The world of professional wrestling is filled with ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, but there are not many as effortlessly ‘good’ as Becky Lynch. Whether she’s chasing the title or playing a supporting part in a backstage skit, few have the natural ebullient charisma that get the crowd behind them regardless of the storyline like she does.
In the ring, Becky Lynch is a marvel, wrestling with a technical proficiency that has caught the eye of people like UFC’s Cris Cyborg, the current featherweight champion and one of the top-ranked fighters in the world. While not the current champion, with her skill and drawing power, it is inevitable that she will reclaim the top position in her division in the near future.
Women’s pro wrestling is at the most interesting time in its history. The past few years have seen Becky Lynch and others both in and out of the WWE turn it from the ‘bathroom break’ to a legitimate draw in a male-dominated field. Even Netflix is capitalizing on the trend, with its original series GLOW, a fictionalized take on a women’s wrestling television show from the 1980s, receiving some of the best reviews in the platform’s history.
On the 28th of August, WWE launches the Mae Young Classic, a tournament for women’s wrestlers from around the world, and from many backgrounds, including combat sports. The tournament will bring into WWE some of the brightest talent from around the world, including former UFC mixed martial artist Shayna Baszler, who one of the favorites to win it all.
With more MMA fighters making the transition into professional wrestling, with huge names such as Ronda Rousey rumored to be eyeing the same, WWE’s women’s division is poised to reach a new level of public attention. I spoke with Becky Lynch over SummerSlam weekend in Brooklyn, New York, to get her thoughts on that potential direction.
Read the full conversation below:
Does wrestling fulfill you in the first way it did when you started off?
It’s actually even better now, because I’m more comfortable. And not in a bad way, I’m just more confident in the ring and more confident with my audience and I know more. Before, you’re so on edge and you’re so nervous and you’re hoping everything goes right and you don’t mess up—that you don’t get to relax and enjoy it. Now there’s that ability that you know these ropes, you know this ring, you know this surface, you know this crowd, and you can interpret what they’re responding to better.
With that, there’s the ability to go further and achieve more—bust through more glass ceilings. That’s where I’m at now. The great thing about wrestling is that it ebbs and flows, you know? You’re never just on top, you’re always riding a wave. You know? That’s what’s so great about surfing. Sometimes you’ just have to sit on the calm and ride that wave and then ride it till the end. Right now I’m just sitting on the calm just waiting for the next wave so I can get on there. I’m not waiting—I’m searching for it.
What do you feel is going to be the next big boost to women’s wrestling in WWE? We’re seeing a potential influx of UFC fighters coming in…
Rumors of Ronda Rousey maybe training with Brian Kendrick, so we’re hearing… Is that something that you’re really welcoming as far as what it will bring to the women’s division?
I feel like if it’s going to get more eyes on us, then that’s wonderful. What I want to see is women who are passionate about this, and that they’re doing it for the right reasons, and that they care about this business, because we have been busting our tails for the past four years to make sure that women are seen in a different way and women are seen in a different light. And of course, Ronda, with all she’s done for UFC, would be a great asset. I can’t diminish her accomplishments at all because she’s incredible in her own right. But this is our sport, and you have to prove yourself in a whole different way.
How important do you think that having a passion for wrestling, and being a fan yourself, is to excelling in the business?
I think it’s this intangible thing, right? When the audience recognizes it in their stars. They can’t even verbalize it. They don’t know why they are drawn to that particular person, but they are, because that person ahs a passion for it. As a wrestling fan, you love wrestling, you know? So when you can see that in your favorite superstar, that’s what draws you to them. We love it so much that we do it, you know what I mean? We’re the biggest wrestling fans of all!
Did you watch GLOW by the way?
What did you think?
I think it’s wonderful! I think it’s really good! I think there’s enough wrestling in it for the wrestling fans to enjoy it, and not so much that if you’re not a wrestling fan, you can still enjoy it.
Yeah that’s the problem with outside media—whether or not it understands wrestling, whether or not it gets or capture what fans love about it in the first place.
Yes, absolutely! And it’s so cool to see certain people like John Morrison in there.
Would you want to potentially cameo in season two?
That would be pretty cool, yeah! Yeah, I’m not against it!