puns for her name, she didn't want to abandon them.
For whatever reason, "Becky" fits, and her arsenal of puns is nowhere close to running empty.
In an industry of people who are home for less than 100 days per year, Lynch might be one of the most well traveled, wrestling all throughout Europe, Asia and North America prior to joining WWE.
Most of the wrestlers signed by WWE nowadays had a stint in Japan and other wrestling companies domestically, but few have explored the globe as much as Lynch. What makes her path unique is the time she spent in the European independent wrestling circuit, working with companies such as England’s World Association Wrestling, German Stampede Wrestling and France’s Queens of Chaos.
Giving Momentum to the United Kingdom Championship
The success of Lynch has even been one of the many motivating factors behind WWE establishing a presence in the United Kingdom with the WWE United Kingdom Championship.
Stage and Screen
Professional wrestler, champion, flight attendant, clown. You also can add actor and stunt woman to the list of Lynch's odd jobs outside the wrestling industry. During one of her hiatuses from the industry, she set her sights on Hollywood.
Lynch earned a degree in acting from the Dublin Institute of Technology and spent time at Columbia College in Chicago. Her acting credits include work as a Viking woman on the History Channel show "Vikings."
And, yes, she has a sense of humor about it. #Shieldmaiden
A Dream Come True
Hearing Lynch describe the twists and turns of her journey through the wrestling business is quite eye-opening.
To start, she lied about her age to get into Balor’s wrestling school, which did not have a ring at the time, meaning she spent months training on floor mats.
Lynch soon after enrolled in college, looking to become a lawyer, but dropped out to move to Canada and get back in to the wrestling business.
After an injury in Germany forced her into temporary retirement, she moved to Orlando to become a personal trainer, but found herself gravitating back to her roots. She wound up at NXT.
Lynch couldn’t escape her passion, even as much as she tried to carve out a normal life along the way.
The Women's Revolution
It’s tough to pinpoint the exact moment or exact person that caused wrestling fans to demand more of the female characters than the typical chauvinistic booking. A short 2015 match involving the Bella Twins on Raw caused the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance to trend worldwide. But the shift is bigger than that.
So many people have taken credit for the women’s revolution in storylines that it’s difficult to keep track. Nevertheless, the matches Lynch had in NXT could be looked at as the genesis of when hardcore, lifelong wrestling fans saw what some truly talented women were able to do.
In October 2018, WWE had its first all-women wrestling show at WWE Evolution, a show many regarded as the best all year. Becky Lynch was at the center of it.
Whether fans can call her the definitive pioneer of the movement is up for debate. What's not debatable is that Becky Lynch epitomizes the story of women in wrestling with her personal journey through it.
And that story still is unfolding.
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