WWE star Becky Lynch revealed on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw that she is pregnant, and the unexpected hiatus for “The Man” has actually given the company a golden opportunity.
It’s no secret that WWE is already hurting in the star power department. In fact, Vince McMahon even blamed WWE’s disappointing TV viewership on its lack of marquee stars. The company has been without a slew of major names since WrestleMania 36, a list that includes John Cena, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, who is off TV indefinitely due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Now comes the temporary loss of Lynch, who will be gone for roughly a year and suddenly has an uncertain future in WWE and pro wrestling as a whole.
On the heels of her shocking announcement on Raw, Lynch told PEOPLE that she is unsure how her in-ring future might play out, saying, “I don’t know what the next chapter is because I only know what it’s like to think for myself when I’m by myself. So I don’t know what it’ll look like and how my priorities shift and what I’m going to want in the future. So, everything’s open.””
Lynch’s announcement comes at a time when she was continuing to make huge waves not only in WWE but in the mainstream as well. Last year, she cemented herself as one of WWE’s highest paid stars, male or female, and it was recently reported that she was generating a lot of interest in Hollywood, even reportedly landing a major role in an upcoming Marvel movie. Of course, Lynch’s suddenly blossoming acting career is likely on hold just as her WWE career is, which means that WWE will now be without perhaps its No. 1 star for the foreseeable future—and possibly, though unlikely, for good.
“The Man” assumed her role as the face of WWE in October 2018 when Reigns revealed he had leukemia and was taking an indefinite hiatus. Even when Reigns came back in early 2019, Lynch retained her spot at the apex of WWE, main-eventing WrestleMania 35, holding the Raw Women’s title for over a year and gracing the cover of the WWE 2K video game franchise, among a slew of other accomplishments. Like any other top star throughout WWE history, Lynch developed her fair share of critics—to go along with a large legion of followers—but there’s little denying that her absence will create a huge hole at the top of the card.
The good news for WWE’s current crop of stars, however, is that the spot atop WWE is now ripe for the taking.
Lynch is gone indefinitely, and so is Reigns, essentially resulting in WWE being without its last two “face of the company”-type superstars at a time when interest in the WWE product is at an all-time low as Raw and SmackDown viewership continues to struggle. If you’ve watched the WWE Ruthless Aggression documentary on the WWE Network, you’ll know that the end of the Attitude Era—marked by The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin leaving WWE—forced WWE to create new stars, and it did just that with the likes of Cena, Lesnar and Randy Orton beginning in 2002.
Now, WWE finds itself in an awfully similar situation that could be looked as a difficult place for WWE to be in but is also one that will force the company to create new stars, which is a good thing. While fans can expect WWE to continue to rely on names from the past—like Orton and Edge—and other established talents due to its newly relaxed brand split rules, it will also have no choice but to see what it has with the likes of Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black, Liv Morgan and the myriad of up-and-comers who should be, well, coming up sooner rather than later.
While WWE obviously couldn’t prepare for the unexpected hiatus of Lynch, it can prepare for a successful future by using Lynch’s absence as an opportunity to allow other stars to be catapulted up the card quickly.
Who will take that opportunity and seize it? Because—whether it’s a male or female superstar—the spot for WWE’s No. 1 star is wide open, with no frontrunner to take it.