Social media can truly be a perplexing place.
This past week, Monday Night RAW did everything it could to ensure that it would not be lost in the shuffle as it was sandwiched between Smackdown’s Elimination Chamber event, and Tuesday’s episode with newly crowned Champion Bray Wyatt which was guaranteed to be highly anticipated. Undoubtedly, RAW writers have heard the rumblings on social media and elsewhere about Smackdown being a superior show in recent history, and facing a week where RAW could have easily assumed to rank third among the three main roster shows that week, pulled out all of the stops to keep the flagship brand on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Not only did they (rush) have a big title change with Bayley becoming the RAW Women’s Champion, but the expected turn by Kevin Owens on his best friend Chris Jericho came at a largely unexpected moment, leading to one of the best segments seen in RAW in quite some time. And yet, when I journeyed over to my Twitter feed at 11:15PM on Monday night, everyone seemed to be talking rather angrily about one thing:
I was absolutely blown away by the reaction I saw. Had everyone truly been waiting this feverishly for the debut of Emmalina? I was as big of a fan of Emma in her previous role as anyone, but I certainly was not brought to the level of rage that so many seemed to exhibit on Monday night after Emmalina’s brief and confusing debut, and apparently, demise. Quite frankly, the first thing I thought after reading all of the outrage on Monday night was that WWE had clearly done something right in this angle, for Emma to be getting top reaction over the other quality segments on the show. However, on further review of the entire Emmalina situation, I have only one question to those who felt disappointed, angered, cheated or even betrayed by Emmalina’s words on Monday night, and that is – why?
Why would you be angry that the Emmalina character is apparently history? Why? WHY???
Let’s analyze this situation. Around this time two years ago, Emma made her return to NXT after an amazingly lackluster debut on the main roster, in an effort to revitalize her career and return to her roots. Gone were the bubbles and the awful dancing, and in their place was a no-nonsense woman who schooled her opponents inside the ring and made no apologies outside of it. Emma was placed with Dana Brooke, assumedly in an effort to lend credibility to Brooke and help her succeed. Instead, it was Emma who broke out, tearing down the house with Asuka in London at NXT Takeover, and when Brooke eventually made her way to the main roster, Emma returned as well, and it could be easily argued that it was Emma’s work which made the pair a must have for RAW at that time. However, shortly after that return, Emma suffered an injury, Brooke moved on to other things, and eventually we began to see (many) vignettes stating that Emma would be shedding the character which had reinvigorated her WWE career, and instead would be returning as “Emmalina”.
Now, I know many fans, especially on social media have short memories, but I dare those who were enraged on Monday night to think back months ago, back to the first time they saw a promo for the incoming Emmalina. What was your reaction to that news? For most, and certainly for most of the people I see via my and PWP’s social media accounts, the change was met with an almost universal negative reaction by the IWC. And FOR GOOD REASON. The idea, quite frankly, seemed terrible from the beginning. In an age where WWE is doing everything they can to ensure that the focus on their female competitors is kept on their athletic talent and prowess, taking a woman who’d already proven her chops inside the squared circle, and attempting to turn her into this generation’s clone of Sable was an incredibly poor choice. Now, many were complaining about the number of teaser spots we saw for Emmalina, only to have the character seemingly dropped immediately. While I admit it seems that WWE began to enjoy playing the troll role with that effort, the bottom line is all Emma fans should be celebrating their Aaron Rodgers-esque Hail Mary at the last second, salvaging a character which should have been left alone to begin with.
Not enough for you to relax? Fine, well let’s look at our possibilities for Emma moving forward.
Worst case scenario? WWE realized at the last moment that this character, which almost everyone groaned at from day one, was not going to work, and will be returning that talent to their previous role, which had already proven to be successful and appreciated by the audience.
Or…my own personal dream scenario…
What if Emma takes this turn of events, and uses it to become a version of the “Anti-Diva” we never truly saw from Paige after her NXT days? Paige’s entire persona on NXT derived from being completely different from what the WWE Divas were expected to be at that time, and it was extremely successful. However, while Paige’s look never changed on the main roster, her “Anti-Diva” moniker and attitude was never truly played out to its true potential. Now, Emma certainly will not be altering her appearance in any way that would be quite that drastic, but why couldn’t Emma walk out on RAW next week and explain that, while she tried to walk the company line and fill that stereotypical “Diva” role as Emmalina, when she stepped onto that stage, she couldn’t betray who she was, and decided she wasn’t going to change for anyone. Seems pretty natural after last week’s events, doesn’t it? Emma could then announce that from that moment on, she would not try to live up to anyone’s expectations moving forward except her own, and that her only focus is to become Champion. I guarantee you, if this option played out in the coming weeks, every person condemning the Emmalina segment this past Monday would be falling over themselves to praise the decision.
Money on the table, do I believe they’ll go that far? Probably not, but in the end, I’ll gladly take the Emma I know over the Emmalina Idon’t any day of the week.